Category Archives: Book Reviews

The Book Chat {Vol 9}

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Thursdays are Book Chat days! You can link up on Jessica’s blog Sweet Green Tangerine ūüôā

Today’s question: Choose a book and make a playlist for it!¬†

I should probably start off by saying that this is such a Jess question it made me laugh out loud. I know that she LOVES making playlists to go with her books, and I love seeing what she comes up with when she does it. (Remember her guest post while I was in Florida?)

I am ashamed to admit that as a book lover AND music addict, making a playlist to go with books is not something I’m very good at. Although to be fair, I’ve never tried. Usually when I’m reading, I turn on my ‘Faves’ playlist. It’s constantly refreshed (like, daily) with whatever songs I’m listening to on repeat.

So today, I’ve decided to share with you a good book & some good music. They don’t necessarily go TOGETHER but it’ll give you a little peak into what I’ve been reading and listening to all at once! I actually finished this book just yesterday, so I thought today’s post would be a great reason to do a little book review & share some of the songs I listened to repeatedly while I read it.

The Book

Book: The Truth About Forever

Author: Sarah Dessen

Type: YA Contemporary Fiction

Release Date: May 11th 2004

Publisher:  Penguin Group

This was my very first dip into the world of Sarah Dessen and I must admit I quite enjoyed it! The story revolves around Macy, a young girl who lost her father suddenly to a heart attack a year and a half earlier. Since then, she has mastered the art of seeming perfect. Her looks, her behavior, her grades, even her boyfriend.

But when the perfect boyfriend leaves for the summer, sticks Macy with his extremely boring job at the library, & breaks up with her, Macy finds herself looking for something more to life. She comes across a job at WISH, a catering company owned by the wonderful, chaotic, imperfect Delia.

With Delia & her crew, Macy begins to truly grieve for her loss and realize that being perfect is not only unnecessary, but not possible. With the help of Wes, the gorgeous boy who works for Wish and becomes Macy’s best friend, she learns that there is more to life than perfect grades and a desk job that makes her unhappy. She is in control of her forever, and with Wes Macy begins to see that she can be happy once again.

Truth About Forever is a story about loss, love, truths, and a great coming of age novel for girls at any age.

The Short Review

I would normally make this a bit longer, but since this is like a three-in-one post I’ll try and keep it short and sweet! Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I think Dessen has a great style of writing & she gives each of her characters a depth that I had almost forgotten could exist- it’s been a while since I’ve read a story who’s characters felt so incredibly REAL to me.¬†

I’ll be honest, this book was a bit tough for me to read. Not only because the first 100-150 pages are a bit slow going, but the topic itself. I’ve gone through losing my father & I connected with Macy on A LOT of levels. We’ve had completely different lives of course, but being inside her head and reading things that felt so real to me too was not easy. It was, however, wonderful. This book definitely made me cry.¬†

Other than the slow start, the only thing that I wasn’t crazy about in this book was the slow plot development. The “climax” of the novel wasn’t until MUCH further in the story, and that made it hard to want to continuously follow along. I wish there had been more development between Wes & Macy, but that’s just my romantic side wanting to read more about them- not a fault on Dessen’s part at all. I actually really like that the focus was so much on Macy and her grieving process.

I would definitely read more Sarah Dessen, so let me know which are your favorites so I know what to pick up next!

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The Playlist

Here are a few songs I obsessively listened to these last few days while I made my way through this book:

Hold On by the Alabama Shakes — This is currently my favorite song. SO GOOD. The whole album! Thanks Jess ūüôā
Give Me Love by Ed Sheeran — You should be listening to this guy. What a talent.
Called Out in the Dark by Snow Patrol— I love this music video!
From Finner by Of Monsters and Men— My ongoing love affair with OMAM continues
Body Work by Morgan Page (feat. Tegan & Sara)— Thank you random radio station for this. Love!

What are you reading & listening to these days?!

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Cinder by Marissa Meyer: A Book Review

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You know how sometimes you see a book and you heard about this book and everyone is all like “THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD” but you are confident that although this book is getting 5-star ratings across the board you will STILL not like it?

