Archive by Author

Saving June by Hannah Harrington

21 Jul

Saving June

author : hannah harrington

pages : [paperback] 336

memorable quote He took his pain and turned it into something beautiful. Into something that people connect to. And that’s what good music does. It speaks to you. It changes you.

summary :

‘If she’d waited less than two weeks, she’d be June who died in June. But I guess my sister didn’t consider that.’

Harper Scott’s older sister has always been the perfect one — so when June takes her own life a week before her high school graduation, sixteen-year-old Harper is devastated. Everyone’s sorry, but no one can explain why.

When her divorcing parents decide to split her sister’s ashes into his-and-her urns, Harper takes matters into her own hands. She’ll steal the ashes and drive cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going — California.

Enter Jake Tolan. He’s a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession and nothing in common with Harper’s sister. But Jake had a connection with June, and when he insists on joining them, Harper’s just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanor and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what she needs.

Except June wasn’t the only one hiding something. Jake’s keeping a secret that has the power to turn Harper’s life upside down — again.

review :

This book has some heavy material in it, though it’s dealt with through the more light-hearted feel of a roadtrip. June commits suicide before the book begins; Harper decides that the best way for her to honor her sister’s memory would be taking a roadtrip to California so that she could scatter June’s ashes. Otherwise the remains will end up split between her divorced parents, a decision which obviously disagrees with Harper.

What I really liked about this book was how it didn’t make any excuses for June and we never get a full understanding of why she decided to take her own life. Survivors often find it hard to comprehend the mindset that brings people to commit suicide and from the outside, June’s life appeared to be normal and fine. In fact, Harper continuously speaks about how much better her sister’s life was than her own. She finds it hard to understand, then, why she is the one who is “better at living”, as it’s phrased in the book.

While I wouldn’t say that this book is perfect, I will say it’s a good read that takes a terrible act and allows the characters left behind to deal with the aftermath. At times it felt like there were too many characters in the novel, leaving many of them not as fully fleshed out as they could have been. I would have really loved to have seen more flashbacks of June or stories of her told from the perspective of different characters.

Of course, there is a love interest in this YA novel. At times it felt very wrong. Why would Harper concern herself with romance when she’s busy trying to grieve and scatter her sister’s ashes? At other points it made complete sense, as I could see how Harper was running from all of her problems and trying to escape the truth of June’s death. I wish that this had been more consistent throughout the book. Another problem that I had with this: The summary set me up for some terrible secret to be revealed by Jake, though it really wasn’t as bad as I’d assumed it was. It was a little bit of a letdown.

If you’re looking for a quick read that has sad elements, quirky scenes, and a touching message behind it all, this is the book for you. It wasn’t perfect but I enjoyed reading Saving June.

3.5/5 stars

Wicked Wildfire Read-a-Thon Update #1

20 Jul

Hello everyone!

The Wicked Wildfire Read-a-Thon is going strong! Only four days left. I’ve managed to finish three books thus far:

   

Only one is a book that I thought I’d end up reading; the others were also from my TBR pile!

These are the ratings I think I’ll give these books:

Winterspell – 3.5/5 stars

Saving June – 3/5 stars

Me and Earl and the Dying girl – 4/5 stars

I just started reading:

It’s been on my TBR FOREVER and I don’t know why I haven’t read it yet. I haven’t heard much about it but it’s a short book so I think I’ll be able to get through it quickly!

What are you reading now?

Favorite Book Friday: Leah from Leah of the Pack

18 Jul

favorite book friday

Hey everyone! Welcome to the third installment of Favorite Book Friday! This week’s guest post comes from Leah of Leah of the Pack!

~  ~  ~

Another Piece of My Heart

Author: Jane Green

Summary From Author’s Website: From the New York Times bestselling author of JEMIMA J, and THE BEACH HOUSE, comes Jane Green’s most emotional and powerful novel yet:  a story that explores the complications of a woman marrying into a ready-made family, and the true meaning of motherhood.

Andi has spent much of her adult life looking for the perfect man, and at thirty-seven, she’s finally found him.  Ethan—divorced with two daughters, Emily and Sophia—is a devoted father and even better husband.  Always hoping one day she would be a mother, Andi embraces the girls like they were her own. But in Emily’s eyes, Andi is an obstacle to her father’s love, and Emily will do whatever it takes to break her down. When the dynamics between the two escalate, they threaten everything Andi believes about love, family, and motherhood—leaving both women standing at a crossroad in their lives…and in their hearts.

ANOTHER PIECE OF MY HEART is a novel that illuminates the nuances and truths about relationships and is Jane Green at her absolute best.

