a message from your bookgirl

4:03 PM

Hi guys.

For those of you who know me on a personal level, you know that my Grandpa has been in poor health for quite some time and has spent the majority of the year so far in/out of hospitals. Recently, we found out that his lungs are failing him among other health issues. He is certainly not a youngin', as they say. And last week we found out that he has merely a few months to live and that hospice would, naturally, be taking care of him at home and doing their best to make him comfortable.

During the weekend, he seemingly gave up and hasn't been eating like he should. This is not all that shocking. Even less surprising, he has mostly been in and out of sleep. Because of this, he has been given something of a downgrade in how much time he has -- they, on Sunday, predicted he has only a week now. These things can't be predicted to an exact, but in this case I think it's pretty close to how much time he has.

Today's update consisted of the nurse telling us that she now believes he only has a few more days of actually being alert (if that's what you call it) and that I must get down to Virginia within the next three days if I want to say my goodbyes to him. So, I am currently scraping together enough money to travel/stay at a hotel (it's a 14+ hour drive) and I'm not quite sure how long I will be there. This all came out of the blue and progressed quite a lot faster than we'd all thought it would but I wanted to make sure I posted this message so no one thinks I am inactive.

I will be trying to read to distract myself while there, so while I won't be posting reviews for the time being: I will be reading. I have quite a few reviews I've started to write, because my ARC pile is large, but I just can't focus on them at this time.

In the meantime, you can find me on Twitter or my fandom Tumblr if you should need anything.

archive: 2015

12:20 PM

city love City Love by Susane Colasanti | Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)

"...the present will become powerful enough to erase the past."

GUYS! Guys, guys, guys! I have news! Incredible news just in time for the warmer weather.

You know that perfectly engaging, girl power infused, lovely and overall quotable contemporary romance novel you've been waiting for? It's here! Or, well, will be on April 21st. But what makes it that way? Aside from the super adorable, warm fuzzies inducing promotion that's been going on for it, City Love is filled with characters you will connect to, fall in love with and just want to protect. I honestly would love to be friends with our three leading ladies. And who wouldn't want to be? The positive vibes and girl power that brings the three of them together is strong.

Pair that with budding romance and friendships, set in New York City in the summertime, I don't need to tell you just how fun this novel is. You already know. It's completely adorable and was an absolute delight to read. You know those fluffy novels you can relax with and don't want to move until you are finished? That's exactly what City Love is. I could not put it down. And let me just start by saying this: I cannot wait for the remaining books in this trilogy -- seriously, can I have them now or?

It ended way sooner than I wanted it to; then again I could probably read dozens of books about these characters. I needed more as soon as I finished, let's talk about that cliffhanger. Swoons. I fell hard and fast for each girl, for each love interest, and you will too.

abbi glines

11:32 AM

vincent boys The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines | Rating:★☆☆☆☆ (1.5)

"Trouble can be a lot of fun. It's the straight and narrow that makes life tedious and boring."

From 2012. The Vincent Boys promises to be a delicious, steamy love story perfect for summer fantasy fueled days you spend inside from the rain. I was able to download a free copy of this eBook on iTunes and cleared my night to begin reading it, one summer day, and fully expected to have a delightful time. But the thing about The Vincent Boys is it's a slightly far out, cliched mess that even Abbi Glines writing talent couldn't bring me to love -- and that's the most disappointing thing of all.

Abbi has a way with words, that's apparent in her other works, but this story in particular was too jumbled, cliched and rushed for me to actually feel any sort of connection to the characters. I couldn't feel much towards them, it was like they were running by me and I wasn't seeing them, really seeing them.

Now I know what you're thinking: BUT JESSICA! But, Jessica, the book has a lot of buzz to it. And Abbi is fantastic in her work. This is very true -- nearly everyone I know enjoyed the book. Friends, family and book bloggers alike all agreed that The Vincent Boys was fun and sexy and overall an entertaining read. Really, I feel appalled that I didn't like it. I'm giving you permission to throw rocks at me for this.

archive: 2014

1:12 PM

the winner's curse The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski | Rating: ★★★★★

“Happiness depends on being free, and freedom depends on being courageous.”

From 2014. The Winner's Curse is the first book in a planned trilogy by the wonderful Marie Rutkoski and all I can say, right now, is WOW. If there's only one word I can use to review this story it's, seriously, wow. Marie's imagination, the world and its history she crafted, is one that cannot be described coherently. I literally can't explain it without babbling in a tone that is the scariest form of fangirl.

But I can say this: it is one of the best young adult fantasy novels I've ever read and keeps its readers thoroughly engaged until its final pages. I promise you, you will be so invested in this story that you simply will not be able to bring yourself to put it down. Beautifully crafted and warm, it gives you all the feelings a good book should and is a stellar start to what is shaping up to be one of the best young adult trilogies in present time.

The Winner's Curse is a vivid, thrilling, fantasy ride that tells us a tale of war, forbidden love, loss and tragedy. Not only is the world fascinating and well crafted, the characters are intriguing and larger that life -- they are sexy, they are strong and they are among the most fascinating I've ever read. They come to life right before your eyes and make it so it's impossible to not love them, regardless of flaws and obstacles. And, by series end, betrayal.

archive: 2015

12:49 PM

Dangerous When Wet by Jamie Brickhouse | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

As a note, this novel was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for a honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

Dangerous When Wet is a laugh out loud, side splitting, piece of humour in literature that was desperately needed. The voice projected in the narration is both dark, real and humorous -- in all the right ways. Jamie Brickhouse's memoir rings true and unique in the way he tells his story. It's honest, it's hilarious, it's the way many people need to approach their past and future, even if it's not of the lightest quality. Jamie's thoughts, his narration of memories, are so fun to read that I'm willing to bet that even people who aren't all that fond of memoirs will find themselves enjoying this one.

As we read his thoughtful and hilarious looks into his downward spiral, we root for him and cringe when he makes decisions that are unfortunate. I saw quite a lot of one of my best friends in Jamie, and I'm willing to bet that you will too -- his struggles are very, very real and it's a remarkable thing that he's able to tell us his story now.

We see a larger than life woman -- his mother Mama Jean and she's an intriguing addition to his memoir. There's something about her that is a swirl of a lot of things -- all I can say, really, is intense.

archive: 2015

12:17 PM

tpw The Paris Winter by Imogen Robertson | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

As a note, this novel was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for a honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

It's not that I hated The Paris Winter, or didn't like it. I quite liked it, but I think I expected much more from it than it gave in the end, which is no fault but my own. Imogen Robertson has a great talent when it comes to writing a world in historical fiction that comes to life right before your eyes. Her writing doesn't feel awkward or out of place, instead, embraces the past warmly in a way that is accurate to its timeline. She manages to do with historical fiction what other authors fail -- she makes it sound real and true.

She weaves plots effortlessly together and tangles us in the lies, secrecy and more of this very world. We get to follow a few characters in the novel and each one has a voice that is both unique and fascinating. Each woman has a voice that differs from the other, and a vast difference in social standing, and it makes the story all the more interesting to read each person and their POV. I daresay it's the biggest saving grace of the novel and the reason that I've given it a 3.5. The characters are just so fascinating to me that I was drawn into their minds almost instantly.

The Paris Winter isn't a difficult read by any means and at times borders on a territory that could be extremely boring to readers. But fans of historical fiction will surely flock to this read and devour it on a nice personal day spent reading, eating and having a nice drink. It's perfect for those who wish to relax and untangle webs of suspense; a vivid tale that will captivate its target audience as the story unravels. Although the novel itself isn't extraordinary, or something we've never seen before, it is a thoroughly entertaining story that can be finished within a small time frame.

archive: 2015

3:34 PM

the dream lover The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (2.5)

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

The thing about The Dream Lover is that it starts off incredibly slow; it was one of those books that took me days to get past the first half of it, in spite of the delicious plot and the promise of wonderful writing through the author Elizabeth Berg. The Dream Lover had a great deal of potential that seemed to never be fulfilled in the first quarter of it, which made it difficult to focus on it and just disappointed me in many ways. There are, unfortunately, a lot of books that have this flaw: the slow lead-in, but the good news is that it does pick up a little by the time we wrap up the story.

