Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Starry Night by Debbie Macomber ARC Review


Starry Night by Debbie Macomber
ebook, 370 pages
Published by Ballantine Books
Publication Date: October 8, 2013
Buy it: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository |
Rating: 2/5 Stars


Synopsis: ’Tis the season for romance, second chances, and Christmas cheer with this new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber.

Carrie Slayton, a big-city society-page columnist, longs to write more serious news stories. So her editor hands her a challenge: She can cover any topic she wants, but only if she first scores the paper an interview with Finn Dalton, the notoriously reclusive author. 

Living in the remote Alaskan wilderness, Finn has written a megabestselling memoir about surviving in the wild. But he stubbornly declines to speak to anyone in the press, and no one even knows exactly where he lives.

Digging deep into Finn’s past, Carrie develops a theory on his whereabouts. It is the holidays, but her career is at stake, so she forsakes her family celebrations and flies out to snowy Alaska. When she finally finds Finn, she discovers a man both more charismatic and more stubborn than she even expected. And soon she is torn between pursuing the story of a lifetime and following her heart.

Filled with all the comforts and joys of Christmastime, Starry Night is a delightful novel of finding happiness in the most surprising places.


Thank you to Netgalley.com and Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine for my electronic copy of Starry Night by Debbie Macomber.


This book has everything you want out of a romance novel without the sex. I can't say that I didn't like this book but I can't say that I  really liked it either. It's a good book to read while you're in between books, or if you have absolutely nothing to do. Considering how short this book was, I felt that the plot was rushed and it had too many clichés.

Strengths/Likes: 

1) I love the peculiar gifts that Finn gives to Carrie, instead of the traditional flowers and chocolates. These items made Finn more real to me, because everyone has weird quirks and different ways of thinking, and in use of these gifts it made Finn more unambiguous.

2) In this novel, Carrie is the stronger person in the relationship and even when Finn tries to back off, instead of doing the expected thing and give up on him and blame herself, she stuck with it and continued to pursue him. She was a strong woman who fought for her man, and I can definitely appreciate that.  

3) This book did give me moments where I did feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It made me think of the holidays, my family, and being a kid.

Weaknesses/Dislikes: 

1) The book was so short and the plot moved so fast that it was difficult to get into the couple's relationship. One minute he can't stand her, the next minute she's melted his heart and they are practically living together. I know fast romances are expected in romance novels but this was too rushed for me. I like to see relationships build up with more than just flippant resistance.

2) I know that in a lot of books it's important for the author to establish how the title is connected to the story but this one was just corny and cringe worthy. The reason I find it so corny is because the first time it is mentioned is when Carrie is talking to Finn's mother, and Finn isn't present than later Finn says the exact same line later. I understand that this was most likely written this way to show how perfect the couple is for one another but it was too much.

3) The foundation of the plot is rested on Carrie needing to interview Finn so she can write about whatever she wants at her job..does How To Lose A Guy in Ten Days sound familiar to anyone?

4) For a man with abandonment issues, and a long history of not trusting women, to me it's not realistic that a strange woman changes that in two days. Considering on the first day they met, he abhorred her.

5) This book does a lot of telling, instead of showing. Instead of being told about Carrie and Finn's feelings I would have preferred more scenes of interaction.

6) The book is written in third person, but the author tried to individualize Carrie and Finn's voices. In my opinion, they sounded too similar, and if it wasn't for telling me he was a guy, I would have assumed I was in the mind of a woman. He's supposed to be this outdoor, man's man, kind of guy but with this writing style I didn't get that vibe.

Favorite Quotes/Moments: 

1)"Although she should be exhausted, Carrie found her mind racing. 'He's not going to give me the interview,' she told the dog, rolling onto her backside and staring up at the log beams of the ceiling.

'Maybe I will interview you,' she said, and gently petted Hennessey's head.

The dog rested his chin against her knee in a move that both comforted and warmed her.

'Okay, Hennessey, tell me what it's like living with the great Finn Dalton, esteemed author of Alone.'

She waited, pretending to listen to his answer.

'You can't mean to say you actually like spending countless hours with such a cantankerous owner? I'm wrong, you say, and he really isn't as bad as I assume? Frankly, I find that hard to believe! Oh, I'm sure you're right, Finn Dalton can be civil, but unfortunately he sees me as an evil threat and he wants to boot me out of here as fast as he can. I know, I know, it's a shame we couldn't have reached an understanding. It's only a matter of time, you know, before others track him down.'

Again she paused as though taking in the dogs comments.

'Yes, I hear you. To you he's a good guy, but to me he's rude and arrogant and a narcissist. Oh sorry, narcissist is a big word. It means he's completely hung up on himself.'

