Wednesday, October 28, 2015

revealed Revealed by A.C. Arthur | Rating: ★★★★★

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

The time for answers has arrived in the town of Tanner; at last, we will come face to face with Landy’s killer. But just who is he? Just a bit over a decade has passed since Landy’s murder, the marks still heavily visible to everyone who’s life touched hers, and it’s well past the time for some closure for this once-close group of friends. There are some things we can never truly get over, but having the answers spelled out for us can offer peace of mind.

And what we’ve learned thus far is that while it’s too late for Landy to be saved, obviously, the others are skating on thin ice. That’s not an exaggeration, no matter what this group of friends is in massive danger. One foot out of line and they could very well be next on the mysterious killers list–either to be harmed or to be framed.

When Nicole is taken captive–we can’t help but wonder who is next. It seems to me that someone out there really has it in for these guys and that’s heartbreaking as hell. But is the killer the man who took Nicole? Or is these just another twisted player in a delectably evil game?

Even more gets thrown up in the air with the arrival of an old friend, Matt, and a glimpse into his story.

Monday, October 26, 2015

rumors Rumors by A.C. Arthur | Rating: ★★★★☆

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

Upon first inspection Rumors, penned by A.C. Arthur, promises to be a delicious murder mystery surrounding the death of one member of a group of friends who were once like family. Like all tragedies, it is a make or break moment for close family or friends; sometimes things cannot be repaired and those people have difficulty picking up the pieces.

And so Landy’s death tore this once close knit group apart and even now, ten years later, things are still tense and unsolved when it comes down to the night that changed everything. All that time has passed but even still, they pick right up where they left off as danger lurks once more. But who killed Landy? And how have they not been caught at this point?

When diving into the story–which is filled with many chills, scandal and intrigue–we notice right away that its promising description is fitting and watch as the events plays before our eyes like a delightful and soapy show. We’re left with the sense that something big is going to happen once more by the novels end; just as we get closer to more answers… we’re thrust back once more.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

life and death Life and Death by Stephenie Meyer | Rating: ★★★☆☆

“Try not to get caught up in antiquated gender roles.”

Has it been a decade since Twilight was first published? It’s weird. It feels like just yesterday. You must know that going into Life and Death I had no real expectations for this gender swapped retelling. Stephenie Meyer breathes new life into her bestselling romance with changes of pronouns and the ending, promising a new twist for readers new and old alike.

My first thought was ‘why’ followed by ‘well maybe it’s improved’ and finally to ‘okay, I’m sold’.

And because my fondness for the Twilight Saga is purely built on my nostalgic nature, I couldn’t resist picking up a copy as soon as possible! What can I say? Even if I grow to dislike a series, to even loath it somewhere down the line, I’m in it for the long haul.

In Life and Death we’re introduced to the familiar storyline. There are very few exceptions in the dialogue and characters, beyond their genders, and it can be a bit… well, dull. I was hoping that Meyer would have spiced things up a bit more by taking the plot we already know and twisting it around, changing the dialogue and such. All the angst and drama and romance is present, though, and this will be the ultimate selling point to longtime fans.


ceia Things I Can't Explain by Mitchell Kriegman | Rating: ★★★★★

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

Things I Can’t Explain is the highly anticipated modern day sequel to everyone’s favorite and quirky know-it-all narrated kids show, now considered a classic, Clarissa Explains It All. I can’t name a single person I know who isn’t familiar with the iconic and charming television series, whether they watched it as it aired or when it was put in syndication and reruns took over their summertime.

Regardless of the hows and the whens, a great deal of us grew up with Clarissa Explains It All; giggling and admiring the series in a way that only the young can. You couldn’t help but to love Clarissa and her long winded narration. I’ve often wondered what happened after the show ended, because it’s impossible to not enjoy yourself so Things I Can’t Explain has been on my mind for ages now.

But where is Clarissa Darling now, you ask?

New York City–jobless and searching for something, anything; like many people in their late twenties. Clarissa is just the same as ever, only more adult and slightly more polished–but she’s still our Clarissa, guys. Pretentious at times, funny and opinionated in other moments. Good news, too, guys: she is still a total badass in her fashion choices.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

tlh The Lake House by Kate Morton | Rating: ★★★★★

The Lake House is quite satisfying and well suited for people who love nothing more than to curl up on a chilly night with a good novel in the autumn and winter season. I thrive in this season when it comes to reading and Kate Morton’s latest release fits the bill perfectly.

Add one hot beverage, one cozy blanket and this novel for the perfect night in.

With alternating time frames and narration, all spanning across decades, it keeps readers guessing and most importantly feeling; from the moment you read its blurb, you’re captivated in a way that only a good story can manage. I daresay this little gem has earned its place amongst my favorite works of fiction and that there is no other novel this year more deserving.

Needless to say, it’s easy to fall into the pages of The Lake House and absolutely is something special. That’s a word you’ll find me using frequently in my review: special. Even better, the way each story is weaved together and solved is remarkably beautiful and mysterious. It’s heart warming, it’s satisfying.

