30 November 2015

Review: Coraline

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Neil Gaiman
Format: eBook
Pages: 162
Rating: 6 out of 10

This review, upon review, may contain some spoilery info and is mostly a rant about it's creepiness.

Summary (Thanks Goodreads): Coraline's often wondered what's behind the locked door in the drawing room. It reveals only a brick wall when she finally opens it, but when she tries again later, a passageway mysteriously appears. Coraline is surprised to find a flat decorated exactly like her own, but strangely different. And when she finds her "other" parents in this alternate world, they are much more interesting despite their creepy black button eyes. When they make it clear, however, that they want to make her theirs forever, Coraline begins a nightmarish game to rescue her real parents and three children imprisoned in a mirror. With only a bored-through stone and an aloof cat to help, Coraline confronts this harrowing task of escaping these monstrous creatures.

Gaiman has delivered a wonderfully chilling novel, subtle yet intense on many levels. The line between pleasant and horrible is often blurred until what's what becomes suddenly clear, and like Coraline, we resist leaving this strange world until we're hooked. Unnerving drawings also cast a dark shadow over the book's eerie atmosphere, which is only heightened by simple, hair-raising text. Coraline is otherworldly storytelling at its best.
What I Think: This book is the creepiest thing ever. The movie? Just as creepy! Button eyes? This is a children's book? Coraline, why did you go through the door? Look what happens when you don't listen to your parents! This is what you get! Chased by a hand off a lady with button eyes! See. I bet you wish you didn't steal that key, don't you?
A lot of weird stuff happens in this novel that is kind of fantastic (Fan-tas-tic: /fan'tastik/: adj. 1.imaginative or fanciful; remote from reality). It was hard to follow at some points but I loath to admit that since it's a children's novel. Whatever. 
I think that the writing and vocabulary was great. It's a simple read and it's becoming one of those novels that people just read to be up on what's happening in the world. It won't take you too long should you choose to endure the super scary story.

27 November 2015

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff


Reviewer: Kayla
Author: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Pages: 599
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 10/10

Summary (Goodreads, I salute you):

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.


My Thoughts

“You have me. Until every last star in the galaxy dies. You have me"

This book. Oh my good Lordy Lord. I admit I was a bit nervous going into this book because I've heard so many good things; too many, in fact, that I was worried my expectations were too high. I was also afraid the format it is written in (documents, emails, voice recordings, surveillance footage, etc etc.) wouldn't be effective or would take away from the story.

BOY OH BOY WAS I WRONG. AND THANK GOD FOR IT.

This book is everything I could have hoped for and so much more. ((I am currently sitting here trying to form coherent thoughts about the structure, plot, characters, etc. but I am still reeling over the eNDING)) First off, this team of authors, round of applause please! Just the fact that they created this book together proves how much of a dream team they are. This book was absolutely wonderful in every single way. The format, being written in documents, etc. was so unique and so unlike anything I've ever read before, and I think writing it in this way enhanced the story and made it so much better. The plot, while a bit confusing at times, was so strong and so gripping that it physically pained me to put it down. I did not for the life of me want to stop. I flew threw it, half because of the way it was written and half because I wanted all of it as soon as I could possibly get it. Truly, the characters were hilarious with their sarcasm and wit and the way they interacted with each other. And I don't just mean Ezra and Kady, but Ezra and McNulty, Kady and AIDAN, Kady and Byron. They all formed relationships that influenced the story and my enjoyment level so much.

But in all seriousness, can we talk about EZRA AND KADY ?! OTP STATUS LEVEL UP IN HERE ?! MY GOD. They twisted my heart and made me giddy with feels the entire time. I won't say too much about them together, I don't want to take away from your experience of the book, but I will say they WARMED MY STONE COLD HEART. Not only did I love Ezra and Kady together, but I loved them just as much as individuals. Ezra was absolutely adorable. His sarcasm and wit and how much he genuinely cares about all of his friends was a vulnerable side of him I loved exploring. I loved seeing him get soft, not that he's a "tough as nails" guy either, I wouldn't classify him that way anyway. We just see so many sides to his personality and his character, and I loved all of his sides. ALL OF THEM. I want him. Kady too. She was quite the amazing character. Like Ezra, we saw so many sides to her and I loved all of them. She was strong when she had to be, emotional when she could be, and getting an insight into her journal entries was a glimpse into her psyche that I absolutely loved. Overall, without rambling of course (because when do I ever ramble lolol) Ezra and Kady were the best main characters I could have imagined for this story.

