Thursday, August 18, 2016

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi | Rating: ★★★☆☆

“And we are quotation marks, inverted and upside down, clinging to one another at the end of this life sentence. Trapped by lives we did not choose.”

My first thought on the action-packed finale of the Shatter Me series isn't all that full of praise. Whereas the two which came before it were magical, steamy and thrilling, something about Ignite Me fell short for me. Lackluster would be the accurate way of processing it, really, and that is painful to say--as I loved the first two books. See, the prose was still full of magic and excellence and there was plenty of action and romance, but something about this installment left me feeling less than what I'd desired or come to expect. 

This isn't to say it wasn't good. It is the weak link in the series and that's a damn shame, because I liked where things were going until I didn't. I felt like a lot was rushed and left a weird feeling with me in terms of development. There were moments when the characters grew and reflected who they were in the first two books and then there were the frustrating moments in which you asked yourself, "Who are they?" at familiar faces. While some character growth was pleasing and made sense, there were other things that felt chopped up and off. You know, the very opposite of character growth and I hated it. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Girls by Emma Cline | Rating: ★★★★★

That was our mistake, I think. One of many mistakes. To believe that boys were acting with a logic that we could someday understand. To believe that their actions had any meaning beyond thoughtless impulse. We were like conspiracy theorists, seeing portent and intention in every detail, wishing desperately that we mattered enough to be the object of planning and speculation. But they were just boys. Silly and young and straightforward; they weren't hiding anything.

You know that feeling when you've read a book and you're completely engulfed in it, you don't notice the passage of time? There could be a literal storm pouring outside and you would barely notice it, because you couldn't stop flipping the pages. Someone could walk past you, playing the theme to Star Wars on a tuba, while wearing a tie-dyed gnome costume with reindeer antlers firmly on their head and you wouldn't have the slightest idea because, holy shit, I can't put this book down!? I know you guys know what I'm talking about and The Girls is that book for me.

Impossible to put down. Excellent pace. Phenomenal writing. Complex characters. Thrills. Quotable to the highest degree. A quality I noticed about The Girls right away was that it was otherworldly. It takes your breath away. Something about it causes your heart to speed up and down and go all over the place in the most deliciously maddening of ways. It can chill you to the bone just as much as it could warm you up. The Girls is haunting, it is everything. It is familiar and incredibly put together.

Losing Gabriel by Lurlene McDaniel | Rating: ★★★☆☆

It is no secret that I have been a fan of Lurlene McDaniel's work for over a decade. I am proud to say that I've read nearly all of her printed works from her career, which has spanned for multiple decades,  and to say I was excited for Losing Gabriel would be an injustice to the emotions I feel when McDaniel publishes new work. At all defining moments of my life, there have been a few authors whom I adore as much as I do her. Even in her weakest points, even when the stories feel lackluster or familiar, her words are home. Something deeply tangled into her stories helped shape who I became. 

I should clarify, right here and now, that while her stories opened many doors for me and sparked one of many interests, I am no longer in her targeted audience. Obviously. But the thing is, despite this, I was moved multiple times by Losing Gabriel. From start to finish, the story stirs something inside the readers and does so in the way that only Lurlene McDaniel can. I know what to expect when reading a novel by her: you need tissues and to prepare for the tears which surely will come. 

This one is no exception. 

If you don't have tears in your eyes by its final pages, I don't know what to say to you. 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Stacking the Shelves #2

It's that time again! Happy weekend everyone and thanks to the little nuggets who took the time to reply to my very first Stacking the Shelves post from last weekend. For those of you who are new to Stacking the Shelves, you can read about joining in here and as always, huge shout out to our ever-so-lovely host Tynga's Reviews! As you know by now, the general ideal behind these posts is one large round-up of all the books from your week.

I don't know about you lot but my week was exhausting. It's time for the fair to be around my hometown and the week was spent dealing with the sudden surge of customers popping into work to escape the heat or traffic.