Leah’s Thoughts

                I’ll admit I was unsure about this book before I read it. Not because I was judging it by its cover but because my mom picked it out to read on vacation. Usually she opts for the cheesy romance, really easy to read on the beach type of book which I am not into. My mom, sisters and I all purchased a ton of books to read on our vacation (we all read very fast) and planned on swapping them through the week. I decided to read this one last. But when my mom was reading Another Piece of My Heart by the pool one day a group of girls my age noticed the book and gushed about how they had just finished reading and loved the book. I was intrigued but still worried I would not enjoy it as it seemed no book could live up to what I had just finished reading- The Fall of Giants. I started reading while at the airport and I had to pace myself to ensure that I wouldn’t finish the book before we even boarded the plane. What I liked about this book is that it was nothing that I had though it was going to be. The plot shocked me a bit which is always awesome.  I found myself siding with the character of Andi, loathing Emily and then switching how I though based on how the plot would unfold. It also had me questioning what I would do in her place. I appreciate any book that makes me think. It was nicely written and I finished it before I landed back home.

I liked how this book was written. Every chapter or so was from a different character’s perspective. It really allowed you to immerse yourself in the story and see how things would unfold from each characters point of view.

Was it my favorite book I had read in the trip, (I had read 8 total) no but it was engaging and kept me wanting to read more like any good book does. Because I read such a variety of books it stood out less but I think for anyone that reads Sarah Dessen or John Green then this book is going to be a real hit. Although it wasn’t my absolute favorite book, I do think it is a great read than many people will enjoy.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

~  ~  ~

Thanks so much Leah! I’ve never heard of this book before so I’ll need to check it out.

If you’d like to hear about more books bloggers have loved, take a look at previous FBFs!

~Tiffany from Commoner Couture

~Alaska from Alaska Renee

Torn Away by Jennifer Brown

15 Jul

Torn Away

Author : jennifer brown

pages : [hardcover] 288

memorable quote Growing up, we were taught over and over again what steps to take in case of an approaching tornado. Listen for sirens, go to your basement or cellar, or a closet in the center of your house, duck and cover, wait it out. We had drills twice a year, every year, in school. We talked about it in class. We talked about it at home. The newscasters reminded us. We went to the basement. We practiced, practiced, practiced.

But we’d never— not once— discussed what to do after.

favorite characters : marin & jersey

summary :

Jersey Cameron has always loved a good storm. Watching the clouds roll in and the wind pick up. Smelling the electricity in the air. Dancing barefoot in the rain. She lives in the Midwest, after all, where the weather is sure to keep you guessing. Jersey knows what to do when the tornado sirens sound. But she never could have prepared for this.

When her town is devastated by a tornado, Jersey loses everything. As she struggles to overcome her grief, she’s sent to live with relatives she hardly knows-family who might as well be strangers. In an unfamiliar place, can Jersey discover that even on the darkest of days, there are some things no tornado can destroy?

In this powerful and poignant novel, acclaimed author Jennifer Brown delivers a story of love, loss, hope, and survival.

review :

This story was absolutely beautiful and wonderful. I don’t think I’ve ever read a story about a tornado before and I wasn’t ready for how emotional it would make me. As soon as I started reading I was sucked into Jersey’s world and couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if a tornado affected my life in this way. Now, I live on the East Coast, where the chances of a tornado occurring are so much smaller than they are in the Midwest. But it’s too easy to picture any natural disaster taking out everything I’ve known and loved, leaving me in it’s wake. There’s nothing that can stop the forces of nature but we live our lives every day not knowing which will be our last . . or which will drastically alter our lives forever. I’m definitely going to be showing my family some extra love after reading this book.

Jersey is your typical teenage girl. Not skinny, not rich, no excitingly charming boyfriend. She’s so relatable because she’s a normal girl. It made her story that much more powerful. The book begins on the day of the tornado and Jersey has no idea what’s coming for her. She doesn’t say anything she might have said to her family if she’d known what was going to happen while she was home alone the fateful day the tornado sirens weren’t going off for a false alarm. That was one detail I loved in a bittersweet way, how Jersey heard the sirens but didn’t want them to interrupt her activities for the evening because of a false alarm. The tornado the book is based on had such a high casualty rate because people became desensitized to the sirens.

The book has a great pacing as it draws you through the aftermath and Jersey’s life after. The book says “we’d never-not once-discussed what to do after”. Half of the town is just gone. No trees are left after the tornado rips through. And Jersey is forced to move in with family she’s never met, family that never wanted to know her. I felt her pain and anger at her situation. I couldn’t wait for her to get out of it but like her was helpless to come up with a better solution.