While this book made me smile and laugh and feel all the nice things, it also did the very rude thing of rIPPING OUT MY HEART, STOMPED ON IT, PUT IT BACK, TOOK IT OUT AGAIN AND RIPPED IT IN A MILLION TINY PIECES. There are so many tear stains in my book it is troublesome. I sobbed uncontrollably during this book, therefore I am forever changed as a person. I won't give you more context than that. You're just going to have to pick up this book and find out for yourself so I'm not the only depressed, heartbroken reader of this TRAGICALLY BEAUTIFUL BOOK.

Final Thoughts:

In all seriousness, this book exceeding all of my already high expectations, and I can happily and easily say this has become one of my favourite books of all time. ALL TIME. Really and truly. I recommend this to anyone who likes sci-fi and fantasy and space adventure, but also cRYING FOREVER AND BEING HEARTBROKEN. I do not really have anything negative to say about it, except whY YOU HURT ME THIS WAY?!

25 November 2015

Review: Between Shades of Gray

Reviewer: Kristen
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Pages: 344
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 9 out of 10

Summary (via Goodreads): Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously--and at great risk--documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

My Thoughts: I am going to keep this brief because I don't think that I can do it justice, and I also read this in February, and it is now November. This book threw me through the ringer. It devastated me, it informed me and it made me question a whole lot of things on a whole bunch of topics that I admittingly know next to nothing about. This book was written beautifully, and once I started it I couldn't put it down. Don't let that fool you though, because it is still absolutely heartbreaking. The struggles that the main characters faced are unparalleled to anything I can think of, and I'm shocked I didn't know more about the events that happened. Even if you're not into historical fiction, I urge to give this one a chance anyway. It's made me want to get to know more about the events that took place. Lina was the perfect narrator for this story, because she had you hoping or despairing or crying or laughing right along with her. She offered an insight into the world that is hard to achieve, and I cannot recommend this book enough. 

Final Thoughts: There's not much insight I can shed that hasn't already been spoken about in regards to this book, but I hope that I've somehow managed to convince to pick it up and give it a try. It taught me about a world I was completely oblivious to in an amazing way. 

23 November 2015

Review: Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3)

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Robin LaFevers
Format: ARC
Pages: 444
Rating: 9 out of 10

**This is the third in this series. The review for Grave Mercy is HERE but I don't think this is too spoilery**

Summary (Bless Goodreads heart): 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...


My Thoughts: I won this novel from the love of my life, Goodreads. 

I really enjoyed this novel. I think that it might have been better than the first (I haven't read the second but I have it). I love the time period it's set in. It affects everything about the novel, especially in this one, I think. 

The characters are great because they don't take anything from anyone. I fell in love with this characteristic in Grave Mercy and it seems to have been something the author continued on with. And I felt bad for Annith. All she wanted was to serve the person she joined the convent for and they wouldn't let her. All she wanted to be was who they made her to be. She was the most loyal of all the girls in that place. 

I knew what was up one of the characters before anything happened with them but that didn't make it any less important when it happened. Guessing didn't make me sad because it was so well-written that it didn't matter. 

I think the ending was sufficient but I'm not so sure that immortal characters would react in the ways that we write them. 

My favourite thing about this novel is that it's the kind of novel that puts you in another place with a bunch of people that you feel like you know. You go on an adventure that you could never go on otherwise (not that I would necessarily want to) and you get to experience a million things that will never happen to you (in most cases, it's a good thing). It's just so outside your experiences that you learn something else about the world and you get to be somebody and something else. This is the kind of book everyone means when they say that reading means living a thousand different lives because you get to be something new when you read it. I love that this book, this series, had the ability to make me feel strong and smart and like I can do anything (not unlike Black Widow, I won't lie to you). I think that we need more books like this one. They are the best kinds of books.

So: If you are into that adventure/action thing and are looking for a good series, you can kind some kickass female leads in this series. They are strong and do what needs doing. I like that these books can be read together or apart. Check it out.

21 November 2015

Dream Literary Collection

Heeeeyy, how you doin'? (she says in her best Joey Tribbiani voice, which, let's face it is not very good at all) It has been a hot minute since I've actually written a post for the blog, so I apologize for that. But today, we are going to talk about my dream literary collection AKA my favourite thing in the world to talk about. Ask Kelsey and Kayla, I don't shut up about my future library. But, that's beside the point. Kind of. Anyway, Invaluable.com asked us to write a post about what our dream literary collection would include, so here we gooooo! I'm going to talk about some must needs for my shelf as well as just what would be super cool to have!

1. Signed First Editions of The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins 
I think this one goes without saying. I love The Hunger Games. I have always loved The Hunger Games. The Hunger Games is my Harry Potter, and what Potterhead doesn't want signed first editions of the books? I'm halfway there though - I have first editions of all the books, but none of them are signed. How freaking cool/fantastic/amazeballs/life-changing would it be to meet Suzanne Collins have her sign my copies? It is a goal of mine, and I would LOVE to have them in my collection!
Bonus: ARCs of The Hunger Games and Catching Fire would also be freaking amazing to have. A girl can dream, can't she?

