I adore this book. Most contemporaries don't suck me in completely within the first few sentences but The Distance Between Us did.
Caymen's sarcastic comments were an instant hit with me and Xander's willingness to indulge this habit was simply adorable and had me rooting for him from the moment they met. Watching them grow closer was simply too much fun. Their romance was sweet and genuine and perfectly paced. Plus, Xander was so likeable that I internally squealed almost every time he entered a scene.
Caymen's mother has passed a prejudice against rich people down to her daughter and this proves to be a great stumbling block. Caymen looks for dark motives where there are none and is expecting every rich person she meets to eventually betray her, even Xander. In all reality, the majority of the rich people she meets are open to her and perfectly respectful.
Honestly, I was slightly disgusted with Caymen's mother. While she admits fault and apologizes for it, she effectively poisoned her daughter against anyone who was rich specifically because of their money. This mentality is one that bothers me and I find most hypocritical for her mother to have. Suffice it to say, I was not her biggest fan.
Thankfully, Caymen is able to overcome this taught prejudice though. I specifically enjoyed her interaction with some extended family members. Caymen never knew her father and always wondered if she got her sarcasm from him. Although this is a slight detail, I immensely enjoyed learning where all of the very dry sarcasm came from.
So, basically, I loved The Distance Between Us. Caymen was probably the funnest main character I've read about in a while and is instantly likeable. I will definitely be checking out more of West's novels and will be keeping an eye on her contemporaries.
<b>I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was given, offered, or taken to alter this review.</b>
First of all, Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite Disney movies and, after tasting Valentino's skills in her novel, Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen, I simply had to get my hands on this one. Valentino spared no detail and painted a wonderfully grotesque picture of Beauty's Prince.
We all know the basic reason why the Prince was cursed. He was cruel and didn't know how to love. Valentino really dived in though and gave us, what I felt was, a realistic look at why exactly the Prince ended up in his particular predicament. We see exactly why he was cursed and the events leading up to and following it.
Valentino truly paints a horrific picture of the Prince before he's even cursed. He's arrogant, selfish, and doesn't think much of others. Surprisingly enough, the author also worked Gaston into the Prince's story and I found that a bit clever and rather enjoyed it. His servants' devotion and belief in his goodness, even when things were at their darkest, also felt incredibly true to the tale.
Those who read Valentino's previous novel, Fairest of All, will see the emergence of three familiar characters. Lucinda, Ruby, and Martha are back to their plotting and meddling and it was interesting to see their roll in everything. Adding them also gave the author a chance to reference the Wicked Queen and events from Fairest of All, which is something I very much appreciated. Although they aren't my favorite characters, I felt like their return was a very nice touch.
Valentino's writing is as enchanting as ever. The Beast Within is a quick and very enjoyable read. The author even referenced other fairy tale characters such as Cinderella and her prince, Snow White, Ursula, and even Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip. I am really hoping to see more novels like this from Valentino and would be interested to see her take on The Little Mermaid, especially since Ariel is the only one she didn't really reference (unless I missed it).
I'd also just like to add that the font styles the people at Disney chose for this book, especially for the chapter titles, were perfect. I love the cover already but, to anyone who buys this book, I would take that cover flap off and look underneath. If it's like Fairest of All, then there'll be a surprise waiting for you. Personally, I can't wait to see it in stores so I can look for myself.
Ah, this is another fluffy contemporary right up my alley. I've had my eye on this for quite some time now and am glad I finally got to read it.
Haley's parents are divorced - have been for years - but, as one can expect, she's still struggling with it. Now her father has interrupted her summer plans and she has to spend a week at Disney's Fort Wilderness with his wife and her three-year-old half siblings.
When we first meet Haley, she doesn't feel like her father listens to her and, despite her efforts, fails to communicate her feelings. Then a seizure lands her in 1982. She needs to find a way back but there's just one problem, she doesn't want to go back.
She slowly comes to terms with her parents' divorce, even as she endeavors to give them the spark her father claims they were missing when they first met in 1982. When she gets back though, she isn't so angry with her dad. All of her problems aren't fixed, but her attitude changes. The character development was perfect for the few days covered in Summer of Yesterday.
