Reawakened by Colleen Houck | Book Review

ReawakenedReawakened by Colleen Houck

3 Stars

Publication Date: August 11th 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre(s): Fantasy (Mythology), Romance, Young-Adult
Series Status: The Reawakened #1
Page Count: 400
Source & Format: Bought, Paperback

Synopsis from Goodreads:

When seventeen-year-old Lilliana Young enters the Metropolitan Museum of Art one morning during spring break, the last thing she expects to find is a live Egyptian prince with godlike powers, who has been reawakened after a thousand years of mummification.

And she really can’t imagine being chosen to aid him in an epic quest that will lead them across the globe to find his brothers and complete a grand ceremony that will save mankind.

But fate has taken hold of Lily, and she, along with her sun prince, Amon, must travel to the Valley of the Kings, raise his brothers, and stop an evil, shape-shifting god named Seth from taking over the world.

From New York Times bestselling author Colleen Houck comes an epic adventure about two star-crossed teens who must battle mythical forces and ancient curses on a journey with more twists and turns than the Nile itself.

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Greetings! As I’m sure all of you have realised by now, I’m going to be sharing my thoughts on Reawakened by Colleen Houck for you today. No spoilers, as always, but I’m warning you, there will be some rambling! If you’re in a hurry and simply want to know the overall idea of my thoughts, feel free to skip to the ‘overall’ part at the bottom. ❤ I won’t be offended! 😛

Let’s get on with it, shall we?


Plot

This story goes through as what I’ve saw several people call the “White Savior” syndrome. I know lots of people have hated on this book because of this fact, and although this was something my mind registers, it didn’t really bother me. Sure, the main character is white and she has to help Egyptian demigods to help save the world, and yes, this is a lot like Tiger’s Curse, but that’s all I though about. I didn’t really care.

But anyway. Just wanted to put that out there. Moving on, looking at it from a critical perspective, the plot was okay. I mean, there was a bit too much info-dumping for my taste and a lot of the events felt unnecessary and weren’t memorable. I think one of the reasons the plot felt a bit weak to me because even though it had different events, the outline of it all felt very familiar (especially due to the characters), similar to the outline of Tiger’s Curse. Although I enjoyed Tiger’s Curse when I first read it (a while ago), I was hoping for more of a unique situation when it came to this novel, which wasn’t fully delivered.

From an entertainment perspective, I wasn’t a big fan of the beginning, but the pace picked up from there, and after that it was relatively easy to get swept away into the story. It was fun to read about, with all the mythology and magic, etc. I can’t say whether I liked how the mythology was portrayed, considering how a lot of it flew over my head due to the info-dumping, and I can’t vouch for whether the mythology was portrayed accurately, but I can say for sure that it was pretty entertaining to read.

Characters

“Even though I was very picky, wore only designer clothes, and has a monthly allowance bigger than what most people my age earned in a year, I was by no means a snob.”

Yep, this quote above is legit something the main character, Lilliana said. I didn’t like her. No sugar-coating here! Honestly, she didn’t bother me as much at first, but afterwards I simply couldn’t stand her—something that’s pretty unusual for me. Now, just looking at some things she said, I’m wondering how I was able to go through this novel without cringing.

Although she had potential to be a character I’d like, Lilliana’s character fell flat due to her Mary Sue qualities and inconsistency in personality. (Mary Sue, by the way, is the kind of character who is basically perfect, in our case; amazing grades, rich, a perfect good girl, who is absolutely gorgeous.)

Having said that, I’ve read enough Mary Sue-esque characters to usually be immune to the annoyances of those qualities, and be able to simply enjoy the character. What changed for this book is the fact that I’ve already seen this persona in Kelsey from Tiger’s Curse, and I simply am not in the mood to have to go through another copy of this.

In addition to that, she constantly contradicts everything she previously said, and that inconsistency really bothered me. In the very first chapter, I clearly recollect her mention that she prefers independence because of how stifling her parents can be, however time and time again she proves otherwise when she hardly shows any free will and goes along with Amon’s plans. Geez, grow a backbone and some personality, Lilliana! 

Before I rant and ramble some more, let’s move on to Amon, the secondary main character. I definitely ended up liking him a lot more than Lilliana, although this wasn’t the case at first. I’m pretty used to reading about stalker-ish guys (I’ve read several books with them, at least) but in this case I wasn’t a huge fan of Amon’s actions in the beginning of the book. He basically kidnaps Lilliana’s life force, or at least, invades it, uses it, without her consent, and then when she tries to run away, he follows her! Not flattering, Amon, not flattering. Although this remained in the back of my mind for a lot of the novel, I was able to let go of this, and enjoyed his character well enough. He was sweet and it was lots of fun reading about how he tried to get used to everything in the modern world. Amon definitely has potential (though he doesn’t deserve someone like Lilliana) and I’ll be looking forward to seeing how it all turns out with him!

Writing Style

“Eternity is a long time to exist without something to remember.”

