Friendships, Family, Food & Diversity | The Inexplicable Logic of My Life REVIEW

Hello and happy slightly-belated book birthday to this novel! I hope you’re all doing well. ❤ I wanted to have this review up yesterday when it was released, but unfortunately, life got in the way.

But anyway! It’s been a long time since I read something like this book. It was a really nice read. I finished it pretty quickly, as well, considering the fact that it had a very slow paced plot. But, despite the plot, what I loved most was the characters and how it focused on them. That was what made this book so wonderful to read. Although, the general consensus around this book according to other bloggers is that Aristotle and Dante was better–I can’t vouch for this, personally, as I have never read it, but if you have read Aristotle and Dante and loved it, your best bet is probably to go into this one with lowered expectations. Let’s just get into the full review, shall we?

Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC thanks to Netgalley for review purposes! ❤ All opinions are my own. Oh, and all quotes mentioned are retrieved from the ARC, and may be changed in the final copy. Just a sidenote! 

the-inexplicable-logic-of-my-lifeThe Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Publication Date: March 7th 2017
Publisher: Clarion Books
Genre(s): Contemporary, Young-Adult
Series Status: N/A–Stand Alone
Page Count: 464
Source & Format: Netgalley eARC

Synopsis from Goodreads:

From the multi-award-winning author of Aristotle and Dante Discover, the Secrets of the Universe comes a gorgeous new story about love, identity, and families lost and found.

Sal used to know his place with his adoptive gay father, their loving Mexican-American family, and his best friend, Samantha. But it’s senior year, and suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and realizing he no longer knows himself. If Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?

This humor-infused, warmly humane look at universal questions of belonging is a triumph.

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There were actually multiple mentions of food and TACOS in this book as well… Aka I am very hungry right now.

Features an AMAZING fictional father

“He said, ‘Every time I look into your blue eyes. Every time I hear you laugh. Every day, when I hear your voice, I thank God for you. Yeah, Salvador, I believe in God.'”  

I’m not exaggerating when I say that Sal’s father, Vicente Silva, is one of the best fictional fathers I have ever seen. He was an amazing father who had such a deep bond with not only his son, but everyone around him, and that was so beautiful. He was there for Sal the whole time, for Sal’s best friend Sam, for their new friend Fito. He was there for each and every single one of them, offering them comfort and discipline. And love, my god, so much love. My heart hurts from how much I loved his love for everyone. He shows strength, in who he is, who he believes, what he does, in everything he does but still had fears and uncertainty just like every person. His and Sal’s and his and Sam’s moments were truly amazing, along with pretty much everyone else he met. I’m not exaggerating at all when I say he truly is a notable father–and a notable person–that deserves all the recognition it can get. Because fathers like these, in novels? A rare gem. 

“I happen to be gay. I don’t think that makes me a faggot. I’m also a Mexican American. I don’t think that makes me a taco bender. I don’t think that makes a beaner. I don’t think that makes me a spic. And I don’t think that makes me an illegal.” 

CAN SOMEONE GIVE THIS MAN AN AWARD PLEASE?

No romance, but lots of love.

Apologies to all romance lovers out there! No romance in this one, but that was one of its strong points. I’ve already mentioned before having more books with little to no romance and well, here’s this one! I think it’s really great what the author did here; not all teens find their soulmates in high school (ahem. Example: me), and focusing on aspects like love for family and friends, made this book refreshing and incredibly heartwarming. There was no shortage in love though; what this book lacked in romance, it more than made up for it with its focus on the love between Vicente and Sal, Sal and Mima, Sal and Sam’s platonic and wonderful friendship, Sal & Sam and Maggie, the dog, Sal, Sam and Fito, Sal and his uncle, and the list goes on and on. The family dynamics in Sal’s family was so beautiful, and I can not express how much I adored them. Family is SO important, and I loved the emphasis on that in this book. 

Speaking of non-romantic relationships; the friends in this book are actually #goals. Individually, my feelings on them vary, but Sal, Sam, and later Fito have such an adorable and supportive friendship that I adored. Sam and Sal’s friendship particularly stuck out to me; in them, I saw elements and phrases that I could either relate to with my own friends or just that I loved reading. And! They. Only. Stay. Friends!! NO I’M NOT JOKING. Yes, I’ve come to answer your prayers. Jk, but I’m a strong advocate for more female-male friendships, and this book featured one of the best ones I’ve read in a long time. Sam and Sal were so supportive of each other, so close and loving it made my heart hurt. Each of them had their own demons to battle, but they each had each other (among other people, of course) to push them to do so.

Sometimes family and friends are one of the best and biggest forms of love, and I loved how this book focused on those aspects of life. 

Other tasty aspects…

  • THE FOOD. This is the only one that actually makes sense in relation to the above statement. There were much tacos and tortillas and enchiladas and…. now I’m hungry. Help.
  • I didn’t get to mention my love for Fito!! Because I did love him. SO MUCH. He was so precious and did not deserve 90% of the things that happened to him. Probably one of my top favorite characters in this one, despite the fact that he isn’t exactly a main character until about halfway or something through the book.
  • Oh, I also should probably mention Sal, the main character! I did like him as well, he was SO sweet, and I loved the love he had for his family and Sam, and Fito. His relationship with his Mima was very nice as well, along with him and his father. ❤ Though, I did get exasperated with his anger-related issues at several points, it was okay.
  • Beautiful writing! It was simple but lyrical and it was lovely to read. I wouldn’t say I flew through the book because of it, but it did seem to make things seem less long, I think. Or maybe that was just me. Though, I will say, it’s kind of repetitive and the sentences can be pretty choppy. I don’t think this bothered me that much, but I know it can be a pet peeve for others aha.
  • I adored the diversity!! The book is filled with POC and queer characters, which I loved! Sal is white, but his adoptive father is Mexican, and Sal basically identifies as a Mexican and that was so precious.
I’m trying to make the headers a bit more related to my blog title!! I TRIED, OKAY. 😛
  •  Okay, so I mentioned I loved Sal and Sam’s friendship?? And I did, it was amazing. But Sam herself… eh, not as much. Sam’s development is great, however, I felt like her character the majority of the time tried too hard to not be like ‘other girls’. And that was annoying, because she ended up being a character who had no female friendships, instead calling them bitches, etc. *sad face* It was quite frustrating, really, because I really did want to enjoy her character more (she kind of shows up the entire novel, so like…)–and she had so much potential but… *sigh*
  • Things were too… similar for all three of the teens. Specifically in the mom department, which seemed all too… I don’t know. Unrealistic? Unlikely? I mean, I suppose it is possible but it seemed all too convenient and more of a plot device to have the characters have something in common that I could not 100% buy. #Justamethingprobabaly
  • Another thing that makes me quite.. conflicted, is the stereotypical and offensive statements in the novel. Things like “For a gay guy, my dad was pretty straight.” or “One thing about Sam was that she didn’t throw like a girl*.” and several other phrases. I just found them so unnecessary? Perhaps it was to show the naivety of the main character or something, I don’t know, but whatever the case may be, you could take those out and it would change nothing of the story, characters, theme, whatever. Nothing. It was just so unnecessary. 
    *Why is this still a thing?? Albeit in a fictional novel, but like still?
  • NO PLOT. And I know, it’s a character-driven novel, which is great, but like, 400+ pages is a lot to go through with a slow-paced plot. I do think you should be prepared for that, or else you’re going to be quite bored and disappointed with the plot. I mean, you might still be bored with the plot, but still, it’s not terrible, just it might be easier if you’re prepared with that info, haha.

Overall…

An enjoyable read! I really did like it, problems aside. Though from what I’ve seen, this is a lot of a hit-or-miss situation, most reviews I’ve seen have either given this book 4 stars, or 2. So. A lot of people have also expressed how this book does not live up to Aristotle and Dante, so if you have read that book, just a heads up! For me, personally, I have not yet read Ari and Dante, and I think that helped a bit if only to have more reasonable expectations aha. As a recap: I loved the focus on non-romantic love such as friends and family, the diversity, the FOOD of course, and especially Sal’s father. It truly was wonderful to read about that. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Sam’s, and there were phrases that were totally unnecessary, but overall, I do think it’s worth a read if you enjoy family dynamics, and character-driven novels. 


Wow, that was a long review! I tried out a slightly different format for my review today and I think it caused me to revert back to my rambling review days…

But tell me! What do you think of this novel? Have you read Ari and Dante yet? Did you like it? If you haven’t read it, tell me so I don’t feel so alone haha. 😛 What are your thoughts on problematic phrases in books? Any other books you know of with strong family dynamics and/or friendship and diversity? Do you plan on reading this book? Let me know in the comments, don’t let my frantic 2AM typing go in vain aha. Hope you have a lovely day! ❤

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My Kind of Crazy by Robin Reul | ARC Book Review

This book drove me crazy. (Get it? Drove me crazy? Okay I’ll stop.) But seriously. I had many conflicting emotions on this one, to be honest, but at the end of the day I went home happy and satisfied! So. That’s good. I won’t be raging and setting things on fire anytime soon, at least. And there were, in fact, many good things about this novel! A book focusing on themes of family, relationships, trust and the effects life can have on us, this debut is definitely one I don’t regret picking up. But let’s go into more detail, shall we?

My Kind of CrazyMy Kind of Crazy by Robin Reul

3 Stars

Publication Date: April 5th 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, Young-Adult
Series Status: N/A—Stand-Alone
Page Count: 336 (in paperback)
Source & Format: Publisher via Netgalley, ebook
Critical Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Despite the best of intentions, seventeen-year old, wisecracking Hank Kirby can’t quite seem to catch a break. It’s not that he means to screw things up all the time, it just happens. A lot. Case in point: his attempt to ask out the girl he likes literally goes up in flames when he spells “Prom” in sparklers on her lawn…and nearly burns down her house.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Peyton Breedlove, a brooding loner and budding pyromaniac, witnesses the whole thing. Much to Hank’s dismay, Peyton takes an interest in him—and his “work.” The two are thrust into an unusual friendship, but their boundaries are tested when Hank learns that Peyton is hiding some dark secrets, secrets that may change everything he thought he knew about Peyton.

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I’m gonna take the more fitting and more convenient route for this review and give you guys a list of things that I liked, and the things that drove me crazy.. or the things I disliked. (Come on, you knew I couldn’t pass that up!) You’re welcome. Thank you Sourcebooks Fire and Netgalley for the review copy!