It just wasn't enough for me and the reason I've given it a 2.5 is because Elizabeth does have a gift with words.

Elizabeth captures the essence of The Dream Lovers timeline perfectly; making the language historically accurate and painting a vivid picture once the story picked up. Lovers of period dramas will flock to and appreciate this tale that rings true to the past and the story of George Sand. It's heartbreaking and at times thoughtful, but if you set the right tone it can be quite the delightful read.

archive: 2015

3:17 PM

better than before Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Grechen Rubin | Rating: ★★☆☆☆

“How about this,” I suggested. “Instead of feeling that you’ve blown the day and thinking, ‘I’ll get back on track tomorrow,’ try thinking of each day as a set of four quarters: morning, midday, afternoon, evening. If you blow one quarter, you get back on track for the next quarter. Fail small, not big.”

As a note, this novel was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for a review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

I had heard about Gretchen Rubin before, The Happiness Project being one of those books which is surrounded by enormous buzz, but Better Than Before is my first experience with her writing. I have to say that while she is extremely thoughtful and talented, this book wasn't all that good to me. And that's unfortunate, because I had such high hopes for it -- alas, some things just aren't meant to be everyone's cup of tea and this simply wasn't mine.

The weird thing is, though, when the book shined and was truly helpful, boy was it good. There are quite a few passages here and there that I marked and wrote down because they are helpful and beautiful, but it just couldn't save the rest of it for me personally. I guess this goes to show that even if the book isn't entirely for you, you can still almost always find bits here and there that speak to you in a way that the rest neglects to.

archive: 2015

2:21 PM

rosa Our Auntie Rosa: Remembering the Life and Lessons of the Real Rosa Parks by Sheila McCauley Keys | Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)

“She was there, encouraging and helping us throughout our lives. To the world, she is Rosa Parks, but to us, she was simply and wonderfully ‘Auntie Rosa.’”

As a note, this novel was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for a review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

Our Auntie Rosa is a the phenomenal, raw and real glimpse into who Rosa Parks was outside of the history she'd helped make. We all know the story, the delightfully brave story of the woman who helped fight for freedom and justice and sparked a rise in the struggle for equality. Rosa Parks was a fighter, a wonderful woman who helped shape history as we know it and is truly an inspiration for everyone. We know well of her tales, her story, from history classes, but there was so much more to her memory than we know.

Inside Our Auntie Rosa, we catch ourselves a glimpse into the intimate life of Rosa and her family. Family members share with us pictures and memories that we otherwise couldn't have known, and it's truly a beautiful thing. Each story, each memory, is so vivid that it leaves us with a better knowledge of who Rosa Parks was. Her strength, her intelligence, the way she lived is truly an inspiration that will leave an even bigger mark on you.

a fifty year silence

1:59 PM

a 50 year silence A Fifty Year Silence by Miranda Richmond Mouillot| Rating: ★★★☆☆

“The point of a fairy tale is never in the details. The point is that it's easy to remember, to carry, to tell. We'll continue telling until the stones fall down, and then we'll rebuild and start again.”

As a note, this novel was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for a review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

A Fifty Year Silence is an excellently written piece of literature that will captivate its audience as they uncover truth in author Miranda Richmond Mouillot's estranged grandparents story. This is the next memoir you should pick up. Miranda takes a path that will never completely bore her audience and make them feel included in her journey of discovering the history of her family. She has the perfect balance between her grandmother's and grandfathers, and it's easy to see how fascinated she was in telling this tale/discovering more.

Inclusion, the readers will certainly feel included in the pages. You feel as though you're right beside her in her discoveries and although there are times which come across as muddled and confusing, there is a certain sense of knowledge in the pages that pass. Miranda, you should note, is a phenomenal writer -- her style cannot be described as anything except fresh and to the point.

Frankly, it feels as though she could write out a grocery list and make it sound good. I'm not even kidding -- her writing is just wonderful. And warm. And informative. And... lovely. Although the story dragged on at times and left me with many questions by the end of her research, the way she tells the story is what will keep you thoroughly engaged and will leave you with several quotable passages. Miranda's writing is pure poetry and a delight to read.

archive: 2015

1:10 PM

Look at this cute little gem of a package that arrived on Monday! Is it not the cutest thing you've ever seen? I can't stop starring at it. There's so much pretty pink my neighbors were all incredibly jealous of how cute it looked sitting outside. It's not everyday you see a hot pink package delivered! I, for one, was PUMPED before I even opened it.

You can't really see it in my photo, because my phone is getting REALLY old so the quality is rubbish, but the chalk that was sent with it is such a blast of sparkle and colour. I'm honestly drooling over some chalk. I'm actually a child. A big, drooling child masquerading as an adult. Back on track, Jessica. Back. On. Track.

Phew! Here we go. It's going to be quite fun to go around and decorate sidewalks with quotes and such in promotion for this books upcoming release. And let me tell you guys this: there are a TON of fantastic quotes which will be used. I've already seen some people using their chalk to promote it via Instagram and woo-wee, they're blowing my mind!

I'm sensing some awesome sidewalk art coming your way (via my Instagram) and, perhaps, a giveaway of "City Love" which is of course by the beautiful and talented Susane Colasanti! My dear friend, who recently graduated from art school, will be joining in and helping me decorate the sidewalks given that my idea of art is a stick figure holding a balloon. Hey, what can I say!? I'm a musician, not an artist. And this lovely, clever way of promotion deserves the very best, don't you think?

City Love is out on on April 21st 2015 and promises to be a sweet read. I know I can't wait to dig into this little beauty -- what about you? I mean just look at it:

If you have had the pleasure of reading City Love already, what did you think? Let me know what you think! And those who haven't read it, don't forget to go out and buy your copy upon its release!

archive: 2015

1:36 PM

marauders The Marauders by Tom Cooper | Rating: ★★★☆☆

As a note, this novel was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for a review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

It's hard to believe this is Tom Cooper's first published novel. Tom does an excellent job in his writing -- you can feel the effort he put into creating this story and I must applaud him for that. It's virtually perfect when you consider that this is his debut novel. The Marauders is an excellent stepping stone and I hope it's just a show of what's yet to come from him, because his writing has the chance to be huge.

We're given a pretty standard and great starting point for the novel itself. We see a familiar world. Tom sets the scenes perfectly, a rich description and atmosphere, a fascinating cast of characters and a plot that flows steadily throughout. There's a great deal of humor that isn't overbearing and there are hints of mystery within the plots. He has a way with letting the story unfold that is both quick and fulfilling, it doesn't seem to skip over much and keeps you intrigued throughout your session.

While it is a great read, it perhaps just wasn't completely my cup of tea. Although it had sparked my interest and I finished it rather quickly, it isn't one that I, personally, will reread again and again. I didn't connect with it quite as well as I wanted to, but that's okay -- it was still enjoyable and entertaining. There was so much in the story that I liked and did not like.

archive: 2014

1:10 PM

the young elites The Young Elites by Marie Lu | Rating: ★★★★☆

"I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside. It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt."

Marie Lu brings us a thoroughly engaging novel, the first in a planned series, that is dark, unique and powerful. It's a thrilling and heart pounding story, the perfect addition to a young adults library. Fans of Marie Lu's other works won't be disappointed and I recommend it regardless of whether you've picked up her past releases. The Young Elites is worth a second glance and will keep your turning until the final pages. It is not to be missed.

