Sunday, 17 April 2016

March Wrap-Up

I knew I wouldn't repeat my February feat of reading 20 books, but two out of the four books I read this month, definitely made it to my favorites of the year list.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars
"No Mourners. No funerals."
Reading this book was a great way to start off the month. Though I will admit that I read this so soon to keep my mind off the approaching release date of Lady Midnight. Nevertheless I enjoyed this immensely. I previously read the Grisha trilogy last month and I was really enjoying it until the last book fell flat for me. But still I went into Six of Crows with high expectations and was delivered just that every time. This book was excellent. If you didn't enjoy the Grisha trilogy that much and still unsure of whether you should read this I implore you do so. This book is leagues ahead of the Grisha trilogy. Not only do we get a diverse cast of characters, that are extremely well written, the plot is really fast paced and grips you, and also has you internally screaming at your book most of the time. This felt like a combination of Ocean's Eleven movie plus Heist Society by Ally Carter times 100. I am honestly anxious and terrified to see how this duology concludes in The Crooked Kingdom.

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars
❝ Once I was the elder, but now you are elder than I. When I was in the faerie country, each night I would think of each of you—of you and Helen, of Livvy and Ty and Dru and Tavvy. I gave the stars your names, so that when I saw them wink to light in the sky I felt as if you were with me. It was all I could do to still the fear that you were hurt or dying and that I would never know. But I have come back to a family not just alive and healthy, but whose bonds have not been severed, and that is because of what you have done. There is love here, among you. Such love as takes my breath out of my body. There has even been enough love left for me. ❞
No surprise here that I managed to read this in the same month. If you know me, then you know how much I was anticipating this book. Feeling both excited and mildly terrified when I finally procured a copy on release day. This book. THIS BOOK. I don't even know what to say about this book to convince you how much I LOVED this it. Just go read my review where I exhibit all the feels.

The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 2 stars
“Love is giving the world away, and being loved is having the whole world to give.” 
I went into this book with pretty high expectations due to all the buzz around its release, but I was not a fan at all. I read this book for my book club's The Reader's Guild, book of the month. Honestly I don't even think I could explain the synopsis of this novel. A main component of where it fell flat for me is due to the fact that I felt the author was trying to do too much at once. Like there's time travel, parallel universes, Native American folklore, and some other scifi elements that just felt weird and confusing. I did enjoy a lot of points on feminism and the stories that were told, but that's about it. There is so much going on in this novel in a short amount of pages that it begins to feel rushed. Not to mention that I really didn't like any of the characters, nor cared for the insta-loved that inevitably ensued. The main reason that I disliked this besides the busyness was that it was confusing up to the point where I had to ask someone to explain the ending to me because I had no idea what was going on. But I guess some books just aren't for everyone.

When We Collided by Emery Lord

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 3 stars
"I feel like I know him a little, like if I collect fragments of the six of you and tape them together; there he is: a mosaic of your pieces."
Usually I'm not the hugest fan of contemporary, but this novel sat in the middle of my love-hate spectrum. There is a lot of great aspects of family and love ingrained in here that I believe Emery Lord delivers excellent, in a way that is not cheesy. I did love the Daniel family for the most part, but was kind of off and on with our main character Vivi. Though I really enjoyed the realness of this contemporary and more of my thoughts can be found here.

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

Rating: ★★★★☆ 4 stars
"He imagined the future I could have before I even wanted it for myself, and he was the one to push me toward it. That’s faith. Growing up, I thought faith was about believing Jesus died for us, and that if I held on to that, I’d get to meet him when I died too. But faith doesn’t mean that to me anymore. Now it means someone seeing something in you that you don’t, and not giving up until you see it too. I want that. I missed that."
I technically finished this in April, but it was near the beginning so I'll just count it towards March. This book is sold as a thriller, but I feel like that it doesn't read like a thriller at all which is why a lot of people are disappointed when they don't get something like Gone Girl from it. This is told in the present day and flashback rotations our main character, Ani, reflects at her freshman year of high-school and the events that occurred then. There is a lot of important themes of feminism and forgiveness in this novel, and even more so gut-wrenching when you realize that the author wrote this book based on events that happened in her own life. My full review can be found here.

March Book Haul

It's becoming a recurring habit to post my book hauls half way into the next month, but what can I say, I'm easily distracted and swift to procrastinate. I was expecting this to be an extremely small bookhaul, like one or two books, but somehow I ended up acquiring 9 books in the month of March.

Part I: Books I Bought/Gifts/Won

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

The first book to make its way into my possession is none other than my most anticipated book of the year Lady Midnight. I am still in awe of the beauty of this, both inside and out. This book already stands as my favorite book of 2016, if you want to know more of my thoughts I have a full non-spoiler and spoiler review here. I also created some Dark Artifices playlists that I listened to as I read, which you can check out here.


