31 January 2013

Twenty Boy Summer

Twenty Boy SummerReviewer: Kristen 
Author: Sarah Ockler 
Pages: 290
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 6 out of 10

Summary (via GR): "Don’t worry, Anna. I’ll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it."
"Promise me? Promise you won’t say anything?"
"Don’t worry.” I laughed. “It’s our secret, right?"

According to Anna’s best friend, Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there’s a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there’s something she hasn’t told Frankie–she’s already had her romance, and it was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

TWENTY BOY SUMMER explores what it truly means to love someone, what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every beautiful moment life has to offer

My Thoughts: Such a cool premise and plot! This books cover totally drew me in - I mean, can we take a minute to appreciate that cover?! Plus, it relates back to the story in a really cool and meaningful way. I love it when that happens, I absolutely hate it when the cover bares no relevance to the story inside - even if it's just me that can't find the relevance. People judge books by the covers, people! Make sure it's something interesting. End rant. Sorry bout that. This cover is really great though, am I right? Back to the actual story. It was good. It was okay. It wasn't great.  I kept checking how many pages I had left till the end. From when I started this book last week, I started and finished to other novels instead of getting to the end of this one. With me, that's usually pretty telling. I don't tend to enjoy jumbling worlds. Though, when I did jump back into Twenty Boy Summer, I knew exactly what was happening without it being thrown in my face repeatedly. Sarah Ockler does a good job at keeping the reader up to pace. I can't even tell you what I didn't like about this book. It's a bunch of little things really. I didn't like that Anna was so obsessive with the promise she made to Matt. I also thought the beginning of the book kind of dragged, while the end kind of speed by things I would have liked to know more about. I really liked the little quirks each character had. Frankie, for example, constantly used the wrong word when she was trying to sound intelligent, and it left Anna always correcting her. Little things like that make the characters feel real. It was good, not great, but it was good. 

Final Thoughts: Quick, easy read. It's alright, especially if you're looking for a bit of romance and a bit of self discovery. 

28 January 2013


Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Jessica Khoury
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 394
Rating: 8 out of 10

Summary (Goodreads is my favourite!): Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rain forest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home--and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life.

Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia's origin--a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.

Origin is a beautifully told, shocking new way to look at an age-old desire: to live forever, no matter the cost.

What I Think: I really enjoyed this novel. I think that it is a very original idea. I felt that Pia was both a good use of my new Latin skills (It always helps to know what a name mean, authors really do think about that kind of thing) and a great character. I thought that she was strong and brave. Sure, at the beginning she was kind of closed-minded and uncaring but when I look back at it, of course she was like that! She had no concept of what the real world, or any part of the world for that matter, was like. I'm happy that she learned. I love characters that are curious and have drive. 

Another plus was that the author didn't just go with the 'immortality is okay' thing and run with it. I'm glad she threw in something to think about. She does it subtly too so you don't have to worry, the thinking involved doesn't hurt your head.

As I was reading, I kept thinking that this one part was super sad and stood out too much. I couldn't figure out what the significance was and it bothered me. When I did figure it out though, it hit my like a brick wall and my epiphany came a few pages too early. It wasn't a bad thing, it made me feel better.

Finally, I really want to know what ended up happening with the ants!

In Conclusion: I loved this novel. I would definitely consider reading it again and again. It was a pretty easy read so it didn't take me very long at all. It's a bit of a stretch on science and a little sad in a few part (I almost cried in class) but if you can get past these two things then you're golden and should check this book out.

25 January 2013


FlawedReviewer: Kristen
Author: Kate Avelynn
Pages: 321
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 10 out of 10

*** Trigger warning: this book does not deal with light issues. It's a dark novel that is absolutely heartbreaking and deals with issues far beyond most peoples understanding. In my opinion, Kate Avelynn does every issue discussed justice. ***

Summary (Thanks GR): Sarah O’Brien is alive because of the pact she and her brother made twelve years ago — James will protect her from their violent father if she promises to never leave him. For years, she’s watched James destroy his life to save hers. If all he asks for in return is her affection, she’ll give it freely.

