Posted in Young Adult

Waiting on Wednesday (5/17/2017)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by  Jill from Breaking The Spine that shows the upcoming books that many of us are anticipating! This week, I’m waiting for…


onceandforall

Title:  Once and for All

Author: Sarah Dessen

Expected Publication:  June 6th 2017

Publisher:  Viking Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Summary:

As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen’s thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that’s why she’s cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm’s length. But Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged, now that he’s met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.

Sarah Dessen is probably one of my guilty pleasures. Normally, I read a lot of fantasy and probably a little sci-fi, but sometimes I like to pick up a good fiction book. I have read probably about 90% of Dessen’s books and I loved every single one of them. I also like how she brings previous characters into the books through cameos. Sort of like Stan Lee in all the Marvel movies. Needless to say, I am super excited for this book to come out and I will most definitely be reading it as soon as it hits shelves next month!

What are you waiting for this week?

Posted in Young Adult

The Love That Split the World Review

The Love That Split the World by Emily Henrythelovethatsplittheworld

Published: January 26th 2016 by Razorbill

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:

Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves.

Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start… until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.

That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.

“Love is giving the world away, and being loved is having the whole world to give.”

I don’t know if I can write a review of this book and do it any justice. I liked it, but then there was elements that I just didn’t like at all. I thought based upon the title that it was going to be a contemporary novel with maybe a little bit of fantasy woven in. For the most part I was correct, only there was a lot more sci-fi  and a whole lot of romance involved.

“No matter how hard it feels, you don’t need to be afraid to move on, and you don’t need to be afraid to stay either. There’s always more to see and feel.”

I’ll start first with the elements I did not like about this book. First, there was a lot of info dumping. The characters would go on very long tirades about a concept and then you’re left feeling “what did I just read?” At some points it was a struggle to continue reading, I would have to put it down and pick it up later after some motivation.

Second, there was insta-love. Cringe. I liked Natalie and Beau together, but I just wish that they had at least some sort of build up into a relationship. For the contemporary romance side, this was a huge let down. Especially since this made up of at least 85% of the book.

Third, there was just so many elements to the story and I don’t think Henry was able to incorporate all of them very well. There was your romance, time travel, world jumping, therapy sessions, boy drama, identity crisis, and well you get the picture. With all these elements coming into play, there was no character development. So when it is all said and done, you don’t really feel anything for Natalie and Beau by the end of their story. Oh and Henry tried to make this book a little LGBT friendly by inserting that her research scientist/therapist is a lesbian during one of the many tirades. I am all for different types of relationships, but it should at least be thought out a bit more rather than thrown into a random conversation.

Lastly, this book was a little boring. It started off great, and then it went to snoozeville quite fast.  Halfway through I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue or not, but I was already invested so I had to finish! The last 10% of the book was very quick, Natalie was running out of time , and it felt as if the book was running out of pages to get the information down. I’ve read some reviews that don’t like the ending, but I actually liked the ambiguity of it.

“And because she jumped, our world began”

I know it seems as if I don’t like anything about the book, but I do, I swear!

This book has a very diverse set of characters, and I love it! The main character is Native American, who was adopted into a Caucasian family. Natalie feels that since she doesn’t look like her family, that something is missing in her life. I found this very relatable, since I am from a mix household. I never felt like I didn’t belong, but there was hardly any other half Asians in my little town of one stop light (now they have about 5 and maybe more diversity, who knows).

Natalie is also a feminist, which you don’t see very much in YA novels. Well she was very feminist in the beginning of the novel, but I felt she kind of lost it somewhere around the middle. But I like that Henry made a very strong, independent, and smart main character.

The writing in this novel was fantastic. Henry knows how to use her words and make everything sound wonderful (even if I was a little bored). What I enjoyed most was the Native American myths and legends that were told throughout the whole novel. I am not an expert on Native American stories, but the stories were told very respectfully and seemed as if it was the only aspect that helped advance the plot.

“Why did they have to sacrifice anything?”
“It was a symbol,” Grandmother explains. “Of an innocent dying on behalf of someone else—the greatest act of love. A choice to die so someone else doesn’t have to.”

This book is definitely one of those hit or miss for most people. I feel as if you are either going to really like it or just be totally disappointed in it. I for the most part fall in the middle, it was just eh. Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Posted in Young Adult

Goodreads Monday #6 (9/12/16)

Goodreads Monday is a meme hosted by Page Turner,  and the idea is to post a book that’s on your TBR pile and show it off. This is a great way to show off books I have not yet managed to read!

This week I have chosen:

thewrathandthedawn

 

Title: The Wrath & the Dawn

Author: Renee Ahdieh

Published: May 12th 2015 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Summary:

One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.

