This book, while dealing with a range of emotions and issues, is both addicting and infuriating. It holds a range of emotions that not only give its readers perspective of what it’s like to be a serial killer and psychotic kidnapper. While there were issues within the plot and characterization, The Cellar was an interesting take on being in captivity.
After Summer’s abducted by Colin Brown, who goes by the name Clover, she’s renamed Lily by him to satisfy his obsession with flowers. We got to experience a few chapters in Colin’s point of view that articulated how damaged his mind was. The reason behind why he abducted four girls was for a specific reason, and he suffered from OCD. I found his mentality towards kidnapping girls to be disturbing and unsettling, and while reading I was fighting the urge to start screaming at him and his reasoning. His was a twisted antagonist, which really intrigued me. I didn’t understand his motives completely, but his three dimensional character kept me from disregarding him as another delusional kidnapper. However, the most interesting aspect of his inner dialogue was how he truly believed that he was doing the right thing. Despite how everybody else thought of his actions, he truly believed he was doing the right thing by keeping these four girls in her cellar.
The Cellar takes place of the course of roughly a year and a half, spanning both Summer’s life inside the cellar, Colin’s struggle with his own mind, and her boyfriend Lewis’s quest to find her. It’s a lot to cover in a single book, and I felt that as a result the psychological effects on Summer lacked. She was kept in a cellar for over a year with three other girls—she witnessed murder, rape, and countless horrors. How could she not be damaged by what she saw? Her determination to escape captivity was admirable, but overall she was a relatively static character. Because of the action happening outside of the cellar and the occasional flashbacks, there wasn’t a lot of focus on Summer’s struggle with herself. At the climax, we were struck with a massive turn in character that came out of nowhere and felt forced. I needed for there to be a build-up to that moment, for there to be noticeable changes in Summer’s behavior. Rape and homicide are tough things to go through, but they were glossed over and instead her relationship with Lewis took prominence. I wanted her to deal with those topics, to cope somehow, but instead she didn’t seem very affected by what had happened.
Another complaint I had was with the plot holes scattered throughout. Colin, after collecting a new girl, would rename them accordingly, and then throw them in the cellar. He renamed them after the same four flowers, which was really frustrating, because I had no idea which girl was the girl in the present. We saw him abducting his very first girl and naming her Violet, but past-Violent was obviously a different Violent from present-Violet (the Violent that Summer was in captivity with). Past-Poppy was different from present-Poppy, and past-Lily was obviously different from present-Lily, who was Summer. I wished that there was a little more backstory to behind when and why he replaced a girl for a new girl, because that topic was also glossed over. The plot and inclusion of two other points of views outside Summer’s were a good choice on Natasha’s part, however I felt that it was too much to handle, given the flashbacks that were often used to clarify an event but only raise more questions.(less)
Originally I was so sure I wouldn’t enjoy this one, from the beginning that was mediocre, nothing that assured a pleasant reading experience, Luckily, after a few chapters everything turned around for the better. I was dumbfounded by Morgan’s cold attitude towards everybody that she encountered. Her persona was shrouded with coldness and it was like she had drawn “ice queen” onto her forehead in Sharpie. However, despite how forcefully she tried to shove people away, it didn’t bother me. I was more concerned with how little was given about her past. Morgan was closed off because of a video that had gone viral a few months ago, one that we don’t fully realize until much later in the book. It was the embarrassment of her life, and she was always mortified when people teased her about it. The “big reveal” of what the video really was about came a little later than I had anticipated and hoped, but I liked how it was handled.
This book is a book that gets better and better as the plot goes on. It starts with Morgan embarking on a journey with two friends to find her father, but ends by bringing the plot full circle in a classic bildungsroman. Her relationship with Amy and Adam, two coworkers at an amusement park that managed to force their way into her dad search, truly spoke to me. Janet made it possible for three teens who previously had nothing to do with each other grow together and become best friends. Their friend dynamic wasn’t one that was forced or rushed; with Amy’s passion and tenacity, Adam’s dorky tendencies, and Morgan’s drive, the trio shared memories that I didn’t think that they would. Amidst these bonding sessions, there was a telltale shift from Morgan’s guarded self to an open, willing character that could still dish out some heavy sass when needed.
16 Things I Thought Were True focused on the motif of lies and deception, each character seeming to hold a secret or suppress a truth. I appreciated how often it was incorporated into the story line without it becoming repetitious, a new lie seeming to occur at every turn. It was surprising how many characters were keeping secrets from others, revealing how even the most open person has one thing that they don’t want anybody else to know. With that being said, when the final reveal came along, it felt anticlimactic. The last secret we were left underwhelmed at first, but it wasn’t that big of an issue. The story continued to progress and transform at the end, becoming more than just a goose chase across the country. Janet Gurtler’s most recent novel is inspiring, bringing into light the power of friendship and the power of one’s own mind.(less)
The Romeo Club is cute and nerdy, the perfect combination for someone who’s a fan of romances that start between long-time friends and subsequently develop into something more.
When Delyla Denson helps her brother get a date with his long-time crush, his friends find out about it and want the same advice, which sets the stage for our story. As she helps CC, Kevin, and Trey land the girls they have their eyes on, Delyla deals with her fair share of drama, such as conflicting feelings towards her neighbor and brother’s best friend, Trey. I really liked the idea of the whole Romeo Club (what Delyla called her match-making “services,” so to speak); it was cute and funny, although I felt like the beginning was rushed. Within the very first chapter, she was helping her brother hook up with someone and then in the next chapter all of her brother’s friends knew about it and wanted to get in on the action. Either way, after I recovered from the abrupt shift, I began to enjoy it all.
I found that I actually related fairly well to The Romeo Club, mainly because it was a lot of back and forth in terms of her affection for Trey and vice-versa. It wasn’t something I noticed until three fourths of the way through the book, but it set up grounds to which I could sympathize with the overall conflict. However, despite how much I sympathized with Delyla, I wasn’t a fan of her whole “sabotage” mentality. It’s mentioned in passing in the synopsis, but when I fully got a taste of what was going on, I can’t say I was an advocate for her behavior in trying to ruin Trey’s love life for her own selfish reasons. Especially when you spend that much time setting a guy up with a girl he seems to really like, you can’t just abruptly switch to the sabotage with a capital S tactic.
I wasn’t particularly to fond of the whole subplot of Jimbo, the neighbor’s horny dog. While he was there purely for comedic relief, more times than not I was wondering how he was even relevant. He basically was there to steal the neighborhood’s belongings, and somehow, Delyla would ALWAYS catch Jimbo in the act of stealing something, take it from him, and then the stolen item’s owner would conveniently show up. Upon seeing the lost item in Delyla’s hand instead of Jimbo’s, they’d be like, “You’re so disgusting and foul, I can’t believe you’d steal something like this!!!” even though she would try to explain that it was the dog. What was even the point of that? I didn’t quite understand why that part was even included because it felt like it weighed the entire book down, and not even the neighbors’ wrath towards her, but the inclusion of Jimbo and his owners’ characters.
Despite how negative my review makes this book out to be, The Romeo Club is a flamboyant read, and I would recommend it to fans of high school romances.(less)
At first, I was skeptical at the idea of one girl living in a household with twelve Walter boys (technically eleven, but the other girl was a tomboy and considered a guy). But since I was looking on Wattpad and stumbled across this one before I was asked to join the tour, I jumped at the chance at reviewing a book that I was already slightly familiar with. My Life With the Walter Boys is comical, endearing, and romantic, with Jackie struggling to fit in amongst this rowdy group of boys. I was really expecting for Jackie to bond with the younger boys as well as with the older boys, and Ali luckily satisfied my needs. While each relationship wasn’t fully fleshed out between the boys, it was like she was a part of the family. I also appreciated how there was animosity and welcoming towards a new addition to the family, because twelve children is already spreading the parents of the family thin. The different effects and responses to Jackie’s moving in provided a realistic perspective of what was going on inside the Walter household.
