Thursday, July 31, 2014

Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Author: Jesse Andrews
Published: March 1, 2012
Paperback, 295 pages
4 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.

Until Greg's mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel.

Rachel has been diagnosed with leukaemia - cue extreme adolescent awkwardness - but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives. 

And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight. 

I quite enjoy a good cancer book. I love reading about characters going through hard situations and trying to turn their lives around, making new friends and rekindling with old ones. Whether they have cancer or their friend does, there is always a moment in the book where all hope is lost and I turn into a ball of pure crying wreck. My emotions are crazy when I'm reading one of these books and there's no telling how it will end, though it's assumed someone will die. They are hard work on your body and mind, but to me they are worth it. They remind me to live my life to its fullest and to tell those I love how I feel. Heartfelt books with meaningful moments and a whole lot of tears. Well, this is a cancer book, but it's sure not one of those books.

Andrews has found a way to make a cancer book into something you can laugh along with. Yes, Rachel has cancer, yes she is dying, but when Greg is the narrator, the sad moments aren't as sad as they could be and this is so realistic. A teenage boy who only really cares about making movies doesn't really understand cancer or why he has to hang out with Rachel just because she's sick. His dialogue is pure teenage boy and from the outside it may look like he's being inconsiderate, that's just how he's reacting to everything that's been thrown at him. What Greg knows is movies and so he does the only thing he knows how to do - he makes a movie for Rachel. The best part is that his movies are awful and very homemade, another realistic aspect to this book - these are just kids and they actually act like kids. At no point did the author make me pity Rachel and that's not to say that I wasn't sad when I knew she wouldn't make it, but that wasn't the point of this book.

It's clear that Andrews is a film guy and that he usually writes for film, but I think this was what made this book stand out the most. The writing is clear and precise and straight to the point. The chapters titles are genius and I loved that most conversations were told in script form. It was a lot of fun to read this book, even though there were some really sad parts. Greg knows what he wants out of life and somehow he manages to get most of it while also making a difference in Rachel's life. If you're looking for a different take on the cancer book, this is the one to pick up. It plays out like a movie and reads like one too. A great change from the other YA books out there.

"If after reading this book you come to my home and brutally murder me, I do not blame you."

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Review: Let's Get Lost

Let's Get Lost
Author: Adi Alsaid
Published: July 29th, 2014
Hardcover, 352 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost.

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.

There's HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday - and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings... until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.

Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. and when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth - sometimes, when you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way. 

Road trip stories always get me. I love the moments between cities, the driving down empty roads where all the characters do is talk to each other and become better friends. Usually they involve a couple people, maybe more, that are together the whole way through. They are not usually just one girl travelling up to Alaska alone, influencing many people along the way. Leila is a lost girl and through her travels, she meets many different people and ends up helping them as much as they are helping her. Told in a series of five short sections, each with a different character's story, we see how Leila jumps into these people's lives and stays there long after she's gone.

This book starts off with a bang. Leila arrives at Hudson's car garage, ready to start her trip, and quickly becomes a part of his life that he wasn't expecting to have. This part made me smile but also broke my heart, the quick love that Hudson and Leila share is over before it began and Leila continues on her journey, though Hudson is never far from her mind. Hudson is a sweet character, very homebound and ambitious. Though he doesn't want to stray far from home and his dad, and Leila gives him the best reason not to. Bree is misunderstood. After her parent's death, she couldn't handle having her older sister as her guardian so she ran away. She's been on the road for a while when Leila picks her up hitchhiking. They become fast friends and get into a lot of trouble. They have a great, short adventure full of laughs, tears, and some jail time and Leila is there to help Bree reunite with her sister. Elliot's story starts off just as badly as the others. He has just old his best friend that he loves her but she did not feel the same way. Oh and it's prom. Leila finds him on the road in his tux, hoping to end it all. He lives for movies and compares his life to those he's seen on the silver screen constantly. Leila tells him to go win her, like they would in a movie, and so they set off to tell Maribel again how much Elliot loves her. Not an easy feat and not anything like how Elliot expects it to work out, but life isn't the movies and things don't always work out. Lastly, there's Sonia, on the eve of her late boyfriend's sister's wedding, where she is falling for someone else in a way that she knows she's not ready for. After an argument with Jeremiah, Sonia ditches the wedding and finds Leila, a girl who's willing to take her back home to the States. But when Jeremiah calls saying Sonia has the rings in the pocket of his jacket that she's still wearing, Sonia must find a way back to the wedding, only her passport's been stolen. Trying to smuggle themselves across the border to Canada isn't easy and they get into their own far amount of trouble along the way. In the time it takes them to get back to the wedding, Sonia realizes that everything she needs was in that hotel and that it's time to move on with her life.

