Review: The Darkest Corners

Title: The Darkest Corners
Author: Kara Thomas
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Mystery Thriller
Publication Date: April 19, 2016
GoodReads

Synopsis:

There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.

Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.

Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.

But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.

Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.

Review:

This took a me a long time to review. It’s not that it was a bad book – it was quite good in fact. I think it was because I didn’t know what to do with it. At the end, I had so many questions that didn’t have answers. Here I am, a year later, reflecting on it, and I still say that it’s a pretty great book.

I liked Tessa. I enjoyed accompanying her on her hunt for clues, even when her curiosity made my stomach clench in fear for her. In the end, I also ended up liking Callie, despite my initial annoyance with her character. She grows up, I think, a lot throughout the novel.

Admittedly, the pacing was a little slow. There was a lot of history of the characters and of the town itself, and a lot of “why me” thoughts. But I felt like the book as a whole was put together well. Nothing was revealed too quickly, and I liked that there were some dead ends. It helped make the story more intriguing and creepy.

I read this book when I was taking a criminal profiling class in uni and I found it fascinating to learn and read about this whole thing simultaneously. While I found that some things made sense, I felt that there were a couple things that were a bit of a stretch. In the end though, I was too surprised to really care much about the couple of things that didn’t really click for me.

The end itself was quite the surprise for me, but at the same time, it left me wondering so many things. I get that there wouldn’t be a second one, but maybe a little more added to the ending would have been eye opening, or it might have ruined it, I don’t know.

The thing I love about Kara is that her books always surprise me. I really enjoyed her Prep School Confidential series, and I loved this books as well. I look forward to diving into her new book, Little Monsters, when it comes out in July!

Plot: 4.5/5
Characters: 4.5/5
World Building: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Pacing: 4/5
Overall: 4.5/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.78/5

eARC obtained via Delacorte Press via Random House Children’s via NetGalley.

Review: The Bachelor Auction

30094879

Title: The Bachelor Auction [The Bachelors of Arizona #1]
Author: Rachel Van Dyken
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Genres: New Adult/Adult Contemporary Romance
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Cinderella never had to deal with this crap.

Jane isn’t entirely sure that Cinderella got such a raw deal. Sure, she had a rough start, but didn’t she eventually land a prince and a happily-ever-after? Meanwhile, Jane is busy waiting on her demanding, entitled sisters, running her cleaning business, and . . . yep, not a prince in sight. Until a party and a broken shoe incident leave Jane wondering if princes—or at least, a certain deliciously hunky billionaire—maybe do exist.

Except Brock Wellington isn’t anyone’s dream guy. Hell, a prince would never agree to be auctioned off in marriage to the highest bidder. Or act like an arrogant jerk—even if it was just a façade. Now, as Brock is waiting for the auction chopping block, he figures it’s karmic retribution that he’s tempted by a sexy, sassy woman he can’t have. But while they can’t have a fairy-tale ending, maybe they can indulge in a little bit of fantasy

Sometimes, I just want to write a review like, “This book. It was good. Good book.” But that’s not very helpful to you or me (well, it would save me some time…).

When I think back to reading this book, I think light, fluffy, funny, great read. Then the rest of the story comes floating back into my head like a train wreck. Not that the book itself was a train wreck, but there was some heavy emotional healing in here. I loved the development of the characters as a whole, but I think the Brock’s brothers stole the show for me. I looked forward to their scenes and their entertaining quips. They helped lighten the mood and gave readers a well needed break from the brooding mains. Also, he ending was pretty great, and it really got me excited for the next books.

Side note: I’m crazy excited for the sequel coming out in August: The Playboy Bachelor! The MC is Bentley and I loved his character in this book!

The being said, Jane and Brock fit well together. I really liked how their character grew into themselves. I loved the memories they had of their families especially – there were some cute memories/flashbacks.

Oh. My. Goodness. Jane’s sisters made me want to tear my hair out. I know they were supposed to drive me bananas, but how did they manage to become so freaking spoiled??? I just don’t get it.

As a whole, I really enjoyed this book, but I can’t say it wowed me. It was well written and well executed, but I think I’m just a little tired of the Cinderella story.

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4.5/5
World Building: 4.5/5
Writing: 5/5
Pacing: 4/5
Overall: 4.5/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.9/5

eARC obtained via Grand Central Publishing via NetGalley.