That’s how I felt about Cinder before I picked it up.

Actually, let’s back up for a second. It’s how I felt about most of my absolute favorite books: The Hunger Games, The Book Thief, Looking for Alaska, Time Traveler’s Wife, and City of Bones. Everyone had told me how fantastic the books were, but I was so hesitant about loving them until I read them and ADORED every single page.

Fast forward back to my current review, and that’s what Cinder was like for me.

Book: Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1)

Author: Marissa Meyer

Type: YA Dystopian, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Release Date: January 3rd 2012

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan)

The Story revolves around a 16 year old girl named Cinder who lives in a century that refers to our time as “the old days”, and who got into an accident as a young child that nearly took her life. Instead of leaving her for dead, her doctors replaced her damaged human parts with cyborg parts.

Now, Cinder lives under the roof of her evil stepmother as a cyborg mechanic- the best one in Beijing. The world she lives in is ravaged by letumosis, a pandemic that is taking people’s lives every day. After a chance meeting with Prince Kai, heir to the throne of Emperor in Beijing, Cinder’s life seems to become more and more complicated. Forced into volunteering herself to help find a cure for letumosis, Cinder uncovers secret details from her past that put her and the rest of the population of Beijing in mortal danger.

“Cinder” is a futuristic story that not only involves cyborgs, but LUNAR PEOPLE. I don’t even know how to possibly describe this book so it doesn’t sound totally wacky and strange. But I guess it really kind of is. AND THAT IS WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT IT. It is this amazing combination of all the great genres out there. It held my attention from page 1 right until that ending that has me wishing I didn’t have to wait A YEAR for book 2 in the series.

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My Favorites

Prince Kai. If you’ve read book reviews around here, you’ll know that I hate cliche guy characters. They bother me more than anything. Edward Cullen, anyone? Eye roll. BUT PRINCE KAI? He sounds enchanting. He is witty, intriguing, mysterious, fiercely independent, and has a depth to him that is extremely rare in male characters- especially in YA lit.

Cinder. She is one BADASS character. Seriously, she is part cyborg. She feels out of place more often than not, but she never gives up on herself. She stands up for herself, she is smart, funny, and written so incredibly well considering she is *technically* part robot. It’s actually a big part of her charm. She is just SUCH an easy character to adore, I can’t wait to see where Marissa Meyer takes her in the next few books. I have high hopes for Cinder, unlike some past strong female characters who tend to go downhill in later books in their series.

The story isn’t forgettable. I’ve had this problem while reading such intricate books/series in the past; I forget the little details & have little interest in looking back to see what I’m missing. I LOVE when a book is distinct in comparison to the other ones in it’s series. For example, I could tell you what the main plot idea is in each Harry Potter book, despite the fact that each story is extremely intricately written (and not just because I’m an HP nerd). So far, I feel the same way about Cinder. The plot has a lasting effect in my mind, and I still think about the story from time to time while I excitedly wait for book two!

My Most Favorite

The best part of this book is the part that I thought I’d like the least, before I started it. The Lunar People. I think they are SUCH an interesting concept, and really, who’s to say they won’t exist in a future century far away from now?! Marissa Meyer makes people living on the moon sound totally believable, but at the same time they still retain their sci-fi, unbelievable feeling too. It’s always a big risk for an author to create a new “kind” of people. Dipping your toes into the fantasy/sci-fi and pulling it off so well is something to be commended for. I’ve read some good YA fantasy that shows a lot of depth and thought, but Cinder is the first time that I was actually like “this is a totally believable world. What if this happens?” Truthfully, the last time I genuinely felt like that about fantasy was Harry Potter.¬†

I’M NOT READY TO BE MAKING COMPARISONS HERE, and I don’t want to raise all your hopes, I’m just saying Marissa Meyer is extremely good at using her words in her genre. I didn’t think anyone would be able to convince me to like a book about lunar people, but she did!