Until, with a tiny kiss and a broken mind, he asks for more than she can give.

Sam Donavon has been James’ best friend — and the boy Sarah’s had a crush on — for as long as she can remember. As their forbidden relationship deepens, Sarah knows she’s in trouble. Quiet, serious Sam has decided he’s going to save her. Neither of them realizes James is far more unstable than her father ever was, or that he’s not about to let Sarah forget her half of the pact . . 

My Thoughts: This is not a book that should be taken lightly, and Kate Avelynn makes sure that it's damn near impossible to. I dove into this expecting some different topics than my usual bluster of cute romantic love stories. I expected some incest, I expected the abuse, I was not expecting to fall in love with this novel. This is by no means a light read. It's heavy, and heart-wrenching, and made me want to toss the book across the room, hug Sarah, kick her father's ass, and punch James in the face. It made me fall in love with Sam for the same reasons that Sarah had. But don't let a cute boy be the reason you dive into this novel. It presents so many things, so many huge topics that I have personally never dealt with before, and after reading it, it's clear that Kate Avelynn is a powerful writer. This book took hold of my heart and squeezed, and I literally had to walk away a few times to collect myself. This book is powerful, gritty, and most importantly it's real. It shows the reader a real struggle, and real pain and the real power of love. It is by no means a story of hope. It is raw, it's emotional, it was an spectacular read. It's one of those books that will consume my every thought for a long time, and I'm not quite sure how I'm going to get it off my mind. Flawed was without a flaw, and if it's something you can handle on an emotional level, do not let it pass you by. I just finished it, maybe three minutes ago, and I'm not sure I'm going to go on with my life. Okay, so I may be exaggerating a little bit, but this story is just that powerful. 

Final Thoughts: I can only hope to be this effective of a writer. 

23 January 2013

The Reckoning (Taker #2)

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Alma Katsu
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 352
Rating: 6 out of 10

Summary (via Goodreads): Lanore McIlvrae is the kind of woman who will do anything for love. Including imprisoning the man who loves her behind a wall of brick and stone.

She had no choice but to entomb Adair, her nemesis, to save Jonathan, the boy she grew up with in a remote Maine town in the early 1800s and the man she thought she would be with forever. But Adair had other plans for her. He used his mysterious, otherworldly powers to give her eternal life, but Lanore learned too late that there was a price for this gift: to spend eternity with him. And though he is handsome and charming, behind Adair’s seductive faÇade is the stuff of nightmares. He is a monster in the flesh, and he wants Lanore to love him for all of time.

Now, two hundred years after imprisoning Adair, Lanore is trying to atone for her sins. She has given away the treasures she’s collected over her many lifetimes in order to purge her past and clear the way for a future with her new lover, Luke Findley. But, while viewing these items at an exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Lanore suddenly is aware that the thing she’s been dreading for two hundred years has caught up to her: Adair has escaped from his prison. He’s free— and he will come looking for her. And she has no idea how she will save herself.

My Thoughts: If you took Beauty and the Beast, Romeo and Juliette, and a slightly watered-down version of 50 Shades of Grey and put them together you would get this book. Looking at those titles, you can see where the problem might come in. I feel the need to say that this book was bizarre, just as the first novel in this series was. I can't say that it was my favourite though. Alma Katsu is an incredible writer and has a brilliant mind but Lanore's mind is a bit of a scary place to be. I didn't appreciate that she cut herself down to think that she might actually care for Adair. That's just plain not good for women everywhere. I personally do not like thinking about how screwed up some people might be.

This said, I am glad that she saw the characters through. I can't say that their decisions surprised me. They were true to how they were. Each one fought for what was right, or at least what they thought was right. Every character had a growing moment too. I don't agree with readers that hate when characters change; people change and grow so why wouldn't characters in stories?