A History of Notable Shadowhunters by Cassandra Clare and Cassandra Jean

The next book is one of the most beautiful to have graced my life that my lovely friend gifted me for my birthday. A History of Notable Shadowhunters and Denizens of the Downworld by Cassandra Clare and Cassandra Jean, is a book that contains beautiful illustrations of various important shadowhunters and downworlders told in the language of flowers, and beside each photo contains a short bio about each of them. I have already started flipping through it and the illustrations are so gorgeous and there are so many little facts about characters that I did not know about. This is a must have for any fellow TMI/TID/TDA trash like me. ☺☺☺

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

This book I'm pretty sure I won this in a giveaway I entered awhile back. The main reason I entered was because it has the word library in the title like c'mon how can that not interest me. All I know is that it takes place in underground London and the characters have to retrieve a dangerous book, and its full of libraries and secret societies and honestly it was making me think of The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare, which you know I love. More like hopelessly obsessed enough to name my twitter after a fictional character. I'm hoping that it does have some magic involved and the synopsis also slightly reminds me of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.

Part II: Review Books

A Tyranny of Petticoats edited by Jessica Spotswood

This is a book that I'm really excited to get to. A Tyranny of Petticoats is a 15 story anthology all about belles, bank-robbers, and other badass girls. Some contributing authors include, Marissa Meyer, Marie Lu, Beth Revis, Jessica Spotswood, Robin Talley, Kekla Magoon and many more. There's so much diversity in this anthology and was perfect to receive during Women's History Month. I'll definitely have to get to this soon.

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Gutsy Girl by Carolina Paul

Gutsy Girl is a more unconventional type of book to come my way. In this book, Carolina Paul speaks about her adventurous escapades, and also those of other girls throughout history and offers insight on confidence and self-positivity. Throughout there are cute illustrations and even places to journal your own thoughts. Another excellent book to be received during Women's History Month. I can't wait to set out on my own adventures and catalog them as I go.

Publisher: Bloomsbury

When We Collided by Emery Lord

A rare contemporary finds it's way into my possession. When We Collided is actually a book I managed to finish in the same month that I received it. It was actually refreshing to read a contemporary after bombarding myself in fantasy novels. I wrote a full review on my thoughts here. And this book has already released so you should definitely check it out if you're a contemporary fan or enjoy any of Emery's previous books.

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

Another book I managed to complete in the same month I received it. Yes, I am quite proud of myself ☺ I also wrote full review on this here. I was quite surprised to have really enjoyed this novel, it definitely did not feel like a thriller at all, but I think that's what I liked about it. I'm really interested to see how they adapt this to film.

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Desert Dark by Sonja Stone

I had requested an arc from the lovely people at Holiday House publishing, but had not known that the arcs weren't out yet. So in turn they sent me one of their finished books while I waited. From what I can gather from this novel, is that our main character is sent off to a government funded boarding school in the desert only to discover it’s a covert CIA program training high-achieving students for the Black Ops. Anything about spies or heists always intrigue me. This slightly reminds me of the Gallagher series by Ally Carter, which I have yet to finish, but also Heist Society trilogy by her, which I also loved.

Publisher: Holiday House

Have you acquired any exciting books this month?

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Review: When We Collided by Emery Lord

Title: When We Collided
Author: Emery Lord
Publication Date: April 5th 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 3 stars

Synopsis: Jonah never thought a girl like Vivi would come along.
Vivi didn’t know Jonah would light up her world.
Neither of them expected a summer like this…a summer that would rewrite their futures.
In an unflinching story about new love, old wounds, and forces beyond our control, two teens find that when you collide with the right person at just the right time, it will change you forever.
Book was provided by publisher, but in no way affects my personal views on this book.
"I feel like I know him a little, like if I collect fragments of the six of you and tape them together; there he is: a mosaic of your pieces."
I'll be the first to admit that contemporary isn't my favorite genre, which is why I haven't been reading much of that of particular genre, but When We Collided seems to be on the better half for me.

This novel is told in dual POVs, which I'm always wary of. When reading a dual pov novel, the different points of views can begin to seem like the same person is speaking, until you correct yourself when you finally notice the different pronouns. My least favorite example being Allegiant by Veronica Roth and my favorite example being Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. But Emery Lord writes these characters so distinctly that you are able to tell who is speaking in the rotating chapters.

You are first introduced to Vivi. A very vibrant and eccentric character. I wasn't the hugest fan of Vivi for a majority of the novel. Emery Lord has distinct way of writing where she creates an unapologetically brash female character and you either love or hate them. In this case I was in the middle with Vivi. There were parts where I did like her, but at times she could be so blatantly selfish it began to rub me the wrong way. I will give her credit that I really did begin to like her character by the end of the novel.

We then meet Jonah. Who is almost a complete opposite of Vivi. Jonah is more reserved and refined. A majority of this due to the fact that after the death of his father, his mother has essentially turned into a recluse who can barely leave her room without breaking down. Leaving Jonah to raise his three younger siblings, with his older brother and sister. The latter who is in college and barely is home to begin with.

A main point of this novel I really enjoyed were Jonah and his family. The six Daniel siblings are individually unique. I appreciate the way Emery Lord, developed them with their own mannerisms and how they interacted with each other was fun to read.