There is an obvious issue with the romance, and that’s in the love triangle. It sort of reminded me of The Summer I Turned Pretty’s relationship structure, but it wasn’t tiring to me. I ended up liking it to an extent. enjoying the tender moments that Cole and Jackie shared together, but hating how he strung her along because he was conflicted for his feelings towards her. I liked the comfort of Alex and Jackie’s relationship, but I didn’t like how Cole was constantly trying to break them apart so he could have her. The drama infused throughout the relationship was understandable, and a narcotic side of me enjoyed Cole’s volatility, Jackie’s indecision, and Alex’s oblivion. The banter between Jackie and Cole always managed to make me laugh, their witty remarks fresh and enlightening. While the romance isn't anything particularly special, it's very cute and endearing.
Besides the romantic relationships, there was also plenty of friendships forming. The one I’d like to highlight was between Nathan and Jackie. Their platonic friendship spoke to me because they were truly like the brother-sister pair that was reminiscent of my relationship with my brother. Another thing I’d like to point out, the negative aspects of the book, was Jackie and Sammy’s relationship. Sammy, Jackie’s best friend from her old town, played a relatively minor role in the book, even though she was Jackie’s best friend. After two conversations, Jackie stopped talking to Sammy, which baffled me because they were, I repeat, best friends. With new friendships and relationships budding, it would have been nice for her to at least hold on to one old friendship. Finally, my last quibble had to do with Jackie’s coping process. Her entire family died in a car accident, and even though she felt like she was betraying her family by allowing herself to fall in love again, she didn’t seem that affected by it. If I were her, I’d be crying every night, having nightmares, etc. etc. I didn’t mind that she was happy, but I wanted her healing process to play a role in the book. Instead, it was mostly romance and drama.
My Life With the Walter Boys is a quick read that had me cracking up with Cole and Jackie’s fun interactions. The book is like whipped cream: light, sweet, and oh-so delicious—perfect for anyone in the mood to let loose and relax.(less)
I didn’t expect to like this one. The beginning was slightly rocky, but the last half was fantastic and well-developed. Sawyer, widowed after her husband Grayson was murdered, returns to her hometown of Willowhaven, where she runs into her old boyfriend, Dean Preston. Dean, having left Sawyer unpredictably when they were eighteen, and Sawyer rekindle their old relationship, despite Sawyer’s hesitation to talk to Dean in order to spare her heart getting broken again. At first, it was a lot of the same back and forth action. Sawyer and Dean would bump into each other while doing errands, Dean would attempt to flirt with Sawyer, she would shut him down and run away, and repeat. For the first third or so, that’s all that they seemed to do, run into each other, act awkward, leave, and wallow in their feeeeeelings. As much as this portion was needed to establish the later story and build a relationship between the two, it felt particularly redundant and slow after a certain amount of encounters with each other.
Sawyer and Dean’s relationship, having already been developed before the book started, had the potential to either be well-developed aspect to the story that enhanced the overall book or a poorly-handled subject. With the flashbacks in the middle of a scene to inform us on both Sawyer and Dean’s romance in high school as well as Sawyer and Grayson’s relationship before Grayson died, I didn’t feel as if I was in the dark with the intricacies of their stories. We got memories on a need-to-know basis, giving us backstory whenever a character brought up their past or it would enhance the story to get a certain moment in time. In the beginning, flashbacks were doled out to form a strong foundation and expose Sawyer and Dean or Sawyer and Grayson’s relationship. As the plot progressed, the flashbacks were used as fine details when Sawyer and Dean began to grow closer again. I loved how Mindy handled the flashbacks and used them to her advantage. With them, you weren’t expected to just believe everything as it was thrown at you; there was a layer underneath it.
The cute thing about Me After You was how the chemistry between Sawyer and Dean. They had never stopped loving each other, and it was almost as if they were falling in love with each other again. They definitely had a natural chemistry and I loved their romance. It’s typical of a new adult romance, and there was nothing particularly steamy or special about their romance, but the circumstances under which they fell in love and the struggles of their romance compensated for it. Challenge after challenge was thrust onto them, and between all of it, they managed to find each other. Even though both of the characters had already grown up between high school and the beginning of the book, there was also more to be said about their development after they found each other. Sawyer came to terms with her grief over Grayson and learned to be happy again.
Me After You by Mindy Hayes is a perfect book to read when you’re in the mood for a carefree book that also contains a darker undertone. Right after finishing, you’ll feel warm inside, and if you read this book in the right mindset, you’ll love it.(less)
What is a great story is quickly overshadowed by the dialogue and the overall narration. The Agent's Daughter has an omniscient third point of view, which is both beneficial and malignant to the way the story is read. What I enjoyed about this narration choice was it offered Melina's life and her father's. With the way this book was set up, Melina had a normal teenager-esque life as if she was a character in a cute contemporary romance, while her father Evan went on spy missions. Eventually both lives collided with one another, which is where I found issues. There's a very specific difference between an omniscient point of view that switches perspectives whenever there's a scene change and one that switches perspectives at the author's leisure. I enjoyed the different scenes between the characters, but when we're in the same scene and one second we have Melina's thoughts on an issue and in another second her dad's, it's overwhelming. I was able to overlook it for the most part as it happened very infrequently.
Something I wasn't able to overlook, though, was the dialogue and the tell-not-show style of the writing. The Agent's Daughter is a dialogue-orientated book, relying on what each character says to provide a back story on an issue. The only problem with that, though, is the fact that it's fairly unrealistic. Without any use of contractions, lines like "That is not what I want you to do." or "I am shocked by your behavior" don't translate well when read. Teens never talk like that; if anything, they contract their contractions to monosyllable words in order to shorten the amount of time they have to talk. Furthermore, each character always said something that shouldn't be said in a normal conversation. They revealed too much about themselves, and Melina said things to her brother that shouldn’t have been needed to be said.
”Yeah,” Melina said with a small laugh. “You used to refer to yourself as a momma’s boy without realizing that those words had a negative connotation. We just always thought that you two had a unique bond because Mom quit work to stay at home when you were born, but I went to day care. I learned to have a little more independence than you.”
Travis continued. ”When Mom first had the accident, I found myself on my own. I lost my crutch. I was lost.”
“So what happened?” Melina asked. “How did you go from that to what happened today?"
That quote specifically bothered me because Melina shouldn’t have needed to tell Travis about what he went through as a child. Travis obviously knows about his bond with his mother, and how she stopped working to take care of him. There was no need for Melina to tell Travis that as opposed to maybe providing that background information out of the conversation.
Even though there were a few major flaws, I could recommend this to a younger young adult audience for its mild action scenes that would thrill an eleven- or twelve-year-old at the same time keep someone in their upper teens interested. The plot is smartly laid out that even with its overwhelming section it doesn't come off as saturated with clichés and similar plot points that turned me off. And as the storyline got progressively more intense as we continued on, the dialogue also saw improvements, due to the growing need for an over-explanatory way of speaking.
The beginning was questionable above all else, but by the end, I found myself enjoying the book with a renewed love from three years ago when I was a huge fan of spy books like this. (less)
I didn't expect to find anything special in Racing Savannah. I liked Catching Jordan, but never chose to pursue the series until now. And as soon as I started, I knew I was in for a fantastic ride.
What first caught me was Savannah's unflinching wit. She was doling out jokes left and right, earning a lot of laughs from me. Racing Savannah balanced humor, romance, and seriousness perfectly, transitioning through each mood without incident. All of our characters had wonderful senses of humor, and I flew through the pages on a cloud of anticipation. I would recommend Racing Savannah to anyone who's only looking for a good laugh. However, my favorite character might have been Rory, for the way he held himself and his outlook on life. He and Savannah had this wonderful relationship as just friends, something I can't seem to find anymore in contemporaries. Either way, the fun that Savannah's actions and dialogue presented was enough to get me hooked.