I'm not pleased with the ending. It was too sudden. I was expecting some grand ending or some huge event that would lead into the next novel but I was left disappointed. There was no lead up. There was no subtle change over time that led to the conclusion of this story. The reader doesn't even get a glimpse into the mind of Adair. There is absolutely no explanation to what he chose to do in the end. It just bothers me. I hold onto the hope that the next novel will explain his decisions. Two books in, I hope I won't be disappointed. 

Final Thoughts: I enjoyed the writing itself but the end really upset me. For such a long story, I expected more. I pray that the final book will be better and leave me content. If you read the first in the series, it won't hurt to read this one but I liked the first one about a thousand times more than this one. Take from that what you wish...

21 January 2013

Through The Ever Night

Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky, #2)Reviewer: Kristen
Author: Veronica Rossi
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 9 out of 10

***** This book is a sequel to Under The Never Sky. I'll do my best to avoid spoilers, but if you plan to read this novel, I'd suggest just skipping over this review! You've been warned ;) *****

Summary (Thanks Goodreads): It's been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with an impossible mission. Now, finally, they are about to be reunited. But their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don't take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening Aether storms threatening the tribe's precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both.

Threatened by false friends, hidden enemies, and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night?

In this second book in her spellbinding Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi combines fantasy and dystopian elements to create a captivating love story as perilous as it is unforgettable.

My Thoughts: Oh dear God, how, HOW, am I suppose to wait until 2014 for the next book?!?! Authors nowadays are just trying to kill me, I swear. This was the perfect sequel. Literally. Perfect. I couldn't have asked for a better way to continue the series, and Veronica Rossi surprised me (in a good way!), enraged me, and even had me on the verge of tears a few times. This book was a spectacular way to continue Perry and Aria's story. I don't want to give away anything too spoiler-y, but this book was wow. I think I actually liked the sequel better than the first one, and how often does that happen!? Sorry - I really am all over the place. There is so much that I want to talk about with this novel, but I don't want to ruin the magic for any of you have yet to read! So, any of you readers who loved (or didn't, but how is that possible) this book, email me! I'd love to discuss it at length with you. 

Final Thoughts: Seriously 2014?!?! Though I give Veronica Rossi props where due... the ending begs for more without making me go crazy while I wait for it. 

19 January 2013

As You Wish

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Jackson Pearce
Format: Paperback
Pages: 304
Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary (via Goodreads): Ever since Viola's boyfriend broke up with her, she has spent her days silently wishing--to have someone love her again and, more importantly, to belong again--until one day she inadvertently summons a young genie out of his world and into her own. He will remain until she makes three wishes.

Jinn is anxious to return home, but Viola is terrified of wishing, afraid she will not wish for the right thing, the thing that will make her truly happy. As the two spend time together, the lines between master and servant begin to blur, and soon Jinn can't deny that he's falling for Viola. But it's only after Viola makes her first wish that she realizes she's in love with Jinn as well . . . and that if she wishes twice more, he will disappear from her life--and her world--forever.

Jackson Pearce spins a magical tale about star-crossed lovers, what it means to belong . . . and how important it is to be careful what you wish for

My Feelings On The Matter: This was a great book. It was a cool idea. This is the only genie book I've ever read which makes it an novelty. I like new things. Also, it was simple enough to follow and everything was explained enough but not all at once. I hate that because you can never remember everything that is important by the time it is important. I forget things pretty quickly. I need to get information as it becomes important. 

Jackson Pearce really likes her multiple points of views. She switches between narrating characters as the chapter changes. Sometimes this can be confusing if you miss (or forget) which character's thoughts you are reading about but for the most part it isn't bad.

I loved the simplicity of the characters, the cool names the author gave them, but most of all the fact the the character learns something. When to wishes every go well?