Finally, the last section of the book is all about Leila. She makes it to her destination to see the Northern Lights, but after everything that's happened. it's not what she needs. We find out why she's been running, why she on this random journey to Alaska, and what she was really looking for by being there. Through these people she's met along the way, Leila has discovered what's really important and who she really needs in her life. It's a heart-warming tale of those who are lost and how they get found. The writing is beautifully crafted and Alsaid weaves a story through all these different characters that somehow makes so much sense at the end. We meet people in life that we know we'll never see again but that doesn't make them any less important to us. The people Leila meets shape her in a way she'd never expect and through their actions, she realizes what hers should be. A great story about love, loss, and the importance of moving on with life. This book certainly made me want to go on a road trip, simply to meet new people and have amazing adventures. A perfect summer read for anyone looking for a book with heart, friendship and some sweet romance.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Review: Everything Leads to You

Everything Leads to You
Author: Nina LaCour
Published: May 15, 2014
Hardcover, 307 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

A wunderkind set designer, Emi has already started to find her way in the competitive Hollywood film world.

Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess. She has desperately gone back to the same girl too many times to mention. But then a mysterious letter from a silver screen legend leads Emi to Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever met. She has a tumultuous, not-so-glamourous past, and lives an unconventional life. She's enigmatic... She's beautiful. And she is about to expand Emi's understanding of family, acceptance, and true romance. 

Emi's brother wants her to do something meaningful this summer while he's out of the country and she's living in his apartment. Emi has no clue what he means, but when she finds a mysterious letter at the house of an old celebrity, she's suddenly on a mission to get the letter to its rightful owner. Working in the movies allows her more access than others, but nothing prepares her for what she'll find when she meets his granddaughter, Ava, a girl who knows nothing about her connection to Hollywood royalty. Emi is quickly infatuated with Ava, especially since her heart has been through a rough time after getting dumped by her girlfriend. With Hollywood as the backdrop and beautiful sets and movie productions all over, this book has a quiet romantic quality of old movies and made me want to be part of the film world so badly. LaCour captures the beauty of filmmaking and the romance of new love while trying to get past the hurt of old ones. 

Emi is a wonderful character. She's an intern at a movie company, a job she mostly got because of her ex but one she wants to prove herself at nonetheless. She has tons of ideas of her own and wants desperately to design her own sets. I loved reading her thoughts as she tried to find the perfect additions to the room she was designing for a movie. I fell in love with the movies just like she did and starting daydreaming about being a set designer as well. A lot of things come her way because of the people she knows, like the independent movie that she becomes head designer on, but she works her ass off and knows what she's doing. It's nice to read a book about someone who has a lot of potential and is getting things handed to her but she never acts like she's above it all. She does it because she loves it and she just happens to be good at it as well. Yes, at times I wish I had her life or those kind of opportunities, but I loved reading about it anyway without jealousy. Ava hasn't lived a good life and when she finds out she's the granddaughter of a Hollywood legend, it takes her some time to come around. She's sweet and thoughtful and it's no wonder Emi falls head over heels for her. Her journey is just as intense as Emi's and they go through it together. Their love story is truly realistic and well played out and everything about it was so romantic. LaCour writes beautifully, using the perfect words for perfect moments and I fell just as in love with her words as I did with her characters.