Another aspect that I hae to bring up would have to be the romance. To say my heart wasn't pounding ridiculously through so parts would be an outright lie. Jack and I have a love-hate relationship; I love this boy like I want to knee him. At some points, he was so cold and mean to Savannah, and at other points, he was the most compassionate, caring person. Savannah and his relationship wasnt perfect, by all means, but it was worth reading, and I fell in love with them as a couple upon maybe the twentieth page.
and dat sexual tension in the first chapters (to channel my teen self)
Racing Savannah obviously focused on something very important to the story: horses. Who doesn't love horses? I loved how the fact that Saannah and Jack were on a horse farm wasn't overbearing in terms of the plot, but it also wasn't so faint that I couldn't even tell that it was a major plotline in the book. Miranda seemed to balance everything absolutely perfectly, between Savannah socializing and going to school, falling in love, and training her horses. Not to mention, we got cameos of all of the other characters in the books before. As I've said before, I've only had the priviledge of reading Catching Jordan, but now I'm more than ready to tackle the other characters that were mentioned throughout the plot.
I would recommend Racing Savannah to any contemporary reader who enjoys unflinching athletes, gratifying romances, and unforgettable humor. Miranda Kenneally has earned her place as an author to look out for in the future.(less)
This was an interesting one, Addicted to You by Colina Brennan. I loved it so much in the beginning, and I was more-than-happy to continue reading. It was a quick read and endearing, and I'd recommend it to anybody looking for something to take the edge off of that last hardcore novel they read.
From the synopsis, I was immediately intrigued, because of how out there everything seemed, and the many ways it could go right, and wrong. Just thinking about sex therapy was enough to have me interested and ready to try something totally new. At the same time, I was also a little anxious, wringing my hands over the fact that maybe Leah wouldn't be relatable, that maybe her voice would be so detached I couldn't even empathize with her. What if Leah actually had an issue as a sex addict and we were so into her head that we got a real taste of them? And if I have you wondering the same questions right now, to put them at ease: that didn't happen at all. Leah's life was so real and broken. She was pessimistic about love, something that, despite the constant cries of it being cliché, is actually really common among girls, especially ones that are in her circumstances.
Something I noticed happening through Addicted to You was the lack of development. In my opinion, Will was an under-developed character, and since some of the book was told in his perspective, I wanted to be able to understand him. The same thing happened with Leah. While I could empathize her, and I saw how broken she was, it all seemed to only touch the surface. We never got to really learn who Leah or Will was, something that bothered me. There would be more than a few hints that their homes were dysfunctional, but those issues didn't get addressed. If Colina had chosen to end on an open ending—to symbolize that maybe their families weren't perfect but at least they had each other and their love—there should have at least been an allusion to that, and instead all there was, was a confession of love.
Addicted to You was primarily focusing on the romance, and most of it stemmed from lust. However, it couldn't be categorized as insta-love, because it began as a mutual attraction, slowly growing outward into something deeper and more significant. I enjoyed watching their romance blossom, and the romantic tension was believable, as well. What worked so well was how genuine their initial attraction felt. Sometimes, I connected my own experiences with having a crush on someone to the way that they acted around each other, that subconscious hyper-awareness, the way they could barely look each other in the eye.
I would definitely recommend Addicted to You by Colina Brennan to any new adult fans who aren't looking for an extremely steamy read but still like a little "sizzle on their steak." (You know I had to, metaphors are hilarious) I will be checking out more of her novels in the near future, and I hope that you do, too.(less)
After scrolling through the Goodreads page for Burning, and seeing countless four- and five-star reviews, I had hopes for this one.
This review was extremely hard to write, in the sense that I didn't know what to say. The prose was still fresh in my mind, my brain was still whirring from the ending, but I was at a loss for words. To be honest, I hadn't seen many reviews until I was in the middle of the book, and I was surprised by its positive feedback it had been receiving. The first half wasn't doing anything to impress me, but at the same time, it wasn't turning me off. It was like I could find nothing wrong, however, I couldn't find anything entirely right. Burning was good, I relished every page, it just wasn't great enough to cast an impact on me. There were sections that stood out, and I liked it, I really did, especially that ending, but it didn't sweep me off my feet in a flurry of emotions.
The ending, the premise, the characters! I loved, more than anything, how Burning wasn't a love story at its core, but rather it was a story of growth and self-development. It certainly seemed like a love story at first—the romance definitely dominated most of the plot—it morphed into something deeper along the way, into something different and unheard of. I loved Lala and Ben's distinct voices, as well. Lala was proper, thanks to her Gypsy background, which was utterly fascinating. Her voice captured her spirit and personality perfectly, and so did Ben's. It wasn't hard to tell whose point of view we were seeing things through, because Elana so clearly crafted her characters, making them easy to understand and recognize.
One of my major complaints with Burning was the insta-love. Lala and Ben only knew each other for a few days, and then all of a sudden they were declaring their love for each other, willing to throw away their entire futures for each other. They had an instant attraction from the minute they met, and while I could understand that, their feelings didn't progress much further from there. Their entire relationship was based off of their first impressions of each other, which was the fact that they thought the other was hot. Since my initial interpretation of everything was that the romance would be fluffy and carefree, I didn't think much of it, until I got to the point where the stakes got higher, and everything got more intense. Then I started to have issues. I just wished that the romance could have developed further or dragged out for a few more days.
Overall, Burning by Elana K. Arnold was uplifting and a satisfying summer read, with compelling characters who underwent their own growth and developments, entering the novel as optimistic teenagers and leaving as unhindered spirits.(less)
Surprisingly, despite my reluctance to continue reading Off Limits after the first few chapters, it slowly began to redeem itself as the story went on and I ended up deeply enjoying it.
Off Limits is a companion novel to Off Sides, which features Emily's brother Ryan. However, you don't need to read Off Sides to enjoy Emily and Nix's story. But focusing on the book itself, the romance between Emily and Nix was fantastic and electrifying. It was developed on the pretense of lust, but as they got to know each other, their lust slowly transitioned into something deeper. Their relationship wasn't a major case of insta-love; it developed at a realistic pace, starting from attraction and ending with a beautiful result. To hit the romance home, we have those "hot and heavy" scenes which are balanced with the sweet, romantic ones.
What I prominently noticed was Sawyer Bennett's writing style. She writes in a manner that suggests something cheesy and cliché, but it's surprisingly minimal. The writing is simple, and although I thought it was cheesy sometimes, it was really enjoyable. The biggest issue with the writing was how it was more "tell the action", instead of "show the action". I can't quite explain it, but I found myself rolling my eyes. There was a need to explain a character's motives behind doing something in an inner rant, subsequently followed by a paragraph dedicated to trying to justify something. Additionally, there was this plethora of vocabulary words, and whenever they were used in abundance, it just added more of that cheesy-cliché feeling to the writing.
Off Limits had that quality about it that made the events of the beginning pale in comparison to the middle. Without a compelling writing style to carry you through to that point in the middle where the writing improved by a lot, I almost completely lost interest. The plot wasn't so gripping that I was frantically turning the pages, but it kept me engaged, and I was frantically turning the pages nonetheless. Our characters Nix and Emily also had a lot to do with it. I loved how much they learned about both each other and themselves. They were slightly flat characters, but I loved learning everything I could about them. Nix was a hot, sexy man who had PTSD after six years in the war, and Emily was an innocent woman who was stifling under her mother. Together, they were a fantastic couple, as I pointed out above.
Romantic and beautiful, Off Limits is a perfect read for fans of the new adult contemporary novel, and I loved almost everything with this novel. Please don't hesitate to pick this one up; this new gritty novel by Sawyer Bennett is worth it.(less)
I did not expect to love Bitter Angel, but, oh, how I loved it.
Bitter Angel is one of the first new adult novels that I've read that wasn't purely contemporary. It was science fiction, as well a dash of thriller, and I got swept up in this new, exciting premise. From the synopsis, I understood that Lila would live through two versions of a Friday night, but I hadn't yet grasped the gravity of the situation, which was that Lila, Nilah, and Heather got kidnapped and raped by a gang. It's a tough subject to deal with, and if you're expecting how these three girls deal with the aftermath of it, that's not what this book is about. The reality of the situation immediately had me intrigued, but it didn't focus on the raping rather than preventing it from ever happening.
By taking that line of action, the story was immediately transformed, and I can't say that I missed the fact that we didn't focus on the traumatic experience itself, producing a high-stakes plot and intense series of events. And because I stopped worrying about if the plot would drag, because about two chapters in, I was positive that it wouldn't, I started to focus on the main character: Lila. Lila was strong and compassionate—two of my favorite features in my characters. Not only was her unflagging determination to keep her friends safe from harm inspiring, the way she remained calm and composed through the scariest of scary situations touched me, too.