First, you should know, that our leading lady (who is one of the most interesting characters I've read in recent releases) has gone through quite a lot of horrors and unfortunate events in her life. This is including her survival of a disease that destroyed, killed, many - Adelina may have survived this blood fever that hit her people, but she certainly isn't untouched. Not only has her mind become darkened by mistreatment that followed her recovery, she's just overall conflicted in many parts of her life. These events, these terrors, have left more than few marks on her and she has quite a dark, calculating side that is incredibly interesting to read. Adeline is the character you've been waiting for, someone that thoroughly intrigues you and captivates your attention the moment you greet her and watch her struggle with, well, everything.

archive: 2014

4:39 PM

what might have been What Might Have Been by Matt Dunn | Rating: ★★☆☆☆

From 2014. This book was won via Goodreads First Read Program. This in no way effects my review or alters my opinions on the novel at hand.

Where to begin, where to begin...

What Might Have Been seemed interesting to me, based upon the plot summary and I had high hopes for it. It wasn't at all what I thought it was going to be and just drove me a little bit mad at times. Our main romance was the highest case of Instalove I've seen and in turn, one that I just couldn't look past. Romance novels aren't always believable and in this stories case, it was too unbelievable for me. I hate that I didn't like it because it's not even that it's a terrible idea filled with terrible writing it just wasn't enough and captivating for me.

I set it down dozens of times and almost didn't finish it. I couldn't do it, it just wasn't my cup of tea. Frankly, it was filled with many face-meet-palm moments that I had to look away countless times because why? WHY, WHY, WHY. I'm not even kidding you guys, this novel frustrated me a great deal and left me feeling like maybe I'm the frustrating one. Maybe I'm over-thinking it and not giving myself the chance to enjoy it. But I'm not going to apologize, I'm not going to insult and I'm not going to say I hated it because hate is such a strong word and my annoyance with this novel wasn't quite at that level.

archive: 2014

4:22 PM

winter street Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (2.5)

From 2014. This book was won via Goodreads First Read Program. This in no way effects my review or alters my opinions on the novel at hand.

Winter Street is an unfortunate example of a novel with a promising plot, penned by a very talented author, that went horribly wrong. No, maybe not horrible -- just... a lot of lost potential. I couldn't get into it. I couldn't connect with it. Not constantly, anyways, and when it seemed to be getting better it just didn't for me. It was very disappointing because I wanted to love this book, I really did -- I wanted to be able to enjoy it and perhaps find a new favorite, but it just didn't work for me.

It had such a chance to be the perfect, lovely and light holiday-centric read, that's what upsets me the most. Elin's an excellent writer, really, and her stories are the perfect read when you're looking for stories in the genre. But in the end, Winter Street was wasted potential upon wasted potential for me. And even its moments that shined brighter than the rest couldn't save it.

While it follows a families Christmas in various POV's, it often feels like it drags on in areas where it shouldn't. Or just makes you feel like you've missed something. The sparkle is just missing in it. It's not that it's written terribly, because Elin is quite the writer, it's just lackluster. It didn't engage me like I expected. And the ending just frustrated me to no end -- is there a sequel planned? Or was that just it? Because if that's just it for it all... I'm not a very happy camper.

If there's a sequel in the works than perhaps this stories potential will be fulfilled. Even though I wasn't intrigued by it, I'd be willing to give a sequel my attention to see if it's improvements make the story worth more than it is. I would be interested to see a real ending for it. Maybe it's one of those stories that just doesn't settle with you the first time reading it. Maybe it's just me, but it just didn't do much for me by the stories end.

archive: 2014

4:05 PM

twn The Witch Narratives Reincarnation (Land of Enchantment Trilogy #1) by Belinda Vasquez Garcia | Rating: ★★★★☆

“I fear nothing. Neither you nor any of your kind can hurt me. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but humanity will never break me.”

From 2014. This book was won via Goodreads First Read Program. This in no way effects my review or alters my opinions on the novel at hand.

Okay... so, let me just think of two words to describe this excellent book. Oh, yes! I've got it! WHOA and UNDERRATED. Seriously, I'm so in love. This is the perfect introduction to the series and it will blow your god damned mind. I'm telling you -- I couldn't stop talking about it or thinking about it after I flipped the final pages. I'm still recovering from it. I'll probably still be gushing about it next year or the year after that and... Oh, God, I'm rambling. Can I have more, now? Please?

It started off a bit slow for me, I couldn't connect with it at the very start of it for whatever reason, but when it got into its groove I'm telling you guys -- it got into its groove. I have to include that there are a lot of things that are triggering in it, so while I enjoyed it, I feel the need to warn you that topics in here may include: death, incest and sexual abuse. Please, please, do not put yourself in harms way if any of these topics have the potential to bring in unfortunate memories for you.

That being said. Belinda's writing skills, her detailing, are on an entire level of excellence when it comes down to how she wrote this, the world she describes is breathtaking and frightening it chills you to the bone. It's the excellent addition to anyone's bookshelves if you, like me, love any and all things witchy and are craving something with more diversity, more chills and more intrigue than what the genre often has to offer.

an interesting read though!

3:37 PM

minerva day Minerva Day by Christie Keele | Rating: ★★★☆☆

From 2014. This book was won via Goodreads First Read Program. This in no way effects my review or alters my opinions on the novel at hand. Minerva Day is the perfect example of a book that deserves more hype than it's given. It's a real page turner with many twists and turns that you never know quite what to think, what's really happened and what direction you'll be pulled in next. It's chilling, it's haunting and it really, really keeps you intrigued as you try to navigate the minds of its character.

With its touchy subject matter to the excellent writing featured inside, there simply isn't enough said about the novel. While it has its flaws and won't be for everyone, it's truly an excellent read for those who enjoy darkness and mystery and all the baggage that comes with such stories. It captures a creepy tone perfectly and keeps you interested with its twists and turns and how the story plays out keeps you reading until it ends.

Minerva is fuzzy on two major tragic events in her life, due to her struggle with mental illness: her husbands death, four years ago, and her grandson's disappearance while they were at a carnival. It's an unforgettable ride and there's not much I can add to my review without revealing too much. But what will you learn by stories end...

I can't tell you. I won't lie to yourself and say you aren't left feeling you wanted more from it. I am not going to lie and say that this novel will connect with you or make you feel good. It's purpose is not to make you happy, it's purpose is to intrigue you and bring you into the thick of it all, through the haze that is mental illness and memory and tragedy. It captures the trickiness of it all perfectly and I wanted more.

That being said, it's a great addition to anyone's library who likes thrills and chills and mysteries and diving deep into the mind of someone so unlike yourself. Minerva Day perfectly captures the darkness of it all through rich writing that leaves a mark on you for days after finishing.

archive: 2014

3:19 PM

island Island of a Thousand Mirrors by Nayomi Munaweera | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

“When a bone breaks, it heals stronger in the cracks. I realize this is what is happening to her heart.”

From 2014. As a note, this novel was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for a review. This does not effect my opinions in any way. Island of a Thousand Mirrors in one word? Heartbreaking. It is not something to read if you are light of heart and do not think you can handle it. And although I didn't know much of the subject/location before reading it, I walked away with a better understand and knowledge of the violence and happenings in this part of the world. Sri Lanka has quite the history, it will leave you reeling for days after you learn of the events that took place.

It's all written very sharp and there are many things that could be triggering. It's as beautifully written as the story itself is tragic and shocking. Violence against women, the struggles and horror of it all; the cruelty of many. It isn't exactly an easy read to take in and at times you need to walk away and contemplate all that you've learned. The detailing is incredible and informative and done at a pace that is easy to follow but still hard to read due to the horrifying nature of it all.