2. My dream literary collection would be huge. I mean, Huge with a capital H huge. 
The dream of all book lovers/hoarders/collectors/aficionados is to have a humongous library full of cozy couches and fuzzy blankets and books that you still have to read. Right? I mean, this is kind of general, and not really helpful at all, but my dream literary collection is huge. A whole room, at least. I mean, celebrities have home theatres, why can't I have a home library? The size of The Library of Congress. That's not asking too much, right?

3. A signed copy of A Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
I studied this in high school, and absolutely loved it. I don't know what it was about it, but the story captivated me and I think it would be fantastic if I could get my hands on a signed copy. I went to Europe in high school, and when we were in Paris there was a little book store with a copy of A Catcher in the Rye just sitting in a pile of books, and when I opened it up to flip through it, it was signed. You do not understand the regret I have for not picking it up. At that point, I hadn't read the book and I doubted I would like it when I did, so I didn't bother getting it. It was 20 euros. The regret. It's real.

4.  Signed copy of anything Judy Blume
My inner 11 year old insisted that I put this on the list. Judy Blume was everything to little prepubescent Kristen. I loved all of her books, I felt like I was the only one in the world who could relate to them, and I felt like Judy Blume just reached into my brain and understood me. You know, as all over-dramatic 11 year olds do. So, having anything signed by her would make me extraordinarily happy. I will be passing down the love of Judy Blume to my kids, so it would just be cool to have.

5. The Old and Beautiful Copies of Classics 
I bet you thought I couldn't get more vague than when I said I wanted a humongous library, but look at me, vaguing you to death. But, you know what I mean, right? The old copies of classics that just seem to transcend time and look beautiful on any shelf you put them on. Having copies of all the classics that were old and loved and read and shared is something my English major soul needs. I want them all, even if I don't get to reading them all. Whenever I hold one, I always feel like I'm traveling through time. You know how Claire travels to Jamie through the rocks? Maybe books are my rocks... that would be awesome and also terrifying. But, yes, I want all the old beautiful classics that are just waiting to be loved.
They're just too beautiful to pass up!

That's my dream collection! What's yours?
- Kristen


And what about me, Kelsey? Well, I can attest to the fact that Kristen never stops talking about her dream library. I never stop dreaming about my dream library. Whenever I think of what my future dream house will look like, the first thing I think about is the library I will build there. It would definitely be considered dreaming big but here are some of the things I want to be there, in no particular order...

1. I want all my series to be in the same format
There is nothing more satisfying than having a complete series and every single one of those books is the same size and height. I have far too many series that are mixed paperback and hardcover. I don't have a preference of format but it kills me when they are all different sizes. My current library has been subject to book trading within the three of us. Kayla often trades hardcovers for Kristen's paperbacks or vice verse. A few of our trips to the book story have been so that one or two of us can complete a series in a format but I never take part because...well...money. When Kristen gets one that fits, I usually get the old one, which leads to more size confusion. I also have this unfortunate problem of buying a book that's been out for a while at one size then liking it and buying the next right away. This means it's usually hardcover and paperback. If I had $5 for every time I did this, I would be able to afford to make them perfect for my dream library.

2. I want Funko Pop Vinyl figures for favourite characters
I know that the little figurines are completely useless but I want them. I would love to use them as bookends for some of my series. Specifically, I want Claire and Jamie from Outlander. They made it to my Christmas list this year, so here's to hoping!

3. I want all my books to be visible and off the floor
It seems like such a silly thing to want but my current book problem is that I have books everywhere. I have books on my floor. I have books under my bed. I even have two shelves full of books in my closet! It makes me so sad that I don't get to look at them all the time. I can't see what I have. Trying to decide what to read next is a total disaster. I would have 'to be read' shelves and would have open bookcases all around a single room. It would be my book paradise.

4. I want a signed...something
To be clear, I have signed books and I shouldn't complain. I have a signed The Fault in Our Stars and a Kathy Reichs book. I have a signed Alistair Macleod (just before he passed away actually, he came to our Canadian Literature class, Kristen spelt her name wrong, it was a good day) and a signed copy of Library of Souls (TBR). I have many signed copies, it what I'm getting at. The problem is that I want a copy of something that is special to me, like Maybe Someday, or that is super cool. I want like a signed Hemingway or something...maybe a Twain or Fitzgerald...or SOMETHING.