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I don’t think I would be able to pinpoint any not-favorite parts in this book. I feel like I’ve been giving a lot of books high ratings lately (maybe this is just in my head?) but Cinder 100% deserves the one I’m about to give it. If you look hard enough in any story you’ll find problems with it, but considering this is Meyer’s debut novel, I think she’s crafted something exceptional. So much thought has gone into this plot, I am literally waiting on the EDGE OF MY SEAT for book two, Scarlet.

So just in case you ever happen to read this, Marissa Meyer, I am totally down to read an advanced reader’s of Scarlet and review that for you, too. ūüôā¬†

It doesn’t matter what kind of reader you are, Cinder is the kind of story that will enchant anyone who picks it up!

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars. 

The YA challenge & some recent YA reads

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In January when I blogged about my 2012 Goals, I briefly mentioned I wanted to take part in something called the YA Challenge, and try to read 40 teen-lit books this year. In January and February I had a lot of trouble getting into books and finishing them at my usual quick speed, but since coming home from Florida I’ve been doing SO much better. I’m getting out of my reading rut and I’m excited to get back on track to read not only 40 YA novels, but hit my goal of 60 for the year. Time to catch up!

So far, I’ve read 6 YA books, one of which got a full review last month. I thought it would be fun to take some time to write about a few of the other ones I’ve read because you guys? They’ve been AMAZING. All of them. I have high hopes for the rest of the teen novels I plan on reading this year & can’t wait to share them with you all.

1. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

In Book One of the Chaos Walking series, readers are introduced to young Todd & his very peculiar life in Prentisstown. In Todd’s world, women have died from disease & men can hear all of each other’s thoughts through something they simply call NOISE. Todd is just one month away from being the last boy to become a ‘man’ in his town, but when his guardians force him out of the house for fear of his life, Todd learns that the world he’s grown up in is not all that it seems.

It took me a good chunk of this book to really get into it, but by the second half of the book I was rooting for Todd, his faithful dog Manchee and his new found companion that he meets along the way. Todd goes on a life changing adventure and I was there with him right up to the explosive ending that left me wanting to read Book Two ASAP! The major downside for me was how LONG the book was and how long it took me to get really interested, but I do understand that Ness was setting up his characters for the rest of his trilogy. I’ve heard amazing things about it, so I’m anxious to pick up The Ask and the Answer soon and see where Todd goes next!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

2. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

In Oliver’s second book following the acclaimed ‘Delirium‘, readers are reunited with heroine Lena, who has just escaped into the Wilds on her own. Lena must not only learn to survive in a new place without Alex, who she lost at the border of her city, but she has to reinvent herself & decide which side she is on. You follow her adventures as she joins a group of teenagers who also live freely and as they infiltrate New York City in the hopes of figuring out how to break apart a government that has taken away peoples’ freedom by taking away their ability to love.

I think that in all of the series I’ve read and followed, this is the second time that I adore the second book even MORE than the first. The last time this happened is when I read Catching fire almost 3 years ago- and that book is still one of my top 5 all time favorite novels EVER. Pandemonium started off pretty good, but it quickly became one of those books that I was frantically reading to find out what happens. I was on the edge of my seat right up until the ending when it basically exploded with crazyness. I legitimately do not know what I’m going to do while I wait for the final book in this trilogy in a year. I finished Pandemonium last week and have still thought about it every single day. What an ending!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

3. Wither by Lauren DeStefano

The first book in the Chemical Garden trilogy gets you from page one. In a world where¬†genetic engineering has cut women’s life span at 20 years and men’s at 25, young girls are constantly kidnapped and forced into polygamous weddings to have children, continue the population, and hope that a future generation will be able to find an antidote. Rhine is a sixteen year old girl who is kidnapped from her home where she lives with her twin brother & forced into marriage to the incredibly wealthy Linden Ashby. You follow her adventure with her two sister wives Jenna & Cecily, as well as her nightmarish father-in-law Vaughn as she attempts to survive in this new world.