A loud snort came from the other room, which was a sure sign Finn was listening in on their conversation."

2) "'You realize I'm going to be worrying about you with this guy the entire time you're out with him.'

His words cheered her considerably. 'I'm glad to hear it.'

'You are?'

'Well, sure. It will keep you on your toes. If this kind of competition continues, I could end up with a can opener that matches that toaster.'"

Monday, July 29, 2013

Shadows (Rephiam 1) by Paula Weston *some spoilers*

5/5 Stars
Details of the Book
eARC, 400 pages.
Published by Tundra Books (Paula's U.S. Publisher)
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Text Publishing |

Synopsis as taken from Goodreads.com: It's almost a year since Gaby Winters watched her twin brother die. In the sunshine of a new town her body has healed, but her grief is raw and constant. It doesn't help that every night in her dreams she fights and kills hell-beasts. And then Rafa comes to town. Not only does he look exactly like the guy who's been appearing in Gaby's dreams, he tells her things about her brother and her life that cannot be true, things that are dangerous. Who is Rafa? Who are the Rephaim? And who is Gaby? The truth lies in the shadows of her nightmares.

Thank you Netgalley.com and Tundra books for my electronic version of Shadows. 

Shadows is a swift, sexy, and exciting novel. At first I was a bit wary because the book started with our protagonist Gabby having horrible nightmares, and cases of paranoia and after reading Deceived by Julie Anne Lindsey, I was afraid I was walking into the same thing. Boy, was I wrong. I couldn't put the book down, and by the end of it I was dying for more. 

My only word of caution is that this is not a children's book. I say this because there is a lot of profanity and sexual situations. 


Strengths/Likes: 

1) The dialogue in this novel really stood out for me. It was witty, funny, sexy, and sounded very natural. Honestly, it was difficult not to highlight all of the dialogue in this book because it was just so great. The only thing that could have made it better is if the characters were real and I could physically watch and listen to them interact. *crosses fingers for movie deal*

2) The plot: It was really fast-paced, never allowing a dull moment. The scenes without any action sequences didn't feel bland or boring. I never wanted to rush ahead or skip anything. I thrived off all the details of the plot. 

Secondly, there is a lot of detail in this novel but not enough that it was overwhelming because it was well spread out through it's 384 pages (at least in the version I had). The detail accommodated all of the many characters, plot twists, and events of the book. If you've read my other reviews, you know that I hate it when an author incorporates too many characters that I don't feel add anything to the plot. You won't find that in this book. 

3) This novel is sexy, and not in the romance novel/porn way, but there was real chemistry and sensuality between the characters in this book. Even before the main couple emerges. 

4) I'm not big on vulgarity but in the case of this novel, I feel like it really works. It's not overkill where it feels like the author is trying to hard, but it's not underdone to the point where you think the author is intentionally avoiding any kind of curse or profanity. But on a side-note, it's not for the kiddies or anyone who has a problem with blasphemy. 

Weaknesses/Dislikes: 

1)  In comparison to how face-paced and intense the whole book was, I felt that the ending was unfulfilling. It just ended. Maybe I'm asking too much but after going through the roller coaster of this book, I wanted more satisfaction at the end.  

Favorite Quotes/Moments (spoiler alert): 

1) "'How do you this stuff?'

'I studied religion for a year.'

'You did not.'

He flicks through the pages, head down. 'I got mixed messages about religion when I was younger. I wanted to find out a few things for myself. A year was enough. It's not like I went into the seminary.' He gives Maggie a quick smile. 'It was just a couple of subjects at uni.'

Maggie is sitting on the tables, seining her legs. 'I think it's sexy.'

'Wow,' I say. 'Religion as foreplay.'"

2) 'Gabe,' Rafa says, and I bite my lip. 'I know. I'll take care of it.' He leans closer. His T-shirt is twisted between my fingers. 'It's been a long time since you asked me for anything. I'm not going to fuck it up.'

'Any chance you could ease up on being an arsehole for a while as well?'

'That I can't promise.'

3) "I like the way he says 'we.' Like there's no option except the two of us doing this together."

4) 'So why wouldn't Gabe forgive you?' I hate talking about myself in the third person, but I have to: she's not me. 

His fingers lightly brush my skin. 'I told you,' he says, 'you and me, we haven't been on good terms for a long time. So if I took advantage of the fact you don't remember why, and then you got your memory back…' He gives me a grim smile. 'You'd probably make a coin purse out of my balls.

'Nah,' I say lightly, like his rejection doesn't sting. 'I'd want something big enough to carry more than five-cent pieces.'