The novel was all told from Lilliana’s perspective, if I’m not mistaken, which, I will admit, limited my liking of the writing. Lilliana’s character just simply grated on my nerves, and although I’d usually commend authors for having their character’s voice so clearly in the writing, it bothered me here. Apart from that, it was easy to read (aside from the info-dumping sections) and I don’t really have any complaints about it! I did notice that it really developed from the Tiger’s Curse style; you can tell that Houck really improved her writing, which was already really good in her previous series. 😉

Overall…

I’m deciding to go with a rating of 3 stars. I mean, I enjoyed the novel while reading, but it had too many flaws for me to give a higher rating. Note that I didn’t hate this book, but I didn’t love it either. Perhaps if I had been writing my review immediately after I read the book, maybe my rating might be higher, but it wouldn’t be accurate considering how the more I think of the book, the more I’m able to find more flaws that I realize I didn’t like in the book. My main problems were stemmed from the fact that I wasn’t a huge fan of the characters, specifically Lilliana, and too much of the story’s outline reminded me of Tiger’s Curse. That being said, I will definitely give a shot to the second book in this series.

Do I recommend picking it up? I think, if you’re really interested, your safest bet would be to borrow from the library or from a friend, but with this kind of book, I’d say it’s up to you whether or not you should read it!


So there we have it! Sorry for that long review, everyone!! XD Got a litle bit too much rambling done in there.

But don’t let it go all in vain! Tell me, have you read this novel? If so what did you think of it? Do you want to read it? Do you no longer want to read it? Let me know in the comments below! ❤

Enjoy your day! Hugs!

Until the Next Meal, Analee

Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid | Book Review

Never Always SometimesNever Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid

2.5 Stars

Publication Date: August 4th 2015
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance, Young-Adult
Series Status: N/A—Stand Alone
Page Count: 320
Source & Format: Bought, Hardcover

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Never date your best friend.

Always be original.

Sometimes rules are meant to be broken.

Best friends Dave and Julia were determined to never be cliché high school kids—the ones who sit at the same lunch table every day, dissecting the drama from homeroom and plotting their campaigns for prom king and queen. They even wrote their own Never List of everything they vowed they’d never, ever do in high school.

Some of the rules have been easy to follow, like #5, never dye your hair a color of the rainbow, or #7, never hook up with a teacher. But Dave has a secret: he’s broken rule #8, never pine silently after someone for the entirety of high school. It’s either that or break rule #10, never date your best friend. Dave has loved Julia for as long as he can remember.

Julia is beautiful, wild and impetuous. So when she suggests they do every Never on the list, Dave is happy to play along. He even dyes his hair an unfortunate shade of green. It starts as a joke, but then a funny thing happens: Dave and Julia discover that by skipping the clichés, they’ve actually been missing out on high school. And maybe even on love.

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Hello bookworms, and happy Thanksgiving for all of you Canadians out there! ❤ I hope you all enjoyed your day. 🙂 On this fine Monday, I have for you a review on the book Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid! Now, I’m kind of sorry to be posting this right now, because, as you can probably infer from my rating, I wasn’t the biggest fan of this book, and really, it kind of goes against the whole warm, happy feeling of this day…I really wanted to love this book, and I really thought I would, but overall it was not the best of reading experiences.

Plot

“No point in living a life less ordinary if you don’t know what the other side looks like.”

I wish so much that I could’ve enjoyed the plot more. It has so much potential to become a story I’d love! It’s the fact that it could’ve been so much better is what gets on my nerves. The idea of the Nevers list sounded fun and creative, and the whole implied best friend romance thing is one of the things that drew me to the book in the first place. But somewhere in the execution of the plot, everything just went all wrong for me. It was quite hard to even get through the first part of the story, and as the story went on, I just wasn’t okay with the direction it was taking. I suppose this is more of a personal situation; of course this may not apply to all readers. To be honest, what really frustrated me in the end was how misleading the synopsis was—and how much the characters ruined the plot for me. A few of them simply lacked some much-needed consistency and they made the story feel all over the place. I know that doesn’t explain that much, so let’s continue on to the…

Characters

As you probably have guessed by now, I wasn’t a big fan of the characters. Although I liked the banter between Julia and Dave, the two main characters, after a while it wore off when the characters got on my nerves.

I’d say Dave was one of my biggest problems with the book. Remember when I mentioned above that I had a hard time getting through the first part of this book? Yeah, well it was written in Dave’s perspective—and I didn’t particularly enjoy it.

“If the lights ever went out in her presence, Dave was pretty sure the brightness of her eyes would be more useful than a flashlight.”

Umm, yeah, no thanks. These things tend to fly over my head sometimes, but this is a tad too cheesy, and under the many circumstances throughout the book, I’m not falling for it.

Of course, I didn’t immediately dislike him or anything. He seemed pretty nice, but that didn’t last for long. Dave was just too much of an inconsistent character, and was a pretty spineless character.

