REVIEW: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

(Warning: This will be long! Like very, very long. Also, lots of spoilers!)

Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices, #2)INFORMATION:

Title/Author: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Series: The Dark Artifices (#2)

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Release Date: May 23, 2017

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

ISBN: 9781442468405

SYNOPSIS:

Would you trade your soul mate for your soul?

A Shadowhunter’s life is bound by duty. Constrained by honor. The word of a Shadowhunter is a solemn pledge, and no vow is more sacred than the vow that binds parabatai, warrior partners—sworn to fight together, die together, but never to fall in love.

Emma Carstairs has learned that the love she shares with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, isn’t just forbidden—it could destroy them both. She knows she should run from Julian. But how can she when the Blackthorns are threatened by enemies on all sides?

Their only hope is the Black Volume of the Dead, a spell book of terrible power. Everyone wants it. Only the Blackthorns can find it. Spurred on by a dark bargain with the Seelie Queen, Emma; her best friend, Cristina; and Mark and Julian Blackthorn journey into the Courts of Faerie, where glittering revels hide bloody danger and no promise can be trusted. Meanwhile, rising tension between Shadowhunters and Downworlders has produced the Cohort, an extremist group of Shadowhunters dedicated to registering Downworlders and “unsuitable” Nephilim. They’ll do anything in their power to expose Julian’s secrets and take the Los Angeles Institute for their own.

When Downworlders turn against the Clave, a new threat rises in the form of the Lord of Shadows—the Unseelie King, who sends his greatest warriors to slaughter those with Blackthorn blood and seize the Black Volume. As dangers close in, Julian devises a risky scheme that depends on the cooperation of an unpredictable enemy. But success may come with a price he and Emma cannot even imagine, one that will bring with it a reckoning of blood that could have repercussions for everyone and everything they hold dear.

MY THOUGHTS:

I am so proud to say that this is the first book that I have ever bought on release day! And, it also wins the spot of the first book I have read this summer! I remember rushing into Chapters, after school on May 23rd to grab one of the copies off of their lovely 40% off display! Sadly, I wasn’t able to read it back then, but I finally got to it earlier this week and finished it literally a yesterday. It was amazing, and flawlessly written. Cassie worked her magic and wrote heartbreaking cliffhangers and multiple plot holes that should be resolved in future series. In the easiest way possible, I would say that The Dark Artifices is Cassie’s most mature series!

The mood of the story seemed to be a bit darker from what we saw in Lady Midnight. Instead of laughing, eating pancakes, and drinking coffee, The Blackthorns, Rosales and Carstairs seemed to be less excited. They weren’t grieving death in the first few chapters, but you could tell that they weren’t a super happy bunch of teenagers and children anymore. They seemed to be a bit off, and I didn’t find that they lightened up at all throughout the novel.

I also found that the whole storyline of Lord of Shadows was more detailed and complex compared to Lady Midnight’s. It was almost as if the first half of Lady Midnight was the story’s prologue, and then the actual story started during the second half and the continued into this book. Cassie also involved so many new types of demons and the introduction to Piskies! I loved how she featured Sea Demons since they were so close to the Pacific Coast. And they helped the first half of the story evolve into the second half.

A lot of the first half of Lord of Shadows was all about fighting demons, which was almost like a throwback to City of Bones. The Blackthorns spent most of the first half trying to figure out why there was an abundance of demons so suddenly. I loved how Cassie introduced us to some demon history in this portion of the story.

During the first half, we finally got our first look at the Centurions who attended the Scholomance. Of course, we had met Diego previously. But, we finally go to see Manuel, Zara, and all of the other highly educated LIARS. Zara definitely led the evil portion of Centurions and was a member of her father’s Cohort. If anyone earns a spot as one of the villains from this novel, it is definitely Zara Dearborn.

Then came Malcolm. Did anyone expect that, because I totally didn’t! I thought Emma killed him! But, I guess when they say “all the stories are true,” that does include resurrection. But hilariously, I was reading this part out loud (because I was bored holla), and I literally screamed at my book. I was just so shocked! Because, with Malcolm comes Annabel.

The resurrection of Annabel was probably the scariest scene of the novel. I was so happy when the Blackthorns fled for London, because I knew they would be safe. But then Arthur pushed Kit into the portal and left?! I didn’t think he would be brave enough to sacrifice himself. He was always seen as the fragile, sick uncle of the Blackthorns. Not the savior of their lives. Truly the ritual for resurrecting a dead Shadowhunter was dark, bloody, and evil. When Annabel told the story of her painful resurrection, I couldn’t believe what I was reading!

While the Blackthorns fled for London, Cristina, Emma, Julian and Mark were off in the faerie lands, on a mission of their own:  to save Kieran. I really hated Kieran from when Emma and Jules were whipped in Lady Midnight. Although I still didn’t like him when they went to save him, I knew that it was what Mark truly wanted. He was still in love with Kieran and could not bear the death of him. Something I really hated from the seelie lands was that darn bonding “curse.” Like holy, Kieran and Mark are in love, let Cristina go dream about Jaime. Also, one of my favorite scenes from the novel was when the Shadowhunters, Kieran, and Gwyn rode out of faerie on The Wild Hunt horses. It was crazy to have Shadowhunters on fae horses! I wish I was able to snag one of the Bookcon posters of this scene because… LOVE!