Emi is a lesbian. She likes girls and we find this out right away when we meet her ex, Morgan. But that has no matter to the story at all and I loved that about this book. She is already out of the closet, every accepts her for who she is and she is dealing with a break up just like anyone else. At no point in the story did her sexuality play any sort of part. It was wonderful to read a book about a lesbian character where the plot was not about her sexuality. I fell in love with Ava along side her and the moment they kissed it felt like any other kiss I've read about. Kudos to LaCour for bringing that part of the world into YA without preaching about it. 

This book was pure magic. The beauty of the movie world and the intenseness that goes along with it filled this book to the brim with enchantment and mystery. A beautiful book for anyone who loves movies, romance, and a bit of mystery. LaCour is a beautiful writer and I can't wait to read what's next from her.

“The best things aren't perfectly constructed. They aren't illusions. they aren't larger than life. They are life.” 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Review: Amy and Roger's Epic Detour

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour
Author: Morgan Matson
Published: May 4, 2010
Paperback, 344 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it's Amy's responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn't ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip - and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar - especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory - but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way.

I took this book with me as a weekend read at my friend's cottage. Needless to say I ran out of reading two days in because I couldn't put this one down. This was the perfect dock read about a girl trying to get through a hardship and a guy trying to get back part of his past. Over the course of a few days as they drive from California to Connecticut, Amy and Roger find out they have more in common than they thought and find that they need each other. With each passing day and every new state, they get to know each other better and find out the real reasons they are both in that car. A wonderful story about moving on and finding love, Morgan Matson hit this one on the head.

Amy Curry hasn't driven since she was involved in the car accident that killed her father. Suddenly her life is being uprooted and she has to move to Connecticut where her mom is starting a new life. Unable to make the drive herself, Amy's mom recruits an old friend's son, Roger, to be the driver. Amy and Roger haven't seen each other in a long time and Amy has no idea how they'll survive the week in a car together. But when Amy starts taking detours to visit places that remind her of her father and Roger finally admits that he's doing this drive to try and see his ex-girlfriend, they both start to take the drive together, creating playlists and making stops that interest the both of them. Before long, Amy finds it hard to think about leaving Roger and envies the girl he's going to see. Amy is my kind of girl. She's scared, but soon she starts to dive into the car ride and the adventure that goes with it. Amy and Roger bond over the course of the trip and I love their story arc. They are so cute together and I wanted them to be together from the start. Their chemistry was realistic and Matson wrote them both so well. She is an expert at teenage love, first love, and everything else. The obstacles they both had to overcome were well written, broke my heart and repaired it all over again. 

I read this book so quickly not only because I had a lot of time chilling by the water, but because it flowed so well and I couldn't wait to see where Amy and Roger would end up next. This was the perfect road trip story for those who love them (I'm definitely one of those people!) and I loved that they went from Yosemite Park to Graceland. Matson describes her own road trip at the back of the book with great pictures and she actually had real pictures throughout the novel that helped me to visualize where Amy and Roger were going. There were also receipts and other souvenirs throughout the novel that made this not only a novel but a scrapbook as well. This was a fantastic touch and really helped me get into the story. This was the perfect summer read and Matson has quickly become a favourite of mine. I'll have to read Second Chance Summer next!

“The best discoveries always happened to the people who weren't looking for them.” 

“It’s not about the destination. It’s getting there that’s the good part."

Monday, July 14, 2014

Review: Open Road Summer

Open Road Summer
Author: Emery Lord
Published: April 15, 2014
Hardcover, 352 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking. A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.

From the beginning I knew this would be different from any other break up book I've read. Reagan was dating a bad boy but after what happened with him, she no longer wants to be any sort of the the girl she was before. So she goes on tour with her country superstar best friend Lilah, who's just gotten her heart broken as well. The two of them plan for the most epic summer possible, just the two of them on the road and making their friendship stronger. Reagan doesn't plan on meeting any guys and she certainly doesn't plan for Matt Finch, Lilah's new opening act who's suddenly on tour with them. While Lilah struggles to move on from her long time love while dodging paparazzi and rumours, Reagan is trying to keep her heart in tact while spending more time with Matt. It's not so easy for the two girls who were just planning on being along together, it's amazing how quickly things can change. 