Marin was my favorite character of this book, even though she’s mostly seen through Jersey’s memories. That little girl is absolutely adorable and was a shining light even when my eyes were blurry with tears. Torn Away made me cry so much. I have to admit that I do tend to cry over sad books but I don’t think I’ve read many that made me tear up throughout the entire novel. If you’re going to read this-and you should, because I want to recommend this to everyone-be prepared with tissues and maybe don’t read in public if you’re afraid of crying in front of others!

This is the first book I’ve read by Jennifer Brown and I’m definitely going to read more because this book was just fantastic. It’s been a very long time since I’ve loved a contemporary book so much; this is probably going to be one of my favorite books of the year! If you’re looking for a great (and fairly short!) read, pick up this book. You won’t regret it. Torn Away will leave you in awe of the devastation nature can cause and you’ll appreciate the life and love you have while it’s here with you.

5/5 stars

Digital Book Day – Free Ebooks!

14 Jul

Hello readers! Today, July 14th, you can download SO many awesome books for free! It’s Digital Book Day!

Go to the site here to check out all that they have to offer today. I’m definitely going to be browsing the young adult tab to see what books I can pick up for the rest of this summer!

Get all of these books for free, today only, so don’t delay!

Which books are you going to download? Any recommendations?

Wicked Wildfire Read-a-thon

13 Jul

Hey everyone! Just a quick post to let you know about a read-a-thon I just found out about and will be participating in: The Wicked Wildfire Read-a-Thon! You can find out more information about it here.

It runs from July 14-24. I’ll post a few updates on my progress. There’s no requirement except to read as much as you can or want to! There are going to be challenges, giveaways, and a lot of fun. Let me know if you’re going to participate, too! We can cheer each other on. ^.^

Here are a few books I’m hoping to read during the read-a-thon:

     

And we’ll see what else I get to reading!

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

12 Jul

 

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Mara Dyer #1

author : michelle hodkin

pages : [hardcover] 452

memorable quote : Thinking something does not make it true. Wanting something does not make it real.

summary :

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

review :

 I started this book not knowing much about it because that summary up above doesn’t say much about this book. Sometimes I really like not knowing what’s going to come in a book. It makes everything a surprise, especially because there are summaries out there that spoil things in books that I never would have expected otherwise.

I was very intrigued at the beginning and end of this novel. Mara’s problems and hallucinations were so interesting and I kept reading to find out more about them. Unfortunately the novel dragged in the middle. Maybe it’s because I’ve gone to private school (though nothing as snobby as what Mara needs to go through) so books based in those settings typically don’t capture my interest. There was a lot of extra stuff thrown into the middle of the book that made it much longer than it needed to be, especially because Mara only talks to two people at school and one of them is a ‘friend’ who only shows up when it’s convenient in the novel. I would have liked to have seen less of a stereotypical school setting with the stereotype of the bully, the mostly absent best friend, the love interest that overtakes the main character’s life . .

But I did enjoy reading this. For its bulk, I read it quickly. I’m going to read the next book because I hope that all of the extra things that distracted and bored me in book one will no longer be present in book two. I like Michelle Hodkin’s writing and her ideas are great so I’m hoping that the rest of this trilogy will carry out those ideas in an even better way!

I had a kind of love-hate relationship with Noah. First of all, I can never be attracted to anyone who smokes (even fictionally, and even with everything we learn about him in this book). Second, a guy who orders for you at a restaurant instead of letting you order for yourself? Nope. He did grow on me a little, as the novel went on, and I came to appreciate him as a character instead of a love interest.

Mara, of course, was much more interesting. I loved trying to figure out what was and wasn’t real or what she was hallucinating. Some of the twists were easy to see coming; others we were only getting in pieces that we put together as Mara does. Despite the fact that there were darker elements to the story, it was a fun thing to read.

Even though this first novel didn’t impress me, I still want to read more of the story to see what will happen next. I’m not sure if I would recommend this trilogy yet.

3/5 stars

Favorite Book Friday: Alaska from Alaska Renee!

11 Jul

Favorite Book Friday is a new feature on my blog where different bloggers come to speak about their favorite books every week! This Friday I’m so happy to have Alaska talk about some of her favorites!

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Hey everyone! My name is Alaska Renee and I blog over at Alaska Renee. I’m really excited to write a guest post for Kayla!

I absolutely love books, so much that I feel like I’m missing something when I have nothing new to read. I’m always living within their pages so I’m excited to share some of my favorite books.