Haley wanted a summer fling and finds it in Jason, the kind-hearted boy from 1982. I loved watching them become closer in the limited time they had. It was cute and light-hearted. I honestly attribute part of Haley's growth to Jason. There at the end, she didn't want to leave him and he didn't want her to leave either; but he understood that he had to let her go, so he did. It was sad and beautiful all at once.
The ending was sad and happy all at once. Haley developed a new understanding about her situation in life but she also lost Jason. Miss Triana, did a wonderful job writing a very satisfying ending.
<b>I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley exchange for an honest review. No compensation was given, offered, or taken to alter this review.</b>
Just Like the Movies is the perfect mix of fun and serious. Here we have two girls who want things to happen perfectly like in the movies, but they've forgotten one crucial thing. What happens in the movies isn't so straight forward, luckily those boys remembered that at the end and reminded them.
I expected to like Marjike more than I did. Don't get me wrong, I did like Marjike but I enjoyed Lily's narrative much more, which kind of caught me off guard. Lily was sarcastic and kept things real whereas Marjike was more dramatic and completely obsessed with her boyfriend.
Lily wants love, true love, but doesn't really believe she can get it. In general, I'd say she has a hard time believing in herself. But Marjike convinces her that she has a chance at getting the elusive Joe. Lily has watched her mother search for true love all her life, so I think this makes her more cynical about the entire thing, even if she doesn't realize it.
Marjike needs to learn to take care of herself more and she does. By the end of the novel, both girls have actually learned a lesson. I'm sure Marjike's obsession over her boyfriend will put some readers off but I'm also completely positive that those same readers will immensely appreciate her growth in particular. Marjike was holding off on making crucial life decisions because she was so invested in her boyfriend and what he was going to do. At the end though, she realizes that the type of love she's looking for isn't one-sided and acts accordingly.
As for the boys... I didn't hate Tommy but I didn't really like him either. He was just kind of meh for me, of course I think this is also because of Marjike's narrative though. Joe on the other hand was nice and you could always tell he was being honest with Lily. He was definitely my favorite of the two, always the perfect gentleman.
If you like contemporaries, I'd say definitely give this one a try. It's different than some others I've read and Lily and Marjike will have you hoping for their success well before the half way point.
This novel literally combines some of my favorite story elements and, to my heart's delight, Templeman used them all exceedingly well. I love it when things are set in a small village and the creep factor is high. For some, the first 100 pages could be a bit slow but I found them rather intriguing.
Templeman created a bleak atmosphere. Here's a town where nothing has really happened for years and suddenly, a group of the king's soldiers die on the mountain top. The villagers hurriedly shrug it off as a wolf attack and although as a reader you know it's something more, you don't really feel the danger quite yet. Then someone you actually know dies and that's when things start escalating. The atmosphere steadily builds upon itself until you reach the last 150 pages and the creep factor is sky high. When it reaches that point though, it stays there right up until basically the very end.
There were quite a few point of views (POVs) but this technique was absolutely perfect for the novel. The POVs did switch quite frequently but seeing the village and events through a variety of eyes only made everything creepier. It didn't give away the mystery. You still had to put it together. But instead of hearing about some of the deaths, you actually see them.
While I enjoyed the characters, I wouldn't say I really connected to them. This just isn't one of those type of novels. This novel is more plot-centered than it is character-centered. Sure, I backed certain characters (Jude, my friends, Jude), but Jude, Rowan, and Tom could have just as easily died and I would have been okay. This might seem detrimental but it really isn't, not with this book. This was about the monster in the woods. It was about discovering the evil that hid there and getting rid of it. It didn't matter who did it as long as it was killed.
It should also be noted that, although this is high fantasy, I wouldn't expect a sweeping world. Again, this isn't detrimental. Often times, we're lured into high fantasy because of books like The Lord of the Rings and Throne of Glass. This just isn't that type of book. This is more concentrated. You see the beliefs of the villagers and their lives. It's all very well developed and you become intimately familiar with this small village. But this book isn't about saving the world. This is about a village on the brink.
