Friday, February 6, 2015

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater | Review

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater | ReviewBlue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #3
Published by Scholastic on October 21, 2014
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 391
Format: ebook
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

picadillyblue

Does it come as any surprise that I absolutely adored Blue Lily, Lily Blue? If it does, you probably haven’t read my reviews of The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves so you should probably stop reading this and check those out first.

I’d heard there was a cliffhanger at the end of Blue Lily, Lily Blue so I was pretty on edge throughout the whole book. (Don’t worry; it’s not a bad cliffhanger.) There were so many twists and turns in Blue Lily, Lily Blue, I just couldn’t keep up. I never once was able to predict what was going to happen next. That’s always been one of the things I love most about Maggie Stiefvater’s books and it was no exception with this one.

The characters have grown on me since the first book and I’ve come to love them all but I still can’t predict a single thing they are going to do. All of them managed to piss me off at least once throughout the book but I love them even more now, especially Adam. Adam has been the hardest for me to like throughout the series but I finally felt like I could understand where he was coming from with this book. He’s still not my favorite of the Raven boys but I like him a lot more now than I used to.

The story develops a lot more in Blue Lily, Lily Blue than in any of the other books. The Raven boys and Blue finally make some progress on their quest to find Glendower but they find more problems as well. Their quest is not a simple one and every bit of progress they make seems to be hindered by something. I’m not sure how things are going to end in the next (and final) book but I’m eager to see how Maggie Stiefvater ties things up.

Overall, Blue Lily, Lily Blue just blew me out of the water. I was expecting something amazing and I definitely got that. I wish I didn’t have to wait for the final book but I know there are plenty other readers out there anxiously awaiting it with me.

What others are saying about Blue Lily, Lily Blue:

There Were Books Involved’s review: “Maggie Stiefvater makes you believe in magic.”

Not Yet Read’s review: “The group as a whole do have some pretty tense moments, odd discoveries and of course two major breakthroughs in this installment and the way it ends did indeed leave me eager for the next book, I just didn’t feel that this one was as gripping or strong as the previous two books which I loved.”

Wrapped Up In Books’ review: “This series is undoubtedly one of my absolute favorites, and I am eagerly awaiting not only the series finale, but re-reading it and listening to the complete audiobooks (the narration has been excellent).”

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Mini reviews: Crank, Endangered, and Staying Fat For Sarah Byrnes

These books may seem like they have nothing in common but they were all books I read for my YA Lit class last semester.  I read some other books that I will be writing full reviews for but I thought I’d just share a few of my thoughts about these three.

 

CrankTitle: Crank
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Rating: 5 Stars

I was not a fan of verse novels until I started blogging and was introduced to more of them. Now I find them really quick reads that usually capture my attention pretty quickly. That was definitely the case with Crank by Ellen Hopkins. It was the first book I’ve ever read by Ellen Hopkins and I was definitely impressed. Not only was the writing spectacular but the different ways in which each poem was set up really added to the story. Kristina/Bree captivated me from the start and while I was definitely horrified by her story, I couldn’t stop reading it. I look forward to checking out the other books in this series.

 

Title: Endangered
Author: Eliot Schrefer
Rating: 4 StarsEndangered

I picked this book up at BEA years ago but only read it now. I’m really disappointed in myself for waiting so long. Endangered is a really unique read that will appeal to a variety of readers. It’s a thrilling novel that really never slows down from the start. Sophie was a great character but more than that, so were the bonobos that she attempted to save. Each bonobo really was a character. They all had distinct personalities and they made me laugh quite a bit. Eliot Schrefer really captured the spirit of the animals and that was by far my favorite part of the book.

Also, this has nothing to do with the book but Eliot Schrefer has videos on his website about his time spent with the bonobos and the videos really added to my enjoyment of the novel, knowing the extensive research he did for this book.