I can’t believe it took me this long to pick up Wither. From Chapter One I was COMPLETELY in love with this book. I actually heard lots of mixed reviews about it but honestly? It was, in one word, unputdownable. Yes, I made that word up just for Wither. All of the characters are beautifully written and Rhine’s world is so incredibly believable, it’s almost haunting to think of a future existing like this one. I can’t recommend this book enough, especially if you love good dystopian novels. I plan on reading book two, Fever, by next week!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

What great books have you read recently? Any good YA to recommend?!

Book Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

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Book: Clockwork Angel

Author: Cassandra Clare

Type: YA Paranormal

Release Date: August 31st 2010

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

The story revolves around Tessa Gray, a young lady who lives in Victorian England (circa 1800). She loses both of her parents and goes to live with her brother and her aunt while growing up, but when her brother leaves her for work in England & her aunt passes away, she has no choice but to get on a ship to England and meet up with her brother.

Unfortunately she gets kidnapped as soon as she arrives by The Dark¬†Sisters. They hold her hostage in their home and force her to learn about¬†a power that she has: she can change into anyone as long as she has¬†something that belongs (or belonged) to them. The only reason she¬†continues to do what they say? They claim to have her brother held¬†hostage somewhere, too… And all she wants is to keep him safe.

As Tessa begins to think that there will be no end to the torture that The Dark Sisters put her through, she escapes with the help of Will Herondale, a young boy who is part of the Shadowhunter world. He brings her back to The Institute, which is basically the home of all Shadowhunters in England. There, she learns all about the world of Shadowhunters, and with the help of Will, his friend Jem & the other Shadowhunters who live in the institute, she begins to solve the mystery behind The Dark Sisters, her brother, her superpowers and a man called The Magister who is behind it all.

What I thought about the book

As a huge fan of Cassandra Clare’s other work, I was very excited to read her prequel series and see if it matched up to her original books, the Mortal Instruments. I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews about this series because it’s so different and yet so similar to her other stuff, but I wanted to pass my own judgement on it.

I think that as it’s own book, it was really interesting overall. The main problem with it, if you don’t compare it to the Mortal Instruments, is that the story drags a little bit and doesn’t ever reach a climactic point. It just kind of… keeps going. And going.

That being said, I think she does a really good job of introducing new readers to the world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders, and she creates a slew of new and interesting characters to relate to. I love that there are two main boys in this series, and I like that the storyline doesn’t revolve around love, but rather around the actual paranormal aspect of the book. Both Jem and Will aren’t your average “perfect” guys, expect for the fact that as Shadowhunters’ (children of the angel) they are beautiful… But I really don’t mind so much in her books because Clare makes it really clear that this is because of their heritage. Tessa has really ¬†good interactions with all of the characters and the plot is really well set up for the rest of the series.

My main problem with the book as a whole is that it’s kind of forgettable. I mean, not because it’s bad AT all. I was really interested while reading the whole thing. It’s just that SO much happens and yet none of it really STANDS out to make the novel well remembered. I read this book two weeks ago and already have trouble remembering a lot of the detail. Clare is such a fantastic writer, but there are big parts of her books that could probably have been cut out to make the story more concise.

Compared to her past books, I really like the duality between her two main characters. In this book, Tessa is a Downworlder, which includes creatures like vampires, warlocks and werewolves. She has no idea that she belongs to this world, but her superpower automatically puts her into this category. Because I’ve read all of Clare’s other books, I thought it was really neat to see the perspective told from a Downworlder compared to Clary from the Mortal Instruments who is actually a Shadowhunter. They both have such different views of life in the world that Clare has created and I loved being able to see the two different sides of the spectrum.

I tried really hard not to compare the characters in both books, but I often found myself associating them to one another. Clare does a really great job of making all the characters distinct in her two series, but because you learn about the history in Clockwork Angel of the characters in all of the Mortal Instruments, it can sometimes be difficult to remember who is who.