5. I want a ginormous, comfy, cuddly, warm place to sit
I am always uncomfortable when I read. There seems to be no way around it. In my dream library, I would be able to read comfortably. I would want a big chair that I can curl up in but also put my feet up or hug my legs to my chest or curl up in a ball. I want it to be cool enough in my library that I can curl up with a blanket and not overheat. I just want to be really comfy so that I can read five-ever. CAN'T I JUST HAVE THIS ONE THING, PLEASE?


That's what my dream library would look like...at least, that's part of it.
- Kelsey



It is now my turn to talk about my dream library, and this fantasy is so unreal that I can't even begin to imagine what it would include. Damn I am already overwhelmed.

1. Signed copies of Throne of Glass series. All of them. Even those that have yet to be released
It should come to no surprise to anyone ever that the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas are my all time favourite books/series. It makes me feel all the things I can feel ever and I love it so much. I WANT TO MEET SJM AND HAVE HER SIGN MY BOOKS AND BE BEST FRIENDS WITH ME  WHY IS THIS TOO MUCH TO ASK?!?! Well she favourited three of my tweets on the twittersphere (once on my main/personal and twice on my book tweeter) so I suppose we're almost there. (credit to the owner of the photo because sadly this is not my photo or my books *cries*)





2. I want my library to be guarded by 7,000 puppies
This is less book related and more puppy-enthusiast related, but can we please imagine walking into my dream library and being bombarded by pUPPIES JUST RUNNING TOWARD YOU ?!?!?! THEN TO LOOK AROUND THE ROOM AND WITNESS ALL THE BOOKS?! I don't know about you but this is heaven. With One Direction playing in the background. If this is what is waiting for me in the afterworld I am ready.


3. Dorian Havilliard
My little sunflower Dorian Havilliard is very important to me and it would make oh so very happy if my little cinnamon roll was in my library with me and in love with me and reading all the books with me and telling me what his favourite books are and he is HAPPY...

NO I'M NOT CRYING YOU ARE

4. Belle's Library
Honestly when I picture of my dream library I picture all the books I could ever get my hands on and it would end up looking like this

5. A Series of Unfortunate Events book 14
I would very much like and appreciate a sequel to the ASOUE series, just to see where the Baudelaire's are now and what kind of shennanigans they are participating in because that series was like my Harry Potter when I was young. Whilst I still very much enjoyed Harry Potter, I absolutely loved ASOUE and when I saw the movie, even though it wasn't the best piece of cinematic production I had ever seen, I have probably watched it around 30 times. No shame.

- Kayla

So, those are our dream literary collections, what are yours?

You guys should definitely browse through Invaluable's website! They have so many beautiful things, and I loved to look at them all! Click here for beautiful collectibles that will blow your mind! Personally, I loved browsing through the manuscripts and books! So many gorgeous editions and things I didn't even know we still had access to! It's a beautiful website, go check it out!







Funny Book Titles

I Win! by U. Lose
Robots by Anne Droid
Danger! by Luke Out
Cloning by Irma Dubble II
Hot Dog! by Frank Furter
Cry Wolf by Al Armist
Wake Up! by Sal Ammoniac
I'm Fine by Howard Yu
Gambling by Monty Carlos
Mensa Man by Gene Yuss


(source: http://www.allowe.com/laughs/book/Funny%20Book%20Titles.htm)

20 November 2015

Review: Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

Reviewer: Kayla
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Pages: 470
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 7/10

Summary (Goodreads. Da real MVP):

Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save Lia's life, her erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar's interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: There's Rafe, who lied to Lia but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be savages. Now that she lives among them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country... and her own destiny.
 

My Thoughts:

**THERE IS A SPOILER IN HERE BUT I WARN YOU ABOUT IT DO NOT FEAR**

Damn! That ending! That cliffhanger!!!

This book as a great sequel, though I didn't enjoy it as much as I did the first. That may have been due to the fact that i could not read the thing in it's entirety without the measly distractions of school work and literature I had to read. Even so, I found the beginning of the book to be quite dull, and nothing really happened. It seemed to be a lot of hanging around and waiting for something critical to occur, and the only real exciting parts were at the end. The second half of the book I really enjoyed. The writing was beautiful, though the world building was still confusing for me. I understand more about it after reading this book, but there are still a few aspects about it that are lost to me (I will not reveal what they are because spoilers).

I love Lia as a character. I admired her sarcasm, defiance, and power. It's clear she has power that she has yet to unleash, and I cannot wait to see how she unfurls that power in her. Her selflessness was really amazing, and though she's clearly under extremely hard times, she does all that she can for other people, and I really love that about her.

We were also introduced to amazing new characters in this book like Aster (WHOM I ADORED), Calantha (WHOM I ALSO CAME TO ADORE), and the Komizar, which was not so amazing and kind of an asshole but I mean I expected that much.