(—POSSIBLE SPOILER AHEADNot exactly sure if it’s a spoiler since it’s not in the synopsis, but it’s a pretty big part of the plot that you discover soon enough) I also wasn’t a big fan of the love triangle. It came out of nowhere, and although I commend the author for writing a less traditional love triangle, I simply didn’t care about Dave or it (the love triangle). I know I’m starting to kind of repeat things here, but really, that’s the main point—I just didn’t care about or like Dave. Harsh, but it’s true.

Moving on to Julia, the other main character whose perspective we also get. In a nutshell, she’s eccentric, wild and utterly ridiculous. I was a cross in between indifferent to her and annoyed with her for the first part of the book, though I guess after we get into her POV, I started to warm up to her more. I was enjoying her character quite a bit, but then there were several things that got me miffed about her. Very cryptic, I know, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers. 😉 Bottom line is, my feelings varied several times throughout the book; lots of negatives, I have to say, but overall she was an okay character.

Writing Style

I wasn’t completely sold on the writing style, at first. Just putting that out there. Not saying it was bad or that I didn’t like it, just that it felt really pretentious (kind of going with the plot and characters, I suppose) and I was unsure about it. However, there’s no denying that it was great writing! There were definitely some beautiful passages in there, and it was quite easy to fly through. There was a really nice simplicity to the writing that ended up really working for the story.

“We like to think that we’re formulas that even out exactly, that we are perfect matches with each other. But we’re not. We match up with lost of people, more or less.”

Overall…

I didn’t enjoy this book. I wasn’t a big fan of the characters, since they basically ruined the plot for me with their personalities and the choices they made. That being said, I definitely think if they were improved, and I cared about them more, I would’ve loved this book. This book had a very John Green feel to it, and although I wouldn’t exactly recommend it in a blink of an eye, I know other readers may enjoy it more than I did. There was definitely a slight unique touch to this book, but there were also plenty of cliches—so it’s your call! Just remember that this is not your average best friend romance… don’t go into it expecting an amazing cute romance! If that’s the case, I recommend heading for Rainbow Rowell instead.

I’ve seen other mixed opinions on this book, some positive, and some negative, and I just wanted to say, if you’ve read this book and loved it, great! This book seemed like it was pretty hyped for a while—I hope no one rages on me for not liking it, haha. 😀 So, my opinion on this book is; if you think it’s for you, go for it! The last thing I want it someone missing a potential favourite because of my review. And as I said, a lot of people loved this book, maybe I was too harsh?

Either way, let me know your thoughts on this book below, whether you’ve read it or not. I’d love to hear from you! 

Analee 4

The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel | Book Review

The Book of IvyThe Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

4 stars =Really Good

Publication Date: November 4th 2014
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre(s): Dystopia, Young-Adult
Series Status: The Book of Ivy #1
Page Count: 282
Source & Format: Bought, Paperback

Synopsis from Goodreads:

After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.

This year, it is my turn.

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power.

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.

Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…

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Hello everyone! Today I’m happy to present my review and thoughts on The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel! I’ve heard some great things about this book before reading it, and I’m so happy that I read it—It was a worthwhile read! Although there are some parts I would say could’ve been done better and didn’t fully meet my expectations, I enjoyed the story quite a bit despite its flaws. Let us go into more detail below, shall we?

Plot

There are three main things in this plot that I wanted to point out; the pacing, the concept and the world-building. While the pacing didn’t bother me as much by the end of the story, I must admit that the story was paced more slower than I was expecting from this sort of novel. While the book didn’t take its time introducing us slowly to this world (we’re put smack in the middle of something big happening, which I greatly appreciated), as the story goes on, I feel like the pace really slowed in the middle and I simply feel that could’ve been done differently. It would’ve suited the story more, and made things more action-packed, which I imagine readers would expect from the synopsis of the novel. Or at least, I did.

Apart from that, I also wanted to mention that I really liked the concept and execution of the world-building! Although there are several cliche dystopian tropes in this book, the idea of the novel was still kind of refreshing to read. It felt unique, while still being familiar. Does that make any sense? Also, I really liked that we’re not given all the information right from the start about the post-apocalyptic world we’re in. Throughout the novel we’re given more and more pieces of how this world is, which makes the whole reading experience much more engaging and interesting!

Characters

“And it is Bishop who helped me break free. He didn’t save me though. He allowed me the freedom to same myself, which is the best type of rescue.”

While I enjoyed Ivy (the protagonist), I do think there were a bit too many parts in the book where I simply see Ivy struggling to go forth with her family’s expectations. I guess I was expecting more of a backboned character, assassin-type? Don’t get me wrong, Ivy was a great character and I loved her development as she tries to form her own opinion of everything (instead of blindly following her family’s ideals), but—and this kind of goes in with the pacing thing—I was expecting more action, maybe even more time of her hating the Lattimer family? It would’ve brought out some more intriguing things like some spying maybe and/or political tension, etc.
However, aside from all that, Ivy was great, and I did like seeing her grow a bit more by the end of the novel. I will be interested in seeing how she is in the following book!