This is actually a new addition to my TBR pile, but I figured since I am going to see the author October 1st, I should probably read her book! =)

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Posted in Young Adult

Evergreen Falls Review

Evergreen Falls by Kimberley FreemanIMG_0021

Published: August 26th 2014 by Hachette Australia

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:

1926: Violet Armstrong is one of the few remaining members of staff working at the grand Evergreen Spa Hotel as it closes down over winter. Only a handful of guests are left, including the heir to a rich grazing family, his sister and her suave suitor. When a snowstorm moves in, the hotel is cut off and they are all trapped. No one could have predicted what would unfold. When the storm clears they must all keep the devastating secrets hidden.

2014: After years of putting her sick brother’s needs before her own, Lauren Beck leaves her home and takes a job at a Blue Mountains cafe, the first stage of the Evergreen Spa Hotel’s renovations. There she meets Tomas, the Danish architect who is overseeing the project, and an attraction begins to grow. In a wing of the old hotel, Lauren finds a series of passionate love letters dated back to 1926, alluding to an affair – and a shocking secret.

If she can unravel this long-ago mystery, will it make Lauren brave enough to take a risk and change everything in her own life?

Inspired by elements of her grandmother’s life, a rich and satisfying tale of intrigue, heartbreak and love from the author of the bestselling Lighthouse Bay and Wildflower Hill.

This was my June Lit-Cube subscription book, “Roaring 20’s” themed.

“She loved him, too. Mad as it seemed, she loved him, too, and had sine their eyes met that evening in the dining room.”

For the most part I enjoyed this book, I enjoyed Lauren’s timeline a little bit more than the 1926 one. Lauren’s relationship with her family was very relatable, and I enjoyed seeing her finally stand up for herself and get away from her mother. Out of all of the characters in the book, Lauren grew the most and really became a strong, independent person.

“Love was a thunderbolt, crashing down on her with its brilliant, savage force. It was ancient and eternal and it peeled back the mundane layers of the world and showed her the wet, beating heart of reality beneath.”

 I did not enjoy all of the cliches that kept popping every other chapter. For instance, almost every new relationship in the story was an insta-love. Violet and Sam’s relationship was most likely the most annoying one in the entire book. Sam was a very weak, one-dimensional character and as the love interest for Violet, we didn’t really get a sense of who Sam is. Lauren’s relationship with Tomas while sort of insta-love, it wasn’t as annoying as the Violet and Sam’s. For one, Lauren didn’t lose herself in the relationship and actually grew as a character because of it. Although Tomas is just sort of a filler character that helps Lauren grow, he was a lot more likable than Sam as a love interest.

“But she knew what came next.”

The mystery aspect was very appealing when reading the blurb, and it was one of the main reasons why I decided to read this book. I wish the book spent a little bit more time trying to solve the mystery, than going back to Violet’s timeline and letting us see the mystery unfold that way. The “mystery” was also very easy to figure out early in the book and all of the plot twists could be seen way before it ever happened. Even though it was predictable, I liked how Freeman incorporated the two storylines together at the end. The ending went by a lot quicker than the whole book, and I wished there was more.

“Passionately. Once she had thought the word described something different. Something fast and hot, like lightening. Now, she realizes, passion is a deep well, ancient and fathomless.”

Overall, while the book moved a bit too slowly for my liking, I did enjoy it. I wouldn’t say it was a quick read, as I was flipping constantly to see how many pages I had left, but I would suggest at least giving it a chance. So if you like historical fiction mixed in with modern fiction with a hint of female empowerment, then you’ll enjoy this book.

Posted in Young Adult

Burning Glass Review

BurningGlassBurning Glass by Kathryn Purdie

Published: March 1st 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books

Series: Burning Glass Book 1 out of 3

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:

Sonya was born with the rare gift to feel what those around her feel—both physically and emotionally—a gift she’s kept hidden from the empire for seventeen long years. After a reckless mistake wipes out all the other girls with similar abilities, Sonya is hauled off to the palace and forced to serve the emperor as his sovereign Auraseer.

Tasked with sensing the intentions of would-be assassins, Sonya is under constant pressure to protect the emperor. But Sonya’s power is untamed and reckless, and she can’t always decipher when other people’s impulses end and her own begin. In a palace full of warring emotions and looming darkness, Sonya fears that the biggest danger to the empire may be herself.

As she struggles to wrangle her abilities, Sonya seeks refuge in her tenuous alliances with the charming-yet-volatile Emperor Valko and his idealistic younger brother, Anton, the crown prince. But when threats of revolution pit the two brothers against each other, Sonya must choose which brother to trust—and which to betray.

Let me just say that I really enjoyed about the first 100 pages, and the last couple of chapters. Those sections are really only where the plot happens. Everything else is filled with love triangles and crying.

I was more than wild—I was a walking keg of gunpowder

Sonya is an Auraseer who can feel other peoples emotions, but she is untrained and she can do things other Auraseers cannot. For instance, she can touch anything dead or drops of blood and feel their last emotions. You would think with her being extra special that this would help move the plot along or something, but it is mentioned a lot and barely used.