Friday, July 26, 2013

When the World was Flat (and we were in love) by Ingrid Jonach Review


ebook, 277 pages
Published by Ingrid Jonach
Original Release: September 3, 2013 
New Edition Publication Date: January 1, 2015
Buy it: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository |
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Synopsis: When I look back later, I’ll wonder if I had an inkling that my life was about to go from ordinary to extraordinary. I like to think of it as BT and AT—Before Tom and After Tom.

When sixteen-year-old Lillie Hart meets the gorgeous and mysterious Tom Windsor-Smith for the first time, it’s like fireworks—for her, anyway. Tom looks as if he'd be more interested in watching paint dry; as if he's bored by her and by her small Nebraskan town in general.

But as Lillie begins to break down the walls of his seemingly impenetrable exterior, she starts to suspect that he holds the answers to her reoccurring nightmares and to the impossible memories which keep bubbling to the surface of her mind—memories of the two of them, together and in love.

When she at last learns the truth about their connection, Lillie discovers that Tom's been hiding an earth-shattering secret; a secret that's bigger—and much more terrifying and beautiful—than the both of them. She also discovers that once you finally understand that the world is round, there's no way to make it flat again.

*This review has been updated due to it's re-release. Thank you Ingrid Jonach for my new edition copy of your ebook*

An epic and deeply original sci-fi romance, taking inspiration from Albert Einstein’s theories and the world-bending wonder of true love itself.

This is by far the most unique book I have read in 2013. After rereading it, I still love the depth of it's plot and the main couple Tom and Lillie. It was probably the first parallel universe book I have read and rereading again now two years later has not changed my affection towards it. I don't read a lot of sci-fi and admittedly I have generally avoided it but this book made me regret that. This book does have the typical characteristics of a YA novel, a protagonist with low self-esteem who has been a subject of bullying and has an otherworldly love interest who's gorgeous and rich and only has eyes for her. Don't let this deter you from reading it it stands on it's own in plot and in emotion.

Strengths/Likes: 

1) As I already stated, the plot of this book is very unique. Using Albert Einstein's theories to explain the feelings of déjà vu and Lillie's memories made the whole story more realistic. Therefore, making this book easier to understand as well as really get into the characters thoughts and emotions. The plot felt so real that it was eerie. It's an amazing feat to make the plot of this book feel real, but Jonach accomplished this beautifully.

2) I loved Jonach's writing style, she used simple vocabulary but the way she arranged them invoked strong imagery and voice of her main character. Here are a few examples of what I mean:

"Green Grove, Nebraska, has a population of four thousand, six hundred and something, which results in about two degrees of separation between the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker."

"My mother makes herbal teas that are akin to dirty dishwater."

"The tan seat covers sag like granny panties under my body weight."

"I consult the filing cabinet of my mind, looking for a reason for the familiarity, but find locked drawer after locked drawer."

"I survey the sweeping staircase with its ornate banister that looks like it had been hand-carved from mahogany or some other expensive, well-oiled timber."

"These last three words are said with a what-the-fuck tone."

3) Almost all of the characters follow under the typical YA cliches. There is the main character who is our classic Mary Sue. She doesn't find her self to be pretty, she's not popular, but catches the attention for male main character who is the hottest guy in school as well as the richest. One of our heroine's best friend is an outgoing skank, that used to be close with the most popular girl in school and now are mortal enemies. Also, Lillie's other best friend is withdrawn and in a lot of ways jealous of Lillie. The true greatness about these stereotypical YA teens is that each one are well-rounded and with distinct voices that makes it easy to overlook their commonplace personalities.

4) The plot of this book is very unusual but it all centers around one thing: love. The relationship between Tom and Lillie is truly heart-wrenching. I caught myself tearing up on more than one occasion. A truly tragic and beautiful story about young lovers.

Weaknesses/Dislikes: 

1) The author reused a couple of phrases and words and I felt like the book would have benefited if she had branched out from this especially a book this small. She uses the expression "the former and the ladder" seven times; "ball of twine" nine times, "bite the bullet" a couple times; and the word "guffaw" four times.

If this had been a longer book maybe I wouldn't have noticed but especially Jonach's symbolic phrase "ball of twine" that is introduced from the beginning of the book, I felt that the author really wanted to drive this piece of imagery into the reader's head and I don't think it's necessary.

2) It could be that I'm just slow but I had a hard time following the theories that explained the changes in Lillie. I don't want to go into too much detail because the plot is so unique that I don't want to spoil it but I felt that the author could have helped us readers more by writing more physical encounters with the sci-fi elements in this book to bring further understanding.