Bishop is Ivy’s love interest; and I have to say, I fell in love! Even more than I liked Ivy. He’s sweet, smart, modest—and so accepting of Ivy! (Which had a key part in the decisions Ivy makes.) I really wish we could’ve gotten some chapters through his POV.
The romance between him and Ivy was nice too. That being said, I did want to mention a few things about the romance. I will be honest and say that I did not exactly get what I was expecting in this department. I was thinking it would be more of a dangerous/forbidden and slow-burn romance, but that wasn’t exactly the case. I immensely enjoyed the romance all the same, but it’s more of a tamer romance than expected. But it was still really sweet!

Writing Style

“I want my love to be greater than my hate, my mercy to be stronger than my vengeance.”

This book is written in first person, from Ivy’s perspective, and I really liked how this really let me really get a clear perspective into how she thinks—and how she develops as the story goes on. I also found that the romance scenes didn’t come off as tacky or overtly cheesy because of the POV. (You know, how sometimes when you’re reading a romance scene in first person, and it becomes really weird and awkward to read?) And although it was pretty slow-paced for a lot of the novel, I didn’t even realize I was turning the pages at all, until there were no more pages to turn. 😉

Overall…

This book is great for those of you looking for an engaging and well-written dystopian read! However, I do recommend that you be aware that this is a more slow-paced novel than most other novels of the same genre; whether or not that’s a huge issue is up to personal preference!

The characters were great, I really sympathized with Ivy’s situation, and Bishop was swoon worthy and so sweet! The romance is pretty subjective, and I was expecting more of a slow-burn and forbidden romance, but it was pretty tame—but sweet and still heartbreaking. (And no love triangle included!) I also really loved the writing; the words simply passed swiftly, and overall it was very well-done.

Despite the flaws of the novel, I found I really enjoyed this book and will be looking forward to reading the sequel and finale! Although I’m kind of sad that my journey will be ending so quickly. 😉

Book Trailer


What do you think of this novel? Have you read it? Do you want to read it? What expectations do you have for it? Let me know in the comments below!

Until the Next Meal, Analee

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews | Book Review

Me Earl and the Dying GirlMe and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

2.5 Stars

Publication Date: March 1st 2012
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Genre(s): Contemporary, Young-Adult
Series Status: N/A—Stand Alone
Page Count: 295
Source & Format: Owned, Hardcover

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.

Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel.

Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives.

And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight.

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Hi! Welcome back to another book review, on, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews! I know some of you have waited on this review for a while, so I’m glad to finally have this posted—and to finally let out my frustrations on this book, since, as you can see, I wasn’t the biggest fan of this book. Though I can understand why so many others have loved this book, it just wasn’t for me.

Plot

This book, I felt, had no real purpose to the whole story. I mean, it kind of has a semblance of a plot, but really, it didn’t feel like one, to me. I mean, there are some books I find, that can really pull off the plot-with-not-a-big-focus thing. Not often, but it’s possible. This book, however just didn’t do it. I didn’t find any big thing in the plot that kept me entertained or compelled to read more. Kind of harsh, maybe, but true. For me, anyway. A lot of the time I felt I continued reading simply for the sake of finishing it instead of for something more. The fact that I hardly DNF books also played a factor. However without those two things, I might’ve quit reading much sooner. I just couldn’t find myself interested in the plot. It had the potential to be really good, but I think it just fell flat and was poorly executed.

Characters

I couldn’t care less about most of the characters in this novel. I’m just going to put that out there right away, because that’s pretty much the gist of my feelings on the characters. Not only did the main character, Greg, not go through any development throughout the novel, but he also really bothered me with his insensitivity to Rachel’s situation. The girl is dying, for goodness sake, can’t you come up with at least some kind of genuine emotion? I was very happy when Earl called him out on this. However, that all being said, one thing I did kind of like was his self-deprecating personality; at least he’s not completely oblivious to what an idiot and jerk he is.

Moving on to Earl. With basically the whole book revolving around Greg, there wasn’t much space for Earl, to be honest, and although I wasn’t his biggest fan, I more or less liked him more than Greg. I actually don’t even know. On one hand I suppose I can understand why he acts the way he does, but on the other hand it really bothered me sometimes, with his whole dirty humour and all. I know this is probably how most teenage boys act, but come on. It got really tiring afterwards.

Rachel, to be honest, was not much better.  I feel like the most there is to her is that she’s dying. Period. I didn’t find anything in her that truly stood out, which was a bummer. I am actually struggling to come up with more to say about her, since there isn’t really much to say. I didn’t dislike her exactly, but she wasn’t any better than the other characters either.

Writing Style

“If after reading this book you come to my home and brutally murder me, I do not blame you.”

The writing definitely took a more unconventional and unique approach to things, with readers getting a close up of how Greg thinks. Greg really spoke to the reader, and this kind of style really stood out to me since a) we don’t get that many books written as such, and b) we don’t get many books written in this style that are done well. There were also parts of the book where there are scenes being depicted as a movie script thing, which I guess was a neat thing to try and also made sense, since Greg made films and all. The writing style was definitely one of the better parts of the novel.

