30 December 2015

Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Reviewer: Kayla
Author: Marissa Meyer
Pages: 390
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 9/10

Summary (Goodreads. Da real MVP):
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:

I hella - HELLA - enjoyed this book. Much more than I anticipated I would.

I never expected a “sci-fi” twist on the fairytale I am well familiar with would turn out to be this fantastically EPIC?! Cinder is, as stated in the synopsis, a cyborg, subjected to cruelty and unfair injustices by society and her mother/stepsister. This book was so gripping, and I kept getting really excited when I found parallels between this book and the Cinderella stories (the Hans Christian Andersen version, the Grimm version, and the Disney), and this is just another spin on a classic. A better spin, in my modern opinion. And that ending! It had me absolutely REELING. I cannot except it. There has to be more. NEEDS to be more.

Cinder was totally badass, not gonna lie. She started off as timid and fearful, as being such a ridiculed person in her city as well as her home, and I couldn’t help but feel pity for her. It was clear she worked hard and the way she was being treated honestly really pissed me off. You know those moments where you feel for the protagonist so much you want to jump into the book world and scream and swear at the other characters and you have this instinctive need to protect the protagonist?!?! Yeah that’s how I felt. bUT LET ME TELL YOU CINDER DID NOT NEED PROTECTING NO SIREE SHE GOT THIS HANDLED SO FAST WOO

Also Kai. Ugh, sweet, naive little Kaito. As the prince, Kai is obviously the desire of all the girls in the land. Even cyborgs. And believe me I pictured him as a less buff and more pure and innocent Taylor Lautner, and believe me I was swooning all the way home.

Toward the end of the novel, my eyes were racing through the page, and honestly I had to keep going back - which pissed me off because my inability to be PATIENT - because I would be so caught up in the story and skip full lines because I had to know what on Luna was going to happen next?! (GET IT OMG IM SO FUNNY) And the ending did not disappoint! Honestly the plot twist at the end was sort of predictable but I mean IT WAS STILL GREAT AND MUCH NEEDED FOR THE COURSE OF THE STORY.

Final Thoughts: this book is great and wonderful and an amazing initial novel for a series with such potential and promise! the premise is so unique and i highly HIGHLY recommend it for EVERYONE. go read it now ok bye.

28 December 2015

Review: Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Reviewer: Kayla
Author: Morgan Matson
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
My Rating: 8/10

Summary (Goodreads. Da real MVP):

Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew--just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn't seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she's coming to terms with her father's death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road -- diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards--this is the story of one girl's journey to find herself.

My Thoughts:

Okay, holy shit. I don't even know where to begin.
This book is probably one of my new favourite books. I caught myself laughing and I caught myself in tears, and even though it was predictable, I would have probably been pissed if it ended any other way.

Amy’s character kind of bugged me at the beginning of the book, but I understand that her character’s attitudes were intentional and true. That being said, DAT CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT DOE. I felt like such a proud mother, seeing and watching her grow and learn and take risks and do things she was afraid and unwilling to do at first. So happy much inspiration.

Roger Sullivan. You mean perfect, dreamy, sweet, totally unrealistic and unattainable macho man? Yes, him.
No seriously, Roger is the typical nice guy, the typical guy every girl has a crush on at some point in their high school career (believe me there was one of those guys in my high school and i KNOW FOR A FACT Kristen knows who I mean) ROGER. He had me absolutely swooning and the way he acted toward Amy from beginning to end, as it progressed, warmed my cold, brittle heart.

I also thought Amy’s sentimentality and flashbacks with her dad were touching and an essential part to the story and the fEELS. My heart burst whenever she talked about him. She talked about him with such fondness and admiration and it was the kind of father-daughter relationship every father and daughter should have.

