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Monday, September 29, 2014

Book Review | Unspoken

Title: Unspoken
Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Publication: September 11th, 2012
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Source: Borrowed from the Library

Rating: 3.5/4 out 5 stars

Synopsis: Kami Glass loves someone she's never met... a boy she's talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn't silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn't suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head. 

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, align with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown - in fact, she's determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?

Review: I've heard nothing but good things about this book and I think I went in with expectations a little too high. It's not that I didn't like this book, I actually really enjoyed it, but I didn't fall completely in love with it. 

One thing I kept hearing about this book is that the main character, Kami, is a pretty kick-ass female. I would say this definitely rings true throughout this story. She's a character that stands up for herself, and fights for what she wants. She's loyal, honest and very sensible, I love her! As for her relationship with Jared, I love the dynamic couple that they make! I am really excite to see where their relationship goes in the next book. 

This book was really unique, not only with the awesome main character, Kami, but also with the tone and the world of this book. The local small town that holds such mystery and intrigue sucked me in and kept me hooked and wanting more when the book ended. I can see what makes this book/series so addicting! 

I'm having a hard time deciding on a rating for this book, I keep bouncing back and forth between 3.5 and 4. The characters and the world were my favorite parts of the book but there were certain moments where I felt the story slowed down a bit for me. There were also moments that I thought things would solve or happen a little too conveniently to be realistic. While I really enjoyed this book, it didn't blow me away...I can't decide my rating but what I do know if that this book is worth checking out and giving a read.  

If you're looking for a fun, addicting read, I recommend this one! If you want something with an interesting, lovely, hauntingly mysterious world with some fantastic characters, I don't think you'd regret picking this one up! I just picked up the next one from the library and I have a feeling it's going to be a perfect read for the fall. 

Have you read this one and if so, what did you think of it? What was one of your favorite(or disliked) aspects of this book? What is the last fun book that you've read and enjoyed lately?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Then and Now Book Review: If I Stay

Title: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
Publication: April 2nd, 2009
Publisher: Speak
Source: Borrowed from the Library

Rating: 4.5 out 5 stars

Synopsis: In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces - to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. 

Review: This book has a background story for me. I read it when it first came out back in 2009 and I hated it. I never understood the hype surrounding this book. I disliked it so much that I was scared to read another book by Gayle Forman - my current self is like "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!". I don't regret giving her books another shot since I read Just One Day because that book (and Just One Year, Just One Night) are some of my favorites of all time. In fact, Just One Day was one of the first books I reviewed when I started blogging :) After reading those and wanting more of Gayle Forman, along with the movie coming out I decided to give If I Stay another try. And, of course, I'm so glad I did. 

Then (going into it): Like I mentioned, I read this one back in 2009 when it first came out and I have a hard time remembering, but I think there was quite a bit of hype surrounding this one. Back then I usually stayed away from books that would make me cry so I was hesitant to pick this one up. I think part of the reason I disliked it so much was because I went into it with high expectations based off all the good things I had hear about it.

Now (going into it): Going into the book I had no expectations, I knew certain things that happened from the previous time I read it, but I tried to take everything in stride and just read the book like I'd be reading it for the first time. I think I was pretty successful because I didn't feel much of a bias while reading that I thought I might. I actually found myself really enjoying the book. 

Then (the writing): I didn't have much appreciation or even distinction for writing. I didn't think about writing, I just either liked the story or not. I guess I attributed the writing as the story. 

Now (the writing): I love, love, love Gayle Forman's writing. Her writing makes the flow of this book so lovely. I read this one day, I didn't want to put it down and it wasn't because I had to know what was next, it was because I didn't want to stop reading the writing and the story that it delivered. 

Then (the characters): I disliked most of the characters the first time I read the book. But I LOVED Mia's family, her parents, grandparents, her brother, I loved every single one of them. They were my favorite part of the book the first time I read it. I thought Mia was weak-minded and while I could sympathize with her, I just didn't relate to her or find anything she did to be something that resonated with me in a good way. I remember Adam being an okay guy, but I wasn't impressed with him. 

Now (the characters): I love each of them in their own way. Mia was put in an incredibly tragic situation and had a lot to deal with throughout the book, and putting myself in her shoes made me feel for her. I felt for her and through her throughout this book. Her relationship with Adam was sweet this time around for me. And Adam...I love him (what is there not to love about Adam?!). Still love her family, they are one of my most favorite families that I have read in YA.

Then (the story): I remember distinctly hating the accident scene. And I was SO MAD. Here we were given this beautiful, wonderful family that I loved already and then tragedy struck them. I was devastated  This may have been the main reason I hated this book so much back when I first read it.

Now (the story): I am a bit speechless about the story, there's so much full of feels that I just don't know what to say. Okay, I'll try.. This time around the accident really struck me hard like it did the first time, even though I knew it was coming, but I think it didn't shock me as much as it did the first time. I braced myself for it. There were little bits along the way that struck harder for me. 