Rafe was great. I loved his character just as I did in the first one, but I was really hoping we would get more of him, and tbh I was quite upset that we didn't. There's not much else to say about him except for the ending scene killed me and he killed me and I love him.

We did get quite a bit of Kaden, though, more than I was expecting. I enjoyed learning the heartbreaking truth about his past and the things he had to endure as a child, and it was heartbreaking. Though it was hard to be too overwhelmed with pity for him as I was so blinded by my frustration and annoyance with him. He was such a baby, I could not handle it. First of all, I suppose I can understand his loyalty to Venda and to the Komizar, and that's all fine and dandy, but his actions completely contradict what he says, and that bothered me so much. He's loyal to Venda, keeping Lia prisoner, and then falls in love with her, wants her to be happy, and wants to keep her safe. He even goes as far to justify his actions by saying "I was angry. I was hurt." Give me a break.

SPOILER!!!!!
...
and then all of a sudden at the end when the Komizar is literally DYING IN FRONT OF HIM THE KOMIZAR GOES "WE'RE BROTHERS" AND KADEN GOES "NOT ANYMORE" .... EXCUSE ME WHERE DID THIS TURN IN CHARACTER COME FROM? LITERALLY OUT OF NOWHERE THAT'S WHERE I WAS SO CONFUSED?! THEN HE FOUGHT FOR LIA'S SURVIVAL WHICH WAS GREAT BUT THE ENTIRE BOOK WAS ABOUT HER BETRAYING KADEN IN HER FLEEING PLAN WITH RAFE AND THEN HE FINDS OUT AND THIS WHOLE TIME HE CAME OFF THAT HE WOULD DO EVERYTHING IN HIS POWER TO KEEP HER FROM LEAVING AND THEN HE HELPS HER LEAVE AND SHIT. LIKE I GET HE'S IN LOVE WITH HER BUT?????? WHAT???????? I???????????
....
....
...
....
....
END SPOILER

Don't get me wrong, I like Kaden. I think his character is wildly complex and we get some amazing insight into his past and who he is, but that part, the spoilery part, confused me. DO NOT LOOK AT THE SPOILERY PART IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK

It also really insanely pissed me off when EVERYONE (ahem Komizar ahem) was ordering Lia around, telling her what to do, how to act, what to say, how to dress. The feminist in me wanted to kill them all. But I loved how Lia took control and established her own power in that patriarchal system they had there, and I was very proud of her in the way she handled things (aka Malich & the card game that part was great)

Final Thoughts:
All in all, this was a good sequel, despite the problems I had with it, and I highly recommend reading the sequel if you've read and enjoyed The Kiss of Deception. While reading these books, I couldn't help but realize their titles truly emanate what is happening in the books. The last one was all about deception, and this one was filled with betrayal. So many secrets, so little time.

18 November 2015

Review: Red Queen

Reviewer: Kristen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Pages: 338
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Summary (Goodreads, I love you): The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

My Thoughts: I really need to stop being skeptical about hype surrounding young adult books, especially fantasy books, because without fail, I always end up loving them, and Red Queen was no exception. I loved the world that Victoria Aveyard created, because it was the perfect dystopian setting without being ridiculous or over the top or unbelievable. Everything that happened felt like it  could happen, which isn't even when you're playing with fantastical ideas and characters. 

Maven was definitely a character that I didn't see coming. I didn't expect to root for him even after that huge reveal about him. But, despite that, I'm actually looking forward to what he does next and how it affects Mare and everything that is going on around her. I'm not sure what I think about Cal. If you've read Throne of Glass, he kind of reminds me of Chaol, and I've got some seriously mixed feelings about the both of them. I'm thinkin I'll need to spend some more time with Cal in the next instalment before I decide what to think about him. 

But Mare. I love Mare. Seriously. She is fantastic, and quick, and smart, and extremely capable and she is going to change the game, I just know it. She is a game changer, and she is giving the palace a run for it's money. I'm super excited to see what happens next, because her character could go in either direction. I'm super excited to see where Aveyard takes the rest of  the series because I love literally every character that she introduced.  

Also, how amazeballs is that cover?!

Final Thoughts: If you are a lover of all things young adult and dystopian, this is the perfect novel for you. I cannot wait for The Glass Sword next year! 

16 November 2015

Review: Me Before You

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Jojo Moyes
Format: Paperback
Pages: 369
Rating: 9 out of 10

Summary (Goodreads before me): Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

My Thoughts: THIS BOOK IS THE WORST! IT'S SO MEAN! IT MADE ME CRY SO MUCH! I ugly cried people. Wept. Tears streaming down my face! It's so mean to its readers. 

I loved Lou and that she fought and that she fought for Will. I love how wonderful of a person she is. 

I hate that Will is so sad and that he gives up and that he needs Lou as much as he does.