And surely it will bring in a crowd of new and eager fans for Kate Morton. If ever there were a time to dip your toes into Kate Morton’s releases, it is now. This autumn, if you are looking for a treat for yourself, The Lake House should be at the top of your list.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

cs Cleopatra's Shadows by Emily Holleman | 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.

Ah, yes. Historical fiction. It’s a tricky genre to tackle, even amongst the most seasoned authors. Mostly there are two ways that historical fiction can go, as I see it. There’s no real black and white between the two; either it’s a hit or it’s a miss.

In this genre, it can take the past we know from textbooks and other forms of history and bend it into an intriguing thrill ride that is equal parts fiction and nonfiction. Or they can trip all over themselves and create something that is nothing more than a rewrite of history to fit their needs and their needs alone.

Emily Holleman’s spin on history in Cleopatra’s Shadows is fun, dramatic, fascinating and shines light on a time in history that is often forgotten. Holleman’s writing is a blast to study and she really put in a great deal of effort to bring this story to life, this much is obvious from the start. It isn’t easy to capture history and spin it into something such as this, but Cleopatra’s Shadows is an exception and an absolute delight.

It’s also the first historical fiction that I’ve enjoyed in ages–I hope you agree, too!

! City of Glass by Cassandra Clare | Rating: ★★★★★

“There is no pretending," Jace said with absolute clarity. "I love you, and I will love you until I die, and if there is life after that, I'll love you then.”

City of Glass was the original end to the then-planned-trilogy The Mortal Instruments. As action packed, mysterious and sexy as the previous two books, we find our favorite Shadowhunters and Downworlders battling it out with Valentine one last time in an effort to end his terror. But as always, things aren’t always what they seem; surprising plot twists, revelations and characters come about in unexpected ways. And tears will be shed at the loss of a character.

Clary has big plans at the start of City of Glass but she isn’t the only one with a thing or two up her sleeves. Strong, witty and intelligent as always Clary is on point and undeniably a teenager. Her actions all reflect that from the start. At the beginning of the novel, we see our favorite feisty redhead explore the options to save her mother as she prepares to go to the Shadowhunters home country, Idris, with the Lightwoods.

The first bump of the series? Her supposed brother and secret crush Jace is attempting to leave without her, to keep her safe. In these moments he calls the only person who would want to protect Clary as he would: Simon. In spite of the two teen boys’ differences, they both love Clary and want to keep her from harms way as much as they can.


Sunday, October 11, 2015

stars Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed | Rating: ★★★★★

Life is full of sadness. It's part of being a woman. Our lives are lived for the sake of others. Our happiness is never factored in.

As a note, a printed 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.

Every now and again a reader will pick up a book and just know that it’ll be special. Powerful. Somehow, they just sense it. And in Written in the Stars, in spite of that little voice that says “this will be a gift” you never know quite how important it will be until you finish it. Beautifully crafted and easy to devour (and drown in emotion), this is the sort of novel one can start and finish in a night.

Because firstly: Aisha Saeed’s prose is incredible–this much you should know. I’m confident to say that Written in the Stars is the best contemporary release of the year. And it tackles many topics that are often shied away from in literature and it does so with grace, in spite of its horrifying nature.

Saeed pens a tale of love, loss, betrayal and mistreatment in the form of an arranged marriage. It tells the story of one young girl–who’s future is right in her grasp–and one nightmare of a trip to her family’s home country follows. Although it is a tale of fiction, this isn’t an uncommon occurrence and that’s ultimately what makes it all the more upsetting.


Smiley face After Ever Happy by Anna Todd | Rating: ★★★☆☆

"No one, not even the doubting part of me, can make me feel bad for loving passionately and hoping desperately that I could have that great love that I’ve read about in novels."

The cycle is beginning to end in After Ever Happy: Anna Todd has finally brought about the improvements to characters and acknowledges quite a few things that should have been present in the After series since at least book two. During a very shaky and repetitive start to this final installment to Tessa and Hardin’s whirlwind romance, things will fall down and we can only hope, like the optimists we are, that life doesn’t destroy everything once more.

In the events of After We Fell, we’d discovered quite a few things and seen several changes of scenery. We’d also seen the light dim from Tessa’s eyes bit by bit; after fights and betrayals and other terrible occurrences. It was a bumpy ride from the start, but in our previous installment it was far more emotional and Todd’s writing surely picks up from this point on. After We Fell was my favorite up until this point but now After Ever Happy has taken at least a small bit of my heart.

Between plot developments such as Steph’s betrayal, Molly’s change of heart, Hardin’s biological father, the reappearance of Tessa’s father and more we’d been sent spinning in confusion. Will life ever be on anyone’s side? Or are we forever destined to be in the same vicious circle?


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Smiley face The World Before Us by Aislinn Hunter | 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.

I’m very conflicted on how I want to approach my review of this little guy because frankly, I have good and bad news and opinions on it. I was intrigued based on the blurb the second I saw it. I was positive that I was going to love The World Before Us by Aislinn Hunter; it was at the top of my most anticipated reads list and I just had this feeling of hope, adoration and excitement.