Omg if there was anything that brought back all of The Infernal Devices feels, it was the fact that we went back to the London institute! I absolutely adored TID so going back was amazing for me. Although there was lots of tension during this time, I found that Ty had the time of his life! I don’t think he ever expected to be in the same room as first edition Sherlock Holmes copies. I also really loved that all of the books had “W.H.” initialed in them. Like, I was just imagining that one of those books was a copy of Great Expectations!

Ah, and then came Magnus and Alec. We haven’t seen these characters in a while, right? I’m pretty sure both of them were featured and mentioned at the end of Lady Midnight, but they fully made a big appearance in Lord of Shadows. AND THEY BROUGHT MAX AND RAFE!! Ah, the little Shadowhunter and Warlock were so precious! I absolutely loved the fact that Cristina sang Spanish lullabies to Rafe!

The ending of this novel was horrifyingly terrible! I hated how murderous Annabel became in her Clave trial of truth. When she killed Robert Lightwood, I swear I was in shock. He has been around since the first Shadowhunter novels! And then poor Livvy. My heart broke for her. I couldn’t even read the last five pages of the book because I had so many tears flowing down my face. I don’t know what to expect in The Queen of Air And Darkness, but I do know that the Blackthorns will not be the same.

All of the Characters in this book were so fierce! Julian Blackthorn never backed down from a chance to protect his family. Emma Carstairs slayed, killed and fought through terrible deaths. Can I remind you that she killed one of the Seven Riders with Cortana? That’s insane! Ty finally opened up to another person. Kit Herondale became accustomed to the life of a Shadowhunter so quickly! Livvy seconded nicely to Emma. Mark seemed to have finally fit into the Blackthorn family as he did before. And Cristina sipped her coffee, even in the darkest of times.

I found that the Parabatai conflict was even more emphasized in this novel. Emma and Julian’s separation in the beginning of the novel made them even more eager to get together. And, if I do say so myself, I love these two together! #Jemma has both sailed and sunk in this novel an I am just hoping that they pull through in the final installment!

I was really scared for the Kitty ship when I was going into the novel. I remembered how Ty used to sit outside Kit’s door at night, waiting for him to acknowledge him. And then when they finally started talking, they could never be separated. Kit was the only Shadowhunter that had heard of the mundane condition, autism. AND HE KNEW THAT TY HAD IT! When Livvy joined their group, the three of them were inseparable!

One of the parts of the story that shocked me the most, was the fact that Diana Wrayburn was transgender. I don’t think I would ever expect that. But, Cassie does an amazing job with LGBTQ+/mentality representation. She features many gay and lesbian couples throughout her stories and now we also have a transgender lady. If any author can write a great Pride representation, it is Cassandra Clare!

Overall, I cannot help but give this book 5 stars! It was phenomenally written and I found myself not being able to put it down! I don’t know how I am going to wait until 2018 for the final installment! THE WAIT BEGINS…

THAT’S IT FOR TODAY! I hope you all enjoyed my review of Lord of Shadows! Don’t forget to like, comment your thoughts and follow to stay up to date with all of my new posts!

Happy Reading!

~Alaina

 

 

REVIEW: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You (Me Before You, #1)INFORMATION:

Title/Author: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Series: Me Before You (#1)

Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books/ Viking

Release Date: December 31, 2012

Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

ISBN: 9780670026609

SYNOPISIS:

Louisa Clark is an ordinary young woman living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A love story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

MY THOUGHTS:

This book exceeded my expectations by a mile. I never really expect to love, or let alone enjoy an adult book. Seeing that I am still quite young, sometimes the language and vocabulary used can be a bit more difficult than what I usually read. But, I couldn’t help but pick this one out of the stacks of books in a picked-over thrift shop. It was too much of a popular book to be sitting alone in there. I am super happy that I bought this, and although it took me a long time to build up the courage to read it, I can officially say that I am a Jojo Moyes fan!

Prior to reading the novel, I actually knew quite a bit of what occurs throughout the book, including the tragic ending. Both before and after the movie adaptation released, a lot of readers started picking up this book and reviewing it. Although I wasn’t able to watch/read any of their reviews, I was able to watch the movie’s trailer. And I fell in love.

The plot of this novel was quite different from anything I had ever read. I don’t think I have ever read about anyone that is paralyzed, let alone a quadriplegic. Of course, I have read about disabled people, but not quite disabled into immobility. But I will say that reading about the pain and torture of having to have everything done for a quadriplegic sounds horrible. Absolutely horrible. I don’t want to ever know how it feels like to have people stare at you while you are eating or while you roam a park in your wheelchair. But Will did.

Will… he was a complicated character. I couldn’t figure him out for the first. He was moody, arrogant and someone who I definitely wouldn’t want to spend time with. I think his darker moods were accentuated after is accident. But, by the time I hit the 100th page, he loosened up. He talked about his past adventures and his freedoms. He complained how he truly wasn’t living as a quadriplegic. At first I didn’t understand how he could actually WANT to have a medically assisted death. But then it hit me, he really wasn’t living in his wheelchair. The only thing that he was capable of doing himself was steer his wheelchair. He couldn’t fluff his pillows when uncomfortable, drink a margarita or even read a book without assistance. His past life was gone and he wasn’t happy with his quadriplegic life. Although I don’t think it is right to go through a medically assisted death, I think that once Will knew that that was what he wanted, there was no turning back. Not even when Louisa came into his life.