This book literally had everything and more, and yes this is pertaining to the receipts and playlists. I felt, while reading this book, that it was passively interactive and it enhanced the story in such subtle but enjoyable ways. Just seeing the receipts and post cards and just knowing the songs they listened to while on the road made it feel like I was a fly on the wall, watching this journey and their relationship unfold. It was truly beautiful. 

ok I'm done I'm sorry 5/5 stars 100% i recommend to everyone pls thank u goodnite

Review: Dreamtreaders

Review: Kelsey
Author: Wayne Thomas Batson
Format: Paperback
Pages: 289
Rating: 5 out of 10

Summary (I dream of Goodreads): People are fascinated by dreams, and the Bible has a great deal to say about them. From Jacob s dream of the heavenly stairway in Genesis 28 to angels visiting Joseph during dreams in Matthew 1 to the Apostle John s waking dream from which he obtained the book of Revelation dreams have been powerful ingredients of God s plan as revealed through Scripture.

Fourteen-year-old Archer Keaton discovers he has the ability to enter and explore his dreams. He is adreamtreader, one of three selected from each generation. Their mission: to protect the waking world from the Nightmare Lord, who wreaks chaos in the Dream World. But as Archer s dreams become more dangerous and threatening, so too does his waking life.

Rigby Thames, the new kid from England, builds a suspicious rock star-like following at Dresden High School a little too quickly. Even Archer s best friend and confidant, Kara Windchil, seems taken in by the cool guy with the wild blond hair, which definitely rubs Archer the wrong way. Archer must face two foes in two worlds, but he cannot succeed alone. Archer sets off to find other dreamtreaders in a desperate attempt to defeat the enemy terrorizing his friends and family.

My Thoughts: First of all, the cover of this novel is totally magnificent. The colours are wonderful and the birds are reflected inside the book as well. The tagline is a little simple sounding but easily overlooked. It's great...except for this name because my brain has a hard time understanding the word "treader" and also I can't figure out if it's supposed to be one word or two (Thanks for nothing Goodreads...) but, alas, it is what it is.

From great cover to not so great dialogue. The dialogue in the novel seemed a little off. Nothing was said quite how it should have sounded coming from the characters that were speaking. The inflection was also a little strange. It just sounded not right. It couldn't have been spoken by a real person. This kind of thing bothers me because pretty much everybody speaks so people should understand how regular people sound, right? The language being off made the novel seem much more middle school than it could have been (not that there is anything wrong with middle school aged novels, they just really aren't my thing). It was just too young for me, I guess.

There was also very little explanation of things. The reader was thrown into a very interesting world. This novel had a fantastic and imaginative concept but it lacked follow through. The missing explanations made the story feel rushed and cramped. It could have been longer and the extra pages would have helped a lot. It would have seemed more realistic. It would have been much easier to follow. It would have pulled the reader in more. It would have built up more suspense. It would have made me care about the characters. It would have made me care about the issues the world was facing. It would have done so much but it wasn't there and I missed it a lot.

I mean, the characters were sufficient but could have been so much more. The world story could have been more.

Basically, it wasn't enough for me. It was too young and too fast (not in a good way). I expected and needed more to fully immerse myself in the story. With what I was given,  I just couldn't get into it. I won't be reading the next book but I think I will keep this pretty cover on my shelf.

25 December 2015

Merry Christmas

All of us at One Chapter Ahead wish you have a happy holiday and that everyone gets all the books they ask for! Let us know what your favourite Christmas Holiday book has been! Did you get anything good today? We'd love to hear from you.

Merry Christmas!

23 December 2015

Review: Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1)

Reviewer: Kristen
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Pages: 340
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Summary (This Christmas, I am thankful for Goodreads): Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

My Thoughts: This is my second time reading this. I read it a long time ago, before there was any sequels and I forgot about it. I didn't realize that there were any sequels to the series until I walked into the book store and saw the beautiful new covers. And then, I saw them on BookOutlet, and that was my sign. I bought all of them, and dove right into the series. Apparently, I had forgotten everything that had happened. That's good though, it's almost like a clean slate. 

The writing took me a little while to get used to. It was different, but it was actually crucial to the story because it added so much to Juliette's character and it gave the reader such an insight into her life. Her mental state came through, we saw some of her deepest darkest secrets and fears, and had it not been written in the way it was, the story wouldn't have been nearly as powerful as it was. 