Reagan is my favourite kind of girl. She's got some badass ways but she's trying to get better. She used to smoke, drink and get into trouble, but now that the jerk who got her doing those things is gone, she's trying to start anew. Lilah, or Dee as she goes by to her friends, is trying to figure out who she is without her high school boyfriend, but she has to do it in the public eye. When her publicist suggests she pretends to date Matt, it makes everything more complicated for Reagan. These two are the perfect best friends though. They understand each other and even when everything gets between them, they still find a way to snuggle up and eat ice cream together. This is the sweetest story about a pair of best friends going through the same thing but taking it completely different. It's about becoming who you really are and being able to show that person to the world. Reagan wants to be able to show it to Matt and Lilah wants to show it to her fans. 

I love that the chapters followed the tour, each one telling us where in the states they were. We followed the girls as they went from Nashville to California to Charlotte and watched as they tried to live in between. This book showed true friendship and I loved the moments Reagan and Dee spent together. Nothing is easy in life, even if your rich and famous, but Dee never let that get to her head. She only cared about being with the one she loved and Reagan soon realized this the closer she got to Matt. This was the perfect mix of friendship and romance, of loss and love, and of figuring out your life while trying to swim through it. A great new contemporary from a new author, I'm sure Lord will become a hit in the YA genre and I can't wait to read what she has next. 

“This is the currency of friendship, traded over years and miles, and I hope it's an even exchange someday. For now, I do what all best friends do when there's nothing left to say. We lie together in all the darkness, shoulder to shoulder, and wait for the worst to be over.” 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Review: The Art of Lainey

The Art of Lainey
Author: Paula Stokes
Published: May 20th, 2014
Paperback, 384 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they're sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few "dates", it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

What's a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you're meant to be with if you're still figuring out the person you're meant to be?

Normally when I read break up books, they are about the girl trying to get over the guy who broke her heart. I like those one. I like when the girl can see that the break up was probably for the best and that she can now move on with her life. I like reading about girls overcoming the loss and finding something better. What I normally don't expect to read about is the girl trying to win back the guy using tactics from The Art of War. This was the best play for a novel and it made this a really fun read. Lainey is shocked when Jason dumps her while she's at work in front of her friends and family, but when Bianca suggests using age old war tactics to win him back, Lainey is down and ready to rumble. One of these tactics is to pretend to date someone else and Lainey chooses Micah, the rocker who works in the kitchen at her parents's cafe. He's not someone Lainey would ever go after, but after a few fake dates, Lainey isn't so sure if she really wants to be with Jason after all. But Micah is trying to win back his ex-girlfriend too and maybe everything they're feeling is just part of the plan and Lainey's heart may be in more danger than she's ever thought possible.

This. This book is everything I look for in a YA Contemporary read. Lainey and Bianca are the best characters and I love that they have a really strong friendship. Lainey makes some dumb decisions, as we all do, but I was rooting for her the entire time. We watch Lainey grow throughout the novel, maturing with every war tactic she tries. She's focused on parts of her life that would be better off out of her life (like Jason) but soon finds out what's really important. Micah is the perfect swoon-worthy guy. He's got a bit of a rocker edge to him but without the horrible attitude that most authors give guys like that. He treats Lainey really well and I was hoping and praying that things would work out for them at the end of the novel. They were both in such different places when they started fake dating and the amount of maturity they both achieve throughout the novel is wonderful. Both their character developments were fantastic and realistic and I fell in love with them as they fell in love with each other. 

The Art of Lainey is the perfect light hearted summer read that everyone looks for. It will make you feel warm and fuzzy and maybe give you a few revenge tactics for those who piss you off. I learned a thing or two from a classic book of literature that I've never read while having fun watching Lainey weave her way through life and love. Stokes ha perfected the debut and I'm sure she'll quickly become a well known name in the romantic YA Contemporary genre. I love myself a good, fluffy read and this hit the spot completely. This is the kind of book with wonderful characters that you can root for, realistic situations you can relate to, and a happy ending you can get behind. A must read for anyone looking for a sweet quick read.