3) I kept waiting for an action scene that would amp up the climax of this plot. I know that the author tried to keep her sci-fi elements ordinary for them to be real but I just kept waiting for that little bit of extra umpf that would make me go crazy with worry and adrenaline.

Favorite Quotes/Moments: 

1) I quoted earlier of this first section in the book, where someone's tone is described as "what-the-fuck." Call it the outsider teenager in me but I love it when a Queen Bee/Homecoming Queen is put into her place.

2) Jackson and Tom's fight. I'll only give a small snippet of it but the entire scene from Jackson's action of peer pressure was great. Here is the quote:

"'Lillie! Are you OK?' It was Tom. His voice is hoarse, like someone has their hands around his throat.

I  nod, thankful my hair provides a curtain on either side of my face. 

I hear a sudden scuffle and realize it's the sound of Jackson being pulled from his seat.

"What the fuck were you thinking? Tom shouts. "You could have killed her!"

I turn to see Tom pushing Jackson to the ground and following through with his fist. Once. Twice. The swings cut through the air and connect with well-practiced precision. 

3) "We're surrounded by lilies; tiger lilies, oriental lilies, asiatic lilies. They sprout from pots at our feet or hang in baskets above our heads and I realize we were in a greenhouse. 

I follow Tom to the edge of a small pond. It's also filled with lilies--water lilies. The sunlight filters through the glass walls and ceiling, making the surface of the pond sparkle. 

I watch a goldfish swim lazily between the lily pads, as Tom sits on the concrete wall that circles the pond. He dips a hand into the dazzling water and splashes me, making me squeal. He laughs as I splash him back and as he does, I know this a dream. Tom laughing? As if. 

I'm scooping up another handful of water when he grabs my arms and pulls me towards him. My heart flutters as I lean in for a kiss and at that moment, I wake."


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Deceived by Julie Anne Lindsey ARC Review *Spoiler Alert*


1.5/5 Stars
Details of the Book
eARC, 322 pages
Published by Merit Press
Published on August 18, 2013
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository |

Synopsis as taken from Goodreads.com:When Elle's father, a single parent and a big shot in corporate insurance, moves her to yet another boarding school for senior year, Elle is disgusted when nothing changes. Her night terrors don't go away, and, soon, despite her father's caring calls and visits, Elle starts to believe she's losing her mind. She knows she's being followed; a ribbon is tied around her doorknob, and there are those cigarette butts that keep turning up on the doormat, in violation of a strict smoking ban on campus. Then there's Bryan, an intriguing boy Elle meets at a flea market and later finds out is a student at her school. Yet on campus, he pretends he doesn't recognize her - until the day he divulges just how much danger she's in. In her search for an answer to all the madness, Elle unravels the truth about her dad's real identity, why someone has lied to her all her life, and the terrifying truth that she may be the only one who can save her from the one who's following her now.

First off, I would like to say thank you to Netgalley, and Merit Press of  F+W/Adams Media for giving me my electronic copy of Deceived. 

When reading any ARC I ignore all typing errors and grammar problems, but even pushing those aspects of the book aside, I thought this book was discombobulated. There were so many details and characters, in my opinion, that didn't work. Towards the end of the book, I felt that it was starting to finally pick up but by then, for me, it was too late.

Strengths/Likes: 

1) The plot itself is very unique. I love that instead of using a detective or police officers in this mystery/crime novel, that Lindsey chose U.S. Marshalls. I don't think many people know much about them or their lives. Not to mention it made the male lead a lot sexier in detail haha.

2) The end was chilling, I was very scared through the entire encounter with Miles. It was very well written and creepy.

Weaknesses/Dislikes (SPOILERS): 

1) I felt that the plot was very predictable. I'm not sure if it was the author's intention or not but it was pretty easy to see that Elle's mother's death was not an accident. Why else would Elle's father instill in her how dangerous the world is? And what other explanation is there for her traumatizing dream that has deprived her of sleep for years and in turn made her a caffeine addict?

2) I had to read the beginning over a few times because it was written in such a confusing way. There are not many voice tags which is fine, but in order for that to work the characters have to have distinct voices, and they don't. So it was really confusing to tell who was speaking.

3) There were a couple of things in the plot that didn't add up for me. If Elle was being watched her entire life by U.S. Marshalls, how come they didn't notice the killer smoking on her door step? It says that there were numerous cigarette butts on her doormat every day, if she constantly under guard someone should have seen this person.
             "Pixie left the butts for evidence as she searched for the culprit. We were up to seven pieces of evidence" (7).
               If Nicholas was set to watch and scout everyone around Elle, how could he not have noticed the seven cigarette butts on her doormat while knowing that neither Elle nor Pixie smoked?