The story follows Juliette as she tries to navigate a world that has literally thrown her into a mental hospital for being born with powers that pose a threat to the new and remarkably corrupt government. I know, I know, it sounds like your typical young adult dystopian novel, but trust me. It is nothing like I have ever read. 

I binge read the crap out of this series, so I'm going to stop this review here. This was my least favourite book in the series, and yet I still really enjoyed it. 

Final Thoughts: Read it, internet friends!

21 December 2015

Review: What If

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Rebecca Donovan
Format: ebook (Maybe)
Pages: 352
Rating: 6 out of 10

Summary (Thanks, Goodreads): What if you had a second chance to meet someone for the first time?

Cal Logan is shocked to see Nicole Bentley sitting across from him at a coffee shop thousands of miles from their hometown. After all, no one has seen or heard from her since they graduated over a year ago.

Except this girl isn't Nicole.

She looks exactly like Cal's shy childhood crush, but her name is Nyelle Preston and she has no idea who he is. This girl is impulsive and daring, her passion for life infectious. The complete opposite of Nicole. Cal finds himself utterly fascinated-and falling hard. But Nyelle is also extremely secretive. And the closer he comes to finding out what she's hiding, the less he wants to know.

When the secrets from the past and present collide, one thing becomes clear: Nothing is what it seems.

My Thoughts: I won't lie to you all, I don't remember how this book ends (I need to review faster, I know). Let's talk about what I do remember. I remember that the language fit the characters and that I bought the main character as a male. You know how sometimes authors just can't write the other sex? Yeah, that wasn't a problem here. I remember that they sounded smart and young and wild. I remember the great writing.

I remember how out of control Nyelle was. I remember wishing that I could be as different as she was. I remember being jealous of her bravery (stupidity) and wishing that I was as free. I remember wondering what her story was and being unable to figure it out at all. I remember thinking that she was a fascinating character that I wanted to keep reading about, even if she was a little annoying at times because of how she acted towards Cal.

I also remember that the representation of college in this novel was pretty accurate. I didn't question it or judge it like I do with most novels with college in it. 

The only problem is that I can't remember how it ended. How memorable could it have been? Obviously, not very. Which worries me. Why can I remember the characters and setting looking back? Why can I remember a scene on a silo (or something of that nature, high up) and a scene in a boat and the rain and being in the truck but not the conclusion of the novel. Maybe I just need to review faster, okay, I know I do, but maybe it wasn't so good in the end. I think I will reread it so that should be a positive for the book, I guess. I'm not afraid to reread the novel. I remember liking it and the characters, that must count for something.

16 December 2015

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Reviewer: Kristen
Author: Sarah J Maas
Pages: 416
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 9 out of 10

Summary (Goodreads, I'd save you in the apocalypse): When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it... or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!
My Thoughts: So, I love Throne of Glass something fierce. I love Sarah J Maas something fierce. I didn't think that my heart had anymore room for a fierce book love. I was wrong. I was so very wrong. This book is a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast, and that is literally one of my favourite fairy tales. Hello, the beast gives her a library. The world building in this novel is unlike anything I've ever read, and the characters are so kickass and loveable and fantastic that I just want to know on earth Sarah J Maas makes me feel literally all the things about all the characters.

I love Feyre, even though her name often times makes me want to bash my head against the wall. I KNOW HOW TO SAY IT BUT I NEVER SAY IT RIGHT. Same with Rhysand. Tamlin I got down though brother. Also, I'd totally get down with Tamlin... wait what? I'm torn because I think that I know where this series is headed and I don't know what to think or expect. Well, I know to expect that Sarah J Maas is going to throw us through a loop and make us regret all of the feelings we feel. She's good at that. Seriously, one of my favourite authors ever.

Also, can I get myself a Lucien? I'd like one.

Final Thoughts: This book has firmly planted Sarah J Maas into my auto-buy author list. She is fantastic and she is the queen of mortal and immortals alike.