However, as much as I adored Lila, I got a little annoyed at her inner dialogue. She would go on profusely long rants about how she had to keep Nilah and Heather safe, how she couldn't bear to let her boyfriend Jay go. As a result, the plot occasionally slowed down and I lost interest for a few pages, until the monologuing stopped and the action began again. Instead of having the action be the prominent portion during these parts, Lila's monologuing skills took over and thus began the rant. Otherwise, Bitter Angel's plot was perfect except for those small blips in the surface.
Creative and fantastic, Megan Hand's debut Bitter Angel will blow you away with its promising plot line and fresh premise.(less)
If you've been looking for a twisted yet beautiful book, look no further because Secret for a Song is the answer to your prayers! (I feel like I'm the host of an infomercial.)
The first few chapters, I was worried that maybe I wouldn't connect to Saylor because she was so eclectic and different from all the other characters I'd read before. She liked to hurt herself for attention, and I found it to be heartbreaking and disgusting all at once. I hoped that by the end of Secret for a Song Saylor would find a way to cure herself--and in a way she did. Whether the self-harming aspect faded into the background after a while or because she stopped needing to make herself sick wasn't determined for sure, but I did enjoy her character growth by the end, even if we got off to a slightly rocky start in the beginning. As a romance came into the picture, it was an immense help towards Saylor's development as a person.
I loved our love interest Drew. So much. He had this degenerative disease that caused him to slowly lose all use in his body and voice, and my heart bled for him. Drew was determined, compassionate, and so kind; he always cared for the people around him and he didn't let his disease get in the way of him living his life the way he wanted to. His character was so incredibly fleshed-out that his character development was minuscule. His presence was to both make Saylor better and advance the plot, which I had no problem with. Although he didn't grow, he was a admirable enough person initially. I wasn't bothered in the slightest by his stagnant character. In fact, I barely noticed it. Drew added so much to the story that wouldn't have been accomplished if one of his traits were different. I'm so glad that SK went down the path she did in terms of Drew and the romance.
I have to take a moment to point out the writing and how it enhanced the romance and plot. The writing was so beautiful, and the way SK presented the romance captured my heart. I loved watching Drew and Saylor slowly fall in love, using each other to make themselves stronger. The ending was so heartwarming, as well. It hinted at something more to come, was realistic, and made my heart melt. The ending was the "not-so-final frontier," so to speak, but I loved reading every word in those last few chapters. We didn't get an overdone, sappy ending or a Happily Ever After case; it was handled just like real life--on a hanging line. Secret for a Song ended on an ominous note, where you didn't exactly know what was going to happen next or how the characters would get their real ending, but it was touching.
Lyrical, heartfelt, and romantic, Secret for a Song will take your breath away with its poignancy and depth. I would recommend this to anybody who enjoys a novel on the cusp of dark and disturbing.(less)
Stripped, if nothing else, was a romantic and powerful story of two broken college students who find their key to happiness in each other.
My initial reaction of Quinn was a strong-willed girl who knew how to make do with what she had, but at the same time she wanted more. She was under all of this unspeakable pressure to keep herself in college by picking up a job as a nude modeler for local college art students. My heart bled for her plight, and I supported her all the way. As I delved further into the contents of Stripped, my love and empathy for Quinn started to wane, because her morals were a little skewed. She was a guarded person, who didn't believe in true love one little bit, but when she finally got a shot at that coveted kind of relationship, she completely messed it up. Maybe it was because she never knew true love for herself, but she thought that the first time someone kissed you meant that you had to also have sex shortly after. It didn't bother me too much at first, because I understood how she could be ignorant, but as the story went on I felt that her personality continued to chip away at my love for her that I had fiercely developed within the first few chapters.
What isn't made clear at first is that Quinn's dad got into some big scandal at the college where he used to be the dean of, and as a result he was fired and the family subsequently went bankrupt, all the while having to deal with a suicide, as well. This series of unfortunate events spirals into Quinn's taking a nude modeling job, and, consequently, meeting Torrin. I enjoyed the romance between Quinn and Torrin; it progressed at a realistic level, and it blossomed into something beautiful by the end. Contrary to that, it didn't make my heart pound ridiculously. The romance between our two characters was sweet on all levels, but if you're into that intense kind of thing I wouldn't recommend it.
Stripped had one major flaw that took away from possibly every other positive thing: the love interest, Torrin. We never learned many things about him, and his multi-faceted character provided great potential to learn what made his head tick. Torrin was snarky, secretive, and charismatic, which could have made him such a swoon-worthy person. The way he was portrayed had me wanting to know more about him, but we never did. Torrin was a character that was kept into the dark for most of the time, which is why I didn't quite believe the romance to be as strong as it could have been. Considering he's the love interest, I found his lack of development jarring.
While Stripped did have its quirks, I still loved it for its romance, poignancy, and tale of two unlikely people who fell in love, even through the ups and downs of life.(less)
If you had to describe Strangelets I exactly one word, you'd have a really hard time doing it. Do you say thrilling? Adventurous? Dystopian? Paranormal? The truth of the matter is that you can use many words, and none of them fits perfectly right.
When six teens from all over the world end up in the same abandoned hospital together, they have to form bonds quickly, and they need to get back home. However, when they finally find their way out, things take a turn for the worse. Our main characters were Declan, Sophie, and Anat, and along with the other teens, everything's fully shed into the light about where they are. The reality of their situation was almost alarming because of how innocently they started off and where they ended up. The plot kind of surprised me because from the summary, I got a crazed and desperate attempt to break out. However, where Michelle took this story was even better and much more fun. Well, fun's an overstatement, but the circumstances created a more intriguing turn of events, riddled with betrayal, mystery, and romance.
What's a young adult book without romance? The romance is pretty obvious when you first look at it, and it does develop really quickly. All of Strangelets takes place in about three of four days, give or take, considering it's a standalone. So, for a romance to happen in that span of time isn't unheard of, but in this case, it did border on insta-love. These characters would be thinking about each other all the time, and eventually, it got a bit old.
Another problem I had with Strangelets was the ending, which felt so perfect and convenient. When the climax finally rolled around, the way the conflict was resolved seemed so easy. It's kind of like you forgetting your project to school, but oh look! Your teacher decides to push it back one day for everybody. That's how the ending felt for me. Given how quickly the conflict was resolved, the lack of any major problems near the end seemed unbelievable. However, I do see how it had to turn out the way it did.
Overall, I would definitely recommend Strangelets to anybody who enjoys high action supernatural books that are both insanely creepy and intriguing. If you loved Michelle Gagnon's former books, then don't hesitate to try this one out!(less)
It's hard to capture in words just how turbulent Click to Subscribe is. It captured so many different stages of falling in love in a beautiful, heart-warming story like a photo series done by the most renown photographer.
Click to Subscribe will make your heart pound ridiculously. We had romantic tension between our two characters Cat and West, and with that romantic tension came the unspeakable awkwardness that will make you laugh and want to hug the characters. It's impossible not to smile from page one, if only at the clever dialogue. Its brevity doesn't matter, because LM makes use of every single page, and it's kind of scary how well he uses the pages. The beginning sets you up for the turmoil and romance that is the middle and very end. You'll fall in love for its cuteness, awkwardness, and romance. And you also may cry at the end.
There were so many different little comments that made me laugh out loud or smile ridiculously, and you could feel yourself falling more in love with West as he told you his favorite M&M color (but he was wrong, red is the best color) or how great ice cream was. Furthermore, Click to Subscribe is so compelling and powerful that I now have a legit phobia of winky faces. All because of one little moment where Harper/Cat admitted how much she hated winky faces. Everything about this book is clever, witty, and hilarious. I couldn't get enough of how real it was, especially when the characters were talking to each other. They bantered and called each other names—in good faith—and they acted exactly like a high school student might, which was refreshing because sometimes you lose sight of how carefree some students really are before college.
