Monday, December 23, 2013

Review: Endless by Amanda Gray

Released: September 10, 2013
Publisher: Month9Books
Series: ?
Star Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Netgalley
Edition: eBook
Page Amount: 384
Age Group: Young Adult
Jenny Kramer knows she isn't normal. After all, not everybody can see the past lives of people around them.
When she befriends Ben Daulton, resident new boy, the pair stumble on an old music box with instructions for “mesmerization” and discover they may have more in common than they thought. Like a past life.
Using the instructions in the music box, Ben and Jenny share a dream that transports them to Romanov Russia and leads them to believe they have been there together before. But they weren't alone. Nikolai, the mysterious young man Jenny has been seeing in her own dreams was there, too. When Nikolai appears next door, Jenny is forced to acknowledge that he has travelled through time and space to find her. Doing so means he has defied the laws of time, and the Order, an ominous organization tasked with keeping people in the correct time, is determined to send him back. 
While Ben, Jenny and Nikolai race against the clock - and the Order - Jenny and Nikolai discover a link that joins them in life - and beyond death.
I am going to begin this review by saying that I really hope there is a second book in this series coming in the near future, because it ended in a definite cliffhanger. I would love to continue Jenny, Nikolai, Ben and Tiffany's unique journey.

I really enjoyed this book, if you couldn't tell by my above statement. I am not going to lie, the first thing that enticed me to read this novel was the beautiful cover. I know you are not supposed to judge a book by it's cover, but in this case it is a good thing and the insides of the book lived up to my expectations based on the cover image.

I fell in love with Nikolai the minute he was introduced. Jenny did get on my nerves in select parts of the book because I felt like she relied on Nikolai too much but I definitely liked them as a couple. Time travel is a subject that not a lot of young adult novels hit and I enjoy reading these types of novels from time to time.

The plot was well developed and there weren't holes in the story, which is hard to come by with such a unique and complicated storyline. I never felt like there was something key missing (other than when the story was supposed to have something missing). It felt truly mysterious in a not annoying kind of way.

I definitely say you should pick up Endless. I really enjoyed reading it and when I really started getting into the story line, it took me no time at all to read it.

Top 10 Books I've Read in 2013

Today is the first of 5 days of looking back on the books that we read this year. This is where we share bookish lists for the next 5 days! This is the perfect way to close out 2013 and this reading year. These are the top 10 books that I have read in 2013! Here we go!

To pick these 10, I made a list of all the books I read this year with a rating of 4 stars and above. I had over twenty. All of the books left I gave a 5 star rating, except 1. Here are my final 10! (These are in no particular order).

A fluffy romance set in my favourite city? You can count me in. Dash and Lily were wonderful characters to read about and kept me flipping the pages to see how their love story was going to continue.

I've always enjoyed a good dark contemporary novel and that is exactly what this book was. It kept me flipping the pages and the ending totally surprised me. I love it when books shock me in the end, because normally I'm pretty good at figuring out the end.

I guess you could say that I had a David Levithan kind of year, because you will see him come up three separate times on this list. This was the first and only book that I have read by him alone and let me tell you, it won't be the last. His writing style is unique to him and not like many other authors in the Young Adult market.

See? I told you. I first picked this book up because John Green is my all-time favourite author. This book is a lot different from his other works, in my opinion. It's a lot lighter read and I liked seeing something different from him. Not to mention that this book has some of the best supporting characters, like, ever.

I'm cheating a little bit with this one, but I mean... technically it's all the same! I was late hopping on the bandwagon with this one and now I'm knocking my head against the wall because of it. Why did I wait so long to read these books? I am anxiously awaiting to read the rest of the series (I'm really hoping I get the third one for Christmas!).

This book... wow. It gave me all the feels. It is the definition of emotional roller coaster. It's funny, beautiful, heartbreaking, happy, everything you could ever want in a contemporary. I fell in love with the characters, and that ending! Ugh. Not spoiling anything, but, GAH!

Again, late on the bandwagon with this one but it was just as good as everybody said it was! I have wanted to read it since it came out and didn't get my hands on it until recently. As awful as the situation is, it was so interesting to read about. Team Linden!

2013 was my year of catching up on books that I have been meaning to read, and this novel was no exception. This book was heartbreaking and I couldn't help but just sit down and plow through the entire book in one sitting. I need to pick up the second book because I need to know what happens to these characters!

I was hesitant going into this series because I am not a fan of witch-type books. When my friend picked up the series and loved it, I knew that it was a sign that I needed to see what the hype of this book was about. O M G. That is all I am going to say about that.