Secondly, maybe I'm not too familiar with the U.S. Marshall job profession but I don't think it is very likely that when a family of the Marshall that was working on a dangerous case becomes compromised that they would allow that officer to continue working on the case, let alone be separated from his daughter. From my understanding, they would have taken Elle's father off the case and moved him and her together and both would have new identities, and her father a new/fake occupation until the killer was snatched.

Third, undercover agents information should be incredibly hard to find. Let alone specific details about his family. I understand that Nicholas was a Marine first so his info could be public record. Additionally, I understand that this is a YA novel, and the couple needs time together, but there is no way that the U.S. Marshalls would have allowed Nicholas to be in a relationship with his ward let alone, remain on the case. Especially since she was below the legal age limit.

4) I felt that Elle's paranoia was a little melodramatic in the first half of the novel. Besides her re-accuring dream, the reader is given no indication as to why she is so paranoid and scared of everything.  I wanted more details of trauma, flash backs, something that would have it make more sense as to why she was afraid of everything.

5) There was no build to the main couples relationship. One minute they are strangers, who keep stalking one another, and then bam, they're in love. It all happened too quickly, and I didn't have enough detail as to why the clung to one another. I get that Nicholas has basically known about her his entire life, and before meeting her knew a lot about her, that still doesn't make for good chemistry.

5) One of the big climatic moments in this novel was already revealed before Elle realized it. When Elle is fighting with her father over why he didn't tell her about her mother he says, "What was I to do? Tell my six-year-old daughter who'd just seen her mother abducted and run off into the night that I should've been more careful?" (225). Then later in the book Elle has a moment of realization: "I whimpered, 'I was there,' wanting it not to be true" (279). Her father had already told her that she saw her mother be abducted, why didn't she ask about this then? I get that this is Elle finally remembering the incident but it would have been better if her father hadn't already mentioned this detail.

6) I mentioned earlier about this book being discombobulated, they might just be copying errors but there were a couple that stood out to me.

    "The seat enveloped me. Time alone with him put me at ease. I dozed all the way back to our little house on the river.
   When we pulled into the drive, he just sat there. He shut down the engine but made new room to move to leave.
    When I woke up, he was poking at his phone, Bluetooth in ear, seat rolled back, one foot on the dash. The clock read 4:45" (199).

            If she was asleep, how would she know that he stopped the car and didn't try to move?

Earlier than this last scene, Pixie and Elle are telling their friends about their trip to Elton where they meet Brian/Nicholas, and at first the reason for them being out on this trip was stated as: "The trip had been Pixie's idea. She'd said a road trip was the perfect summer's-end celebration because it wasn't every day that a girl became a senior. In our case, two girls. I was all moved in with nowhere to be, so she'd pressed me to get out of town with her for the day" (10).

Then, two pages later Elle says, "It was the strangest birthday I ever had" (12). Making it seem like they were out to celebrate her birthday.

Favorite Quotes/Moments: 

1)"'I took one look at him and said, "Well, all I wanted was a coffee, but I'll go for this.'" (11).

2)"'What can I get you?' Nicholas whispered to me, turning us toward the kitchen. He pulled out a chair at the island. I sat.
  'Nothing." I was busy freaking out inside. No time to eat.
  'Yeah?' He picked up a plate and filled it with a croissant, a muffin, and a tiny bowl of fruit. He set down the plate in front of me and winked.'" (245).

3)"'I don't like that kid.' Nicholas bumped me with his arm.

  I leaned forward, smiling widely at Nicholas's flat expression.

  'What's there not to like? Say here he got a lacrosse scholarship.' I feigned interest in the card, holding it over my face.

   'That kid's a marshmallow.'

   'And yet amazingly age-appropriate.' I peeked around the card.

   Nicholas's mouth twitched. Deep green eyes bore into mine. 'Which would matter if you weren't already in a highly inappropriate relationship.'

   I pulled my lips to one side. 'A relationship, huh?' My tummy knotted with the thrill and possibilities loaded into that statement.

  'Come here.' Nicholas flipped me onto the mattress and hovered over me, one hand poised at my ribs. 'Do you have a problem with that? You can call it whatever you want, but the bottom line is I saw you first.'" (286).

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky #2) by Veronica Rossi Review

4/5 Stars
Details of the Book
Hardcover, 341 pages
Published by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers
Publication Date: January 8, 2013
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository |

Synopsis as taken from GoodReads.com: It's been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with an impossible mission. Now, finally, they are about to be reunited. But their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don't take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening Aether storms threatening the tribe's precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both. Threatened by false friends, hidden enemies, and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder,Can their love survive through the ever night? In this second book in her spellbinding Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi combines fantasy and dystopian elements to create a captivating love story as perilous as it is unforgettable.

