Tag Archive | 2013

Book Review: Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

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On the outside, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine seems to be living the dream. It’s 1950’s, and Josie works as well as lives in the room above the local bookshop in New Orleans exciting French Quarter. Yet behind her strong appearance she hides many secrets.

Her mother is a prostitute, working at the tough as nails Willie Woodley’s establishment on Conti Street where Josie also cleans every morning. When she makes a contact that could get her out of the Big Easy, tragedy strikes. A traveler is found dead and Josie’s mother is a suspect. Josie will have to fight for her dreams and her life during this quest for the truth.

Sepetys has an amazing ways with words. The imagery, the language, the tone of voice of the characters is stunning! I could feel the heat from the New Orleans sun, smell the spices of the gumbo and taste the saltiness of the vivid characters. The past is alive, breathing, swearing, and beating within every page of this book.

Plus there’s no ‘traditional YA’ romance! Hurray! I find the romance bits true and realistic for the time period. This book couldn’t get any better and I was so sad as I rushed to the end! I wanted more! I wasn’t expecting how it ended was how it would go! All of which makes me love the book more and will cause me to throw it into the hands of others that are looking for a well written historical YA that has a streak of mystery and thrill to it! Out of the Easy should not be missed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Crash into You by Katie McGarry

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Please note this is the third book in the Pushing the Limits series, however, the characters are only slightly connected so there will be no spoilers! 

Rachel is a good girl from the right side of the tracks. Growing up the youngest from a well to do family, she craves the speed her Mustang GT gives her. It’s where she can think, where she can dream, where the truth of her reality doesn’t have to exist. 

Isaiah is living on the edge, literary. Barely getting by, his only hope is to pass a test that could open every door to a future he never thought could be his. 

Then one night everything changes for both Rachel and Isaiah. It was supposed to be the final time for Isaiah. Rachel chose the wrong night to breach the underworld of drag racing. Now they owe the roughest guy in town, and he will do whatever it takes to get what is his. 

She’s a blonde eyed angel and he’s a tattooed saviour also in need of rescue. When they start to fall in love, will it make matters worse? Or build them their stairway to heaven? 

I’ve really enjoyed how different McGarry makes each of her books in this series. It keeps me coming back for more and I still get a thrill each time one of the past characters makes an appearance. It’s like a healthy ecosystem of narrative. 

This book doesn’t disappoint and follows the same flow as the others. I loved Rachel’s backstory and it’s nice to be able to get into Isaiah’s head! I felt the language, the setting, the premise of the plot all worked really well. It starts off a bit slow, but boy, does it pick up! The growth within the characters is natural and genuine, causing me to tear through the final chapter to know what happens! It’s also important to note that the issue of pride is put on a more relatable level. I had to take a step back to be able to see it, and it’s something that McGarry does well. Her characters are so real, full of flaws but still capable of growth. Rachel doesn’t want to be rescued and she fights for her chance to help and fix the issues on her own. Isaiah is deep and fragile in his own way, something his persona won’t allow others to see. 

Everything is a race against time in this third book and it was well worth the wait! My dear readers you know I am not a fan of romance, but for McGarry, I’m always thrilled to make the exception. Her romance has depth, heart and controversy that makes this series a romance standout! 

Book Review: World After by Susan EE

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*Please note, my reviews may contain spoilers as this is the second in a series. Check out my review of the first book Angelfall here. 

Penryn has returned. Paige has been found. Both of them are not as they were before.

Paige is now a monster, a former shadow of the frail younger sister she used to be. Her skin has been restitched all over her face and her teeth are filed points of danger. She won’t eat, can barley speak and still remains somehow frail despite her transformation. Just as Penryn makes a bit of progress, Paige is gone yet again.

The angels are getting stronger. As Penryn hunts for Paige she tries to push all thoughts of Raffe away. She carries his sword and his enemies lurk nearby, making her attempt impossible. As she tries to help a group of struggling people the angels swoop in on their trap.

Now they are en route to Alcatraz, where the horrors of the past are mere children’s stories compared to what has been awakened on the island. As the days get darker and the world seems at its end, it’s up to Penryn to continue to fight for her family and the lucky humans that get caught in her path.

I do have to admit that there is a bit more romance in this second book than in the debut. I love the idea of angels being horrible, these saviours turned assassins. The romance bit is the only thing that rubs me the wrong way. I feel it cheats a bit of Penryn’s character. The star crossed lovers – it’s all a bit cliched for my taste.

