Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

 Title: Eleanor and Park

 Author: Rainbow Rowell

 Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

 Date Published: February 26, 2013

Genre: Contemporary

Pages: 336





                                                                       Summary:

     Bono met his wife in high school, Park says.
     So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers.
     I'm not kidding, he says.
     You should be, she says, we're 16.
     What about Romeo and Juliet?
     Shallow, confused, then dead.
     I love you, Park says.
     Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers.
     I'm not kidding, he says.
     You should be.
     Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits-smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you'll remember your own first love-and just how hard it pulled you under.


                                                                          Review:

     This is a book that I'm actually terrified to dislike. Everyone and their grandmother has read, and loved, this book. It has been wildly loved and acclaimed by everyone who has read it, and many people love Rainbow Rowell. Now, let me start by saying that I have read Fangirl and I LOVED it! My co-blogger, Ashley, didn't love it as much, but I truly loved it and look forward to reading Attachments and Landline. So I really do like Rainbow Rowell's writing style, and I like her- she seems like a really fun person! All of that being said, I feel like this is that one book of hers that I would like to forget exists. Ya know how we all love Star Wars, but just pretend Jar Jar Binks doesn't exist? Yeah, I'm Jar Jar Binks-ing this book.
     This is a character-driven book. To have a character-driven book be successful, you have to like the characters. And I didn't. I pitied Eleanor and her incredibly difficult situation. I am not going to sit here and claim that Eleanor came from a perfect life, and that her attitude is despicable. Just no. But  what I am going to say is that I feel like she could've used a major attitude adjustment. Hear me out! I feel like if we had walked through an attitude adjustment, I would've liked Eleanor more. I felt bad for her, sure, and I even pitied her. But that didn't make me like her. If she had changed, and if we could've seen that change, I feel like I would've connected more with her, and would've enjoyed her character more.
       That was Eleanor, but Park had his issues too. I actually kind of liked Park, but I feel like his character was set up for something that we never get to see fully developed. When Park starts, um, embracing the more feminine side of the world, his father gets angry, and Park claims that this is who he is and that his father just needs to accept it. Now, in this place, I feel like Rowell set us up for two things. 1: A perfect look at an identity crisis, and watching Park struggle with what gender really means. He doesn't necessarily have to struggle with what his gender is, but he could struggle with gender as a whole. 2: Is what ended up happening- push the whole set up aside for romance to further the cuteness of  this story. I understand that this story isn't supposed to be about gender, but I feel like Park's character could've perfectly segued us into some important discussions.
     Besides that, I got bored with the story pretty quickly. Sneaking around is fun and all, and the stakes are particularly high with Eleanor's situation, but it's cliched. Really cliched. Somehow, this book enveloped a lot of cliches without seeming like a cliche book, and for that, I have to give Rowell major props. Another problem, instalove. Seriously, the entire book was built on some chance encounter on a bus. How cliched is that? BUT the fact that Park helped Eleanor was kind of sweet, and relationship-building.
     Incredibly long review short, I feel like Rainbow Rowell could've taken this book great places, but she didn't. Instead, we're left with some book that, while cute, just falls way flat of its true potential. Pardon me while I Jar Jar Binks this book into oblivion.


                                      

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

 Title: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

 Author: Becky Albertalli

 Publisher: Balzer + Bray

 Date Published: April 7, 2015

 Genre: Contemporary

 Pages: 320

 Age Range: 15+








                                                                         Summary:

     Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he's pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he's never met.


                                                                            Review:


     Yet again, I am the only person who dislikes this book immensely. I really did not like this book, and I almost left it unfinished. I found it realistic, but very boring and I didn't walk away with some deep, profound message like everyone else seems to have. Instead of loving the writing, I found it very annoying and almost lazy.
     I didn't care about any of the characters in this book. I didn't care if Simon was blackmailed, or if he found love, or if he found acceptance. I honestly just didn't care about anyone. A meteor could've struck the earth, and killed every named character, and I would've laughed. Simon got on my nerves, and I couldn't relate to his angst and struggle in any way, shape, or form. Besides Simon, I found his relationship with Blue creepy, and the fact that Simon thought he was one person, and really liked that person proves that what he had with Blue was all in his mind. All of that aside, I didn't find anything worth the hype that it received.
     The writing was so annoying. I understand that the author was trying to sound like a teen, or whatever, but she achieved nothing but offend me. Seriously, not all teens sound stupid and have annoying speech patterns like Simon and Co. Okay, I'm not really offended, but you catch my drift.
     I've read much better books that deal with a gay person trying to get acceptance and this book was just a collection of annoying writing, many cliches, and terrible characters. This book was a huge let-down and I'm really mad that I spent weeks forcing myself through this book with the hope that it would get better.