All of my answers from the previous book have been answered in this sequel. As much as I love this book, I still think that it suffers from second book slump as many trilogies do. There are other interesting characters involved as well as the reappearance of others that I didn't expect that pulled the book forward and wove in well to the rest of the plot the book left me wanting more...and not entirely in a good way.

Strengths/Likes:

1) In a lot of YA novels, I have found that a lot of the time the heroine is the one with all of the insecurities that clouds their judgement leading them to make poor decisions. This novel, it's the opposite, it's not Aria with all of the insecurities, but Perry. Not only is this refreshing, it's realistic. In all relationships, each person has insecurities and they influence the couple's relationship. Although I was a little peeved at Perry, I liked how the descriptions and scenes of his insecurity really provided more depth to his character.

2) All of the relationships were illustrated and described very well. I felt like I could really see and feel the characters feelings towards one another as their relationships developed, whether it was a friendly, loving, or hateful relationship.

3) This novel picks up right where the first one ended with undisrupted flow. I felt it very easy to jump right into this one.

4) The dual point-of-view continues to make this trilogy three-dimensional and very easy to feel and understand what the two main characters are going through. I really felt like I was in both Perry and Aria's heads.

5) I also said this about the first novel that Perry and Aria's relationship is not the main thing that moves the plot a long. Of course they are a large focal point, there are other things that pushes the plot forward.

6) I was impressed with Soren's character. I really didn't believe redemption was possible, but I really bought into his back story and wanted to know more.

7) Roar and Aria's friendship: I'm so glad that finally a boy and a girl have been best friends in the novel without any sexual tension happening between them. Society as well as popular media make it seem like a guy and a girl can't be best friends without ending up having romantic feelings for another.


Weaknesses/Dislikes (spoiler alert):

1) This book moved much slower than the other novel. Throughout the middle section of the book, I was bored and just kept waiting for something to happen.

2) I felt like a lot of the events in this novel were too easy. Almost everything has a proper and generally happy resolution. I'm all for happy endings, but in a dystopia novel it's not likely. There are of course a couple of exceptions to this, but otherwise it was hard to take a lot of the dramatic scenes at full value because of how simply things were resolved.

3) Too many characters with a lot of them being too similar. Maybe I missed something but I felt like a lot of the minor characters sounded so similar in personality it was hard to keep up with who was who.

4) Although, I liked Soren in this novel I felt like he was too similar to Peter in Veronica Roth's, Insurgent in their redemption with the exception that Peter was not fully redeemed and still kept his asshole status, which I found more interesting.

Favorite Moments/Quotes: 

1) 
" 'Roar's smile widened. 'I know. You missed me.'
She rolled her eyes. 'It's barely been three week since I saw you.'
'Miserable stretch of time.' he said" (30).

2) "'Do you ever miss anything?'
Perry smiled. 'You, all the time" (99).

3) "'Who was it?' He searched the faces around him.
No one answered.
'Do you think silence will protect you?' He walked past Rowan and Old Will, moving through the crowd, pumping air into his lungs. Inhaling.
Sifting.
Searching.
'Do you have any idea how loud guilt is to me?'" (115).

4) "She san a song he knew this time--one she'd sung to him when they'd been at Marron's together. It was a message from her. A reminder--here among hundreds of people--of a moment that had been theirs alone" (81).

Monday, July 8, 2013

Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky #1) by Veronica Rossi review *some spoilers*

5/5 Stars
Details of the Book
Hardcover, 374 pages
Published by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers
Publication Date: February 7, 2012
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository |


Synposis as taken from GoodReads.com: WORLDS KEPT THEM APART.

DESTINY BROUGHT THEM TOGETHER.

Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she's never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim.

Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He's searching for someone too. He's also wild - a savage - but might be her best hope at staying alive.

If they can survive, they are each other's best hope for finding answers.


As a reader and writer, I don't personally prefer anything written in third-person. Although many of my writing professors have told me that third-person is better because you can provide the reader with a wider-scope of information. I agree with this statement but I also find that third-person is very detached--in third-person the reader is told what the character is feeling as opposed to being in the character's shoes and feeling their emotions. I still prefer the first-person prospective but I found that in reading Under the Never Sky that I was not completely right about this writing style because I did feel the characters' emotions, and in some ways I understood their thoughts and actions better than in third person.

