29 May 2015

Review: These Broken Stars

Reviewer: Kayla
Author: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Pages: 374
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 7.5/10

Summary (thanks, Goodreads):

Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive -- alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth.

My Thoughts:
I have some conflicting emotions and problems with this novel. As a whole, though, it’s pretty good.

Personally, I felt the beginning of this book was extremely anticlimactic and I didn't like the entire first half. But I feel as though the last half was worth it. The mystery in this book is so overwhelming and I don't understand a lot of. I feel as though the romance was forced at the beginning, and the way they interacted with each other was not effective. I don't know, maybe it's just me, but the first 200 or so pages didn't really have me caring about what happened.
BUT THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN I WAS EXTREMELY ATTACHED TO THESE CHARACTERS. I have no idea what happened, but I found myself completely invested in Lilac and Tarver, as they drove the story. I'm not sure what it was, but I seriously could not stop reading it. I fell for Tarver and their romance was suddenly too precious to stand.
I'm not sure, because I felt so meh about the first half of the book and LOVED the second half, I couldn't really give this book 5 stars, but I can't say I hated it either. It was just that a lot of things bugged me. Lilac was annoying at the beginning of the story, and so many things were left unexplained. The world building could have been stronger, as I could not clearly picture the scene around me. There were a lot of things toward the end that I didn't understand, a lot of concepts that weren't explained in enough detail for me to comprehend. The premise of the story and the relationship between the two were solid, but sometimes the characters bugged me, I didn't understand all the sciencey stuff that happened, and I am still confused by the ending and what it was that happened to Lilac exactly. I can’t say much else without spoiling. Still, I recommend it.

Final Thoughts:
i hated the beginning and loved the ending. maybe if the development was better and the romance wasn’t pushed onto the reader from literally the first page, i could have given this a 10/10. the end of this book, though, was fabulous. 

25 May 2015

Review: Frostfire

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Amanda Hocking
Format: Paperback
Pages: 321
Rating: 5 out of 10

Summary (Thanks, Goodreads.com): Bryn Aven is an outcast among the Kanin, the most powerful of the troll tribes.

Set apart by her heritage and her past, Bryn is a tracker who's determined to become a respected part of her world. She has just one goal: become a member of the elite King’s Guard to protect the royal family. She's not going to let anything stand in her way, not even a forbidden romance with her boss Ridley Dresden.

But all her plans for the future are put on hold when Konstantin– a fallen hero she once loved – begins kidnapping changelings. Bryn is sent in to help stop him, but will she lose her heart in the process?

My Thoughts: So, this novel made me a little bit sad. Perhaps it was that it has been quite some time since I had read any novels by Amanda Hocking but I seem to recall her novels being so much better than this one.

Sure, there was some adventure and some romance aspect...it all felt forced though. I had to struggle to believe this novel and the fact that the characters weren't human was almost the easiest thing to accept! Everything went too quickly. This novel seemed to skip over a lot of important stuff, taking for granted that people had already read Hocking's Trylle series. This meant that the world wasn't explained as well as it could be. It also means that important action was lost. Fights were resolved too fast, emotional issues were skipped over, and family drama was all but ignored. This novel could have been so much more. Granted, this is part of a series, so there is room for it to get better but I wish this novel had done more to help with that. 

I loved that the main character didn't find any insta-love and that she was strong. She wanted to do things on her own and for herself. She never discounted her ability to do something and believed in herself. It's too bad that novels are more than just the characters that can be found in them.

Overall, the novel could have gone deeper. Show me deeper into the protagonists thoughts and emotions. Show me more about the world in which these people live, their city, their customs, their family arrangements, their politics, their daily lives. Show me more of the main characters and their motivations. Show me more about the big bad guys. Show me more about the fight scenes and how the characters manage to get out of these sticky situations. Show me something more! I needed more of just about everything. It needed more work, which is sad because I thought that grammar, vocabulary, and structure were great.

Basically: This novel was much worse than I expected. It was an easy read but is very clearly young adult in nature. I wish that it had slowed down. I'm not sure what this would have meant for other novels in this series but I don't care. It needed to be done. I'll likely finish the rest of the series but I am in no rush at all. This one was a disappointment. Check out Hocking's other works first, please!