Review: Kisses on a Paper Airplane

29064447

Title: Kisses on a Paper Airplane
Author: Sarah Vance Tompkins
Publication Date: May 14, 2016
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Drama student Hannah Evans isn’t kissing any frogs on her path to find Prince Charming. She’s determined to share the perfect first kiss — with the perfect boy — in the perfect place — or she’s not kissing anyone at all. When Hannah meets a cute ginger-haired boy in first class lounge in the London airport, she knows he’s ‘The One.’

Pop star Theo Callahan is on the road to get as far away as possible from his back-stabbing best friend, and his supermodel girlfriend who broke his heart. Until one shy smile from Hannah has him rethinking all of his travel plans.

Theo is smitten, but he’s worried she’s just a groupie in search of the ultimate selfie. Can Theo learn to trust Hannah in time to share one perfect first kiss, or will Hannah be forced to kiss a frog?

Kisses on a Paper Airplane is a quick, simple read, but I honestly did not enjoy it.

Hannah Evans is travelling home to attend her mother’s wedding. Her step-father-to-be got her a first class ticket from London, and during her time in the first-class lounge, she catches the interest of a good looking pop star AND FAINTS BECAUSE HE’S SO BEAUTIFUL.

There’s instalove and there’s over dramatics. How many people do you know see a good looking person and pass out. Like, I’m sorry, what?

Once conscious, she captures Theo’s heart and they get massages together, they sit with each other on the plane, and then become besties on the verge of an instalove relationship during the like three days of travel and 5 minutes of her mother’s wedding.

On top of the absolutely unbelievable story line, she talks like a fourteen year old. She’s in college/university now, and she keeps talking about “the one” and saying like “is he my frog prince?” “Maybe I have to kiss a bunch of frogs to get my frog prince.” I don’t know if this book was supposed to be a kind of retelling of the Princess and the Frog, but it was so overplayed and the language was trying way too hard to be “relevant” and “cutesy”.

Overall, probably wouldn’t recommend this to anyone, unless you like fluff language and instalove…

Plot: 2/5
Characters: 2/5
World Building: 4/5
Writing: 1/5
Cover: 3.5/5
Overall: 1/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.71/5

eARC obtained via Inkspell Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Review: Every Last Word

23341894

Title: Every Last Word
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: June 16, 2015
GoodReads

Synopsis:

If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

First thing’s first. I cannot attest to the legitimacy of the portrayal of OCD or anxiety in this novel. I know nothing about either disorder or its effect on a person’s way of thinking or acting.

That being said, this books spun out a wonderful story about healing and self-discovery. Sam wove a web of secrets for herself, keeping her condition hidden, but also her new friend and locker neighbour Caroline. However, she spent a great amount of time trying to ensure that her acceptance in the popular circle was secure.

That being said, when she discovers the Poet’s Corner, she learns that there are people out there who are having a hard time with life too. She begins writing and finds that it helps her keep her brain in check.

I really liked the poetry aspects of this novel. It reminded me a little bit of Collen Hoover’s Slammed, with a little more camaraderie and a little less teacher x student love haha. As I’ve said in the past, poetry really gets to the heart of things and expresses feelings and aspects of characters that you’d have never known about otherwise. It’s so hard to see into the heads of those around you, but poetry helps lay it all out there for the world to see. The poetry is probably was what sold me on the book, but it wasn’t all perfect.

One thing I didn’t quite understand about this book is how she was able to keep her OCD so hidden. While I’m no expert in it, I’ve read other books where the repetitiveness of a task is clear and overpowering. Sam’s wasn’t quite that. There were just enough scenes to ensure that readers never forgot she had the condition, but it never overpowered her, especially since it sounded like her diagnosis was quite extreme. She just seemed like a normal girl with a couple hangups, like her need for the speedometer to read a certain way. While there were intrusive thoughts and some aspects that showed the difficulties with the condition, it just didn’t seem like a prominent aspect of the book to me, like it was addressed, but then moved away from after a moment.

The end of the novel was a real twist. I don’t know if this is supposed to be some kind of paranormal thing, or if this is actually possible, but the end of the book definitely surprised me. Again, I’m not an expert in this subject in any way. This is just what I think, and I thought it was a really interesting end to the novel.

Overall, I think this novel is a good one to read. It has an great story line that had me sobbing at some points, and a lot of insightful poetry and characters that have their own unique voices.