Overall…

I really enjoyed this book and will definitely read book two, Clockwork Prince, very soon. As I said, I’m a big fan of Cassandra Clare’s writing and I think the paranormal world she’s created with Shadowhunters is extremely interesting and different from your average vampire or werewolf book!

I really hope that book two develops more of the relationships between the characters in this story, but more than anything, can I just say that I’m totally TEAM JEM! I seriously hope something happens between him and Tessa! He’s so cute!

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Book Review: The Fault in our Stars by John Green

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Book: The Fault in our Stars

Author: John Green

Type: YA Contemporary

Release Date: January 10th 2012

Publisher: Penguin Group USA

The Fault in our Stars is a story about many, many things. First, it is the story of a girl named Hazel Grace Lancaster and a boy named Augustus Waters. The two meet at cancer support group- Hazel’s tumors have shrunk considerably and are kept at bay with a ton of medication, while Augustus is currently in remission from a very rare form of the disease.

Together, they examine the very meaning of life and how it is possible to do great things when you don’t know how much longer you have left in the world. It is a story about love, loss, life, death, and everything in between.

I’d love to say more about the story, but even 4 days after reading it, I’m still having trouble coming up with the right words (and not saying TOO much)

What I think about the book

I don’t even know where to start with this one. I mean, I’ve been following the progress of it’s publication since John Green announced that he was coming out with a new book. I was so incredibly attached to everything this story was and would become, I just couldn’t help it. Because of that, I was worried about being let down or paying too much attention to the hype and letting it get to me.

Let me assure you all… That was not the case in the LEAST. Even though I was expecting great things from this story, it STILL blew me away in ways I don’t know how to describe. You may have noticed this if you follow me on Twitter, because I tweeted incessantly things like this:

While I reading this book I laughed, I cried, and then I laughed some more. Then I cried some more. John Green is not only incredibly witty, but you can sense the importance that exists in each and every single word that is in this novel. Every sentence is weighted, every conversation makes you stop and think.

My favorite things about the book:

I think the character development was spot on. Hazel and Augustus continue to grow and evolve from the first page to the very last. They have quirks, life stories, and such incredibly distinct personalities- you just can’t help but get attached. The secondary characters play a fair role in the story as well: Augustus’ best friend Isaac is a great supporting character that provides a different perspective on living the life that’s given to you. The one character I wasn’t *sure* about was Hazel’s friend, Kaitlyn. I thought she was really funny and interesting, and I understand that she was really just playing the role of the necessary “high school friend that Hazel can’t relate to anymore” but I still wondered why she was the ONLY friend that was ever mentioned on Hazel’s side when she states that she can only handle her in small doses.

John Green tackles life issues that are at once controversial but SO necessary to discuss. This is the kind of story that anyone can read and relate to. Everyone knows someone who knows someone that’s affected by cancer. Not only does he really get into the mind of cancer patients, but he gives readers this completely different view of what life is like when you’re not privileged to breathe on your own or have your five senses. He writes about teenagers who are STRUGGLING to get through every single DAY and still manage to think of people other than themselves. It’s SO hard to get into the mind of teenagers- I mean really, who knows what they’re thinking?! But he does it so well. Hazel is brilliant and strong for herself AND her parents, but she is still a sixteen year old battling a disease that will one day take her life. She is this completely multi-faceted character who encompasses the very essence of what this story is about. How do you come to terms at just 16 with the idea that you may not live to see another day?

The story between Augustus and Hazel is incredibly well developed. This isn’t one of those books that plays games with romance. It is an honest and truthful portrayal of two kids whose lives become intertwined because of this fate that was handed down to them. Their relationship has its ups and downs, and in my opinion is probably something that a lot of teenagers- despite their health- can relate to in one way or another.

My absolute favorite part?

I don’t think I could pick just one to be honest, but I think a big part of this book for me was the very way it was written. It’s so rare for me to have to STOP after reading a particular sentence to just let it sink in and to just actually understand it. I even wrote sentences DOWN. I never do that. I’m already ready to re-read the book (as you may have seen above in my tweets) and that is so completely unlike me.