I know, I know. You shouldn’t get your hopes too high when it comes down to it. It’s almost always likely you’ll only get those hopes dashed. I really ought know better by now, but I simply do not learn.

My expectations were higher than high and I suppose that’s why it fell flat on me–I was expecting so much more from this story than it could offer; which is entirely my own fault. Because the truth is, it wasn’t all that bad of a novel–it was, I’ll say, quite good. It just left me feeling unfulfilled more than it left me feeling good.

Which, for other readers, may be a great thing. It just wasn’t what I was expecting.

My problem with The World Before Us was that it had so much promise to it but ultimately didn’t follow through. It kept tripping over itself at times while trying to balance everything out–the plots, the past, the present.


undertow Undertow by Michael Buckley | 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.

Undertow promises to be the next thrill ride in young adult dystopia and is being totted as a mix of The Outsiders and District 9. What could go wrong? Pair that with its gorgeous cover art and captivating description, it’s a novel we just know–we feel it in our bones–will be intriguing and full of fantasy. I have to warn you now, readers, that is very unique and addictive and you may find yourself unable to put it down.

It’s action packed, romantic and we find a startling world before us as well as a wonderful heroine in teenager Lyric Walker. I’m serious, guys–you’re going to LOVE Lyric! Much like other stories in the genre, there’s a massive point in connections; a dangerous love story. Somehow, it isn’t overwhelming or dull or even all that repetitive. It borders on frustrating and cliche, but really only dances around the edge of that and is quite a lot more bearable than other stories of insta-love.

Michael Buckley creates a vivid display for us to submerge in and proves to us that storytelling isn’t lost in this much hyped about genre. Enemies, danger, survival–it’s all such a common plot, but the way Buckley goes about it is remarkably fascinating and colorful.


awf After We Fell by Anna Todd | Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2.5)

“I have come to learn that the people who pretend to care the least actually care the most."

Anna Todd’s proven she can pen a sloppy yet utterly addictive story with the immensely popular After series–it’s something you simply cannot look away from, even if you want to so desperately. Which I’ve wanted to ditch it this entire time, I just couldn’t bring myself to put it down.

I’ve used the comparison before: it’s a train wreck you cannot put down.

This one, though, has an important trigger warning I need to point out before exploring my thoughts on it: someone is drugged by a “friend” and nearly taken advantage of. I wasn’t expecting it and wasn’t warned so it really, really caught me off guard and I don’t want anyone else to have to deal with that.

Back to Anna Todd…

Her formula has always been so simple: spinning out a tale of twisted love and dark emotions, she has captivated a younger audience instantly due to its origins as a One Direction fanfiction. Readers have fallen in love with Hardin and Tessa’s relationship when they really, really shouldn’t–I just hope no young girls wind up in danger on their quest to find their own Hardin Scott.

That’s what makes me nervous about the popularity of stories such as After and Fifty Shades and the weak and trashy adaptation of Gossip Girl (Chuck Bass, anyone?)–it’s that young girls are getting it into their minds that these relationships are the ultimate goals in romance.


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

city of ashes City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare | Rating: ★★★★★

“There's no need to clarify my finger snap," said Magnus. "The implication was clear in the snap itself.”

Cassandra Clare’s brilliantly fun and dashing The Mortal Instruments series continues with its first sequel City of Ashes; immediately following the events of its sarcastic and dark predecessor. After being introduced to this world, these characters, and watching a world of mystery unfold, readers were left grappling for the next installment.

So many things left us questioning what could possibly happen next; what each previous revelation means for the overall plot flow. It is just as vivid, thrilling, mysterious and twisty as City of Bones–there’s a whole world of magic out there just beyond our reach and we’ve only dipped our toes into it.

We left off with quite a bit on our plates. Joceyln’s lies, and her reasoning, Clary’s unusual gift, family connections as well as romance, demons, Downworlders, history, the mortal cup and so much more.

With Jocelyn seemingly asleep, Valentine growing stronger and building an army of his own, the world seems just a bit more dangerous than it was before.

So let’s start with connections thus far:


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Smiley face After We Collided by Anna Todd | Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2.5)

"The best thing about reading is to escape from your life, to be able to live hundreds or even thousands of different lives."

After We Collided is penned by seemingly overnight sensation Anna Todd, who got her start writing fiction on the website Wattpad–and follows a split narration between characters Tessa and Hardin and covers their tumultuous romance.

It is no worse or better than its predecessor, After, but fans can look forward to the continuation of plots and the sexual encounters they’ve come to expect.

It is packed to the brim with toxic and thoroughly dramatic dynamics, and of course at times showcases weak writing. After We Collided continues its tradition of back-and-forth romance. It is not a serious novel and you mustn’t expect it to be. Todd’s series is written long and in real time and reminiscent of a deliciously dirty and obnoxious soap opera.

Anna Todd toys with readers and often things are calm only to be thrust into turmoil again. Readers need be warned (or reminded) that the up and down nature of “Hessa” and their love story is not real life and their dynamic is incredibly horrifying. This is is not a relationship one should look for nor should it be admired. Please, please–have a firm grasp on reality and what your relationship goals should be.