Amazing characters, a hate-to-love romance, and war // Why I love The Winner’s Curse series by Marie Rutkoski

Hello everyone! ūüôā Disappeared for a few days from the blog, aha. So I had other plans for posts, but I haven’t done a book review in SUCH a long time! I have such a tremendous pile of them now I guess I’m scared to approach them. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you it is a HUGE pile! Not TBR-huge (nothing’s going to beat that, probably) but huge when I think about my books-read vs books reviewed ration and when I see everyone else’s reviewing queue consisting of, like, max, 7-10 books. ANYWAY. Moving on! The point: I’m doing a review! On a series, in fact. I read the third book in this trilogy pretty recently, but the other two books were read quite a while ago and I thought it might be easier to just do a series review. I won’t be getting too much into the specifics of each book, though, so no spoilers! Let’s get into it!

Winner's Curse Series Review

Check out the books on Goodreads:¬†The Winner’s Curse¬†|¬†The Winner’s Crime¬†|¬†The Winner’s¬†Kiss

What I Loved

  • KESTREL KESTREL KESTREL omg. She is one of my absolute favourite book characters–with such good reason. She’s such a strong character, and not in the traditional fighting and battling department (as we see nowadays). No, the thing I loved about her was the fact that she relied on only her brains. She was not thoroughly trained in the art of sword-fighting and etc (in fact she was not good at all) but that did not mean she was not able to protect herself, nor was she a weaker person for it. Her strength was found in her brains, and in her resilience and determination. She did not give up, did not stop fighting, and her sass thoughhhhh. All around love her, honestly.
  • Can I get an IRL Arin, please??!!
  • Seriously, though. He’s so awesome, albeit the fact that he made terrible decisions sometimes. But don’t they all?? I may absolutely adore Kestrel but Arin is no less of an important character. His love towards his people, and what he does to save them is so sweet and his love towards Kestrel!! That brings me to my next point which is:
  • THE ROMANCE. Agh. So so cute. And amazing. And sweet. And heartbreaking. Did I praise it enough yet? Basically, it was one of the best things ever. The hate-to-love trope appears in this one, and it was so well done! You can see, through each of the characters’ thoughts, how they slowly go from hatred to genuinely care and concern for each other, and the uncertainty behind what those feelings entail (primarily in the first book). My heart suffered so so much because of this, with us being left with a¬†will-they-won’t-they situation throughout the series.
  • The feelssssssss. Ahhhh there were so many. My heart was just a puddle, basically. It melted. (Rip)
  • The excitement! There was so much at stake here and I loved the thrill of reading all that happened. There wasn’t a single book in the series that didn’t have me sitting in anticipation of what happened next. The endings of the first two books always left me on such a cliffhanger, though!!
  • Oh but I LOVED THE ENDING SO SO MUCH. It was so so perfect.
  • But to finish the characters: Can I just say how much I adored Roshar??? We meet him first in the second book, I believe, but it’s really in the third book where I fell in love with his character. His and Arin’s relationship is just such an amazing bromance and ahhhhhh I love it.
  • But also the world is so fabulous! I loved how Marie Rutkoski made us really part of the world, and the politics, the description, the set up of everything made it a really great experience.
  • Her writing is also so great and I would totally read anything else she puts out. (Speaking of, when will she do it I NEED MORE)
  • But the amount of heartbreak it took to get there oh my lord.
  • Basically this series: Betrayal! Intrigue! Strategy! On how to kill people and make the life of the emperor miserable! All the good stuff. What are you waiting for?

What I Disliked (very very briefly because the list is minimal)

  • The pacing did feel off for me in certain books. I can’t pinpoint what it was exactly, but although the books were very concise and everything and the pacing were generally very fast and fit well, there was just something… off, sometimes. But honestly not a big deal at all.
  • That is literally it.
  • There may have been more things but they’re so insignificant I can’t remember them…

Final thoughts

Basically this trilogy is one of the best of ever and you MUST read it if you haven’t already! Go. Do it. The world is amazing, the writing is so good, you will (most probably) love the characters, and the story is just so interesting. And, also, just in case you were curious for the individual ratings:

AKA I LOVED THIS SERIES. ‚̧ ‚̧


So that’s it for this (kind of short) series review! Have you read this series? Are you a fan of the hate-to-love trope or no? Let me know your thoughts! ūüôā

Until the Next Meal, Analee

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Mini Reviews Galore: YA Contemporary Edition!

Oh my gosh I MISSED YOU GUYS!! It’s been so long since I’ve posted. ūüė¶ But I’m back for now, this time with something new on the blog, yay! So. You all know by now how terrible I am with keeping up with my reviews. Like, it’s not even possible to deny it at this point though I did try!¬†¬†As an effort to share my thoughts on the books I’ve been reading lately, however, I’ve decided to march into unfamiliar territory (for me, at least) and, instead of writing individual, lengthy reviews of my recent reads, I shall write up several mini-reviews, all in one post! Yes, I know I’m a genius. And yes, I do realize this isn’t my idea and I am one in thousands of people who have done this but shhhhh let me have my moment. Anyway, I thought this would be a much better and faster way to get down my thoughts on my most recent reads while they’re still relatively clear in my mind instead of adding them to the rest of my never-ending review pile. ūüėČ Coincidentally,¬†these books all have something in common; they’re all contemporary.. so that plays out nicely.

#Mini Reviews

Alright, let’s start with the first novel!


It's a Wonderful DeathIt’s a Wonderful Death by¬†Sarah J Schmitt

Publication Date: October 6th 2015
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Genre(s): Fantasy, Contemporary-ish, Young-Adult
Series Status:¬†N/A—Stand Alone
Page Count: 320
Source & Format: Borrowed, Hardcover
Critical Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old RJ always gets what she wants. So when her soul is accidentally collected by a distracted Grim Reaper, somebody in the afterlife better figure out a way to send her back from the dead or heads will roll. But in her quest for mortality, she becomes a pawn in a power struggle between an overzealous archangel and Death Himself. The tribunal presents her with two options: she can remain in the lobby, where souls wait to be processed, until her original lifeline expires, or she can replay three moments in her life in an effort to make choices that will result in a future deemed worthy of being saved. It sounds like a no-brainer. She’ll take a walk down memory lane. How hard can changing her future be?

But with each changing moment, RJ’s life begins to unravel, until this self-proclaimed queen bee is a social pariah. She begins to wonder if walking among the living is worth it if she has to spend the next sixty years as an outcast. Too quickly, RJ finds herself back in limbo, her time on Earth once again up for debate.

RJ is a snarky, unapologetic, almost unredeemable, very real girl. Her story is funny and moving, and teens will easily connect with her plight. Prepare to meet the Grim Reaper, who‚Äôs cuter than you‚Äôd expect; Hawaiian shirt‚Äďwearing Death Himself; Saint Peter (who likes to play Cornhole); and Al, the handler for the three-headed hound that guards the gates of Hell. This cast of characters accompanies RJ through her time in the afterlife and will do their best to gently shove her in the right direction.

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You know those times where you just stumble upon a random book, attracted by the cover and/or synopsis, and then you’re just…totally blown away by how much you enjoy the book afterwards? Yeah, well, that’s the situation with It’s a Wonderful Death by Sarah J. Schmitt. Prior to reading it, really, the only thing I knew about this book is that I vaguely recall seeing it before, and that it was published in 2015. Now, after reading it, I’m almost speechless as to how to accurately describe this book. Note I say ‘almost’. (Erm, as a general rule of thumb and fact about me:¬†I tend to have too much to say for that to ever happen…Just sayin.)