I don’t want to¬†over-hype¬†this book or anything, but if you’re reading this review you need to read the book too. It’s so worth it and the amount of work that was put into it is immediately noticeable. Literally, the very first chapter you’re like “wow, how amazing is this?”

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Book Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

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Book: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Author: Michelle Hodkin

Type: YA paranormal/suspense

Release Date: September 27th 2011

Publisher: Simon  & Schuster

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is the story of a teenage girl named Mara who wakes up ¬†in the hospital after a three day coma to find out that her best friend, her boyfriend, and her boyfriend’s sister are all dead. She was there with them, but miraculously survived; however she doesn’t remember a single thing about that night.

Mara suffers from PTSD after her coma, and believes it’s related to being in her hometown without some of the most important people in her life. Her parents and two brothers (Joseph and Daniel) all move to Florida in hopes of settling down, starting fresh, and helping Mara get better.

Unfortunately for Mara, life does not get better at her new school right away. Still suffering from hallucinations on a regular basis, Mara has to cope being a target as the new girl on top of everything. That is, until the most popular boy in school, Noah Shaw, takes an interest in her.

With Noah’s help, Mara discovers that there is more to her accident and her hallucinations than she could have imagined.

Okay, first of all, how beautiful is the cover of this book? It was the first thing that caught my attention when I saw this book. BEAUTIFUL. That aside, I had heard a lot of hype over this novel before finally reading it. I was lucky to win a copy of it from Jen, and within a week I was reading.

Here’s what I liked about the book.

First, I loved how it started. I thought it was equally awesome amounts of suspense, creepy, and intrigue. Mara’s character immediately interested me and I was curious to see how she would develop in the book. I ended up liking her for the most part as a heroine although I thought at some parts of the book she acted differently than I would have actually imagined for her. She was overly stubborn or naive. Overall though, she was a really well written main character with a lot of wit and quirkiness.

I actually thought Mara’s entire family was well written. I really loved her older brother, Daniel. I thought he was a really smart and fun addition, and her younger brother Joseph sounds SO cute, I thought that Mara acted way too emo/angsty teenager at some points towards her older brother (“I hate you, I can’t believe you did this to me”) but overall I thought they had an interesting family dynamic.

Second, I thought the introduction of Noah Shaw was done really well. I thought he was written a little bit cliche at times- you know, he was the *perfect* guy with an eight-pack of abs and no matter what he looked like, he was super hot- but I liked that he was mysterious and funny. I also appreciated the way Hodkin continued to add on to his personality throughout the novel. It gave him a lot more depth than I had originally imagined.

Third, Mara has a really neat superpower. Or whatever it is. We still don’t really *know* what it is, which kind of irritates me (I don’t like having questions in the middle of a book, or at the end for that matter) but I think it has a LOT of potential for the future books.

Fourth, the ending. That’s DEFINITELY what made me decide that I would read the next one.

Here’s what I didn’t like about the book.

There were definitely some parts of the story that confused me. I mean, one minute Mara is getting a glass of milk or something, and the next apparently 3 hours have passed and she’s just standing there. Why? What’s the point of having that in the plot? It really confused me. I also don’t understand why she would start cackling maniacally after using her superpower. Is that some kind of reaction to it? I did not understand.

Although I really enjoyed the love story between Noah and Mara, I didn’t like it very much at the end. I thought it progressed REALLY well throughout the entire book (not too slow, not too fast, just enough detail) but then they have this huge talk and all of a sudden they’re saying “I love you” and “you’re stuck with me forever” and am I the only one who felt a little bit of a Twilight flashback here? I could have done without the “forever at 17” thing. It really threw me off because again, it wasn’t something I imagined from either of their characters, and I didn’t think the author needed to add that in to her story whatsoever. If their relationship continued to progress at a steady pace, it could have completely skipped over the cheesy Twilight feeling. I THINK it has potential for redemption in the next book because it was so good for such a huge part of book one, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Overall, this was JUST the book I needed to get back into a reading groove. I hadn’t finished a book in quite some time and I found myself sitting in my room for two straight days to finish this one. I’ll definitely read the second one when it comes out, although somewhat skeptically. I think Michelle Hodkin has SUCH an awesome and unique way of writing (when ¬†you make Harry Potter jokes constantly, you have my heart) but I hope the love story doesn’t overshadow that in book two. I WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE SUPERPOWERS, MICHELLE HODKIN. Thank you. ūüôā

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

What good books have you been reading lately? Have you read this one, if so, what did you think?