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
World Building: 3.5/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5
GoodReads: 4.18/5

eARC obtained via Disney-Hyperion via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Uprooted

22544764

Title: Uprooted
Author: Naomi Novik
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publication Date: May 19, 2015
GoodReads

Synopsis:

“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

This whole entire novel was not about what I had expected it to be about. The synopsis is extremely vague and to be honest only reveals what’s in the first 2-3 chapters. This entire novel was like inhaling a trilogy of books, without the painful year long waiting between parts. There are so many sub-plots within the plot and history within these pages. It’s honestly one of my favourite fantasy novels of this year, and maybe ever.

It is honestly so hard to describe how amazing this book was without spoiling anything. Ahh!

The story set up is absolutely perfect. We start in Agnieszka’s village, move to the Dragon’s tower (note, he is not in fact a scaly creature), then into the Wood, then into the Capital city, back to the tower, back to the Wood. There’s so many changes in setting and characters that the book keeps you entertained throughout. While each setting is sectioned out, so are the character introductions – we meet the main character’s family and friends in her village, then history of the Dragon in his tower, then other characters depending on where the story takes us next. The fact that the setting and characters are presented in such digestible tidbits made the whole book more enjoyable as it was easier to follow where people were going and what was happening in the novel.

I read this novel as an ARC, and I’ve found the response interesting. A lot of people rage on and on about the “kidnapping” not really being a kidnapping, because the MC gets to live in a tower and get nice clothes, etc. However, something that they miss is that it is horrifying. Said tribute is taken away from her home, her friends, her family – torn from her community and culture. She is placed with a less than amiable wizard, and honestly, I don’t know how people see becoming refined as a gift and not a ten year long social redevelopment project. The response to this element of the novel has really made me think about it. Sure, the outcome isn’t bad, but there is a large negative aspect to it that nearly mimics real life in some ways… just food for thought for those who have yet to read it (this is all revealed in the first 20 pages, no spoilers, I promise!).

I think my favourite part of the novel was the antagonist. It wasn’t a specific person, per say, but a thing. A terrifying thing that consumes a person from the outside in – first their body, then their soul. The Wood was likely one of the more interesting antagonists as it’s so evil without any conscious thought. Honestly, the scenes set in it freaked me out haha. Further, the story behind it was extremely interesting and actually moving. This aspect of the novel was built well.

One thing I wish had been better is the Dragon’s personality. There’s so much there to pull at, and I feel like we missed a lot of history in his lack of emotional and overall character exposure. Also, the MC was a little dense at times, but otherwise quite a strong female lead for this novel!

Overall, this was an extremely intricate book, and it truly captured my heart. It’s quite long, and the beginning isn’t as interesting as it could be, but in the end I thought the entire experience was well worth the effort. A beautifully constructed novel that really gets you thinking about suffering, revenge, and friendship.

Characters: 4/5
Plot: 5/5
World Building: 4.5/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Cover: 5/5
Overall: 5/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.2/5

eARC obtained via Random House Publishing Group via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Breakaway

22400517

Title: Breakaway
Author: Kat Spears
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
GoodReads

Synopsis:

When Jason Marshall’s younger sister passes away, he knows he can count on his three best friends and soccer teammates—Mario, Jordie, and Chick—to be there for him. With a grief-crippled mother and a father who’s not in the picture, he needs them more than ever. But when Mario starts hanging out with a rough group of friends and Jordie finally lands the girl of his dreams, Jason is left to fend for himself while maintaining a strained relationship with troubled and quiet Chick. Then Jason meets Raine, a girl he thinks is out of his league but who sees him for everything he wants to be, and he finds himself pulled between building a healthy and stable relationship with a girl he might be falling in love with, grieving for his sister, and trying to hold onto the friendships he has always relied on.

This book was a surprise. I’m one of those “judge a book by their cover” type people. I did not expect this book to be as intense or as heartbreaking as it was, based on this cover. Honestly, I kind of wish they would change it a little, simply because I can’t see any of the guys I know, or knew, reading this in public. They probably wouldn’t even pick it up to see what it’s about, let alone purchase it and read it, even though this is a book that needs to be read.

When I first cracked the covers, I didn’t like it. The language at the beginning tried a little too hard to be “gangster” or “slang” filled, and it didn’t work well for me. It gave me the impression that the book would be a mission to read. I didn’t give up though, since I’m stubborn like that, and kept going. As the book went on, you could really see the characters starting to open up and reveal themselves to you.