My Kind of Crazy book review

What I Liked

  • Can I just say I kind of love Hank? I felt so bad for him and his situation at home, the fact that he has to cope with his usually drunk father who makes it clear he doesn’t care about him. His portrayal was just so heartfelt to me and it was so easy to sympathize and root for him–even when he doesn’t make the best of choices. Hey, it’s only a matter of being human, right? I couldn’t really fault him for that.
  • The theme of broken families was clearly running for this book! And as unfortunate as it was for the characters having to deal with such bad home lives, I really appreciated the insight this offered. Both Hank and Peyton had to deal with not-the-best home lives, and throughout the story we saw as to how much this affected their daily lives and their characters–which I really loved.
  • YES for humour! This book, whatever else it may be, was fun to read. Despite the tones of seriousness and the parts of deep messages, this book had several bouts of humour and its overall style was very conversational and relaxed, which I liked. The dialogue was relatively witty, and the characters too, made it lots of fun.
  • My Kind of Crazy turned out to be a refreshing contemporary with familiar elements, which I liked well enough! It wasn’t something I’d be able to say I read before, but there were definitely parts to it which I recognize from other books. I still really liked the execution of the story as well as the messages it promoted!

What I Disliked

  • I had lots of ups and downs moments with Peyton. And seeing how she’s one of the main characters, well, the down moments didn’t exactly help with the enjoyment factor. One of the things that bothered me was her attitude and personality. While I found her character intriguing enough, I was put off by the various times she just didn’t seem like a 17/18 year-old. She just seemed so much younger and although I’m usually pretty good with dealing with that kind of thing, it was just so bothersome in this novel. :/ Though, at least in the end I was still able to care about her, even a little.
  • As much as I loved Hank for his realistic characteristics and everything, I must admit it kind of drove me nuts when he was being so blind to the things that were so obvious. Now, this is totally subjective and really no one is at fault here, but having characters constantly be blind to the things that are so blatantly evident gets tiring after a while. Sorry, Hank, that wasn’t the best. I still like you, though. XD
  • Despite the easy to read and enjoyable writing featured in this book, I found the pacing of the story to be.. kind of off? It was very hard to follow sometimes, in my opinion. Sometimes it felt really fast, other times really slow… it just threw me off, I guess.

Overall…

My Kind of Crazy was in no way a bad read! It was easy to get through, and was an enjoyable experience. I really did enjoy the messages and themes it represented, as well as most of the characters–especially Hank. I was really able to get behind him as a protagonist and rooted for him; he was so relatable and I found him to be very realisitc. So yay! On the other hand, I wasn’t the biggest fan of his love interest, Peyton, all the time. In the end, she was fine, but I didn’t exactly love her, which made the enjoyment factor go down a bit for me. Despite that, I strongly believe My Kind of Crazy is a great fit for people looking for humorous contemporaries with great messages and heartfelt characters. It’s a fun read and I definitely recommend if you’re a fan of contemporaries! My Kind of Crazy released 6 days ago, on April 5th, 2016. Go pick it up if you’re interested! 🙂


Alright, so that’s it for this review! It’s been such a long time since I wrote one, lol. Hopefully it will be followed by more! I’m currently still recovering from the amazing novel, The Sky is Everywhere which I started and finished today. Hopefully I’ll be able to make out some coherent thoughts on it! But anyway. Tell me your thoughts on this book! Would you like to read it? What humorous contemporaries have you read? Feel free to leave any and all thoughts below!

Hope you’re all enjoying your Monday! ❤

Until the Next Meal, Analee

You Were Here by Cori McCarthy | ARC Book Review

Okay, so.. basically my immediate thought is that this cover deserves 5 STARS?! Just look at it. I wouldn’t mind having this on my shelf, you know. Just sayin’.

But lucky for me—and you, if you’re as swayed by the cover as I am—this book doesn’t just look pretty! Despite the difficulties I had at first to get into it, this book absolutely blew me away with its realistic, and complex characters, through various mediums of writing included, and its simple but truly entertaining storyline. Here’s what this book is all about:

You Were HereYou Were Here by Cori McCarthy

Publication Date: March 1st 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre(s): Contemporary, Young-Adult
Series Status: N/A—Stand-Alone
Page Count: 267
Source & Format: Publisher via Netgalley, ebook
Critical Rating: 4 stars (Really Good)

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Cori McCarthy delivers an emotionally taut page-turner from multiple points of view – combined with stunning illustrations.

Jaycee is about to accomplish what her older brother Jake couldn’t: live past graduation.

Jaycee is dealing with her brother’s death the only way she can – by re-creating Jake’s daredevil stunts. The ones that got him killed. She’s not crazy, okay? She just doesn’t have a whole lot of respect for staying alive.

Jaycee doesn’t expect to have help on her insane quest to remember Jake. But she’s joined by a group of unlikely friends – all with their own reasons for completing the dares and their own brand of dysfunction: the uptight, ex-best friend, the heartbroken poet, the slacker with Peter Pan syndrome, and… Mik. He doesn’t talk, but somehow still challenges Jayce to do the unthinkable-reveal the parts of herself that she buried with her brother.

Cori McCarthy’s gripping narrative defies expectation, moving seamlessly from prose to graphic novel panels and word art poetry, perfect for fans of E. Lockhart, Jennier Niven, and Jandy Nelson. From the petrifying ruins of an insane asylum to the skeletal remains of the world’s largest amusement park, You Were Here takes you on an unforgettable journey of friendship, heartbreak and inevitable change.

“You Were Here is wrenchingly beautiful in its honest and achingly accurate portrayal of grief and how it breaks us-and the way unconditional friendship puts us back together.”-Jo Knowles, award-winning author of See You At Harry’s and Read Between the Lines

“The urban explorers of You Were Here dive deep into the forgotten man-made spaces all around them—and their own feelings of loss, love, and fear. McCarthy deftly intertwines the characters’ stories, filling them with authentic pain and heartache as well as soaring moments of grace and humor. I dare you to read it!” —Maggie Lehrman, author of The Cost of All Things

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Ahhh, so much to say here! I’ll be writing out this review in list form, between the things I loved and the things that I didn’t love so much. No spoilers, as usual, but if you’d rather just have the more vague and simple version of how I felt on this book, the ‘overall’ part would be good for you. Thanks to Sourcebooks Fire and Netgalley for the review copy!

You Were Here book review

Things I Loved

  • Omg so many amazing 3-dimensional characters. I LOVED THEM. Gah. At first it took me a while to warm up to them?? (You know me, I can be an incredibly paranoid-of-disappointment and unemotional chocolate bar at times. I know, I know, I’m working on it.) But anyway, I loved them all by the end of it—some more than others. We get all their POVs in this book (though two out of five of them aren’t exactly in the most conventional way). Because I’m a very helpful minion, here’s a little rundown of what I loved of each of the main(ish) characters.
    • Jaycee: The protagonist of the novel, Jaycee was a blunt, reckless, flawed and oh-so-imperfectly perfect character! There were so many times where I went shaking my head and crying out in exasperation at her thoughts and actions, yet I found myself really emotionally drawn to her throughout the story.
    • Natalie: Jaycee’s former best friend, Natalie wasn’t that much of a big deal to me at first. She just seemed like a super bossy and uptight teen that I didn’t care that much about. But as I read more of the story, she developed so much more and she proved to be a strong and well-written character.
    • Jake: Like Natalie, I didn’t think much of him at first. He seemed kind of like the comic relief, and nothing else? But he too, went through so much development! As I continued to read the story, I saw more of who he truly was, layers that I was able to keep peeling away, which was AWESOME.
    • Bishop: The thing with Bishop, is that while we get his POV, it’s different because it’s not exactly his thoughts we see, as text. Bishop is a fan of graffiti, and throughout the book we get several of the things he graffiti-ed. The idea as a whole was great, but I didn’t get as much of a grasp on his character.
    • Mik(ivikious): Okay, so first of all: I LOVE THE NAME. (It’s a nickname, off his last name.) And I really did enjoy his character, so yay! His perspective was drawn out as comic strips (which was fabulous), though his character was revealed more through the plot and the other characters.
  • The multiple POVs in this book were so absolutely delightful to read. As I mentioned, we get the perspectives of all the above characters, though Bishop and Mik’s POVs were not like the others. Jaycee’s perspective was the only one in first person; Natalie’s and Jake’s were in third person. I absolutely loved how it all played out! Everything transitioned so perfectly and the multiple POVs weren’t confusing and instead helped give insight on the many characters of this book.
  • This book had so many amazing themes. Like, seriously. From grief to friendships to change and familial relationships, You Were Here handled it all seamlessly and it was so great to read about such lovely themes. I especially liked:
    • Jaycee and Natalie’s friendship. At the start of the book, they’ve drifted apart to the point where they hardly speak, but through the events of the novel, their bond and the way they interact as they become a part of eachother’s lives was so great to read about.
    • And so many other great themes! Sorry I’m lazy.
  • The descriptions. Many (if not all) of the places the characters visited in this book are actually real places, I’ve found, and it was so cool to have such a clear picture of said place as I read the book. And yes, afterwards I did search up some of the places. Ahhh my wanderlust kicked in there! Though seriously, it was super cool.
  • Ummmm I feel like I’m missing something, ugh. I dunno. But these were definitely the high points!

Things That Disappointed Me

  • At times I felt as if the whole theme of the book kind of distracted by the romance? Yet the romance wasn’t the focus either. And it was still a good experience? But maybe it could’ve better if the romance part wasn’t the total focus. Maybe? Possibly? Soooo. Confusion ensues here.
  • Despite all the awesome-sauce feelings I had while reading this book, I find myself unable to get a clear, memorable picture of it in my head, despite having read it only a few months ago? I dunno. Maybe it’s a ME problem, and not the book, but.. I feel like I should be able to remember it more fondly and more clearly than I do right now?? Interpret that as you wish, lol, I know that made no sense.

Overall…

Entertainment-wise, this book is absolutely fabulous! Although it took me a while to warm up to it and finish it, as I went further into the novel I was hooked and it was only due to lack of time that I didn’t finish it sooner. And from a critical aspect, not so shabby either! Great characters, engaging writing, and a good plot that kept me interested throughout the story. I’m glad I continued on with this book despite my first impressions! This book is way more than just a pretty cover, I assure you. You Were Here releases tomorrow, March 1st! Be sure to keep your eye out for it if you haven’t already. 🙂


Aaaaand, I think that’s a wrap! Tell me your thoughts; what do you think of this book? What are some of your favourite books you’ve encountered with great characters? YA books with illustrations? Are you a fan of multiple POV books? Do you plan on reading this book?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! ❤ Happy reading! I hope your Monday isn’t too terrible. LOL.

Until the Next Meal, Analee

Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn | ARC Book Review

Forget TomorrowForget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn

4 stars

Publication Date: November 3rd 2015
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Genre(s): Sci-fi, Dystopia, Young-Adult
Series Status: Forget Tomorrow Series #1
Page Count: 400
Source & Format: Publisher via Netgalley, ebook

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Imagine a world where your destiny has already been decided…by your future self.

It’s Callie’s seventeenth birthday and, like everyone else, she’s eagerly awaiting her vision―a memory sent back in time to sculpt each citizen into the person they’re meant to be. A world-class swimmer. A renowned scientist.

Or in Callie’s case, a criminal.

In her vision, she sees herself murdering her gifted younger sister. Before she can process what it means, Callie is arrested and placed in Limbo―a hellish prison for those destined to break the law. With the help of her childhood crush, Logan, a boy she hasn’t spoken to in five years, she escapes.