Honestly, I found my heart breaking on more than one occasion the more I read and learned. This is what makes the novel itself a gift. Everything about it was captured in a breathtaking manner. It's a difficult feeling to describe, but it's source is one that is easy to pinpoint: when an author explores the truth and tragedy of the world, and opens your eyes, you know that you've found an excellent read.

archive: 2000s

2:49 PM

pll flawless Flawless (PLL #2) by Sara Shepard | Rating: ★★★★☆

"Sometimes I feel kind of wrong here. I used to be normal, but now... I don't know. I feel like I should be one way, but I'm not."
Toby stared at her. "I hear that." He sighed. "There are all these perfect people here. And... it's like, if you're not one of the,. then you're messed up. But I think, inside, the flawless-looking people are just as messed up as we are."

In Flawless, the second installment of the hugely popular Pretty Little Liars series, we are welcomed back to Rosewood, PA, where the houses are huge, the fashion is on point, the girls are pretty and filled to the brim with secrets and lies. We pick up right where we left off in Pretty Little Liars -- Alison DiLaurentis body was found, and these little liars who were once upon a time best friends are being stalked and threatened by an unknown source. A.

But who is A, and how do they know all these secrets?

Better yet, how does A know secrets only Ali knew? Each girl carries the weight of more than a few secrets and the further they get into the plot, the more isolated they become from everything. With each chapter, we see more and more just how dangerous A is getting. And the suspect list continues to grow with every discovery.

Spencer Hastings is in some hot water over having affair with her sisters ex fiance, Wren. But will things heat up only to fizzle out? And where does this leave Melissa? Things are only going to get trickier here on out in her home life, something she is so not looking forward to. Emily Fields is struggling even more with her sexuality and having to keep it all inside. There's no way her parents will ever accept or understand this part -- and things only get more complicated in this book.

archive: 2014

2:11 PM

gone girl Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn | Rating: ★★★★☆

"There’s something disturbing about recalling a warm memory and feeling utterly cold.”

You've heard all the buzz, haven't you? If you haven't, you're clearly just not listening. Gone Girl is one of the books in recent years that everyone is talking about. It's dishy. It's twisted. It's over the top. It's creepy. It's crazy. It's a blast that will leave you scratching your head in wonder. Gillian has cemented her place in pop culture references by penning a novel that has spawned the phrase: "I'm going to Gone Girl myself!" and has delighted readers in a frightening-soap-opera-chills sort of way.

It leaves you cringing as it takes you into the mind of a dull-incredibly-jerky husband and his out of her mind, yet completely clever, wife. Although it may drag at times, although you won't necessarily like the characters a good chunk of the time, it's a still an entertaining and oddly disturbing read. Gillian Flynn writes in a manner that can be, at times, too much but still is quite the ride. It'll throw you flat on your ass several times only to draw you right back into the plot without much of a chance to breathe.

For a lot of people, myself included, it was impossible to put down. Some of the narration had my eyes rolling to the maximum and other parts left me with chills. It's not always frightening in the horror sort of way, but it does leave you reeling psychologically -- especially when you step into the mind of Amy Dunne. Amy is one terrifying, excellent, intelligent villain and it's refreshing for me to see such a character.

anna lola isla

1:01 PM

isla Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins | Rating: ★★★★★

“I’m…getting there. I’m beginning to think that maybe it’s okay to be a blank canvas. Maybe it’s okay that my future is unknown. And maybe,” I say with another smile, “it’s okay to be inspired by the people who do know their future.”

Isla's story is the final installment in the Anna and the French Kiss series and I'm so sad to see it go. I've really grown attached to these couples and I'm still in the process of a major book hangover. That being said, Isla has all the charm of Anna and Lola, but feels a bit more sexy and angsty -- in all the right ways. Once again, we're back in Paris for the ending to this series. It's the perfect place to end it all because it's where it began for other characters.

We've glimpsed Isla in the first book but this story is her chance to shine through. Isla is a very different voice than Anna and Lola, but for me she is the one I see myself in most. She's very lost, she's very in love, she's very fun. There's a lack of self esteem in her that makes her easy to connect to. Although Anna's my favorite of the series, reading from Isla -- about her -- is a true gift; she certainly gives Anna a run or her money.

Seriously, she's just an interesting narrator. And there's something about her that makes me wan to wrap her up in a blanket, snuggle her and protect her from harm.

anna lola isla

12:20 PM

lola Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins | Rating: ★★★★★

He couldn't bring the girl with him, so he brought the stars. When he'd look out his window at night, he would start with one. One star. And the boy would make a wish on it, and the wish would be her name.
At the sound of her name, a second star would appear. And then he'd wish her name again, and the stars would double into four. And four became eight, and eight became sixteen, and so on, in the greatest mathematical equation the universe had ever seen. And by the time an hour had passed, the sky would be filled with so many stars that it would wake the neighbors. People wondered who'd turned on the floodlights.
The boy did. By thinking about the girl.

If you're looking for the next sweet, perfect for sunshine, tale of first loves rekindled and something to follow up Anna and the French Kiss with, I have some good news for you! Lola an the Boy Next Door is immensely charming and definitely the perfect followup to the incredibly popular first installment to this series. It has all the wonderful qualities Anna had and we're fortunate enough to have a glimpse or two of Anna and St. Clair; though the sequel doesn't follow them exclusively we get to see the two lovebirds frequently in Lola's story.

Lola's life is interesting and quite fun to read about: her birth mother is a mess, her two fathers are overly strict (sometimes, rightfully so!) and her boyfriend is far too old for her. Seriously girl, he's too old for you right now. Luckily for us readers, she has that something -- that sparkle, that makes you love her instantly. She's very stylish and creative in her own unique way. It's easy to see yourself or someone you know in Lola because she is special and fun and the perfect narrator.

anna and the french kiss

8:55 PM

anna and the french kiss Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins | Rating: ★★★★★

"I wish friends held hands more often, like the children I see on the streets sometimes. I'm not sure why we have to grow up and get embarrassed about it."

1.) Grab yourself a hot beverage
2.) Hunt down some yummy French macarons (I'd go for the violet ones, personally)
3.) Snuggle up and dive into this adorable story

Reading Anna and the French Kiss is like falling in love for the very first time. Time stops and the only thing you see is the world through new eyes; your heart pounding. It's like the moment you discover something so important to who you are. When you hear your favorite song. Reading this novel is like exploring the world on your own for the very first time. It's like a warm hug. It's... indescribable. I loved every minute of it -- the good, sweet, swoon worthy moments and even the 'bad moments.

Beautiful setting? Check. Beautiful and flawed friendships? Check. Swoon worthy love interest? Double check.

There's a certain level of passion in this novel that can't be beat. It's charming, it's smart, it's fluffy and cute, but it's passionate. Perhaps it's in the setting, perhaps not, it's just so captivating that I didn't want to put it down. It's real. And even though the ending was a good one... I never wanted it to end. I would have been content reading a thousand more pages. I felt like I was saying goodbye to a good friend by the time the last chapter rolled around.

'89 walls

8:00 PM

89 '89 Walls by Katie Pierson | Rating: ★★★☆☆

As a disclaimer, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley. My review remains completely unaffected by receiving this novel. All opinions are real and of my own.

'89 Walls is a throwback to, well, the 1980s. And it's a good one, at that. There are so many novels out there that take place in decades that have past, but don't feel like it. This is not one of them -- there's a great mix of pop culture and political references in here that don't seem cheesy or out of place.

It is filled with romance, teen angst, and frank discussions/debates on politics, making it the perfect addition to a young adults to-read list. It doesn't treat its audience like they are children -- and perhaps it will help open their eyes on certain topics. Everything is told in an honest way and I loved that.