19 May 2015

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Reviewer: Kayla
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Pages: 419
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 10/10

Summary (thanks, Goodreads):
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.

My Thoughts:
oh my god. oh my god. i am a wild mess of emotions right now. unfathomably so, sarah j. maas has created yet another beautiful story to make us FALL IN LOVE WITH. from the first page, the story was more than just gripping, it was enticing, electrifying, addicting, and literally everything you could ever want in a book. i laughed and i cried and i fell in love with every single character, no matter how important they were to the storyline. the world-building was exquisite and intricate and extremely strongly developed, part of me thought this world wasn't fictitious. the twists and turns throughout the entire book kept me on the edge of my goddamn seat and i almost threw the book on the floor my heart could not take it. the story paralleled the original Beauty and the Beast in the most epic ways, but it was obviously so much better, as it had Fae. everything is better with Fae. Honestly, Sarah can do absolutely no wrong. Ever. All hail the queen. of shadows. lol i'm so funny.

Feyre is such a strong female character and her devotion, stubbornness, and sassiness literally brought this book to a whole new level. i literally fell in love with her from the first chapter, and the insane development we see of her is fanfrickentastic. The dynamics between her and Tamlin, Lucien, Alis, Nesta, Elain, her father, even Isaac develop so strongly throughout the book, and her victory is one you're rooting for from the beginning. The way she describes her emotions and thoughts are pretty much like their your own, and she's another kick ass female character to add to my faves.

TAMLIN. I LOVED TAMLIN FROM THE BEGINNING. MY GOD. the way he speaks, moves, i fricken fell in love with him. that mysterious nature to him makes you WANT TO KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT HIM AND WHAT HE'S BEEN THROUGH AND THEN YOU JUST FEEL SO BAD FOR HIM WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN AND I WANT TO HUG HIM AND TELL HIM HE WILL BE OKAY. i cried for him multiple times in the book because of all the sacrifices he made/makes and he's just a beautiful person with a beaUTIFUL SOUL. every instinct in my was shouting to PROTECT TAMLIN AT ALL COSTS i connected to him literally instantly oh my god i have to pee i have such intense feelings.

another of my favourite characters was Lucien. He was the comic relief of the story, and his presence just made everything so much easier. just as Feyre wanted to, i wanted to protect him with eVERY FIBRE OF MY BEING JUST AS I WAS WITH TAM. he was literally just hilarious and precious and hE DESERVES EVERYTHING AND MORE.

Final Thoughts:
if you're hesitating or even postponing starting this book, stop that right now. i promise it's so much better than you're expecting.

Review: Saint Anything

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Sarah Dessen
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 432
Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary (Goodreads is a saint): Peyton, Sydney's charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion's share of their parents' attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton's increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.

My Thoughts: I always forget how much I love Sarah Dessen until I read one of her novels again. This novel was a long time coming, which meant that I've been reading so called "grown up" novels for some time now. I was really worried about getting back to Sarah Dessen...that is, I was worried until I started reading it. These novels are so fantastic because you can always connect to them in some way. You understand what the main character is going through. They aren't just horny teenagers that want to run around getting drunk every weekend at the latest parties. These novels actually talk about something. That's important.

I also find myself struggling to keep my emotions in check. I get so angry when something bad happens to the main character and it's not their fault. This happened to me a great deal while reading Saint Anything. I couldn't get over how the protagonist was being treated. I was mad that her life wasn't fair, even though I am well aware that life isn't fair. I just felt so bad for her.

Even though I was aware of the general direction the novel was taking, I still managed to find myself interested and wanting to keep reading. I didn't put it down. I think my grandfather (who was camping with me while I was reading this novel) thought that I had lost my marbles because I hardly spoke while reading it. It was just that good! And being good enough to make me shut up is a really big feat...

I like that this novel was unique in the characters, the jobs they had, the main issue of the story, that it brought up serious issues including an illness that I know relatively little about, and that there were incredible places for the characters to hang around in. Most of what I experienced in this novel was new to me which is a big deal. That doesn't usually happen. I found myself getting caught up in it all because of this. I definitely want to reread this novel some time in the future and enjoy it all over again.