I absolutely adored Louisa’s character. She was that foolish, awkward goofball that could brighten your day. Even just looking at her appearance could make a smile fill your whole face. I don’t think I have ever seen anyone wear a super mismatched outfit on the streets. Especially not one that was fully bright colours. But that is Louisa for you. Lover of hot beverages, and fashion. I am overjoyed that Will came into Lou’s life! He changed her and showed her the parts of her that stood out and defined her. He proved to her that working to earn money isn’t the way to live life, adventuring is. Although only devastation ended in their relationship, I felt super happy throughout the story for Lou. Because a happy Louisa equaled a happy reader.

I will be totally honest, I knew what was going to happen in the end. I knew it before I even picked up the book. It was just obvious. Even the synopsis gives it away. And even though I knew it was coming, I sobbed my eyes out. I could feel a sob growing in my throat throughout the last 40 pages. But It wasn’t until the last 3 chapters that I started to feel tears prickling my eyes. I tried to hold them in, but they ended up flowing down my cheeks, fast, while reading the epilogue.

One of my favorite scenes in this story was Lou’s birthday! I absolutely loved that they included Will in the celebrations. I have a feeling that the birthday dinner would’ve been terribly boring if he wasn’t there. But Lou’s boyfriend definitely tried to ruin her big day. I understand that he was jealous that Lou was paying attention to Will and making sure that he was having a good time, but Patrick had no right to give them the stink eye. Like holy, give the man a break. But those bumble bee tights MADE MY DAY! I absolutely loved how considerate Will was to buy Lou something that she talked about loving years prior. If anything is a thoughtful gift it was that!

My least favorite thing about this novel was Lou’s boyfriend, hands down. He was just… ick. He didn’t even act like a boyfriend to her, more life a friend who always wanted to kiss her. But he didn’t even take into mind how important Will was to her. After taking care of him for a few months, both Lou and Will started to have a connection between them. One that Lou never had with Patrick. Patrick also never took into consideration of what Lou liked to do. He spent so much of his time exercising and training instead of treating Lou to dinners and spending nights watching TV with her like any proper boyfriend should. #worstboyfriendever

Overall, I decided to give this book 4 stars. It was both high on the “brings me happiness” and the “tear-worthy” scale. But it also got its place on my list of books that affected me in a mental way. This book made me think about how precious life is. Although I wish I could bring myself to give this book 5 stars, I feel like 4 stars is very deserving.

THAT’S IT FOR TODAY! I hope you enjoyed this review! If you have read Me Before You, be sure to leave some of our thoughts down below. Don’t forget to also like and follow for more blog posts!

Happy Reading!

~Alaina

REVIEW: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

“Silence is so freaking loud.”

Just ListenINFORMATION:

Title/Author: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers/Speak

Release Date: April 6, 2006

Genre: YA, Contemporary

ISBN: 9780670061051

SYNOPSIS:

Last year, Annabel was “the girl who has everything” — at least that’s the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf’s Department Store.

This year, she’s the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong.

Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owen’s help, maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.

MY THOUGHTS:

I have got to say, I was not expecting to like this book as much as I did. Actually, I didn’t like it, I loved it! There was not one part of this book that I hadn’t enjoyed. I spent everyday, waiting to come home and dive back into this book!

Something I loved about this novel was all of the characters’ stories. The whole story was from Annabel’s perspective, but within this 370 page book, so many stories were revealed. It all really started when Annabel and her two sisters, Kirsten and Whitney modelled without any problems. They lived the teenage dream, as it seemed. But everything quickly went down the drain. After moving to New York, Kirsten and Whitney’s relationship slowly dwindled. But, it also gave them each a story. Whitney’s body went into eating disorder territory, due to the lack of food she ate. Thankfully she ended up recovering, learning to love to cook and eat healthy. Kirsten on the other hand, struggling to juggle a job and modelling, retired from her modelling career and moved on to getting an education!

But there were also so many more stories that all had something to do with Annabel. First came Clarke, Emily and Sophie, three girls that Annabel was once friends with. But with friendship sometimes comes betrayal. Clarke’s friendship with Annabel was over the moment she left her sitting at home as she followed Sophie to a party. With Emily, it ended another way that I will get to later. But Sophie was really the person who changed Annabel’s life. Their friendship lasted, and then broke apart in a terrible way. Ironically, the same way that Sophie and Emily’s relationship ended. A misinterpretation of a situation.

Annabel was actually a victim to sexual assault. By Sophie’s boyfriend. Can you believe how wrong this sounds? Terribly. But really, it joined eating disorders on the list of issues that Sarah Dessen covered in this novel. They are such horrible things that happen to so many teens these days. Eating disorders happen so often, but sometimes they are left unnoticeable. Along with Whitney, teens don’t go for help. It is such a harsh topic to read about but Sarah Dessen wrote about it in an amazing way. If you have gone through an eating disorder and are currently in recovery, try this book out and read about Whitney’s story. I don’t think it will be triggering since it isn’t even from Whitney’s perspective, but I believe it could open eyes to what others see.