My favorite part was how LM captured exactly what being best friends with someone is like. When you're best friends with anybody, boy or a girl, you're not going to be afraid to be like, "I hate you!" or "You're such a dork" or make fun of them in general. Cat and West shared these moments with each other, and you could tell they really were best friends who had known each other for as long as they could remember. They were goofy and crazy and I loved them for it. Not only were they so entertaining to watch, they made each other better when they were with each other. Cat and West didn't care what other people thought about them; they just had fun together, and isn't that what being best friends is about? I don't read a lot of best friend romances, but Click to Subscribe has restored my faith in them.
You'll be in stitches the entire time, cracking up, falling in love with the characters, and just enjoying everything. Click to Subscribe as a whole is just an awkward, adorable, and beautiful bundle of pure joy. If you love fluffy and cute stories, do not hesitate to check this one out.(less)
The only thing that saved this book was how I could SEE Keatyn's good intentions. Otherwise, I would've totally flipped out and DNFed this book.
Confe...moreThe only thing that saved this book was how I could SEE Keatyn's good intentions. Otherwise, I would've totally flipped out and DNFed this book.
Confession: I actually did almost before I realized I had to give it another chance for my tour stop.
Guess I'm not reviewing for THAT now. I might have to review the second book and give it a try, but I doubt it will be better. Keatyn was so shallow, and all of the book was just a love HEXAGON (six boys I kid you not...seven if you could her boyfriend from the exposition) and her talking about her "cute" "adorable" "sexy" "casual" clothes. THIS IS NOT A FASHION SHOW I read this book to find a good romance (that unfortunately didn't deliver as well) and a hint of suspense but all it was were descriptions that dragged the story down.
At this point I don't Even know if I'm reviewing this one formally.
Oh, and Keatyn? Cried (and fought the urge to cry) FIFTEEN times in the last half of the book. I counted. (less)
Stung is definitely one of those books that you love, but at the same time you can't help but notice something w...more***Singing and Reading in the Rain***!
Stung is definitely one of those books that you love, but at the same time you can't help but notice something wrong with it. If I could do half-stars, I'd be utilizing that rating so hard right now. This is one of the novels that I truly struggled in giving a rating.
Upon beginning Stung, I will honestly say that Fiona annoyed the poop out of me. She was needy and whiny and so petty, and I was about to strangle her for it. But, she ended up redeeming herself in some really great character development, which was admirable. She started out kind of scared and naïve, and she grew into one of our classic heroines, who are self-sacrificial and self-assured. Of course, with a character like Fiona, we need a love interest in the story, who was Bowen. Unfortunately, their relationship did border on insta-love at times, given how quickly their relationship developed. They knew each other for like a week, and then all of a sudden they were confessing their undying love for each other. While Fiona and Bowen knew each other from previous times, there was no indication that they ever talkedabout anything particularly meaningful.
The last third or so was most definitely the highlighting point. Those of you who might start reading Stung and be a little reluctant and plan on finishing it, the ending scenes will most definitely blow you away. Bethany incorporated your fair share of action, back-stabbing, and revelation, where every corner turned led to a sinkhole of devastation and misfortune. All in the last part. It wasn't that hard to accept that everything was out of your hands, and the best thing would be to go along for the ride. If I had any doubts of how Stung would go before, all of them were demolished when we hit that 70% mark.
I also really didn't like the fact that there was such a HEA-like ending. I didn't feel that Fiona really worked for the ending she got, and she didn't exactly sacrifice anything. Everything she had at the beginning of Stung she had again at the end, plus a few other things. Fiona herself did nothing to help reach our solution; rather, it was by everyone else's effort that we even got to our HEA. I would have liked her to be a little more involved, or perhaps a bigger effort in resolving the sickness epidemic. Everything just felt so convenient and somewhat predictable that I wasn't surprised when I saw certain things conspiring. However, one thing that I couldn't get over was how exquisitely the world was built. There wasn't a giant info-dump, but rather everything was slowly revealed in a series of memories and excerpts. It was simply refreshing.
A truly fantastic dystopian novel, Stung is a perfect read for those who love strong character development and world-building. Combining a sweet pairing and a unique premise, Bethany Wiggins has truly outdone herself. It's perfect for any dystopian fan!(less)
None of the Regular Rules most definitely lived up to my expectations with the way Erin Downing combined romance, aspiration, and inspiration into one very neat package.
It all starts when Sophie finds a bucket list in her aunt's glove compartment and decides to complete all of the dares on the list. What begins as an attempt to live out Sophie's aunt Suzy's list soon spirals into a frantic search to feel closer to Suzy, to honor her last wishes, Sophie's hero ever since she died when Sophie was eight. The devotion Sophie has to this list and to her aunt warms the heart because you don't see that sort of family dynamic anymore. Aside from Sophie's family, she also has a really tight group of best friends, and even though they question her actions at times, our trio always found a way to get through whatever hardships they were facing and come back to each other.
Speaking of our three best friends Sophie, Ella, and Grace, it was easy to overlook them because they made really unpopular decisions. Grace was so ignorant and blind to what was going around her that it was really easy to feel the strongest urge to yank out her hair; Ella was so impulsive and sometimes acted like a complete hypocrite; Sophie was bordering on obsessed with the list. (When I say devotion in my last paragraph, I mean it. When I say obsession here, I also mean it—she tread the line way too often for my comfort) Although these characters admit these qualities to each other, albeit indirectly, it takes a long time for them to fix the chinks in their armor. However, the moments where they heal, grow up, and confide in what's really going on quickly became my favorite part in None of the Regular Rules. Erin managed to progressively transform these once-slightly-annoying characters into inspirational characters.
None of the Regular Rules also expands on our inspirational theme by introducing a love interest that helps Sophie heal from every tornado that hits her. It truly is one of those "guy next door" stories because our love interest is Johnny Rush, the guy next door. Their attraction starts out innocently, as two friends who are hanging out when they run into each other on multiple occasions, and then it starts growing deeper. Sophie and Johnny start to rely on each other, confide in each other, which is the beautiful aspect of the relationship. Johnny isn't there to be there, he's there to help Sophie with her list, and Sophie's there for Johnny to realize what he's missing in life.
Inspirational enough to make you reevaluate your own life, None of the Regular Rules is a fantastic addition to Erin Downing's repertoire of written works, mixing romance and the things you hold closest to result in a sweet coming-of-age novel.(less)
Fractured Light by Rachel McClellan incorporates both mystery and paranormal genres into one book that makes for a fairly enticing premise.
When we're first introduced to Llona, our protagonist, you don't understand exactly what her power is until later when we slowly piece together what's going on. What I liked about this was the fact that Rachel didn't dump all this information on you within the first few chapters; she gave you enough to explain the current situation, and built up that information until you had all you needed. The way the exposition is done in Fractured Light is so vital to the rest of the book because this idea is so original and so untouched that you need a lot of information. However, you can't just have one chapter all about information and nothing to drive the plot forward, which is what Rachel balances so easily and effortlessly in Fractured Light.
Another aspect of Fractured Light that I loved was the fact that there was a fantastic romance. The romance was just so insanely sweet that I was grinning like a total idiot by the time I'd gotten to the end because like I said above, Rachel has this uncanny ability to manipulate what would be a regular cliche into a totally different subject that...isn't. If you know what I mean. Christian and Llona had this kind of romance that was your typical forbidden romance but at the same time it was the kind that took your breath away in the sense that it progressively got better and better and better until you had no other choice but to explode from all of the FEELS.
Along with such positives we also get some negatives, revolving mainly around the plot. For one, it felt at times that nothing significant was happening concerning the plot, mainly the fact of the mystery. I was expecting a high-action novel with a lot of intense moment but I didn't get that at all. Although there were moments where I was eager to discover what happened next, others were kind of dull. This, I have found, is a direct resultant from the fact that the plot was so very predictable. By the time I met some of the characters I thought, "Oh he's going to be the bad guy. He's going to help her. She's going to be someone important to Llona. She's going to die." And the vicious cycle goes on. Of course, not ALL of these things happened; I'm just modeling examples.