The author, Jackson Pearce, is one of my favourites. As a person, she is funny and intelligent  I followed her video blogs for a really long time. She is an interesting person. These traits carry over into her writing. Her novels are full of characters with unique names and witty dialogue. Her books are very entertaining and who isn't intrigued by a good love story?

In Conclusion: I felt that this novel, in comparison to her other novels, was a bit childish. I enjoyed it, don't get me wrong, but I felt myself going back in time while reading this. I read it while in high school (remember when Kristen and I went MIA? We didn't stop reading...) so it couldn't have been the fact that Viola was in high school. I think that maybe it was just how the characters were speaking. That's fine. It was a quick read so it wasn't painful for long. The benefits of reading this novel out weighted the issues I had with it. Overall I enjoyed the story.

14 January 2013

Anna and the French Kiss

Anna and the French KissReviewer: Kristen
Author: Stephanie Perkins 
Pages: 372
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 9 out of 10

Summary (Goodreads): Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming,beautiful, Étienne has it all...including a serious girlfriend. 

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

My Thoughts: Oh my fan girl heart! Etienne St. Clair, come hither! I have heard so many wonderful things about this book, and it did not disappoint. I thought that it was the perfect mix of romance, a little bit of drama, and just the right amount of "believe-ability" and it created the perfect storm of a novel. I really don't think you understand - I loved this novel. I loved Anna, and I loved how she hated the thought of Paris and boarding school. I found that it was extremely realistic in the sense that, who would want to leave their friends anyways? Anna was so against the idea, and the friendships that she creates in France are unbelievable. It was so perfect, and it felt so genuinely real. I'm sorry, I really am all over the place. I blame Etienne St. Clair. The perfect boy, by any American Canadian standards. British, hottie, good hair, sexy accent, all around perfect guy. Hey Kelsey, he reminds me a lot of Dennis! Move over literary hotties, it's Etienne St. Clair's turn to steal your heart, and I promise you that he will. Plus, the setting was in Paris. How can anyone not love Paris? The way that Stephanie Perkins described Paris was on point. I could actually envision myself walking the same streets that Anna walked, and being in the same places that Anna was. It might have helped that I have been there, but sshhh. Stephanie Perkins laid out this novel in a spectacular way, and this novel was all kinds of spectacular. 

Final Thoughts: Go! Vas-y! (Is that right Kelsey?) Get your butts to the bookstore, or Amazon, or Book Depository and pick this gem up! 

9 January 2013

The Secret Year

The Secret YearReviewer: Kristen
Author: Jennifer Hubbard
Pages: 193
Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 5 out of 10

Summary (love you Goodreads): Take Romeo and Juliet. Add The Outsiders. Mix thoroughly. Colt and Julia were secretly together for an entire year, and no one,not even Julia's boyfriend, knew. They had nothing in common, with Julia in her country club world on Black Mountain and Colt from down on the flats, but it never mattered. Until Julia dies in a car accident, and Colt learns the price of secrecy. He can't mourn Julia openly, and he's tormented that he might have played a part in her death. When Julia's journal ends up in his hands, Colt relives their year together at the same time that he's desperately trying to forget her. But how do you get over someone who was never yours in the first place?

My Summary: I'm not sure how to accurately describe what I felt through this book. The five is deceiving - I thoroughly enjoyed it, but bare with as I try to explain what I thought. The first half of this book was stellar, it made me want to read more and it made me want to figure out every aspect of Julia and Colt's relationship. However, after that half way mark, it's like it lost it's magic. I almost felt like I was reading the book just to finish it. I thought that this had so so so much potential to be an amazing, heartfelt and emotional read and it just didn't reach what it could have been. Throughout the entire thing, I was waiting for Colt to feel something, and it became pretty obvious that it was just not going to happen. Colt was a little too one dimensional for this story, in my opinion. I think had Colt felt Julia's death, and experienced what I'm sure is a wide range of emotion to follow it, it would have made this book a solid ten - seriously. The second half of the book dragged. There were things that I didn't find necessary at all to the story, and were just thrown in as filler. I wish that the author would have focused more on the death of Julia and how much it had affected Colt. But she didn't. The book was good, don't get me wrong, but it wasn't great. It wasn't awe worthy. It wasn't what it could have been. 