Strengths/Likes:

1) This book follows both Perry and Aria's point-of-view, providing the reader with a well rounded understanding of the setting, plot, and all of the characters' ways of seeing and understanding things. Also, both characters had very distinctive voices. As I have said in my review of The Fault in Our Stars, it's very difficult to be able to dual point-of-views without the characters sounding too much alike. I didn't find that to be a problem with this book. The two characters are so opposite in personality that it was clear who was speaking, feeling, and acting.

2) I enjoyed the building of Aria and Perry's relationship. It was interesting to read a couple that really resented each other develop into a strong bond. I can't think of any book that I have read where the couple for a long period of time disliked one another and then was written so well for the reader to be able to see that it's developing into something more than hate. For example, in Harry Potter, I saw no build to Hermione and Ron becoming a couple. They were always bickering and fighting, and then boom they have feelings for each other, I felt more chemistry between Hermione and Harry than between the actual couple.

3) The book was more than just Aria and Perry's relationship. There were other plot lines that wove together to form the entire plot. Although Aria and Perry are obviously a major plot-line, the book didn't purely move forward because of their relationship. There were other relationships, problems, actions that pushed the book onward. Life is more than just the person you are with, you have family, friends, enemies so I think that this book illustrated all of that very well.

4) As I said earlier, this book really opened my mind more towards the third-person perspective. The most recent third-person series I read was Harry Potter, but since then I have strictly stuck to first-person writing, because all of the other third-person perspectives I have encountered have been unfulfilling for me.

Weakness/Dislikes (spoiler alert):

1) This book needs more description. This is probably my main problem with this book, because to me there are a lot of things that are unclear.  I had a problem understanding Aether storms, to me it sounds like lightening that strikes at random, but I don't understand how it's constantly brewing and why is there is no rain, clouds, and what about the sun? Is it visible when it's light out? Also, why are aether storms drawn to the medicinal suit but not the Smarteye?

Another problem I have is why is that the Dwellers smell so bad? Specifically why do they smell like they are dying? And how does Aria's female body changes suddenly wipe all of that away? Another thing...was Aria just bleeding all over the place or did Perry teach her how to use a tampon? Did they have tampons or were they using make-shift pads? It was all very confusing.

Lastly, if Aria is half Outsider and half Dweller how did Lumina conceive her? Did she have sex, and then hide her belly from all the other scientist and Consul Hess? Or did she extract sperm from Aria's father and then create her? It doesn't seem logically that Aria's mom should be able to conceive normally since she always lived in the Pods. Hopefully the second book and the upcoming third book will answer these questions.

Favorite Quotes/Moments:

1) "Perry remembered what she'd said in her room. We could miss them together. She'd been right. It had been easer with her. Perry placed his right hand on hers. 'Are you alright?' he whispered. It wasn't what he wanted to know. Of course she wasn't alright. What he wanted to know if the together part still mattered t her. Because even though she was confused and sorry and angry, it still mattered to him." (266).

2) "'What are you doing?' she asked.

 'I can't concentrate. I thought I could do this.' He put his hands up in defeat. 'Can't.' Then he came closer. Aria didn't think her heart could beat any faster, but then it did, faster with every step he took toward her until it hammered against her chest, making her breathless when he stopped right in front of her. Her wooden blade rested on his chest. She stared at it, her heart in her throat. She stared at the way it pressed into his shirt.

  'I've been watching you and Roar. Wanting it to be me training with you.' His shoulders came up. 'I don't want to do it now.'

 'Why?' Aria's voice was high and thin.

   He smiled, a flash of shyness, before he leaned close. 'There are other things I'd rather do when I'm alone with you' (296-297).

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green Review (Spoiler Alert)


The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Hardcover, 313 pages
Published by Dutton Books
Published on January 10, 2012
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Synopsis: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten. 





*Updated review*

A lovely story about two sick people who are in love with each other. I'm not ashamed to admit that when I first read this I cried. It's simple and snarky and makes you want to re-evaluate your own life and appreciate the little things.

On the downside, I feel like Augustus and Hazel are the same person. They talk and think in the same way and if you took away their names, I wouldn't be able to tell who is who.

*Original review*

Being on Tumblr, I heard a lot about this book before it ever made it's way into my hands. How ironic that I read this book today, July 2nd, the same date that Augustus Waters dies. And it really feels like he died today; reading about him, he felt like he was my friend and his death really hurts me. The best way I could describe this novel would be to say that it was a terribly lovely story about the truth of cancer victims.

I was naive enough to believe that since I knew going into this novel that it was sad and there would be death, that it wouldn't effect me so much. And yet here I am, writing this, minutes after finishing it, with tear-stained cheeks and my heart aching.