Overall…

This book is not your average cancer book, but it certainly isn’t anything mind blowing either. I think that’s kind of what my main problem was; there’s nothing special about this book, nothing that really interested me. While I can commend this book for being unique and written very skillfully, and for its little bits of actual humor, when it comes down to it, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I wish I did. The lack of true purpose really bothered me, since there wasn’t anything else that was keeping my attention. All the characters except Greg lacked depth and Greg himself wasn’t much better. Some may argue the characters are portrayed this way to be realistic, but whether or not this is the case, it doesn’t change the fact that they were not very interesting to me, and mostly became a hindrance to read abut. I did like the writing, it was very different and was interesting to read, but unfortunately that isn’t enough to change the whole reading experience.

Looking at this review, I know it seems really harsh, but I just wanted to emphasize that I’m not trying to bash the author or the book. I’m simply trying to be honest; my final say on this would be it’s a matter of personal preference. Hit or miss, you know? If you’re looking for a unique non-cheesy-romance novel about cancer, then I think this book would be a good fit for you, but otherwise, proceed with caution. 

Movie Trailer

On a completely different note, the movie for this has been released! You can check out the trailer for it below. I haven’t seen it yet, but I definitely hope it will be better than the book.


So tell me: Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Do you agree with anything I’ve said? Do you want to read this book? Feel free to let me know below! I’m honestly very curious as to what other readers have to say about this book.

Until the Next Meal, Analee

Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider | Book Review

Extraordinary Means_bookcoverExtraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

4 stars =Really Good

Publication Date: May 26th 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance, Young-Adult
Series Status: N/A—Stand Alone
Page Count: 336
Source & Format: Owned, Hardcover & ebook

Synopsis from Goodreads:

From the author of The Beginning of Everything: two teens with a deadly disease fall in love on the brink of a cure.

At seventeen, overachieving Lane finds himself at Latham House, a sanatorium for teens suffering from an incurable strain of tuberculosis. Part hospital and part boarding school, Latham is a place of endless rules and confusing rituals, where it’s easier to fail breakfast than it is to flunk French.

There, Lane encounters a girl he knew years ago. Instead of the shy loner he remembers, Sadie has transformed. At Latham, she is sarcastic, fearless, and utterly compelling. Her friends, a group of eccentric troublemakers, fascinate Lane, who has never stepped out of bounds his whole life. And as he gradually becomes one of them, Sadie shows him their secrets: how to steal internet, how to sneak into town, and how to disable the med sensors they must wear at all times.

But there are consequences to having secrets, particularly at Latham House. And as Lane and Sadie begin to fall in love and their group begins to fall sicker, their insular world threatens to come crashing down.

Told in alternating points of view, Extraordinary Means is a darkly funny story about doomed friendships, first love, and the rare miracle of second chances.

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Hello! Today I have a review on Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider. This is one of the books that caught my eye after I’ve seen it floating around in the blogosphere (that even has a tag made from it as well) and so I have been quite interested in reading it for quite some time. I definitely see what the hype is all about; I enjoyed reading this book so much!

I’ve read several reviews in which this book is compared to both TFIOS (for the sickness aspect) and Looking For Alaska (for the boarding school aspect), and in some ways it’s true, but in the end, Extraordinary Means was its own story which was full of bright characters and a compelling writing style. Not to mention its idea is so unique to me; I’ve hardly ever read a book following characters with tuberculosis, and I sure loved learning about this fresh concept!

Quick Summary 

Meet Lane, the definition of a workaholic. As a result of his overachieving habits, he’s not really living his life, until he ends up in Latham House, a boarding school and sanitarium for students with tuberculosis. There he meets the wild and enticing Sadie, and her friends, who are the resident trouble-makers and most care-free of the Latham students. As Lane starts to become a part of their wild adventures, he’s introduced to a whole new world—but faces so many consequences at the same time.

Plot 

Okay, I won’t lie, I did find the book to be kind of predictable at times, but, it was still pretty extraordinary. (See what I did there? :P) Why? Because I loved reading the story. Tuberculosis is something I’ve hardly ever read about, and I love how it was approached in this novel. Most of the time we see cancer books and the like, so this was different than cancer books in the sense that, of course, it’s not talking about cancer. The author, being a bioethicist, really knew what she was talking about before writing this, and that was much appreciated.

But the thing I loved most was the fact that this wasn’t simply a story telling readers what it’s like to be sick with tuberculosis. The plot had so much more meaning to it, of second chances, and the hope that someday you’ll be able to figure out how you belong. The journey I took from the start of this book to the finish really got those points across, and gave me a heartwarming and memorable reading experience in the process. There was lots of humor, a satisfying story-line, and definitely a romance to keep your heart in the game.

Before I move on to the characters, one thing I feel is worth mentioning is the romance. While it is definitely sweet and heart-warming, I have to say the impending gloom and doom thing and the expectation that one of them will die kind of prevented me from fully being involved with the romance as I might’ve been in another situation. That being said, I really loved seeing the romance unfold nonetheless!

