Thursday, June 4, 2015

Review of The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

The Start of Me and You Following her pitch-perfect debut Open Road Summer, Emery Lord pens another gorgeous story of best friends, new love, second chances.

Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.

It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?


(Summary from GoodReads) 


 A huge reason I was drawn to The Start of Me and You was because of its gorgeous cover, but I’ve also read Emery Lord’s debut, Open Road Summer, and enjoyed it.  I had a feeling that she’d step it up a notch in this one, and I was definitely right.  The Start of Me and You is filled with great female friendships, exceptional prose, and a ridiculously swoon worthy romance.

Paige reminded me a great deal of myself.  She can be a little uptight and is focused on her future, but also loves to be with her friends and pursue nerdy interests.  While she is not at all perfect, she is introspective, loving, and compassionate, and has a character arc that is simultaneously believable and touching.

I loved that we got to see so much of Paige’s relationship with her three close friends.  It can be so easy to get caught up in drama that I love seeing friendships depicted positively.  However, what I enjoyed even more than that was her friendship with Max.  I loved that their relationship was playful and romantic.

Emery Lord’s prose here was also much, much better than in Open Road Summer. It wasn’t bad earlier, but here there were a lot more things that stood out to me as poignant and lovely.  I hope her writing only gets better as she publishes more books.

The Start of Me and You is an exceptional sophomore novel.   I definitely want a Max of my own.  Lord is becoming a contemporary author whose books I can depend on, and I’m eager for more from her.

Disclosure: I received an electronic galley of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Other reviews: 
Novel Novice
 
Writing My Own Fairy Tale

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

#WednesdayYA June Pick

Hi everyone! The month of May has been crazy, and I hope to get some more posts up soon, but in the meantime #WednesdayYA is still going strong.  This past month Misty was sick, so I led a quick Twitter chat on our May selection, A Blue So Dark.

For our June selection, we decided to do a vote on Instagram.  We were both in the mood for something that we're hoping we'll be a little more on the light and fluffy side.  Here's what won.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11454587-spell-bound?from_search=true&search_version=service

Hailed as “impossible to put down,” the Hex Hall series has both critics and teens cheering. With a winning combination of romance, action, magic and humor, this third volume will leave readers enchanted.

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

(Summary from GoodReads)

We'll have our liveshow all about what we thought of this one on June 24th at 8:30 p.m. EST.  We hope that you guys will read along and we hope to see you there! 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

#WednesdayYA May Selection

Hey guys!  Misty and I are so excited for another month of #WednesdayYA.  If you missed our liveshow on The Raven Boys but still want to see what we thought, check out the video.


Our choices so far this year have been heavy on the dystopian and fantasy side, so to pick our May book, we tossed all of the contemporary titles on the #WednesdayYA shelf in a bag, and picked one at random. 

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6964455-a-blue-so-dark?from_search=true&search_version=service
 Fifteen-year-old Aura Ambrose has been hiding a secret. Her mother, a talented artist and art teacher, is slowly being consumed by schizophrenia, and Aura has been her sole caretaker ever since Aura's dad left them. Convinced that "creative" equals crazy, Aura shuns her own artistic talent. But as her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet draws Aura toward the depths of her imagination. Just as desperation threatens to swallow her whole, Aura discovers that art, love, and family are profoundly linked—and together may offer an escape from her fears.

(Summary from GoodReads)

We'll be having our liveshow to discuss this one on May 27th at 8:30 p.m. EST.  See you there!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Review of The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, #2) Book two of the dazzling Winner's Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement... if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.


(Summary from GoodReads)


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When I read The Winner’s Curse in 2013, it immediately became one of my favorite books, period. It’s beautifully written, has a great plot, and I loved the way Rutkoski deals with themes of slavery, war, and undermined people.  The Winner’s Crime continued to excel in all of these areas, except Rutkoski made Kestrel’s relationship with her father even more complex and gave the reader even more to think about in terms of gender, making it an even more outstanding read.

I was worried about not enjoying the prose in this one as much, because it was so lovely throughout The Winner’s Curse, but it really struck me with this book how many awesome metaphors and symbols there are. I mean, yes, they were there in the first book, but Rutkoski seriously kicked it up a notch.  Someday someone could probably write a thesis on the use of metaphor or similes or symbolism in this book, but I digress.