Now, can you believe that I still haven’t talked about my favorite character yet? Haha already past 600 words and I haven’t even covered our hottie for the novel? What is life? Well, in this book we had the ever-so-gorgeous Owen Armstrong to fall in love with. And if you are a music lover like myself, you would totally fall head over heels for him. Owen is that bad-boy that every school has who basically get unacknowledged by EVERYONE. People fear him for his past. But really, he has so many inspirational words built up in him that were left unsaid for the longest time! And the one thing he loves to talk about most, is music!

I found the concept of this novel very inspiring. When you first look at the cover, you can spot an ancient iPod, in the front pocket of a girl’s jeans with earbuds dangling out of the headphone jack. That iPod played such a huge role in the novel, let alone music. The iPod was Owen’s prized possession, the one thing he couldn’t live without. But if you could not tell by the title, or the cover, this whole book is about music really. It shows that there are just so many different genres. It also showed me that you are never truly alone with music.

But now that I have read this book, I have also come to understand how loud, silence is. I am writing this post outside with the loud noises of an air conditioner and an airplane flying thousands of feet in the air. There are also quite a few other distinct noises including rustling leaves, flies buzzing and the noise of my keyboard clicking as I press my fingers down on each key. Nothing is quiet about my current situation. But when you are alone in a room, with only silence filling the space, you realize how much louder everything is. You end up thinking about your deepest and darkest thoughts and then there ends up being just silence and you. If you ever need to let your thoughts free, find a silent area and let the silence drive your thoughts.

Some people’s escape is music, while others, like mine are books. Or maybe you are like Whitney and like to use a pen and a notebook. Or maybe like Kirsten, who escapes with a camera. There is always something that you can escape with. And trust me, YOU NEED IT! Everyone needs to escape reality from time to time. You need to get away from all of the drama in your life and hook yourself up with something you enjoy!

There were so many things that I would love to talk about this book, but I do not want this review to go on forever! But, I can proudly give this book 5 stars. It had a huge effect on my views of both people and judging people. It also taught me some life lessons that I just know will stick with me in the future.

If you are looking for an inspiring contemporary, definitely pick this one up! It is the first work I have read by Sarah Dessen and it is getting me super excited to read so many more!

THAT’S IT FOR TODAY! I hope you all enjoyed my review of this book! Don’t forget to like, comment and follow for even more posts!

Happy Reading!

~Alaina

DNF REVIEW: Masquerading Our Love by Audrey Rich

Masquerading Our Love (Stonehaven High, #1)INFORMATION:

Title/Author: Masquerading Our Love by Audrey Rich

Series: Stonehaven High #1

Publisher: Rote to Negro

Release Date: October 17, 2016

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance

ISBN: 9781946134011

SYNOPSIS:

Junior year has been tough on Thalía Reynari.

A new high school, trying to fit in with new friends, schoolwork, family commitments. With everything going on in her life, Thalía could use a break, an adventure.

So when Thalía meets Christopher, the most gorgeous guy in town, her life should change for the better, right?

Don’t bet on it.

Thalía’s conservative parents insist she’s too young to date. Plus, Thalía and Christopher find themselves caught in the middle of a simmering feud that’s kept the two families apart for a decade. And no one is sure if young love will be enough to bridge this divide.

As they hide their relationship behind masks they must decide if this new love is worth losing their parents’ approval.

First-time novelist Audrey Rich imbues Masquerading Our Love with the joy and pain of how teens live life today as they wrestle with love, friendship, and faith. Thalía, Christopher, and Rich’s entire cast of characters is so vibrant, so alive, that they’re sure to leap off the page—and into your heart.

Buy this stand alone novel and lose yourself in a clean, wholesome story about young love determined to stay together…no matter what.

MY THOUGHTS:

I really don’t know why, but I could not get into this book. I tried so hard to enjoy it, but there just wasn’t a way!

Coming in to review books, I always know that I will either love or hate them. Some of them have a bit of hype surrounding them. But, for the most part, it is a new book that has little to no reviews. Audrey’s book currently has very few Goodreads reviews but, she is at a steady 4 star rating! Although I am unable to agree with that rating, I feel like if I forgot about all f the problems I had with this book, I might agree with them.

The biggest problem I had with this story was how fast Thalia and Christopher’s relationship escalated. It was as if one minute they were two unknown strangers and then the next they were kissing. I find that a bit.. wrong in terms of relationships. In my opinion, relationships should slowly escalate. They should star off sweetly, before moving in more deeply. Although Thalia “knew” him beforehand, it was still too fast for my liking.

I also didn’t care for the pace of this novel. It was just too slow. When I read a novel, I am always looking for a fast-paced storyline that keeps me on the tips of my toes. But, this one just wasn’t able to do that for me. I like when certain scenes take place over the course of 1-2 chapters. But within the 70 pages that I ended up reading, it was mostly just 2 scenes. And those scenes lasted a long time.

But, if there was something I really liked about this story, it was the cast of characters! They seemed like they were meant to live through summer. If anyone was my favorite, it was Cynthia!

Overall, I have to give this book 1.5 stars. I wish I were able to give it more, but since I wasn’t able to finish it, I cannot.