“I've been thinking that when people break up there's usually a reason, and whatever it is, it's still going to be there even if we do get back together.” 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Review: Going Vintage

Going Vintage
Author: Lindsey Levitt
Published: March 26, 2013
Paperback, 320 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

When Mallory’s boyfriend, Jeremy, cheats on her with an online girlfriend, Mallory decides the best way to de-Jeremy her life is to de-modernize things too. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in1962, Mallory swears off technology and returns to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn’t cheat with computer avatars). The List:
1. Run for pep club secretary
2. Host a fancy dinner party/soiree
3. Sew a dress for Homecoming
4. Find a steady
5. Do something dangerous
But simple proves to be crazy-complicated, and the details of the past begin to change Mallory’s present. Add in a too-busy grandmother, a sassy sister, and the cute pep-club president–who just happens to be her ex’s cousin–and soon Mallory begins to wonder if going vintage is going too far.

So this way the cutest book I've ever read. After Mallory gets dumped by a guy who cheated on her with his online girlfriend, she decides to go vintage - as in no cell phones, no computers and certainly no boys. She finds an old list of her grandma's when she's cleaning out her house and decides to use it as her starting point. If she can complete everything on the list, maybe then she'll be ready to move on from Jeremy. Her family thinks she's strange, Jeremy is trying desperately to get back together with her and Oliver, Jeremy's cousin and her new pep-club president is eager to help her out with whatever she needs and looks good doing it. So Mallory tries to sew for the first time ever, creates a pep-club from the ground up and tries to find a reason to still go to Homecoming without a date, all while trying to avoid her computer and cell phone. What ensues is a cute, fun read that shows you what's really important in life.

Mallory was a really cute character. I love that she decided to take her life into her own hands after discovering Jeremy's second life. The vintage part was a nice addition, setting this book apart from the rest of the break up stories out there. Mallory is determined and hard headed. Her sister was fantastic, a health nut who is willing to help Mallory with everything along the way. Mallory's grandmother was pretty fun too, she plays tennis and loves to sew. And Oliver is the perfect love interest. He's everything Jeremy is not, even though they're related, and he helps Mallory with everything she needs. Mallory makes some mistakes along the way and she hurts some of the people that she loves, which is so realistic that it's hard to read sometimes because we all do things we regret, but in the end she has come to terms with her life and everything that she's gone through and hopefully she makes it out alive and potentially with Oliver along the way. 

This was a nice, fluffy read that made me feel really good at the end. I wish Mallory had been the one to actually sew the dress and that she had been the one to cook the dinner at soiree, but I understand that there was no way for her to do all these things in her short timeline. Oliver is the perfect book boyfriend and I loved that he was there for Mallory even when she didn't want to admit she needed him. Going back to 1962 would be fun, but it's not as fun as Mallory thinks it was. This was a great story about growing up, finding out who you are and realizing that not everyone is who you think they are and maybe that's okay.

“Adolescence is the same tragedy being performed again and again. The only things that change are the stage props.” 

Review: Obsidian

Obsidian (Lux#1)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published: May 8, 2012
Paperback, 335 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something... unexpected happens. 

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades. 

If I don't kill him first, that is

The first thing that caught my attention in this book is that Katy, our main character, is a book blogger. It's pretty awesome seeing that side of life in a novel, especially since she references blogger things like Waiting on Wednesday and reviewing books. She also talks about books throughout the novel which any book lover would love to read about. Katy and her mom just moved to a small town in West Virginia for a nursing job and Katy is starting a new school and a new life without her dad. She plans on spending her days reading and blogging until she meets her new neighbour, Daemon, a super hot guy with a horrible attitude. Suddenly Daemon is everywhere, at her school, in her backyard and pretty much anywhere that Katy is hanging out with his sister Dee. But when Katy stays at the library too late one night and is attacked by her car, Daemon does something impossible and suddenly everything Katy thought he knew about life is turned upside down. Daemon and Dee are aliens from a planet called Luxen and Katy's got alien mojo all over her from the rescue. Daemon claims he needs to stay close to her to make sure she's safe until the trace disappears, but Katy doesn't think she can survive him that long.