But on the run from her future, as well as the government, Callie sets in motion a chain of events that she hopes will change her fate. If not, she must figure out how to protect her sister from the biggest threat of all—Callie, herself.

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Hey everyone! In case you didn’t catch it from the title, today I’m going to be sharing my thoughts on Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn! (Thank you Netgalley and Entangled Teen for sending me this e-ARC for review! Please note: All quotes mentioned in this review are from the uncorrected proof and may be changed in the final copy—which was released 2 days ago, by the way.)

In a nutshell; a dystopian and sci-fi novel set in a futuristic world, Forget Tomorrow shares refreshing ideas with characters I found to be engaging and relatively realistic. If you’re looking for a unique YA dystopian novel, or a well-written novel from a debut author, I recommend giving Forget Tomorrow a shot!

Plot

In Forget Tomorrow, we are introduced to a world where the future of every citizen is dependent on their future memory that they receive when they’re 17. In most cases citizens are fortunate to see themselves in the career they’re interested in, etc. But then there are the cases where the future memory shows them committing a crime, and as a result, they are locked up. For me, personally, I really liked this concept, as not only was it a pretty unique idea in itself, the plot allowed for several intriguing issues to be addressed and Dunn made it so that the story line was gripping and generally memorable. I’m going to mention here though that I’ve read from several other reviewers that this book was very similar to Minority Report, and that if you have watched MR, Forget Tomorrow might not have as much of an impact on you. Having said that, for me, the plot of this novel was definitely one of the things I liked a lot.

As a side note, Dunn also wastes no time in introducing readers to the characters and her world, and that was refreshing. I mean, the first few pages are pretty normal, but it doesn’t take long for the story to really get going, and you all probably know by now that I often enjoy books that don’t take too long with intros. (Not that I dislike any books that do.)  Right about 30 pages in I was already hooked and put in a heart-thumping scene which kick-started emotional investment in the story. And the cliffhanger at the end! I definitely can’t wait to read the sequel to this book.

Characters

Although I wasn’t a huge fan of the character right away, I must praise Dunn’s creation of Callie. I didn’t have much hope for her at first, but as I read more of the novel, I saw how much more there is to Callie—and I loved it. She had flaws, she made mistakes, and most of all, her love for her sister is beautiful and strong.

If you’ve been around in the book blogging community for a while—or if you’re a reader at all—you probably have noticed the lack of parental bonds and familial affection in YA novels. Either it’s dead parents, kidnapped parents, absentee parent, whatever parent, the case remains the same; hardly ever any parents. It’s become actually quite rare to have parents that actually care and are aware of things going on. (But that’s a discussion for another day.) What really stood out to me in Forget Tomorrow was the emphasis and focus on a sibling bond. Parental bonds are rare, but to me sibling bonds are even rarer, and I absolutely adored how Dunn incorporated Callie’s love for Jessa as a focus point in the story. (Of course, there were other familial bonds included as well, which only made the story better.)

You are the candle that shines when all power is extinguished. The proof that love exists when life is snuffed out.
When all my layers are stripped away, when everything I know is turned inside out, all I have left is  this.

My love for you.

It’s the only thing they can’t touch.

-Callie, about Jessa

The thing is, the strength of love is often addressed in YA novels, but it’s so rare that we’re talking about the strength of a sibling love, a sisterly bond. Being an older sister myself, I’d do anything for my younger sister, and I’m so happy to finally see a representation of that in a YA novel. Callie’s love for her sister was so strong, I admired, empathized and rooted for Callie by the end of the novel, no matter what other issues I had with her character.

Another thing I found to be really well-done in Callie’s character was her personality, and her development. Callie had flaws—which is what made her a better character. She can be selfish, she’s fearful (of heights, swimming, etc.) but this made her all the more real and I was able to relate to her. Her selfish moments did sometimes get a bit cumbersome, but they were something I only registered, not exactly something I disliked. I definitely appreciated how Callie wasn’t ignorant of when she was being selfish; it was usually quite the contrary of that, actually.

Selfish, a voice inside me roars. Self-centered, inconsiderate, pathetic. The amount of my selfishness makes me dizzy with disgust, but I can’t help myself. Even as I loathe myself for trying, the words pour out of me, searching, reaching, grasping for another solution.

How honest and relatable, is it not?

So, moving on to Logan, Callie’s love interest. Although he’s a perfectly fine character and usually would be the split image of someone I’d love, I’m not completely sold on his and Callie’s romance—or his character at all. Really, there’s not anything glaringly wrong with Logan; it’s just my opinion that he felt a bit dull. Or something. A terrible way to describe it, I know. Bottom line; I didn’t enjoy him as much as Callie, though he was still okay. (LOL I’m feeling kind of guilty for this very short and unclear paragraph on Logan when I look back at all my thoughts on Callie…I hope I’m making at least a little bit of sense!) Unfortunately my thoughts on the other characters were similar to that of Logan’s—though that isn’t to say I’m not interested in learning more about them!

Writing Style

And last but not least, I want to mention how much I enjoyed simply reading the words in this novel. With its vivid imagery and simplistic-yet-not style, Pintip Dunn took me by surprise with the writing in Forget Tomorrow. Everything I read popped into my brain immediately, and it was a fun experience to simply read the writing because it was all so well-written. Dunn did a great job in first person narrative, getting Callie’s voice across through the words clearly and effectively, as well as thoroughly showing Callie’s internal struggle, which did loads to get me even closer to Callie’s character.

Overall…

If you’re looking for a more different kind of dystopian novel than the average ones out there, Forget Tomorrow should go up on your list! A book of many themes and messages—including sibling bonds, making your own destiny and finding who you really are—Forget Tomorrow will definitely leave a strong impression. An important thing that stuck out to me was the familial bonds in this, which aren’t shown enough in most books. The fact that it was represented in this novel made everything so much the better. The intriguing world Dunn has created is gripping and intriguing, both something I recognize and something completely new (though for some it may not be the case). Dunn’s writing is wonderfully suited for the story, creating vivid images and hooking the reader. A solid 4 stars read! Definitely going to be keeping my eyes out for the sequel next year.

A little wrap-up of everything I’ve said:

  • The futuristic world was hooking and intriguing
  • The cliffhanger at the end of the book has me eager to read the sequel
  • Callie’s love for her sister was beautifully portrayed; this sisterly bond is one of the main reasons I liked this book so much
  • Callie herself was a great character, with flaws (that she’s aware of)
  • I was a bit iffy about Logan (and a lot of the other characters who aren’t explained as much), though he’s not a bad character
  • The writing was incredibly beautiful and took me by surprise (in the good way) coming from a debut author.

So, the time has come for the verdict: Do I recommend you gobble this up? Definitely, if you’re looking for a good YA dystopian/sci-fi novel to read—or if any of the above points interests you!


Let us forget tomorrow and talk about this book today! (Don’t even know if that made any sense—truth be told I’m only focusing on the [admittedly pretty bad] pun. LOL.) Point being; I’d love to know what you think of this book! Does it intrigue you? What books have you read that includes familial bonds? (‘Cause I’m in desperate need of having more books with family. I’m serious, guys.) Let me know whatever thoughts you may have down below! ❤

Hugs! 

Until the Next Meal, Analee

Playing the Player by Lisa Brown Roberts | ARC Book Review (Blog Tour + Giveaway)

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Playing the PlayerPlaying the Player by Lisa Brown Roberts

4 stars =Really Good

Publication Date: September 14th 2015
Publisher: Entangled Crush
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance, Young-Adult
Series Status: N/A—Stand Alone
Page Count: 295
Source & Format: Publisher via Netgalley, ebook
Purchase: kindle | nook | ibooks | kobo

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The Good Girl Vs. The Player
Round one begins…

Trina Clemons needed the money. Why else would she – the most organized, prepared student in school – spend the summer as a nanny and partner with the biggest slacker ever? Now she’s ready to tackle nannyhood with her big binder of research and schedules. Just don’t ask her about the secret job of “fixing” the bad habits of a certain high school player…

Slade Edmunds prefers easy hook-ups, and Trina is definitely not his type. She’s all structure and rules, while Slade wants to just have fun. Fortunately, Trina has no idea about the bet Slade made with his best friend that he can totally get her to unwind by the end of summer…

Then the weirdest thing happens. There’s chemistry. A lot of it.
But nothing gets between a boy and a girl like a big, fat secret…

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Hello! Today I have a review on Playing the Player by Lisa Brown Roberts, as part of a blog tour hosted by YA Bound Book Tours (You can check out the rest of the schedule here). Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the review copy!

The first thing I’m going to say about this book is that simply put, I really enjoyed it! It’s a very fun read that will satisfy romance and contemporary lovers out there with the wonderful chemistry between the characters, and the well-done cliches, which, you have to admit, doesn’t always happen and can be pretty fun to read about! You can’t even deny it. 😉 I haven’t ever read anything else by Lisa Brown Roberts, but after this I definitely will!

Quick Summary

In Playing the Player we follow the story of Trina and Slade, both complete opposites. While Trina is about control and discipline, Slade is a easy-going player who treats life as a party. When they’re paired together to work as partners, neither of them know about the secrets the other is keeping. And it soon seems to be, that although both Trina and Slade are way out of their league, they both have lots of chemistry. But is it for the good? Or will it just blow up in their faces?

Plot

I will not deny it; this plot is pretty cliché, with the whole “Good girl falls for the bad-boy player” scheme and all. I’m sure most of you have seen that trope, since it’s almost everywhere. But one of things I loved about this book was the fact that the author took this trope and gave it a twist that fully worked for the story and really made it interesting to read about. Trina didn’t just help Slade, Slade helped Trina to grow as a person and loosen up. And I loved seeing that happen. The plot may have been cliched, but really, that only adds to an overall great story, since it was still enjoyable to read and artfully done.

Another thing I loved about the plot was the overall feel-good vibe to it. The story was perfectly executed to suit its audience with the right of amount of cuteness that made it the perfect summer read. Though the plot was pretty predictable, I still loved every minute of it!

Characters

Another thing I loved about this novel was the fact it was character-driven. I loved the characters, even with the little things I did have some problems with.

Take Trina, for example. I mostly loved her character, especially seeing her character develop throughout the novel. At the start, she’s very rigid about things, as well as vulnerable behind her armor, but by the end she’s much stronger and more relaxed. The chemistry between her and Slade is great, and I really liked watching her fall for Slade—slowly.

“I didn’t know what we were doing or what any of this meant. But I intended to follow it all the way through, because for the first time in forever, I felt fully alive.”

She’s also different than most characters I’ve read about, and I praise the author for creating a character like her. Not only did that make Trina stand out, it also made me more interested in her. I mean, it’s not often that I come across a character who handles things the way Trina does, and there was some wonderful characterization I saw in her that made her more than just a 2-dimensional figure.

“I hated it when I lost control, because I hardly ever did. My whole life was built on discipline and schedules and never making mistakes. I dreaded what would happen if I let down my guard, even for a day.”