THAT’S IT FOR TODAY! I hope you enjoyed my review. Don’t forget to like, comment and follow for more!

Happy Reading!

~Alaina

REVIEW: If I Fix You by Abigail Johnson

If I Fix YouINFORMATION:

Title/Author: If I Fix You by Abigail Johnson

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Release Date: October 25, 2016

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance

ISBN: 9780373212408

SYNOPSIS:

When sixteen-year-old Jill Whitaker’s mom walks out—with a sticky note as a goodbye—only Jill knows the real reason she’s gone. But how can she tell her father? Jill can hardly believe the truth herself.

Suddenly, the girl who likes to fix things—cars, relationships, romances, people—is all broken up. Used to be, her best friend, tall, blond and hot flirt Sean Addison, could make her smile in seconds. But not anymore. They don’t even talk.

With nothing making sense, Jill tries to pick up the pieces of her life. But when a new guy moves in next door, intense, seriously cute, but with scars—on the inside and out—that he thinks don’t show, Jill finds herself trying to make things better for Daniel. But over one long, hot Arizona summer, she realizes she can’t fix anyone’s life until she fixes her own. And she knows just where to start.

MY THOUGHTS:

I actually had never heard of this book before I picked it up at a used book sale. I saw a lady pick up this book and all I was saying in my head was “OMG! That cover is beautiful! I need it!” I was praying to all the book gods that a miracle would happen and the lady would put the book back. AND SHE DID!! So I rushed around the tables, grabbed the book and put it in my bag of books. I didn’t even read the synopsis. But, when I got home that evening, I stared at the cover, fell in love with the synopsis, and even found out that I grabbed an ARC of it!

After reading this, I can highly recommend it to anyone who needs a break from fantasy novels! I have been reaching for SO many fantasy novels lately that I never realized I was in need of a fresh contemporary. And I never expected to love this one as much as I did! It was light, summery and perfect for hot weather! So be sure to grab those virgin pina coladas and get straight to this novel!

I really loved Jill throughout this novel. She’s not that girly girl that you expect to read about in a contemporary. But, she is actually quite the tomboy who loves to get her hand dirty in oil and dirt. She reminded me a lot of Cinder from The Lunar Chronicles! Don’t worry, Jill isn’t a cyborg. But, the two of them are mechanics who love to fix things!

Something I really love in YA contemporaries is love triangles, and this one definitely had an intense one! Sean had been Jill’s best friend since they were young. But, the moment Sean committed a wrong tragedy, they were DONE. Then came Daniel, who was introduced after Jill smashed a pop can through his window. Daniel lives a troublesome life, but quickly befriends Jill after learning that her life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. In my opinion, I really wished that Jill ended up with Daniel but, I am still happy with Jill and Sean! #sill? #jean?

The main concept of this story is that Jill wanted to fix everyone’s problem. But she didn’t even truly start off with herself. She wanted to fix Daniel, she wanted to fix her father, she wanted to fix Sean, she wanted to fix Claire, but she truly wanted to fix her life. She wanted to fix Daniel’s problematic household featuring an abusive father and a loving mother. She wanted to fix her father’s life and make him happy again. She wanted to fix Sean, and make sure that he didn’t spend every night dreading his mistake. She wanted to fix Claire and make sure that she didn’t overdo her diets. But throughout the whole story, she truly needed to fix herself. But she was too blind to notice how much she needed to do it.

I didn’t really notice how much the caption on the cover stood true to the story. It says “Are some things meant to stay broken?” In reality, nothing should stay broken. Some relationships maybe, but nothing else. Jill’s need to fix things is incredible, but I thought that it overwhelmed her. She didn’t quite realize that YOU come first. That you need to fix your problems before you fix someone else’s

Overall, I decided to give this book 4/5 stars. I really enjoyed it and would highly suggest it to anyone who likes the works of Morgan Matson and Sarah Dessen! If you are in the mood for a summery novel, definitely run to your bookstore and grab this one!

THAT’S IT FOR TODAY! Thank you so much for reading my review and I hope you enjoyed it! Don’t forget to like, comment and follow for more posts!

Happy Reading!

~Alaina

REVIEW: Hym And Hur by Phillip Frey

(Disclaimer: I was kindly sent this eBook from the author. This in no way affects my review)

Hym and HurINFORMATION:

Title/Author: Hym And Hur by Phillip Frey

Series: Short Story/Standalone

Release Date: January 15, 2014

Publisher: Smashwords

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal

ISBN: 9781452449258

SYNOPSIS:

In this fantasy-comedy Hym and Hur are a young couple who never age and have been in love for more than a century. They also possess magical abilities, two of which are either to play pranks on humankind or to perform good deeds. Enacting both at once is now what gets them into trouble.

The prank Hym and Hur have come up with must first be agreed upon by Death, who happens to be a rambunctious, difficult character. Once agreed upon, the prank is set in motion. Hym and Hur soon discover Death had tricked them into a contract with dire consequences for all of us.

During their attempt to break the contract, Hym and Hur try to save the relationship of an earthbound couple, knowing they are truly meant for each other. A good deed that will bring Hym and Hur even more trouble.