<b>I received this from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review. No compensation was given, offered, or taken to alter this review.</b>
This definitely wasn't what I expected, not in the least. Before You had some surprisingly compelling narratives and I hardly wanted to put it down.
Diego and Faith have made mistakes in the their lives and they're busy trying to run from their pasts, especially Faith. Diego doesn't really care about what other people think of him, so although he has some (I would say) bigger issues, he comes to terms with them and his life much faster than Faith. This entire novel was about them learning to stop running from their mistakes.
Faith is desperately trying to exude an image that everyone around her expects from a pastor's daughter. Their unreasonable expectations were slowly killing her inside. She'd started living for everyone else and was sacrificing way too much of herself just so she would seem to be the person everyone thought she should be. The moment she stepped out of that mold, they persecuted her. It was quite sad and made me a little mad.
I think the part that frustrated me the most though was that a lot of people judged Diego by the color of his skin and not by the content of his character. This judgment was therefore passed onto Faith because she was dating him. It just really bothered me that people who professed to be Christians judged these two characters so harshly in every aspect of their lives, and were personally offended when Faith decided to be herself.
Melissa is probably one of the best friends Faith could have ever made. She saw her friend slipping away and intervened. Melissa was fun and sassy as she kept pushing Faith towards Diego. She didn't let Faith lie to her or herself. And, for that matter, Diego didn't let her either. They held Faith accountable, which was something she really needed. I did find Diego to be a bit possessive but I felt like he toned down towards the end, most likely because he was growing right alongside Faith.
I didn't see the ending coming but it didn't come out of left field. Honestly, it was completely satisfactory. I enjoyed Before You but I don't think I'll be picking up the sequel.
<b>I received this from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was offered, given, or taken to alter the opinions expressed forth with.</b>
It's hard to say which book in the series has been the best so far. Each has been wonderful in its own way. Heir of Fire will probably be my book of the year though - only competing with Maas' The Assassin's Blade. Other 2014 releases are going to have to be pretty darn good if they want a chance at beating Heir of Fire. Maas blew me out of the water.
Wendyln is insanely dangerous. It truly is the place nightmares and legends go to live and where mortals go to die. I mean, if you're a fan of camping, you won't be after spending a night in Wendyln's forests; that is, if you survive. Celaena met some scary things while she was in Wendyln but I'd have to say that the most terrifying creatures she encountered in the entire novel would have to be the skinwalkers. Seriously, Miss Maas, how do you come up with this stuff? Outside of the forts, there is no real safety.
Maas introduced some colorful characters who are all entirely wonderful in their own respects, except maybe Manon and the Ironteeth witches, whom I would never describe as wonderful - terrifying, yes. Manon's story is sprinkled throughout the novel but didn't take over. Maas did an excellent job setting up her arc for the rest of the series while introducing us to the rest of the clans. The Ironteeth witches are as terrifying as Baba Yellowlegs, if not more so. The Blackbeaks are probably the scariest.
Aedion and Rowan were both introduced as jerks but watching them both (Rowan more so) reveal who they really are was a pleasure I wouldn't mind reliving in a reread. I hadn't even finished reading Heir of Fire before I wanted to reread the entire thing (after I finished it of course). They were both pleasant surprise, although I wouldn't use the word pleasant to describe either of them. Each helps peel back another layer of Celaena's past.
Dorian and Chaol are as daring as ever. They're both in a crap load of trouble and each are playing their own dangerous games. Dorian really comes into himself though. We see that he's already kind of taken on the mantle of king in his mind, now he just has to live long enough to physically be the king of Ardalan. Chaol has a lot of inner turmoil, but I think he resolves about half of that by the time the book ends.
