Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Review of Fairest by Marissa Meyer

Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles, #3.5) In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?


Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.


(Summary from GoodReads) 



How is anyone supposed to know what to expect going into a story about an evil queen?  Sure, it was obvious that Meyer was going to give us reasons to understand why Levana is the way she is, otherwise this book wouldn’t have lived up to its full potential.  While I knew that Fairest was going to satiate my desire to learn more about Queen Levana, I was impressed by how it was woven into the series as a whole.

I just want to say how fulfilling it was to treat this as book three and a half in this series and read Winter immediately afterwards because while one could read Winter without having ever read Fairest, one will appreciate it much more.  You could skip it, but you’d be missing out on a great deal.  For those wondering, this book covers bits of Levana’s adolescence and childhood, as well as some romantic relationships she once had.  Of course, we get glimpses of other major characters in the series.

This book did make me feel more sympathetic towards Levana, which is good.  However, what’s even more important is the other characters that I met as I read this one.  I don’t want to say who, for risk of spoiling the series, but let me just say that I had ALL of the feelings.  I also found the writing in this story and the descriptions of Luna to be absolutely gorgeous.

Fairest is an essential part of Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series and I absolutely adored it. I loved learning about all of the characters that we met in this book. I can’t wait to reread it by listening to the audiobook.

Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book.
 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Cover Reveal: 27 Hours by Tristina Wright

As I'm sure a lot of you guys probably know, I'm a pretty big fan of science fiction, both in t.v. and books.  Today I get the honor of revealing the cover of a book that I'm very excited to read, specifically 27 Hours by Tristina Wright.  I've been following Tristina on Twitter for a while now, and I am so excited to read this book based on everything I've heard about it.  Without further ado, here's the cover and a description.


Rumor Mora fears two things: hellhounds too strong for him to kill, and failure. Jude Welton has two dreams: for humans to stop killing monsters, and for his strange abilities to vanish.

But in no reality should a boy raised to love monsters fall for a boy raised to kill them.

Nyx Llorca keeps two secrets: the moon speaks to her, and she’s in love with Dahlia, her best friend. Braeden Tennant wants two things: to get out from his mother's shadow, and to unlearn Epsilon's darkest secret.

They’ll both have to commit treason to find the truth.

During one twenty-seven-hour night, if they can’t stop the war between the colonies and the monsters from becoming a war of extinction, the things they wish for will never come true, and the things they fear will be all that’s left.


If you want to preorder the book like I already have, here are some links where you can do so:

Author Bio:
Tristina Wright is a blue-haired bisexual with anxiety and opinions. She’s also possibly a mermaid, but no one can get confirmation. She fell in love with science fiction and fantasy at a young age and frequently got caught writing in class instead of paying attention. She enjoys worlds with monsters and kissing and monsters kissing. She married a nerd who can build computers and make the sun shine with his smile. Most days, she can be found drinking coffee from her favorite chipped mug and making up more stories for her wombfruit, who keep life exciting and unpredictable.
Still trying to figure out the mermaid thing.

Snapchat: @tristinawright

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Review of To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1) To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

(Summary from GoodReads) 



When I read Jenny Han’s summer trilogy, I knew that I didn’t mind Han’s writing too much, but that I simply hated the plot of that trilogy.  I grabbed To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before when it was super cheap on Kindle and read it on my phone over the course of a few months.  Lara Jean’s story is utterly adorable, even if it’s not going to top my favorites list anytime soon.

I immediately got a strong sense of who Lara Jean is. Han nails the dynamic between three sisters.  From the very first page the reader could easily get a sense of the pecking order in Lara Jean, Margot, and Kitty’s relationship, and you could see how they each interacted with their father.  It was nice to see their Korean heritage incorporated into the novel.  While elements of their storyline bordered on predictable, it didn’t matter because the sisterhood was so well written.  I will say that aside from the interests Han told us Lara Jean had (like scrapbooking) and her love interests, sometimes it felt like Lara Jean didn’t have a major personality outside of her family.   However, her relationship with her sisters gradually started to grow, which was great.

I think that over the course of the sequel, Lara Jean will come into her own, and I hope that for her that means more than finding romance.  That said, while the romantic plotline was cute, I didn’t feel super invested in either of the love interests.  I know that my opinion of the love interests doesn’t change whether or not this book is objectively enjoyable for a teen audience, but it would have helped me enjoy the story more.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a cute contemporary romance, it just wasn’t a standout for me.  However, a lot of bloggers have enjoyed this one more than me, and I think teens will enjoy the storyline and the love interests.  Definitely pick this one up if you want a quick and charming contemporary novel about romance and family.

Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book.
 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Review of Paper Towns by John Green

Paper Towns Who is the real Margo?

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew...


(Summary from GoodReads)



When I read Looking for Alaska and The Fault In Our Stars, I adored both of them.  If I were to reread them both of them again today, I think life experience would cause me to feel differently.  Paper Towns has been on my radar since I started blogging in 2010 and I was motivated to pick it up when an adaptation of it was released in 2015.  Once I finished this book I finally understood why people tend to think of John Green as overrated.  If you don’t mind a mediocre road trip story featuring the pursuit of a manic pixie dream girl with some clever details, you’ll definitely enjoy this one.

I didn’t find either Quentin or Margo that fully fleshed out as characters.  Green excels at writing a history for them, and those parts of the story were good.  Margo isn’t necessarily supposed to be a character that we know a lot about, and Quentin is romantically interested in her more for nostalgic reasons.  I had a crush on the same person all four years of high school, and tried to pursue it, but it never went anywhere, so while I understood, I didn’t find it particularly interesting.  It was realistic, but I didn’t care whether or not Quentin and Margo wound up together.  I liked Radar a lot, but also found myself side-eying parts of his story.