It's a wonderful death book review

“My life may have been short in time, but it was long in moments that mattered and in love. In the end, isn’t that what life is all about?”

Pros

  • Omg, RJ… <3.¬†Really, that’s all I can say. Jk, I have so much to say–Let’s just put it this way: She’s not¬†a good, innocent and nice character. She’s snarky, and flawed–oh, SO FLAWED, and also, very selfish and did I mention not nice? Oh, but she’s witty and¬†I loved her so much.¬†RJ was so evidently flawed, so perfectly imperfect, that I couldn’t help but root for her.
  • Oh, and talk about good character development! RJ learned and developed so much throughout the novel, and I loved that–though at the same time I found it kind of hard to believe she could change that quickly. But oh well. It all turned out good in the end. She was such a great protagonist!
  • RJ’s not the only character who shines: the secondary characters, though perhaps not as fleshed out as RJ, still added SO MUCH to the story and made it so entertaining. I loved so many of the characters, even the antagonist (though I simultaneously hated the antagonist as well).
  • Truthfully, this book makes me wish for its world to exist in real life. It was just such a fun concept! The whole Grim Reaper thing, Death Himself, Saint Peter.. they all mostly had distinct personalities and were so interesting. The afterlife concept was so refreshing and so much fun. Needless to say, I loved the world!
  • THE ENDING TO THIS THOUGH. Gawsh. I literally died. Well, not literally, but still. I think at one point this book had me emotional enough to be near the state of shedding a tear..? Although maybe that was because of the fact that I couldn’t find my stash of chocolate and was immensely¬†grieving.
  • But I digress. The ending to this, though emotionally frustrating, was oddly and ragingly perfect! It stayed so true to the book’s theme and morals-and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
  • Would you believe me if I said that this book has¬†NO ROMANCE? (The correct answer is yes, btw. I AM ALL-KNOWING. Also I read the book. So.) Being one of the people who has come across little to no books without romance in them, this was quite the discovery for me. I was actually always kind of expecting there to be one, as I read the book? But there wasn’t, and let me tell you, it didn’t affect the book. If there was a romance, actually I think it would’ve detracted from the story, to be honest!
  • I kind of adore this cover? It just looks so aesthetically pleasing. YES THIS IS A VALID REASON shh.

Cons

  • Despite the fact that I really loved the characters in this book, I can’t help but feel some were too cardboard cutout. Apart from RJ and maybe a few other characters, not many of the secondary characters got as much development, which was kind of disappointing.
  • As much as I loved RJ, I felt at times her too, was a bit cardboard. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because there are so many characters that are similar to her? I don’t know. But I guess I’m just saying she wasn’t exactly an original character? (But I still liked her, so I’m kind of conflicted. But whatever.)
  • The story overall isn’t that fast paced and at times it seemed kind of predictable? This didn’t directly affect my entertainment because I was really into the story, but it’s something I noticed.

Overall…

It’s a Wonderful Death turned out to be a wonderful surprise! The humor and wit in this novel and the overall messages and theme stuck with me long after the pages stopped flipping, and I simply enjoyed reading it so much. A story of doing the right thing, second chances, and the meaning of a worthwhile life, I definitely recommend this book for those looking for a fresh world and a snarky protagonist. This book merged elements of contemporary and fantasy so well, and was filled with so much heart–you should definitely pick it up! I know I’m glad that I did.


A Step Toward Falling by Cammie McGovernA Step Toward Falling

Publication Date: October 6th 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre(s): Contemporary, Young-Adult
Series Status:¬†N/A—Stand Alone
Page Count: 368
Source & Format: Borrowed, Hardcover
Critical Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Cammie McGovern follows up her breakout young adult debut,Say What You Will, with this powerful and unforgettable novel about learning from your mistakes, and learning to forgive. Told in alternating points of view, A Step Toward Falling is a poignant, hopeful, and altogether stunning work that will appeal to fans of Jennifer Nevin, Robyn Schneider, and Jandy Nelson.

Emily has always been the kind of girl who tries to do the right thing‚ÄĒuntil one night when she does the worst thing possible. She sees Belinda, a classmate with developmental disabilities, being attacked. Inexplicably, she does nothing at all.

Belinda, however, manages to save herself. When their high school finds out what happened, Emily and Lucas, a football player who was also there that night, are required to perform community service at a center for disabled people. Soon, Lucas and Emily begin to feel like maybe they’re starting to make a real difference. Like they would be able to do the right thing if they could do that night all over again. But can they do anything that will actually help the one person they hurt the most?

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I’ve never read anything by Cammie McGovern, though I’ve heard tons of great things about this and her other novel, Say What You Will. So when I saw this at the library the other day, I thought, why not? And although it was 100% flawless (not many books are, tbh, but the good ones are close :P) this book was still a good read–though I do wish it was more memorable!

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“Expectations are sad and complicated things.”

Ah, so true. Sadly I think I had a bit too high expectations for this one?

Pros

  • This story definitely had a good theme going on for it, and I loved the messages it gave! I also appreciated the little nod of diversity, as it included several characters with autism–we actually also get the perspective from one of them (Belinda). Although I wasn’t the biggest of Belinda for most of the story, admittedly, I did sympathize with her and liked her a lot more by the end.
  • Like I mentioned, we have several autistic characters, and characters with disabilities including Belinda, but I also liked the support in this book for the LGBT community. Speaking of which, I also really liked Emily’s friend, Richard! He was openly (or not openly, I’m not exactly sure tbh) gay and his friendship with Emily was nice to read.
  • Despite the¬†number of pages in this book (360-ish), this book was a very quick read! I’m not exactly sure what to credit that to, but I guess it was a mix of the characters and the writing? Both made the novel very easy and¬†interesting to read!
  • Like I briefly mentioned (or I might’ve not, I dunno), Cammie McGovern’s writing was really easy to get into! Even without the headings at the start of the chapter stating who the narrator was (either Emily or Belinda), it transitioned very smoothly and I was able to distinguish between the two. That’s not always easy to accomplish with dual narrators!

Cons

  • The main character, Emily was kind of bland and is easy to forget? Although I didn’t have any specific problem with her (in fact, as I mentioned, I did appreciate how some aspects of her character was kind of realisitic and well-written), it was the fact that she didn’t really make me compelled to follow her story.. she was just, okay.
  • Although the story overall was sweet and had its heart in the right place, I must admit I feel like it could’ve been better executed? Perhaps in a more memorable and powerful manner. I don’t know. I can’t seem to come up with many things that I remember strongly about this book despite having read it not-too long ago? I mean, my memory can be really bad, but it’s not that bad, you know? I just can’t come up with much. That’s probably not a good thing…
  • It’s so hard to review this, actually, because despite enjoying it when I read the book, I feel like there’s not much to say about it afterwards? Now, I feel more indifferent, I think, than I was before…? So I guess that counts as a negative thing. Honestly, I have no idea. Don’t listen to me I make no sense, ever.

Overall…

Enjoyable, but not mind-blowing. I think perhaps my expectations may have been set a bit too high? Possibly? Although I did enjoy reading the book and it hardly took much time to get through, the unfortunate fact that it isn’t as memorable afterwards definitely makes my rating go lower in terms of the critical aspect of things. This book did have some good diversity as well as shared a great¬†theme about how important it is to speak up and help others, so I definitely won’t be putting this off as a valueless read. I definitely think, though, that this might stick out more to other readers? Maybe it was just me who felt like my while-reading and after-reading feelings changed drastically. Final verdict: recommend to readers who enjoy contemporary!