When we see Celaena, for the first time, she is in pieces. She is in the darkest pit of despair and hopelessness you could imagine. In Heir of Fire, she's so terrified of herself as a Fae, that she holds herself back. She doesn't think that she's worth anything and the only thing that keeps her going for a long time is her loyalty to her friends and the people she couldn't save. In order to learn how to use and control her magic though, she had to work through her past. She had to walk through the wall of rage and fear that she'd run away from for so long. I think, we also begin to further understand how much Arobynn messed with her mind. Arobynn seems to have encouraged her fear of herself and what she was capable of (and definitely the rage). But she starts to accept things. The growth is most reflected in her interactions with Maeve at the beginning and at the end of the novel.
Truly, Maas is taking this series to very incredible places. She sucked me in from the very beginning and, quite frankly, ripped my hear to shreds before she spit me back out of this world she's created. I can't wait for the fourth book.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm not a huge fan of contemporaries; I'm a bit picky. However, West's The Distance Between Us has me hooked on any contemporary she writes.
Charlie is the very definition of the word tomboy. She's grown up playing sports of all kinds with her three older brothers and all of their friends. She's never known her mother and she doesn't really have any female friends. Charlie is stubborn and she doesn't always make the right decision, but I loved her. Her brothers were all distinct and the family dynamic between them, Charlie, and their dad was a lot of fun to read.
Now enter Braden, the boy next door. He's been like a brother to Charlie for the past twelve years, but she's sixteen now and Charlie is starting to realize that she likes this boy more than she feels she should. After all, he's her brothers' best friend.
Watching Braden and Charlie come to the point where they finally admit their feelings for each other was altogether painful and fun. Sometimes I just wanted them to get to the point, admit that they liked each other, and kiss. At the same time though, I didn't want West to rush a single thing. Watching Braden get jealous was entirely too much fun.
If you liked The Distance Between Us, then you will eat this one up. It's wonderfully reminiscent of West's first contemporary, and even gives a few nods to it while still being unique and different from its predecessor. After I finished On the Fence, I missed Braden, Charlie, and Charlie's brother, so much so that I found myself basically rereading the majority of it a few days later.
Miss West did yet another fantastic job writing a very fun contemporary. On the Fence isn't just about the romance, it's also about Charlie coming to terms with her mother's passing and becoming more comfortable with herself. Don't miss out, go buy this now.
Royally Lost a cute, simple contemporary, perfect for the hot and fun atmosphere summer brings each year, or even a great end-of-summer novel. This isn't anything earth shattering, but I really enjoyed this one. Nikolai was charming and sweet and Becca was logical but willing to be swept off her feet.
The setting and writing were perfect for the story. Royally Lost doesn't have a lot of depth to it, but the ending is cute and we do see the characters realistically work through their own personal issues.
If you're looking for something light and charming, then this is the novel for you.
<b>I received this ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was given, offered, or taken to alter the opinion forth with.</b>
Humpty Dumpty is probably my favorite nursery rhyme. I don't usually request ARCs of picture books but, since I work at a daycare, and this was a take on Humpty Dumpty, I figured why not? The book starts out with the traditional rhyme, and then it goes on to give you the perspective of the king's men.
The companion rhyme is fun and, much like the original, allows room for facial and voiced expressions. Picture books aren't usually associated with twists in their endings, but this one definitely has one. I laughed right out loud.
Children like vibrant colors, so naturally, books with lots of them tend to hold their attention. Every color combination sparks the imagination and is pleasing to the eye. The illustrations are simple and perfect.
I firmly believe that the audience, especially two-year-olds, will love this book. Humpty Dumpty Flip-Side Rhymes is a fun take on the original rhyme that both children and adults will appreciate and love.
Watch out because Megan Shepherd is back. Last we left Juliet Moreau, she was floating away from an island in the middle of the ocean. Now she's arrived back in London and everything should be fine, however, she still isn't able to outrun her father's crimes or his influence. I entered Shepherd's second novel with a full understanding that she would blow my socks off. I wasn't disappointed. Much like before, we see that no one can be trusted, even those closest to Juliet - not even the characters we find ourselves routing for.
Her Dark Curiosity is richly atmospheric. The novel's entire tone is carefully tempered between Juliet's encroaching madness and her slipping sanity amongst the terrible murders plaguing Scotland Yard. Much like we saw in The Madman's Daughter, no place is truly safe. Juliet is positive she's identified the killer, but the truth is too horrible to even contemplate until it is staring her in the face.