                                              

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Forsown by Emily Wibberley


Title: Forsworn

Series: The Last Oracle #2

Author: Emily Wibberley

Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing

Date Published: June 27, 2015

Genre: YA fiction, romance, action, thriller, fantasy, paranormal, suspense, mythology

Pages: 410 (paperback)

Age Range: 12+



Summary


Clio can see the future, but what she doesn't know about her past could destroy her.

It's been a year since Clio made her sacrifice to the Deities and embraced her destiny as the Oracle to save her people.

The only family she has left is a brother who wants her dead.
The prince, her oldest friend, is a king with his own agenda.
And the man who once loved her, now hates her.

All she can do is try to forget about Riece, the enemy commander whose heart she broke to save his life, as she serves the Deities. Her days are filled with Visions and bloodshed in a never-ending war against the Untouched. To add to her problems, she must pose as King Derik's mistress to conceal her forbidden powers from the Emperor's spies.

When Riece unexpectedly returns to Sheehan with a new and beautiful ally, Clio knows she must put him out of her mind once and for all, but first, they are thrust together into battle against a mysterious Untouched warrior with otherworldly power.

To reclaim her city, she must team up with the man she hurt, the man she still loves but can never be with, and finally confront the questions about her origin-questions with answers that Clio may not be prepared to face.


Review


This cover looks better in person than it does online! I think it's one of the coolest book covers on my shelf!

I bought the book without reading the summary because I was just too excited about getting it. I read the summary when it came in and was shocked to find that the book is set a year after ending of the first book (Sacrificed). I immediately started panicking because that meant that Clio hadn't seen Riece in a year and that was not okay for me.

And, speaking of Riece, let's focus on him for a second.
He's brave, strong, and muscular yet he's very loving and soft. When I started reading the book, I was a little pout-y because all I wanted was for Riece to show up again. I wanted things to be okay between him and Clio again. But Clio clearly didn't want that. As soon as he showed up and she laid eyes on him, Clio's emotions came back in a wave. It was wonderful! The sight of him made her feel faint and breathless and shaky. It was a good way to bring Riece back into the story.

But then! SPOILER AHEAD! But then you find out that Riece is traveling with someone else. A woman. And she is engaged to Riece. I immediately wanted her dead lol. I was not okay with that. Not okay at all. SPOILER END.

There were a few new characters as well. Clio took on Vessels to help her protect Sheehan.

The parts between Derik and Clio and Riece were hilarious to read about! I loved it every time they were in a room together because, even when they weren't saying anything, you could feel the tension! It was so...ugh! You could feel that Clio wanted to open up to him but wouldn't let herself because of what she Saw. But also Derik knew that Clio wanted to be with Riece but knew the reasons why she couldn't. And then Riece has no idea that Clio still loves him and doesn't know that the reason she really left him is because she Saw that he was going to die, so he hates her because he thinks she used him! It was so frustrating and exciting at the same time!  

The only downfall I saw in this book was that Riece and Clio didn't have enough romantic scenes. I know why; I understand. They are both stubborn and Riece has a fiance now but I mean...C'mon! I waited very patiently and I didn't get much in return! I mean, there were a bunch of parts of them talking/fighting and then, later, kissing and sharing moments but it wasn't enough.
 There better be some steamy scenes in the third book, Emily Wibberley, because this book was a tease. 

QUICK SPOILER; BEWARE
OH! When Derik finally showed up toward the end of the book, I almost screamed because I knew that he had been marked by Daizon! I was on the edge of my seat during the ending, when they were battling at Sheehan! So thrilling and so exciting! OKAY; NO MORE SPOILER.

Emily Wibberley certainly takes you on an action-packed story that has many twists and turns that you don't see coming. I'm never sure about what's going to happen next! I'm not sure what has me so drawn in, whether it's the characters, the story, or the setting, or all of it! I'm just not sure but I love it and I can't wait for the third book!




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www.ashleyearleywrites.blogspot.com


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Noggin by John Corey Whaley

 Title: Noggin

 Author: John Corey Whaley

 Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers

 Date Published: April 8, 2014

 Genre: Contemporary

 Pages: 352









                                                                          Summary:

     Listen—Travis Coates was alive once and then he wasn’t.
     Now he’s alive again.
     Simple as that.
     The in between part is still a little fuzzy, but Travis can tell you that, at some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, it was reattached to some other guy’s body, and well, here he is. Despite all logic, he’s still sixteen, but everything and everyone around him has changed. That includes his bedroom, his parents, his best friend, and his girlfriend. Or maybe she’s not his girlfriend anymore? That’s a bit fuzzy too.
     Looks like if the new Travis and the old Travis are ever going to find a way to exist together, there are going to be a few more scars.
    Oh well, you only live twice.