What We Left BehindWhat We Left Behind by Robin Talley

Publication Date: October 27th 2015
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre(s): Contemporary, Young-Adult
Series Status:¬†N/A—Stand Alone
Page Count: 416
Source & Format: Borrowed, Hardcover
Critical Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:

From the critically acclaimed author of Lies We Tell Ourselvescomes an emotional, empowering story of what happens when love may not be enough to conquer all.

Toni and Gretchen are the couple everyone envied in high school. They’ve been together forever. They never fight. They‚Äôre deeply, hopelessly in love. When they separate for their first year at college‚ÄĒToni to Harvard and Gretchen to NYU‚ÄĒthey‚Äôre sure they‚Äôll be fine. Where other long-distance relationships have fallen apart, theirs is bound to stay rock-solid.

The reality of being apart, though, is very different than they expected. Toni, who identifies as genderqueer, meets a group of transgender upperclassmen and immediately finds a sense of belonging that has always been missing, but Gretchen struggles to remember who she is outside their relationship.

While Toni worries that Gretchen won‚Äôt understand Toni‚Äôs new world, Gretchen begins to wonder where she fits in Toni’s life. As distance and Toni‚Äôs shifting gender identity begins to wear on their relationship, the couple must decide‚ÄĒhave they grown apart for good, or is love enough to keep them together?

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#DiverseBook, right here! Gosh, this book. Drove me crazy part of the time, but I ended up liking it. What We Left Behind is an LGBTQ+ novel, and guys, that part was great! There were many positive things to this book, however I have to say the characterization and the diversity represented has got to be my favorite part of the novel. But there is much more to be said, so… let’s get onto the full list!

What We Left Behind book review

Pros

  • So much sexual and racial diversity! We have Gretchen, decidedly into girls, and Toni, who at the start of the novel identifies as genderqueer and is into girls as well (though she spends most of the novel switching and trying to figure out her true sexual orientation). Oh, not to mention the secondary characters! What I loved about them was that they were all so realistic. When Toni and Gretchen make new friends at their respective universities, we have (if I’m not mistaken), an African-American, a Korean, and different ethnicities as well as sexualities all represented–without making it a big deal. Phew. Okay. That was a lot of rambling. Case in point: Robin Talley mastered the diversity in this novel! Moving on.
  • I loved Gretchen! I liked Toni by the end, and I did sympathize with her quite a bit, but I found Gretchen to be easier to root for as well as more likeable. I spent half the time so frustrated at Toni, which made it kind of hard to go through her POV–but I didn’t have much trouble with Gretchen. I felt so bad for her, and also admired her for being such a positive person overall.
  • Yay for friendship! Both Toni and Gretchen make several friends, and I loved seeing these relationships. Seeing such amazing friendships was just so positive and made the characters stronger and the overall story stronger too. It was also great to see how realistically the friendships were portrayed as well–they had fights and it wasn’t always easy, but at the end of the day, they all had eachother’s backs and I just felt like that was such a great message to send.
  • Another amazing thing was the many messages and positive themes touched on during the novel. Through the characters’ journeys, we see the different perspectives on how being trans/genderqueer/any-other-sexual-orientation can affect your life and the lives of the people around you. How important it is to figure out who you are without hurting others.¬†Through Toni and Gretchen, we see how difficult it is for some people to truly figure out who they are, and the pressure and difficulties that distance can cause for a relationship. All this and more was explored and I loved What You Left Behind for that so much!

Cons

  • Like I mentioned, I liked Toni, but I wasn’t always her biggest fan. It was actually kind of hard to get through her POV at times because I was just so frustrated with her? I can’t exactly say whether it’s a “me, not you” issue or the other way around–I mean, I sympathized with her, but at the same time I didn’t? So that was difficult. But I did appreciate her character and sympathized with her struggles. I know it must not have been easy, but I just felt she could’ve gone at everything a bit differently?
  • The plot… well, I found it difficult to exactly pinpoint the storyline most of the time. I mean, it’s not that it was boring–the characters keep it interesting–but the plot wasn’t very directed towards anything. It felt kind of freelance, kind of like the story was finding its direction as it went along. Nothing wrong with that, except it¬†was kind of hard to get into it at times and be swept into the story. At times.
  • I feel like I’m missing something.. but I can’t figure out what it is? Oh well.

Overall…

What We Left Behind is a thought-provoking and wonderfully sexually diverse novel that will make readers reflect on what is truly is like to discover who we are and coping with the many difficulties that comes with both long-distance relationships as well as being who you are. Through the many characters and Toni and Gretchen, we see all this and more, making What You Left Behind a perfect read for those looking for a slower-paced, character-driven contemporary about sexuality and discovering who you are. A good read, for sure! Definitely recommend for people who are into contemporary. ‚̧


Tell Me Three ThingsTell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Publication Date: April 5th 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, Young-Adult
Series Status:¬†N/A—Stand Alone
Page Count: 336
Source & Format: Borrowed, Hardcover
Critical Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith‚ÄĒor an act of complete desperation‚ÄĒJessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can‚Äôt help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

Julie Buxbaum mixes comedy and tragedy, love and loss, pain and elation, in her debut YA novel filled with characters who will come to feel like friends.

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This book has LITERALLY been getting SO MUCH pre-release buzz. No joke. At first I thought it was only me who kept seeing this book at every turn on the blogosphere, but nope, this book actually has been getting a lot of hype. So naturally, I was curious! And I decided to pick it up. Aaaaaannndd… I adored it. Probably wasn’t a surprise to anyone? But seriously, this book is actually REALLY good. And of course I shall tell you why!

Tell Me Three Things book review

“You know what I heart? Nutella. And pajama pants. And an awesomesauce book. Not necessarily in that order, but together.”

(ERM YESSS! One of the many reasons I adored Jessie…not even sorry. She is fabulous.)

Pros

Okay, well I guess it would only make sense to start off with three things! Har har I’m so funny. Not.

1) I freaking love this book. But I think I already told you that. So I shall tell you why–IT WAS FABULOUS. In basically every way. The characters, the plot, the writing. I fell in love with it all!

  • For one, Jessie was SO AMAZING. Honestly. I loved her as a protagonist so much! It was so easy to relate to her personality, she had a great sense of humour and she came off as so real, to me. She wasn’t a cardboard cutout, wasn’t one-dimensional. She had flaws, she occasionally made some huge mistakes, and she wasn’t perfect. Which is why, naturally, she was perfect!
  • Although this book placed a lot of effort in building characters and relationships and everything, the plot was quite hooking, despite being perhaps completely ordinary at first glance. I really loved the whole concept of internet friendship, and all the things that went down, Jessie and her stepbrother bonding (and clashing), the stepmother, Jessie and her father, everything.
  • Eeeee, the writing!! Nothing that unusual, written in a conversational tone that was both witty and simple at the same time. I especially loved how the writing reflected Jessie’s character–just like it should be. Not to mention I gobbled up the bits and pieces of Jessie and SN’s email/IM conversations. I lived for those, honestly.

2) I could not, for the sake of anything, put down this book. Thank god it was a Friday night when I started this book, because otherwise I would’ve been screwed the next day! XD But seriously. This book was so addicting. I can’t even exactly explain why? It just was.