Of course, the killer isn't Juliet's only problem. A victim of her father's experimentation, her health is declining and she is desperate to find a cure. Unfortunately, the cure's costs may be beyond those she's willing pay; that is, as long as her sanity is intact. Throughout the novel, Juliet fights to keep believing that everything her father's science created and brought to light is evil. Here we see that those she trusts most, are causing her to doubt this belief.
Juliet is petrified of becoming her father and the Beast doesn't help her out too much. No single character is truly helpful when it comes to aiding Juliet in dealing with her own madness and that of her deceased father's. We do see multiple characters commenting that science itself is not evil. Instead, they insist that it's what people do with that knowledge that makes it good or evil.
The love story was... I'm not even sure how to explain it. Considering what she did, I do feel like Juliet moved on a tad too swiftly; yet, at the same time, she hasn't really moved on at all. However, part of me wonders if perhaps this is a reflection of Juliet's madness because I'm not sure I understand the reasoning behind her latest decision.
There were a few things I saw coming, but I think knowing they were going to happen caused me more anxiety. Things kept happening and the people and the other future events that had seemed liked they were just around the corner weren't showing up when I desired.
Her Dark Curiosity is a masterful continuation of The Madman's Daughter trilogy and I'm eagerly awaiting the conclusion to this epic story.
First of all, let me just say, it is incredibly hard to write this review for two reasons. One, the synopsis on goodreads and the synopsis on the actual book jacket are different. Two, I'm having a hard time determining what's a spoiler and what isn't. Before I say anything more though I have one vital piece of advice for everyone before they read this book. Do not flip to the back of the book. I wanted to see at which point the book really ended because there's a glossary after everything is said and done. Do not do this. You won't realize it at the time, but basically seeing a single word is a spoiler.
All right, I do feel safe in saying that I was incredibly happy with the POV choices for the series' conclusion. I loved that Riordan returned to a more focused highlight on Leo, Piper, and Jason, much like how the series began. However, I will say that there are 5 POVs and every single person will be incredibly happy with the other two choices. I felt like everyone's story was balanced very well.
Hands down, one of my favorite parts was the fact that Percy and Annabeth didn't dominate like they did in the previous book. Don't worry, my friends, there's still some Percabeth action.
The House of Hades fully developed Frank and Hazel and, now with The Blood of Olympus, we see Riordan finishing the character development for the rest of the crew as well as some of their trusty friends, whom I will not name.
The pacing was wonderful. I didn't dread a single POV change because the story attached to each one was incredibly entertaining. I do think that it's definitely worth mentioning that Octavian gets his just deserts. Seriously, no one could have asked for a better ending for the traitorous scum bag.
In short, The Blood of Olympus is basically the best book in the series and you're all going to flippin' love it.
The Moth in the Mirror is a nice addition to the Splintered trilogy. The writing was, as always, fantastic. I love the insight this e-novella offers.
Morpheus made me shake my head more than once. He does the wrong things but his intentions are usually good. The thing I'm coming to understand about Morpheus is that he doesn't just see things differently from humans; his understanding of life and its concepts is basically wildly skewed. He loves her the way he understands love to be (which is wrong a lot of the time) but it isn't really his fault.
We were mostly in Jeb's head which, honestly, I got a bit annoyed. I mean, I knew we would be in his head but I didn't expect to get as annoyed with Jeb as I did. It wasn't to the point where I couldn't stand it all though. I do wish we had been able to have a bit more of Morpheus's thoughts and narrative during this time.
Poor Morpheus is more determined than ever to make Alyssa fall in love with him and leave Jeb. Sadly, he's going to end up making her pretty mad if he doesn't change his plans. But I still can't help but root for him.
Don't judge me.
I received this ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was given or offered to influence or change this review.
First of all, it's a good thing there's a sequel. Secondly, oh my word, this book was amazing. I don't usually like to read novels where a girl is pretending to be a boy; the concept is just unappealing to me. But Miss Larson executed it perfectly.