Likes/Strengths:

1) What I like most about this book is that it's not written in beautiful, flowing, language. Its diction is not inspirational and filled with cliches. It's awkward, disjointed, and realistic. The voices are the characters are ones that we could find in our own friends and families. The language makes the whole story so real, that it feels like it's being retold to you by your good friend Hazel. Don't get me wrong, it's not Hazel (the protagonist) telling us what happens, the book is written as if you were with Hazel as her and Gus' story was unfolding.

2) This book really played with my emotions..there was a lot of morbid humor, which made me laugh but at the same time feel weird about laughing about something so sad. So, in a way, I felt kind of insane while reading this book because one minute I'm laughing, and the next I'm crying. I guess that's how life and death really is though, one minute you're laughing with your loved one, the next you're crying at their funeral, or they are at yours.

3) As I briefly described earlier, all of the characters were written in a way that the felt familiar. This is rare, I felt like I knew all of these people in person. As if I had heard of them before I opened the book. To me this book focused more on each character's personalities instead of their looks. Which, at the end of the day, in my opinion, is all that matters.

4) Two of my favorite scenes in this novel is Issac and Augustus playing video games, while Issac is hysterical, and the prefuneral. It was amazing how realistic and ridiculous both of these scenes are.

5) I love how ordinary the characters in this book are, they did ordinary teenage things like play video games, and played sports. It was their ordinaryness...that made it all so real. They were not extraordinary because they were battling cancer, they were extraordinary because all they wanted were things that us healthy people take for granted.

6) This book beat the hell out of the typical cliches that comes with these types of novels. There is no grand death, or huge romantic gestures. It's just about simple teenagers, who are slowly dying who try their best to just live.


Dislikes/Weaknesses:

1) I felt the same way Hazel did at the end of An Imperial Infliction, I wanted to know what happens to the other characters. I wanted to know how long Hazel clung on to life, did her and Issac end up as a couple through their grief? Did they ever hear from Monica after they egged her car?

2) I wanted more moments between Augustus and Hazel. More stolen moments in between both of them being watched heavily by their family members.

3) The pace of the book for me was very slow, probably because I already knew that someone had to die, and therefore took away the climax of the novel.

4) I felt that Augustus and Hazel were too similar in the way they spoke and thought. Maybe this was intended but it was like they were one mind. Their main difference between them was that Gus felt that it was shameful to die without some type of glorious act that are displayed in movies like 300. While Hazel felt that someone's life worth relied on those other people who cared about you. Getting back to my point, besides this main difference between the two of them, if it wasn't for the label at the beginning of each chapter of whose point-of-view I was reading, I wouldn't have been able to tell the difference.

5) The writing style is so pretentious that it comes off forced. It's one thing to have a wide vocabulary but Augusts's and Hazel's vernacular sounds like two people trying to sound more intelligent and sophisticated to a point it doesn't match their characters.


Favorite Moments/Quotes: 

1) 
"Augustus Waters talked so much that he'd interrupt you at his own funeral. And he was pretentious: Sweet Jesus Christ, that kid never took a piss without pondering the abundant metaphorical resonances of human waste production. And he was vain: I do not believe I have ever met a more physically attractive person who was more acutely aware of his own physical attractiveness. But I will say this: When the scientist of the future show up at my house with robot eyes and they tell me to try them on, I will tell the scientists to screw off, because I do not want to see a world without him."

2) "Hazel Grace, when you're as charming and physically attractive as myself, it's easy enough to win over people you meet. But getting strangers to love you...now, that's the trick."

3) "The pleasure of remembering had been taken from me, because there was no longer anyone to remember it with. It felt like losing your co-rememberer meant losing the memory itself, as if the things we'd done were less real and important than hours before."

4) “Without pain, how could we know joy?' This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate.” 

5) "'I can only hope,' Julie said, turning back to Gus, 'they grow into the kind of thoughtful, intelligent young men you've become.'
   
      I resisted the urge to audibly gag. 'He's not that smart,' I said to Julie. 

     'She's right, It's just that the most really good-looking people are stupid, so I exceed expectations.'

     'Right, it's primarily his hotness.' I said. 

     'It can be sort of blinding,' he said.

     'It actually did blind our friend Issac,' I said. 

     'Terribly tragedy, that. But can I help my own deadly beauty?'

     'You cannot.'

     'It is my burden, this beautiful face.'

     'Not to mention your body.'

     'Seriously, don't even get me started on my hot bod. You don't want to see me naked, Dave. Seeing me naked actually took Hazel Grace's breath away,' he said, nodding toward the oxygen tank."