However, the romance isn’t a dominating bit. What I loved about this continuation to the series is how gross it got. I mean, I was a bit ill reading some of the chapters! The truth of the angels intentions were so nightmarish. The imagery kept me up at night. This is dystopian behind the curtain. One’s imagination couldn’t get any worse and Ee stays true to her vision of this new world. It’s amazing. Horrify, but you can’t stop reading because you want to know just how bad it’s going to get.

There’s still one more book on the way. I have a feeling it’s going to get a whole worse. I can’t wait.

Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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I’m going to use the blurb to describe this book – it’s just the best way to go about this fantastic piece of writing:

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?

I adored Fangirl. I saw it trolling on social media for a bit and immediately requested it from my library…which meant I had to wait like five weeks. 

Anyways, once I got my hands on it – I did not put it down! I got shivers reading the opening fan fiction piece! (it’s so spot on Harry Potter – it’s just moving.) 

However, there is a lot more to this story than just the amazing fan fiction obsession that thankfully the world is embracing. It’s also about twin sisters striking out on their own – forming their own identities – falling in love and growing up during that crucial first year of college. There is also mental illness, abandonment and the struggle of not giving up what you believe in. 

This is one powerful book, and there are so many deeper messages that crawl under your skin and sink into your heart. It deserves every bit of it’s hype and I am thrilled to jump on the Rowell bandwagon. 

It’s going to be a fun ride. 

Book Review: Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher

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Zoe isn’t her real name, but that’s not what matters. Zoe has a deep, dark secret. She reaches out by writing letters to an inmate, Stuart Harris, on Death Row in America. Somehow it seems safer, to divulge her secret to someone who is also a killer. See, Zoe has killed someone herself. Through her letters Zoe writers her pain, guilt and struggle to deal with what she has done. As Harris’ death date draws near, Zoe fights with herself to reveal her secret, and face the horrible truth of what her life has become. 

This tale is painful, raw and just ever so youthful in a terrifyingly sad way. The closer I got to the ending, the more I didn’t want to continue. I wasn’t sure how the ending was going to come about, but then all at once, I was there. 

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For a YA book, Ketchup Clouds touches on grief and loss in a realistic way. Her emotions and reactions are fascinating, her voice is strong and clear within her letters. This was not the type of book that I expected it to be. I love it when books makes me feel things, when events don’t turn out the way I thought they would. It’s still moving and beautiful and everything it needed to be. It stands on it’s own and crawls under your skin, allowing for you to remember how grief hurts for others when you are in pain inside. 

This book is best read when one is least expecting it. It’s a lovely break from the traditional romance and a stellar example of how love in YA needs to be: true. 

Book Review: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

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“You have to kill him.” Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside. 

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was. 

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.”

What I See: This was a interesting beginning. The first few chapters are a bit rough, there’s not too much information, which I love. It kept me interested and by the first third way through I was ploughing through the chapters. 

I could guess at what the ending was going to amount too but I don’t read too much time travel stories and there was plenty of character development and plot and world building to keep me wanting more. 

Once you’re fully in the story, there’s no going back and this is a great, fast paced read for teens that are looking for more than a romance book. This is got plot, strategy and emotional developments. I was impressed!

Book Review: Finding Favor by Lana Long

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“What’s more important: friendship or freedom?

In the eight years since seventeen-year-old Favor Miller’s father died, she’s had to endure her reluctant, self-righteous guardians the Browns. Every day for eight years, they’ve reminded her that she doesn’t fit in, that she’s not one of them. Every day for eight years, she’s eagerly awaited the day when she’ll finally be free to live her life her way.

On the eve of high school graduation, Mr. Brown ambushes Favor with the offer of college funding and a to-die-for summer internship–with the one stipulation that she must discontinue her friendship with his son, Ethan.

Accustomed as she is to sharing everything with her best friend, this is one secret Favor must keep in order to protect Ethan. The distraction of his new girlfriend, her growing friendship with his older brother, and her need to understand her family history, add in further complications.

As Favor debates signing the contract, she must decide if she’s willing to give up her best friend in order to pursue her dreams. Will she have to stay in the place she’s so desperately wanted to escape in order to make the right decision and get what she really needs?”

What I see: From the summary I thought this book was going to be a period piece, but it’s anything but. (I know it says High School in it, but everything else gave me the impression that it wasn’t going to be as contemporary as it is.) I was disappointed, but as a self-published book it’s nearly there and has great potential. My issues with it are that it’s too obvious. Too much time is spent on the clichéd romance when there were other more strong elements in the book that if explored further and executed well could have made a 180 turnaround for the story.