The world of Defy is dangerous and just... *shivers* I wouldn't want to live there. But Miss Larson seamlessly created a world that perfectly balances the fantastical fantasy requirements with believability. She didn't have to dive in and describe or explain things for pages at a time. Somehow, she brought an entire world to life from the very first page. The story progressed and she showed us how things worked there through Alexa's experiences, which is how these things should be done.
Alexa herself was perfect. She has been pretending to be a boy for three years now. When she loses her twin, Marcel, her careful façade starts unraveling under the grief. Now she's suddenly required to sleep right outside Prince Damian's room and not thinking about how handsome he is has become exceedingly difficult.
There were some whispers of a love triangle that I suspect will become more prominent as the series goes on, but it was practically nonexistent in Defy. Personally, I was voting for Prince Damian the entire time. I know he was supposed to be the wimpy, lazy dude in the beginning but Alexa's observations pretty much had me hooked. I didn't believe for a second that he was truly lazy. Honestly, despite what she said, I don't think Alexa did either. She was trying to explain things away so she wouldn't become more attracted to him. His midnight visits basically did her in, even if she was pretending to be a boy.
I have mixed feelings about Rylan, Alexa's best friend (besides Marcel). He wasn't quite your typical losing male interest. He was kind but he didn't try to push things. When he saw that Damian had won, he let her know he was still there but he didn't try to weasel his way between them. I appreciated that very much.
I could totally understand Alexa's reaction when she was suddenly expected to act like a girl. Of course she's confused. Survival has dictated that she act like a boy for the past three years. Her moments were perfectly controlled, which is expected by someone whose survival has depended on that self-control, but I appreciated that consistency.
The plot was well-crafted. Everything came together beautifully. The answer to defeating the magician wasn't magic, which I found refreshing. No, what did me in at the end was Alexa herself. How could she? I just... *deep breath* I need the second book because Alexa is being stupid. Not entirely stupid but I just don't understand how she could.... He's king; they can. Okay? She loves him. *sigh* I need the second book ASAP.
Insurgent left us with a broken Tris and with a curiosity of what lay beyond the fence. The whole base of the faction society is in question and Tris is one of the few who is willing to get to the bottom of things, no matter the cost.
Honestly, I mentally prepared myself for Allegiant weeks before I read it. Everyone in the Divergent fandom pretty much heard that the ending was basically going to blow you out of the water. Then, to add to it all, there was the hype of Four also narrating. It's pretty easy to say that expectations were very high.
Tris and Four each took turns narrating for us, and after reading The Transfer, I was really excited. Four's voice was completely different from Tris's in the latter. However, in Allegiant the first or second POV changes were fine, Four's voice was just as I remembered. But after the third or fourth time, their voices just started blending together. So that was a bit of a let down.
The plot was.... not expected but not unexpected either. For me, some of the magic was kind of lost when Tris and Four go beyond the fence and learn the truth. At that point, it was just the work and world building from the previous two books that kept Allegiant from feeling just like every other dystopian out there. Don't get me wrong, it was different but also a bit similar. Then there's the fact that Four is a freakin' hypocrite. He and Tris promise (again) to be honest, and he goes off in the night, learns something important, and doesn't tell her when he should. Four was... frustrating.
As for Tris, I loved her. She really grew. I do feel that her recovery from all of the emotional trauma suffered in Insurgent was a bit rushed. But Tris returned as a strong and more honest character in Allegiant. And I would say, finished her journey and fulfilled purpose.
The ending was the most traumatic thing I have ever read. I was trying not to cry for the last sixty or so pages. I know some people were angry but that wasn't my reaction at all. I'll admit that I wish things hadn't ended the way they did. It definitely wasn't the ending I wanted. But Miss Roth handled it all very well if you ask me. Now that its been a few weeks since I finished, I see the symbolism behind this traumatic event. It brought this character full circle. Literally.
All in all, it was a great book but it wasn't the ending I wanted. All things considered, Miss Roth tied everything up pretty nicely. I commend her for daring to write the ending she wanted and saw instead of the ending readers would have dictated.