3) This ain’t no fluffy contemporary. Trust me, I love those, but this was so unique, so real and deep and insightful. And to find a book like this one, with so many other amazing things, was just… ‚̧

Cons

  • Okay, so this isn’t directly a negative thing, just maybe something to keep in mind.. The storyline is kind of predictable? I was able to guess the ending waaaaayyyy before it happened, however it was still entertaining to see it all play out! What was frustrating is that it took SUCH a long time for Jessie to figure it out… sigh. What to do though, I still love her!
  • Erm. Nothing else tbh.
  • OH! Wait, there’s one thing; despite the fact that all the characters in this are extremely well-developed, I wasn’t the biggest fan of how.. (I forget her name…) was so.. one-dimensional. She was just the mean girl. Period. And that’s fine, but… still. Deja vu, from, like, literally every book and movie in existence. So.

Overall…

Tell Me Three Things is an absolute must-read¬†for any contemporary reader, and even for readers who don’t dabble often in contemporary! It’s just such a cute and sweet story while still being meaningful and a really heart-felt story. Jessie’s character will no doubt make you smile, despite the frustration you may also feel at her occasional naievty. She is definitely one of my favourite protagonists from contemporary novels, I think. I also really loved the whole concept of this book! It’s a super quick read and I definitely recommend. GO READ IT, Y’ALL.


OneOne by Sarah Crossan

Publication Date: September 15th 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Genre(s): Contemporary, Young-Adult
Series Status:¬†N/A—Stand Alone
Page Count: 400
Source & Format: Borrowed, Hardcover
Critical Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Grace and Tippi. Tippi and Grace. Two sisters. Two hearts. Two dreams. Two lives. But one body.

Grace and Tippi are conjoined twins, joined at the waist, defying the odds of survival for sixteen years. They share everything, and they are everything to each other. They would never imagine being apart. For them, that would be the real tragedy.

But something is happening to them. Something they hoped would never happen. And Grace doesn’t want to admit it. Not even to Tippi.

How long can they hide from the truth‚ÄĒhow long before they must face the most impossible choice of their lives?

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When I first heard of this book, back in 2015, I immediately put it to my TBR once I heard of what it’s about–conjoined twins. Not only had I never read a book dealing with this topic, it seemed so intriguing and so emotional. And it was. So emotional and so incredible. Not only was the topic dealt with finesse (the author did her research and I am so so happy for that), this book resonated with me SO MUCH and the writing was absolutely beautiful. It was written in verses, some kind of poetic thing? I know nothing about poetry (NOTHING, I tell you) but this was so amazing. But anyway, I’m rambling. Here is a list of all my thoughts, pretty much.

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Here
We Are.

And we are living.

Isn’t that amazing?

How we manage
to be
at all.

(Literally how the book starts off, and how it’s basically formatted for the whole book. Surprised? Well, let me tell you: it works!)

Pros

  • The WRITING, omg. Let’s just get this cleared up: I am the absolute worst, or one of the worst, when it comes to writing or deciphering poetry. I mean, I dabbled in some, for school and stuff, but that’s it. So when I was flipping through the book and saw the formatting of the words, and only verses, I was a bit wary as to whether I’d like it. And gosh. I need not have worried! IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL and it worked. So much. It was perfect, actually. I flew through it!
  • Tippi and Graceeeeee!! I sympathized so much. It was so difficult for them? Having to deal on a daily basis the fact that they were different from everyone else, and the problems them being conjoined twins caused, etc etc. I loved both their characters quite a bit, and really enjoyed reading from Grace’s POV (though I wouldn’t have minded Tippi’s). They were both so different yet worked so well together and aghhhh the sibling love. ‚̧
  • I loved reading about Grace and Tippi’s family as well–¬†they all went through so much, and despite the times where I might’ve not liked a certain character (the dad, if you were curious), it all made so much sense in the end and I loved seeing the family dynamics, no matter how imperfect they were. (Both parents got laid off work, I believe, the dad was an alcoholic, Tippi and Grace’s younger sister Dragon had to work extra for cash and was anorexic, etc etc.)
  • THE ENDING. Agh. My hearttttttt. It made me so sad yet at the same time I just felt like it captured perfectly how precious life can be, and how it can be so unfair and so cruel yet.. the opposite of that too. Omg. I’m still not over the ending…despite how perfect it may have been for the story!

Cons

  • The plot may have been mildly predictable?? Like, I wasn’t able to predict things exactly, but I had the general idea of how the story would go before it happened (and I was right). So. This wasn’t necessarily a REALLY bad thing, but… (*that awkward moment where you don’t want to admit that a book you really loved had a flaw*)
  • Despite the fact that the romance was oh-so-fabulous and all the more adorable, I.. dunno, just wasn’t as into it as I’d thought? I mean, while reading it was fine, but now, reflecting back on it, it was more… meh. *shrugs* But whatever. It wasn’t the whole point of the story?

Overall…

You really really really really really really should read this book, if only to talk to me later about what you think of it!! Because that is important–I loved this book, and I would love even more to see what others think of it. ‘Cause seriously, this book has so much going for it, and overall felt very unique in terms of concept and writing. I also don’t doubt that this will put a lot of readers in quite the emotional state by the end! Ahhh my heart is still attempting to heal. Just kidding but not really. So basically: you must read this!¬†


*breathes* Glad that’s over! Jk, I had lots of fun rambling my thoughts on these books. But wow, that’s a lot of words! So much I bet you guys didn’t read half of them, hmm? Don’t worry, I don’t blame you. I spewed nonsense 95% of the time in this post. Except for the 5% where I actually give you info on what these books are actually like–which is basically, amazing! Seriously, I know I probably rendered the whole use of 4 stars and 4.5 stars meaningless by how much I used them today, but hey. What can I say? I really loved these books. (Read: which means you must read them too so we can flail over how amazing they are. Ahem.) But now, let me know your thoughts! Which of these books have you read? Which piques your interests the most? TELL ME so I can squeal at you all some more about how much you HAVE to read these books. Let us discuss!

Until the Next Meal, Analee

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas | Book Review

(Throne of Glass #1)

Published: August 2nd 2012

Synopsis:

Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly.
Destined for greatness.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament‚ÄĒfighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin‚Äôs heart be melted?


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My Rating: 4.5 Stars 4.5/5 (Amazing)

Book Information

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Genre(s): Fantasy, Young-Adult

Page Count: 404

Format: Paperback


Hello! Today I have for you a review on Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, the first book in the epic fantasy series of the same name. Since Queen of Shadows (SO EXCITED), the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series, is being released very soon (September 1st, to be precise) and I plan to read it as soon as I receive it (I pre-ordered it), me being me, I decided I had to review the previous three books. So here I am, with a review on the first book, from where the adventure all started!

I’m usually terrible at reviewing a book in a series¬†when I’ve already read its accompanying sequels (and it was a while back too) but I’ll be giving it my best shot! To write a more accurate review,¬†I’m going to be [attempting] writing the review from the viewpoint of when I first read it,¬†without the knowledge of the events in the second and third book.¬†Let’s get on with it!

Plot

I love this story so much!¬†Everything about it had me addicted. However, one thing that might irk some readers is the fact that it isn’t constantly in action. There is action, though, if you’re patient enough to stick with the story. From the very first page we’re thrown right into the story, and from there the plot and storyline builds up everything rather slowly (but artfully) to its end point where all hell breaks loose. I found myself enraptured with the whole story, even if we were at some point where it wasn’t exactly an active scene. (And there was magic included! Magic! I absolutely love when there is magic involved in a story, there are so many open gates for the author, and the reader, to explore which allows for quite the enticing story.) There was just enough going on¬†(despite the lack of constant action) in the book, what with the incredible world-building, the romance, the mystery, the magic, and it all flowed together seamlessly. It was truly magical!

