Tag Archive | 4 Stars

Book Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Liars

Screen shot 2014-10-12 at 21.01.27A wealthy family. A summer of traditions. Three months of secrets. Can you discover what they’re trying to hide?

We Were Liars is one of those books were it’s best that the reader doesn’t know much about the book. It’s best to just dive in and don’t come up for air until you’ve finished. This mysterious tale will keep you ripping through the short and sweet chapters, wondering who is behind the current situations that the characters are in. 

This is an emotional book. Readers will fall into either one of two categories, those that understand and those that don’t. It’s as simple as that. If you understand, then you’ll love this book. If you don’t, well, this book won’t be for you. How can you tell? You can’t, but because it’s so short, it’s seriously worth a read. It’s quick with a punch to the gut. E. Lockhart has outdone herself with this haunting tale of a family and what happened one fateful summer. Are you brave enough to find out?

 

 

Book Review: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Dororthy

 

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If you’re looking for a shocking, in your face retelling of The Wizard of Oz, look no further than Dorothy Must Die. There is a reason this book has been trolling through social media. Yes. It is that good!

Alternative Amy Gumm is struggling to get through high school, but she’s used to that. With a druggie mother, Amy’s used to taking care of herself. That is, until the storm arrives. Amy is whisked away to the merry old land of Oz. Except, life here isn’t so merry anymore. The citizens are suffering, a war is brewing and magic is being sucked out of the land. Who could would do such a thing to this amazing place?

Dorothy. And she must die. 

Forget all you once knew about Oz. Amy definitely isn’t in Kansas anymore, but she’s not in the Oz she remembers either. With stark wit and a blend of political violence that’s wrapped up in a magical red bow, Dorothy Must Die will change the way you recall the Emerald City. It will still make you reach for the book again and again, wondering what is going to happen next. This debut in the series sets the world, characters and goal beautifully. You’ll see the glittering bricks, smell the toxic poppies and will be blinded by what Dorothy has become. Which side will you take? Are you with Dorothy or against her? For Amy, it’s clear where she belongs, and she’s not afraid of Dorothy. 

Many thanks to HarperCollins for providing me this book in exchange for a honest review. 

Book Review: Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

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Steven’s contemporary and captivating story of Alexi Littrell and Bodee Lennox is a cross between a who-dunnit mystery and coming of age story.

Something terrible has happened to Alexi over the summer. She is unable to even say the word that haunts her dreams and causes her to scratch the back of neck into a bloody mess. I adore that Alexi isn’t seen as the ‘leader’ of her group of friends, she is in fact the opposite; a third to a pair that have been best friends for ages. I feel this is a more realistic side of teenage friendships. Teenage girls aren’t always worried about their boyfriends; their girlfriends matter just as much and can be lost just as easily. The story becomes more genuine and relatable. 

Bodee comes with his own heartbreaking story. The wallflower, brought into Alexi’ home because his father murdered his mother. What little he can express is his hair color choice through the use of Kool-Aid. He leans on Alexi for support in ignoring the next step in his future. Together they engage on a routine of comfort and safety, but also of ignoring the resolution for their conflicts. 

Alexi and Bodee need to each other to faking being normal. Their relationship is crafted in a subtle yet truthful way of how teens can become close and yet then change their minds about how they feel about someone.

Stevens weaves a web for Alexi and Bodee as the year carries on, each with a deadline, romance and conflict in order to see the light to stop hiding from their secrets. The final chapters will have you on edge, staying up late into the evening wondering who has hurt Alexi. Faking Normal is executed with a spot on message and with grace for her characters. This stand-alone is not to 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

World After

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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: 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: A Need so Beautiful by Suzanne Young

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“We all want to be remembered. Charlotte’s destiny is to be Forgotten…

Charlotte’s best friend thinks Charlotte might be psychic. Her boyfriend thinks she’s cheating on him. But Charlotte knows what’s really wrong: She is one of the Forgotten, a kind of angel on earth, who feels the Need—a powerful, uncontrollable draw to help someone, usually a stranger.

But Charlotte never wanted this responsibility. What she wants is to help her best friend, whose life is spiraling out of control. She wants to lie in her boyfriend’s arms forever. But as the Need grows stronger, it begins to take a dangerous toll on Charlotte. And who she was, is, and will become–her mark on this earth, her very existence–is in jeopardy of disappearing completely.

Charlotte will be forced to choose: Should she embrace her fate as a Forgotten, a fate that promises to rip her from the lives of those she loves forever? Or is she willing to fight against her destiny–no matter how dark the consequences.”

What I see: This is an interesting shorter YA. Charlotte’s story focuses on relationships. What begins as a standard YA blossoms into a story of heavenly assistance. As reader you’re torn between wanting Charlotte to have a life. Her childhood was tragic but she raises herself up, has a steady boyfriend, best friend and hopes and dreams for her future. Charlotte has to make a choice to continue on her destiny or reject it and turn to darkness. At the same time you want Charlotte to have her life, you’re always wondering what will come after should be complete her destiny’s task.

There is a lot of heartbreak as Charlotte continues her transition. The ending is smacked with surprises and the final chapter is only a thread. It’s excellently paced, with a continous flow and althought the endings feels completely different from the beginning, I am curious to see how Charlotte’s choice turns out.