Kristen says that I should tell you this book is fantastic and that you should read it and that you will never be the same for reading it. All that is true. So you should buy it, and a kleenex box and maybe some chocolate just to be safe.

The writing is great. The language is great. The idea (though heartbreaking) is wonderful. The whole thing is great and I wish I had more to say but I write long posts when I hate books and I loved this one even though it made me cry. I think that if you are ready for a cry than you should check this one out but don't say I didn't warn you.

IT'S JUST SO GREAT (and horrible. I hate crying. I'm so disgusting. Snot everywhere. It's awful.)

13 November 2015

Review: Deliverance by C.J. Redwine

Reviewer: Kayla
Author: C.J. Redwine
Pages: 480
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 7/10

Summary (Goodreads. Da real MVP):

Everything hangs in the balance, and nothing is certain: Rachel has been kidnapped by enemy forces and is being taken to Rowansmark while Logan, imprisoned and awaiting trial, is unable to leave Lankenshire. Separated from each other and their Baalboden comrades, each must find a way to achieve what they desperately want: to rid their world once and for all of the Commander and the tech that controls the deadly Cursed One.

Fighting through her pain and embracing the warrior she’s become, Rachel will do whatever it takes to escape her enemies’ clutches and join Logan in his fight. But when she learns a secret that changes everything, she realizes that escaping Ian and his tracker friends is no longer an option if she wants to save the people she loves. Instead, she’ll have to destroy Rowansmark from the inside out—if she can survive the journey through the Wasteland.

Logan needs allies if he wants to thwart Rowansmark’s power grab and rescue Rachel. But securing allies will mean betraying his beliefs and enlisting the help of the man he hates more than anyone: Commander Jason Chase. Driven by his fierce love for Rachel and his determination to make their world safe, Logan may be just the weapon the city-states need to defeat the Cursed One.

But as Rowansmark bears down and uneasy alliances are tested, will Rachel and Logan’s love for each other be enough to surmount the unbelievable odds against them?

My Thoughts:
Okay, shit.
Okay lemme start out with this. I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it. It was good.
I would say it's my least favourite in the trilogy, but it was a good conclusion for the trilogy. Rachel's character development was inspiring, yet some of her choices and decisions she made throughout the novel frustrated me.
And Logan. Ah, Logan. Handled everything with such grace and sophistication, doing everything in his power to save the ones he loves. Ugh, Logan gives me the feels.
This book was very political, it introduced a lot of new characters and leaders that added to this political alliances and enemies, and I liked this part easily enough. Connor was a real treat I did like him.
I don’t know how I feel about how things played out with Ian. I think it was interesting to see the character development, but something seemed off. Maybe because it happened in moments, but it seemed strange. It just seemed the justice wasn’t served. Same goes with the Commander. Justice wasn’t served.
The end battle scene has me on my toes. I think too many things ended in that scene, so many people died that it just seemed like it was over too quickly.
Despite my issues with it, this book was a great closure to the series, and all the problems that needed to be solved were solved, nothing left unanswered, no stone left unturned.

Final Thoughts: Though this final book was mediocre, I think this trilogy is definitely worth a try, as it has all the elements of a dystopia one looks for. I recommend!

10 November 2015

Review: Cinder, Scarlett, Cress, & Fairest

HAPPY "WINTER" RELEASE DATE! 

In honour of the release of Winter, I'm doing a big old post about what I thought about the entire series! Let's do this and then immediately dive into Winter, okay? 

Reviewer: Kristen
Author: Marissa Meyer
Pages: 390
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 8 out of 10

Summary (you are the best, Goodreads): Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.



Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.


My Thoughts: This book is a Cinderella retelling. This book has one badass main character. Could it get any better? YES. ADD SOME ANDROIDS. AND MARISSA MEYER DID THAT. AND MARISSA MEYER HAS CREATED A MASTERPIECE THAT SHOULD BE READ BY EVERY SINGLE PERSON THAT EXISTS. Seriously. I don't know how else to sell it. I had to be sold on it. And I'm so glad that my friend literally forced the book into my hands and said "Sit. Read." If it wasn't such a fantastic book, I would have been insulted. I want to keep most things about this vague just incase you haven't read this, but I will say that this spectacular book was my least favourite in the series. What? Yeah. It only gets better, buckos, and that is a testament. Also, what is everyone thinkin about Prince Kai? Do we like him? I'm indifferent. 

Final Thoughts: Go get. 

Reviewer: Kelsey

Rating: 7 out of 10
Why: This is such a unique way of retelling this classic story. I was impressed by the badassness of the main character and I came to kind of like Kai. I would recommend it.



Reviewer: Kristen
Author: Marissa Meyer
Pages: 452 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 9 out of 10

Summary (I love you even though you're not an android, Goodreads): Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison--even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive. 



Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.


My Thoughts: I know, I know, I am a broken record. But this series just got a whole HECK of a lot better. When I first started this, I didn't know what to expect. I went into it completely blind and because of that I wasn't aware that we didn't follow Cinder and Prince Kai but instead got introduced to the wonderful characters that are Scarlet and Wolf. Hello. Scarlet. Badass. I love her almost more than Cinder, and I am preparing myself for heartbreak because I just love way too many characters from this series. Except Levana, screw that witch. Though, I'm more unsure about Wolf than I am about Prince Kai. I think I like him. The latter, that is. I'm unsure about good ol Wolfy Wolf. 

Final Thoughts: Have you gone and got? Have you loved it? 

Reviewer: Kelsey

Rating: 8 out of 10
Why: This book is every BETTER than Cinder. It is another extremely creative way of retelling this story but the characters are even better. Wolf was a tad creepy and Scarlet did a lot more for him than she needed to but I guess I like him well enough. I love that old characters come back into this story to make the cast even more entertaining than it already was. Give this book a chance, even if you weren't a huge fan of Cinder. I did and I'm so glad.


Reviewer: Kristen
Author: Marissa Meyer
Pages: 550 
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 9.5/10

Summary (love you long time, Goodreads): In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. 

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who's only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.
 


My Thoughts: I LOVE CAPTAIN THORNE AND NO BODY CAN STOP ME. HE IS MINE. I LOVE HIM TO INFINITY AND BACK AND HE IS SO PRECIOUS. I also love Cress she is precious and she needs to protected at all costs. And also I love Scarlet. And Cinder. And literally everyone and this series is so good that I've been reduced to a rambling buffoon but I don't care. Cress was definitely my favourite book of the series. The only reason I didn't give it 10/10 is because I put it down for a while, and it took me a really long time to pick it back up. I don't know why. I was loving it, I was invested in the characters. I just got distracted, I guess. 

Final Thoughts: How much do you love Thorne? I love Thorne. 


Reviewer: Kristen
Author: Marissa Meyer
Pages: 220
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Summary (I love Goodreads as much as Levana hates mirrors): In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?


Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.
 

My Thoughts: I LOVE villains. Seriously. Villains are 9 times out of 10 my favourite characters. Evil characters are just so intriguing and I just want to know everything about them. And, ladies and gentlemen, Levana is one of the wickedest (and not in a good way) villains that there is. I'm glad that I read this because we get so much information about Levana and what makes her tick and why she is the way she is and her upbringing. I think that it has added so much to the story without taking anything away. The only reason that I didn't rate this higher is because I thought there was like 100 more pages at the end of the book, but it was a preview for Winter that I didn't read because then I'd be way too excited and I AM STILL BITTER ABOUT IT.

Final Thoughts: If you love this series, and how could you not, you definitely won't regret picking this up. Levana is one wicked mothertrucker. 

And now I am peace-ing out because Winter is waiting for me! Expect a review soon! 

Reviewer: Kelsey
Rating: 7 out of 10

Thoughts: This was both fast and easy to read. I thought that getting some insight into the queen. I was very impressed with how absolutely crazy the author managed to make her sound. I loved getting the back ground and all the insights we have after reading this novel. I was so surprised at the stuff that happened to her. I don't want to spoil anything but holy heck. I didn't have any expectations before reading this book and that made it even better. I'm so glad that I read this novel. 
Also, I agree with Kristen. I love villains. They are so great. Enjoy it! 





9 November 2015

Review: Through to You

Review: Kelsey
Author: Emily Hainsworth
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 272
Rating: 3 out of 10

Summary (Only Goodreads can get through to me): Camden Pike has been grief-stricken since his girlfriend, Viv, died. He’d give anything to have just one more glimpse of her. But when Cam visits the site of Viv’s deadly car accident, he sees an apparition. Her name is Nina, and she’s a girl from a parallel world. When Cam follows her there and makes an unbelievable discovery, it’s as if all his wildest dreams have come true. But things are very different in this other world. Nina is hiding a secret, and the window between the worlds is shrinking every day. As Cam comes to terms with the truth, he’s forced to make a choice that will change his life forever.

What I Think: This book had a very interesting concept. Sadly, I think it might have been poorly executed. The problem was that there was nothing spectacular about this novel. The writing was decent but that was all. I wasn't floored by the vocabulary, nor was I made to think about too much. I didn't come to question my existence and I didn't fall madly in love with any characters. The characters were on the page and I was holding the book, more aware of my surroundings that I was of the plot and that's not because anything exciting was happening to me while I was reading this novel. I just don't think that it was my thing. I think that Camden was kind of stupid and a little creepy. I thought that it was bizarre that Nina knew so much about what was happening and that she was able to figure it out at all. Then, it wasn't really explained to the reader. Maybe it just wasn't the right time for me to read this novel. I'm not sure. I can tell you that I was excited for it and then, after I read it, I was horribly disappointed. The cover is beautiful and the blurb sounds half unique but I think it wasn't all it could be. There was too much teenage angst and drama and not enough moving on or growing up or making reasonable decisions. It was just not what I needed to read.