 

Staying Fat for Sarah ByrnesTitle: Staying Fat For Sarah Byrnes
Author: Chris Crutcher
Rating: 4 Stars

Chris Crutcher is one of those authors I’m a bit ashamed to say that I’ve never read. This class spent a lot of time talking about him as well as how controversial his books were. When I had the chance to read one, I picked Staying Fat For Sarah Byrnes and I’m glad I did because I really enjoyed it. There is some mystery to it, some romance, major drama, and some truly great characters. It’s definitely written for a younger audience but that didn’t bother me. Instead I just found it made the book that much quicker to read. I will also mention that Chris Crutcher does not shy away from any tough topics. There is sex, drugs, alcohol, abuse, and so much more wrapped up in this story. He handles everything very well though.

 

My YA Lit class really helped broaden my horizons and allowed me to read a lot of books that have been collecting dust on my shelves. If you ever have the chance to take a class like this at your school, I highly recommend it. And these books. 🙂

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater | Review

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater | ReviewThe Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #2
Published by Scholastic on September 17, 2013
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 416
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same.

Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life.

Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...

picadillyblue

Maggie Stiefvater has never suffered from second book syndrome and that is still the case with The Dream Thieves. I was surprised to find myself enjoyed The Dream Thieves even more than I enjoyed The Raven Boys. This book truly took things to the next level.

The hunt is still on for Glendower but this time there are new players in the game and Glendower isn’t the only one being hunted.  Ronan’s ability is worth more than he ever could have known and he’s only just learning how it works.  There are people out there who know about the ability and would do whatever it takes to take control of it.  Not only that, Ronan is also learning that he may not be the only one who possesses the ability to take things from dreams and he starts to wonder what exactly has been taken from dreams and what is real.

The characters really start to change in The Dream Thieves.  I honestly wasn’t sure who I liked anymore.  Gansey was still Gansey but he starting being a lot wiser and more introspective.  Adam changed the most and I wasn’t impressed with the changes.  His anger started coming out a lot more and he was downright rude to Blue and his other friends.  I still felt bad for him because of his history and how it affected him but it was still no excuse.  Blue finally started to see that she wasn’t being fair to herself or to Adam and I was proud of her for that.  The prophecy about her true love really started to come into play in The Dream Thieves.  Blue is a strong girl but there were times when she broke down and I loved her even more for that.  Then there was Ronan.  I didn’t love him in the first book but I sure do now.  That boy is so twisted up inside.  I felt horrible for everything he’d been through but I was so happy to see how things were starting to change for him.  He showed the  most growth and development of anyone in The Dream Thieves.  The glances into his past also helped bring me around to see his side of things.

The story went places I never expected it to go.  I haven’t been able to predict a single thing about this series.  Every little detail somehow ties together into the bigger picture.  Readers can tell that everything is leading up to something big but I have no clue how the story will get there or what’s going to happen once it does get there.  Also, it’s impossible to tell who is good and who is bad and who does bad things just because they have to.  Each and every character is so complex and has a story all their own.  Good luck trying to figure anything out about this story or the characters.

Overall, The Dream Thieves continues the epicness (new word!) that is the Raven Cycle.  I’m excited to dive into Blue Lily, Lily Blue and see where Maggie Stiefvater takes Blue and her boys next.

What others are saying about The Dream Thieves:

The Streetlight Reader’s review: “The magic of The Raven Boys was lost in this book and the characters I had come to love were no longer present in this book.”

Starlight Book Reviews’ review: “While I missed the heaviness of the first book, it was still appropriate given the focus on Ronan and his progression and revelations.”

Wrapped Up In Books’ review: ” I highly recommend reading it one sitting (or as few as possible) so you can completely immerse yourself in the world and the writing.”

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater | Review

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater | ReviewThe Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #1
Published by Scholastic on September 18, 2012
Pages: 416
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

picadillyblue

I feel like at this point anything I say about The Raven Boys and Maggie Stiefvater will just be reiteration.  I adore her writing and The Raven Boys is probably the best thing she’s written so far.  And I can say that because I’ve read all her other books.

Where do I start with this one?  There was honestly not a single thing about it that I didn’t like.  The characters, the writing, the setting, the story, every last thing about it was completely perfect.  I’ve always had a bit of an issue getting into Maggie Stiefvater’s books because while her writing is gorgeous it is a little weighty at times.  I didn’t find myself having that issue with The Raven Boys.  The story was so captivating that I was hooked from the very start.