This is my favourite kind of story. The irritating guy that you can't help but love who turns out to be something completely different. I wasn't sure if I'd like an alien story, but I loved this! Armentrout has a way with words and she makes everything swoon worthy, especially Daemon. He may be irritating, but I can certainly get past that if it meant making out with him. Katy likes him, I mean how could she not, but she can't get past everything about him. She's not sure if he's just spending time with her because of the trace or if he actually likes her, but the moments they do spend together are laced with sexual tension and there's no denying that. These two just need to make out is all I'm saying and when they do finally kiss it's amazing and I swear there are fireworks flying off the pages. I love when I see the chemistry between characters and when I feel it too, hoping that they will end up together.

This book isn't just all kissing and swooning though. There is another race of aliens set out to destroy all the Luxens and they need to stay in hiding in order to survive. But with the trace on Katy, it causes her to light up to other aliens so they can potentially find her through the trace. The ending blow out was well written and made me want more. Katy kicked some major butt, which I love to see in books. I don't like a girl who just sits on the sidelines, get in there and save yourself girl! This is going to be a really fun series to read and I can't wait to see more Katy and Daemon. I know they won't actually get together for awhile, so I'm anticipating the sexual tension for a little while longer. I think I can handle it. Jennifer, you are amazing and I love you for creating Daemon. That is all.

“Beautiful face. Beautiful body. Horrible attitude. It was the holy trinity of hot boys.” 

“Will you show me what you really look like? You don't sparkle, do you?” 

Also, this book is so quotable!

Review: The Beginning of Everything

The Beginning of Everything
Author: Robyn Schneider
Published: August 27, 2013
Paperback, 335 pages
4 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes? 

Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.

This book started off with a bang. In the first chapter we discover that Ezra's friend caught a decapitated head at Disneyland and that Ezra was in a car accident and his athletic career is over. It's kind of an alarming beginning, but it's the whole point of the story. If you've already had your one tragedy in life, is it worth dwelling on? Is your life over because of your misfortune? Ezra has lost all his friends, including his girlfriend, and sees them in a whole new light now that he's on the outside. But when he meets the new girl Cassidy and her friends, everything changes. She dresses different, reads a lot and shows Ezra a whole different life than he's known. Ezra hates to admit that he's falling for her, but she is just what he needs in this point in life and sees a whole new perspective of high school with her. 

This is the kind of contemporary that I love. About people trying to survive through high school and overcoming something that's happened to them. Ezra and Cassidy have a lot of moments together that made me smile and I was rooting for them throughout the novel. Both characters are strong and well defined and it makes them so real, especially since at first glance they have nothing in common. It shows someone's fall from grace as exactly how it could be. You can be king of the school one day and the next have everything taken from you. But does being the homecoming king really define who you are? Ezra learns this the hard way, but in doing so finds out who he really is and what he's capable of. Without sports blocking his view, he has the chance to read more, find a new passion and explore a whole other life. 

Schneider captured teen life perfectly and her perception of a teenage boy digs into the heart of it. Ezra is a stellar character with a dry, sarcastic sense of humour and I loved it. He was very much a high school guy and Cassidy balanced that out with being an eccentric high school girl who seems older than her years. The two of them had a tragedy of a relationship and it was so realistic that it hurt. I love happy endings but I know those aren't real for everyone so I understand why this book ended the way it did, but it broke my heart. But high school is just four years of our life and hopefully we get through it to move on to better things. 

“Life is the tragedy,' she said bitterly. 'You know how they categorize Shakespeare's plays, right? If it ends with a wedding, it's a comedy. And if it ends with a funeral, it's a tragedy. So we're all living tragedies, because we all end the same way, and it isn't with a goddamn wedding.”

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Review: Tease

Author: Sophie Jordan
Published: May 27, 2014
Paperback, 320 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

What happens when a girl who always calls the shots meets a guy who's too wild for even her?