The plot of this story was mildly amusing, though one road trip book about a white privileged high school male may be enough to last me a lifetime.  Sure, Quentin wants to live life more fully.  Sure, Quentin seems to think some of the people around him are kind of fake.  The case of manic pixie dream girl is all too real.  These themes probably sound familiar because they’re in a lot of young adult books, and I just fail to see what Green does to put a new spin on them.  His prose is lovely and from a literary perspective, he incorporates fascinating facts and concepts into his story.  While this was fine, I just don’t feel like anything made up for the serious case of MPDG.

A colleague of mine told me after I finished this that it was her least favorite of Green’s books, and I can see why.  I understand how some teens could read encounter this book and feel like they’ve never read anything like it before.  Paper Towns is not a bad book, but it didn’t do a thing for me as a reader.

Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book.
 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Review of Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith

Wild Awake Things you earnestly believe will happen while your parents are away:

1. You will remember to water the azaleas.
2. You will take detailed, accurate messages.
3. You will call your older brother, Denny, if even the slightest thing goes wrong.
4. You and your best friend/bandmate Lukas will win Battle of the Bands.
5. Amid the thrill of victory, Lukas will finally realize you are the girl of his dreams.

Things that actually happen:

1. A stranger calls who says he knew your sister.
2. He says he has her stuff.
3. What stuff? Her stuff.
4. You tell him your parents won’t be able to—
5. Sukey died five years ago; can’t he—
6. You pick up a pen.
7. You scribble down the address.
8. You get on your bike and go.
9. Things . . . get a little crazy after that.*
*also, you fall in love, but not with Lukas.

Both exhilarating and wrenching, Hilary T. Smith’s debut novel captures the messy glory of being alive, as seventeen-year-old Kiri Byrd discovers love, loss, chaos, and murder woven into a summer of music, madness, piercing heartbreak, and intoxicating joy.


(Summary from GoodReads)




As you guys know, Wild Awake was one of my favorite books that I read in 2015.  I took it on vacation when my family and I went to Acadia National Park, and I’m really glad that I took it on vacation.  Even though I read the book relatively quickly and things kept happening, the story still had kind of a slow, syrupy feeling. 

When Kiri gets a phone call that a stranger has things that belonged to her sister, Sukey, who died five years ago, she goes to get it, and starts to learn about parts of her sister’s life and her city that she hasn’t seen before.  She also happens across a boy named Skunk who fixes her bike for her.  Kiri had expected to spend all summer practicing piano, which she is extremely gifted at, and playing in a band with her friend Lukas, who she may also have a crush on. As all of this is happening, she essentially goes through a mental break. Readers who have struggled with mental illness or know someone who has gone through it will probably see Kiri’s struggles and feel a sense of familiarity, sometimes in an uncomfortable way. 

In a lot of ways, Wild Awake is a serious story about mental illness and about finding closure. However, it’s also a story about a summer of falling in love and new experiences and new people.  I love reading about Kiri and her love interest because it was clear that it was a relationship that felt good for both of them.  Smith’s prose is absolutely stunning and makes every emotion that Kiri feels extremely raw.

Smith’s debut is a book that I want to revisit over and over again.  I want to revisit it for the gorgeous writing, to think about how Kiri transforms over the summer, about the relationship that Kiri and her family have with Sukey. Wild Awake is a fantastic novel and one you should pick up  if you haven’t already.

Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book.
 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Review of The Devil You Know by Trish Doller

The Devil You Know Eighteen-year-old Arcadia wants adventure. Living in a tiny Florida town with her dad and four-year-old brother, Cadie spends most of her time working, going to school, and taking care of her family. So when she meets two handsome cousins at a campfire party, she finally has a chance for fun. They invite her and friend to join them on a road trip, and it's just the risk she's been craving-the opportunity to escape. But what starts out as a fun, sexy journey quickly becomes dangerous when she discovers that one of them is not at all who he claims to be. One of them has deadly intentions.

A road trip fling turns terrifying in this contemporary story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.


(Summary from GoodReads)



I loved Trish Doller’s first two books, Something Like Normal and Where the Stars Still Shine.  When I requested an ARC of The Devil You Know, I thought to myself, “I’m not usually a thriller person, but this is Trish, whose books are amazing.  I might hate it, but I probably won’t hate it.  Right?!”  I tore through Doller’s book because of its engrossing plot, and I fell in love with her exceptional characters all over again.


Like Doller’s other books, The Devil You Know is set in Florida, and as always the setting felt thoroughly drawn, but it was crafted to fit the different moods of this story.  It’s appropriate to call this story a thriller not only because there are moments when you may find yourself quaking beneath a blanket as you read, but also because for Cadie the adventures and new experiences are thrilling for her.   I personally never quite guessed what the outcome of this story was going to be, and I really appreciated the way Doller tied up the story while still leaving a few loose ends.

The characters are what make The Devil You Know truly exceptional.  Cadie doesn’t know precisely what she wants out of her life, but she does know that she has a desire to live it more fully. A lot of what she goes through will be relatable to teens who feel this exact same thing, as well as to a lot of adult readers.  You can feel the chemistry and tensions that she goes through with Noah and Matt on every page, but her experiences with them never detract from her characterization, and it’s always clear that even if Cadie doesn’t know exactly what she wants, she makes her own choices.

The Devil You Know is the perfect book for teens who love thrillers and strong female characters.  I was impressed by every aspect of Doller’s writing and I absolutely loved the way that Cadie’s character is drawn.  As per usual, I cannot recommend Trish Doller and her books enough.

Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review, and I loved it so much that I also purchased a hardcover.

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