Although I didn't always connect with it, at times I bordered on 'meh' when it came down to it, it was still enjoyable. Cute, even. Both of our main characters, Seth and Quinn, are so real they practically bounce out of the pages and smack you in the face. The amount in which the two grow by stories end -- together and individually -- is something to applaud. Katie Pierson brings to life these two characters in a way that's realistic, entertaining and irritating (let's face it: most characters can be irritating and that's not a bad thing!) -- she does not slack on developing both.

archive: 2015

2:55 PM

tbc The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, Sarah Rees Brennan | Rating: ★★★★☆

"Trust. It is like placing a blade in someone's hand and setting the very point to your heart."

I may be biased in this -- because I'm such a fan of this world -- but this is the perfect collection of short stories on Magnus Bane. I'm always, always here for more Magnus. And while companion novels can run short when compared to the original stories, The Bane Chronicles is a wonderful extension to Cassandra Clare's beloved The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments series. Fans of the original series -- this is a must read for you.

Say what you will about Cassandra -- her personality and actions may not be your cup of tea. You're certainly entitled to that because of things she's done or said in the past. But I want you to know: it's okay if you like her work but not her. And it's also okay if you don't. For me, personally, I love her writing. She's made some kickass stories for us -- intriguing plots and twists and characters that come together in such a terrific way. Her worlds are what fantasies are made of and I applaud her for bringing us these stories.

Back to The Bane Chronicles. It's so exciting to see more of Magnus, in a way we haven't seen before. He is such an interesting character -- witty, mysterious, the overall package when it comes down to entertainment. And because he is one of my favorite characters from her works, it's all the more thrilling to see more from his point of view. Previously, so much of who he is as a character was a mystery to us, but in these stories we get to see so much more of his story. His humor, his personality, his past -- the good, the bad, it's all tied together in a neat little bow for the fans to enjoy.

archive: 2015

2:28 PM

the hobbit The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien | Rating: ★★★★★

"There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after."

My father has always been a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien's works and, because of this, he has been on my case to read this since my early teens. I'd avoided it for quite some time because while it appealed to me, I've always picked something over it when it came down to the moment I'd read something or start a new series. I'm not sure why I did that. In fact, I'd rather like to smack myself upside the head because I adored this book. I mean, really, what took me so long?

I'm clearly a fool. But don't worry -- my father's got enough scolding and eye rolling in my direction cover you. Seriously.

The Hobbit was a vivid and delightful ride to take. As soon as you open it, you understand almost instantly why it's referred to as a classic. It's just so good. It instantly captures your attention and you have a warm interest in the story as it's told. I felt as though someone comfortable and familiar was reading it to me -- almost like a childhood bedtime story. The world that Tolkien creates is as clear and fascinating as your favorite painting or movie. He really, really allowed our imaginations to run freely with his creation and that's the very best part about his writing; he transports us to a different time and a different world.

archive: 2000s

11:52 AM

thg #1 The Hunger Games (The Hungers Games #1) by Suzanne Collins | Rating: ★★★★★

"I can feel Peeta press his forehead into my temple and he asks, ‘So now that you’ve got me, what are you going to do with me?’ I turn into him. ‘Put you somewhere you can’t get hurt.”

As tender as it is terrifying, The Hunger Games tells us the story of a brave young woman named Katniss Everdeen and the choice she made to protect her beloved younger sister, Primrose, from a nearly certain death. Although the story has elements of romance within the pages, don’t let the media fool you: The Hunger Games holds many aspects of love within each chapter.

The love between family being the most prominent when considering the sacrifices Katniss and her best friend, Gale, make to keep their families safe. Both characters have a certain fire and attitude to them that keeps the teenage spirit alive; even so, they both seem beyond their age. Katniss will go to any means to protect her little sister, including risking her own life so Primrose wouldn’t have to risk hers.

Katniss lives in a world of cruelty and uncertainty, somewhere in the distant future. She hasn’t known anything but the distract she’d grown up in — often faced with starvation and other tragedy. In life thus far, she has had to provide the care for herself and Prim at a degree most kids shouldn’t have to. At a young age, her father died — leaving her mother alone and depressed.

archive: 2015

11:48 AM

bared to you Bared to You (Crossfire #1) by Sylvia Day | Rating: ★★★★☆

“Sex that’s planned like a business transaction is a turnoff for me….. Listen to yourself. Why even call it a fuck? Why not be clear and call it a seminal emission in a pre-approved orifice?”

With the popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey, which is admittedly n o t my cup of tea, there has been a fortunate rise in women embracing their sexuality and shamelessly devouring the romance/erotic novels that often were reserved for reading in secret. While in some cases these novels aren’t spectacular, Bared to You feels quite different and is all in good fun.

But let me stress this to you right here and now: Eva and Gideon’s relationship isn’t healthy nor is it real. Ship it all you want, obsess over it, read it repeatedly and fan yourself but please do not go looking for a relationship like theirs. Or anyone else.

My ex-girlfriend introduced me to Sylvia Day’s books a few years back and I’ve just gotten around to finishing the beginning of the Crossfire series. Before I dive into my review, it’s important you know that I am shameless about it all. Sexual content doesn’t bother me in the least. It’s all fictional to me. It’s all an escape. It’s all clearly just a reason for me to start my sentences with it’s.

Let’s try this again.

archive: 2000s

11:44 AM

pll #1 Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard | Rating: ★★★★☆

“When someone covets something they desire and lust over it. Usually it’s something they can’t have. You’ve always had that problem…”

Before the hit television series graced our screens, Pretty Little Liars was a wildly popular novel hailed as Desperate Housewives for the younger crowd, much like the Gossip Girl novels were referred to as Sex and the City for teenagers. Similarities between both series don’t end there and although plots and characters are explicitly different, both read in the same style.

They are light, fun and an easy way to pass the day. Neither series are serious business. Captivating and juicy? Absolutely. Life changing? Not so much — unless you count the desire to turn up the notch on your style after hearing the descriptions of what our girls wear in the series. Which, to be honest, I totally found myself in need of a shopping trip after reading the first of the series.

I read the first Pretty Little Liars novel while relaxing and trying to tan on the beach all those years ago. I’d already devoured what was released of Gossip Girl, The It Girl and The A-List, so I was looking for the next juicy and stylish read. Naturally, this series was the next on my list — everyone loved these books; everyone lumped each series into the same category. It wasn’t rare to be utterly obsessed with each of these at the same time.

First thing you should know about PLL: Sara Shepard writes in a relaxing manner, making the first book a fast and thrilling read. It won’t take you long to finish it. There’s so much mystery within the first installment that it instantly captures your attention. Who is A? What happened to Alison? What secrets have yet to unfold — and just how fast will they hit you in the gut?

It’s the perfect start to a phenomenal series.

archive: 2014

11:40 AM

where she went Where She Went by Gayle Forman | Rating: ★★★★★

“It would’ve been easier to die. It’s not that I want to be dead now. I don’t. I have a lot in my life that I get satisfaction from, that I love. But some days, especially in the beginning, it was so hard. And I couldn’t help but think that it would’ve been so much simpler to go with the rest of them. But you—you asked me to stay. You begged me to stay. You stood over me and you made a promise to me, as sacred as any vow.”

Sequels can be often difficult to garner attention. It’s no easy task attempting to keep the magic of previous installments and allow the appropriate amount of growth in characters to make the story realistic as it can be. Gayle Forman, naturally, does so gracefully in the sequel to her bestselling and beloved novel If I Stay.

Whiles If I Stay focuses on the thin life between life and and deathand the loss of nearly your entire world; Where She Went focuses more on the aftermath of those it touched as well as discovering how to live in a world of grief. It reminds us all that life goes on and that thought tragedy strikes you down, it isn’t impossible to move forward. Mia has to discover herself again; relearn many things and figure out how to live again.

a.g. howard

11:37 AM

ensnared Ensnared by A.G Howard | Rating: ★★★★★

I am wind.
I am fury.
I am pandemonium.