I will admit though, that I would’ve liked it a bit more had there been a stronger reason behind Trina’s rigid attitude. I found out about the big reason behind her worrying tendencies and all that and I was kind of like, “Is that it?” But nonetheless, I loved Trina’s character.

Which brings me to Slade Edmunds, who I really liked (although he’s not without his faults). Of course, he is like one of those typical jock guys you see in contemporaries; the player who’s all for the long-legged Barbie-like ladies. You know what I mean. And despite the fact that I know I’ve seen it before, his character was still interesting. As we get his POV, we see more into how he thinks and that insight definitely proved to be useful since it helped get a deeper perspective into him. He was a really sweet guy and I loved seeing the banter between him and Trina, as well as the way he handled things with the kids.

One thing that wasn’t my favorite about him, was his tendency to comment on how attractive Trina is; noticing her cherry-red lips, her short hair, etc. I mean, this wasn’t a big deal, and I didn’t even notice or care at first, but after a few repetitions of him noticing something and then going like, “Wait, I’m not supposed to be thinking that,” it kind of lost its effect. But again, like my little issue with Trina, this wasn’t a huge deal for me.

And last but not least, I have to mention a few of the secondary characters I really liked! Gillian and Max, the kids Trina and Slade had to watch over, were hilarious and were lots of fun to read about. They were troublemakers for sure! I wasn’t a huge fan of the role the adults played in this, but that didn’t bother me that much since I was more focused on the story.

Writing Style

Lisa Brown Roberts was really able to nail writing in dual-perspective! There were hardly any moments I remember stumbling between chapters, trying to place who’s speaking, thank goodness! It just ruins the flow of reading, you know, when that happens. Both characters’ POVs were written in first person, and it was very well-done. The writing added just the right amount of fluffiness to the novel and really got the characters’ personalities through as well. It had a very conversational tone to it, which went well with the overall warm-fuzzies-and-cuteness feel to the story.

Overall…

This book is a solid 4 stars read that I definitely did not regret! A perfect summer read, this book will give you a  great combination of drama, chemistry between realistic characters, a romance to root for and a story that will have you smiling and turning the pages consistently. Trina and Slade are both characters you can’t help but end up loving despite their flaws-–and that’s what we all look for, right? The plot is pretty cliched and predictable, but if you’re looking for a cute and fluffy read, I recommend picking this one up asap! Seeing the banter between the characters, the development of both Slade and Trina, as well as Gillian and Max amping things up in the humour department, this book is perfect for the summer, or anytime you’re feeling down and need a little fluffy romance!

Have you read this book? Do you want to read this book? And while we’re at it, what are your thoughts on cliches-done-good? Let me know in the comments—and don’t forget to enter the giveaway below!

*I’d also love to know what you think of the slightly new set-up of my review; like it or do you prefer the other style? Feedback greatly appreciated! <3*

Mm, this one was good. Gobble it up!

Analee 4


lisa brown robertsAbout the Author

Lisa Brown Roberts still hasn’t recovered from the teenage trauma of nearly tweezing off both eyebrows and having to pencil them in for an entire school year. This and other angst-filled memories inspire her to write YA books about navigating life’s painful and funny dramas, and falling in love along the way. Her almost forever home is Colorado, though she occasionally pines for the days when she lived within walking distance of the Pacific Ocean. Her house is full of books, boys, several four-legged prima donnas, and lots of laughter.

Author Links
Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook


Giveaway – “Nanny Survival Kit” open to U.S. which will also include a signed copy of the book. If the winner is international, a $20 Amazon gift card will be substituted in place of the prize pack.
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The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling | Book Review

(Stand-Alone)

Published: June 12th 2015

Synopsis:

When Kat accidentally rips apart an old picture book, she’s magically transported into the world of Cinderella–as Katriona, one of the ugly stepsisters! Life turns upside down now that she’s a highborn lady and must learn how to survive the social season, including how to get through the door in a huge metal hoop skirt. To get back, she’ll have to complete the story, right to the end of happily ever after. But the odds are huge: the other stepsister is drop-dead gorgeous, the fairy godmother is nowhere to be found, and the prince, despite being insanely hot, openly dislikes balls. Can she ever return to the modern world?


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My Rating: 4.5 Stars 4.5/5 (Amazing)

Book Information

Genre(s): Young-adult, fantasy, fairytale retelling

Page Count: 452

Format: e-book


Note: I received a free digital copy of this book thanks to Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Hello everyone! Today I have for you a review on The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling, an awesome Cinderella fairytale retelling. It is honestly one of the best and one of the most unique retellings I have ever read, and I loved it. After all those fairytale retellings out there, you’d think that there aren’t many new ideas out there, but this book definitely throws those notions out of the water.

Quick Summary

Kat is your resident bookworm who loves to read (obviously). One day, while cleaning her attic, she accidentally rips an old Cinderella fairytale book and is transported inside the story, where she is told that she is required to complete the story in order to get back home. Thing is, Kat isn’t Cinderella. Nope, she’s the ugly stepsister, named Katriona Bradshaw. She must get the prince to fall in love with Cinderella… but problems arise when she starts to fall in love with the prince herself.

Plot

Ahh this plot was simply wonderful! It was full of twists and turns that I loved and couldn’t get enough of. The pacing was fast, and I loved how everything fit together so nicely. There was the main plot (Kat trying to get the prince and Cinderella together so she could go home to where she belongs) and then there were various subplots, other things that happened along the way that made the storyline even stronger. The plot of the novel is just so unique in itself, it was double the fun in reading the book and trying to guess at what might happen.

The only thing I have to say is that I wasn’t the biggest fan of the ending. I totally understood why the author had to make it that way, but I couldn’t—still can’t—fully accept it. That being said, it’s a pretty bitter-sweet kind of ending and not exactly what I was hoping for, but the rest of the story still makes it worth reading. The journey more than the destination, you know? And it isn’t terrible ending, it’s quite subjective really. Overall, the plot was totally unique and an awesome adventure!

Characters

“Books open new worlds to me.”

Let’s move on to the characters. Kat, the protagonist, was amazing. Not only was she a totally awesome bookworm, she seemed realistic and it was just lots of fun seeing her attempt to adjust in a new world, and so easy to relate to her as she struggled to do so. I could also totally see a lot of my bookworm tendencies in her and that was a wonderful touch.

“Okay Kat. This is Story World, for heaven’s sake, so get a grip on yourself. You’ve no business drooling over storybook characters.”

Replace Kat with Analee and that’s basically what I have to tell myself whenever I’m transported into a wonderful story and fall in love with the characters. (AKA, all the time!) 😉

Apart from Kat’s general relatability and bookishness, I loved her development. From a shy but likeable and kind of awkward bibliophile, she becomes a strong, independant and confident female character who I not only liked, but admired. She becomes more outspoken, and more sure of herself, and I loved seeing that in her.

I also really liked the love interest, the prince, Edward. But, I won’t lie, not as much as I did Kat. But that didn’t make him a bad character. He liked to read and owned a huge library which he allowed Kat to use (which reminded me a lot of Dorian from Throne of Glass, lol.) He’s a really good person, but at first, I really had trouble getting the image of the Edward from Twilight out of my head. I mean, come on, I’m sure all of you reading this right now was thinking about it. I don’t hate Edward by any means, but I really didn’t want to associate this character with him, for which reason I’m glad that I was able to identify him as his own person later on in the book.

And although there are some similarities between the two (mainly the temper) I really liked seeing how the story wasn’t affected that much by it. He was caring and a really sweet guy, who I think I kind of fell for by the end of the book. 🙂 The romance between him and Kat was quite cute and well balanced; just enough of it to keep readers satisfied and wanting more at the same time. So, basically, I’m trying to say although there are similarities between this Edward and Twilight’s Edward, they’re not too many and overall I really liked him.

There are several secondary characters in this, but there isn’t much to say about them since we don’t get too much of them in-depth since the story is told mostly from Kat’s 1st person POV, which didn’t leave much space for other characters to be as developed as her and Edward. I did really like Henry and Elle (Cinderella) though, who both play important roles in the book and are quite nice.

Writing Style

The writing style is perfect for this story! The writing really reflected both Kat’s humor and personality, which was lots of fun to read. It was fast paced to reflect the pace of the story, but it wasn’t too rushed and was simple but still very significant and beautiful.

Overall…

This is a book you definitely can’t miss if you like fairytale retellings—and unique ones at that! I haven’t read all the Cinderella fairytale retellings out there, but this one is definitely unlike most of them out there, in a good way. I mean, how many times have you read a retelling told from the POV of the ugly stepsister? And although this book didn’t follow the original fairytale that much, it was totally able to pull off a fresh concept wonderfully. Though the ending is quite subjective, the plot itself is full of twists and turns and a great story with a cute romance. The main character Kat is relatable and a wonderful person who goes through a lot of development—which is great. Edward, the love interest, is quite sweet and likeable, and not a replica of Edward from Twilight, fortunately. (Although if you have a major hate thing going on with Edward, I suggest you proceed with caution.) The writing style is also spot-on for this story and I loved it! All in all, this book was fantastic and I really liked it. I imagine you would too if you like retellings and romance—but we’d never know if you don’t try! I definitely recommend you give this book a shot.

Have you read this book? Let me know what you thought! And even if you haven’t, I’d love to know what you think of this book; want to read or not interested? Have you read any retellings told from the POV of the stepsister? (‘Cause I honestly would love to know! :P)

A tasty meal for sure! Gobble it up. 

Analee 10

 

Your Voice is All I Hear by Leah Scheier | ARC Book Review

(Stand-Alone)

Expected Publication: September 1st 2015

Synopsis:

Everything about Jonah is unexpected. On the first day of school, he sits next to April, when he could have chosen to sit with the popular girl. He turns down an invitation to join the school team and declares he’d rather paint. He encourages April to develop her musical talent and shrugs off the bullies that torment them.

April isn’t surprised to find herself falling for Jonah. The unexpected part is when he falls for her too.

But the giddy happiness of their first romance begins to fade when Jonah’s unpredictability begins to take a darker turn. April understands that her boyfriend is haunted by a painful memory, but his sudden mood swings worry her. She can’t explain his growing fear of cellphones, electric keyboards, and of sounds that no one else can hear. Still, no matter what happens, April is sure that she’ll always stand by him.

Until Jonah finally breaks and is committed to a psychiatric ward.

Until schizophrenia changes everything.

Though everyone urges her to let him go, April stays true to Jonah. But as the boy she adores begins to disappear in front of her, she has to face her worst fear: that her love may not be enough to save him.


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My Rating: 4 stars 4/5 (Really Good)

Book Information

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Genre(s): Contemporary (Mental Illness), Young-Adult

ARC Page Count: 336

Format: e-book


Thank you Sourcebooks Fire for sending me an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley! This did not affect my review in any way. Any of the quotes used are from an uncorrected proof and may be changed in the final copy.