Now (overall): I really, really enjoyed this book. I might even love it, a little bit. I'm really glad that I gave this one a second chance. Now I'm excited to see the movie! I highly recommend this book to you if you enjoy contemporary, a good story or some fantastic writing, but be warned, you may want a box of tissues near you when you read this one. 

Have you read this one and if so, what did you think of it? What did you think about Mia's family ? Have you seen the movie yet, if so, HOW WAS IT??? :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Top Ten Books on my Fall To-Be-Read List

Top Ten Tuesday is created by the lovely ladies over at the Broke and the Bookish
This week the topic is listing my 

Top Ten Books on my Fall To-Be-Read List

1. Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld - This book comes out today and it is my most anticipated book of the fall, and it comes out today(!!!)! I preordered it and am anxiously awaiting for my copy to arrive!

2. The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin - I am dying to know how this series is going to end. If you haven't read the first book yet, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, it is a perfect fall book to pick up :)

3. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness - This book has been staring me down. I keep putting it off to read it (it was on my TBR last fall!), so I need to get to it this fall. I can't wait to finally read it!

4. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor - This is another series I've been meaning to start. While it hasn't been on my TBR for as long as #3 has, I still can't wait to get to this one. It seems perfect for the Halloween season. 

5. The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepard - This book sounds eerie and creepy which is a great mix for now. Very excited to dive into this gothic tale!

6. The Shining by Stephen King - Last fall/Halloween I read Carrie, so I think it's time for another Stephen King novel and what better to read than one of his scarier ones. I've heard this one is scaaary and I'm so intrigued to see why!

7. Conversion by Katherine Howe - This book takes place in a Salem village. I'm hooked. I always have the desire to read some witch books in the fall, this one sounds creepy as well as witchy. Perfect!

8. Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood - This is another one I think I had on my TBR last fall. But I still want to read it and I'm looking forward to reading this witch series!

9. Siege and Storm & Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo - I NEED to finish this series and find out what happens! 

10. City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls & City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare - I've been lucky not to get spoiled so far for the ending of the this series. That means I MUST finish this series before something does spoil me!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

#FridayReads | Vacation Reads

I did a vlog talking about what I'm reading this Friday as well as what books I'm taking with me on vacation tomorrow!

Would love to hear what you're reading this Friday/Weekend as well as what books you like to take on vacation with you!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Book Review | Love, Rosie

Title: Love, Rosie
Author: Cecelia Ahern
Publication: December 1st, 2006
Publisher: Hyperion
Source: Borrowed from the Library

Rating: 5 out 5 stars

Synopsis: Sometimes you have to look at life in a whole new way...

Rosie and Alex are destined for one another, and everyone seems to know it but them. Best friends since childhood, their relationship gets closer by the day, until Alex gets the news that his family is leaving Dublin and moving to Boston. At 17, Rosie and Alex have just started to see each other in a more romantic light. Devastated, the two make plans for Rosie to apply to colleges in the U.S.

She gets into Boston University, Alex gets into Harvard, and everything is falling into place, when on the eve of her departure, Rosie gets news that will change their lives forever: She's pregnant by a boy she'd gone out with while on rebound from Alex.

Her dreams for college, Alex, and a glamorous career dashed, Rosie stays in Dublin to become a single mother, while Alex pursues a medical career and a new love in Boston. But destiny is a funny thing, and a trail of missed opportunities, Alex and Rosie find out that fate isn't done with them yet.

Review: I'm going to try to form some coherent thoughts for this review. I LOVE THIS BOOK. Sorry, that just slipped straight from my brain through my fingers. But seriously, this book left a huge impression on me. It had so many aspects, I was enthralled with Alex and Rosie's story from the very beginning. I'm getting a little ahead of myself. Let's talk about why I picked this book up in the first place. Well, I happened to have seen the trailer for this movie. Yup, this book is being made into a movie. Here's the trailer, 

Did you see that was Sam Claflin?! And Lily Collins! Yup, after watching the trailer, I immediately requested this book from the library. When it finally came in, I devoured it! Maybe part of it was because I could see the characters clearly after watching the trailer, but I was so entirely invested in Rosie and Alex and their stories that I couldn't put this book down. 

I've run into some books, like this one, that go completely dead at one point throughout the book. I'm talking about those points where it's like, get on with it already. But this book was never boring and of course, I wanted Alex and Rosie to happen at every moment in the book and at many points I was practically on the edge of my seat wondering if this would finally be the RIGHT moment. My only complaint is a spoiler, so I'll avoid that one, but it's hardly a complaint and more of a wish. 

This book is told in letters and emails. I really loved this. I loved that you see the life as the characters are telling it to each other, to someone that matters dearly to them. I also think this aspect made the book a bit more readable to me, I seemed to fly through it. Although, maybe it was just me going, "just one more letter/email..." over and over again!