The main character, Jason, really grows up throughout the novel. He starts out hating everything – the people at school who are “mourning” over his sister, his mother’s withdrawal, this one girl who thinks hooking up is the same as mourning – and it drives his character throughout the first bit of the book. As he slowly gets over his loss, he turns his thoughts to other things – his friends, a girl who’s caught his eye, his mother’s health, his need to distract himself.

While there is romance in this book, there’s also pain and loss, friendship and family, obligation and want. Even though there wasn’t really a climax in this novel, or any revelation that changes the world and the school, and how I look at the world, it was a wonderful read. It was just life, the nitty gritty parts of reality that we often forget about, or wish that we could forget about. It shows us that it’s the little things that change who we are and how we see one another and ourselves. This book is slow to develop, but once it starts the experience is 100% worth it. Honestly, I had no clue what I was getting myself into when I read this novel, but I loved it, and I think that people should give it a shot.

Plot: 4.5/5
Characters: 5/5
World Building: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Cover: 3/5
Overall: 5/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.92/5

eARC obtained via St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Witch of Painted Sorrows

22608277 (1)

Title: The Witch of Painted Sorrows [The Daughters of La Lune #1]
Author: M.J. Rose
Genre: Historical Paranormal Fantasy
Publication Date: March 17, 2015
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Possession. Power. Passion. New York Times bestselling novelist M. J. Rose creates her most provocative and magical spellbinder yet in this gothic novel set against the lavish spectacle of 1890s Belle Époque Paris.

Sandrine Salome flees New York for her grandmother’s Paris mansion to escape her dangerous husband, but what she finds there is even more menacing. The house, famous for its lavish art collection and elegant salons, is mysteriously closed up. Although her grandmother insists it’s dangerous for Sandrine to visit, she defies her and meets Julien Duplessi, a mesmerizing young architect. Together they explore the hidden night world of Paris, the forbidden occult underground and Sandrine’s deepest desires.

Among the bohemians and the demi-monde, Sandrine discovers her erotic nature as a lover and painter. Then darker influences threaten—her cold and cruel husband is tracking her down and something sinister is taking hold, changing Sandrine, altering her. She’s become possessed by La Lune: A witch, a legend, and a sixteenth-century courtesan, who opens up her life to a darkness that may become a gift or a curse.

This is Sandrine’s “wild night of the soul,” her odyssey in the magnificent city of Paris, of art, love, and witchery.

First thing’s first. I loved the cover for this book. It really caught my eye, and of course I was one to judge a book by its cover and requested it…

I didn’t love this book. It was a slow start that never really got going. When I thought something crazy was going to happen, something else would jump in from left field, take me for a spin and then drop me off back a description central. I love description – it helps build the setting, the characters, the mood and atmosphere of the novel – but this one wasn’t a captivating one. I didn’t want to wrap my world in this place and stay for a while. There was a lot of disconnect between myself and the characters and their world.

Sandrine and the other character switch personalities a lot. Sometimes they want to be really nice, sometimes they’re cruel, sometimes their irritating beyond reason, and yet none of these personalities reconcile with one another, and I couldn’t be with the characters, I could only just observe from a distance.

That being said, the world building was well done, overall, but even then, there was nothing that really stood out to be as historic? Aside from the sexism in the city of Paris (only boys allowed to do all the fun stuff), I didn’t really see anything that screamed 1890s. It was more of just a fancy Paris. Maybe it’s ’cause I’ve never been to Paris? I don’t know.

On the other hand, I loved the description of the art. That was something that captured me. Not necessarily PG, but the way she painted and the way the whole process was described, there was something hauntingly beautiful about it. That was also the only time I really cared about what was going through her head throughout the novel. That part of the world was the only part that really resounded with me because I could feel her passion and see the art that was around her.

I think my least favourite part of the book was the questioning-to-create-drama part. How did that happen? What’s happening? Who is this person? Did I do that? On and on it went. Every few chapters would end with some rhetorical questions that I already knew the answer to and it’s just like girl, if you don’t get what’s happening you need to WAKE UP. I get that she might be irrational because of the whole possession thing, but really, how oblivious do you have to be to not see what’s going on. And I hated that she kept switching back in forth – oh, I don’t want her in me – actually I do – actually I think I’m better with her – wait no, she’s bad -but she makes me better. It was like watching someone chase their tail – interesting at first, silly and tiring later on.