Characters

“One thing I’ve realized about new places is that they’re like jeans. Sure, they might fit, but they’re not comfortable. They need time to be broken in.”

Such a true quote, from the one and only Lane Rosen. I loved Lane’s character a lot, not only because he was totally adorable (although that admittedly plays a factor in this) but also because I found him to be realistic and relatable. He’s always been an overachiever, and that feeling? That feeling of having to work and be the best (for school, mostly)? I definitely understand that. Arriving at Latham House, he realizes how he wasn’t truly living, and as he spends more time with Sadie and her friends, he finally sees how he can start to do so. His development was great to read.

I also really liked Sadie‘s character, if only because she was spunky and full of life, you know? Not that she was a whole bundle of sunshine or something, just that she had a very wild kind of quality to her. But there was more to her than what she seemed. I mean, I have to admit, I wasn’t completely sold on her character at first; she was a stubborn person determined to hold a grudge about something that happened years ago, and I just couldn’t sympathize. But as I got to know her, I discovered it was one of her flaws—a flaw I came to accept. She’s very insecure and often makes the mistake of not talking things out with others, which can cause problems. I understood her though, and really started to root for her. She wasn’t by any means perfect, but that’s exactly why she was perfect.

The secondary characters were also great Except for a select few, almost all of the other characters felt memorable, especially Sadie’s friends, since they are the people who are with Sadie and Lane the most. So, for one we have Nick, the goofy friend of Sadie’s who also happens to be in love with Sadie. (The feelings aren’t mutual.) I wasn’t his biggest fan, but he was alright and I was okay with his presence for the most part. Marina, Sadie’s girl friend, didn’t have that much of an impact on me or the story, to be honest, but again, she was okay. Charlie, the last of their group, and the sickest, was more of a mysterious character, and I didn’t expect to enjoy his character, but I did. He seemed really interesting, and I wouldn’t have minded knowing more about him.

Writing Style

I fell in love with the writing in this book! The novel was written in dual-perspective from both Lane and Sadie, which made for some awesome insight into their characters. They both have such different ways of thinking and approaching things, it was interesting to see into the thoughts of both characters.

“There’s difference between being dead and dying. We’re all dying. Some of us die for ninety years, and some of us die for nineteen. But each morning everyone on this planet wakes up one day closer to their death. Everyone. So living and dying are actually different words for the same thing, if you think about it.”

Another thing is that although this story may have had an overall John Green feel to it, I felt the writing style for this novel was much more authentic than, say, The Fault in Our Stars. I have nothing against John Green; he’s a great author, but I felt this book captured the voice of intelligent teenagers more smoothly and realistically, to be honest. Maybe it’s just the mood I was in while reading or something, but JG’s TFIOS writing style and dialogue and such felt pretentious and it kind of felt a bit out of place at times. For this novel, I felt differently, because the dialogue and writing felt much more natural and I was able to relate to it in a way I found I just couldn’t with TFIOS (before you bring out the knives and forks; I enjoyed TFIOS!! I just still had some issues with it).

Extraordinary Means also had wonderful thought-provoking quotes which were great, and really reflected the characters, with a bonus of the characters not sounding overly beyond their years. I simply flew through everything, like second skin, really, while relishing the great passages of humor and quotes that I found on the way.

“Being temporary doesn’t make something matter any less, because the point isn’t for how long, the point is that it happened.”

Overall…

Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider is a book that you should definitely not miss if you’re either: a) a John Green fan, b) looking for a contemporary read addressing something unique, c) prone to liking bitter-sweet romances, or d) searching for an emotional read. While there are indeed similarities between this book and John Green’s TFIOS and LFA, I definitely still recommend giving this book a try, if only to see for yourself whether this book is good or not. After all, it’s all a matter of personal preference! I myself really enjoyed the storyline, along with the great characters. Sadie and Lane were such opposites, yet they went together so well and I really rooted for both of them. I loved how natural the writing and dialogue was in this book, not to mention the way I flew through this book because of it! All in all, I really enjoyed this book and I recommend it for those of you who enjoy contemporary novels!

Definitely try to gobble this up! It’s quite tasty.

Have you read this book? What did you think? Are you planning on reading it? Whatever your thoughts may be, let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you. ❤ 

Analee 4

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

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—fighting 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’s 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–perhaps 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. 😉 Overall, Chaol is still a total cutie pie!

Writing Style

“Sometimes, the wicked will tell us things just to confuse us–to 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. 😛 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. 😉 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. 😀

Analee 10

Joyride by Anna Banks | Book Review

(Stand-Alone)

Published: June 2nd 2015

Synopsis:

A popular guy and a shy girl with a secret become unlikely accomplices for midnight pranking, and are soon in over their heads—with the law and with each other—in this sparkling standalone from NYT-bestselling author Anna Banks.