Which roughly means little to no free time, a lot of obnoxious and messy people making my workday hellish. I'm not exaggerating there--but that's not what this post is going to be about. I mostly crammed in reading time this week between breaks so I could have the weekend mostly to myself and to also have Sunday morning free to go to the fair with my friend and her daughter, as it's the last day it's in town.

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee | Rating: ★★★★★

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via Edelweiss by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

There's something sparkly and new yet oddly undeniably familiar about The Thousandth Floor. Think of it as Gossip Girl set in the not so far future. I need to stress that this novel is one of those stories that the only way to read it wrongly is to expect it to be more than it is. It's a light but entirely vivid and delectable read that keeps you on your toes from start to finish. I liked the theme that 'the more things change, the more they stay the same'--the futuristic New York City that McGee paints us is incredibly different from our own, in terms of appearance, but is still filled with the same social climbing, reckless teens we've come to expect.

In place of the city that we love, stands a tower that goes up and up and up and up. And the tag line THE HIGHER YOU ARE, THE FARTHER YOU FALL, is perhaps one of the best descriptions of what is to come. We start off with a bang right away--a girl has fallen from the very top of the tower. This sets the stage wonderfully for a backdrop of luxury, technology and scandal. Katharine McGee's writing is similar to Cecily von Ziegesar and Sara Shepard except her words feel a bit more polished and eye-catching, which is a huge compliment coming from me considering I've been fans of the other two for the better part of a decade. Indeed, McGee's writing is delicious and fast paced; simple and an incredible ride for fans of the genre.

Hothouse Flower by Krista & Becca Ritchie | Rating: ★★★★★

“You’re a hothouse flower,” I tell her. “You can’t grow under natural conditions. You need adventure. And security and love in order to stay alive.”

Is anyone completely addicted to Addicted and The Calloway Sisters? It's relatively new territory to me because I find it so difficult to get attached to most new adult releases. I guess it's something of a rule for me but if one series were to be the biggest exception, it's Addicted. I can't remember the last time I was so attached to the characters and their mental health and relationships, but I'm very invested in how things end up for all the characters we meet.

There’s something about Krista and Becca Ritchie’s world of characters that draws you in from the get-go. Perhaps this is because, unlike a lot of novels in its genre, the characters are fully fleshed out and flawed to high degree but still remain as something to be admired. In Hothouse Flower, the second of The Calloway Sisters spin-off series, we follow the lives of fan-favorites Daisy Calloway and Ryke Meadows; their feelings for one another is at the forefront of the plotline as these two wild cards remain entangled in the lives of Lily, Lo, Connor and Rose. Elements of love, addiction, mental illness, pregnancy, family and risk fill the pages in a way that keeps readers on the edge of their seats.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Homecoming (The 100 #3) by Kass Morgan | Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.5)

Endings and beginnings are inseparable, like the moment before dawn and the moment after.

I waited so long to get my hands on this bad boy and now that I have it, and have read it, I can't decide what I'm feeling. On one hand, I am glad to see how the series has improved in terms of... well, everything

Kass Morgan's writing is so smooth and fast paced, and remains delightful and action packed with every chapter. Everything that was flawed about the series' first two novels has vastly improved and I have really, quite a lot more than I'd expected, enjoyed watching it grow. While many may argue that the show is better than this series (I disagree--with the exception of the grounder plots, Clarke's sexuality and Commander Lexa, which FYI, I'm still in denial about her death but that's nether here nor there) I think that both are on even footing in terms of good vs. bad. 

That being said, Homecoming was originally intended to be the finale of the trilogy that was the books and I'm glad to say that it isn't. Morgan will be returning with a fourth installment--hooray! It would have been a mistake to end the book series so quickly because in terms of endings and closure, this book was pretty lackluster. Many fans disagree with me heartily on that note, that it was a solid end to the books, but hear me out: I just don't feel it as an ending and think Morgan can, and will, do better. It's been such a joy reading and seeing her work grow and come to life. As I've already said, the growth and improvement has been far more pleasurable than I'd ever anticipated.