Tag: review

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!

 

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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.

May 2017 Wrap-Up

Welcome to my first Wrap-Up on my page! This is for May 2017, aka the Month of New Releases. (I mean seriously?! ACOWAR, Always and Forever Lara Jean, Flame in the Mist…so many!) Below, there will be a short summary of my time reading the book, the book’s information, and a picture. These books are in order from read first to read last. Let’s go!

Fast Facts

Total Pages: 2,570

Number of Books Read: 6

Average Star Rating: 4.2

A Cacowar_usourt of Wings and Ruin, by Sarah J Maas 

Obviously I had to read ACOWAR, and I loved this conclusion! I really loved the growth in each of the characters, their banter, the fighting scenes, and the love affairs. There are some problems with this series, and I don’t ignore that, however the series is just so fun to read, the characters are just so fun to “be around” and they have so many aspects. I will say that some scenes in ACOWAR seemed added in with no previous planning, but overall the series is wonderful, the world is wonderful, the characters are wonderful, and I love it. Of course, I gave it 5/5 stars!

The Ups30653853ide of Unrequited, by Becky Albertalli 

I received this book in the April Owlcrate box and it seemed like just the perfect summery/springy read. A few aspects I loved? Definitely that our main character loved Pinterest and just making things and being generally creative and artistic, which is not a common interest in books. Another was that this book talked about things that teenagers talk about, and mentioned troubles that teenagers had. Our main character didn’t have the Stereotypical Book Body, she occasionally struggled with body image, but she was overall proud. Our love interest wasn’t perfect either–he was nerdy and awkward and overall similar to boys in real life (or at least as close as book boyfriends can get). There was lots of diversity in this book: our main character has lesbian parents (two moms) and a lesbian sister. Overall, this book was great and I gave it 4/5 stars. (I do have a review up for this book)

Flame23308087 in the Mist, by Renee Ahdieh

I won an ARC of this book in a giveaway and I’m so glad I did! This book was said to be a Mulan retelling, which is fairly accurate, despite the fact that it takes place in Japan. I really loved exploring the culture of Japan! It was so interesting to learn more about a country that isn’t talked about a lot in books, and I’m very appreciative of this story because of that. Moving on from the setting, I thought the characters were so intense and likable! Our main character is fierce and brave and determined and stubborn. Our love interest is a bit Bad Boy, but overall this book didn’t have very many tropes. Another thing I appreciated was that the romance wasn’t the main focus. The point was our MC being determined and brave. It isn’t usual for our relationship to sit in the backseat, but I really loved that it wasn’t the main point in this story. I’m really excited for the next book! I gave it 4/5 stars! (I have a review for this as well)

It’s Not Sum8104232mer Without You, by Jenny Han

This book is the second installment in the Summer trilogy by Jenny Han. This series, while fun, does deal with intense stuff! I won’t talk much about it, but I will say that the story takes place at a beach house when our MC, Belly, stays at the house with her mother, her mother’s best friend & children, and brother. The series follows the adventures of the group at the summer house–it is set mainly in the present but does float back to the past to give a full perspective. I just love this series because it deals with equal parts, friendship, family, tragedy, and love. I won’t spoil anything, but I do recommend the series! I gave this book 4/5 stars.

Passe20983362nger, by Alexandra Bracken

In Passenger, we follow our main character, Etta, who is on her way to becoming a professional violinist, but one day she is thrown into the world of time travel, but it isn’t as we suspected. There are much more strict rules, and the travel itself isn’t as loose as we interpret from other series/movies. I really enjoyed my time reading this first book, and I look forward to moving on with the series. We explore London in the 1940s, New York in 1776, and many other places. I loved the aspect of a scavenger hunt through time! I gave this book 4/5 stars and look forward to reading the next book!

 

Windfall32048554, by Jennifer E. Smith

This book was unique and I really enjoyed it! I thought the aspect of a lottery ticket really added to the story! The way that our love interest/supporting character spent the money, and the way he acted, was completely expected and understandable. I loved how his best friends acted around him in return. Winning the lottery is a dream come true for a lot of people, but the consequences of such a huge sum isn’t truly thought about in depth. I thought this book was an accurate interpretation of how someone who grew up poor would react to 141.3 million dollars. Overall, this book was very enjoyable. I loved the character growth and the fact that our character had a unique hobby of being a good Samaritan. This is my first Jennifer E Smith book, but I’ll likely pick up another one eventually. 4/5 stars.

Alex & Eliza Review

In Alex & Elizalex-eliza-cover-galleycata, we follow, as the title hints, Alexander Hamilton & Eliza Schuyler. We open up at Eliza’s family’s ball–where the dashing young Hamilton shows up. Alex doesn’t have a thing to his name–no parents, and no specific ties. That is, until he meets Eliza at the ball. Throughout the novel, we follow Eliza & Alex’s complicated but lovely romance.

That was a short summary, huh? There’s not much to say though! The novel is, from what I can tell, not completely all of the facts, but does have some embellishments. But this book is wonderful! I don’t study history as often as I’d like, but Melissa de la Cruz gave some background knowledge on the American Revolution while telling the love story, which I loved! It really helped the reader understand what was happening during the overall time period, instead of solely focusing on the love story. The chapter headings also included the location where the chapter was taking place, as well as the month and year of the events. I loved Eliza–I thought she was just so strong and stubborn, which I appreciated. Hamilton was just…no words! I swooned so much & smiled for the last 20 or so pages. While I know they didn’t have a perfect love story, this book made it out to be that way! Hamilton’s remarks were just….ah, everything about this book was wonderful! Honestly? Probably 4.5-5 stars!

Windfall Review

Windfall, by32048554 Jennifer E. Smith

In Windfall, we follow a girl named Alice who whas been orphaned for 9 years and living with her uncle and his wife, and their child, Leo. Ever since making the move from California to Chicago, Alice has been best friends with Leo & Teddy. However, for around 3 years, she has been in love with Teddy, and it isn’t in the best-friend type way. On his 18th birthday, she buys him a lottery ticket as a type of gag-gift. But it turns into him winning more than 140 million dollars. This win is huge for him and his mother, who were abandoned by Teddy’s father after he lost all of their money gambling, but it does have some consequences, and it seems to take its toll on Alice and Teddy’s friendship.

This book was a great contemporary! I got so many feels during this book, and it was just…ah! I thought our main character, Alice, was extremely well-developed and I loved that she had a different, more “diverse,” if you will, hobby. She really enjoyed helping people and volunteering, which isn’t seen much. I also liked our other two main characters, Teddy and Leo, simply because the three of them acted like normal friends–their banter was easy, but they got in arguments as well. Finally, I thought the idea for the story was absolutely amazing and creative! I don’t think I’ve ever read a book following (or semi-following) someone who has won the lottery, and I didn’t know I wanted to read about it until this book. I’m so glad I read it! 4/5 stars!