Hello, today I have for you an ARC review on Your Voice is All I Hear by Leah Scheier! This book is a contemporary novel that covers mental illness (schizophrenia). I honestly haven’t read many books of this topic, one of the reasons why this book caught my eye, especially after reading (and enjoying) Made You Up by Francesca Zappia, the one book of schizophrenia I’ve read recently. This book turned out to be way different than what I expected—way different than Made You Up (in case some of you were wondering), generally in a good way. If you’re into mental illness in YA (and by mental illness, I mean, a true, realistic portrayal of it), I urge you to pick up this book.  The schizophrenia was shown for what it really was, not sugarcoated, and it was clear the author did her research, which is fantastic. My main problem with this book, however, was the fact that I wasn’t a big fan of the main character. Actually, I wasn’t a fan of almost all of the characters in here. The secondary characters came off as stereotypical and the main character herself was a bit too bland and needy for my taste. But by the end of the novel, I was able to look past all that to say that I still enjoyed this book.

Plot

My feelings on the plot varied throughout the story. At the start the plot generally annoyed me, mainly because the characters all got on my nerves and I couldn’t get into the story. I didn’t like April much (she was extremely judgmental, and quite naive, which just didn’t work out with me), and it definitely didn’t help when she went ahead and instantly fell in love with the new guy in her class. I’m not completely against insta-love, I know it can definitely work for the better at times, but this book was definitely not one of those times. I just wasn’t feeling it.

Luckily, as I continued through the story, the plot got better, in that we started to get introduced to the symptoms of schizophrenia. I started to look past the characters into seeing more of the schizophrenia’s effects, and it was truly heart-wrenching seeing the denial the characters went through, seeing the tougher, grittier side of schizophrenia, which, trust me, isn’t pretty.

Near the end of the novel (maybe after 60 or 70% read) I really started to get emotionally attached to everything. The feels! There starts to have so much going on, and my emotions just kind of all explode all over the place. I absolutely loved that! I would even go as far as to say that this almost got me to shed a tear, which doesn’t often happen. Although the plot isn’t the best right from the get-go, it’s definitely drama and emotion-packed!

Characters

“I was the one he trusted. I was the one he loved, the only one who believed him, even when his own mother had locked him away and thrown away the key.”

I wasn’t a big fan of April, I’ll admit that. For a good part of the book I found her to be bland, selfish, naive and even a bit needy as well. It just wasn’t my favorite combo, but I will admit that in some ways you can consider her to be a realistic portrayal of how a lot of people would act in her shoes. And perhaps for some of you April will be a great protagonist, but for me, she just wasn’t the best. However, that being said, once I got near the middle-ish and the end, I started to really care for her. What she went through, must’ve been torturous, and my heart honestly hurt for her by the end. So, I guess these two opposing sentiments kind of just cancel eachother out, and to put it simply; she was an okay protagonist. Her character is pretty easy to sympathize with, even if she wasn’t the most likable person at the start. I ended up genuinely rooting for her, which is great.

Jonah, April’s love interest, is the one suffering from schizophrenia. He is definitely my favorite character in the book, it didn’t take me long ’till I fell under his spell and was rooting for him completely. We don’t see right away the effects of the schizophrenia; we get the time to get to know him, see what he’s like. Which, ultimately, meant that my heart broke even harder when we start seeing the symptoms, because I had already grown attached to him. It was so heartbreaking to see how damaging the effects of schizophrenia can be, although I praise Leah Scheier for doing such a wonderful job on it. There was no sugar-coating, and although seeing it through April’s eyes didn’t allow for us to see what Jonah himself was thinking, it was clear how much he was struggling. Honestly, I’m rendered speechless just thinking about it all, because my words cannot do justice to express how heart-wrenching it was, reading what Jonah went through.

Writing Style

The writing is very pleasant, it had a conversational style to it, with a more serious mood underlying it. The pacing was relatively fast (to reflect the nature of schizophrenia, I suppose, what with its unpredictability, etc.) It really suited the story and was intriguing to read. The story is written from the first-person perspective of April, which, I suppose is fitting and also did its part to have me sympathize with her character.

Overall…

I really enjoyed this novel, despite not being a fan of April for a good chunk of the first half of the novel. April, really is what prevented me from rating this book higher, but overall I consider this to be a heart-wrenching novel that you should definitely not miss if you’re looking for a well-written portrayal of schizophrenia. The plot had me absolutely all over the place in the end; my emotions ranged from despairing to desperate and so much more. I loved Jonah so much, and I praise Leah Scheier for being able to bring out such strong responses from me (and other readers, I’m sure). The ending was lovely, in a kind of heartbreaking and bittersweet way. I’m not usually a big fan of open endings (as there is in this book) and wasn’t a big fan of this one at first, but overall, I found it to be quite fitting for the story. All in all, Your Voice is All I Hear is an emotional read that is not afraid to show the true effects of schizophrenia—and how it can change the lives of so many in the matter of seconds. A wonderful story!

What you do think of this book? Have you read it? Let me know in the comments below!


Hungry? Well don’t worry, you’ll get your chance to gobble this up when it releases tomorrow! 😉

Analee 10

Pepped Up by Ali Dean | Book Review (Blog Tour + Giveaway)

(Pepper Jones #1)

Published: August 25th 2013

Synopsis:

Pepper Jones is ready for an epic cross country season. She wants to qualify for Nationals, and she’s willing to do anything it takes to make it happen. She can handle long miles and hill sprints, but boys? That’s an entirely different challenge.

Pepper’s never considered revealing her deeper feelings for her longtime friend, Jace Wilder. After all, he’s got the personal magnetism and good looks to hook just about any girl in town — and he has. Their friendship stands apart from high school social circles, and they’re both just fine with that (or at least they pretend to be).

That is, until running star Ryan Harding moves to town.

When it comes to running, Pepper’s goals are clear. But when it comes to Jace and Ryan, it’s nowhere near as simple.


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My Rating: 3 stars 3/5 (Decent)

Book Information

Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Page Count: 238

Format: ebook

Purchase: Amazon


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Welcome to my review stop of the first book in the Pepper Jones series, Pepped Up by Ali Dean!

Note: I received a free digital copy thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for review purposes. This doesn’t affect my review in any way.

Pepped Up is a fun, light-hearted contemporary novel that I liked. I wasn’t particularly attached to the main character and the pace was a bit slow for my taste, but overall it’s a good book that will keep you entertained.

Plot

Before anything, I have to say that this book is not at all for readers who dislike love triangles. I tend to be wary of them myself, but I don’t avoid them (not like I can even if I wanted to, seeing how basically all books these days have love triangles). I mean, there are love triangles that turn out to be entertaining, you know? Sadly, this one wasn’t one of them. I feel as if the book was dominated by the love triangle, and instead of being entertaining, in the first half of the novel, I found myself being annoyed at the lack of substance. However, once I took the plot a bit less seriously and just focused on what it’s like in terms of reading about it, I did like the story. It was a relatively light read and it ended up being an entertaining read. That being said, there was one thing that kind of had me a bit iffy about, which was the fact that there were more mature themes in this book than I was expecting. Not necessarily in a bad way, but I suppose since I wasn’t at all expecting such themes in this book, it threw me off.

What I liked most about the plot was the sports theme in this book. It’s not often that I find YA books about sports or with sport-related themes that turn out to be entertaining, and I really liked that aspect of the book. Most of the sports themes had to do with running, and although I’m a terrible runner, it was interesting reading from the perspective of a characters who loved to run and was great at it too.

“This right here is what I live for. The steady rhythm of my feet landing softly on dirt.”

Characters

I have a love-hate thing going on with Pepper. On one hand I like her attitude towards running, the fact that she’s willing to push herself and hold back when needed so she can do the best she can. She’s relatively disciplined and I liked her character, for the most part. On the other hand, what got on my nerves was her tendency to pine after Jace (who’s a complete jerk) and the fact that despite being smart, she couldn’t see the obvious (like so many other YA characters out there). I just couldn’t understand it and it ended up being annoying.

The main love interest, Jace, is who really bugged me. Sure, he had some nice moments, but overall I couldn’t see why Pepper was so into him and there was no depth to him much. I felt as if the only reason people were into him was because he was attractive, which is a bummer because he had the potential to be a real great character. Ryan, the other love interest, was better, there seemed to actually be more to him compared to Jace.

Writing Style

The writing style is one of the best parts of the novel. I would’ve hardly have guessed that this was a debut novel, because the writing had a lot of skill behind it that you wouldn’t expect to see in debuts. I did find the pace to be a bit slow, but that is considering my own taste, I would say for the majority the pace is completely adequate. One thing I was not a big fan of was the ending, because although it’s not technically a cliffhanger, it does leave something missing and felt rushed to me. I’m assuming more will be answered in the next books though.

“I want to capture the exhilaration and peace flowing through my veins, pulsing through my soul. Who needs a vice when you can attain an utter sense of being alive with such simple ingredients?”

-Pepper, about running

Overall…

This contemporary romance debut is more of a hit-or-miss. It wasn’t completely my cup of tea, but it was an entertaining read all the same, despite the more negative side of this book. The plot could’ve been handled better and the characters could’ve had more depth, but if you like love triangles and contemporary romance, this isn’t a bad book to try out. The writing is great, and I really enjoyed the running descriptions. All in all, a decent YA (with mature themes) contemporary romance with sport themes and a love triangle, Pepped Up is the first in a trilogy I have a good chance of continuing. (If only to get a better ending.)

An adequate meal! What do you think? Let me know in the comments below! 

Analee 10


Ali_AUTHOR BIO:

Ali Dean lives in Colorado with her husband and two children. In addition to reading and writing, she loves the outdoors- everything from marathon training and biking to snowboarding and skiing.

Author links: Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook


INT Giveaway – $10 Amazon gift card + a signed copy of any book in the Pepper Jones series (ends August 27th)

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Like Candy by Debra Doxer | ARC Book Review (Blog Tour + Giveaway)

(Candy #1)

Published: July 28th 2015

Synopsis:

Revenge is sweet, just like candy.

Candy Seaborne knows she’s badass. She takes after her father, an assassin and possibly a spy, although he won’t admit to either. She idolizes him. Her dream is to follow in his footsteps. But first, she has to finish high school.

Biding her time, waiting for real life to begin, Candy craves drama and isn’t above manufacturing some. If you’re a classmate who wronged her or a boyfriend who cheated, watch your back. She’s no pushover, and revenge may be her favorite pastime.

Jonah Bryson is the senior class heartthrob who breaks all the stereotypes. He’s a jock, but he isn’t the typical player. He’s moody and antisocial. No girl has gotten anywhere with him since his last girlfriend broke his heart.

Candy sees Jonah as a challenge and the perfect distraction. But she may be in over her head because unlike everyone else, Jonah isn’t buying her tough act. He sees the lost, lonely girl inside. He sees too much. When he looks at her that way, she wants to let her guard down and be vulnerable. But that’s the last thing she should do because her father’s world is spilling over into hers, and life is about to get real much sooner than Candy expected.