                                                                           Review:

     I was very interested in this book from the flap, and I didn't realize that it is still relatively new until I started reading it. That being said, I was not disappointed by the book at all. The 3 star rating is because I didn't like some aspects of the book, but I was by no means let down by the content or writing.
     I really felt bad for Travis. After reading this book, I feel like it would've been a lot easier to wake up a thousand years in the future. The concept of this book is stellar, and I've never seen it done before, at least not in this way. While the concept was interesting, I felt like things could've moved along at a quicker pace. The book's pacing was pretty slow overall, and some things that were major weren't fleshed out enough, while things that I got tired of were really drawn out. This is where the book lost its five-star status for me.
     Travis was a great lead. He was funny, down to earth, and super relatable even though his plight isn't. The lineup of characters in this book were all pretty decent. No matter what, I never disliked any of them, and I felt that they all treated each other with the respect that they deserved (which was super nice). All of Travis' friends were characters that I appreciated and added some new level to the story.
     The book fell short because of some wonky pacing issues, and because of the ending. I understand that the ending was open, but that, ultimately, Travis had agreed to spend his life as a sixteen-year-old. That being said, I wanted more closure because I really connected with the characters. Maybe an epilogue where we could see into the future and see what had become of everyone? That's all I ask for.
     I was pleasantly surprised by this book, and besides a few minor issues, I thoroughly enjoyed it.



                                                     

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Sacrificed by Emily Wibberley


Title: Sacrificed

Series: The Last Oracle #1

Author: Emily Wibberley

Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing

Date Published: January 5, 2015

Genre: YA fiction, romance, action, thriller, fantasy, paranormal, suspense, mythology

Pages: 350 (paperback)




Summary


Knowing the future can save her city - but not her heart.

Born to serve the merciless Oracle, Clio wants nothing more than to break free. But when her entire family is murdered by Mannix, the king's adviser, Clio inherits the Oracle's power, a power she never wanted and doesn't understand.

Hunted by Mannix, Clio is forced to flee her home in Sheehan and seek refuge in a foreign city where oracles are forbidden. If she's found out, she will be sacrificed atop its great pyramid.

Clio has no choice but to win the trust of Riece, an enemy warrior. Despite the undeniable attraction between them, Clio knows that if he finds out who she really is, he won't hesitate to execute her.
Clio tries to hide her budding powers, but the Visions she keeps having of Mannix and his barbarian army slaughtering her people torture her conscience. She alone has the strength and foresight to stop him, but only if she can embrace her destiny and sacrifice everything.


Review


This book caught my interest from the very beginning! The summary sounded good so I decided to give it a try, and ended up loving the book just as much as its synopsis! The cool book cover also caught my interest.

The writing was good, not amazing but pretty great. The characters were...genius! Riece is sexy and enticing and mysterious; yet open. Clio is tough, smart, and daring. And Mannix is evil beyond a doubt.

Derik is pretty nice too but he wasn't in the book very much so there wasn't much time to get a feel for who he was. I actually thought he was secretly siding with Mannix for a while, and was intending to betray Clio. That did not happen, thank goodness! Because now book two will have a very interesting love triangle (that, at the same time, isn't really a love triangle because Clio considers Derik as family).

I really liked how Clio grew up so dramatically. It's always refreshing to read about a character that evolves so strongly. I felt really sad for her in the beginning even though I knew what was going to happen to her family. I felt like the author captured Clio's pain pretty well considering that she didn't have a strong bond with her family. Clio cared about her family and grieved for them but it wasn't overdone.

Mannix. Everything about him was amazing! He was such a good villain! There was one thing about him that I hadn't seen coming though 

(SPOILER AHEAD)...that he was Clio's sister!! I was totally caught off guard with that one! I figured he was an Untouched but I wasn't sure how since he still had his tongue. This detail was very believable for this book.

SPOILER FREE ZONE

The last 50 pages or so were so action-packed!! The whole book is pretty action-packed but the last pages had me on the edge of my seat! I could not put it down!
I am pretty excited about reading the sequel soon because I really want to know what will happen between Riece and Clio, Clio and Derik, and Mannix and Clio. I need answers!!! Where did Mannix go? What is he going to plan next? Will Clio go back for Riece? Will Riece take Clio after everything she said to him to drive him away? Will Derik make a move for Clio now that Riece is sort of out of the picture?
So many questions!! And I really need answers! 