The characters in The Raven Boys are some of the quirkiest characters I have ever read about and I mean that in the best possible way.  Blue and her family are psychics.  Well, technically Blue’s family is full of psychics, she just has this weird power to amplify all their supernatural energy.  Growing up in her family made Blue far from normal and she loved to seek out other things and people that were not exactly normal.  I loved that about her.  Her family cracked me up.  Maura was a very chill mom but she definitely looked out for her daughter.  Calla was volatile but fun.  Persephone was just plain odd.  As for Neeve, she was a mystery.  To be honest, all of Blue’s family was a bit of a mystery.

As for the Raven Boys, I honestly don’t know which one I love the most.  Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Noah were all such intricate, amazing characters.  Gansey was a little entitled but he meant well most of the time.  Ronan was a badass but I loved him.  He definitely had some attitude problems but he intrigued me from the start.  Adam was such a sweetheart and my heart broke for him.  Noah was a bit of a mystery but he was such a cutie.  They were a group of guys I never would have expected to be friends but they all worked together.

The story was so intricate and I never had a clue what was going to happen next.  There is mythology mixed in and magic and romance and so many awesome things I couldn’t help but love.  The Welsh mythology about Owen Glendower was something I knew nothing about and while there wasn’t a whole lot of information about it, it added just another great layer to the story.

Overall, The Raven Boys deserves every bit of hype that it has gotten so far.  I’m kicking myself for waiting so long to read it but I’m also sad that I don’t have all the books in the series to devour in one epic binge-reading session.

What others are saying about The Raven Boys:

Writer of Wrongs’ review: “Characters is how Stiefvater won me over, and characters is how she earned my heart, and Gansey characters is why I neeeeeed the sequel nowwwwww.”

Oh, The Books!’ review: “As if the plot wasn’t enough to keep me going, this book has some great characters.”

The Great Noveling Adventure’s review: “Though Raven Boys seems to be marketed toward the plotline about Blue and the fate of her true love, it’s the quest and characters that carry the story.”

Friday, December 26, 2014

Sinner (Wolves of Mercy Falls #4) by Maggie Stiefvater | Review

Sinner (Wolves of Mercy Falls #4) by Maggie Stiefvater | ReviewSinner by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: Wolves of Mercy Falls #4
Published by Scholastic on July 1, 2014
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 357
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

A standalone companion book to the internationally bestselling Shiver Trilogy.

Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole's story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole's darkest secret -- his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel's life. Can this sinner be saved?

picadillyblue

I’m not usually excited when I hear that an author is continuing a series that has already ended.  That was not the case with Maggie Stiefvater and Sinner.  Sinner is a standalone companion novel to the Wolves of Mercy Falls series featuring everyone’s favorite bad boy, Cole St. Clair.  Who wouldn’t want to read this?

This truly is a companion novel to the Wolves of Mercy Falls series.  Cole is the focus of Sinner and it’s not set in Mercy Falls.  Sure, you get a glimpse of some of the Mercy Falls characters (such as Sam and Grace) but they only play a minor role in the story.  Everything is all about Cole and Isabel this time around.  Since they were two of my favorites from the original series I was more than happy with this set up.

Cole is a self-destructive nightmare who decides it would be a good idea to sign up for a reality TV show that is known for pushing it’s stars over the edge.  He’s got a lot of people in his life who want to see him succeed but he still has a lot of people who want to see him fail.  Honestly, it’s hard to tell which side of the spectrum Cole himself is on.  Cole’s life has always been messed up and adding the whole wolf bit in only pushed him further.  There are times when you can see that he’s trying to change but it’s not often.  He’s still got this inner bad boy who just wants to screw things up.  That includes his relationship with Isabel.

Isabel is a strong female character, just like all of Maggie Steievater’s female characters.  Isabel was always one of my favorites from the Wolves of Mercy Falls series because she was strong with sacrificing her vulnerability.  Her past seriously messed her up but it made her into a fabulous woman.  She and Cole had many issues they had to work through in Sinner but I loved seeing how they had both matured and wanted to work through these issues.  Although, not always.  They definitely still had some communication problems at times.