Characters

“My name is Celaena Sardothien. But it makes no difference if my name’s Celaena or Lillian or Bitch, because I’d still beat you, no matter what you call me.”

I loved Celaena. She is everything I love in a strong female protagonist and more! She is by no means perfect, but her personality (a mix of fierce, arrogant and feminine) is perfect for her occupation and is quite endearing, if I’m to be honest. Her wit and sarcastic nature led to amusing¬†interactions with other characters, which I truly enjoyed quite a bit! But what I love about her the most is the fact that she’s an amazing representation of a strong, female lead. How? Well. I know lots of readers think negatively of the fact that Celaena¬†comments positively on her own looks, and think that makes her arrogant and selfish. But while Celaena may be arrogant (she says so herself if I’m not mistaken), is being confident in her looks a bad thing? There are so many female leads out there who are insecure about how they look, and I loved how Celaena wasn’t like that.

In short, Celaena Sardothien was blessed with a handful of attractive features that compensated for the majority of average ones; and, by early adolescence, she’d discovered that with the help of cosmetics, these average features could easily match the extraordinary assets.

Also, did I mention she loved books? Yep, along with being one of Erilea’s most feared assassins, she’s an avid reader.

“Libraries were full of ideas‚Äďperhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.”

Despite being who she was (a self-confident and kick-butt assassin) she was so relatable and girly, even. Which is, of course, another thing that puts her apart from other characters. She proves that you can be feminine and still be a badass, and be a badass and still be feminine. Amazing, really, when you think about how few books there are with characters like that.

Next we have Prince Dorian Havilliard, who wasn’t completely what I expected. He was a typical character in that his princely roles, obligations and duties were familiar (needed to marry, obey his father, etc. etc.) but I did not expect to like him as much as I did. He wasn’t a stuck-up and arrogant snob (well, not too arrogant, at least) like some royals I can name (*Cough* Eadlyn *cough*), but instead a caring and thoughtful person. He is quite charming and his and Celaena’s interactions were quite cute and fun to read. However there is a teensy little problem…

…Which comes in the name and form of Chaol Westfall, Captain of the Guard. He is amazing. I loved him, really. He’s all scowling and gloomy, but really, he has a heart of gold. So why wouldn’t I love him? (I’m almost not even joking, he’s simply to die for.) His interactions with Celaena are more different than the ones she had with Dorian, but no less entertaining and cute to read about. Their relationship is more subtle, and really, more stronger in my opinion! Though do not let my judgement influence you. ūüėČ Overall, Chaol is still a total cutie pie!

Writing Style

“Sometimes, the wicked will tell us things just to confuse us‚Äďto haunt our thoughts long after we’ve faced them.”

I refuse to believe this is the debut of Sarah J. Maas.¬†Nope. The writing in this novel was absolutely fantastic. First off, I loved how the world was written; we aren’t given, like, heaps and mounts of information on this world we’re in, but we’re able (or at least *I* was able) to imagine the world we’re in, understand its history and what it’s like. And I loved that, because often in books of the fantasy genre, it’s hard to fully get a grip on the world we’re in, but for Throne of Glass, it was like second skin. Another thing I loved about the writing was that it was seemed so poetic and flowed so nicely with the tone and mood of the book. It was effortless, reading this book, and I enjoyed reading it so much because it was written so nicely!

Book Trailer

Overall…

This is a book you should not, under any circumstances, pass on, because it is truly wonderful. The plot is crafted so well that although it isn’t jam-packed with action (trust me, there’s plenty of that in the next book) it’s compelling and incredibly hard to resist. For me, anyway. It might take some time to get into it for some, but it’s definitely worth your time! I absolutely loved the characters, especially Celaena and the love interests, because they were created marvelously! Celaena is a fantastic representation of feminine badass assassin, and we definitely need more female leads who are confident and not insecure of who they are. She may be seen as arrogant, but that so-called arrogance¬†gives her the ability to acknowledge her strenghts, something that countless other characters undermine. This was simply so refreshing! There is a love triangle, but it is more subtle and doesn’t take over the whole plot, and instead provides some excitement and emotional attachment from the reader. The writing is poetic and perfectly fits the story. Really, must I go on? I say not, because bottom line is: this book is fantastic. And I must say, if you do not at least give a chance¬†to this book/series, I shall be quite offended and will unfriend you. ūüėõ Just kidding. But still. I command you to read it!!

Have you read this book? If you have, I shall be quite sad if you don’t join in on my fangirling!! (Especially with Queen of Shadows being released very soon!) And even if you haven’t, I will be equally sad if you don’t leave a taste of your thoughts on whether you will read the book or not. ūüėČ Bottom line: talk to me! I’d love to hear from you. ‚̧

Now, I’m off to bed! I think I’m kind of sleep-deprived right now… Enjoy your day/night, bookworms! Just remember, this book must be gobbled up asap. ūüėÄ

Analee 10

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‚Äôs fun and energetic‚ÄĒand doesn‚Äôt 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‚Äôs journals only stirs up old emotions, and Ryden‚Äôs 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‚Äôt 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‚Äôt 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‚Äôre 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‚Äôre 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

All I’ve Never Wanted by Ana Huang | Blog Tour Review + Giveaway

(Stand-Alone)

Published: June 15th 2015

Synopsis:

The Scions were the four richest, most powerful guys at Valesca Academy, and they ruled the school with iron fists. Everyone wanted to date them or be them…everyone, that is, except Maya Lindberg, who just wanted to avoid them until she could graduate.

She almost succeeded, until an ill-advised outburst on her part put her right in the Scions’ path. Just like that, one became her fake boyfriend, one her unwanted matchmaker, one her guardian angel, and the one she couldn’t stand the most? Yeah, he’s her new housemate.

A Young Adult romantic comedy that explores what happens when a girl gets everything she never asked for, including a puppy, a new wardrobe, and, possibly, even true love.


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My Rating: 4.5 Stars 4.5/5 (Amazing)

Book Information

Genre(s): Romantic Comedy, Contemporary, Young-Adult

Page Count: 329

Format: e-book

Purchase:

Amazon‚ĒāBarnes & Noble ‚ĒāKobo Books ‚ĒāiBooks


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Welcome to my review tour stop of All I’ve Never Wanted by Ana Huang, hosted by YA Bound Book Tours.

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

Boy, am I glad I read this! This was a great contemporary novel, full of humour, romance and simply wonderful characters! The book is actually based from the Japanese manga series named Hana yori Dango or Boys Over Flowers.

Quick Summary

All I’ve Never Wanted follows Maya Lindberg, a high school student who has no interest in the Scions, her school’s most popular guys;¬†Zack Perry, Carlo Tevasco, Parker Remington, and their leader, Roman Fiori. But after an unintentional mistake, Maya now has so much more than what she’s ever wanted.

Plot

Oh my god, I just completely fell in love with this plot. It was simply so addicting, and I had so much fun reading it! There was plenty of humour, romance and simply that touch of special that made me want to keep reading, at all times. What I especially loved was the comedic aspect of it. The author has a great sense of humour! I usually don’t laugh out loud reading books (I do have a sense of humour though! Or at least, I like to think. LOL.) but I did reading this one. Not to mention the fake-boyfriend idea. I haven’t read many books with the fake-boyfriend thing, to be honest, the ones I mostly remember are To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han [review], and The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West [review]. But now I can add this one to the list! And this book put a twist on it too. Well, you can kind of expect the twist, but still. It was different. To me, anyway.
All in all, the plot was great! I loved it.