A born flirt and good-time party girl, Emerson has never had a problem finding a willing guy. She's always chosen her hookups carefully, and she's never broken her three cardinal rules:

Never let them see the real you.
Never fall in love.
Always leave them begging for more.

Then Shaw comes along. A hottie from the wrong side of the tracks, he's immune to her flirtatious banter and come-hither smile. After rescuing her from a disastrous night at a biker bar, he doesn't even try to take her to bed—he calls her a tease and sends her home instead. Unable to resist a challenge, or forget the sexy, dark-eyed, bad-boy biker, she vows to bring him to his knees.

But instead of making Shaw beg, Emerson finds herself craving him. For the first time in her life, she's throwing out her rule book. Suddenly, she's the one panting for a guy she can't control—a guy who won't settle for anything less than the real Emerson and who forces her to do things she's never imagined, including facing a past she thought she'd buried.

A guy who just might leave her wanting more. . . 

Sophie Jordan is a perfect fit for the New Adult genre. Her first book in this series, Foreplay, was the sort of NA that I've been waiting to come across, and this second book is no different. Emerson is the kind of girl I love reading about, a girl who's strong and knows just how far she can go without losing control. She has everything under control until she meets Shaw, a guy who makes her go weak at the knees and scares her because she can't control herself around him. She flirts with him, trying to get him wrapped around her finger, but he has his own ideas. He wants the real Emerson, the one she won't let anyone see, and he won't let her have him until she does.

Oh my god, these two characters! Sexual tension as soon as their eyes meet ran through the pages until the very end. Shaw is the typical guy you'd find in a NA novel, bad boy, hot, fit, but I had no problem with this whatsoever. I guess that's why they're all the same - the author knows we won't mind. I loved Emerson the most because she was so different from Pepper, the lead in Foreplay. Emerson has a lot more experience and isn't afraid to go after what she wants. I loved that the characters from the book made a lot of appearances in this one. I love that the three main characters are all roommates and friends and they each get a story to tell on their own. Pepper and Reece were adorable as the couple in the background as Emerson tries to find out what she really wants out of a guy. The friendships are so strong and I love to see that in books. I think it's more important to have good friends than a good boyfriend, but why not have both? 

Jordan's writing flows perfectly. I got right into the story in the first chapter and couldn't wait to find out what happened between Emerson and Shaw. Just as much drama and love as the first one, which a lot of obstacles stopping our leads from being together. The perfect guilty read that will surely make you feel good at the end. A sweet, quick read with some steamy scenes throughout the book. I can't wait for Wild, Georgia's story, to come out later this year. Jordan has topped my NA list for sure!

“I want you,” he said starkly, the barest quiver in his hoarse voice. “Me and you. Together.” He drew in a deep breath, his broad chest lifting. “But I can’t chase you forever.”

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Review: Into the Still Blue

Into the Still Blue
Author: Veronica Rossi
Published: January 28, 2014
Hardcover, 392 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do—and they are just as determined to stay together.

Within the confines of a cave they're using as a makeshift refuge, they struggle to reconcile their people, Dwellers and Outsiders, who are united only in their hatred of their desperate situation. Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. Then Roar arrives in a grief-stricken fury, endangering all with his need for revenge.

Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble an unlikely team for an impossible rescue mission. Cinder isn't just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival--he's also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.

In this final book in her earth-shattering Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi raises the stakes to their absolute limit and brings her epic love story to an unforgettable close.

It took me way to long to read this book! I think it's because I didn't want to say goodbye to Perry and Aria and was hoping there wasn't going to be an Allegiant ending. But as soon as I opened this book and dived back into their world, a world where you don't know if you'll survive and there's no telling who you can trust, I never wanted to leave. Perry and Aria and just as amazing as ever and their relationship is beautiful. The Aether is getting worse and as Perry tries to decide if he should keep his tribe where it is or risk getting involved with Sable in order to find the Still Blue, Aria tries to make her Dweller friends comfortable. New and old enemies and the everlasting storms keep Perry and Aria from escaping, hoping beyond hope that the Still Blue actually exists.