Reading from both Cole’s and Isabel’s points-of-view allow readers to see how alike the two characters are.  They are both a little volatile, very outspoken, completely messed up, and quite honestly, in love with each other.  To truly appreciate their relationship though you do need to have read the previous three Wolves of Mercy Falls books.  Otherwise it might seem a little bit too fast.

The writing is typical Maggie Stiefvater and by that I mean amazing.  Even if her stories completely sucked (which they totally don’t) her writing would keep bringing me back anyway.  Since the story itself isn’t all that action packed, the writing helped make up for it.

Overall, Sinner is the exception to the rule of continuing finished series.  I love how Maggie Stiefvater ended Cole and Isabel’s story.  I am a completely satisfied reader and I think other fans of the Wolves of Mercy Falls series will be too.

What others are saying about Sinner:

Not Yet Read’s review: “We’re all a little bit broken and this novel lets you see those beautifully broken bits about the characters and how they strive towards mending themselves and how more often than not you need to allow others in to help with the mending.”

The Cait Files’ review: “Cole and Isabel are electric and the story evoked nostalgia and a whole host of emotion.”

Alexa Loves Books’ review: “Sinner was all I could have asked for, and then some.”

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay | Review

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay | ReviewPrincess of Thorns by Stacey Jay
Published by Random House on December 9, 2014
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

Game of Thrones meets the Grimm's fairy tales in this twisted, fast-paced romantic fantasy-adventure about Sleeping Beauty's daughter, a warrior princess who must fight to reclaim her throne.

Though she looks like a mere mortal, Princess Aurora is a fairy blessed with enhanced strength, bravery, and mercy yet cursed to destroy the free will of any male who kisses her. Disguised as a boy, she enlists the help of the handsome but also cursed Prince Niklaas to fight legions of evil and free her brother from the ogre queen who stole Aurora's throne ten years ago.

Will Aurora triumph over evil and reach her brother before it's too late? Can Aurora and Niklaas break the curses that will otherwise forever keep them from finding their one true love?Game of Thrones meets the Grimm's fairy tales in this twisted, fast-paced romantic fantasy-adventure about Sleeping Beauty's daughter, a warrior princess who must fight to reclaim her throne.

Though she looks like a mere mortal, Princess Aurora is a fairy blessed with enhanced strength, bravery, and mercy yet cursed to destroy the free will of any male who kisses her. Disguised as a boy, she enlists the help of the handsome but also cursed Prince Niklaas to fight legions of evil and free her brother from the ogre queen who stole Aurora's throne ten years ago.

Will Aurora triumph over evil and reach her brother before it's too late? Can Aurora and Niklaas break the curses that will otherwise forever keep them from finding their one true love?

picadillyblue

Princess of Thorns is the fantasy novel I’ve been looking for.  Stacey Jay took the tale of Sleeping Beauty and made it completely fresh.  I devoured this novel!

Princess Aurora is unlike any other princess I’ve read about.  She’s very self-sufficient and possibly even a little too independent.  She doesn’t trust easily because of her past.  She teams up with Niklaas to save her brother only because she can’t avoid it.  Niklaas is an extremely likable character, mainly because of his complete honesty.  Aurora is disguised as her brother when they meet and she keeps up that pretense through their relationship.  She and Niklaas form this amazing bond as friends because of that.  Their friendship and their banter is probably one of the best things about Princess of Thorns.

Aurora’s story is 100% unique.  She is not Sleeping Beauty, she is the daughter of Sleeping Beauty and her mom blessed her with fairy magic before she died.  However, the magic is both a blessing and a curse.  It makes her extremely strong and fierce in battle but it also means that she will never know the true love of a man.  The powers she’s been given make her very much a loner and it’s part of the reason she doesn’t trust easily or rely on others often.  She’s a little too stubborn for my liking at times but it made things even more awesome when she realized the error of her ways.