It’s been years since Carly Vega’s parents were deported. She lives with her brother, studies hard, and works at a convenience store to contribute to getting her parents back from Mexico.

Arden Moss used to be the star quarterback at school. He dated popular blondes and had fun with his older sister, Amber. But now Amber’s dead, and Arden blames his father, the town sheriff who wouldn’t acknowledge Amber’s mental illness. Arden refuses to fulfill whatever his conservative father expects.

All Carly wants is to stay under the radar and do what her family expects. All Arden wants is to NOT do what his family expects. When their paths cross, they each realize they’ve been living according to others. Carly and Arden’s journey toward their true hearts—and one another—is funny, romantic, and sometimes harsh.


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My Rating: 4 stars 4/5 (Really Good)

Book Information

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, Young-Adult

Page Count: 288

Format: Hardcover


Hello! It’s been a while since I’ve posted a review, unfortunately, but I am now here with a review on Joyride by Anna Banks. I rate this book 4 stars, although a more accurate rating might be 3 or 3.5 stars. But that’s besides the point. The main reason I liked this book was because it was kind of an unexpected experience for me. Although I read the blurb and reviews beforehand on this book, when I read it, it felt like I was delving into the unknown. I had no idea what to expect, and really didn’t have that many expectation, which in the end played in my favor since I ended up really enjoying the book as a result. Does that make sense? I feel like I’m rambling right now, so let me just cut to the chase: this book was an entertaining story with themes of racism, family, and poverty, alongside a slow-burn romance that I really enjoyed.

Quick Summary

Carly Vega has been constantly working to earn money (at a night-shift at a convenience store), get good grades and stay out of trouble alongside her older brother Julio, ever since her parents had been deported. Both their lives have been centered around trying to earn enough money to smuggle them back (along with two younger siblings). One day, when a guy named Arden (the popular guy at school) meets Carly, he becomes interested in acquiring her as his partner in crime. But Carly is focused on staying under the radar so she could help her parents, while Arden’s goal is to make sure he doesn’t do what his family wants. How can they mix?

Plot

At a first glance at the cover, the storyline seems to be something with road trips and a cute romance, right? Well, that’s not the whole story. Yes, there is a cute romance, but the plot addresses issues like racism, poverty and immigration problems, something that we don’t see enough in books. I, for one, have hardly ever read contemporary novels in which there are immigration issues incorporated. Although I cannot vouch for whether the kind portrayed in the book is correct, I found it to be realistic enough to be believable, and it was interesting to read a book with this kind of theme.

The storyline itself was entertaining, it being generally a cute romance with tension building up more in the middle and especially in the end. It is leaning toward more of an insta-love story, however you can’t exactly tell right away, which is the reason why I liked the first half of the story quite a bit. The plot really had my attention, and even though most of it didn’t exactly blow me away, I had fun reading it. I also really liked how the plot was executed, in that the more tension-filled moments didn’t clash with the overall mood of the story, instead it kind of fit right in, which made for a relatively smooth reading experience.

Characters

I’m having a hard time writing out my thoughts on the characters, but I would say generally, I liked them. I especially liked Carly at the beginning of the book because I loved her attitude. For a good part of the first half of the story, I was rooting for her because she really had a good sense of her morals and stood up for herself against Arden.

“As if from a distance, I watch my hands as they tuck themselves under his tray and flip it over onto his lap. The unidentifiable contents splatter everywhere. A bit of it even makes its way into his left nostril. He stares up at me, still holding his spoon midair. His jaw is in danger of falling off.”

(Now, this may seem a bit extreme, but in the context of the story, it was completely understandable and I totally approved. XD)

It was just so much fun seeing how she treated Arden as he pursued her. And I have to mention that she didn’t really come off as a shy girl as mentioned in the blurb. But that was kind of good thing because it wasn’t as cliché, shy girl meets outgoing boy, instant sparks, etc etc.

Throughout the story we see a bit more of Carly’s development as she warms up to Arden and becomes friends, and then later on falls for him (no spoilers there, it’s kind of given). I won’t lie, it was kind of insta-love but it was still okay. What I also found interesting was seeing her internal struggle throughout the story, between doing what she wanted to do and what she was required to do in order to help her family. I really sympathized with her because she had so much pressure on her and did everything asked of her yet never truly got the freedom she deserved.

Arden, I will admit, I had mixed feelings toward, at first. At first are the key words here, you see? The fact that after simply one night he’s all interested in Carly (to be his partner in crime, not his girlfriend, but still) bugged me for a while, and I kind of just didn’t want him to win over Carly so easily. It wasn’t exactly so much so the insta-love than Arden, because for some inexplicable reason, I seemed to have something against Arden and just didn’t want it to happen. Of course, I warmed up to him afterwards. He went through so much it’s hard not to feel bad for him. His and Carly’s relationship ended up being really cute and I loved how he supported her so much.

“You’ve filled a hole I didn’t know I had in me, Carly. What is there to regret?”

