Tag: bookreview

Because You Love to Hate Me Review

Because You Love to Hate Me, edited by Ameriie

51hnhs2bg8hl-_sx327_bo1204203200_Summary

Leave it to the heroes to save the world–villains just want to rule the world.

In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains’ points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like “Medusa,” Sherlock Holmes, and “Jack and the Beanstalk” provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains’ acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage–and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!

Featuring writing from . . .

Authors: Renée Ahdieh, Ameriie, Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Sarah Enni, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon,Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, April Genevieve Tucholke, and Nicola Yoon
BookTubers: Benjamin Alderson (Benjaminoftomes), Sasha Alsberg (abookutopia), Whitney Atkinson (WhittyNovels), Tina Burke (ChristinaReadsYA blog and TheLushables), Catriona Feeney (LittleBookOwl), Jesse George (JessetheReader), Zoë Herdt (readbyzoe), Samantha Lane (Thoughts on Tomes), Sophia Lee (thebookbasement), Raeleen Lemay (padfootandprongs07), Regan Perusse (PeruseProject), Christine Riccio (polandbananasBOOKS), and Steph Sinclair & Kat Kennedy (Cuddlebuggery blog and channel).

Summary from Goodreads

My Thoughts

Because You Love to Hate Me was one of my most anticipated books to read in the year of 2017, and I really enjoyed it. I’m not the type of person to rate each individual story in an anthology separately, but I will list some of my favorites: The Sea Witch, by Marissa Meyer; Shirley and Jim, by Susan Dennard; Sera, by Nicola Yoon; Death Knell, by Victoria Schwab; The Blood of Imuriv, by Renee Ahdieh. There were some stories that disappointed me, but overall I really enjoyed this anthology. I also appreciated the variety of perspectives and genres! We has stories told from third person, second, and first! It was so much fun to discover new authors that I may have never heard of or read, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time reading. In fact, I read this book in only two sittings over the course of two days–that’s saying something! Overall, I give BYLTHM 4/5 stars!

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The Astonishing Color of After Review

The Astonishing Color of After, by Emily X. R. Pan

35604686Summary

Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.

Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.

Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.

Summary from Goodreads.

My Thoughts

Thank you to TheNovl for sending me a copy for review.

The Astonishing Color of After was one of the most thought-provoking, powerful novels I’ve read in a very long time. Our main character, Leigh, really captures what it’s like to be a teenager in the 21st century, battling family time, friendships, art, and school in addition to life in general. In the beginning of the story, we find out that while her mother was dying, she was kissing her best friend, Axel. Because of her newfound desire to learn more about her grandparents, she and her father visit them in Taiwan. There, Leigh discovers a lot about her family’s past.

The family dynamics really took the front seat in this novel, and that was possibly my favorite element. We don’t often see what it’s like to be a normal family that argues, forgives, and loves. The author really took an average family and showed it to the readers! Leigh struggles with her relationships in terms of her parents, and that’s shown really well. Even the friendships we see are accurate: Axel and Leigh’s relationship is so well done, and reflects what I see and do in terms of my own life. I’ve gushed about the characters so much, because they seem like such real people. The dialogue, the way they think and behave–it’s all so familiar.

The story is not quite magical-realism, but it does have a hint of something fantastical, and I really enjoyed this aspect of the story. It was an unexpected, but still enjoyed, addition. The setting itself is so vivid. In the majority of the novel, we are set in Taiwan. I don’t think I’ve ever read a story focused here before, and it was so interesting to see portayed! Even regular things, like apartment buildings and food, were described so well.

Finally, I must compliment the writing style. The story was told so beautifully–in vivid colors and beautiful music. Throughout the novel, we go back and forth between past memories and present day. Usually, transitions in situations like these confuse me, but the flips back and forth were done well, and fit well in terms of what was going on.

Emily tells a beautiful story that must be heard by all, because it fits so well into today’s society and today’s real people. 4.5/5 stars.

Love & Gelato Review

Love & Gelato, by Jenna Evans Welch

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Summary

“I made the wrong choice.”

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.

 

My Thoughts

Love & Gelato was a very fun, fast read. First off, I absolutely loved the setting! Discovering a taste of Italy through the novel really added to the culture and structure, and I’m so glad that it took place there! I also liked how the author primarily focused on the good in Lina’s life, but there was also the dark undertone that set the mood and pace of the story. In addition, I thought that the journal entries from Lina’s mother’s diary was a very nice touch. We follow Lina’s mother adventure in Italy, in addition to the one our main character is having present-day. However, I did have two problems with the story, the first being the fact that our characters weren’t as fleshed out as I would have liked. I really enjoy having a character who seems real, and with this story I didn’t have that feeling with either our main character or love interest. The other setback from five stars was the fact that sometimes the writing seemed a little average, but then other occasions it was very meaningful! I absolutely loved the passages that had this depth to them.