The world that the story is set in is very much a fantasy world.  The land is ruled by ogres and there is a prophecy stating that dark times will come at the hands of one briar-born child.  Since Aurora and her brother Jor are the only two briar-born children left, it makes things in their lives very interesting.  It’s up to Aurora and Jor to stop the prophecy from coming to pass.  That’s not exactly an easy task though since the ogre queen is determined to have them and she’s pretty much all powerful.  There truly is never a dull moment in Princess of Thorns.

Overall, I really have no way of doing justice to this book.  If you love fantasy worlds, fresh retellings, kickass females, and witty banter, definitely check this one out immediately!

What others are saying about Princess of Thorns:

Lili’s Reflections’ review: “Perfect for fantasy lovers and fairytale nerds like myself, this is a book that cannot be ignored!”

Shae Has Left The Room’s review: “As soon as I finished, I wanted to start over and read it again.”

Bibliodaze’s review: “There’s some good stuff to recommend it, but right now, the bad stuff outweighs it for me.”

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Scoring Wilder by R.S. Grey | Review

Scoring Wilder by R.S. Grey | ReviewScoring Wilder by R.S. Grey
on June 15, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 402
Format: ebook
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

What started out as a joke— seduce Coach Wilder—soon became a goal she had to score.

With Olympic tryouts on the horizon, the last thing nineteen-year-old Kinsley Bryant needs to add to her plate is Liam Wilder. He's a professional soccer player, America's favorite bad-boy, and has all the qualities of a skilled panty-dropper.

• A face that makes girls weep – check.
• Abs that can shred Parmesan cheese (the expensive kind) – check.
• Enough confidence to shift the earth’s gravitational pull – double check.

Not to mention Liam is strictly off limits . Forbidden. Her coaches have made that perfectly clear. (i.e. “Score with Coach Wilder anywhere other than the field and you’ll be cut from the team faster than you can count his tattoos.”) But that just makes him all the more enticing…Besides, Kinsley's already counted the visible ones, and she is not one to leave a project unfinished.

Kinsley tries to play the game her way as they navigate through forbidden territory, but Liam is determined to teach her a whole new definition for the term “team bonding.”

picadillyblueI’m quite obsessed with new adult novels lately.  I don’t know what it is about them but they grab my interest much more than other books.  Scoring Wilder was no exception.  I was hooked from the first page and I read the 400+ page book in one day!

Liam Wilder and Kinsley Bryant are immediately attracted to each other.  However, they can’t act on that attraction.  Liam is one of Kinsley’s new soccer coaches.  She isn’t willing to endanger her Olympic dreams just for one sexy soccer player.  Especially when everything she’s heard about him says he’s a player in more ways than one.  Fate keeps throwing them together though and the attraction proves to be more than either one can resist.

Kinsley is a kick-ass character.  She’s strong and feisty and knows exactly what she wants in life.  She’s a top soccer player with dreams of playing for the Olympic soccer team.  Those dreams are within her reach when she meets Wilder.  He’s a pretty awesome character himself.  He’s funny, protective, kind, and sexy.  He’s a professional soccer player with a bad boy rep.  That rep is what leads him as a coach for Kinsley’s team.  He’s a bit frustrating at times with his moodswings but I couldn’t find other flaws with him.

The fame aspect really got me.  I love reading romances involving one or both famous people and R.S. Grey did a good job with that aspect in Scoring Wilder.  Wilder is older, rich, and very much a hot bachelor.  Kinsley even had some fame but she was definitely more of a nobody than Wilder.  I liked how that affected their relationship.

I greatly appreciated the fact that the story wasn’t super overdramatic.  Kinsley and Wilder approach most things very maturely.  If they have problems they don’t run from them.  I was expecting some dramatic breakup for some stupid reason and it never happened.  Instead, Wilder and Kinsley always tried to work past their issues.

One other thing I loved were the family and friend relationships.  Both Wilder and Kinsley have awesome families that they are very close with.  Kinsley and Wilder also cared about their friends a lot and took time away from each other to stay close with their friends.

Overall, Scoring Wilder is a great novel.  Even if you’re not a new adult fan, I suggest checking this one out.  It’s a very fun read.