Fractured Light will appeal to many readers who like their romances progressive yet sweet, their plots mild yet entertaining, and their premises fresh yet creative.(less)
I had my doubts. I did. And it turns out that my book slump still hasn't broken, not with a book that I expected to fall heads over heels for, given how much I loved Pushing the Limits and Dare You To. Unfortunately, Crash Into You by Katie McGarry wasn't as fantastic as I'd hoped, but still a really good read that I would recommend.
Something about the beginning that I noticed: there was a severe case of insta-love, where they had only been around each other for three hours, two of those hours spent running from police cars. Then they were making out and as soon as they parted ways, their thoughts were run over with each other. Halfway through the book, they were declaring their love to each other, which seemed a little too sudden for my taste. There's nothing wrong with falling in love as quickly as they did, but there has to be a way that would make me seriously believe it, which wasn't the case. With the base feeling forced and insincere, there was no way I was buying the love lines they were feeding to each other, even by the end of the book.
Katie's books center mostly on broken characters, characters that I thought would deliver despite the romance. But I hated Rachel's inner dialogue and how weakly she was portrayed in the first half. Her brothers treated her as a fragile porcelain doll, but also, Rachel was so concerned with everybody thinking of her as a strong, independent female. In truth, she acted exactly like that fragile doll because she was so dense and idiotic, nearly crying when she displeased a family member. And when Isaiah was trying to protect her by lying to someone threatening about his feelings towards her, Rachel was all, "Oh no! Isaiah doesn't like me I knew I wasn't worth anybody's attention." Her mopey, insecure attitude really irked me at times, but thankfully she redeemed herself by the second half. I began to gain sympathy for her and understand her. She morphed from that insecure, pathetic girl into a confident one who stood up for her beliefs.
Something special about Katie's books is that they always include the same basic structure: good, rich character with messed up family and baggage meets bad, lonely character with even more messed up family issues and sparks fly between them. However, the materials used to build this structure are never the same. Rachel and Isaiah shared their love of cars, which was what fueled the character development and plot. The good thing is that both of these aspects were demonstrated well enough to keep me interested until the very end. I would have liked the main conflict to have been more prevalent, but beggars can't be choosers. Some plot points were also left out during the storyline, ones that would have brought us to the climax of Crash Into You, which I wished were developed fully. But the plot overall was good and delivered, keeping me attached to the book for the full 474 pages.
Crash Into You by Katie McGarry proved to be another book that fell victim to my book slump. There were more minor flaws that I found within in the book, but the first half was inexcusably hard for me to read. The second half brought about a promising turn in one of our protagonists and the plot.(less)
Derailed, the first in Alyssa Rose Ivy's series of companion new adult novels, is a story of rekindled romances, where second chances are real and love is in the small town of Clayton Falls.
After Molly quit law school, she headed back home to do what exactly? We don't really know, but from the looks of it, it was the only safe haven left for her, and it's natural that she would find refuge in Clayton Falls. From the synopsis, it's hinted that Molly had something she wanted to forget, and somehow in Derailed, she'll have to move on from her past. Sounds like a really gritty book right? That was my first problem. While I absolutely loved the idea and the sound of this, I couldn't connect with Molly. When she woke up from gut-wrenching nightmares, I didn't feel the sweat pouring down my face, as well. The descriptions were sparse, and that led to me falling back as Derailed progressed.
Another problem I had was the lack of a backstory. We were just expected to know the history between Ben and Molly; there weren't any flashbacks or memories except for a few that didn't quite satiate my hunger to find out what about their relationship went wrong and what about them was so electric in the first place. Despite all that, I did love Ben. He was such a sweetheart and so persistent in getting what he wanted that I had to root for him. Like, jump on the couch "LET'S GO BEN, LET'S GO" kind of cheering you see when your friends meet up for the Superbowl.
Another thing I loved about Derailed was the pure awkwardness of some of the situations Molly was thrust into. She was being put on blind dates with a guy named Gavin that she could see as a friend, but in reality, she really couldn't imagine marrying or having any kind of long-term relationship. Gavin was one persistent little bugger! Seriously, I was thinking, "Dude: chillax" whenever he made an appearance in a scene, and I wanted to hit the guy who set Gaven and Molly up upside the head, just because he was being so hilariously oblivious to the tension between the two.
Emotional yet cute, awkward yet hilarious, and romantic yet serious, Derailed is a new adult contemporary that will appeal to most romance fans. I could definitely see people who are fans of rekindled romances.(less)
Possession was one of those books that made your head spin painfully because of many different things. Possession was one of those books where I loved it and hated it at the same time. Possession was one of those books that was like a guilty pleasure.
This first thing I noticed about Possession was Vi's strong-willed personality. She's got a fire and a passion in her that really makes me want to read more just to see more of her and how she would handle things. She was actually a pretty fun heroine because of her refusal to give up in certain situations and how defiant she was to the Thinkers. Of course, when it came to choosing her two love interests she was a little more conflicted, but that's definitely understandable, considering her situation.
Speaking of which, the romance between Jag and Vi was...how do I say this?...rocky. Every other second Jag and Vi were leaving each other and then coming back to each other and I just wanted to (calmly) tell them, "Please either break up or stop ditching each other because of your pride." Not to mention, if Jag called Vi "babe" one more time, I was about to tear my eyes out of my sockets. I really hate excessive pet names more than anything in the world. While to someone who might not mind it, when you completely rename the person you're dating, that is basically where I go, "No. *slams book down*"
Another thing I had to pick about Possession was the lack of world-building. What were Goodies and Baddies? Other than the obvious explanation, where did they come from and why were they classified like that? Why did the Thinkers need to be in charge? What's with all the excessive rules? When I was reading Possession, as long as I didn't concentrate and try to understand it like the reviewer I've come to be when I read my books, I enjoyed Possession a LOT. I would've given this a solid 4 or 5 if I didn't read too much into the lines. When you read Possession, if you're reading it for recreational purposes, focus on enjoying it. Sit down, grab a mug of hot chocolate, and just love the story.
The best thing about Possession was without a doubt the plot and pacing. I kept wanting to turn the page in an attempt to read more. I read this book at night while I was cold and without power, because the iPad gave off a glow so I could read the pages. Thus, I had to save my battery as much as possible, but I still found myself wanting to continue reading even though I had 2% of my battery left and couldn't get into my mom's office the next day to charge anything. (I know, abusing the electricity and heat. But it was so worth it) If you're looking for a book with a lot of twists and turns, definitely read Possession because it will not let you go!
Unpredictable, action-packed, and with determined characters, Possession will not fail to make sure you stay up into the wee hours of the morning frantically turning the pages. Although I had a few things to pick with it, it was still a very memorable read and I really want to read Surrender.(less)
Dear Teen Me is the first nonfiction books I've probably ever enjoyed. It's perfect for any teen out there who needs a little inspiration in their lives after they've been through some hard and difficult things. It was certainly really emotional to see these authors tell their younger selves to stay strong, to stay focused, and to stay themselves.
Dear Teen Me is a nonfiction novel and can be read by a wide number of people, however I would definitely target this toward young adults, ranging from their very early teens to their early twenties, even. Getting to see an adult look at their life from an outside range is really interesting and insanely fascinating. It's also the most inspirational thing I've read in a long time. Not only is Dear Teen Me truthful and poignant, it will affect teens everywhere, with these authors' strong stories about insecurity, anorexia, boy troubles, and almost everything in between.
Something I have to admire about all of these authors who collaborated on Dear Teen Me is their level of professionalism and how much guts it must've taken to tell everybody about what haunted them through their teen years. Trust me, some of it wasn't pretty, and none of these authors grew up without a little struggle and hardship throughout their lives. It's almost refreshing to get a glimpse into these authors' lives and see that they're normal. None of them are perfect; none of them had a smooth sailing; all of them have something that will forever haunt them in the back of their brains. Even your favorite, perfect-in-your-eyes author has something beneath his or her skin that they are battling every day, and getting to read about these anecdotes written to shape the next generation was so inspiring and such an eye-opener.
Some of the stories were so powerful and so chilling, well some of them were just normal in my mind. While I have to give a lot of these authors credit, none of the stories jumped out to me so much that I had to stop and think, "Wow, that was so amazing." Taking a few examples, one author wrote about how her opinion of herself differed from everybody's around her, one author wrote about her abusive childhood and how her agent saved her, one wrote about his sexuality, and every story differed from author to author.