14 December 2015

Review: An Ember in the Ashes

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 446
Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary: Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

My Ponderings: This novel was not what I expected. Laia does so many things that you would not think she could or would after first meeting her. 

[Moment of honesty for the day: I don't remember much about this novel. I promise that I really am working on getting better at reviewing right away. I am. I swear, everyone, I swear.]

Recap what I remember? Elias made some stupid choices when he could have done better at keeping himself secret. He should have just shut up and he would have been fine. Laia made as many stupid choices. Stupid risks all around. 

Can I cut to the chase? Okay, this was a very good book and I didn't see a lot of stuff coming. Looking back I thought their choices were stupid but in the moment I could see where they were coming from. Elias was a unique character and Laia's love of family was admirable. The world this was set in was interesting and different enough to be a change of pace. I liked this novel and would read it again. I think that it would be better the second time, actually. I think that you would understand a lot of foreshadowing and would be better able to understand the characters.

Basically: I think that if you like adventure or solider stories than this is a pretty good one for you. It's good, I swear (even if I mostly forget what happened in it...)

9 December 2015

Review: Just One Night (Just One Day #2.5)

Reviewer: Kristen
Author: Gayle Forman
Pages: 40 pages
Format: ebook
My Rating: 9 out of 10

Summary (you da best Goodreads that I know): After spending one life-changing day in Paris with laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter, sheltered American good girl Allyson “Lulu” Healey discovered her new lover had disappeared without a trace. Just One Day followed Allyson’s quest to reunite with Willem; Just One Year chronicled the pair’s year apart from Willem’s perspective. Now, back together at last, this delectable e-novella reveals the couple’s final chapter. 

My Thoughts: This review is going to be short and sweet just like the novella was. After I had finished Just One Year, I was left wanting just a smidgen bit more. I understood why the book had to end the way that it did, and I actually really liked how it ended because I liked that we kind of got to create what happened between Allyson and Williem. Trust me, I'm very inventive when it comes to endings (I blame the fanfiction). This was the perfect closure to their story and I am just in love with Gayle Forman's writing. If you read and loved Just One Day and Just One Year, you've got to read this too. 

Final Thoughts: The perfect conclusion to a fantastic series. 

7 December 2015

Review: Fangirl

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 445
Rating: 7.5 out of 10 (1.5 of that is just for Levi, to be clear.)

Summary (I'm a fan of Goodreads): Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan...

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

My Thoughts: Kristen really loved this book from what I remember. I liked it but it wasn't my favourite ever. The main reason so this is that I never got into the fan fiction parts  of the novel. That meant that I found myself skipping entire sections of the novel and that made me sad. I still couldn't make myself read it. I didn't feel like I was missing out exactly but one shouldn't really feel the need to skip large portions of a novel, right? Also, I was mad at the resolution of her lack of interest in working on her school assignment.

Why did I like the novel? Well, Levi. Levi was pretty great. Sure, he made mistakes; he's human. I loved the sass and the sarcasm and the quick wit. I loved that he was kind and willing to do anything to help people out. I loved that he lives such a different life than the one I do so his life experiences were all new to me. I also loved that he needed help. He enjoyed making other people happy and was comfortable around basically everyone, which I envy. He was just fantastic and I want one right now. 

Cath? Cath was alright. I could relate to a lot of what she felt. I like reading novels with characters who write because I enjoy that. Right away I have something to bond with them over. I also really felt for her and her family situation. 

But, honestly, I wish it hadn't been fan fiction. I couldn't care less about the fan fiction. 

Even so...it was a good book. Easy. Ends happy. I don't know. Check it out.

4 December 2015

Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Reviewer: Kayla
Author: Suzanne Collins
Pages: 436
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 8/10

Summary (Goodreads. Da real MVP):

First in the ground-breaking HUNGER GAMES trilogy. Set in a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called The Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed. When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her younger sister's place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

My Thoughts:

First Reread


Of course, I've already read this book as well as the other two, but I wanted to reread the trilogy before mockingjay part 2 came out. Clearly that didn't happen, but watching the epicness and emotional conclusion on the big screen made me hella want to reread the series anyways

ALSO FOR THE RECORD, I saw the first movie first, read the three books, then watched the movies. Just FYI.. Anyways moving on..