Vivi and Jonah eventually meet and soon become entagled in each others lives. Each of them initially holding secrets. Jonah not wanting Vivi to know how he and his older brother are basically raising their younger siblings. Vivi not wanting Jonah to know the real reason why she moved to Verona Cove for the summer.

At first I enjoyed the conversations that happened between Vivi and Jonah, but soon the inevitable insta-love began to creep up, even though I really hope it wouldn't. And you all know how I feel about insta-love. Even knowing how short this novel is, I felt like the romance could have been drawn out longer, due to the fact that this book takes place practically over an entire summer. Honestly if it didn't feel so rushed I may have loved this book more.

When We Collided is encompasses all the different types of love. Those familial, friendship, and romantic. You watch these characters develop and come to realizations that soon turn to important actions later on in this book.

What I really loved about this book was the ending. I am really glad that a contemporary novel ending has satisfied me in such way that this had. It had the realistic element that I couldn't help but appreciate.

I definitely recommend checking this out if you're a fan of any of Emery Lord's previous novels, or I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. Though they are distinctly different, I believe fans of either novels would enjoy the other.

Review: Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

Title: Luckiest Girl Alive
Author: Jessica Knoll
Publication Date: May 12th 2015
Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Rating: ★★★★☆ 4 stars
Synopsis: As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancé, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve. 
But Ani has a secret. 
There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything. 
With a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, Luckiest Girl Alive explores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a heroine whose sharp edges and cutthroat ambition have been protecting a scandalous truth, and a heart that's bigger than it first appears. 
The question remains: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for—or, will it at long last, set Ani free?
Book was provided by the publisher, but in no way affects my personal views on this novel.

"He imagined the future I could have before I even wanted it for myself, and he was the one to push me toward it. That’s faith. Growing up, I thought faith was about believing Jesus died for us, and that if I held on to that, I’d get to meet him when I died too. But faith doesn’t mean that to me anymore. Now it means someone seeing something in you that you don’t, and not giving up until you see it too. I want that. I missed that."
Pleasantly surprised by this novel. It's easy to say that I enjoyed this for the most part, due to the fact of me staying up late into the night to read the last hundred pages or so, because I needed to know how this resolves. I came across many opportunities to read this book in the past, drawn in by the title and cover, but for some reason I never did. I'm so glad I finally gave this a chance.

I think the general consensus surrounding this novel is that many people go in this novel expecting some sort of chase or murder mystery. Being compared to the likes of Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, Luckiest Girl Alive is bound to be perceived that way prior to reading. I just realized all these titles have 'girl' in it, is this a new fad for thriller novels? But anyways if you go into this novel, try not to expect any of the aforementioned things because that is not what you get.

This novel focuses on TifAni FaNelli. A plucky twenty-something who finally achieved her long aspired dream of having a great career, perfect Manhattan zip-code, and engaged to a very wealthy husband. Ani has struggled hard to get to where she is and puts on many facades for the people around her, including her husband.

This novel alternates between present day Ani, in anticipation of her wedding, and flashbacks to highschool freshman Ani at the prestigious Bradley highschool, where she receives countless humiliation and what occurs there is what she desperately tries to dislocate herself from now.

What I enjoyed most about this novel were the back and forth passes between the past and the present. Seeing both teenage and adult Ani, in rotating chapters felt conversive and seemed to flow into this novel. Not once did I feel a choppy break.

It was quite interesting to read about a highschool setting in an adult novel. usually this is young adult territory, but seeing the main character in highschool is essentially the crux of this novel. Giving it an almost Mean Girls feel. I will admit that it was quite surprising to enjoy this novel as much as I did, while really hating a majority of the characters in here.

I understand it's highschool, kids are mean. But these kids were downright malicious and cruel. And Ani is no saint herself. In her desperate need to fit in, she tries to assimilate herself with the popular crowd. There are times where she stands on the sidelines, absorbing herself in this crude behavior, and learns things that soon have an impact and become crucially evident in adulthood. Even in her adult life, she still sometimes constantly judges people which I understand many people found annoying.

Despite that there was a part of me that liked Ani, the further I read into the novel. She is a self-determined person, who doesn't fear against speaking out against what's wrong, which is something you can see she struggled with in highschool.

I will trigger warn you that there is a rape that occurs in this and is a core part of the events that occur, so it is prevalent.

There is a lot of lessons that Ani takes from her past experiences and the people she meets throughout her life, which forms her into the person she is today and the decisions she makes.

Personally I found many of the twists surprising, but what makes this a four star rating is that the ending felt a little flat for me, and was also kind of confusing.

I'm not one to get excited for movie adaptations. Actually hate almost all of them, but that's another story. But I'm actually looking forward to the adaptation of Luckiest Girl Alive starring Reese Witherspoon.

While reading I could vividly picture may of the events happening, which would translate really well to screen. I really hope they do this novel justice, as it was based off events that the author personally experience. And I greatly commend her for that.