Final Thoughts: Interesting read. Had so much potential. A bit disappointing. 

8 January 2013

The Taker

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Alma Katsu
Format: Paperback
Pages: 436
Rating: 9 out of 10

Summary (from Goodreads): True love can last an eternity . . . but immortality comes at a price. On the midnight shift at a hospital in rural St. Andrew, Maine, Dr. Luke Findley is expecting a quiet evening. Until a mysterious woman arrives in his ER, escorted by police—Lanore McIlvrae is a murder suspect—and Luke is inexplicably drawn to her. As Lanny tells him her story, an impassioned account of love and betrayal that transcends time and mortality, she changes his life forever. . . . At the turn of the nineteenth century, when St. Andrew was a Puritan settlement, Lanny was consumed as a child by her love for the son of the town’s founder, and she will do anything to be with him forever. But the price she pays is steep—an immortal bond that chains her to a terrible fate for eternity.

My Thoughts: I feel it is necessary to start off by saying that this is definitely not a children's story. There is murder, mystery, intrigue, rape, immortal beings, and the police. When I picked up with book, from the amazing Wal-mart discount shelf (my first love), I choose it purely based on the cover. Okay, sure, 'don't judge a book by its cover', but I just love those masquerade masks...Anyway, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. 

First of all, this book is strange. Like Wuthering Heights, this story is a story inside a story during a large portion of the novel. I managed to follow this one better than Wuthering Heights

Then, of course, there is the fact that you are thrown right into the story. After that, a lot of what we read is the main character backtracking. What I can't understand is why Luke helps her. I mean, this chick shows up in the ER and asks for help escaping, are you just going to help her out? The police were the ones that bring her in. That would give me pause...

Next, the author tries to get us to believe in this world, which is our world, where there are, in fact, people that live forever but that also hang around each other. One is 'in charge' but it's kind of more of an 'I own you' kind of way. He's a bit of a wacko. Then again, this whole concept is nuts right. Sure but then why does it seem so real.

I found myself feeling sorry for the main character. What had she ever done? All she really wanted was love. Sadly, it came at a higher price then she would have thought. 

It leaves us wondering what is going to happen to Lanny. We think she is safe but is she really? She might be able to get herself out of this mess but does she? What will happen to her and Luke? We don't know. We are left completely stranded in this story. I found myself stuck, wondering what was going to happen. I super excited to read book two! I really want to find out what happens in the end.

Final Thoughts: I read this book while Kristen and I were on our break but kept an eye out for the second novel. I waited and waited until I could wait no more. I couldn't wait very long for the next book. Now that it's on my shelf I figured I would go back and review this so that I can gush about how awesome I hope the next one it. I'm going to start reading it right now. You should too.

Seriously though, this is not for children or people that are sensitive. There is murder, rape, torture, plain old capturing and locking up. At times, I found myself uncomfortable. Also, I told my one friend that she couldn't borrow my copy because she was simply too immature. Then again, I could be the sensitive one here... Let me know what you think about it.

6 January 2013

Dead to You

Dead to YouReviewer: Kristen
Author: Lisa McMann
Pages: 243
Format: Paperback 
My Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary (Thanks Goodreads): Some memories are better left untouched.

Ethan was abducted from his front yard when he was just seven years old. Now, at sixteen, he has returned to his family.

It's a miracle... at first.

Then the tensions start to build. His reintroduction to his old life isn't going smoothly, and his family is tearing apart all over again. If only Ethan could remember something, anything, about his life before, he'd be able to put the pieces back together.

But there's something that's keeping his memory blocked.

Something unspeakable.