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My Rating: 3.5 stars 3.5/5 (Liked it)

Book Information

Genre(s): Romance, Mystery, Young Adult

Page Count: 258

Format: ebook

Purchase: Amazon


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Welcome to my review tour stop of Like Candy by Debra Doxer, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours.

Note: I received a free digital eARC of this book thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for review purposes. This does not affect my review.

Like Candy was an entertaining romance and mystery (mostly romance)! I know the genres include ‘mystery’ but really the majority of the book was romance, or that’s how it felt like. It wasn’t ’till I reached near the end of the book where my heart was really beating because of the mystery, my toes curled in anticipation to see what will happen next. Although this was misleading and kind of threw me off, I really enjoyed this book nonetheless.

Plot

The plot was kind of a surprise to me, mostly because from the blurb, I was expecting some kick-butt action from the main character, Candy, but instead got a girl with no skills other than to be able to manipulate and pull pranks on people who’ve wronged her. I also think it could’ve been better executed, it had the potential to be both a contemporary romance as well as a mystery and spy novel, and sometimes that clashed. That being said, the plot was still very entertaining. Despite what I just said about the two genres clashing, I really enjoyed the fact that while we were led to believe the book was all romance by the first part, there were little twists and turns here and there that made the storyline more engaging and unexpected. A lot of the book did focus on the romance between Candy and Jonah, though, so beware of that. Although the plot wasn’t exactly what I expected, I liked the way things turned out, even though the expected cliffhanger at the end has me cursing that I can’t yet read the next book. 🙂

Characters

Candy herself was an interesting character, one for which I have conflicted feelings toward. On one hand, her manipulative attitude, and actions, instead of coming off as badass, as she says herself, at times felt plain mean and petty,and rude for no reasonNot to mention throughout the book she hardly showed any assassin or badass skills at all, which was kind of disappointing. On the other hand, I did understand why she acted the way she did, and found it intriguing, as twisted that may sound. All she really wanted was her father’s approval, the one thing she never seems to be able to get. Her father is often cold and distant, which frustrated me because Candy deserved more, from her father, at least. She was, no matter how much of a strong, assassin kind of character she claimed to be, still really innocent and with no mother and a pretty bad childhood, she wanted, no, needed her father to be proud of her. I understood that, it really made her character, although sometimes hard to like, easier to sympathize with, because a parent’s approval is something we’ve all wanted some time or another, am I right?

As for the other characters, they shined less brightly than Candy, obviously, except for Jonah and Candy’s father. But starting with Jonah, the love interest. I can’t exactly say what I liked most about him, but I did like his character.

“I wish I was the first guy you fell for. Then maybe the shadows in your eyes wouldn’t be there, and when I told you how beautiful you are, you’d believe me. You make me want to erase those shadows and chase away the memories that put them there, because every day that you don’t realize how amazing you are is a tragedy in my book.”

He was definitely swoon-worthy! And hidden inside him there are a bunch of mysteries and secrets which added both depth to his character and more uncertainty that kept me engaged in the story.

As for Candy’s father, I was quite frustrated with him in the way he treated Candy, both hot and cold moods (generally cold) but his character really intrigued me. By the end of the novel we hardly knew anything more about him than when we started (which was kind of irksome, to be honest) and he was in a cloud of mystery. He has a lot of potential to be a crucial part in the story, and I’m really interested in seeing how he will turn out to be.

Writing Style

The writing style was great! I couldn’t stop reading, everything flowed seamlessly, and there were often parts of the book where it was like reading poetry without actually reading poetry, if that makes any sense.

“As I watched my mother fade and my father grieve, my inability to do anythings sat like a weight on my chest, growing heavier each day until something as simple as breathing hurt. All I could do was stand by while everything fell apart, and no matter how much I wished for things to get better, they never did.”

Although novels written in first person is sometimes a hit or miss kind of thing, in this book, I really felt Candy’s emotions, her feelings, really clearly and the writing was executed very well for the story. It was steamy in some places, mysterious in others, cute in several places. All arranged nicely to really show Candy’s feelings.

Overall…

This book felt more like a ‘hit or miss’ to me. You either like it or you don’t. The plot was an interesting combination of both mystery and romance, while most of the book focuses on the romance, there is more to it that keeps you engaged in the story. I’ll be looking forward to the second book, especially after the cliffhanger in this book! I’m also interested in seeing more of Candy’s development. She was fine in this book, however there are several things about her that I think I was supposed to enjoy, but instead I found came off as shallow and unmoral, and which might be delved into more in the sequel. I did really sympathize with her and understood her though, which is a plus in the reading experience. The secondary characters weren’t the greatest, but both Jonah and Candy’s father had a lot of depth to them and have the potential to be great characters in the sequel. The writing was easy to read, seamlessly flowing and really helping to get the readers acquainted with the way Candy thought. All in all, this book was quite enjoyable and I liked it!

This book will have you gobbling it up like candy! Eat it quickly!

Analee 10


Debra

AUTHOR BIO:
Debra Doxer was born in Boston, and other than a few lost years in the California sunshine, she has always resided in the Boston area. She writes fiction, technical software documents, illegible scribbles on sticky notes, and texts that get mangled by AutoCorrect. She writes for a living, and she writes for fun. When her daughter asks when she’ll run out of words, her response always is, “When I run out of time.”
Connect with Debra. She loves hearing from readers.
Author links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter


Giveaway -$50 Amazon gift card and an ebook of Like Candy
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Twisted by Holly Hook | Book Review (Blog Tour + Giveaway)

(Deathwind Trilogy #1)

Published: December 15th 2013

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Allie’s going on the vacation of her life: tornado chasing. What can possibly go wrong with that?

But a terrifying, magical experience leaves Allie shocked and confused, and she learns that she now bears an awful curse.

Every time there’s a storm, she turns into a tornado. Literally.

Allie has no choice but to flee her hometown–if she stays, her new powers could harm or even kill everyone she loves.

She must return to the plains and find those who made her this way. But this journey is only the beginning of her adventure.

Twisted is the first book of the Deathwind Trilogy, a new young adult and teen paranormal romance series. The second book, Torn, is also available. Book Three of the Deathwind Trilogy, Unleashed, will be released in Summer of 2015.


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My Rating: 3 stars 3/5 (Decent)

Book Information

Genre(s): Paranormal, Young-Adult

Page Count: 202

Format: ebook

Purchase: Amazon


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Hello! Welcome to my review blog tour stop of Twisted by Holly Hook, a YA paranormal novel.

Note: I received a free digital copy of this book thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for review purposes. This does not affect my review.

Twisted is an interesting YA paranormal story that is full of twists and turns! I really enjoyed the fresh fantasy and paranormal aspect introduced in this book—people who turn into tornadoes? Totally a cool idea. The characters were not as likeable as I wish they were, but they were still alright, which made this book interesting to read. The writing was fun to read and was simultaneously mysterious and somehow had a very ‘light’ feel to it. Overall, I really liked the book, although I think this book would’ve been even more enjoyable for a bit younger age. But all in all, a good start to an interesting new YA fantasy/paranormal series!

Plot

I really enjoyed the concept of Twisted, I’d say it’s one of the brightest points of the story. It was fresh and unique, something I haven’t ever seen before in the YA genres. I do think there were several parts that could’ve been explained better, but as it is, the story was very intriguing and explained enough to keep me from being too confused as to become bored and uninterested. There was almost constant action, which was a bit disarming at first, but as I got used to the fast-paced storyline, I really liked it. Although I have to admit that this caused some of the supposed climax scenes to be a bit anti-climactic and basically ‘normal’ since the rest of the book went by so fast. The plot had me interested to know more and was wrapped up very well.

 

Characters

This is the part where things get a bit more icky and hard to explain. I liked the characters, but not as much as I could’ve. I found Allie to be an average protagonist, one that I feel like I’ve seen before, one that didn’t shine that bright for me, unfortunately. I didn’t really have any major problems with her, I even sympathized with her at times, but I guess I just didn’t find her to be that interesting to me. Her role in the story did come off as a bit stereotypical, as the girl who is in the spot to be the saviour or destroyer, inhuman and rebellious, etc etc. but that didn’t bother me that much, to be honest. I kind of just let that fly over my head. Bottom line is, I didn’t particularly connect with Allie as a protagonist, but I didn’t dislike her.

I did like some of other characters in this book as well. I didn’t particularly care for the two love interests (yes, there is the dreaded love triangle. Although I think the choice is pretty obvious.) Tommy and Dorian. I felt like the romance between Allie and Tommy progressed way to fast for me to get into it, and the supposed sparks between Allie and Dorian seemed to fake and didn’t hold my attention—or my heart. So I guess I didn’t care for these two males that much. But I did like how Holly Hook constructed the other characters, like Allie’s uncle, and the villain(s) in the story, I feel like there’s a lot to them that we have yet to see and I like that aura of mystery and uncertainty.

Writing Style 

“Wind blasts. I’m breaking apart. Flying. The field tilts under me and disappears into the rain.
The rain clears. Fields stretch out below. The earth’s a brown and green checkerboard. It’s lined with trees. It’s amazing. The view makes my transformation almost worth it.
Then the roar explodes. I twist and turn, plowing forward. The crops bow down. The fields wave in terror.
I am destruction.
And this time I’m not alone.”

The writing style was great, it was mysterious and interesting to read about. It really suited the story, and occasionally had a very light and airy feel to it while still being suspenseful. It was really fast-paced but didn’t make me lose sense of the story. Instead it was intriguing and kept me flipping the pages to know more. The story was described really well, I could picture the scenes I was reading very clearly, which was great.

Overall…

This is an interesting book that I liked reading! The plot is very unique and quite the new idea, and it was fun to read about. The characters weren’t the best part for me, as they fell short of my hopes, but they were still enjoyable. The writing, was really good, it was mysterious but still had a very airy feel to it which was nice. Being the first book in the Deathwind trilogy, I’m curious but not too compelled to read the second book, Torn, which is already released, and the third book, Unleashed, releasing in summer 2015. The world Holly Hook created, this idea with storms and tornadoes is hooking and I’d enjoy reading more about it. All in all, I recommend this book if you’re looking for a new kind of paranormal story, one with a refreshing & fast-paced plot and a pleasant writing style.

Tasty? Not tasty? Find out for yourself by eating it up!

Analee 10


Holly

AUTHOR BIO:
Holly Hook is the author of the Destroyers Series, which consists of five young adult books about teens who are walking disasters…literally. She is also the author of the Rita Morse series, a young adult fantasy series still in progress, and After These Messages, a short ya comedy. Currently she is writing Twisted, a spin-off of the Destroyers Series due out in December. When not writing, she enjoys reading books for teens, especially ya fantasy and paranormal series with a unique twist.