The Winner’s Crime is one of the most tension filled books I read in 2014.  Some of that tension is quiet, some is loud, but it’s all heartbreaking.  This was especially the case with Arin. Rutkoski makes wonderful use of dramatic irony with his character.  A lot of it is also with Krestel’s father, a relationship that broke my heart in a million ways.  I can’t wait to see how it grows and continues to give me all of the emotions in The Winner’s Kiss.

Reading this sequel, I realized that this series is hugely about gender. Pretty much all of the people who are trying to control Kestrel are men, and the only real female she's had to guide her has been Enai.  Since this series is inspired by times and places where women didn’t have as much power as men, this is extremely fitting, but it also meant that Kestrel had a great character arc throughout this book, which will be even more awesome to see as the series wraps up.

Part of me can’t help but feel a twinge of regret over reading this book so early. It ended with a major plot twist and I cannot wait to get my hands on book three.  The Winner’s Crime suffers from zero sophomore slump, and this trilogy is quickly becoming one of my new favorites.


Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review, but I also bought my own hardcover after reading it.

Other reviews:
Book Rock Betty
Love Is Not A Triangle
Pure Imagination

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

#WednesdayYA April Selection

I'm a little late in posting this, but what else is new!  We had a great discussion about The Wee Free Men on my channel at the end of March.  If you missed it, fear not, you can watch it right here.


At the end of the liveshow, we announced our selection for April, which I got to choose because my birthday is April 1st.  I picked something I've been wanting to read forever, and I actually wanted us to read it so badly that I bought Misty a copy. Whatever, she already owned the second book in the series. Without further ado, here is our April read.

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

(Summary from GoodReads) 


Be sure to join us if you want to read along, or if you just want to chat with us. The liveshow will be on April 29th at 8:30 p.m. EST and this time, we'll be on Misty's channel. We can't wait to see you there!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Review of Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone

Time After Time (Time Between Us, #2)
Calling Anna and Bennett’s romance long distance is an understatement: she’s from 1995 Chicago and he’s a time traveler from 2012 San Francisco. The two of them never should have met, but they did. They fell in love, even though they knew they shouldn't. And they found a way to stay together, against all odds.

It’s not a perfect arrangement, though, with Bennett unable to stay in the past for more than brief visits, skipping out on big chunks of his present in order to be with Anna in hers. They each are confident that they’ll find a way to make things work...until Bennett witnesses a single event he never should have seen (and certainly never expected to). Will the decisions he makes from that point on cement a future he doesn't want?

Told from Bennett’s point of view, Time After Time will satisfy readers looking for a fresh, exciting, and beautifully-written love story, both those who are eager to find out what’s next for Time Between Us's Anna and Bennett and those discovering their story for the first time.


(Summary from GoodReads)


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While Time Between Us isn’t a book that holds a spot on my favorites shelf, I liked it enough that I wanted to know how Anna and Bennett’s story ended.  Time After Time is a nice continuation of this series and plays out in a way that I’m sure lots of readers will expect.  If you’re looking for a sequel that gets into the science of time travel and has an “I can’t believe it just went there plot,” this may not be the right book for you.

We got to know a little more about Bennett and who he is in this story, which is great.  His character is well-developed, and I can see why he has appeal to Anna and a lot of readers.  Stone’s writing was lovely as she showed us more of Bennett and his romance with Anna.

A lot of authors hook readers by writing about why characters should be together—but things aren’t that simple here.  Instead, Anna and Bennett wind up having to confront why they shouldn’t be together.  This was a perfect choice for this series—while not every teen reader who picks up this duology will have the ability to time travel, I’m sure many of them will have seen or experienced relationships that raised questions of who should and shouldn’t be together.

Time After Time doesn’t perfectly unravel the science of time travel, and I don’t think it would’ve been a good fit if it did.  This series isn’t about a teen learning how to use his ability, it’s about learning to live and love with in it spite of the odds.  While I started to see the ending coming, I ultimately thought it was a good fit.  I would definitely put this book in the hands of readers who want a YA romance with a bit of a twist.

Disclosure: I borrowed a copy of this book from the library.

Other reviews:
Alexa Loves Books
Clear Eyes Full Shelves 
Tabitha's Book Blog

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