Overall, the concept was interesting, and while it wasn’t a very time-specific setting, I could imagine Sandrine’s world well. That being said, the characterization and descriptions held up the plot, and the lack of a huge climax was disappointing.

Plot: 3/5
Characters: 3.5/5
World Building: 4/5
Writing: 3/5
Cover: 5/5
Overall: 3/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.54/5

eARC obtained via Atria Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Virgin

18624367

 

Title: Virgin
Author: Radhika Sanghani
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
GoodReads

Synopsis:

Okay, I admit it…I didn’t do it.

Yet.

This is normal, right?  I mean, just because everyone I know has talked like they’ve already done it doesn’t mean that they’re telling the truth…right?

It’s not like I’m asking for that much. I don’t need the perfect guy. I don’t need candlelight or roses. Honestly, I don’t even need a real bed.

The guys I know complain that girls are always looking for Mr. Right—do I have to wear a sign that says I’m only looking for Mr. Right Now?

Sooooo…anyone out there want sex? Anyone? Hello? Just for fun?

I am not going to die a virgin. One way or another I am going to make this happen.

Hey, what have I got to lose? Besides the obvious.

I can honestly say, I didn’t love this book. I never understood why some girls are obsessed with losing their virginity. Why did I read this then? I was told it would be entertaining and humourous. It wasn’t, really.

Let’s pause that for a moment and start with the main character. She does have a sharp tongue and I was relatively entertained, at the beginning, by her and her awkward escapades. The got old really fast. She screamed desperation and self-pity about a quarter way through the book, and that didn’t really stop until the last 10 pages. She was so determined to lose something, which really makes no difference when it comes to the real world, that she was willing to sacrifice her friends, her marks, and her own health for it. As a twenty year old virgin, I really didn’t see where this was even coming from. Yes, she wants to fit in with a certain circle of people, but it never occurs to her that there was nothing wrong with her, but maybe something wrong with the people she surrounded herself with. That being said, there is nothing wrong with hanging out with people who have sex, who are happy to show off their experience, but when it makes you feel bad about yourself, or lesser, then I think you need to start reevaluating the kind of friends you want, versus the ones you need.

She goes on and on about how everyone she knows has done the deed. Yay? I mean really, about 90% of my friends are still virgins, half of us have never even had our first kiss yet. Honestly? The fact that I didn’t love this book may also stem from the fact that I can’t really relate. People are going on and on about how yes girls talk about their sex lives, their waxing/shaving incidents, their blowjob nightmares. I don’t think I’ve ever done that with my friends because our lives just don’t revolve around that kind of thing. Was I entertained by her horror stories? No, I actually wasn’t. If anything, it makes me more fearful for when I encounter those situations. That so doesn’t help.

Something that I also didn’t understand was how she could be so naiive about things. Yes, I understand that she’s inexperienced, but she’s been at this since high school. You mean to tell me that she’s never encountered a book that talked about these kinds of things, or saw magazine articles that describe what the chicka is doing when she’s going down on someone? I can go to my local grocery store and point out at least 5 to 10 magazines that will tell you “How to Pleasure Your Man”. I mean she’s an English major for crying out loud, she should be able to find literature about this in so many places. I can understand knowing everything in theory and still screwing up, but I just can’t believe that someone so determined and interested in all this hasn’t utilized these resources that the pop-culture world has given us.

It also bothers me that the whole ending was cut off abruptly. This happens, that happens, there’s some vague acceptance and then she goes back on it by STILL worrying about people thinking she’s a virgin, and it’s just like you are not the centre of the freaking world. Honestly, no one cares. She treats her friends like trash, and SHE KNOWS SHE’S BEING JEALOUS AND ANNOYING. Trust me, I know how hard it is to cut that off, but really, maybe if you stopped being so self-deprecating and realize that if a guy wants your friends attention more than yours, you should probably move on to find someone who actually LIKES YOU, then you’d be a little happier with life.

The world will knock you down whether you want it to or not. Don’t just sit there and pity yourself in a corner crying about it ’cause no one can help you except you. Love yourself before you try to get other people to love you. If you are not happy in your skin then change it, get up and actively change your lifestyle to something that suits you, ’cause getting a guy honestly will not help you fully feel comfortable in your skin (if anything it can make you even more self-conscious and it sucks).