Characters

Ahhhh the characters were the best part for me, I think. I simply fell in love with each and every one of them! Although I have to admit, I did get a few Twilight flashbacks in how the characters were set up. The Scions are kind of like the Cullens, you know? Rich, attractive, mysterious and all. Not to mention Roman’s temper definitely matches Edward. And Adriana, one of the Scions’ sister, reminded me a lot of Alice Cullen.
But Maya, while she’s technically in the role of Bella, she wasn’t. At all. Maya was totally awesome; smart, sarcastic, witty and rebellious, and she just cracked me up! She made stupid mistakes, sure, and her jealousy in some parts of the book might get on your nerves, but she’s not one of those girls who just let people (the Scions) push her around, and I loved her strong nature. It was great to see her develop over the course of the book, and it was so easy to connect with her, even though we don’t actually have as much in common. Maya was simply likeable. You just had to like her. At least, I did.

The Scions were awesome too. I especially liked Carlo and Parker, as well as Roman and Zack. Carlo was simply so nice and sweet! I can smile just of thinking of him, he does such nice things for Maya and is simply great. Parker… he’s one of those guys. The players. But he’s still super awesome, and¬†I loved how he just went along with everything, no questions asked. I smile just of thinking about him too. Really, I smile thinking of all the Scions, but that’s besides the point. Roman is a jerk, I’ll tell you that. We get chapters in his POV, and at first, I really felt like chucking him with a baseball bat all the way to… Africa or something. Or maybe Antarctica. We’ll see how he survives there. His temper sometimes got on my nerves, and his jealousy was kind of annoying… but still sweet too. But by the end of the book, I’m happy to say I really liked him! It was great seeing him change his attitude. Lastly, Zack! He was really funny, his light, care-free personality really made me smile, almost all the time.

As for the other characters, I just loved Maya’s grandmother! She was hilarious, I burst out laughing in several¬†of her scenes. She was just too funny. XD Maya’s friend Venice was great too, I liked how supportive she was of Maya.

Writing Style

All I’ve Never Wanted is in 3rd person, generally in Maya’s POV. There are also some¬†chapters in several of the Scions’ POVs. I liked this set-up, as it kind of gave different perspectives that were both interesting to read. I wouldn’t say the writing style is for everyone,¬†but I did really enjoy it, it was easy to read, flowed nicely and kept me hooked into the story. I will definitely be looking into more stuff from this author! ūüôā

Overall…

All I’ve Never Wanted was such a great contemporary story! I haven’t watched the Japanese¬†manga series this book was based on, (called Hana yori Dango, or, Boys Over Flowers) due to lack of time, mostly, but I’d really like to! Although I’m kind of glad I didn’t, as it gave me a chance to read this book without having my mind automatically compare to it. I loved the¬†fake-boyfriend idea in this book, along with the awesome characters. This book did give me some Twilight vibes, but I assure you, for Twilight-haters, it wasn’t bad at all. Maya was a wonderful protagonist; witty, smart and sarcastic, what more could you ask for? The writing style was really good too, which was an added bonus. All in all, if you’re looking for a book with humour, a witty protagonist, great characters and a cute and hot romance, this book is definitely for you. I’m so glad I read this book!

Hungry? Well you should be! You simply have to gobble it up, it’s all you’ve ever wanted.

Analee 10


About the Author:

Ana Huang, better known as ACRL37 on Wattpad, primarily writes Young Adult and Romance. She started writing her first novel, All I’ve Never Wanted, when she was sixteen; it was originally inspired by the Asian manga Hana Yori Dango (also known as Meteor Garden and Boys Over Flowers). Her second novel, If We Ever Meet Again, was loosely based on her own study abroad experiences in college. Her stories currently have a combined view of over 20 million on Wattpad.

Besides reading and writing, she also enjoys politics, brunch, and traveling.

Author Links:

Wattpad‚ĒāGoodreads ‚ĒāTwitter ‚ĒāFacebook


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Wash Me Away by Wendy Owens | Book Review

(Stand-Alone)

Published: April 27th 2015

Synopsis:

Monsters have a way of following you.

Immersed in a new world at boarding school, Addy Buckley learns she’s not the only one with secrets. While trying to navigate the minefield of painful lies that seem to be rattling around her family’s past, she meets soft on the eyes and heavy on the heart, Napoleon Blake.

When faced with the darkness, Addy must decide to cling to her new life and friends or let the monster carry her away. The choice is hers, sink or swim.


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My Rating: 4.5 Stars 4.5/5 (Amazing)

Book Information

Publisher: Four Bean Soup LLC

Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Page Count: 239

Format: e-book


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

I honestly didn’t expect to enjoy this as much as I did. I had so many feels reading this book, and this book was¬†so beautiful, telling the story of a girl dealing with suicide and finding love.

Quick Summary

Addison (Addy)’s life hasn’t been easy. Navigating life while discovering shocking family secrets isn’t too simple, especially paired with Napoleon Blake, who Addy finds herself falling for more every day. When it all becomes too much, will Addy be able to make the right choice?

Plot

I actually realized after reading this book that I haven’t read many books dealing with suicide. The most notable one I can remember is All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (which I loved, by the way) and now, this one. I really liked the plot for this book. You know those kind of books that are completely unique to you but still like other books you read? That’s how it is, I kind of¬†had a few John Green flashbacks, but overall Wash Me Away was its own touching story. I loved the storyline, learning about Addison’s backstory, as she falls in love, fights her demons, and my emotions were all over the place when reading this, because the plot really got to me. The climax especially had me on the tip of my toes, I’d become so attached to the story that I was deeply affected with what happens. (I know, I’m very cryptic, aren’t I?).
What I think could’ve been handled a bit better would be the suicide aspect of this book, because even though I knew Addy was dealing with thoughts of suicide, it was a bit less focused on for the first part of the book, and a bit more focused on the romance instead. But overall, the plot was really enjoyable.

Characters

I’m not really sure how to explain how I felt about the characters. I’ll tell you right away that I loved Napoleon Blake, the love interest in the story. His and Addy’s interactions together were just so cute, (especially this one) and their romance wasn’t a fast, hot¬†romance, it was more of a¬†sweet-instead-of-sexy kind of thing. And I loved it! Leo was just so lovable, and full of life, yet he has his own secrets that I really enjoyed finding out.

As for Addy herself, I just loved her as well. I wasn’t expecting to grow so attached to her when I first started the book, but by the end I was rooting for her quite hard. She went through so much and despite her traumatic childhood, remained innocent and so kind. It was truly heartbreaking to read about her pain, her belief that she’s a monster. I was taken on a huge emotional roller coaster as she started to fall in love despite the demons chasing her, watching her heart slowly mend, watching the pain become lighter. Addy wasn’t perfect, but she felt real,¬†and she really touched my heart.

Writing Style

My tears mix with the rain, and I imagine them sinking into the earth, carrying my secrets and shame with them.

Wash Me Away had such beautiful writing, I couldn’t help but love it. Wendy Owens really showed the pain, the feelings of Addison, and did so with prose and a quotable style. Addy’s thoughts were simply so raw, the thoughts of a person who has seen and been through too much. She’s a good and smart person, but broken, and the writing really shows the effects of that. The writing was quite easy to read, and I simply flew through the pages.