I think this book is well under-hyped. I haven't heard anyone talk about it, or even mention that they have read it. So I'm asking you, if you love contemporary, if you like chick-lit, or if you want a good love story, please pick this book up! And then can we talk about it, pretty please?

Have you read this one and if so, what did you think of it? Did you like the form of the book written in letters/emails? Any good chick-lit books that you've read and enjoyed lately?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

#CurrentlyReading multiple books. Why?!

I've always been a one-book kinda girl. Reading only one book at a time gave that singular book all of my attention and I didn't pick up another one until I had finished with the one I was already reading. But recently I have been a bit of a noncommittal reader. I can't seem to commit to reading one book at a time. I've gone up to reading 6 books at a time. Currently...I'm reading 5.

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I think I've been in a bit of a weird reading kinda-slump. I'm still reading, it's not that kind of reading slump... but I'm finding it hard to get into books (and stay there). So I've been constantly picking up new books to start in the hopes that they'll suck me in. And some of them have, but then that leaves the other books behind that I already started reading. But then there's so much excitement for me when I dive into a new book that sometimes I can't resist picking up a new one just to feel that excitement.

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The second reason is there are way too many books I want to read. Seriously. You all know what I'm talking about...there are numerous books on our tbrs that we want to get to. Some of these have been on my tbr for too long and its getting to the point where I'm like "I've been waiting too long to read this, so I'm doing it. RIGHT NOW." So I pick them up and start reading. Then I'm all

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(and then I start another one and it starts all over again).


Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
I will hopefully finish today. I've only got about 100 pages left and this is the one I'm currently completely into.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
I started this one the other day because I planned to read this one with my sister this month. And there's a whole bunch of other people reading it this month too. The excitement got me.

Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta
I've been reading this one for awhile. And I love this series. But I don't want it to end, I think that's part of the reason why I've been putting it off. But I really want to know what happens which is why I picked it up in the first place. I'll finish this one eventually.

The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
I don't know why this one hasn't been finished yet. I was completely into this story, loving it and into it and all that, but I think I put it down to read a book due back at the library soon and then I never picked this one up again. I'm planning to remedy this soon. 

This Star Won't Go Out by Esther Earl
I started reading this one and it's such a wonderful story. But it's heartbreaking too. I took a quick break from it and started reading something else. I know I'll finish this one soon because it's a fairly quick read and I want to read Esther's story.

What about you.. Do you read multiple books at once? What's the most you've read at one time? Why do you find yourself reading multiple books at a time?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Book Review | Brazen

Title: Brazen
Author: Katherine Longshore
Publication: June 12th, 2014
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Source: Borrowed from the Library

Rating: 5 out 5 stars

Synopsis: Mary Howard has always lived in the shadow of her powerful family. But when she's married off to Henry Fitzroy, King Henry VIII's illegitimate son, she rockets into the Tudor court's inner circle. Mary and "Fitz" join a tight clique of rebels who test the boundaries of court's strict rules with their games, dares, and flirtations. The more Mary gets to know Fitz, the harder she falls for him, but is forbidden from seeing him alone. The rules of court were made to be pushed... but pushing them too far means certain death. Is true love worth dying for?

Review: I picked this book up when I was craving some historical fiction, and had heard good things. This book exactly what I was looking for and thoroughly delivered more than I needed in that beautiful cover. I'm a bit of a sucker for Tudor England, and if you are too, this is a must read. 

The romance in this book was so lovely. Mary and Fitz had me rooting for them from the very beginning and never once was I swayed away. They're incredibly respectful of each other and held an equality within their relationship that was modern for their time, and I really enjoyed that aspect of the book. Don't get me wrong, there were definitely some classic Tudor relationships going on here, especially of course between Henry VIII and Anne.

I'm not incredibly knowledgable on the Tudor era, but for the most part the story seemed accurate from what I remember. I'm mostly referring to Henry VIII and his many wives. I previously had not known about Mary Howard but when I read a little extra from the author on how she was drawn to Mary, I enjoyed the book even more. To avoid spoilers, I won't go into detail, but it revolves around how incredibly independent Mary is for her era, and this aspect made me appreciate the book in a whole new perspective.

This book wouldn't have been complete if not for some drama, and that was widely entertaining and kept the book interesting. There were constantly things happening and people's decisions intersecting and impacting more than they thought. I flew through this book, there was always something happening and I couldn't get enough. This was the kind of book that when I put it down, I couldn't stop thinking about it and was dying to pick it up and keep reading. 

If you like historical fiction, Tudor England, or a fantastic love story, this is a perfect read for you. Once I finished this one, I immediately sought out Longshore's other two novels that seem like sort-of companion books to this one. I'm hoping to read them when I'm craving another historical fiction read. 

Have you read this one and if so, what did you think of it? Who was your favorite character from this book? Any good historical fiction books that you've read and enjoyed lately?