What others are saying about Scoring Wilder:

Itching for Books’ review: “This is my first experience with R.S. and I must say that I’m impressed, motivated enough to want to read her other works.”

Fandomly Bookish’s review: “All in all, SCORING WILDER is a great, fun and light read that you totally don’t want to miss.”

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Blog Tour: Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers | Review

Blog Tour: Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers | Review

Blog Tour: Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers | ReviewMortal Heart by Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin #3
Published by Houghton Mifflin on November 4, 2014
Genres: Historical Fantasy
Pages: 464
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn't mean she has...

picadillyblueWhere do I even begin?  I didn’t care much for Annith in the first two books and I was nervous that I wouldn’t love Mortal Heart as much as Grave Mercy or Dark Triumph because of that.  I could not have been more wrong.

Annith is just as awesome as Ismae or Sybella, just in very different ways.  I think that’s one of the reasons these books are so awesome.  Each character brings something new to the table.  Annith is a little too obedient at first but it’s quickly clear that she has a mind of her own and she’s going to follow her own instincts.  She’s smart and feisty and I did not see that coming. She’s very guarded and she expects very little from people.  That’s why Balthazaar takes her by surprise.  He wants to protect her and she can’t figure out why.  All she knows is that she is drawn to him from the first moment they meet.  And let me tell you, I can’t blame the girl.  Balthazaar is my favorite of the three male love interests in this trilogy.  Beast and Duval are awesome but they can’t hold a candle to Balthazaar.  Once you read Mortal Heart, you’ll know what I mean.

The story is a lot faster paced than the first two books or maybe it was just that I loved the characters so much that I couldn’t stop reading.  There was still a lot of politics in the book but not quite as much as the first two books.  The politics are extremely interesting though.  I’ve never been a fan of them but this series is just so well done that I find every little thing about it fascinating.

Also, the cameos were beyond perfect and I loved seeing Beast, Sybella, Ismae, and Duval again.  I didn’t remember everything from the first two books when I first started Mortal Heart but things quickly came back to me as I read.  It also helped that the stories are all overlapping.  Some of the things that happened in the first two books haven’t actually happened yet and so it’s refreshing to be able to read about them again.

Overall, it’s hard for me to put into words my love for this series.  It’s not often I read a trilogy and love every book but that was the case with this one.  I can’t recommend this series enough and if you’ve already read the first two, rush out and get this one as soon as possible.

What others are saying about Mortal Heart:

Waking Brain Cells’ review: “A fitting end to a grand trilogy, I can’t wait to see what LaFevers has for us next!”

Good Books & Good Wine’s review: “Readers who like their trilogies to have breathtaking endings, kick ass heroines, self contained but connected stories, and expansive character development paired with intricate world building would do well to pick up Mortal Heart as well as it’s predecessors, Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph.”

Read Breathe Relax’s review: “This final book did an amazing job of wrapping up all the stories, and I think Annith is my favorite leading lady yet.”

Robin-Pushing-Tree-281x300 About the author:

Robin LaFevers was raised on a steady diet of fairy tales, Bulfinch’s mythology, and 19th century poetry. It is not surprising she grew up to be a hopeless romantic.

Though she has never trained as an assassin or joined a convent, she did attend Catholic school for three years, which instilled in her a deep fascination with sacred rituals and the concept of the Divine. She has been on a search for answers to life’s mysteries ever since.

While many of those answers still elude her, she was lucky enough to find her one true love, and is living happily ever after with him in the foothills of southern California.

In addition to writing about teen assassin nuns in medieval Brittany, she writes books for middle grade readers, including the Theodosia books and the Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist series. You can learn more about those books at www.rllafevers.com.

Where you can find Robin:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Tumblr

Giveaway!

(1) One winner will receive a rustic arrow necklace, a leather bound notebook and a hardcover of MORTAL HEART! US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 29, 2014

Blog Tour: Rooms by Lauren Oliver | Review

Blog Tour: Rooms by Lauren Oliver | ReviewRooms by Lauren Oliver
Published by Ecco on September 23, 2014
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

The New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall and the Deliriumtrilogy makes her brilliant adult debut with this mesmerizing story in the tradition of The Lovely Bones, Her Fearful Symmetry, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane—a tale of family, ghosts, secrets, and mystery, in which the lives of the living and the dead intersect in shocking, surprising, and moving ways

Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.