Finishing off my top 10 with the book that I just finished. Wow. One of the best contemporaries that I have read, ever, and that's saying something because I have read a lot of them. I fell in love with the characters and their stories were beyond interesting.

There it is! My top 10 of 2013! If you made a post of your top 10, please leave it in the comments below and I will be sure to check it out.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Released: October 22, 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Series: Divergent, 3
Star Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Bought
Edition: Hardcover
Page Amount: 526
Age Group: Young Adult
This is the third novel in a series. Although I do not purposefully include spoilers in my reviews, I may unintentionally include a spoiler from the previous books. If you have not read Divergent and Insurgent, I suggest you do not read this review.

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories. 
But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love. 
Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

Just like 99.999% of bookish people around the world, I had been waiting what felt like a million centuries for this novel to come out. I read both Divergent and Insurgent almost immediately after they had come out, so I could not wait to get my hands on Allegiant. I do have to say that while I was beyond excited, I was also slightly sceptical going into this book. The hype had been so high that I had my fingers crossed that it was going to live up to the hype.

Let's just say it did. I am going to warn you now, I may get a little more fangirl-y in this review than in my others.

I'm sure, if you have been around my blog for awhile, you know how I feel about Tris and Four. They are one of my favourite bookish couples so it's always a joy getting to read about them. The Divergent series, I think anyway, have some of the best supporting characters. This is something that I like about the whole dystopian genre in general, they tend to have great background characters. I like how well developed they are and you can tell that Roth took time to not only figure out who the main characters were as people, but the supporting characters also. 

Another thing that the Divergent series is know for is the world that it is set in. In this novel especially, you really get to explore the world that these characters are living in and how corrupted it is. It's scary to think that this may be the direction that society is going, yet it is so interesting to read about because it's not the world that we live in.

Let's not even talk about the ending. I wish it could have ended differently, but it was something that now, looking back on the series after reading them all, needed to happen and I don't see how the book could have ended any other way.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I could not put it down, yet I didn't want it to end because then the reality that the story of these characters that I have grown to love would be over. I guess that's something that comes with being a reader, we grow to love characters and follow them on this journey but at some point the journey has to end. Some journeys are gruelling and not enjoyable, and then there are some like Divergent. The kind that always keep you on the edge of your seat, waiting to see what was going to happen next. I would like to thank Veronica Roth for taking me on this journey, because without it, I don't think I would be the same reader that I am today.

About the Author

Veronica Roth is from a Chicago suburb. She studied creative writing at Northwestern University, and wrote DIVERGENT (Katherine Tegen Books, May 2011) and INSURGENT (May 2012). The third and final book in The Divergent Trilogy, ALLEGIANT, will come out on October 22, 2013. In the meantime she will spend endless hours browsing Wikipedia in her pajamas as she eats corn flakes. (Or some other kind of bland breakfast cereal.)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Swoon Worthy Saturday

Saturday is a day for swooning. Swoon Worthy Saturday is a weekly meme where in we present a fictional boy who has swept us off our feet, given us butterflies, made our heart do acrobatics and driven us absolutely crazy!

I'm going to go stereotypical with this one and choose Mr Augustus Waters from John Green's The Fault in Our Stars. He is one of my favourite male, actually, he's one of my favourite characters of all time. He's not your typical male swoon worthy character, he's nerdy in a super adorable way. I'm not going to lie, I put Augustus on my Christmas wish list this year. I'm expecting my own Augustus to be under the tree this year.

I'm excited to see Ansel Elgort's portrayal of Augustus. I'm torn on the casting, because at first I did not agree with who they casted but when I saw photos of him filming with Shailene Woodley, I felt all the feels. I guess only time will tell, when finally a John Green book becomes a movie! I'm beyond excited but extremely nervous, also. Movies tend to usually never begin to compare to the books so I'm scared that the movie will not live up to my expectations. John's vlogs of the filming and him talking about his experience with the film makes me hopeful that this movie will turn really good.

 What are your thoughts on the TFiOS movie? What do you think of Augustus' casting? Leave your opinions in the comments below. Also, tell me your bookish swoon worthy male or leave your Swoon Worthy Saturday in the comments below!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Flashback Friday

 Join me in highlighting books from our reading pasts! Pick any book you’ve read, published at least five years ago, and write a blog post about why it’s so special to you. Link up and check out other bloggers’ favorite flashback books.