In this vivid conclusion to one of my favorite series, Ensnared captures the brilliance of the two previous books and wraps up the dark fantasy in a way that is sure to satisfy fans of the trilogy. I, for one, don’t have much to complain about except the fact that Splintered is done.

Can you believe it’s nearly over? No more Alyssa? No more Morpheus? No more Jeb? No more of this deliciously dark Wonderland? What?! I really hate to say goodbye! Alas… all good things must come to an end. And never has there been a more fitting end than Ensnared.

By the epilogue, we have our conclusion, we have our answers and we have a memorable ending to an incredibly unique and underrated trilogy. It will tug on your heartstrings, it will make your heart race and leave you twirling in the midst of dark and intriguing plots. Ensnared certainly goes out with a bang.

A.G Howard, once again, blows me away with her hypnotic and slightly creepy take on Wonderland. Not many authors can pull off revisions to a classic work and make it her own, but she has an undeniable style to her writing and characters that makes it so very possible. You can see these images come to life instantly and find yourself unable to put it down.

archive: 2014

3:09 PM

day 21 Day 21 (The Hundred #2) by Kass Morgan | Rating: ★★★☆☆

The sequel to The 100 is nearly here (out September 16th!) and I’ve had the privilege of reading it already, an eGalley provided by NetGalley. Thanks, guys! And guess what? It is MUCH better than the first of the series. I’ll tell you guys one thing: I think this book series is shaping up to be much better than the start let on — and I, for one, can’t wait!

I know you can’t, either.

That being said: Day 21 picks up right where we had left off in the previous installment and continues rotation in the different point of views. This time around, the transition seems much smoother as we move through the suspense within each plot and we’re introduced to a few new characters, or at least shown the names of some of the others who came down to earth.

Yes, Kass Morgan has seemed to get right into the groove — truly — in the latest chapter of this story of survival.

Bellamy and Clarke shippers, rejoice! This novel has quite a few moments for the two of them as they enter a bit of a journey together at the start of the novel and continue on. Although their relationship is rushed and at times drama threatens to come between them as they fall for one another, there are many fans who will be pleased to see whether or not these two will get together or not. In all truth, their relationship is nice to read and perfect for the target age group, but there a lot of flaws within their development that many people will be less than pleased to read.


3:05 PM

Smiley face Allegiant by Veronica Roth | Rating: ★★★★★

"There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, everyone you have ever loved, for the sake of something greater."

Allegiant, the final book in the Divergent trilogy, is equal parts the best and the worst book in the series. It’s definitely an improvement from Insurgent, which realistically wasn’t even bad at all, but it was a much stronger addition to the series. Which is wonderful.

We’ve got all the familiar themes we’ve come to know in this futuristic, dangerous, Chicago: love, bravery, loss and more. We witness the warmth between Tris and Tobias’s relationship, in spite of any rocky roads, and we see the inclusion of the Allegiant.

And with this conclusion to the series, we see a shake up in narration.

Tris still holds her own as the series narrator, but her voice is moved aside to welcome Four’s thoughts. It’s nice seeing the world through his eyes as well, but it also signals of the changes to come in the series as the two navigate their dangerous world and attempt to leave Chicago for the outside world. My only issue with the two narratives is that they sound too similar and it often gets annoying.

I understand why Veronica felt she needed both to have POV in this conclusion, but I felt there could have been a much smoother translation when it came to who is who and all that jazz.

archive: 2014

3:01 PM

trial by fire Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini | Rating: ★★★★☆

Trial by Fire is an unique, descriptive, magical, intriguing and intelligent creation amongst young adult stories of witchcraft. It takes familiar themes, and worlds, tying them together neatly with fresh twists and turns all in the form of parallel universes and more. Trial by Fire certainly treats its readers to a fantastic trip through fiction and it deserves a world of hype.

And within the fantastic writing lay loveable and relatable characters, steamy plots, some dark humor and a little bit of romance. So I ask: how can you go wrong?

With Trial by Fire, you can’t. And it serves as an eye catching introduction to Josephine’s latest series that will be satisfying to readers of all ages. Especially if they love stories which revolve around witches and are interested in seeing a new take on Salem.

Our plot centers around an ordinary girl who has yet to discover her true self and all the powers that rest inside her. In our introduction to her we see her as a smart but sickly girl who wants nothing more but to enjoy her life and be normal, and her ultimate goal in that moment is to, at last, go to a party with her best friend who she happens to have feelings for. What I enjoyed about the brief glimpse in our world is that it gives us an idea on how she handles certain things as well as her self.

archive: 2014

2:56 PM

Smiley face Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry | Rating: ★★★☆☆

“I saw the world in black and white instead of the vibrant colours and shades I knew existed.”

This series has been on my to-read list for ages and I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews. And even though I’ve heard such great things about it, I didn’t expect to like it half as much as I did.

Pushing the Limits is smart, witty and romantic. It’s heart warming and captures the essence of being a teenager and being in love perfectly. Most importantly, the main characters are well thought out and incredibly fascinating to read about — Echo and Noah are both such a treat to read whether they are together or not.

(When they’re together, phew, do they have some awesome chemistry!)

Katie McGarry manages to create some seriously fleshed out characters with tough background stories that help create them but don’t define them. Tragedy is present in both Noah and Echo’s histories and has left its mark on both of them but she doesn’t let them mope in extreme ways — it makes them darker, true, and connects them. She makes their responses and self discoveries real and honest and overall organic.

When you read from both point of views you get an understanding of these two and feel as though you’re reading the inner most personal thoughts of two young people as they navigate life. It feels genuine. Noah and Echo feel real in ways that are truly appealing to its audience.

archive: 2014

2:50 PM

mara dyer #1 The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin | Rating: ★★★★★

Noah matched my pace. “Don’t you mean ‘assclown’?” He looked amused.
"No," I said, louder this time. "I mean asscrown. The crown on top of the asshat that covers the asshole of the assclown. The very zenith in the hierarchy of asses," I said, as though I was reading from a dictionary of modern profanity.

I was skeptical about this book at first. 100% skeptical of it, in spite of a killer opening and promising plot. Yes, for whatever reason: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer at a distance made me shrug and assume it wasn’t worth the hype or a second glance. I’m here to tell you how very wrong I was.

Mara Dyer has a unique, heart stopping plot and offers us twists and turns with a dash of romance. It’s tragedy. It’s confusion. It’s darkness. It’s delicious. It’s witty. It’s an easy read. And it just might be your next big young adult obsession.

Fans of The Darkest Minds and Shatter Me book series have flocked to it immediately due to the similar feels each series has. It’s obvious that each has a voice of its own and that while the genre is similar, the story is all its own and equally as mysterious as those. Our introduction, Mara’s note, on its own will capture your attention immediately and make you curious about what could possibly make this teenage girl speak the way she does.

And wonder how she has a body count.

archive: 2014

2:47 PM

empire girls Empire Girls by Suzanne Hayes & Loretta Nyhan | Rating: Rating: ★★★★☆

Empire Girls was a breath of fresh air in terms of the books that I’ve read this year. I didn’t expect to like it half as much as I did, but the fact of the matter is you can’t help but to adore the two main characters, these two Empire Girls. There’s something that is just incredibly lovely and likeable about both Ivy and Rose Adams.

Our plot is simple: two sisters, unlike each other in many ways, embark on a search for their half brother after the unexpected death of their beloved father. Up until their dad’s death, they hadn’t even known he’d had another child and now their lives very much so depend on finding this mysterious brother. Their path takes them to New York City and the timeline lays in the 20s.

Kirkus Reviews tells us that it is “Engaging, charming and moving" and I couldn’t agree more. It’s a love letter to New York City, in all times and space, as well as a showcase to how important the love between sisters can be even in those moments of doubt. Empire Girls is light but holds great meaning and plots; it’s a story full of so much heart and colors. This is the sort of book one would finish quickly and happily: a smile upon your face.

Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan do an excellent job at bringing this story to life. They both bring life to the sisters, and the characters they meet along the way, and show us a colorful world in the vein of New York City in the roaring twenties. I applaud the heart that they loaned to the story and find myself believing in both Rose and Ivy. They feel real. They feel lovely. Their adventures in this new side of life are believable and intriguing; their growth doesn’t come overnight but gradually through the course of the story.

archive: 2000s

2:44 PM

the giver The Giver by Lois Lowry | Rating: ★★★★☆

“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”

Revised review. It’s safe to say that The Giver has been part of many of our childhoods. Whether you read this on your own growing up or in school, it’s likely that you’ve had contact with this book for many years. It holds the standard for what most young adult dystopian novels have to live up to and has certainly inspired many with the sudden rush of emotion in an emotionless world.

I’ve seen many recent complaints over the shortness of the novel or the lack of descriptions so I feel that I need to remind everyone that this is, technically, a children’s novel. I can’t believe I have to remind everyone that this is targeted primarily at the youngest level of young adults but I guess I do. So there’s that. Are we clear now?


Right, back to the review. The Giver has aged rather well through the years and I still enjoy it even now in my early 20s, like I did growing up. It’s short. It’s got heart. It’s got something that makes it easy in lasting in pop culture. And I’m never going to say that it’s the best young adult dystopian novel, but it is popular and import for a reason.

archive: 2014

2:40 PM

ss Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper | Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Surely by now my followers realize that my number one literature weakness always, always has involved witches. And that is what sparked my desire to read Salt & Storm, a historical fiction novel that centers around, well, a witch.

See, my problem with this novel is it felt lackluster compared to others that I have read. Which is unfortunate to me because it has a promising plot, good characters and an incredibly lovely cover design. So, what went wrong?

I’m not quite sure, but the novel failed to hold my attention — or even really capture it. Disappointing, really, because although the story was something that began to drag on for me, I really did appreciate the characters.

Maybe I’ll give it a go again in the future. Perhaps my mood and heart simply weren’t in it when I opened this story, but right now I can’t even properly write a good review on it. But here’s the thing, guys: I don’t want you to take my opinion into consideration on this.

2 a.m. at the cat's pajamas

2:38 PM

catspj 2 A.M at the Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino | Rating: ★★★★★

When I think of this book, the first word that comes to mind is: delightful.

Because, to be clear, it is a delightful read with many quirks and darkened edges to the plot. With colorful characters, fun dialogue and interesting backstories I just knew I’d love it within the first few pages and it definitely didn’t let me down — even at the very end. It’s a fantastic and warm story tied together with a jazzy (heh-heh, okay dumb even for me) bow.

It’s a short read, too, so it’s the perfect fit for an easy night in this autumn or winter — pair it with a blanket and hot beverage and you’re good to go!

Our story is told by splitting the narration between an array of characters — all of which are just wonderful to read about. And the evens take place over the course of a night and come to collide during the final hours of a jazz club — The Cat’s Pajamas — before it gets shut down. Although the narration is split, it doesn’t get all mushed up like some stories do and is rather easy to follow.

This novel was one of the rare instances which I didn’t mind having more than a few points of view.

archive: 2014

2:34 PM

starry night Starry Night by Isabel Gillies | Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Starry Night initially captured my attention based on the cover art which, I know, isn’t what you are meant to judge a book on. But isn’t it just so pretty? It was difficult not to want to snag a copy and I was very thrilled to see an ARC waiting on my doorstep one day.

Although the writing and characteristics may be weak in comparison to other novels in its genre, Starry Night may still stand out for teens looking for a realistic tale of first love and friendship in the setting of New York City. Rightfully so, there will be comparisons to the Gossip Girl novels for the light reading and web of romantic entanglements that will certainly appeal to fans of books as such.

It certainly helps that Gossip Girl’s writer, Cecily von Ziegesar has given the novel her seal of approval with a blurb on the book itself.

That being said, I was expecting quite a lot from the story and was immediately let down by its lacklustre plots and writing that had wasted potential. Everything Starry Night promised to have going for it seemed mediocre and overall lost my attention on many counts. It’s been a while since I’ve taken so long to read a simple book, but I kept having to put my copy down for days at a time and procrastinated finishing it.

I’m not sure how a novel with so much promise managed to remain realistic (although the characters themselves lacked that something special, the way they interacted was undeniably real and teenage-ish) and completely dull all at once. Each of the characters seemed to be only ‘there’ and not very full of life. We are often told but not shown — and it just felt grey.

archive: 2014

2:30 PM

mask Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender | Rating: ★★★★☆

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

In what would seem to be a fast track to terrible literature: Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer proves us wrong in its unique story telling and vivid imagery. Don’t let the title fool you: Katie Alender sure has a knack for writing this creative story that could have gone horribly wrong if it’d been any other other.

It’s clever, it’s sweet, it’s thrilling and it’s just overall a fun read to take with you on a day off or to read in between time. It isn’t a retelling of a story like Pride & Prejudice & Zombies or Gossip Girl: Psycho Killer. Instead, it is a tail that tweaks with history and leaves readers in a swirl of shallow minded teenagers, historical secret societies, dark comedy, death and… love?

(It will, however, appeal to fans of those titles.)

And, of course, the setting is beautiful: Paris. Alender does a fabulous job describing the scenery to us, one can almost feel as though you are right there in the midst of it all.

It isn’t for the weak of heart, though.

While any of the ghost of Marie Antoinette’s victims all die the same way (beheading, of course!) and aren’t particularly of the gore genre, if you are in any way shape or form squeamish by even the slightest bit of murder, it is important to skim through the short chapters.

archive: 2014

2:27 PM

landline Landline by Rainbow Rowell | Rating: ★★★★★

"I think I can live without you," he said, like it was something he’d spent twenty-seven hours think about, "but it won’t be any kind of life."

I really, really wish that Landline had been my first Rainbow Rowell novel. I loved it so, so much — I honestly did. There’s something charming about the entire story, which is pretty funny given that it follows a marriage that is ‘in trouble’, and just… perfect. Lovely. And if you’re looking to read a book by Rainbow, please — please — start with this one.

It’s everything you’ve come to expect from her and more.

Rainbow could have really overdone this story or it could have been lackluster, but the way she told Georgie and Neal’s story was just right. She ties everything up together — magic and all — in a way that makes the story unique and realistic. Her ever present witty dialogue shines in the interactions between Georgie and her family and her best friend, Seth.

And of course in the flashbacks we see from the start of her and Neal’s relationship. You really, really grow to cheer them on in their marriage and hope for the best but I suppose you expect the worst.

Georgie does something incredibly selfish at the start of the novel — selfish in a completely understandable manner, but still selfish — and almost instantaneously it leads us down our plot path. Instead of going to Neal’s mother’s home for Christmas with him and their children, she needs to spend the days leading up to Christmas writing.

archive: 2014

2:23 PM

cla Can’t Look Away by Donna Cooner | Rating: ★★★☆☆

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

Donna Cooner is back with a story of loss and growing up in the digital aged spotlight. She manages to smoothly transform a familiar story of death in the family into a modern, teen friendly take in the form of fictional Youtube beauty guru Torrey Grey as she navigates a new setting following the tragic death of her younger sister.

During this time Torrey questions herself, her life and seems to be swallowed up by guilt over her treatment of her little sister the day she passes away. And to top it all off, her so called best friend betrays her in more way than one. Donna does a pretty great job at making Torrey believable and although she can be — at times — insufferable in her quest for popularity at her new school, Torrey is a character you want to root for.

We watch as she grows from typical and ‘shallow’ to someone who is able to move forward with her life and start something new in her world. Torrey struggles with a lot for a good portion of the book as does her family, and it’s impossible to not want the best for her. I think that Can’t Look Away will, perhaps, open the eyes of its target audience when it comes to realizing that things really can change in the blink of an eye.

