New Vlog: New Adult Craze & Other Sorts…

Hey, ya’ll! 

No review up today (so so sorry).. But I explain why in this new video up on my YouTube channel! 

Have at it.

 

Be well,

Alex

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Book Review: ALTERED by Jennifer Rush

***This review was written & posted on Goodreads in April***

Genre: YA, Sci-fi, Romance

Released on: January 1st, 2013

Pages: 352

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Goodreads Summary:

They were made to forget. But they’ll never forgive.
Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch, at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, solemn and brooding; Cas, light-hearted and playful; Trev, smart and caring; and Sam . . . who’s stolen Anna’s heart.

When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape. Anna’s father pushes her to go with them, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs
On the run, with her father’s warning in her head, Anna begins to doubt everything she thought she knew about herself. She soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.

My Review:

“They were made to forget. But they’ll never forgive.” 

I really enjoyed this book. The characters are what really drew me in the most (besdies the badass and intriguing plot). I mean, all boys are so different yet so similar in a lot of ways that reading the scences they had together was entertaining and kept me on my toes since I had no idea how they’d react to one another. And each boy wedged their way into my heart with their very different personas. Even Anna was likeable for me. There were times that she was almost too passive and too complacent with being pushed around and shut out by Sam, but I had to remind myself that Anna and I are very different people and we react differently to these situations. Fair. But still. That girl needs to grow some balls or something, my god. 

I honestly feel like a triangle is about to form. It isn’t present in this book but, guys, I’m calling it now… I can feel it. Book 2 will be where it happens. I know book 2 is already out so I gotta get my hands on that and see if I’m right. I’ll keep ya posted. 

Plot wise – bloody brilliant. It’s so interesting and intriguing! I mean these boys are just kept in a lab, isolated from the world and for what reason? And then they escape with the Doctor’s daughter in tow? Oh you know shit is about to go down. I had to know why. And how! 

So, then we get to the last couple chapters and of course, shit hits the fan. I sort of had a feeling about the roll Anna would be playing in this and it was awesome to see that I was right. I have to admit though, I’m not sure if I’m sold on the whole Sam/Anna thing. Not really spoilery because, well, it says they have a little somethin’ somethin’ going on in the description of this book. But the reason I’m not sold is because I’m not sure I like Sam as much as I did in the first couple chapters of the book. In the begining I freaking loved him. Hated him after four chapters. Tolerated him for the middle portion. Loved him for a few more chapters. Then hated him all over again. Ugh. I think it has more to do with not knowing his real feelings toward Anna. And the whole wishy washy thing and the whole (KIND OF SPOILER) sister thing just made it even harder and I wanted to bash his skull in. 

That being said, I’m really interested to see how things go down in book 2. I want to see Sam redeem himself in my eyes by being better with Anna. But at the same time, I want to see Anna bettering herself and being independent. So, book 2 should be a rather interesting read. Either way, this book was a good mysterious read for me. Can’t wait to see where the plot goes next!

MY RATING: 4/5

Book Review: ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER by Stephanie Perkins

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance

Released on: August 14th, 2014

Pages: 339

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Goodreads Summary:

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

My Review:

Stephanie Perkins never fails to deliver a mesmorizing, enchanting, and thrilling story that tingles your toes with the feelings of first love.

Before reading Isla’s story, I had always said Anna was my favorite of the trio. However, having now finished Isla’s story, I can say with no ounce of doubt in my body that Isla and the Happily Ever After is my favorite book of the trilogy. 

Isla is full of this angsty panic that always has me on edge. Her thoughts are so vivid and hilarious that it adds a sort of flamboyance to her story. I felt it worked well because when we transition into the more serious parts of the story, or at least the parts where Isla starts to doubt herself and Josh, the mood does a complete 180. I can tell what is important to Isla and what means the most to her when these 180 twists occur. 