 

Overall, Love & Gelato was a very enjoyable read, and I’d recommend it to anyone who wants a fun contemporary with ad bit of a darker mood. I gave it 3/5 stars.

August 2017 Wrap-Up

August has come and gone…and as I’m writing this it is the first day of September, which means it’s Back To School for Hogwarts students! Good luck to all of you out there! 🙂 August was a great month for me, because I started school, made new friends, and just had an awesome time! Unfortunately, though, I’ve also been in a huge reading slump! This month, I read only 4 books, leaving me 3 books behind schedule for my end-of-year goal of 90 books. So, my friends, here is what I read this month, in addition to the star rating and a short summary.

Fast Facts:

Total Pages: 1,494

Books Read: 4

Average Star Rating: 4 stars

Summer Days and Summer Nights, edited by Stephanie Perkins

Summer Da91q8iuk2b3clys and Summer Nights is a short story collection by authors such as Cassandra Clare, Stephanie Perkins, Leigh Bardugo, and many more. Each story follows a different set of characters, a different summer, and a different place. Some are sweet, cute contemporaries, some have elements of magical realism, and some just hit you deep in the feels. Each story was unique, and I really enjoyed this anthology! I will be reading the winter version once the season rolls around, and I can’t wait for it! I gave this story 4/5 stars!

 

 

 

Wolf by Wolf, by Ryan Graudin 

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Wolf by Wolf follows Yael, a girl who escaped from a death camp, as she goes on a motorcycle race. This story takes place in an alternate version of WWII, where Hitler won and is now the ruler of Germany. Each year, he hosts a motorcycle race across Japanese and German territory as a commemoration for their victory. Yael enters the race as Adele, the most recent winner of the race, and a female. Using her strange ability gathered in the camp, Yael skinshifts into Adele in order to win the race and kill Hitler. This story’s plot was so unique and done very well. I enjoyed the motorcycle race aspect, and each of our characters. In the story, you really got to see how fierce competition was, and how Europe was under Hitler’s rule. Overall, I really enjoyed this story and gave it a 4/5 stars!

A List of Cages, by Robin Roe

A List of Cages 5131wb1m00l-_sx329_bo1204203200_is a great story, following a boy named Adam as he takes on an assisting job to his school’s psychologist. His first real task is to hunt down a boy who has been avoiding classes. Who else could he be, other than Julian, the foster brother Adam once had, a long time ago. They’d gone their separate ways, and now they are reunited. At first, things are similar to old times–Julian still loves the things he did then. But Julian’s also keeping a secret from Adam, and it’s a dangerous one at that. This novel was very eye-opening, and very enjoyable. There were many good times, but there were also sad points in the novel that really hit me hard. This book was out of my comfort zone because I prefer happier books, but I’m so glad that I read it! It meant a lot to me, and I think it will mean a lot to you guys, too! I gave it 4/5 stars! I also have a review on this as well.

Once and for All, by Sarah Dessen

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Once and for All follows Louna, the daughter of the famous wedding planner, Natalie Barrett. Louna has always been raised to believe that true love doesn’t exist, but she doesn’t let clients know that. After losing her first love in a traumatic event, she doesn’t trust the feeling anymore. Enter Ambrose, the enthusiastic serial-dater who, after meeting Louna, knows that he wants her. The only problem is, Louna’s not ready for anything resembling what she once had. Once and for All was probably my second favorite Dessen book ever, right behind Saint Anything. I absolutely loved our main character, and the way we found out about her past love. The story is told in both present and past tense, which usually I don’t like. However, in this case, it was very enjoyable for me. Also, the fact that Louna’s mom is a wedding planner was amazing! I’d never read a book that had that aspect, and seeing all of the weddings come together and actually happen in the story was something I found very entertaining! Overall, I gave this story 4/5 stars!

 

Eliza and Her Monsters Review

Eliza and Her Monsters, by  Francesca Zappia 

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Summary: 

Eighteen-year-old Eliza Mirk is the anonymous creator of Monstrous Sea, a wildly popular webcomic, but when a new boy at school tempts her to live a life offline, everything she’s worked for begins to crumble.