From insecurity, illnesses, personalities, crushes, and the people you grow up with, Dear Teen Me will explore almost every topic the average teen fantasizes and stresses about. Any teenager out there and any lover of something really touching will love Dear Teen Me.(less)
52 Reasons to Hate My Father was easily one of the best times I had while reading a contemporary book Creating a highly entertaining atmosphere and a story that touches the heart, 52 Reasons pretty much has it all.
I was struck by many aspects of Jessica's most recent novel, one of which was the depth of the characters, especially our main character, Lexington Larrabee, who goes by the nickname Lexi. It started out to be an excruciatingly painful read about Lexi's inner ramblings pertaining to how she doesn't deserve to be treated like the lower class when she's Lexington Larrabee, daughter of a prestigious businessman. However, after a few heart-to-heart conversations with an unexpected friend, Lexi discovers that sometimes living down people's expectations and constantly making your miseries in life even more miserable isn't the best way to approach situations.
My favorite part of 52 Reasons was definitely Lexi's character arc. She started off extremely bratty and someone who could care less about the people around her, but she quickly evolved into somebody who was compassionate, caring, and was assertive in what she wanted. While Lexi displayed moments of weakness, she was quick to jump back up and get rolling. Her determination and positivity was absolutely infectious and I just ate it right up!
Something else I loved about 52 Reasons to Hate My Father were the supporting characters. Jessica really focused on building them up, and didn't just focus on the main circle of characters. When Lexi had help, the supporting characters always played a vital role. A supporting character helped Lexi change her snotty ways. A supporting character gave Lexi faith. And many other characters helped her grow and transform as not only a business heiress, but also as a woman.
Furthermore, with a love interest like Luke, who couldn't be hooked? Their relationship was endearingly sweet and romantic, with a few bumps along the way. Most of the time Luke treated Lexi like what he was expected to treat her as: his job. But along the way, during Lexi's evolution, you could really tell that she let herself get closer to Luke and vice-versa. Unfortunately, I didn't find their romance very believable. It was treading thin ice, and was seconds from falling through. If you like very sweet romances, however, I'd definitely recommend this one!
52 Reasons to Hate My Father was not only infectious with all the inspiration and comedy infused in its plot, but it was also very serious and after putting down the book, it gave me a lot to think about. A tale of redemption, growth, and realizing there's more to the world than just "you", 52 Reasons will appeal to any contemporary fans who love sweet romance and also a touching plot to boot.(less)
Chantress was a really surprising read for me, not only because I found myself enjoying it, but it also came with the fact that my three-star ratings are usually associated with some of the tour books I receive. But that was not the case here.
What I loved most about Chantress was the this whole Chantress idea. As a singer myself, I really could sympathize with Lucy's struggle to learn how to sing. She went through hours and hours and hours of scales and songs, and she did it with such determination. Lucy wasn't one to keel over and admit defeat as soon as things got tough, and in a way it was really inspiring. It kind of made you think that if she could be this heroine who saved the day, when she started off as a plain Jane, then you could definitely do it, as well. Not to mention, she had a fantastic group of supporters who would risk everything to help her right the wrongs in the world.
With every heroine, there usually is a love interest that will swoop her off her feet and carry her off into the sunset. In this case, that love interest's name was Nat. I didn't really agree with their romance, considering the fact that they encountered each other possibly once or twice in the entire story. Subsequently after, Lucy's friends were noticing how Nat looked at her with such desire, that the romance felt too rushed. There wasn't anything physical that happened, but it still felt like a fake attraction from the beginning. Their relationship didn't develop any further either, until maybe the very last few chapters.
However, another very positive aspect was definitely the plot. I just kept turning and turning the pages until I reached the very end, and then I was wondering where all the time went. I just couldn't help but get lost in the story of Lucy and her heritage; soon I was on the last page and wondering where the last three hours had went. It was definitely something that Amy accomplished with flying colors and I loved every single second of it. Also, because Chantress didn't focus primarily on the historical fiction part, and more on the paranormal part, even if you despise historical fiction, you will definitely really enjoy this one!
Unique and inspirational, Chantress is perfect for those who love or hate historical fiction, and it's perfect for those who love paranormal stories with an engaging plot. This one will not disappoint.(less)
Entice by Jessica Shirvington, the sequel to Embrace, was equal parts thrilling and a satisfying sequel in the Violet Eden series. In Entice, Violet and her friends dive deeper into the idea of the Grigori, unmasking what Violet's destiny is, and just what it takes to get there.
As I was beginning Entice, I was honestly clueless. I had completely forgotten half of what had happened in Embrace so I was left scratching my head over the names and the terms. The only thing I did remember was the fact that Violet and Lincoln are friends. I wish that Jessica had recapped a little more about what had happened in Embrace but it's mainly my fault for forgetting most of the storyline in Embrace after reading it so long ago.
However, on the positive side, I love the romance that held strong in Entice. I love how Lincoln cares so much for Violet and he wants to protect her even if it means putting himself into danger. The romance between Violet and Lincoln is so electrifying that I could keep reading the Violet Eden just for the romance. Of course, there were also many more really fantastic qualities about Entice, but the this point kept me so engaged. The attraction between Violet and Lincoln felt so real and pure that I couldn't help but silently root for them. They had swoon-worthy moments, tender moments, and frustrating moments where I just wanted to push them together and tell them to kiss already.
Entice's idea is so ingenious it's impossible not to like it. There were so many different types of angels—dark and light angels, and then even more of a variety within those two categories—and so many more layers and "castes" of angels. I appreciate how Jessica took so much time and effort in researching the angels and incorporating so many ideas into her story without making it seem too full and overloaded.
Furthermore, her secondary characters were so rich and full of layers. The villains had me despising them and some had me pitying them. Not only were her main characters really complex and dynamic, Jessica made sure to carry that same admirable quality into her supporting characters. The roles they played in the story were so major and none of Entice's characters were there because they needed to be.
One thing that was also a turn-off was the fact that Violet seemed to be that "special" case who had some epic destiny. This happens a lot in YA books, because usually you have nothing to write about otherwise. Of course, revealing what her talents would be spoilery, so I've made up random examples. Violet was not only The Best Baker That's Ever Lived, but she's also The Only Person in the World Who Can Bake This Super Hard Recipe Right. Okay, those are pretty lame cover-ups but you get my point.
Overall, Entice was enthralling, adventurous, and although I had a few bones to pick with it, it was most definitely worth the read.
Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend by Louise Rozett is just as beautiful as the first book, if not more, and it did not fail to catch my breath. It's become one of my favorite young adult books, even.
The thing that managed to get me every single time is how well I could relate to Rose. I didn't understand how Louise could create such a compelling teenage character, but I got her like no other. Rose was confused and lost, like many teenagers are. I can say without a minute's hesitation that sometimes I hate looking at myself in the mirror, that sometimes I wish I could look like someone else, that sometimes I wish I was prettier and better for the sake of the person I'm talking to. Rose underwent those same exact feelings, which was what made her such a real character. She had insecurities, and she doubted herself, and she was utterly furious at her parents. What teen has never thought that before?
Furthermore, Rose discovered a passion for singing that ultimately helped her cope and grieve for the death of her father eighteen months ago. Not only do I love any character by default who shares a passion for singing, but it added so much to the story. It created a channel by which to drive her emotion through, and how much my thoughts pertaining to singing parallelled hers amazed me. Through her singing, she grew and evolved, from a freshman who was unsure of her life to a beautiful girl who grew to learn what she needed to heal and how to get it. I loved seeing this new side of Rose, where she wasn't as lost and confused anymore.
Rose was more different than me in ways that made me look up to her as a role model. She had this amazing heart that wanted to help everybody around her, even if she was afraid. I couldn't help but admire how she stood up for herself and those around her whom she cared for—while she was afraid of what everyone else thought at first, she broke through and was a hero by the end. She was inspiring just by the way that she looked at life. Even though she was insecure, she got over it, and she found something beautiful in herself along the way. I knew that I'd formed more than just a character-reader bond with Rose upon completion of Confessions of an Angry-Girl; I felt as if she was my close friend.