What surprised me the most about this book was how quickly the relationship starts between Isla and Josh. We’re probably only about 100 pages in and then b-o-o-m, relationship. That was surprising to me because Stephanie Perkins loves to have this huge build up to the relationship full of flirting and ‘we like each other but we’re not saying it’ kind of vibe. That is so not the case here. I wouldn’t say i disliked it, I just found it surprising for a Perkins novel. But when you put it in perspective, it made sense why they’d jump into a relationship. I mean, Isla has liked Josh since FRESHMAN YEAR. You’ll find out in the book just how long Josh has had his feelings for. So they’ve had years of this whole ‘we like each other but we’re not saying it’ bit. It was time for the relationship. And with all that aside, it made room for the real drama to kick in.

There was something so different with this relationship, as opposed to the other Perkins novels. It felt so much more real and important. It literally felt like there was so much at stake in their relationship. And add in Isla’s uncertainty about her own future? That’s enough to leave me unsettled and worried that they won’t end up together D: 

I really really loved that Isla was so uncertain about her future, though. In Anna and Lola we read about these two main girls who are very certain about themsevles. They know who they are, what they want from life (for the most part), and they have some sense of goals to aim for. Isla doesn’t. And it was so refreshing to read a character that literally had NO idea what she wanted, where she wanted to go, but only knew that she was in love. It added more value to her relationship with Josh, and more depth to her character – at least for me. 

The ending was SO FREAKING CUTE. Anna and St. Claire and Lola and Cricket and everyone was there AND THEN WE HAVE SUCH A MAJOR ANNA AND ETINNE MOMENT THAT I SCREAMED. I love that Stephanie Perkins incorporates her previous characters. And it doesn’t feel forced! (I’d hope not cause I mean they’re all friends with Josh, so..) But trust me, the end scene with Anna and St. Claire is just so gush worthy and I loved it. 

Isla and Josh’s ending was so perfect. Fitting, cute, everything and more. 

Absolutely loved this book – favorite Perkins book from this little trilogy.

MY RATING: 5/5

Book Review: REBEL BELLE by Rachel Hawkins

***This review was written and presented on Goodreads in April***

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance

Released on: April 8th, 2014

Pages: 345

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Goodreads Summary:

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y’all beg for more.

My Review:

This book was a pleasant surprise that had me giggling, gasping, and imagining how on earth it was going to end. 

The characters were so refreshing and new and VERY consistent. Which I think is awesome. Most books you’ll find that characters switch back and forth and do things that are so unlike the character they’re set up to be. Not in Rebel Belle! Everyone has a specific characteristic and they stick to it! Love that. And everyone has their own humor and it is so fresh and hilarious! I wish I could describe just how wonderful the humor is in this book but I seem to blame Southern humor for it. Seriously, the Southern humor is great. Kept me engaged and on my toes! 

The main plot of this book was also something new. Instead of just a simple “girl thrust into a new world where she is a badass protector,” Rebel Belle is a girl literally blown into a world where everything is seemingly normal except for a few anomalies… And instead of treating it as a girl who is so lost and doesn’t know her next move, Harper keeps herself busy. She pretty much reacts the way I would have if I suddenly developed superpowers – which is AWESOME! Right down to the Professor X refrences which had me laughing. Harper is definitely a do-er and not a sit around and wait for help kind of girl.

The ending to the novel really put me on edge! I mean we had this whole build up and set up and then BOOM that ending. Oh god I knew it was coming but to read it and actually know for a fact it happened, just made me scream. 

Like I said, Rebel Belle was a pleasant surprise. I didn’t think I’d enjoy it as much as I did. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I haven’t really read anything like it, or maybe it’s because I read a contemporary romance the day before so this was a nice change, but either way, it was fantastic. I don’t know for certain if this book is part of a series but my god with that ending, IT BETTER BE. So that being said, I cannot wait for book 2! 

EVERYONE, GO READ THIS AWESOME BOOK. You’ll want in on this goodness.

MY RATING: 5/5

Book Review: DARE YOU TO by Katie McGarry

Genre: YA, Romance, Contemporary

Released on: April 29th, 2014

Pages: 480

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Goodreads Summary:

“I dare you…” If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk’s home life, they’d send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs-until the day her uncle swoops in, and Beth finds herself starting over at a school where no one understands her. Except for the one guy who shouldn’t get her, but does. 