But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.

The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.

Elegantly constructed and brilliantly paced, Rooms is an enticing and imaginative ghost story and a searing family drama that is as haunting as it is resonant.

picadillyblueIt really should come as no surprise that Lauren Oliver’s adult debut is spectacular.  Rooms is everything I didn’t know I was looking for in a book.  The writing is gorgeous, the characters are extremely flawed, and the mystery is captivating.

Rooms is not a book you want to rush through.  It’s definitely compelling enough that you will want to sit and read it straight through but it’s a book full of stories that take time to completely understand.  Every character has a story all their own.  Sandra and Alice, the two resident ghosts, spend a lot of time telling theirs and I have to say that theirs were the most interesting stories of the group.  They both lived and died in time periods relatively far in the past and they both have secrets and mysteries surrounding their lives and deaths.  That’s not to say that the other characters don’t have interesting stories though because they do.  Caroline, Minna, and Trenton all have things they are hiding and each story is very compelling.  Even though I may not have liked the characters, their stories had me hooked.

While I say that I didn’t like the characters, I don’t think readers are really meant to like them.  I sympathized with parts of each character but other than that, they are greatly flawed and hard to like.  Trenton is a little bit of an asshole but he’s by far the most likable.  He is seriously depressed and contemplating suicide.  He doesn’t see that there is anything left for him to live for but going back home for his father’s funeral forces him to look at things a little differently, especially when he starts hearing and seeing ghosts.  Minna is closed off to the world and she is a giant bitch.  There is no nice way to put it.  She thinks of no one but herself.  She has a daughter that she’s forced to think of at times but Amy plays a really small part in the story and, it seems, Minna’s life.  Caroline is a lot like Minna but an older version.  She’s very self-centered.  Even when she says she’s doing something for her kids, she’s really thinking of herself.  The one thing that really makes these people tolerable is that they have all have secrets that readers don’t find out about at first.  Once you start to see the dark pasts of the characters, it’s a lot easier to see how they come to be who they are.

Lauren Oliver’s writing style translates to the adult age range brilliantly.  I truly have yet to find something she has written that I don’t like.  She is one author who could write a phone book and have people rush to grab it off the shelves.  The writing style in Rooms is a little spare but never lacking in details that matter.

Overall, Rooms is a novel that can appeal to many people of many age ranges.  The subject and content are definitely better suited for adults but the appeal of this one is widespread.  And what do you know, another Lauren Oliver novel gets added to my shelf of favorites?

What others are saying about Rooms:

Fantasy Book Critic’s Review: “There is real content in the very believable characters’ attempts to make sense of their lives.”

Fic Fare’s review: “This story has a bit of everything… drama, angst, humor and sadness.”

Fiktshun’s review: “The author’s first attempt at a novel aimed at an adult audience was hugely successful.”

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 2.04.21 PM

About the author:

Lauren Oliver is the author of the New York Times bestselling YA novels Before I Fall, Panic, and the Delirium trilogy: Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem. Her books have been translated into thirty languages. She is also the author of two novels for middle-grade readers, The Spindlers and Liesl & Po, which was a 2012 E. B. White Read-Aloud Award nominee. Lauren’s first adult novel, Rooms, will be published in September 2014. A graduate of the University of Chicago and NYU’s MFA program, Lauren Oliver is also the co-founder of the boutique literary development company Paper Lantern Lit. You can visit her online at www.laurenoliverbooks.com

Purchase ROOMS here!

Add ROOMS on Goodreads!

Follow Lauren on Twitter!

Visit Lauren’s Website!

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog tour!