Author links: 
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Giveaway – Signed copy of Twisted by Holly Hook, ends August 13
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What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi | ARC Book Review

(Stand-Alone)

Published: August 4th 2015

Synopsis:

It’s all Ryden’s fault. If he hadn’t gotten Meg pregnant, she would have never stopped her chemo treatments and would still be alive. Instead, he’s failing fatherhood one dirty diaper at a time. And it’s not like he’s had time to grieve while struggling to care for their infant daughter, start his senior year, and earn the soccer scholarship he needs to go to college.

The one person who makes Ryden feel like his old self is Joni. She’s fun and energetic—and doesn’t know he has a baby. But the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to keep his two worlds separate. Finding one of Meg’s journals only stirs up old emotions, and Ryden’s convinced Meg left other notebooks for him to find, some message to help his new life make sense. But how is he going to have a future if he can’t let go of the past?


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My Rating: 4.5 Stars 4.5/5 (Amazing)

Book Information

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Genre(s): Contemporary, Young-Adult

Page Count [hardcover]: 320

Format: ebook


Thank you Sourcebooks Fire for sending me an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!

Hello! Today I have a review on What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi, a stunningly touching and unique YA contemporary novel. If I had to sum up this word using two words, I’d use ‘unique‘ and ‘addictive‘ because that’s exactly what it is. It’s so rare to me, in YA contemporaries, that we have the perspective of a male in a teenage pregnancy situation. Time and time again I come across books with a teenage mother, but hardly ever have I encountered a book from the viewpoint of a teenage father. And it is so often we see books about cancer making the rounds, hardly ever do we see books with a fresh take on it. But this book, provided me with exactly that. What You Left Behind was an honest, hooking and unique story from the perspective of a teenage widowed father, and put a different twist on a cancer story that I really enjoyed.

Quick Summary

Everything fell apart when Meg died from cancer and left behind a baby girl. Hope. And Meg’s death seemed to be all Ryden’s fault. After all, he got her pregnant, which caused her to stop her chemo treatment, her one chance to overcome her cancer and survive. Meg’s parents seem to agree, and offers no help in providing support for Hope. Now Ryden has financial issues as he tries to deal with taking care of Hope and getting to soccer practice as he’s aiming to earn an athletic scholarship. The only bright spot in everything is Joni. But with Ryden being unable to let go of Meg, how will he ever be able to move on?

Plot

The plot is honest, un-sugarcoated and emotional. It’s a touching story and I really loved it! What I loved most about it was the unique perspective. Kudos to Jessica Verdi for tackling a different side of a common book trope in an interesting and engaging way! I really enjoyed reading from the point of view of a male teenager who has to take care of a baby; that is quite rare I find, and Jessica Verdi pulled it off! I was completely immersed in the plot, and I never wanted to stop reading. It was a cute romance while still being an emotional story portraying the struggles in life, both happy and sad, which was great to read.

Characters

I really loved Ryden as a narrator. He wasn’t perfect, and often there were times where I wanted to slap him across the face so that he would wake up and make things right. One of the times being how he completely neglects his daughter, I really wished he treated her better and that there were more love between the two. That did bug me, but really, in the end I simply couldn’t dislike him. I understood his struggles. I felt bad for him. I mean, what 17 year-old teenage boy wants to be stuck taking care of a baby almost single-handedly when he could be playing soccer for a scholarship?
Ryden’s definitely not going to be coming first in any selflessness contests anytime soon; his tendency of putting what he wanted above the needs of others was frustrating, but by the end he goes through a lot of development and became a better person. Also, there was the fact that his pain over losing Meg was simply so strong, so real, I couldn’t just not sympathize with him. Jessica Verdi did a great job at creating a character that is a realistic portrayal of a teenage father, a character who, while made a lot of mistakes, and was sometimes annoying, still was able to earn my compassion, understanding and sympathy.

Joni, the main female character in the novel, was great too. She was feisty and a strong, independant woman who was perfect for Ryden. I liked the relationship between her and Ryden, they had great chemistry, but more than that, her personality was simply a lot of fun. I really liked how Joni was portrayed; not a stereotypical girl you encounter in contemporaries, but a lively and real person who is unafraid in standing up for herself.

The other characters were very well-done. I especially loved Ryden’s mother and her role in the story. Even though she didn’t have a particularly large role, her constant support of Ryden and his baby Hope was simply so heart-warming and had a pretty big impact in Ryden’s character development. I loved how she wasn’t MIA in the story; she was present and really did the best she could to help out and show her son that he could still be a great father despite lacking a maternal presence by his side.

Writing Style

“Finding someone you can really connect with is like winning the lottery—It happens basically never, but if it does, you really shouldn’t blow it.”

The writing style was great; it was light but thoughtful, fun and well-suited for the story. The writing really reflected Ryden’s thoughts effectively, his emotions were strong and clear, and I really enjoyed reading it.

“I still don’t quite get how each one of those stars is actually a sun, burning up its own part of the universe. It seems incomprehensible that something that big, that complex, that infinite, is out there, while we’re here on this stupid planet, watching reality shows and waiting in line for the new iPhone and buying all the chia seeds in the Whole Foods because some article told us it was trendy, thinking we’re tough shit, like any of it means anything.”

There was also an undertone of dry humour throughout the book that I really enjoyed reading. That’s to be expected, as the story is told from the perspective of a 17 year-old teenager, and I’m glad it didn’t disappoint! The writing was really fun to read.

Overall…

I recommend this book to readers of contemporary and romance, and for readers who are looking for a fresh page in YA contemporary. This book provides you with a twist on two popular and overused storylines; teenage pregnancy and cancer. While you have to face a main character who sometimes makes extremely selfish and bad decisions, in the end it’s worth it. The main character, Ryden, does make bad decisions, but you can’t help but feel sorry for him, and understand his situation. Not only that, there is a great mother-son relationship in the book, and a great female main character as well. The writing is a lot of fun to read, and has an interesting and humorous tone to the it. All in all, this book was great and I’d definitely recommend it!


Oh, look what you left behind! Your tasty meal awaits, come and pick it up!

Analee 10

Pretty Dark Sacrifice by Heather L. Reid | ARC Book Review (Blog Tour + Giveaway)

(Pretty Dark Nothing #2)

Published: July 28th 2015

Synopsis:

It’s been five weeks, two days, and eight hours since the demons forced Quinn to throw herself into the raging river, since Aaron sacrificed himself to save her, since his body disappeared without a trace.

Everyone wants Quinn to move on, but she can’t, not after a spirit appears to her at Aaron’s memorial, convincing her he’s still alive.

When a mysterious box materializes on the very spot Aaron disappeared, Quinn finds she’s at the center of an ancient prophesy of betrayal, revenge, and sacrifice that takes her to the depths of the underworld to face Lilith—Adam’s first wife.

If Quinn can stop Lilith from unleashing the demon horde Eve, trapped inside the box during the Battle of Eden millennia ago, she will save the human realm and free Aaron from an eternity in torment.

All it will cost is her blood.


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My Rating: 3.5 stars 3.5/5 (Liked it)

Book Information

Publisher: Month9books, LLC.

Genre(s): Paranormal Romance, Young-Adult

Page Count: 230

Format: ebook

Purchase LinksBAM | Chapters | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks


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Welcome to my review stop of Pretty Dark Sacrifice by Heather L. Reid, a haunting YA paranormal romance!

Note: I received a free digital eARC of this book for review purposes thanks to Chapter by Chapter and the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book.

The sequel to Pretty Dark Nothing was just as gripping, unique and full of twists as its predecessor Pretty Dark Nothing [review]. Unfortunately I did find the main character to be annoying at the start of the book, unlike in Pretty Dark Nothing,where I was able to sympathize and understand the protagonist. However, I did come to accept her by the end of the book, and that’s one of the main reasons I rated this book closer to 4 stars than 3. The plot and writing were also great!

Quick Summary

It’s been over a month since Aaron sacrificed himself to save Quinn. Everyone has pretty much moved on, except for Quinn, who refuses to believe Aaron was dead despite the fact the search was called off becuase there were no results. She soon finds that he is held captive by a dangerous threat; Lilith, who plans to create an army of demons to destroy the human race. Quinn is desperate to get Aaron back, and would do anything to save him. Question is, will she be able to do it without getting humanity destroyed in the process?

Plot

I really liked the plot, it was relatively unique and I would say I liked it even more than that of Pretty Dark Nothing. By just a little bit, though. One of the things I liked, that I usually like in all sequels, is the fact that I was already introduced to the characters and the book was able to start off immediately in the middle of action. There was no need to start off slowly, after all. But what I liked most about the plot was the storyline. The whole thing with Lilith and the demons. I’ve read several books with demons in them, but both this and Pretty Dark Nothing provided me with a more different take on them, which I enjoyed reading in this book. These demons, they fed on negativity, and the way this was portrayed was so interesting!

“Where she went, the demons followed. Already, they invaded the ever-widening cracks in her mental barrier. She could feel their insidious claws digging into her memories, searching out her pain.”

(Pretty Dark Sacrifice ARC, Chapter 1)

Characters

I will say right off the bat that Quinn was more difficult to enjoy in this book. In the first book, she made a lot of mistakes, but for the most part I was able to understand why and sympathize, which was the main reason I was okay with her. But in this one, it was different, because while I understood why she did the things she did, I couldn’t exactly sympathize or approve. Okay, so she’s in love with Aaron and feels guilty because he sacrificed himself for her, but that doesn’t mean it’s fine to be reckless and risk everything to save him, when it meant that the whole human race was at stake. I did understand why though; she was desperate and guilty, and I guess when you’re in love, that’s what happens? I don’t know, but I was annoyed with her attitude for most of the first part of the book. However, I did come to like her soon enough. I did admire her bravery and determination, not to mention strength when facing Lilith and her demons. I also really liked the lack of love triangle in this one, if there had been one it wouldn’t have made sense and it would’ve just been bothersome. Quinn came off as annoying and weak at the start, but by the end I actually did come to really care about her.

Aaron, the love interest, we don’t get to see much of in this book, but I did like him. Probably even more than I liked Quinn. I really liked his dedication and love for Quinn, (although I would say he deserves better). He was also very determined, and never gave up on finding a way to escape and defeat Lilith.
As for the other characters, I think they kind of fell flat, but they were still good nonetheless. I liked Marcus, Aaron’s best friend, he was a comic relief and very sweet. Reese, Quinn’s best friend, I wasn’t that impressed, but she was alright. There was a good cast of characters that were essential to the story and relatively interesting to read about.

Writing Style

The writing style was great, I really liked the mood Heather L. Reid was able to create with her writing; dark and mysterious. There were also a lot of descriptive passages, which were great because they weren’t overdone and were useful in visualizing the world. It kept me interested in the book, and as a result, I flew through the pages!

Overall…

I liked this book! I would say I liked it around the same as the first book, although I would say I liked the plot for this one a bit better. I found the main character to be a bit annoying in the first part of the book, but I did warm up to her as I continued the story, and by the end of the story, although I didn’t love her, she was a good character. The other characters were interesting too. What I liked most about this book was its storyline, I definitely recommend giving this series a try if you’re looking for a refreshing take on demons or like paranormal romance. From what I read in the ending, it seems like this will be a trilogy, and I’ll be looking forward to reading the last book! 