I hated waiting for Dessen's next novel but I think it was well worth the wait and much different (better, much better and more grown up) than her previous novels. This one is one of my favourite novels by her for sure! I think that if you enjoy young adult and romance and just generally good books, you might want to check this one out.

16 May 2015

Review: If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin

Reviewer: Kayla
Author: Laura Nowlin
Pages: 330
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 7.5/10

Summary (thanks Goodreads):
I wasn't with Finn on that August night. But I should've been. It was raining, of course. And he and Sylvie were arguing as he drove down the slick road. No one ever says what they were arguing about. Other people think it's not important. They do not know there is another story. The story that lurks between the facts. What they do not know—the cause of the argument—is crucial.

So let me tell you...

My Thoughts:
**contains tiny insignificant spoilers such as dialogue**

Okay, this book has everything. Swoon worthy boy, check. Shy, "getting to know herself" girl, check. Bad influences, check. Bitches you wanna slap, double check.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the aspect of the book that follows the main character and her struggles in starting high school, making friends and dealing with boys, the main MAIN MAIN MAIN reason I enjoyed this book so much was for none other than Phineas Smith. Oh, Phineas.

We basically follow this girl, Autumn, and her life as she enters high school and goes through all four years. Her character was a bit immature at times and honestly I wanted to stop reading about her altogether. She was quite whiny and the fact that she said a lot of things like "I'm going to marry Jamie. We're going to be together forever". Like I'm sorry but you are in high school. Also, the relationships between Autumn and her girlfriends were a bit forced. The dialogue between them was awful, and it was painful to read lines like "Oh my God, what's wrong?" I ask. Brooke looks down at our feet on the tile floor. "I cheated on Noah," she says..."He kissed me, and for a moment, I let him." Please, please enough. It just seemed so fake, so forced. I couldn't handle it. It was like a bad Disney Channel show.

But honestly, it was worth the moments with Finny. He was so cute, so down to earth and shy, and he truly brought out the best in Autumn. We see their relationship in the past compared to the present, and throughout the book I was rooting for them to strive. AND THEN THE THING HAPPENED AND I DROWNED IN A RIVER OF MY TEARS. I KNEW IT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN TO IT'S IN THE FIRST GODDAMN CHAPTER AND IT STILL HIT ME OVER THE HEAD.

The major problem I had was the end, though. The last chapter. It was way too rushed, and it was a huge misinterpretation on how to handle loss. I won't say anything else without spoiling it.

The last half of the book really had me reeling, and to be honest I would love a companion novel about Finny and his point of view. I feel like I would have enjoyed that much more than this one because the only reason I loved it so much was for Finny.

Final thoughts:
This book is a great coming-of-age novel and the main character learns many lessons that girls going through high school will likely endure. Plus FINNY

8 May 2015

Review: The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas

Reviewer: Kayla
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Pages: 448
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: /10

Summary (thanks Goodreads):
Contains all five novellas.

Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan's most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin's Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas - together in one edition for the first time - Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn's orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

My Thoughts:
It's just as heartbreaking as you think it is.
Celaena and Sam both deserved SO MUCH BETTER.
I loved the stories and the writing and the background information we got on both Celaena and Sam and the developments in their relationship and it was all so beautifully done. These novellas made up a story in itself and it could have stood alone as one book, which I loved. You needed the one previous to understand the entirety of it and each one is important in its own way in shaping the Throne of Glass series as a whole, as well as explaining Celaena and why she is the way she is.

Okay, this book contained five novellas, and I will review each of them briefly.

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord
this one was excellent. you get the first glimpse of the dynamic between celaena and sam, from being rivals to friends, and the way their banter play off each other is so cute you're rooting for them from the beginning. you also get a glimpse of arobynn and his character, and how completely corrupt and vile he is. we get more of that later on in the last novella, and i am utterly disgusted. seeing cleaner's life prior to the salt mines was so interesting, and you can see that even her status as an assassin does not mean her morals are in the wrong place. she fights for what she knows is right, and goes against everyone's warnings and just does what she wants and it's badass af

The Assassin and the Healer
all the novellas happen in succession, one right after the other, and it makes it's own story, which i thought was really interesting. personally, i thought this novella was unnecessary, as it's premise didn't contribute much to the other novellas or the main story of the throne of glass series. even though, it was still nice to see celaena and what her natural instincts are, and how good she is despite her being a lethal killer. such dynamic.