His face was blurry through my watering eyes.
I didn’t let the tears fall until he grew bored of me.

Sonya for the most part doesn’t know who she likes, the emperor (Valko) or his brother (Anton). When one brother doesn’t show his affection or treat her the way she wants then she goes to the other brother, and it is a constant back and forth for most of the book. Until eventually she does pick a brother and then we have to watch her cry because she doesn’t feel like she is good enough. Which I guess I can understand her self pity, but if she can sense everyones emotions shouldn’t she be able to at least discern his feelings for her a little bit? Even if he knows how to throw up a wall around his feelings, some of them are bound to leak out eventually. You would think finding out peoples feelings would be almost second nature to her.

My task might be monumental, but my gift-my curse-was the only means I had of making a difference in this world.

The plot, where you would think based upon the synopsis would be about Sonya picking a brother and a revolution that puts the brothers on opposite sides. You would be right and wrong. Right in that she has to pick between the two brothers, but hardly because of the revolution. The revolution is mentioned briefly in secret messages once or twice throughout the book, until almost the very end. So that part of the plot was very minuscule in the 500+ page book. On the other hand for about 400 pages of the book, the “love triangle” takes front and center stage. Valko has “feelings” for Sonya, and he is constantly manipulating her and she seems to never be able to say no (unless he is physically abusing her). Anton seems to always push her away, and we find out its because of some gypsy prophesy that his true love will have the same birthmark as him. ::eye roll:: To top it off, he thinks Sonya is only reflecting his feelings for her, so he doesn’t believe that she really loves him.

My feelings for you are here when I am alone, when you are miles form the palace I keep you with me. I choose to. you are the most impossibly stubborn person I have ever met. You are also the most honorable, the most caring. I love every part of you.

Would I recommend this book? Yes and no. If you like plots that deal heavily with romances and little else, then you will enjoy this book. You will root for Sonya and Anton and wish that he realized her true feelings earlier. If you don’t and want more action, then this may not be for you, unless you can deal with the love triangle mess.

IMG_0773
This is me barely hanging on, but I was so close to finishing!
Posted in Young Adult

The Siren Review

The Siren by Kiera Cass25817407

Published: January 26, 2016 by Harper Teen

Goodreads Summary:

Love is a risk worth taking.

Years ago, Kahlen was rescued from drowning by the Ocean. To repay her debt, she has served as a Siren ever since, using her voice to lure countless strangers to their deaths. Though a single word from Kahlen can kill, she can’t resist spending her days on land, watching ordinary people and longing for the day when she will be able to speak and laugh and live freely among them again.

Kahlen is resigned to finishing her sentence in solitude…until she meets Akinli. Handsome, caring, and kind, Akinli is everything Kahlen ever dreamed of. And though she can’t talk to him, they soon forge a connection neither of them can deny…and Kahlen doesn’t want to.

Falling in love with a human breaks all the Ocean’s rules, and if the Ocean discovers Kahlen’s feelings, she’ll be forced to leave Akinli for good. But for the first time in a lifetime of following the rules, Kahlen is determined to follow her heart.

“Life was just a collection of small decisions”

As a big fan of The Selection series, The Siren was something completely different. This was Cass’ first novel that was edited and re-published earlier this year. This novel, I felt was more real even though it had the mythological element of the girls being sirens. While the blurb makes it seem as if this novel is about soulmates and true love, it wasn’t the only theme. There were many themes that made the book not feel like a giant cliche, such as motherhood, family, sisterhood, and self-discovery.

“There’s always room for love. Even if it’s as small as a crack in the door.”

Kahlen has accepted her life as a siren, but never liked having to kill thousands of people to help feed the Ocean. We see how killing affects Kahlen deeply and what she does to manage her depression. When she meets Akinli, Kahlen starts to really live again. I liked how it wasn’t an instantaneous love, but a gradual process. When she realized the danger that she put on Akinli, Kahlen left him so that he could live a normal life without her. This to me made the love and the character feel more real.

Kahlens sisters-Maika, Elizabeth, and Padma- were a major part of the novel as well. We got backstories on them, and saw them grow as characters as well. At first their sisterhood was very centered around themselves, but as the story continued they grew closer together.

“Books were a safe place, a world apart from my own. No matter what had happened that day, that year, there was always a story in which someone overcame their darkest hour. I wasn’t alone.”

This story didn’t have a real villain of sorts. The Ocean, who acted as their mother, for the most part could be considered the main villain. The Ocean is portrayed as only taking lives and demanding a lot from the Sirens, but She is constantly telling them that She doesn’t enjoy making them do this. Even though She puts them through a lot, and you want to hate her, you can’t help but feel pity for the Ocean. Everything she does, she does for her Sirens.

If you are looking for a quick standalone read, you should definitely check this one out. I devoured this book in almost one sitting, and I didn’t even realize that half the day was gone by the time my husband came home with dinner.

I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

“I picked up another book, and we sat there in the happiest silence I’d ever known.”