Recent Reads [worth sharing]

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*First I’d just like to direct you to my nav bar which now has a lovely new tab… My blog roll!You can click on it & find out more about a bunch of really great bloggers. You’ll also notice that the whole nav bar has been tweaked [hopefully for the better] so have fun looking around at all the fun stuff I’ve added!¬†

I feel like recently I haven’t really been writing enough about the books I’ve been reading or giving reviews- which I love to do- so I though I would take the opportunity today to share some books I’ve read lately & my thoughts!

1. My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares

I LOVED this book. Ann Brashares had a little rough writing patch for a while when she wrote ‘Summer of You & Me’ and ‘3 Willows’ but she is back with a vengeance. This story is based on the life of Daniel, a boy who has “the memory”. He remembers his past lives as he is re-born again into his new ones. In his current life, he’s an older teenager who has fallen in love with a girl named Lucy who he calls Sophia. He has fallen in love with the same soul over and over again in each of his lives & must always face challenges in order to be with her.

This story was not only beautifully written and told from the perspective of an amazing character, but it’s a great love story and it was the most perfect read while I was at the beach in Greece.

I gave this book: 5 stars

2. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell 

One of my 101 Goals was to read three books on well-being and I ended up spontaneously reading this one as my final book for that goal. I wasn’t sure what to expect from it because I didn’t know a whole lot about it, but it was actually REALLY interesting.

It’s basically all about intuition- the power of subconscious thinking and how it affects your every day decisions, even the ones you’re not aware of. Gladwell uses a lot of really interesting examples to illustrate the facts that he’s trying to prove. I thought that some of his points fell a little short, but I was all in all really intrigued and was constantly thinking about what I read after putting the book down.

I gave this book: 4 stars

3. The Giver by Lois Lowry 

I read this in early high school I believe and remembered really loving the story and wanting to re-read it. After picking up a copy of it at a used bookstore this summer I sat down and re-read it in under two days. A very short novel, it follows young Jonas who lives in a world where everyone is assigned their jobs at a ceremony on their twelfth birthday. Jonas is given the job of “memory keeper” which is said to be the most special in the whole community, however he learns that there are many difficult things that go along with this job & he learns a lot of lessons about real life on the way.

I don’t think I enjoyed it as much the second time, which is never a fun thing to admit. Dystopian novels are so popular right now and I wanted to re-read one of the very first ones that made it on the shelves all those years ago. It’s a newberry medal winner and though I guess I can see why, I definitely felt too old to be reading this book again. That being said, for the age that it’s targeted for it was a perfect read and a really interesting introduction to the world of fantasy.

I gave this book: 4 stars

4. Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

I went on a bit of an Ann Brashares reading spree this summer – I read all her books except the two I mentioned above- and I loved ALL the books I read.

This one was no different, but it took me a long time to come to terms with the story. I’m not going to give any spoilers, but after growing up with the Sisterhood & getting excited for my trip to Greece, I was not expecting a story HALF as sad as the one I got. I was devastated at first, and literally had to come to terms with the events of the novel. At first I hated that Brashares had dared write this book, but slowly I tried to see past my frustration and fell in love with everything else about the story.

I think this was one of the most beautifully written novels I’ve read this year, which is saying a lot. If you read the other Sisterhood books, this is a MUST read.

I gave this book: 5 stars

That’s all I’ve got for now! My reading has slowed down and unfortunately I read a couple books that aren’t really worth mentioning. These four really stuck with me this summer though and if you get the chance I highly recommend them all.

Happy reading!