Just as I remembered, this book had me REELING. I was still so nervous about everything that was going to happen. I was scared for the ending, especially the end scene with Cato, even though I knew how it was going to end. And I was scared for the scenes that tried to prepare myself for *cough cough hint hint Rue* and I was like “you know maybe it won’t happen this time” and I was wrong it did happen. This book encapsulates so much into its pages that it's amazing. Katniss is such a complex character whose strength is admirable, and the way she saved her sister was so touching. Having read the books after the first movie came out, I kept picture Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss and it was absolute perfection. Also Josh Hutchinson as Peeta but I mean I've had a crush on that guy since Bridge to Terabithia wow what good times.

Also, I forgot how incredibly sassy and hilarious both Peeta and Katniss were ?! Like there were multiple times where both of their little snippets of conversation or commentary on the literally deadly situations at hand made me burst out laughing ? And Peeta is such a precious little CUPCAKE ! (pun absolutely intended)

I'm going to be totally honest here, Katniss annoyed me at times, mostly at the beginning and near the end and where she kinda sorta manipulated Peeta. NOT THAT IM BLAMING HER FOR WHAT SHE HAD TO DO but Peeta's a little angel and so genuine and while I am very aware and HAPPY about the ending of their relationship, I want her to mean her romantic feelings and be genuine in them RIGHT NOW. though I know she feels them she's just too proud to admit them but she's totally in love with him I'm on to you Katniss and I totally understand Peeta is PRECIOUS

((Sorry I had to rant))


2 December 2015

Review: Thoughtful (Thoughtless #1.5)

Reviewer: Kristen
Author: S. C Stephens
Pages: 558
Format: eARC 
My Rating: 1 out of 10

Summary (thanks Goodreads): Every story has two sides, and in this new book, the epic love story between Kiera and Kellan is shown through his eyes. 

All Kellan Kyle needs is his guitar, and some clean sheets of paper. Growing up in a house that was far from a home, he learned a hard lesson: You're worthless. Now his life is comfortably filled with passionate music, loyal band mates, and fast women... until he meets her. 

Kiera makes him ache for more. Makes him feel for the first time that he'sworth more. But there's one problem— she's his best friend's girl.

Just when Kellan thought his emotional defenses were rock solid, Kiera's indecisive heart wreaks havoc on his soul, changing him forever. Losing Kiera is not an option.

My Thoughts: I think that the best way that I can describe this novel is that some things are better left unsaid. Seriously. It's just... Kellan Kyle was almost completely ruined for me when I started reading this book, and it was one of my most anticipated books of 2015. In the vein of full disclosure, I stopped reading this book around the 200 page mark. I was just desperately hoping that things would change before the end. 

I just... I don't even know where to begin. In Thoughtless, we only get Kiera's perspective, so we don't see just how manipulative or mood-swingy Kellan truly is. I definitely did not understand Kellan like I thought I did and I didn't understand any of the relationships in the novel, apparently, either. I just didn't see the appeal of other character. I thought that maybe Kiera would have some more redeeming qualities in this book that made me understand why both Denny and Kellan looked at her like she was the moon, but I didn't. And I thought that seeing what makes Kellan tick and what he thought of all the events would make me love him even more, and it definitely didn't. So, ultimately, I just started to question the relationship, and that's the opposite of what I wanted to be doing when I received this. 
The writing was great, again, and that almost goes without saying. S. C Stephens is a great story teller. I just wish that I could understand the characters motivation, and that is not what I got from this. Instead, I questioned why I even liked them in the first place. I haven't tried to re-read Thoughtless since reading this one, but I hope that I can still enjoy it without thinking of Kellan how he is portrayed in this instalment. I need to learn my lesson, I very rarely enjoy the male perspective of books, apparently. 

Final Thoughts: Please don't use this book as a meter stick for the rest of the series, it was much better, I promise.

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.


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...


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:


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.


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.
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