MY THOUGHTS:

I really wish that I enjoyed this book more than I actually did. I really loved the sound of the synopsis but it didn’t end up living up to my expectations.

I found the story very… different. I don’t think I have ever read a story with a plot like this. But, I found myself very lost in it. From the beginning, I didn’t quite understand it. I knew that both Hym and Hur made a deal/contract with Death, But I never quite understood what it was.

I also was VERY disappointed with the character description/development. Most short stories, unless it is for a series, have a little bit of a character description at the beginning. But, I don’t think I caught any eye, hair, or even skin colours which made me feel very disconnected from the characters. And I felt like since the short story took place over the course of a few days, we should have been able to see the characters mature towards the situation.

Something I really liked about this book was the play-on-words within the character names. I started to feel a bit stupid when I was trying to figure out the character’s gender. haha. But if you couldn’t tell Hym (as in him) is a guy, and Hur (as in her) is a lady!

Overall, I’ve decided to give this short story 2/5 stars. It was an enjoyable short story but I didn’t quite enjoy it enough to give it a great rating. If you are a fan of a fun, trickster stories, I would highly suggest you read it!

THAT’S IT FOR TODAY! I hope you all enjoyed this review! Don’t forget to like, comment and follow for more posts!

Happy Reading!

~Alaina

REVIEW: Letters to Strabo by David Smith

(Disclaimer: I was kindly sent this book from the author. This in NO way affects my review. Thank you so much David for sending me your book to read and review!)

Image result for letters to straboINFORMATION:

Title/Author: Letters to Strabo by David Smith

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Matador

Release Date: January 28, 2017

Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Historical Fiction

ISBN: 9781785899362


SYNOPSIS:

BEHIND EVERY GREAT LOVE IS AN EPIC STORY WAITING TO BE TOLD

Adam Finnegan Black, or ‘Finn’, an innocent young American who is insatiably curious about life, made a promise to his mother before she died: To find out what really happened to his father…

His ambition is to be a travel writer, like his heroes: Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway and the ancient Greek ‘father of geography’, Strabo. His journey of discovery takes him through the radiant literary, cultural and picturesque landscape of the Mediterranean.

Following his heart and inspired by Letters to Strabo, written by his long-distance pen-pal Eve, Finn gradually learns more about himself but also about the woman he hopes will one day become his wife.

Funny, provocative, disarmingly honest, Finn’s story captures the excitement and mistakes of youthful energy and proves ultimately life-affirming in the emergence of new hope from personal tragedy.

Quite simply one of the best coming-of-age novels you will ever read: Letters to Strabo will appeal to lovers of literary fiction, good travel writing and the classic works of Ernest Hemingway.


MY THOUGHTS:

I was actually VERY surprised by how much I enjoyed this novel. It definitely wasn’t my usual read but I ended up really enjoying it.

When I first found out that this was a “fictional autobiography,” I really didn’t know what I was about to read. I had never read an autobiography before, let alone a “fictional” autobiography. But, I did know that I was in for a life story about a character named Finn.

I found that the first 150 pages of this novel were really slow. It wasn’t too entertaining and I felt as if every page was repeating what was said on the page before. But, by the 200th page, I got very intrigued. The story began in the States, and quickly moved to France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Egypt! It was as if I was travelling around the world within 400 pages!

This book also took place between the late 70’s and early 80’s so, I guess you could say it is historical fiction. Not like the ancient history, but more like modern history. I will admit that if you ever pick this book up, you are totally in for the most well-researched history lesson EVER. It’s not even close to the boring history lecture you would get in school.

There were 4 main topics that David Smith wrote about in this story: romance, travelling, Strabo and classic literature. As the main character, Finn, was a writer, he was also a lover of old and classic fiction. His nickname “Finn” is even based off of a certain Mark Twain character. Some of Finn’s favorite authors seemed to be Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, and Homer. Finn was also on the search for romance. Although it as VERY clear that he was in love with his pen pal, it didn’t stop him from getting intimate with a new girl in every city he visited. And as you can tell by the title of the story, Strabo (as in the Greek geographer) made up a HUGE part of this story. Finn travelled to a majority of the locations that Strabo, himself, visited in his adventures. It was as if he was a mini Strabo!

One of my favorite parts of this novel was the whole Greece section of this novel! I am quite familiar with Greek mythology so it was very fun for me to read this section. One of my favorite parts was when the myths of Charybdis and Scylla were mentioned. I also sorta/kinda fangirled at the mention of Castor and Pollux. I didn’t originally know the origin of their names, let alone that they were stars in the Gemini constellation, but I definitely knew of them from The Hunger Games. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the series, but I can definitely point out names when I see them!

I was actually very happy with how this story ended. Although it was sad, AND I WAS REALLY TEMPTED TO CRY, I felt as if it was perfect. It was an ending that was very unexpected but David ended up tying it up like a pro!

If you are a lover of a good history novel, or maybe you are a fan of Strabo and Mark Twain, I would definitely suggest this book! I ended up giving it 3.5/5 stars which is actually a better rating than I though I would give it at first. If you are interested in buying the book, I am pretty sure the only place it is available from is AMAZON.

THAT’S IT FOR TODAY! I hope you enjoyed my review! Don’t forget to like, comment and follow for more posts!

Happy Reading!