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can’t tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the skater girl who couldn’t be less interested in him. 

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image is risking everything for the girl he loves, and the girl who won’t let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all….

My Review:

Katie McGarry does not disappoint with her books. After reading and absolutely loveing PUSHING THE LIMITS, I was so so pleased with this book and its characters, so complex and intriguing, that I ate this book up in one sitting. 

Honestly, the characters Katie writes are relatable and funny, heartbreaking and complicated, all the things that make them so interesting to read and loveable at the same time. 

Beth is a damn trip. She’s stubborn and strong-headed, but so aggressively loyal. She’s witty and quick tongued but that tongue gets her into so much trouble that I found at times I had to bite my own tongue for her! But I also fell in love with her. Her story brought me to tears and even though I had never experienced the life she had, I was familiar with it and so I empathized with her character a lot. Beth holds a dear place in my heart.

Ryan is a special little nugget. Though it is not important, the fact that he’s a virgin was so adorable. Because despite the fact that he was a virgin, he image screamed anything BUT. That just proves how wrong you can be about a person just based on appearances. I love the way he drew out Beth’s personality and really worked his way into her heart by just being there. Just offering a hand to hold, a shoulder to lean on, a bed to sleep in, he already proved to Beth that he is not what she made him out to be. 

Both of their journeys held so much weight and importance, and I think that’s what I love about Katie McGarry’s stories. She finds a way to intergrate a journey between two characters while also giving them each an individual journey that we are fortunate enough to read about, and a journey that McGarry finds the time to write about. She gives equal time to both journeys and in the end we see how both Beth and Ryan come out as different people, ready to take on the world together. 

Other minor characters that really stood out to me was Scott. Oh dear god, every time Beth had an interaction with her Uncle Scott, my heart broke into tiny little pieces. I understood Beth’s anger so well, but I also felt for Scott’s sadness and the guilt he’s trying to wash away. Right behind Beth and Ryan’s relationship, Beth and Scott’s is a very close second. I wish I could have read more about Beth and Scott before Scott left, and I wish I could have read more interactions between the two when Beth was opening up about the times after he left.

Pacing was great, the love was beautifully written (like falling in love for the first time), and the end result of the book left my heart in stitched up pieces. 

MY RATING: 5/5

Book Review: A MATTER OF FATE by Heather Lyons

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, YA, Romance

Released on: August 25th, 2012

Pages: 543

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Goodreads Summary:

Chloe Lilywhite struggles with all the normal problems of a typical seventeen-year-old high school student. Only, Chloe isn’t a normal teenage girl. She’s a Magical, part of a secret race of beings who influence the universe. More importantly, she’s a Creator, which means Fate mapped out her destiny long ago, from her college choice, to where she will live, to even her job. While her friends and relatives relish their future roles, Chloe resents the lack of say in her life, especially when she learns she’s to be guarded against a vengeful group of beings bent on wiping out her kind. Their number one target? Chloe, of course.

That’s nothing compared to the boy trouble she’s gotten herself into. Because a guy she’s literally dreamed of and loved her entire life, one she never knew truly existed, shows up in her math class, and with him comes a twin brother she finds herself inexplicably drawn to.

Chloe’s once unyielding path now has a lot more choices than she ever thought possible.

My Review:

This book is a mystery to me. I hated it. But I might continue the series. 

Some love triangles work for certain stories, and not for others. Some authors write love triangles beautifully (i.e. Cassie Clare) and others write them horribly (i.e. Heather Lyons). 

I cannot STAND the main character and her indecisiveness toward her “soulmate” and his twin brother. That should have already been a red flag for me when I read the summary, but I had high hopes for the plot. 