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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

None Of The Above by I.W. Gregorio

 Title: None Of The Above

 Author: I. W. Gregorio

 Publisher: Balzer + Bray

 Date Published: April 7th, 2015

 Genre: Contemporary

 Pages: 352

 Age Range: 15+







                                                                       Summary:

     What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?


     When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She's a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she's madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she's decided that she's ready to take things to the next level with him.
     But Kristin's first time isn't the perfect moment she's planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy "parts."
     Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin's entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?


                                                                         Review:

      I've been reading hyped up books lately because I feel so behind of the times, and this book is no exception. But, I LOVED this book. And it's kind of rare that I love hyped books so much. To prove my point, my average rating on Goodreads is a 3.21, and I've reviewed over 300 books. I'm a tough reviewer, but this book did everything right for me. This book really made me think though, about gender and what it means, and I appreciate that.
      The book opens with a nice scene between Kristin and her boyfriend, Sam. Honestly, I thought that their relationship was kind of perfect, at least in the beginning. Their relationship seemed to be mutual, healthy, loving, respectful, and all the positive things that come from true love. I opened the book with fuzzy feels, but those vanished in a matter of chapters. Pretty soon into the book, Kristin finds out that she is intersex, and then stuff hits the fan. The pacing of the book always moved pretty quickly, except for a few necessary moments where the story stalled a bit to let things sink in not only for the reader, but for Kristin.
     I truly felt for Kristin. I felt physical pain at her plight, and I was near tears in some parts. Her plight was so real and the consequences so cruel, yet realistic, that I was left reeling. At some points, when Kristin reached out for help, I cheered her on, and when she was in her lowest parts, I just wanted to give her a huge hug. Obviously, I loved Kristin's plight and her character, but I also really loved Darren's character. Throughout the whole book, he was very caring and sweet and I just really liked him and his support. I also greatly appreciated Gretchen and her presence- she was in the book just enough, and she was perfect! Pretty much everyone else I disliked. Faith, I could understand why she did what she did, but it doesn't mean that I have to like her. Vee, Sam, and the other slew of bullies, I despised. But in a good way. They were the perfect villains.
      All told, I loved this book, and I hope that I. W. Gregorio writes again. Although, she is a surgeon, so she's just a lil' busy.


                                             


A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Image result for a thousand pieces of youTitle: A Thousand Pieces of You

Author: Claudia Gray

Series: Firebird #1

Publisher: HarperTeen

Date Published: November 14th, 2014

Genre: Sci-Fi? Dystopian?

Pages: 368

Age Range: 13+





                                                                      Summary:

     Marguerite Caine's physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes—and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite's father is murdered, and the killer—her parent's handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul— escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.
    Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows—including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul's guilt—as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father's death is far more sinister than she expected.


                                                                        Review:

     A Thousand Pieces of You just sounds like one of those cheap romance novels with the swooning girl on the cover in the arms of some handsome hunk with rippling muscles. Aaaand that's not far from the truth. This book was advertised as some amazing book about time travel, and kick buttery, but it fell way short of the mark. Instead of being focused on time traveling, the author forces a romance on the readers that I just wasn't feeling. Usually, if I like a romance, I don't mind it having a SLIGHTLY more prominent role than usual, but this book was a romance with a time traveling aspect (think Passion by Lauren Kate. Literally). This book is SO cliched, but it doesn't do anything to stand out, which was really aggravating because it was nothing special.
     Marguerite was insufferable. Every internal thought and action of hers had me gritting my teeth in frustration. She was whiny, weak, aggravating, and just stupid. I thought her reactions were either far too tame or far too lame, and there was no happy medium for me. Besides the protagonist being unbearable, her main love interest was too. I say main love interest, because, of course, there were two. Of the two, Paul was my least favorite. I didn't get to spend enough time with him to truly hate him, but I was able to develop a thorough dislike of him. My dislike is so hard to describe because half of the book was Paul being empty- headed, but I just hated that he was so stupid, and yet he was out biggest hope for the future, Ugh. All of that being said, I actually kinda liked Theo. First off, his name is stellar. I have thing for Theos (Theo James, anyone?). His character had some more depth than the others and he made me laugh.
     As for the plot, the time traveling was kind of weird, thrown in there to accent the romance. Honestly, the story didn't exactly benefit from the traveling aspect and, in my opinion, it could've survived without and maybe have been better. MAYBE. Marguerite traveled around, made out with Paul, made out with Theo, got separated, and got it on in Russia because... priorities!!! For a girl who lost her father, the girl sure got over it quickly. Any "twists" that were supposed to be in the book were obvious from miles away, and the pacing was off- really fast in some places, and dragging in others.
     There is a second book, but I can't see myself ever picking it up. Yet another disappointing hype machine book.