Charlie is a freshman. 
And while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.
Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can't stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor. 
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

The Perks of Being A Wallflower is a very important to me, and my reading past. I first read this book in the fourth grade, when I first started getting into Young Adult fiction. I then reread it in the eighth grade, right as I was getting read to embark in the first year of high school, which is what Charlie is going through in this novel. The Perks of Being A Wallflower is one of my favourite books of all time, and it is a book that I think everybody, at some point in their life, should read.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

What's Next? Thursday

Description: Can’t decide what to read next? Make a post with 3-5 books you want to (or have to!) read soon and link up every Thursday at IceyBooks, so your readers can help you decide by casting votes!

I am leaving the next book I read after I return from my vacation up to YOU guys! I am going to be posting three in the comments below and you can vote in the comments which one you would like to see me read and review next. Vote away!

These are the three that I am letting you guys vote one! Pick which one you would like a review for next!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wishlist Wednesday

Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop where we will post about one book per week that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added (it’s entirely up to you), that we can’t wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves.

Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.
Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo's sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.
Emaline's mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he's convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby?
Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she's going?
Sarah Dessen's devoted fans will welcome this story of romance, yearning, and, finally, empowerment. It could only happen in the summer.

I am a huge fan of Sarah Dessen and I can not wait to get my hands on her newest! I wish I had the opportunity to get it sooner but it was on my Christmas list, so we'll see if I get it!

Leave your Wishlist Wednesday in the comments below!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Here are the rules:
  • Grab your current read
  • Let the book fall open to a random page
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Be careful to not give any spoilers... you don't want to ruin the book for everyone!

Title: Endless
Author: Amanda Gray

the remnants of the dream drifted through Jenny's consciousness. She knew that it was morning, could feel the press of golden light against her closed eyelids, but she wasn't ready to let go of the dream.

I hope you enjoyed! Please post your Teaser Tuesday in the comments below.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Review: Horse Sense by Lapo Melzi

Released: October 14, 2013
Publisher: Irbis Books
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 2 out of 5
Source: Author
Edition: eBook
Page Amount: 242
Age Group: Middle Grade

There’s nothing easy about being an eleven year old boy, especially for Jamie. As he takes the unsteady steps into adolescence, his days of knowing who his friends are and trusting the adults in his life are numbered. The only thing Jamie can really count on in this changing world is the love of his best friend, a horse named Acorn. Jamie and Acorn’s friendship has a magic that comes once in a lifetime—but the bullies around them want to rip that to shreds. Can their kindred connection survive as Jamie strives to carve out his identity?
"...Jamie has a lovely story, and Lapo brings it out and writes it perfectly. This is a really good book for anyone of any age to read. Since I know people who have been through this, Lapo did a really good job on getting everything put together, without over doing the subject or making it over sensitive for readers. I give the book 5 stars." -- Serenity Sheild on the Lovely Reads Blog
"...Every child that has ever been faced with not fitting in should read this book. The young budding bullies out there could also benefit from a read." -- Jackie Anton, author of the Award Winning Series Backyard Horse Tales.

I will begin with saying that I did receive this novel from the author in exchange for a honest review. When I first read the email from the author asking if I would like to review it, I was immediately drawn to the storyline. Typically, I enjoy reading books about real life experiences, including bullying, because I find it relate able. When I began reading it, though, I was shown that I couldn't relate to this novel as much as I thought I could.

I did not enjoy the characters in this novel. They were one-dimensional, and the only personality they did have were all whiny, clingy, and annoying. I especially found this with Jamie, the protagonist. And, the way that the characters communicated to each other was not believable. They spoke way too formally, when it was an extremely informal conversation. The way they were talking to each other would not be what people would say in real life.

I did enjoy reading about Jamie's relationship with Acorn, his horse. I know first hand what it is like to have such a deep connection with an animal, and I don't read a lot about relationships such as these. It was refreshing to read about their friendship.

I wish I could give this novel a better review, but I simply can't because I just didn't enjoy it.

About the Author

Lapo Melzi is a poet, writer and filmmaker. He grew up in a little town in the north of Italy and went on to study writing and filmmaking in New York. He received his MFA from renowned NYU Tisch School of the Arts and now spends his time between the United States and Italy.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Musing Mondays #1

Hello and welcome to my first Musing Mondays! This is a weekly meme where MizB from Should Be Reading posts a question and you discuss it! This week's question is...

Do you have a preference between “person” in the books you read? Do you prefer third-person to first-person? Or don’t you care? And, why?

Generally, I enjoy reading first person a lot more than any other. I find third-person very difficult to do right, so I usually gravitate towards novels that are written in first-person over any other. 

Very short post this Monday, but I hope you enjoyed! Comment down below with a link to YOUR Musing Mondays, I would love to see them!