Overall…

A remarkable story that not only tells a story of a girl with a traumatic past and dealing with suicide, but also a story of recovery and romance, and how there is hope under all the darkness. An emotional story, this book tugged at the heartstrings, and made me fall in love with the characters, especially Addy and Leo. The characters were so easy to root for, and I just loved the writing style. All in all, a great contemporary romance featuring a touching story with a broken protagonist struggling to fight her demons.

This book is one you don’t want to wash away. Eat it up!

-A

Love, Rosie by Cecelia Ahern (AKA Where Rainbows End) | Book Review

(Stand-Alone)

Published: February 1st 2005

Synopsis:

¬†Sometimes you have to look at life in a whole new way…

From the bestselling author of PS, I Love You comes a delightfully enchanting novel about what happens when two people who are meant to be together just can’t seem to get it right.

Rosie and Alex are destined for one another, and everyone seems to know it but them. Best friends since childhood, their relationship gets closer by the day, until Alex gets the news that his family is leaving Dublin and moving to Boston. At 17, Rosie and Alex have just started to see each other in a more romantic light. Devastated, the two make plans for Rosie to apply to colleges in the U.S.

She gets into Boston University, Alex gets into Harvard, and everything is falling into place, when on the eve of her departure, Rosie gets news that will change their lives forever: She’s pregnant by a boy she’d gone out with while on the rebound from Alex.

Her dreams for college, Alex, and a glamorous career dashed, Rosie stays in Dublin to become a single mother, while Alex pursues a medical career and a new love in Boston. But destiny is a funny thing, and in this novel, structured as a series of clever e-mails, letters, notes, and a trail of missed opportunities, Alex and Rosie find out that fate isn’t done with them yet.

From the gifted author of PS, I Love You comes this charming, romantic, addictively page-turning novel that will keep readers laughing and guessing until the very last page.


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My Rating: 4.5 Stars 4.5/5 (Amazing)

Book Information

Publisher: Hyperion

Genre(s): Young-adult fiction, romance

Format: e-book


Hi there! Like all my pending reviews, this is way overdue, but oh well. At least it’s here now. Anyway, I absolutely loved this book! There’s nothing more to say. It was amazing. (The featured image is the book cover for Where Rainbows End, before it was renamed Love, Rosie. I just thought the cover looked prettier.) ūüôā

Quick summary

Rosie & Alex have been best friends since forever, and when they got older they start to see eachother in a more romantic light. But when a mistake causes Rosie to become pregnant with a rebound guy, Rosie’s hopes and dreams are crushed as she becomes a single mother. On the other hand, Alex is on his way to a successful future and a new love. But fate has something different planned for the two best friends…Read More »

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi | Book Review

(Shatter Me #1)

Published: October 2nd 2012 (first published November 15th 2011)

Synopsis:

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war ‚Äď and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she‚Äôs exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.


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My Rating: 4.5 Stars 4.5/5 (Amazing)

Book Information

Publisher: Harper Collins

Genre(s): Young-adult sci-fi, dystopia

Page Count: 340

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 0062085506


Used for the Popsugar challenge: A Book Written by Someone Under 30

I finished Shatter Me… I don’t even remember anymore,¬†which is a clear sign that I should’ve posted this review way before.

Anyway, I really enjoyed Shatter Me! I’ve heard a lot of hype¬†around this book for a while now, and in case you didn’t understand from my rating, my expectations have been met. ūüėČ

Quick Summary.

Juliette has a power. A curse. A gift. Whatever you want to call it. Whenever she touches someone, the worst pain beholds the person,¬†or even worse, they die. So she’s been locked up, isolated from people. Then one day, she has a cellmate.¬†From there on, everything Juliette thought she knew is being questioned, and she’s faced with a choice. A choice that will shape her future.Read More »

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray | Book Review

(Firebird #1)

Published: October 7th 2014

Synopsis:

Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray.

Marguerite Caine‚Äôs physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite‚Äôs father is murdered, the killer‚ÄĒher parent‚Äôs handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul‚ÄĒescapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can‚Äôt let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul‚Äôs guilt‚ÄĒand her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father‚Äôs death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.


A Thousand Pieces of You_bookcover
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My Rating: 4.5 Stars 4.5/5 (Amazing)

Book Information

Publisher: HarperCollins

Genre(s): Young-adult fiction, sci-fi

Page Count: 360

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 0062357697


Used for the Popsugar challenge: A book based on its cover

Hi there! I finished this book a while back, and was supposed to have finished and posted this review long before now. But, I haven’t, and as I absolutely loved this book, I’m excited to finally post my review on A Thousand Pieces of You!

Quick Summary

So basically, the main character, Marguerite, and her friend Theo, goes off in a search of vengeance for a friend of the family, Paul, who she believes to have killed her father and stolen her parents’ most important creation, the Firebird (which allows the wearer to travel to different dimensions). In those different dimensions she encounters obstacles that prevent her from leaving the dimensions, and faces even more obstacles, while getting nowhere with the whole revenge thing. When she starts to question everything she knew, she finds that the mystery surrounding her father’s death was even more malevolent than she thought.Read More »

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West| Book Review

(Stand-Alone)

Published: May 5th 2015

Synopsis:

When Gia Montgomery’s boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she’d been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend‚ÄĒ two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it’s not the real Bradley she’s thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn’t even know. But tracking him down doesn’t mean they’re done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend’s graduation party ‚ÄĒ three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.


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My Rating: 4.5 Stars 4.5/5 (Amazing)

Book Information

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre(s): Young-adult fiction, romance, contemporary

Page Count: 352

Format: E-book

ISBN: 0062336398


Used for the Popsugar challenge: A book finished in a day

Hey there! I should’ve posted this review (along with, like, 8 more) way before, but for some reason I haven’t been able to write good reviews the past weeks. Hopefully this is passable. ūüôā

The Fill-In Boyfriend was an amazing contemporary read. It was, without a doubt, fun, enjoyable and hooking, while being based on a plot of being superficial and a girl fight, basically.

Quick Summary

Gia, the main character, just had her boyfriend break-up with her. On prom night, no less. The biggest problem with the break-up is that Gia’s friends will see her dateless. Jules, a girl in Gia’s friends group, is constantly trying to out Gia, beat her somehow, and thinks Gia was lying about her boyfriend. Not wanting to lose her friends’ friendship, Gia brings in a fill-in boyfriend, who acts as if Bradley. As Gia starts to care about fill-in Bradley, Gia’s lies and friendships all threaten to come apart.

Read More »

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han | Book Review

(To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #1)

Published: April 15th 2015 (originally on January 1st 2o14)

Synopsis:

Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her.

They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her, these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved‚ÄĒfive in all. When she writes, she can pour out her heart and soul and say all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.


To All the Boys I've Loved Before_bookcover
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My Rating: 4.5 Stars 4.5/5 (Amazing)

Book Information

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Genre(s): Young-adult fiction, romance

Page Count: 355

Format: Hardcover

ISBN: 1442426705


Hi there! Hope y’all having a good Friday! Today I’m here with a review on To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. I was technically supposed to be finishing the reviews on books I’ve read for the Popsugar challenge, but as I’ve recently finished re-reading this, I felt like writing a review on this instead.