My Thoughts: Let me just take a second here to totally appreciate the cover of this novel. I adore it. I went to the bookstore with no intention to buy this particular book. The cover pulled me in though, and I'm sure glad that it did. This book was unique to say the least. I haven't read anything like this before. Have you ever been completely mind screwed by a book? Yeah, well I think it suffices to say that Lisa McMann has successfully mind screwed me. Starting the book, I really didn't know where it was going or where I even expected it to go. Dead to You took me to a place that I hadn't dreamed it would take me too. I found Ethan easy to relate to, even though nothing I have ever experienced can even begin to relate to what he has gone through. My only complaints were the super short chapters (two, maybe three pages), and the ending! The ending! My God the ending! I would have loved to know more, but at the same time, I think it ended perfectly. 

Final Thoughts: I'm at a loss for words currently, as I've just finished the book. Short and sweet, and I promise you won't regret picking this one up!

4 January 2013

Fathomless (Fairytale Retelling #3)

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Jackson Pearce
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 291
Rating: 7 out of 10 

**My new year's resolution is to stick firmly to the review rating list which is posted on our blog. If the rating seem to be going down, please check what each rating means so there will be no misunderstanding. I hope that this will make it easier for Kristen and I to rate and review for you. We want you to get the most out of our reviews and this will help you do so. If you are curious about our review policy please click the link to check it out: Review Policy **

Summary (Goodreads, you're my hero): Celia Reynolds is the youngest in a set of triplets and the one with the least valuable power. Anne can see the future, and Jane can see the present, but all Celia can see is the past. And the past seems so insignificant -- until Celia meets Lo.

Lo doesn't know who she is. Or who she was. Once a human, she is now almost entirely a creature of the sea -- a nymph, an ocean girl, a mermaid -- all terms too pretty for the soulless monster she knows she's becoming. Lo clings to shreds of her former self, fighting to remember her past, even as she's tempted to embrace her dark immortality.

When a handsome boy named Jude falls off a pier and into the ocean, Celia and Lo work together to rescue him from the waves. The two form a friendship, but soon they find themselves competing for Jude's affection. Lo wants more than that, though. According to the ocean girls, there's only one way for Lo to earn back her humanity. She must persuade a mortal to love her . . . and steal his soul.

My Thoughts: The beginning of this novel was very confusing. I read about a page before I had to put it down for a moment to digest. It isn't the most easy of concepts to grasp because not only does the book throw one hard to believe thing at you but it throws two at the same time. After reading classics and Christmas stories, this was a shock to understand. Once I sat down and gave it my full attention, it was much better. 

Also, I appreciated the idea of Lo being her new self and her old self at the same time but it was a bit hard to follow at time. I couldn't put myself in her shoes without stretching my already over-sized imagination. As I say that, of course she wasn't the same person that she was before! It shouldn't have been as hard as it was. The conflict between Lo and Naida (her past, human self) is at the center of the story and without it there would be no story. By the middle of the novel, this problem of following along as worked itself out.

I wasn't able to connect with the character in this book as much as I did in Jackson Pearce's other novels; I'm blaming the cold I have right now which is causing me to have reduced brain power.

I didn't really like that there were so many characters in the novel but there is a reason that we don't really understand until the end of the story. It was a pretty fair reason for having them.

My favourite part about this story is that I didn't see the end coming. I have a big problem with books; I have a knack for figuring out the end by the middle of the story. I was happy that this book escaped the grasp of this awful, super power. I was happy with the twists in the plot. I'm also happy with the ending in general. I wish I could say more on it but I am so worried I'll spoil it for you. You will just have to read it yourself to find out if they all live happily ever after or not. The acknowledgements even joke about how the author would walk around saying, "Spoiler alert: they all drown in the end."

Final Thoughts: I preferred Sisters Red and Sweetly to this novel but because it was basically the Little Mermaid, I pulled through. If you've read Jackson Pearce before and liked her then you should, of course, check this novel out too but if you haven't I recommend starting with Sisters Red first.
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