 

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, smart, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of a popular webcomic called Monstrous Sea. With millions of followers and fans throughout the world, Eliza’s persona is popular. Eliza can’t imagine enjoy

 

ing the real world as much as she loves her digital community. Then Wallace Warland transfers to her school, and Eliza begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

My Thoughts:

Eliza and Her Monsters was a powerful novel, in my opinion. I’d like to first talk about the pacing. In the beginning of the story, this novel just seemed like another contemporary. After getting around 150 pages in, more happened. We started seeing our characters deal with stress and admitting their weaknesses and their struggles, and that’s when the novel kicked off for me. That’s when I couldn’t stop reading. I read this book in two sittings, which hasn’t happened for me in a long time, and I’m so greatful for that. Secondly, I’d like to talk about our characters. Eliza was a great protagonist. She was introverted, more comfortable online rather than off. Her relationship with her siblings and parents wasn’t strong, and she didn’t have friends in school. Seeing her develop throughout the story by making friends and being more interactive with her family was such a nice touch. In lots of contemporaries, our main character is either close to their family throughout, or is distant throughout. With Eliza, she developed, which was so wonderful to read about, and it really made me think about my own relationship with friends and family. Next, I’m talking about  Monstrous Sea, our narrator’s webcomic. Throughout the novel, we get little screenshots and pieces of the web forum and of the story Eliza has created, much like Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, and I really liked this touch. The plot of MS was a little confusing for me, but I did enjoy seeing the snippets of it, as well as the illustrations. And, finally, I’m talking mental health. The idea of mental health in novels is still new to me. I don’t read many mental health novels, but when I do I enjoy them! So when Eliza struggled with anxiety, I felt like the book took on a new meaning for me. I can’t say how accurate the portrayal of anxiety is because I don’t suffer from it, but I did find that this added to the novel, and really made the story for me.

 

 

 

Overall, I loved Eliza and Her Monsters. I related to Eliza because she is a fangirl, she does have problems, she does write and sometimes she loses inspiration for her art. All of these aspects made her relatable and enjoyable to read about. I blew through Eliza, reading it in a day or so (385 pages), and I would say pick it up ASAP! 4.5/5 stars!

Melody’s Key Review

30807954Melody’s Key, by Dallas Coryell

*I was sent an e-book copy of this book by the author for free in return for an honest review*

Brief Summary

Tegan lives with her family, spending her days helping out with her family’s struggling business, making music, and reading letters of past lovers. Her life has fallen into the same routine, until a popular American musician shows up and turns her life around.

My Thoughts

This book took me forever to read, simply because it was a little slow at the beginning. This offset the book for me for a while, but then I picked it up about a week before finishing it and just powered through and LOVED IT!!

First thing I’d like to mention is the author’s writing, which I think is beautiful. All actions were described so beautifully and I just thought it added so much to the story. I also loved both our male and female main characters! I really got a good “look” at them; I felt their hobbies were outlined well, and I knew what the characters’ physical traits were, which I appreciate.
Finally, I want to mention the story line in general. I hardly read any purely romance novels, but I enjoyed this one. I loved the element of family that our main character had! She was so close with her sister and her parents were supportive of all of their children. I also loved the setting! I don’t read many books set in Europe, but this one was and I liked seeing that!

I’m not a huge romance reader, but I will say that this was a nice “introduction” to romance for readers like me, and I would definitely recommend it!

Literally, by Lucy Keating

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Brief Summary

Annabelle’s life seems pretty perfect: She’s an extremely organized teenager, with a loving family, a beautiful home, and great friends. But one day, she finds out that she is a main character in famous author Lucy Keating’s new book. A new boy, Will, is introduced and seems to be made exclusively for her, but she’s also got something going with her brother’s best friend, Elliot, who she never thought of as anything more than a nuisance. Lucy has a plan for Annabelle, but what happens if she doesn’t want to be just another character?

My Thoughts

While Literally was fun and enjoyable, it wasn’t the perfect book for me. I think that the idea of bringing book characters to life or having them find out that they are book characters seems wonderful, but it’s quite a challenging process. Both books that I have read that follow these ideas–Between the Lines and Literally–just didn’t do it for me. There are so many plot holes! How did the characters find out they were characters? How do they interact with the author? How do they “come out” of the story? Like I said, I love the idea, but I just think that there are just too many problems by the end. I did think that the characters were interesting, but they could have been developed a little more; their hobbies and styles were clear, but I didn’t really know what our main character looked like, or even what the supporting characters looked like, which I was interested in. Overall, this book was a cute contemporary, but it didn’t really please me as much as I would have liked. 3/5 stars.