~Alaina

 

 

DNF REVIEW: Can’t Buy Forever by Susan Laffoon

(Disclaimer: Susan Laffoon was kind enough to send me a copy of her novel. This does not affect my review in any way.)

Can't Buy ForeverINFORMATION:

Title/Author: Can’t Buy Forever by Susan Laffoon

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Page Publishing Inc.

Release Date: June 1, 2015

Genre: YA, Mystery, Thriller, Historical


SYNOPSIS:

In the early 1950s, Odessa Drake (Dessa) is rescued from a bleak existence with a single mother. She takes a chance on the unknown to work in a boarding house owned by a widowed great aunt in Mineville, New York. Dessa is devoted to Aunt Flo and especially a young man, Nicholas, who appears and takes shelter in the attic, the only available space. Four years pass. She looks forward to each day because of his presence, in spite of the tedious work. Dessa is now eighteen and knows little more of Nicholas than the day he arrived to work the mines. She knows only he is a remarkable man who has a limp and she trusts Nicholas explicitly. There is a familiarity both recognize and an unshakeable bond develops. Nicholas has reasons to keep his past buried. Dangers loom and become evident when Nicholas gets too close and exposes their bond. What is the mystery behind this threat? To discover the answer, they escape by railway heading West, colliding with treachery and uncovering secrets, mile by mile. Their journey is impossible, but, they are supported by friends who risk their lives to make sure a great love and lineage is preserved. Or is it? None will forget their odyssey as they proceed to their destiny farther than they imagined.


MY THOUGHTS:

I was actually super excited to read this book when I first saw it! It has a beautiful cover and a thrilling synopsis, but it turned out to be a huge disappointment for me. Before I even started reading, I scrolled through the Goodreads reviews and I found a lot of horrible reviews. Usually I don’t believe in those reviews but, this book was different for me. And most of the reviews I read turned out to match my own opinion.

I will admit, I really loved the first 25 pages of the book! It had a super good speed to the story and kept me very entertained. But after that, it just started to go downhill. The book started to get super confusing and was filled with grammatical errors. And if there is anything that I am picky on in a book, it is the grammar and editing.

This book also featured many tense changes. It constantly changed between past and present tense within a couple of paragraphs. The only times that readers were really able to identify a change in tense was when Odessa experienced a nightmare and the author wrote it in italics.

Overall, I decided to only give this book 1 star since it was super troubling for me and I was unable to finish it. If you are a fan of historical fiction and are able to get past grammar and editing errors, you might enjoy this novel. It just wasn’t right for me.

Thank you so much to Susan Laffoon for sending me this book in return for an honest review. I wish I enjoyed it more and were able to give it a better review!

THAT’S IT FOR TODAY! I hope you enjoyed my review. Don’t forget to comment, like and follow for more posts!

Happy Reading!

~Alaina

REVIEW: Crank by Ellen Hopkins

Crank (Crank, #1)INFORMATION:

Title/Author: Crank by Ellen Hopkins

Series: Crank (#1)

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Release Date: October 1, 2004

Genre: Young Adult, Poetry, Contemporary

ISBN: 9780689865190

SYNOPSIS:

In Crank, Ellen Hopkins chronicles the turbulent and often disturbing relationship between Kristina, a character based on her own daughter, and the “monster,” the highly addictive drug crystal meth, or “crank.” Kristina is introduced to the drug while visiting her largely absent and ne’er-do-well father. While under the influence of the monster, Kristina discovers her sexy alter-ego, Bree: “there is no perfect daughter, no gifted high school junior, no Kristina Georgia Snow. There is only Bree.” Bree will do all the things good girl Kristina won’t, including attracting the attention of dangerous boys who can provide her with a steady flow of crank.

MY THOUGHTS:

This was my first book by Ellen Hopkins, and I will be totally honest, I didn’t like it as much as I expected to. I had been looking into Ellen’s books for a while and this one always caught my eye. But it wasn’t as intriguing and gripping as I believed it would be.

Something that I really loved about this book is that it wasn’t written in “normal” sentences and paragraphs. The author wrote it through poetry. Each poem was between 1 – 4 pages which made it a super quick read. I even think that there were no more than 100 words per page. So although the length of the book is intimidating, it really doesn’t take any longer than one sitting to read.

This book was also a true story. Although it wasn’t entirely true since the author changed some things but, it is actually a story about Ellen Hopkin’s daughter. The whole story is an honest and terrifying story of her daughter’s battle with “crank.” It is definitely a scary concept, but I think that it is great that she wrote about it. I believe that everyone should know about the full effects drugs can have on someone’s body. It can completely change you as a person.

I will admit, I disliked most of the characters in this story. They were a bit… too much for me? I don’t know if that is possible but I was a bit frightened to read about them. I feel like if you have read the book you would totally understand what I mean. The book dealt with drug dealers, people under the influence and even people that were the total opposite: normal. Ellen even wrote about a character with an alterego.

While I was reading this novel, my rating of it kept going down. It never stayed at a steady number. But I still don’t know what to rate this book. I really disliked the whole concept of the novel but, it was very powerful. So powerful that people are even forced to read this in school. Although it isn’t an uplifting tale, it definitely proves how scary drugs can be. If you fear drugs, read this book and it will make you never want to get anywhere close to them.