As for the other characters, I was mostly okay with them except for Arden’s dad, who I absolutely hated. Julio, Carly’s brother isn’t exactly my favorite person, but I still liked him. Carly’s family, although not present for basically the whole story, plays a big role in the novel, and I liked them. The pressure they put on their children to raise money to smuggle them back to the States may bother some readers, but I found it kind of realistic and interesting to read about. This book was very family-positive (in the case of Carly, not Arden) in a more different way than most books.

Writing Style

The writing style is pretty different than most books, but I can’t exactly say it’s great. It’s told from the perspective of 1st person in Carly’s POV and 3rd person in Arden’s POV. I have read books like this before (most notably The Lying Game series by Sara Shepard) but for this book the style seemed kind of awkward and didn’t exactly work out. I don’t know, it kind of threw me off several times in the story and prevented me from fully being immersed in the story. Mostly because whenever the POVs switched, I would have to adjust to the change, and it would disturb the flow of the writing. But I did manage to get through the book without too many difficulties, and I ended up still enjoying the story.

Overall…

An entertaining summer read that I recommend if you’re looking for a light story with some important themes mixed in. This book is also more diverse than a lot of books out there these days (namely because of the issues addressed in the novel as well as the fact the main character is hispanic) and although the writing style wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, it’s pretty subjective to reader’s taste and it may be someone else’s preference. The main characters, although perhaps not the best for some, were quite likeable and definitely have a lot of chemistry together. I really liked Carly’s personality, and even though I wasn’t Arden’s biggest fan at first, he really did grow on me and I really liked him. As for the other characters, I definitely didn’t like Arden’s father, which I’m guessing is the point, and although I had some issues with Carly’s brother Julio, he ended up being a decent guy. All in all, I really liked reading this book, and I recommend it if any of the above interests you!

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Do you want to read this book? Let me know, in the comments below! 

Also…Let’s go for a joyride! This meal is quite tasty, perfect for a little trip!

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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The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh | Book Review

(The Wrath and the Dawn #1)

Published: May 12th 2015

Synopsis:

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.


The Wrath and the Dawn_bookcover
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My Rating: 5 stars 5/5 (Outstanding)

Book Information

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Genre(s): Fantasy, Romance, Retelling, Young Adult

Page Count: 388

Format: Hardcover


Hello! It’s been forever since I’ve really done a worthwhile post—this past week has just been memes really, and I feel terrible for that! It’s been over a week since I last posted a review, and that really isn’t good. Not to mention I have yet to go around to a lot of your blogs and reply to your comments. I’m sorry, guys! I’ve really been trying to, but I just don’t seem to have the time, and I have no idea how things just got so out of hand. Anyway, please hold your sticks and stones for now, I really am super sorry. 😦

Anyway, gloom and doom aside, today I finally have a review, on, as you may have guessed, The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. This A Thousand and One Nights retelling has been super hyped up before and since its release, so I was super excited to see that this was the chosen book for the August read-along hosted by Bibliophile Gathering. Now, I’m going to be completely honest here and say that going into this book, I hardly had any idea what A Thousand and One Nights was about. I’m not sure whether I’m supposed to know this fairytale before reading this book, but I didn’t. Either way, it didn’t affect the reading experience. This book was amazing and I really loved it. I totally understand the hype and it met my expectations in a completely unexpected way (if that makes any sense)!

Quick Summary

The eighteen year-old Caliph of Khoresan, Khalid is a killer. Every night Khalid chooses a new bride, only to have her killed as sunrise. It all comes as a surprise when brave Shahrzad volunteers to be his bride. But Shahrzad is more than what she seems, as her clever mind is set on getting revenge on the man who killed her best friend and so many others. Problem is, she might just be falling in love with him… But how could she, when he’s proven, time and time again, to be a killer?Read More »

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.


Like Candy_bookcover
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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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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?


What You Left Behind_bookcover
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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

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia | Book Review

(Stand-Alone)

Published: May 19th 2015

Synopsis:

Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook, and Liar.

Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn’t she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.

Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up.


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My Rating: 5 stars 5/5 (Outstanding)

Book Information

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, Young-Adult

Page Count: 448

Format: Hardcover


Hello! Today I have for you a review on Made You Up by Francesca Zappia. I absolutely fell in love with this book and the author, it was simply fantastic. The plot was full of unpredictable twists and throughout it all had such a cute romance! Not to mention the mental illness that the story revolved around. This is one of the few times I read a book with an unreliable narrator, and Francesca Zappia absolutely nailed it. I loved Alex, and Miles!! They were both so wonderful. No, actually, all the characters were great, and the writing style was wonderful. ❤ The praise is endless!

Quick Summary

Alex is schizophrenic. She hears things. Hallucinates. Every day she struggles to know what is real and what is made up. She’s determined to prove to her family and doctors that she’ll be able pass high school and get into college, and most of the time, it seems like she’s succeeding. But when you enter Miles into the picture, and a whole bunch of confusion between what’s real and what’s not, things get difficult. Alex was never normal. But is she ready to be?Read More »