15-Sep Reading Lark
16-Sep Midnight Garden
17-Sep Icey Books
18-Sep I Swim For Oceans
19-Sep Fiktshun
22-Sep Fiction Fare
23-Sep Read My Breath Away
24-Sep Queen Ella Bee Reads
25-Sep A Dream Within a Dream
26-Sep Anna Reads
29-Sep Katie’s Book Blog (ME!)
30-Sep Sweeps 4 Bloggers
Sep-31 Mod Podge Bookshelf

Monday, September 22, 2014

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson | Review

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson | ReviewI'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
Published by Dial Books For Young Readers on September 16, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell

Jude and her brother, Noah, are incredibly close twins. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude surfs and cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and divisive ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as an unpredictable new mentor. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world. 
 
This radiant, fully alive, sometimes very funny novel from the critically acclaimed author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

picadillyblueI’ll Give You The Sun is Jandy Nelson’s highly anticipated sophomore novel.  With my love of her debut novel, The Sky Is Everywhere, I had supremely high expectations for I’ll Give You The Sun.  To be completely honest, my expectations were probably even a little unrealistic.  However, Jandy Nelson definitely delivered and you completely met my expectations and more.

I’ll Give You The Sun is told in a unique way.  Each chapter is told from either Jude or Noah’s point of view.  However, not only does it switch points of view, it also switches from past to present.  Jude’s chapters are about the present and Noah’s chapters are about the past.  It’s an interesting way to tell their story and after reading the book, it’s really the only way that could possibly work.  It’s also very obvious to readers who is narrating each chapter and whether or not it’s in the past or present.

Jude and Noah are twins who couldn’t be more different.  Jude is a bit of a conformist, doing whatever it takes to fit in.  Noah is the opposite.  He doesn’t care what people think of him as long as he likes himself.  At least, that’s how it is at first.  When you switch from the past to the present you realize that the twins have kind of switched roles.  Jude is now the unique one who doesn’t do things to please other people anymore.  As for Noah, he is almost unrecognizable as the boy he used to be.  Every unique aspect of him is gone.  It takes almost the whole of the book to find out what exactly happened to the twins to cause these changes.

The twins are the focal characters of the story and for a while I had trouble connecting with them.  I honestly thought about giving up on this one because I wasn’t sure how I felt about Jude or Noah, past or present.  Jude came across kind of bitchy all the time and Noah came across a bit whiny and immature at first.  However, as the story progressed, new people came into each of their lives and helped them grow and develop.  The addition of these new people in each of their lives also helped bring them back together.  Their stories were so interwoven it was sometimes hard to see how the two of them could ever have such a rift between them.  Their bond always showed through no matter how they outwardly felt towards each other.

I’ll Give You The Sun is a story of family.  At it’s center is the story of Noah and Jude and what happened to tear them apart.  However, the twins weren’t the only ones affected by what tore them apart.  It affected their whole family and throughout the course of the book their family is torn apart and put back together again, in a new, not necessarily better or worse, way.  Also, I’ll Give You The Sun shows that maybe you can choose to add members to your family but that you can’t ever get rid of the originals.

Jandy Nelson’s lyrical writing style is showcased in I’ll Give You The Sun.  Part of my love for The Sky Is Everywhere was for Jandy Nelson’s writing and I knew I would read this one regardless of the subject matter.  That being the case, the writing didn’t overshadow or take a backseat to the story of Noah and Jude.  Also, I mentioned above that I had trouble connecting to the characters.  The writing really helped me move past that.  I honestly felt that I would be missing out on an amazing story if I did not finish something with such beautiful writing.  And I was right.

Overall, I’ll Give You The Sun is really just one book I feel that everyone should read.  My review will never do it justice.  All I can say is that I feel like readers will be missing out if you don’t give this one a chance.  I’ll Give You The Sun has definitely earned a permanent place on my favorites shelf.

P.S. I feel like I left some things out of my review but I just figured I should probably stop now so you can get your hands on a copy.

What others are saying about I’ll Give You The Sun:

Teen Librarian Toolbox’s review: “For me, this is one of the best books I have read in 2014.”

Forever 17 Books’ review: “I can’t wait for everyone to meet and fall in love with these characters as much as I did.”

Jenna Does Books’ review: “In the end, I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN is an excellent story about coming of age, finding yourself and falling in love.”