I thought that some of the little anecdotes were odd, quirky, and relatively entertaining, but at the end of the day, I just couldn’t relate to this book, and that has greatly affected my views of this novel. Overall, well written, relatively interesting, but also frustrating, as there was a vague revelation and a half-assed attempt at saying that this kind of behaviour can get you into some big problems. All in all, I was not impressed.

Plot: 2/5
Characters: 2.5/5
World Building: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Cover: 5/5
Overall: 2.5/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.43/5

eARC provided by Penguin Group via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: We Were Liars

16143347Title: We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
GoodReads

Synopsis:

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.

And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

I can honestly say that I didn’t expect what I ended up getting in this book. That said, it was even better than I thought I’d be.

It is honestly so hard to think of something to say with regards to this novel without spoiling it, so I’m going to step away from the plot a little, and focus on everything else.

Let me start with the plot. The story is from Cadence’s point of view, for the most part. She’s a Sinclair, which means she’s rich, pretty, and appropriately polite. At the beginning of the story, we get a peak into her summer on the family island – her relationship with her cousins, and Gat, as well as the relationship between her and her parents. Then, we see her accident and are left with numerous questions, questions that she asks later on throughout the novel. Upon returning to the island, she’s greeted with more questions than answers, and is soon unable to figure out what’s true versus what isn’t.

I absolutely loved this novel’s writing. There was a sort of poetry about it that really worked with the book and the characters. In addition, the narrator was able to slip in tiny details, here and there, that, when looked back upon with hindsight bias, because glaringly obvious instead of insignificant and simply descriptive. The plot was weaved extremely well, allowing reader to uncover secrets and answers at the same time Cadence did. It was nice, knowing about as much as the main character did.

The description in this novel was amazing, too. People were describe with nouns instead of adjectives, while emotions and feelings were often portrayed through fantastical description. It was a really interesting layering of words that created an entire picture that fit perfectly with what was happening, while allowing me, as a reader, to empathize with Cadence, to feel like I’ve met Johnny and Gat, and to experience the island for myself.

Something that I REALLY loved about this book were the mini stories. Cadence points out that stories are generally the same, only tweaked and adjusted over time. Soon after, the stories begin. Each time it starts off with a father of three daughters, and each time, everything else changes. I thought that this was creative and unique, and I really enjoyed that the story changed according to what Cadence discovered.

The characters in this story were vibrant and real. Each one popped out of the page, having their own unique qualities and ways of speaking. Even when I was annoyed at a character, I couldn’t help but love their individuality and the points about them that set them apart from all other characters. The subtle changes of each character throughout the novel was also something that, later on, because extremely important.

I really want to read this book again, now that I know what happened, just to pick up the pieces I missed before. Absolutely captivating, this novel is actually one of my favourites of 2014 so far.

Plot: 5/5
Characters: 4.5/5
World Building: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Cover: 5/5
Overall: 5/5
GoodReads: 4.06/5

eARC provided by Random House Children’s via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Here and Now

18242896Title: The Here and Now
Author: Ann Brashares
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Dystopian Sci-Fi
GoodReads

Synopsis:

An unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.

Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth.

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.

From Ann Brashares, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now is thrilling, exhilarating, haunting, and heartbreaking—and a must-read novel of the year.

That genre is a mouthful, but that’s as close as I can possibly get for this book.

Contemporary: It happens NOW. Well, technically two weeks from now, but close enough. It’s current. Cell phones are used, the world hasn’t ended, it’s all good.

Dystopian: Prenna is came from the future, or at least one strand of it. The world was near its end before she left, everyone affected by a plague of unknown original that was carried in mosquitoes (very much like West Nile, but worse).

Sci-Fi: Prenna and a select group of people have traveled back in time to fix the future and prevent the plague.

This was an extremely interesting story. The plot was full of surprises, but also presented some interesting ideas. In this novel, we get a glimpse of the future, or well, multiple versions of the future. The only thing is, they’re not as futuristic as we assume they’ll be – no flying cars, no crazy techno computers (though there was a mention of a supposed Apple invention, which I could definitely see Apple, or even Google, inventing in the future). It was doom and gloom up ahead, one an economic issue, another a eco issue, also relating to the evolution and adaptation of people and animals to a new, less green, planet. I loved this concept because it’s something that is real and relevant to us today. As one person, we don’t see the decline in the world – where the ice caps are melting, the weather is becoming more random and unpredictable, as well as violent. We close our eyes to this. My hope is that this book helps open those eyes and maybe cause a shift in our society.