I think that overall, this book deserves 2.5 stars. Although I stated above that I didn’t know how to rate it, that’s what I think it deserves. I know that there will be some people that will rate it a 5 and others would rate it a 0 but, I don’t think that it is deserving of either of those ratings. So, I will settle with 2.5 stars.

If you want a quick, but bone-chilling story for a change in your usual novel choice, I would definitely suggest reading this novel. But beware of the subjects used in the novel. I believe that it ‘should’ be read by people 15 or older. (and yes I just said that as a 14 year old.)

THAT’S IT FOR TODAY! Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed my review. Don’t forget to like, comment and follow for even more posts!

Happy Reading!

~Alaina

REVIEW: Blood Promise by Richelle Mead

Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, #4)INFORMATION:

Title/Author: Blood Promise by Richelle Mead

Series: Vampire Academy (#4)

Publisher: Penguin Razorbill

Release Date: August 25, 2009

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal

ISBN: 9781595141989


SYNOPSIS:

Rose Hathaway’s life will never be the same.

The recent attack on St. Vladimir’s Academy devastated the entire Moroi world. Many are dead. And, for the few victims carried off by Strigoi, their fates are even worse. A rare tattoo now adorns Rose’s neck, a mark that says she’s killed far too many Strigoi to count. But only one victim matters … Dimitri Belikov. Rose must now choose one of two very different paths: honoring her life’s vow to protect Lissa—her best friend and the last surviving Dragomir princess—or, dropping out of the Academy to strike out on her own and hunt down the man she loves. She’ll have to go to the ends of the earth to find Dimitri and keep the promise he begged her to make. But the question is, when the time comes, will he want to be saved?

Now, with everything at stake—and worlds away from St. Vladimir’s and her unguarded, vulnerable, and newly rebellious best friend—can Rose find the strength to destroy Dimitri? Or, will she sacrifice herself for a chance at eternal love?


MY THOUGHTS:

This book was so good that it caused me to fall into a book slump! And that book slump wasn’t just after the book, it was also during the book. But, after a year without a slump, I knew that it was about tie that one would come along.

I would say that I loved this book, but there were many parts of it that I didn’t like. But that didn’t stop me from giving this book 5 beautiful stars. For this review, I’m actually going to list pros and cons of the book instead of just talking about each characters and how much I loved the story.

PROS:

  • We got to finally visit Russia and Siberia (Dimitri’s homeland)!

I have been waiting a SUPER long time for Richelle Mead to finally take us outside of the US. The first places she ended up taking us to were Russia and Siberia. Hilariously, I have never read a book that took place in any of those places, but it was super neat to explore some new places! Richelle took us all across Russia and Siberia to places like St. Petersburg, Baia and Novosibirsk. And we got to meet Dimitri’s family!

  • There was a new group of characters?!?

YUP! You read that right. So far, the only people that were in the series were Moroi, Dhampirs, Strigoi and of course Humans. But, we finally got a glimpse of Sydney Sage, an alchemist! I’ve actually been so excited for Sydney’s appearance in the series and cannot wait to see her in the rest of the series. (and Bloodlines!)

  • Rose was such a badass character! (Though, when is she not?)

If there’s anything I love reading about in books, it’s a female heroine who can stand up and fight on their own. Because females are seriously as good of fighters as males. And truly, I don’t think Rose ever needed Dimitri to SHOW her how to fight.

  • There were new new spirit users?!?!

This literally made the novel SO MUCH MORE eventful. Don’t you ever read a novel that lacks a bit of “entertainment?” Well Blood Promise became SO MUCH MORE entertaining after the reveal of a new spirit user! Oksana and Mark were super nice characters and definitely played an amazing part in this novel. Especially the ending.

CONS:

  • Dimitri is a Strigoi?!?!?!

Whata What What? No, I did not just write. (*mentally shakes head*) Yup, you read that correct. I absolutely loved Dimitri in the first three books but I couldn’t help but hate him in Blood Promise. Me liking Dimitri just wasn’t going to happen. He was just… gross in this novel. Like seriously, you don’t have to make your “past” girlfriend a blood whore. That’s just wrong.

  • There wasn’t a lot of romance.

I am an absolute sucker for romance and this book didn’t have much of it. Of course we got a glimpse of romance between Christian and Lissa, but other than that there wasn’t much. I started to miss Dimitri and Rose’s relationship in this book. But, I have high hopes that something big will happen between Dimitri and Rose in future books.

  • New villains = New conflicts

Throughout the first three novels, the only villains were the Strigoi. Now, we have the Lazars to worry about too. Avery Lazar, her brother, father, and guardian were all introduced and holy, aren’t they just an evil bunch of characters? Avery didn’t seem too suspicious in the beginning, but her silent guardian and brother definitely did. But the ending was evilly insane! I would’ve never expected Avery to be another spirit user.

Overall, I ended up giving this book 5 stars. I originally was only going to give it 4 stars because of all of the problems I had with it, but my mind told me to give it 5. And I definitely chose to follow my wandering mind.

THAT’S IT FOR TODAY! I hope you enjoyed this review and definitely let me know if you liked this review format better. Don’t forget to like, comment and follow for more posts!

Happy Reading!

~Alaina