And I was right about the plot. I did enjoy the plot line and the world this takes place in is fascinating enough that I want to continue reading the story. But, my god, I will end up rewriting this series so I can write myself in just so I can punch this main character in the face. She’s so frustrating and not in the good kind of way. She sets herself on the path of good and sensible and then literally two lines later she’s changed her mind and she’s doing something stupid. She says MULTIPLE TIMES in her head that being with Jonah’s twin brother is wrong because she’s “in love with Jonah” but continues to make out with, and string along, the cute brother. Ugh. 

It felt like I was reading another bad version of Twilight. 

But the damn storyline sucked me back in… if it’s one thing that saves this book from a complete one star (turns out you can’t give a book zero stars), it will be the plot. I’m curious about what exactly Chloe is and what that means for the people of her world. I’m also curious how that ties in to Jonah and his family (love triangle bullshit aside). But of course, all that is blindsided by the ridiculous notion that this girl needs two love interests. 

So now I’m confliced, put between a rock and a veeery hard place because I hate the main character, I hate the love triangle, but I’m intrigued by the plot?? I still haven’t decided whether or not my curiosity outweights my hate. 

MY RATING: 1.5/5

Book Review: MISUNDERSTANDINGS by Tiffany King

Genre: NA, Contemporary, Romance

Released on: May 6th, 2014

Pages: 304

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Goodreads Summary:

Just when she thought things were going up…

Two years after a devastating breakup, Brittni Mitchell has moved on from Justin Avery—or so she tells herself. But when she returns to Seattle for her best friend’s engagement party, Brittni finds herself the victim of a disastrously timed elevator breakdown. She’s trapped with the last person she wants to face, and forced to recount the past she desperately wants to forget.

She’s going to have to look back…

When Brittni left her podunk hometown for a big city college experience at the University of Washington, hooking up with a guy like Justin Avery was not part of her plan. Between Justin’s attention-grabbing tattoos, cigarette smoking, and bad boy attitude Brittni quickly chalked him up as “Mr. Wrong.” But his charm was unrelenting, and Brittni’s decision to give Justin a chance quickly turned into the worst choice she ever made.

So that she might be able to move forward.

Now she’s stuck with Justin—literally—and the complicated web of misunderstandings that tied up the truth for two years is about to unravel.

My Review:

This book was a breath of fresh air in terms of New Adult clichés. 

It was not about rape or abuse or any of the typical tropes we see battled out in new adult books as of late (or at least of the ones I’ve picked up), which was so so great. Since it was different from others I’ve read, it kept me thoroughly engaged. The switching of past memories to the present day was well paced and managed that I didn’t feel jostled in the reading, and each segment kept my interest. 

The main character is hard to pin as one thing, which is a good thing. She’s strong, so fiercely strong, yet to vulnerable and weak in other parts – much like normal human girls are. But I think it was executed to beautifully in this book. The main character of Brittni has all the flaws any normal human would, such as being judgmental, but also has her strenghts such as her loyalty to friends and sense of duty. I admired all the flaws and strengths of this character. 

Our other main character, Justin (cue panty dropping act), has his own demons to battle to. He’s quick on his tongue, sometimes too quick and that gets him into trouble. But he’s also fiercely loyal and kind-hearted. So so kind, you guys. And he’s funny. The whole package! But it’s his attitude that gets him into the most trouble, and in the end leads to his downfall. All exciting stuff.

I wouldn’t say the book is predictable, but my imagination while I’m reading likes to go off on wild tangents and then it turned out that one of my wild tangents was TRUE.. I felt like God for a hot second. I wanted to pat myself on the back and get an award for figuring out the plot twist while I was only on chapter 5. But that didn’t tear me away from the book or put me off, it kept me engaed. Then I was rushing to get through and see how it all played out.

Toward the end, I was a little disappointed on how things went down, how “quick to forgive” and “move on with our life” seemed to be a constant theme at that point, but it was still good. There were things I wish didn’t happen the way they did (like I said, the ending and the all too forgiving thing), but I still found the ending to be just as satisfying and gush worthy as I would have hoped. 

It was a fresh new take on NA for me and it definitely opened the door to more Tiffany King books for me!

MY RATING: 4.5/5