                                              

Holiday Giveaway!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Darkest Light by Ashley Earley

The Darkest Light

by Ashley Earley

Giveaway ends December 31, 2015.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Divergent Trilogy Rant

     Welcome to the latest installment of Nadia's Rants. Here, I rant about things that I just have to talk about and vent about. Usually, these kinds of posts make very little sense, and they're all over the place, filled with necessary (and yet totally necessary gifs). That all being said, I would like to talk about something that is a MAJOR problem today. Today, we are here to discuss a semi-new reveal on Veronica Roth's part. THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!!!
     Now, everyone, sit down.
                                                    Image result for sit down please gif

     Now that you are all seated, Veronica Roth has reveled that Four and Christina would fall in love 3 years after the epilogue.

                                      Not okay.:


     As in Tris' one and only love, and her best friend. As in Tobias and Christina. As in this beauty:

                                                       Image result for four divergent

     And this other beauty.

                                                           Image result for christina divergent

     This turns me into a wall of angry meat. "Why do you feel so strongly about this?" You are probably thinking. And let me tell you why. Oh, I'll tell you why. First, Tris and Tobias were supposed to be in love. Tris gave up literally EVERYTHING for Tobias and the rest of the world. She seriously DIED for the people she loved, and Tobias was really cut up about it. He had an amazing scene in Allegiant scattering Tris' ashes, and facing his fear. Then, he turns around and falls in love with her best friend. And only 3 years have passed. There's nothing stating how long someone has to grieve after the death of their alleged love, but 3 years just seems far too short.
     Then, there's the whole girl code thing. ya know, the whole I promise not to fall in love with your boyfriend. I get that Tris is dead, really. The code doesn't really count anymore, and it's kind of a moot point anyway, but just no... Christina and Four probably bonded over the fact that they each lost their one and only, but that doesn't make it any better. At the end of the day, Christina fell for her dead best friend's boyfriend.
     Besides the whole right and wrong of the matter, Tobias and Christina don't fit. Christina is to enthusiastic and wild for Four. He's kind of a chill guy. A little intense, but kind of... mellow. Christina is prone to fly off the handle, and she's a wild child. A truth-telling, straight-laced girl gone bad. Also, I can't find any cute pictures of them together. So that proves everything I've been saying.
     To make you feel better, here's this glorious gif:

                                         Image result for four divergent


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

 Title: Finding Audrey

 Author: Sophie Kinsella

 Publisher: Delacorte Press

 Date Published: June 9, 2015

 Genre: Contemporary

 Pages: 304 (Hardcover)

 Age Range: 12+








                                                                          Summary:

     An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.


                                                                            Review:

     Finding Audrey was one of those books that you just couldn't escape earlier this year. Everyone and their grandmother has read this book, and a majority of people LOVE it so so so much. I admit, I got swept up in the hype, and read it, thoroughly expecting to love it because everyone else did, and it sounded like a book I would simply adore. I read it, and it fell short by a long mile. I think this is yet another instance of the Hype Machine making a huge deal about nothing special.
     The characters in this book were nothing special, and they were very cliched. I understand, and fully believe that cliches exist for a reason, but this book was supposed to break these kinds of molds. Audrey was very anxious, but she was also childish and immature. She never did a single thing that made me feel like she should get an award. Simply living with a mental issue, does not mean that she did anything out of the norm. Linus was just...blah. He was plain, and I've read a million other boy-next-door kind of types like him that I actually liked more. Audrey's brother had me constantly laughing, and I really liked him, but he was still super cliched.
     Besides the characters, the whole plot of this book was...meh. I truly appreciate that Sophie Kinsella accurately portrayed anxiety, but she really shrugged it off in the end.. Audrey was shoved WAY out of her comfort zone with very few repercussions, and certainly nothing of the caliber that we should expect. Besides, anxiety is very arresting, and I appreciate that Audrey had true symptoms, but they quickly dissolved into nothing.
     Basically, I disliked this book, but everyone LOVED IT. Honestly, I just found it too cliched, and I had issues with all of the characters. But really, it was funny, and I see why people like it so much.