It’ll certainly be a tear jerker, at times, for younger readers. But it also has moments that people interested in fashion will have their interest spark and a side of quirky, kind characters that make up for any of the flaws the story may have. I could easily see this becoming a movie, somehow, one day due to the light yet meaningful message it tells as well as the fashion. Let’s be real: we all want to see Torrey’s style come to life.

archive: 2014

2:19 PM

if i stay If I Stay by Gayle Forman | Rating: ★★★★★

"It's okay,' he tells me. 'If you want to go. Everyone wants you to stay. I want you to stay more than I've ever wanted anything in my life.' His voice cracks with emotion. He stops, clears his throat, takes a breath, and continues. 'But that's what I want and I could see why it might not be what you want. So I just wanted to tell you that I understand if you go. It's okay if you have to leave us. It's okay if you want to stop fighting."

Every now and then, there comes a young adult novel that becomes beloved by people of all ages. If I Stay is certainly one of those books that captured the hearts — and tears — of its target audience and more. With If I Stay we see that sometimes the hype of a book is really, really worth it and I promise you, you’ll feel something by the final pages.

Whether that feeling is love or heartbreak or both.

Gayle Forman captures the feeling of loss incredibly and spins it into a unique story that shows us one girls struggle between life and death. Although the story is absolutely tragic, the way Gayle tells it is unique and inspiring: something about Mia’s story will make you truly think. It’ll touch your heart and make you wonder: is this what it’s like in near death experiences, for some people?

When you lose something, and are severely damaged yourself, do we have a choice in the matter when it comes to if we stay or go? And can you really recover, mentally, from something like losing your entire family?

archive: 2014

2:16 PM

famous last words Famous Last Words by Katie Alender | Rating: ★★★★☆

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

Katie Alender has fast become my latest go-to author when I want to read something quick, slightly shallow and a bit thrilling. I have to admit, when I first received her previous book (Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer) I was equal parts skeptical and intrigued in how she’d manage to portray the plots in which she writes. Thankfully, she’s proved to be immensely talented and her writing provides me with some of the funnest books I’ve had the pleasure of reading since Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl and Private.

Needless to say, Famous Last Words has been on my to-read list and was one of my most anticipated releases for 2014. It didn’t let me down, not even for a moment, and I think I enjoyed it even more than Marie Antoinette. Which is saying something!

It’s witty and pop culture friendly; set in a stylish setting and has the promise of bloodshed and thrills. Did I mention there’s also talk of ghosts tossed in with the murder? Oh my God, I can’t even begin to state how much of a light and fun read it is! If you’re fans of Katie or any of the books I’d listed in my introduction: You. Will. Eat. This. Up.

Our narrator, Willa (one of my favorite names, yay!), proves to be mysteriously likeable and very intelligent. She’s sassy and fun to read and her connection with the spirit world, as well as her past, proves to be enjoyable and crucial to the story. You root for her. You want to know her. You love her and feel for her and by stories end, you’re genuinely concerned for her as she comes fact to face with the story’s bad guy.

archive: 2014

2:10 PM

where rainbows end Where Rainbows End (“Love, Rosie”) by Cecelia Ahern | Rating: ★★★★★

"Our life is made up of time; our days are measured in hours, our pay measured by those hours, our knowledge is measured by years. We grab a quick few minutes in our busy day to have a coffee break. We rush back to our desks, we watch the clock, we live by appointments. And yet your time eventually runs out and you wonder in your heart of hearts if those seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, and decades were being spent the best way they possibly could.

In other words, if you could change anything, would you?"

For years, I’ve heard rave reviews when it comes to this novel. I’m surprised I hadn’t read it sooner, in fact, because admittedly I do own quite a few of Cecelia’s books. And I absolutely adore her writing. She manages to come across as charming and heartfelt in a way that makes her so good at expressing most of our deepest thoughts.

(There is also the fact that it came out around the time that I was in middle school and had just begun settling in my love for reading.)

Cecelia Ahren has a way with words and capturing your heart. There are times while reading the thoughts of her characters that I can’t help but think: hey, did she get inside my head for that? Which, to me, is one of the most beautiful things about reading — when you find another person, a writer, who manages to connect you and their characters together.

archive: 2014

2:05 PM

it comes in waves It Comes In Waves by Erika Marks | Rating: ★★★★★

"I know your father broke your heart, Claire. Most days, he broke mine too. But we all make the choices that suit us at that moment in time, and eventually our hearts heal. And after enough excuses for why you can’t make your life the way you want it, maybe it stops being everyone else’s fault and becomes your own."

I’m going to start my review off with a confession: I went into this book thinking I wasn’t going to like it, for whatever reason. Truly, I don’t know what made me think I wasn’t going to like it, the summary on the book was solid and intriguing and the cover art is gorgeous. And let me tell you, I’ve been shaking my head and rolling my eyes at myself for weeks now for my initial concerns.

It Comes In Waves was a delight to read. Pure and simple, it was a delight. It is told within various time frames, switching between present day and the life that Claire, or Pepper as some would call her, had once upon a time in her youth. If that is a turn off for you when it comes to storytelling, as it is for many, I don’t know if this book will end up being for you. As for anyone else…

I would definitely suggest you take a look into this book.

archive: 2014

2:01 PM

mphfpc Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs | Rating: ★★★★☆

“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was.” // “We cling to our fairy tales until the price for believing in them becomes too high.”

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is quite the mouthful for a title, isn’t it? But admit it: you’ve heard the hype and if that wasn’t enough to gain your attention, surely the title was. Ransom Riggs manages to create a unique and fun story told through peculiar plots and fantastically spooky vintage photographs. In truth, the very first pages are enough to draw you into the story in a heartbeat and keep you locked in place for hours until you’ve managed to read it in one sitting.

Or at least, that’s what happened to me. Yes, Ransom Riggs brings us a story worthy of its hype and showcases us his talent for storytelling and opening our eyes to a world within our own, so to speak. I can honestly say that this is such a unique and wonderful read that I’d recommend it to my friends and well, anyone. Especially if they’re fond of the dark tone in which Riggs tells a tale.

Our story begins with our narrator, Jacob, reminiscing on the so called tall tales his beloved Grandfather used to tell him. When he was little, he believed his Grandpa with all his heart; yet as time passed and Jacob grew he began to question the outlandish tales until one day they stopped. And upon the death of his grandpa, these stories resurface and Jacob begins to wonder if he’s gone crazy.

archive: 2014

1:55 PM

the 100 The 100 by Kass Morgan | Rating: ★★★☆☆

"You couldn’t expect anyone else to share your suffering. You had to carry your pain alone."

The 100 promises us thrilling and unique plots sprinkled with teen angst when looking at the stories summary and centers around a group of young adults in the distant future. Many of which have their own POV throughout this first installment.

At one point, each teen lived in “The Ark” which is a space settlement founded centuries ago, after their ancestors abandoned the Earth as it raced down a fast track of deterioration that remained dangerous for all living creatures who’d lived there. Although the description of conditions previously is vague, we are told that it was impossible to continue to live there and life had been evacuated with little to no choice.

Life has settled pretty commonly in this colony and they’ve lived in a “comfortable” manner through the decades of changes, however, as the years go by in space those in charge come to realize that they’ve hit a snag in their plan of living and that supplies, the oxygen essential to survive is running low. And with the space limitations in this time, population control is necessary for those who live to continue having the privilege to do so.

This sets in motion the plan to send lowly criminals down to Earth as an experiment. At one point in time, these lawbreakers would have been pardoned and allowed the opportunity to live on a second chance, time has hardened these rules and the chances of being excused have dwindled. Presently, we learn that if this group of criminals hadn’t been sent on this experiment, it is likely that they’d have died.