I fell in love with Perry and Aria the minute I met them. Their relationship started off wobbly, a Dweller and an Outsider suddenly together in hopes of making it home. Now, Aria calls Perry home and the two of them can only hope to have time together between ruling the tribe. Even though the world is doing everything to keep them apart, they know they belong together and will do anything to live a long happy life together. I'm glad that there hasn't been a love triangle in this book. I love that Aria and Roar are just friends and that Perry never did anything when he and Aria were apart. The problems in their relationship is not within them, but everyone around them. Perry wants to make sure that Cinder is protected, but when he fails to keep him safe, suddenly getting him back is the only thing Perry care about. Aria would do anything for Perry and there are many times she finds herself in situations where she could die to protect him. 

The action was perfectly paced throughout the book. There was never a minute where you could relax, as more and more things kept happening. It was fast-paced and riveting and the swift moments between Perry and Aria continued to give me hope for a happy ending. The myth of the Still Blue hung heavy in the air, never knowing if they'd actually make it there. This is the kind of ending to a series you hope for, and Rossi has successfully made me fall in love with her character and world and I know I'll be reading anything else she writes. Theses characters will stay with me for a long time and I will continue dreaming about my own Still Blue, a place where dreams can really come true.

“I want to kiss you,” he said. Forget pride. He wanted her too much “Can I?”
She nodded. “You don’t’ ever have to ask me that again. I’ll always say yes.” 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: The Stars Never Rise

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine where we spotlight an upcoming release we're eagerly anticipating.

My WoW this week is:

The Stars Never Rise
Rachel Vincent
Hardcover, 368 pages
Expected Publication: June 9, 2015

From Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Nina Kane should be worrying about her immortal soul, but she's too busy trying to actually survive. Her town's population has been decimated by soul-consuming demons, and souls are in short supply. Watching over her younger sister, Mellie, and scraping together food and money are all that matters. The two of them are a family. They gave up on their deadbeat mom a long time ago.

When Nina discovers that Mellie is keeping a secret that threatens their very existence, she'll do anything to protect her. Because in New Temperance, sins are prosecuted as crimes by the brutal Church and its army of black-robed exorcists. And Mellie's sin has put her in serious trouble.

To keep them both alive, Nina will need to trust Finn, a fugitive with deep green eyes who has already saved her life once and who might just be an exorcist. But what kind of exorcist wears a hoodie?

Wanted by the Church and hunted by dark forces, Nina knows she can't survive on her own. She needs Finn and his group of rogue friends just as much as they need her.

So Rachel revealed the cover for this book today and I just to share it in every place possible. I can't wait to start a new series of hers and to meet Nina, who I'm hoping kicks just as much ass as Kaylee does! This new series sounds like it will be just as much fun and dangerous as the Soul Screamers series (which everyone should go read right now!) Just have to wait a year!

What's your Waiting on Wednesday? Let me know!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Classics

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is: Favourite Classic Books

1. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: My favourite series of all time. I love how epic the whole thing is and I will forever want to be an elf because of it.

2. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll: One of my favourite childhood books, who doesn't want to fall down that rabbit hole?

3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: So much awesomeness packed into this small little book. It's the perfect story about how we obsess over things so much that we make them into something that doesn't even exist.

4. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger: I read this one in high school and it's stuck with me ever since. Holden is my favourite.

5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: Another high school fave, this book taught me more than I could have imagined.

6. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare: The first Shakespeare play I read and I fell in love with the tragedy of it all. These characters have never left my mind.

7. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding: So creepy but so good. The idea of how quickly things will get rough without adults there to stop it played out so perfectly.

8. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis: Who didn't want to open a closet at their house and hope to be whisked off to Narnia? Such fond memories of this book from my childhood.

9. Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote: It certainly wasn't as sweet and adorable as the movie, but this short book packed a punch.

10. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien: What can I say, I love the guy. This book was so much fun to read and I loved Smaug. Can't wait for the last movie to come out!

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