I could easily give this a 5 star rating, because this book was amazing. I loved it. I literally couldn’t put it down, even as I was reading it the second time. I barely got any sleep! I just kept reading, and reading,and reading, even though I didn’t want to as I’d be left on a cliffhanger and I’d have to die waiting for the next book to come out (on May 26, nooooo).Read More »

Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick | Book Review

(Hush, Hush Saga #4)

Published: October 23rd, 2012 (originally January 1st 2012)

Synopsis:

Will love conquer all?

Nora and Patch thought their troubles were behind them. Hank is gone and they should be able to put his ugly vendetta to rest. But in Hank’s absence, Nora has become the unwitting head of the Nephilim and must finish what Hank began. Which ultimately means destroying the fallen angels – destroying Patch.

Nora will never let that happen, so she and Patch make a plan: lead everyone to believe they have broken up, and work the system from the inside. Nora will convince the Nephilim that they are making a mistake in fighting the fallen angels, and Patch will find out everything he can from the opposing side. They will end this war before it can even begin.

But the best-laid plans often go awry. Nora is put through the paces in her new role and finds herself drawn to an addictive power she never anticipated.

As the battle lines are drawn, Nora and Patch must confront the differences that have always been between them and either choose to ignore them or let them destroy the love they have always fought for.


Finale_bookcover 2
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My Rating: 4.5 Stars 4.5/5 (Amazing)

Book Information

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Genre(s): Young-adult Paranormal Romance

Page Count: 454

Format: Hardcover

ISBN: 1442426675


Used for the Popsugar challenge: A Book with Nonhuman Characters

Hey there! Finale is the conclusion to the Hush Hush saga by Becca Fitzpatrick and since I’ve posted the reviews for the first three books, I’ve been wanting to finish this book and post a review for this one as well. ūüôā My wish has now been granted and I have finished this book, and am now writing a review.¬†So let’s get started!

Note: I would not advise people who hadn’t read the first three books in the series to read this review because of UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS. Spoilers are not certain, but there may the occasional minor one that some might want to avoid. Anyway…

I really enjoyed Finale. However, I must say, to be honest, I would rate this 4 stars, mainly because of Nora (which I will get to further on in this review). But because of my overall reading experience, and the great storyline, I was able to look past that issue and give an extra .5 star.Read More »

Tiger’s Quest by Colleen Houck | Book Review

(Tiger’s Saga #2)

Published: June 7th 2011

Synopsis:

Back in Oregon, Kelsey tries to pick up the pieces of her life and push aside her feelings for Ren. Kelsey Hayes’s eighteenth summer was crazy. The kind of crazy nobody would ever believe.¬†

Aside From battling immortal sea monkeys and trekking the jungles of India, she fell in love with Ren, a 300-year-old prince.


When danger suddenly forces Kelsey on another Indian quest, with Ren’s bad-boy brother, Kishan,the unlikely duo begins to question their true destiny. Ren’s life hangs in the balance–so does the truth within Kelsey’s heart.

Tiger’s Quest, the thrilling second volume in the Tiger’s Curse series, brings the trio one step closer to breaking the ancient prophecy that binds them.


My Rating: 4.5 Stars4.5/5 (Amazing)

Book Information

Publisher: Sterling Publishing

Genre(s): Young-adult Fantasy, Romance

Page Count: 479

Format: Hardcover

ISBN: 140278404X


 

I had been planning to do a review on this book soon after I did the one for Tiger’s Curse, but I ended up doing other reviews instead. As I recently finished Tiger’s Destiny, I finally decided to do reviews for the second and third book so I could post¬†a review on that one (since it was amazing! I’ve cooled down emotionally to provide a reasonable and honest review, so it’s perfect timing. ;)).

If you’ve read the first book, you’ll know that our lovely Kelsey Hayes has chosen to go back to Oregon (without Ren), after helping Mr. Kadam and Ren to complete the first task to break the tiger’s curse, to protect herself from future heartbreak (by continuing things with Ren), and resume any sense of normalcy in her life. In the first part of the book Kelsey spends time with school stuff and dating other guys, all the while pining for Ren. *SPOILER ALERT!!!*¬†Ren comes back, and obviously Kelsey goes back to him. Everything was nice and easy, and Ren’s brother Kishan comes to Oregon as well to provide extra protection. However, danger is just around the corner, and as a result, Kelsey is forced to return to India along with Kishan, but not Ren–Ren gets captured by Lokesh. Kelsey goes on another quest–this time with Ren’s brother Kishan–to complete the next task, and to save Ren. Filled with danger, choices of the heart, and thrilling moments, Tiger’s Quest brings our characters one step closer to breaking the tiger’s curse.

Read More »

Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck | Book Review

(The Tiger Saga #1)

Published: January 11th 2011

Synopsis:

Passion. Fate. Loyalty.

Would you risk it all to change your destiny?

The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she’d be doing this summer was trying to break a 300-year-old Indian curse. With a mysterious white tiger named Ren. Halfway around the world. But that’s exactly what happened. Face-to-face with dark forces, spellbinding magic, and mystical worlds where nothing is what it seems, Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy that could break the curse forever.

Tiger’s Curse is the exciting first volume in an epic fantasy-romance that will leave you breathless and yearning for more.


My Rating: 4.5 Stars4.5/5 (Amazing) Tiger's Curse_bookcover4

Book Information

Publisher: Sterling

Genre(s): Young-adult Fantasy, Romance

Page Count: 403

Format: Hardcover

ISBN: 1402784031


Okay, so I’ve been off the book blog charts, but I’m back now! I’ve been kept busy with school and stuff, so this Easter break is such a relief. Speaking of Easter, Happy Good Friday and Easter weekend to everyone out there! ūüėõ

I’ve recently finished the third book of this amazing series, Tiger’s Voyage, and I’m so blown over now, it’s probably clouding my judgement, but oh well. I’ll try not to spoil anything…

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The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall | Book Review

(The Conspiracy of Us #1)

Published: January 13th 2015

Synopsis (from the book):

Sixteen-year-old Avery West’s newfound family can shut down Prada when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war. Part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle, they believe Avery is the key to an ancient prophecy. Some want to use her as a pawn. Some want her dead.

To unravel the mystery putting her life in danger, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the monuments of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul with two boys who work for the Circle‚ÄĒbeautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious, magnetic Jack. But¬†both boys are hiding secrets of their own, and when the clues expose stunning new information, Avery realizes the conspiracy could destroy her life–if it doesn’t destroy the world first.¬†


My Rating: 4.5 Stars4.5/5 (Amazing)

Book Information

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Genre(s): Young-adult mystery, thriller

Page Count: 336

Format: Hardcover

ISBN: 0399166505


 

The Conspiracy of Us and author Maggie Hall

 

I love a good mystery, and add conspiracy theories,  prophecies, and plot twists, and the book is golden.

Avery West is a girl living in Minnesota with her mother, who ¬†moved around a lot because of her mother’s job. As a result, ¬†Avery cuts all ties with people, and doesn’t allow herself to ¬†even try to make friends. This ultimately leads to her being a ¬†bit of a loner with only her mom as someone close to her. When ¬†the new kid at her school Jack and a stranger named Stellan ¬†shows up at prom to tell her she’s in danger, and she has to go ¬†to her dad’s family, she jumps at the chance, letting him¬†whisk ¬†her away to Paris. What originally started off as an innocent ¬†meet the family visit suddenly turned into being in the middle of a secret society (The circle of 12, 12 important families that apparently control everything like media, politics, etc.), with dangerous enemies, conspiracies, and an ancient prophecy that promises power. After an attempt on her life, Avery and Jack realize that she’s much more important to the fate of the Circle than they thought.

Read More »