The overall set up of the time immigrants vs the time natives was also interesting. All the rules and restrictions, as well as the stories of those who didn’t survive the trip or didn’t survive the rules really helped set the ball rolling, giving readers something to compare to when judging the magnitude of Prenna’s decisions later on in the story.

In addition to my love of the plot, I really enjoyed reading about these characters. Prenna was a worrier, but it wasn’t annoying. It was more of exercised caution than mental takeover. It was nice reading the book from her point of view. She found beauty in the things that no one ever notices anymore; one could say that she actually stopped to smell the flowers. She was amazed at how bright our world was, and couldn’t comprehend our wish to stay inside and play with our games and gadgets. However, for a supposed genius, her actions are very impulsive, and lack calculation. Also, she has little care or worry for the repercussions of her actions on the people around her.

Ethan, on the other hand, was helpful, supportive, and just a tad bit boring. He was basically everything that was needed to move things along – a tracker, a hacker, a future-world famous physicist – you’ve got them all with Ethan. Have to say though, he was nice enough, but his character lacked depth, and I know next to nothing about him, even though I finished the book already.

One thing that bothered me more than anything was that they are playing with time. If you play with time, the things from the future should change, no? Like newspapers, and people? Wouldn’t all that go wonky or snap out of existence? Maybe it’s just me, but the fact that there’s a bunch of futures is cool, but wouldn’t one shift change a bunch of other things? Maybe I’m being picky, but time travel books and all is a finicky subject.

Also, they had a tight deadline – what, two or three days – to save the world from one version of the future. However, they loiter and linger on the beach for a day, learning card games and drinking illegally. It was so out of place in this book that it just didn’t work for me. Again, this brings around the whole relationships in YA novels and how there’s just too much emphasis on them. The story could’ve worked without all that, seeing as there wasn’t really THAT much to begin with. I don’t know, Ethan’s whole role in all of this was just a little unrealistic.

All in all, I’d say that this book is a must read, if not for the overall story, then at least for the ideas presented. It is a real eye opener to all the problems our world is facing, whether politically, economically, socially, or environmentally. It’s amazing how well Brashares captures our world in less than 200 pages, giving us a snapshot of our lives and showing us where we all are, and where we should be. Oddly, instead of reading this book to escape, I’d say read this book to see what you’re missing, to realize that there’s more to life than electronics and odd gadgets. However, the story did have its holes, which is hard enough to cover in a long time traveling series, let alone in this one, fairly short novel.

Plot: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
World Building: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Cover: 5/5
Overall: 4/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.37/5

eARC obtained via Random House Children’s via NetGalley

  • Flash to the Past

  • Categories

  • Enter your email address to follow my blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,036 other followers

  • Upcoming

  • Goodreads

  • #bookstagrammer

    I seem to have abandoned this month's challenge. I cannot adult and bookstagram simultaneously. It doesn't work for me. Luckily, I'm going back to school in a month!
---
#bookstagram #books #summer #flowers #outside #buryingwater #katucker #newadult #currentlyreading #bookishlove #goodreads Happy weekend everyone!
-
Oh man, I'm so not used to using my brain - two months of rest has made me soft. I come home from work everyday dead tired. I'm just going to put it out there that I will be pretty MIA the next two months thanks to my short term job, so sorry in advance!
-
QOTD: What was the weirdest thing that happened to you this week?
-
#bookstagram #books #tbr #colours #bookrainbow #bookishrainbow #bookishlove #goodreads #bookstack #pileofbooks #bookblog #bookstagrammer #booksofinstagram #booknerd One of my favourite series as a kid. Rereading it with my younger brother has been fun. The Heaps are just as chaotic as I remember haha 😄
-
#lyricallybookishjuly : Day 11
Paranormal books
---
#bookstagram #books #tbr #colours #red #blue #green #childhood #middlegrade #favourite #currentlyreading #series #openbook #bookstagrammer #booksofinstagram #booknerd #julybookstagramchallenge #julyphotochallenge #bookishlove #goodreads #bookstack #pileofbooks #bookblog
  • Twiddley-Do-Da

  • Facebook Page

  • Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository
  • Xpresso Book Tours
  • Extra Links

  • website tonight analytics