The Assassin and the Desert
this novella had so many plot twists i was quite tense the entire time, especially near the end. we get introduced to so many characters that end up breaking your heart in various ways, as well as characters that you fall in love with even though they barely speak. that's all i'm going to say about that one.

The Assassin and the Underworld
this one was extremely action packed and we're reunited with SAM and you can literally see celaena falling in love with him and SAM and then so many things happen that i personally was not expecting and, again, so many plot twists and then you start questioning EVERY SINGLE PERSON but never SAM because SAM is the best and i cannot reiterate this enough SAM

The Assassin and the Empire
okay. i had to emotionally prepare myself for this one because i knew what was going to happen and if you've read throne of glass you know who SAM is and what happened to him and i was not ready to come to terms with that and i thought hm maybe if i don't finish it, the thing won't happen. yeah well I FINISHED IT AND THE THING HAPPENED AND I CRIED SO HARD and then they were really cute and i fell over in agony because of cuteness and then OTHER THINGS HAPPENED and then SO MANY SADS AT THE END and it was so emotional and then you realize jUST HOW VILE AROBYNN IS AND WOW I WANT HIS HEAD. i'm so distraught and i feel so bad for celaena literally bOTH HER AND SAM DESERVED SO MUCH BETTER. LIKE. I CAN'T. IT'S NOT FAIR. IM VERY UPSET.

Final Thoughts:
These novellas were incredible and DEFINITELY a must read if you're a fan of the series. I JUST LOVE THESE BOOKS SO MUCH

1 May 2015

Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Reviewer: Kayla
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Pages: 562
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: /10

Summary (thanks Goodreads):

My Thoughts:

First of all, can we talk about Sarah's writing? Bloody hell. I don't even know man, but the way she would describe things and the feelings of the character in such depth and detail made me feel like I was WITH them, if not a part of them. It was very overwhelming, especially at the end when the king went and DID THE THING (no spoileries lol) and Dorian was all screaming and in agonizing pain. And in the entirety of the book, Celaena's complexity in being utterly broken and unable to recuperate and then getting the strength to light the fire, oh my god. Like I felt completely empty, and I think that’s a huge part of why myself and so many other people love this series so much. it’s more than just the plot and the story, but the way it captures the reader so effortlessly.

ALSO WHAT THE HELL?! kay this series is so confusing I don't know what to do with myself. Why would Sarah write so many attractive and lovely male characters to ship Celaena with? HOW AM I TO CHOOSE?! Because in Throne I was completely enthralled with the idea of Dorian and Celaena, and I am having a hard time letting go of that in my brains. Then in Crown, Chaol and Celaena were the new power couple and like, literally the way they brought out the best in each other and were able to invest every part of themselves into the other and the way they both affected each other in such dramatic ways was very touching. And then … no, you know what i won’t say anything about what I think of Celaena and Rowan. You form your own opinion, friends.


And then we get more characters introduced and everything gets WAY more complicated than it initially was and it’s like, woah. Now we have these witches, and Celaena’s relatives, and Celaena’s history and we learn so much more about her. And it’s so special. Like there’s a flashback scene and it felt so surreal, almost dreamlike, and then we come back to the present and your heart just fills with emotion and sympathy and hope and strength for Celaena. And wow i’m getting emotional all over again. PLEASE IF ANY OF YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT THIS SERIES WITH ME PLEASE. PLEASE COME TALK TO ME I WILL TALK FOREVER.

Final thoughts: I really don’t know what else to say without going on a tangent and then spoiling everything, but let me remind you I LOVE DORIAN. but seriously I could literally talk about this book and this series forever. This literally has to be one of, if not my all time favourite series. ever. my god. 
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