6 November 2015

Review: Deception by C.J. Redwine

Reviewer: Kayla
Author: C.J. Redwine
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 8/10

Summary (Goodreads. Da real MVP):

Baalboden has been ravaged. The brutal Commander's whereabouts are unknown. And Rachel, grief stricken over her father's death, needs Logan more than ever. With their ragged group of survivors struggling to forge a future, it's up to Logan to become the leader they need—with Rachel by his side. Under constant threat from rival Carrington's army, who is after the device that controls the Cursed One, the group decides to abandon the ruins of their home and take their chances in the Wasteland.



But soon their problems intensify tenfold: someone—possibly inside their ranks—is sabotaging the survivors, picking them off one by one. The chaos and uncertainty of each day puts unbearable strain on Rachel and Logan, and it isn't long before they feel their love splintering. Even worse, as it becomes clear that the Commander will stop at nothing to destroy them, the band of survivors begins to question whether the price of freedom may be too great—and whether, hunted by their enemies and the murderous traitor in their midst, they can make it out of the Wasteland alive.

In this daring sequel to Defiance, with the world they once loved forever destroyed, Rachel and Logan must decide between a life on the run and standing their ground to fight.

My Thoughts:
This book was a helluva great sequel!
In the first book, Rachel had to make some insanely tough decisions, and you really see the psychological turmoil she’s battling through, understandably so. Her and Logan become a force to be reckon with, though I thought their dependency on each other was a bit annoying. Still, their vows and love for each other keep growing, and it’s heartwarming to see them stay strong for each other.

Logan is such a puppy. He is taking on a responsibility that is much more than he should, and he places the burden solely on himself. While I applaud him for his efforts, I did think it was kind of bizarre for a large group to be travelling with just a teenager as their leader. We were literally bound for disaster. We also see Logan battling his own inner demons as well as the physical ones always trying to kill them, and the love he has for Rachel and for everyone else in their company is really heartwarming and AGH

I seriously LOOOVE Quinn, he’s probably my all time favourite character in this book. Moreso than Logan. He’s mysterious, but also unendingly loyal, and I don’t think he gets the recognition he deserves. Willow too! She’s more badass than Rachel, and doesn’t give a second thought in her actions, which is kind of brash, but I AM HERE FOR IT.

The mystery in this book was one that I kind of caught around half way, but I enjoyed that you didn’t know who to trust, what to trust, and how deep loyalties go. It was so intriguing.

Final Thoughts: The title is exactly what his book is really about, Deception. hella deception all over the place. Deliverance, COME TO ME

4 November 2015

Review: Second Chance Summer

Reviewer: Kristen
Author: Morgan Matson
Pages: 468
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary (you rock, Goodreads, don't ever change): Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.
My Thoughts: I decided to pick this up because I was in the mood for a light and summery read, something contemporary but with a bit of a punch. And, I'll admit it, this book punched me right in the face. There was just something that was incredibly raw about it, what Taylor feels, especially in regards to her dad, was so real and vivid. It was like I went on this trip with this family, and I was there while they spent the time that they could with their dad. It was heartbreaking and funny and just what I needed to kick off a huge contemporary binge.

Taylor was a shy, and not so confident main character. She had some issues that she needed to deal with and some relationships she needed to figure out. It was easy to forget that she was only supposed to be 17, because a lot of the time she felt a lot older. This summer was literally Taylor's second chance at everything, and it was refreshing to see her grow and change as a person. It was definitely an emotional roller coaster.

So, now that we have that out of the way, I think we should take some time and talk about the romance. Because who doesn't love some romance? I think that the romance was a little to unbelievable for me at times. There was definitely some insta-love and a whole lot of pining that I didn't quite understand when they had been apart (and not speaking) for literally years. I get the resentment that Henry and Lucy felt, I just didn't get why they were so intense about it. So, for that reason, I couldn't rate it any higher. That was really the only issue I had with it though, so I definitely think you should try this one out if you like contemporary romances with a bit of an emotional punch. Sometimes you just gotta be hit in the face with the feels, man.

Final Thoughts: Not my favourite Morgan Matson novel (I mean, how can you beat Amy and Roger's Epic Detour?) but definitely a book I would re-read. It was the perfect summery novel with an unforgettable story.

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