Hungry? Not hungry? Either way, I definitely say you should gobble it up if you like paranormal romance meals!

Analee 10


Heather L. ReidABOUT HEATHER L. REID:

Heather L. Reid is both American and British and has called six different cities in three different countries, home. Her strong sense of wanderlust and craving for a new adventure mean you might find her wandering the moors of her beloved Scotland, exploring haunted castles, or hiking through a magical forest in search of fairies and sprites. When she’s not venturing into the unknown in her real life, she loves getting lost in the worlds of video games or curling up by the fire with good story. For now, this native Texan is back in the Lone Star State, settling down with her Scottish husband and writing new tales of fantasy and horror.

Author Links:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr | Pinterest | Instagram


INT Giveaway – Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Pretty Dark Sacrifice (Pretty Dark Nothing #2) by Heather L. Reid, ends August 21st 2o15

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Pretty Dark Nothing by Heather L. Reid | Book Review

(Pretty Dark Nothing #1)

Published: April 23rd 2013

Synopsis:

It’s been twenty three days since Quinn has slept for more than minutes at a time. Demons have invaded her dreams, stalking her, and whispering of her death. The lack of sleep and crippling fear are ruining her life. Energy drinks and caffeine pills don’t make a dent. When Quinn dozes off in the school hallway, Aaron, an amnesiac with a psychic ability, accidentally enters her nightmare. The demons are determined to keep them apart, and Aaron from discovering the secret locked away in his memory. Together, they could banish the darkness back to the underworld for good. That is, unless the demons kill them first.


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My Rating: 3.5 stars 3.5/5 (Liked it)

Book Information

Publisher: Month9Books

Genre(s): Paranormal Romance, Young-Adult

Page Count:

Format: ebook


Note: I received a free digital copy of this book for review purposes. This does not at all affect my opinion or review.

Hello! Today I have a review on Pretty Dark Nothing by Heather L. Reid, an interesting YA paranormal romance. This book had several cliché elements, but I really liked the storyline of this book. The main character, while not likeable to everyone, is still a good character, albeit flawed.

Plot

“A creeping cold inched its way across her exposed skin, dotting her flesh with goose bumps. Something dark and sinister played against the dead weight of her sleeping body from the other side of the headboard. The wood shuddered and groaned as something evil reached out, searching for the portal that would open with a deep sleep. Quinn’s breath quickened with the thought of what was coming, but it was too late. She was helpless, already suspended in a state of horror between waking and dreaming and no energy left to fight.”

I really liked the whole idea of the plot. It was creative and unique and put a different spin on demons that I enjoyed. I wasn’t a huge fan of the love drama Quinn goes through in the midst of it all, but I did like the paranormal aspect of it. I mean, I have read other books with demons and it, and this book portrayed them with a ‘feeding on negativity‘ thing that I don’t see often in other books.

Characters

So starting off with Quinn, the main protagonist. I will admit, she isn’t a character I usually care for. I found her to be weak and annoying several times throughout the story, which may be even more intensified for some of you, if you really can’t stand these kind of characters. However, I did actually like her. Well, the word like might be too strong of a word, but I at least sympathized with her, and while I did not completely approve of her choices, I understood them. You see, if you looked at the story from a distance, Quinn seems needy, clingy, and obsessed with her ex, Jeff. In fact, these were my initial thoughts about her, but at a closer inspection, I understood her reluctance to let go, her need for someone to be there for her because no one else is. I understood why she did the things she did; it was out of her control and in the end, I couldn’t exactly blame her for that. She was flawed, but I didn’t find her to be bad because of those flaws, instead, they helped add depth to her character.

We also get the POV of the love interest, Aaron. While the addition of Jeff in the story technically makes him a second love interest, Jeff never really was a true love interest. Quinn thought she loved him (for a good chunk of the book, admittedly) but she realized afterwards she didn’t. Anyway, Aaron, I really liked; he was sweet and nice and definitely didn’t deserve what Quinn put him through. His dedication to Quinn despite it all is heartwarming, although kind of frustrating at times. But ultimately, I ship them.

Writing Style

“Within seconds, she hit the cold, hard earth, knocking the wind out of her. She gasped. The familiar smell of damp and decay warned of where the darkness had taken her.”

The writing style was interesting too. I especially looked forward the parts where the author was describing the scenes with the demons, because I liked the descriptions and the mood she created; mysterious and dark. It was often very suspenseful, and that’s what I think was the best part of the writing.

Overall…

I definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for a book with an interesting take on demons. There is a love triangle in this one, but it’s a more different kind of one, less prominent, I would say. Although the main character might be an issue for some, I really liked Quinn’s character, although she’s can be very uncertain and comes off as needy at times, there are other factors that add depth to her character. The writing style is great, very suspenseful and intriguing. If you’re a fan of paranormal romance, this is something you shouldn’t pass up!

Want a taste? It’s pretty dark, but it’s definitely not nothing! (Lol. [Bad] pun intended.)

Analee 10

The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak | ARC Book Review

(The Heartbreaker Chronicles #1)

Expected Publication: August 4th 2015

Synopsis:

Stella will do anything for her sick sister, Cara—even stand in line for an autographed Heartbreakers CD…for four hours. She’s totally winning best birthday gift this year. At least she met a cute boy with soft brown hair and gorgeous blue eyes while getting her caffeine fix. Too bad she’ll never see him again.

Except, Stella’s life has suddenly turned into a cheesy love song. Because Starbucks Boy is Oliver Perry – lead singer for the Heartbreakers. And even after she calls his music crap, Oliver still gives Stella his phone number. And whispers quotes from her favorite Disney movie in her ear. OMG, what is her life?

But how can Stella even think about being with Oliver — dating and laughing and pulling pranks with the band — when her sister could be dying of cancer?

Ali Novak wrote her debut novel My Life with the Walter Boys when she was just 15 years old, and has since penned her next book, The Heartbreakers. First a hit on the online community Wattpad, her second novel has over 38 million reads and is loved by readers around the world.


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My Rating: 4 stars 4/5 (Really Good)

Book Information

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Genre(s): Contemporary Romance, Young-Adult

Page Count: 336

Format: ebook


Note: I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Hello! Today I have for you a review on The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak. This book was amazing! I had to stay up late to finish this, it was that good. And I’m glad I did! This book is the perfect summer read, great to simply have fun, relax, and just get caught up in a cute romance.

Quick Summary

Stella would do anything for her sister, Cara, who is dying from cancer. Even standing in line for a signing from a world-famous band whose music Stella hates, The Heartbreakers, since her sister’s a die-hard fan. Stella had no idea when she met a cute guy in Starbucks that he was Oliver Perry, the lead singer of The Heartbreakers, and he had no idea that she was one of the only people who hated his music. As they get the chance to get to know eachother, Stella finds he’s not a bad guy. But how could Stella think of dating and spending time with Oliver when her sister is dying?Read More »

Deception So Dark by Clara Kensie | Book Review

(Run to You #2)

Published: May 1st 2015

Synopsis:

Originally published as the Run to You serial parts 4-6— Fourth Shadow, Fifth Touch, and Sixth Sense.

Deception So Dark is the complete second novel in the Run to You series, a riveting thriller about a family on the run from a deadly past, and a first love that will transcend secrets, lies and danger…

With no more secrets to keep them apart, Tessa and Tristan embark upon a desperate search to find her missing brother and sister. But not even Tristan can keep Tessa safe from the hostile classmates at her new school…or from the nightmare that haunts her even while she’s awake. As Tessa’s nightmare becomes all too real, her hope of getting her family back together feels ever more out of reach. When a psychic warns her that leaving town may mean her death, Tessa still cannot stay when she uncovers a potential lead to her brother and sister. Not even if she must go alone and risk losing it all: Tristan, her family, and even her life.

Run to You is Tessa and Tristan’s story—two full-length books about psychic gifts, secret lives and dangerous loves. Danger. Deception. Betrayal. It must be true love.


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My Rating: 4.5 Stars 4.5/5 (Amazing)

Book Information

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Genre(s): Young-adult, romantic thriller

Page Count: 325

Format: E-book


 Note: I received a free digital copy of this book thanks to YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Run to You Series Review

Hello fellow bookworms! I have for you now the review on the sequel to Deception So Deadly, Deception So Dark. (You can check out the review to Deception So Deadly here.) This book, was even more mind-blowing than its predecessor, if that’s even possible. Although there are a few things I liked better in the first book, this book took me on an unforgettable roller coaster and I really enjoyed it. (I’ll be skipping the quick summary this time, by the way.)

Plot

The plot, the plot. It picks up from where the first one ended, and at the start, I will admit I wasn’t convinced that this book would be able to impress me. But I shouldn’t have doubted it, because this book instead brought a organized mashup of plot twists, interesting ideas and cliffhangers. I say organized mashup because while it was all sorts of things mixed together, it was done in a calculated and organized manner, which means the plot twists and cliffhangers weren’t all over the place or anything, just like the first book. Everything was done, I felt, to a certain purpose, and it was really well delivered.

Characters

In the first book I really got attached to the characters, and reading this book was great because I didn’t have to go through the trouble of getting to know them and worrying about whether I like them or not. Tessa, our heroine, made a lot more mistakes in this book than in Deception So Deadly (which seems to be a common theme in YA books, I think) but luckily I still managed to really like her. I suppose it was because I understood her needs and why she did what she did, and a part of me approved of her decision, and admired her for it, no matter how risky and unintelligent it was. No character is perfect, right? As far as flaws go, Tessa’s weren’t bad, and didn’t get in the way of my enjoyment of her character.

As for where Tristan is concerned, I still really liked him! I loved seeing how much he truly, sincerely loved Tessa, it was beautiful. What bothered me about him was mostly because he was a bit too obsessed with keeping Tessa safe, and had a bruised ego when he couldn’t. I guess I admire his love for Tessa, but it got on my nerves a bit afterwards. However, in essence, I wasn’t truly upset with him, especially after all he does for Tessa. All in all, the characters were fantastic.

Writing Style

The writing style didn’t change much as far as I could see from the first book, luckily, since it was gripping, engaging and easy to read! I really enjoyed the writing style, it made my reading experience better than it already was by being simple, but gripping and interesting from the very first page.

Overall…

I enjoyed this book so much! Even more than the first book, which I didn’t think would be possible. The plot was a lot more suspenseful in this one, although I think the first book is more fast-paced. I completely fell in love with the characters all over again, and really admired Tessa, sympathizing with her as well. I also really loved the romance in this book; it was sweet, strong and true, I loved how no matter what, Tessa and Tristan’s love stayed sincere and prevailed. The writing was great, just as gripping and interesting as it was in the first book. All in all, this book is one I would recommend you don’t miss if you’re interested in reading a YA romantic thriller!

Analee 10