Jamie. Jamie. Jamie. Jamie. Jamie Forta. Can I discuss Jamie for another, like, three paragraphs? Holy balls I loved him so hard! If I didn't love Rose and Jamie as a couple more, I would throw myself into the book and take him. Actually, I would still jump into the book, and then promptly grab him, clone a perfect copy of him, and take the perfect copy back with me. (He would learn to love me, but totally not in that really creepy kidnapper way.) Jamie was protective of Rose, Regina, and Regina's brother in a manner that can be related to a mama bear (only infinitely times hotter). He was loyal, caring, and utterly romantic. If I wasn't repeatedly swooning over him, I was wishing he would come into the picture because I NEEDED TO SWOON OVER HIM OKAY.
However, Confessions of an Angry-Girlfriend wasn't just about the romance and Rose's magnificent character development. The romance was a subplot, the character development was a giant portion, but it was the plot that delivered and triggered my undying love. It was full of angst and drama, which I ate up. The plot was the medium to which the character arcs and the romance traveled on just like any mechanical wave. The plot gripped me, and I couldn't stop thinking constantly about how amazing the plot was laid out for us to enjoy.
I even had a book hangover right after finishing.
The poignant and realistic voice of Rose Zarelli will appeal to teens across the board, and they'll look up to her as an inspiration, thanks to her drive and kind heart. With an addictive plot, electrifying romance, and beautiful writing, Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend by Louise Rozett is perfect for any teen who's trying to find his or her way in life.(less)
Don't let this cover fool you. While it may seem lackluster and commonplace, just another indie author's novel, that is definitely not the case. For Ever is a paranormal romance, it's not a historical fiction, it's not nonfiction, it's not whatever the cover screams in your mind; it's a paranormal romance, and a pretty good one at that. It is a little Twilight-esque in some areas of the novel, although I enjoyed For Ever way more than I ever did Twilight. Seriously. Way more.
I really did like Wren when I first met her. She's not a very strong character, but she isn't whiny. Although she relies a lot on Ever's help throughout For Ever, Wren was still loyal and dedicated to her friends and family. Near the ending of For Ever, Wren was faced with a gut-wrenching choice and she ended up making a really honorable choice to protect her friends. I mean, every human is selfish, we all want to live, but Wren is a loyal, devoted character and she stayed that way throughout most of the novel. However, Wren did get to me sometimes. It seemed that she was in love with Ever only because of his rakishly good looks, but what about what was on the inside? There wasn't much substance in their romance which kind of turned me off.
The plot of For Ever was definitely intriguing. For Ever was more of a romance, and then a paranormal novel rather than a paranormal romance. If you appreciate there being a dominant quality of romance in a paranormal novel, then I will be the first to recommend For Ever to you. The novel was more about the fact that Wren and Ever were falling in love rather than Wren's ability to read minds and Ever's. However, as a romance junkie, I did love the romantic element to it and I thought it was a nice touch and I really enjoyed that aspect of For Ever. If you aren't a big fan of a dominant romantic quality in a novel, I would pass on For Ever, but if you do like that, then For Ever would definitely be recommended to you.
I ate up For Ever. The way that For Ever is laid out made it extremely easy for me to just sit back and absorb it. I didn't have to read, I could easily absorb the story and I didn't have to provide any effort to read For Ever. The writing was extremely well done and the pages just flew by for me. I was on page 10, but then I looked up and saw that hours had gone by and I was almost done with it. The writing flowed smoothly and didn't trip me up and jerk me around like some novels' writing style do.
With well-developed main characters, a smooth writing style, and plenty of romance, For Ever will come highly recommended by many readers.
As a person who hears "historical fiction" and runs in the other direction, I was really reluctant to read My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century (from now on it will be dubbed Super Sweet for convenience purposes. And yes, I am really that lazy). But Super Sweet wasn't your typical historical fiction. It involved time travel, which, come on guys, we all know time travel is epic. And not to mention, Rachel is one of my author friends and she's super funny and managed to carry that into her novel. She also managed to keep the pace moving so I wasn't yawning at all...except when I looked over and saw how late it was. (Shh, my parents don't know about that!)
At first, Cat Crawford was the daughter of two Hollywood icons, now divorced, and one with plans to marry someone new. Personally, I found her pretty relatable. I mean, we've all had that period in our lives when we're rebelling against what our parents want us to do. Cat was a real character and you kind of wanted to sympathize with her all the time. She was loyal, and she really did care about other people's well beings. She wasn't on of those characters who were extremely selfish and just threw everything away for their own needs. Which, thank goodness, is fantastic because I needed a break from selfish characters.
Lorenzo. He gets his own paragraph. He should get his own post. Lorenzo was sweet, hot, smart, hot, an artist, hot, and he's from the Renaissance period! You don't get more swoon-worthy than that. Did I mention he was hot? Also, he's a major part in Super Sweet. He influenced a lot of decisions Cat made, and in the end, I was heartbroken over the ending. But, I'll slowly recover. Kind of. Eventually. So there may be a gaping hole in my heart over the ending of Super Sweet (don't worry, I'm blowing it way out of proportions, but nonetheless it still chipped part of my soul). He had my heart pounding and I even have a Lorenzo trading card which I will keep and hoard forever. Nobody gets my Lorenzo trading card. Nobody.
Also, the plot of My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century moved so quickly and the setting was painted so vividly. I felt like I had been transported into the Renaissance and the setting picked me up and let me experience a new place. I would never visit Italy in my life because I wouldn't survive the plane ride (airsickness...8 hours. I lost my lunch 5 times on the way there and back. NOT fun) but I felt like I did get to visit Italy by the time I finished Super Sweet. I could feel myself walking down the cobblestone streets with Cat.
From determined characters to a real-life visit to the Renaissance era, My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century will sweep you off your feet with a swoon-worthy romance, fluid writing, and a beautifully painted setting.
If you're a fan of siren stories, you will love Valkyrie Rising. I was kept up into the wee hours of the morning on a school night frantically turning...moreIf you're a fan of siren stories, you will love Valkyrie Rising. I was kept up into the wee hours of the morning on a school night frantically turning the pages of this gripping story. The humor, strength, and mystery of these characters completely drew me in and left me wanting more and more every time.
The highlight of Valkyrie Rising was the characters and how involved every one of them was in the plot. One of my favorite characters, hands down, was Tuck. He was so snarky and funny that his character lightened up the entire plot of this book. Every time he cracked a joke, I was laughing and wanting more of him. He could make the direst of situations into something so hilarious it was hard not to crack a smile while reading. However, Tuck also had his secrets and had his moments where he was serious. Tuck wasn't a court jester but he wasn't so severe his face was forever frozen in an unforgivable scowl. I really liked how his mood shifted from time to time, giving us multiple sides of him and surprising us with how complex his character really was beneath the humor.
Focusing on the supporting characters, they also proved to be vital to the plot of Valkyrie Rising. Ellie, our main character, was driven by all of the supporting characters, ranging from her brother to the girl next door who has it out for her. Without their precision and flawless execution, the story would not have been as entertaining.
Also, Valkyrie Rising brought the setting to a foreign place, putting us into the country of Norway. If you appreciate novels being set in exotic countries, then Valkyrie Rising is the book for you. Of course, the setting wasn't elaborated on extensively like you might find in a dystopian novel, but I did get the vibe that I wasn't in Kansas anymore, which was a definite plus.
The only thing I have to pick with Valkyrie Rising was the fact that it dragged at parts. Most of the plot included the characters talking amongst themselves and planning what their next move would be, rather than actually acting. I would have liked Ellie to be a little more spontaneous, rather than all her moves charted out for her, where all she had to do was follow through with the extremely detailed step-by-step process we got to read through earlier. I do appreciate the fact that most of the characters weren't reckless, but I would have liked more spontaneity.
Fun, teeming with romantic tension, and full of suspense and intrigue, Valkyrie Rising will inevitably leave you with a desire to continue this series. Fans of Amanda Hocking's Watersong series will love this new series, as will anybody who enjoys reading mythology books.