1. Legend series by Marie Lu

legend
This is a must read if you liked The Hunger Games and Divergent. It’s a dystopian set in future Los Angeles and it’s about a girl name June, who is a faithful soldier for the Republic, as well as a prodigy and it’s also about a guy named Day, who is against everything the Republic stands for. The Republic is fighting against the Colonies, which in present day would have been the eastern United States. But between the demise of their families and plagues killing their own, June and Day realize they’re more connected than they thought. This series is my favorite of all time because there’s a lot of sides and you have no idea who the bad guy is until best the end of the second book. Also, June and Day’s romance is played out so well and isn’t the typical cliché story. There’s so many plot twists that always keep the story interesting and unpredictable to the point that it’s stressing. Plus, the epilogue will leave your heart ripped out. I was so distraught for weeks after I finished Champion because of my feels. Out of all the books, I recommend this one the most because it will leave you thinking and it’s such a ride.

2. Looking for Alaska by John Green

book_cover_looking_for_alaska
I got my pseudonym for my blog from this book so you best believe it’s my favorite. Obviously the most known book by John Green is, The Fault in Our Stars and that’s such an amazing book, but for me Looking for Alaska is the best he’s written. I don’t know how to put the story into words, partially because I know I’ll ruin it, but it’s about a group of pranksters that go to a private school and is led by a girl named Alaska. She’s the wild, unpredictable one and Miles, the new kid in the group is completely in love with her. The book deals with hard topics like depression, death, underage drinking and smoking so it’s definitely and I think Green wrote it well that makes you think why these kids are doing this (not that I support underage kids breaking the law). But it makes you think about life and whether or not you’re living it fully. It also has a lot of references to books and quotes a lot of things, which I absolutely love.

3. If I Stay by Gayle Foreman

If-I-Stay
This book is definitely more on the romance-y side but that doesn’t stop it from being awesome and kind of sad. A big part of this book surrounds music and I think that’s why I fell in love with it more. You have main character Mia playing the cello while her parents were die-hard punks. Adam, another rocker kid from her school, falls in love with her and despite their many differences, their love of music unites them. However, after a tragic accident leaves Mia in a coma, she must decide if she stays alive or not. I like this book because it is written in the present and in the past and it all comes together like a puzzle. The book breaks your heart because you realize that love is such a strong feeling and at the unexpected anything can happen. It was also was my favorite because Foreman showcased family in an important way which a lot of YA books don’t do. Not to mention, it gave me such an appreciation for classical music and it makes you want to find a guy like Adam.

4. It by Alexa Chung

91-+sjV+0IL._SL1500_
Alexa Chung is my role model so it’s only natural that her book is on my list. The book is filled by pictures she’s taken and she gives a look at her life and what it takes to be an “it” girl. I can seriously read this book in 2 hours and it’s a fun read and it teaches you that heartbreak is a part of life and everyday is an occasion to dress up. I can’t say that it is an autobiography but Alexa talks about her own life, in relation to common topics and fashion. The book makes me happy and it’s such a fun read because it seems so carefree.

In today’s society where Twitter allows people to only read 140 characters at a time, I feel like books are such an important thing and reading helps me take a break from life and keeps me imagining.

I want to thank Kayla for allowing me on her blog and letting me share my favorite books with you all!

~  ~  ~

Thanks so much Alaska! I also love Looking for Alaska and If I Stay and I have Legend sitting on my TBR pile waiting to be picked up! I’ll have to move it up the list. ;)

Check out the other bloggers who’ve been featured on FBF:

1. Tiffany from Commoner Couture

Unsouled by Neal Shusterman

10 Jul

 

Unsouled

Unwind Dystology #3
Book 1: Unwind
Book 2: Unwholly

author : neal shusterman

pages : [hardcover] 404

memorable quote Hope can be bruised and battered. It can be forced underground and even rendered unconscious, but hope cannot be killed.

favorite characters : connor & risa

summary :

The story that began with Unwind continues.

Connor and Lev are on the run after the destruction of the Graveyard, the last safe haven for AWOL Unwinds. But for the first time, they’re not just running away from something. This time, they’re running toward answers, in the form of a woman Proactive Citizenry has tried to erase from history itself. If they can find her, and learn why the shadowy figures behind unwinding are so afraid of her, they may discover the key to bringing down unwinding forever.

Cam, the rewound boy, is plotting to take down the organization that created him. Because he knows that if he can bring Proactive Citizenry to its knees, it will show Risa how he truly feels about her. And without Risa, Cam is having trouble remembering what it feels like to be human.

With the Juvenile Authority and vindictive parts pirates hunting them, the paths of Connor, Lev, Cam, and Risa will converge explosively—and everyone will be changed.

review :

I am so in love with this series! I went into this book thinking that it was going to be the end because I’d heard it was a trilogy. About halfway through I found out there’s another book and I’m so happy! I think there’s so much more that can be done with the characters and as with every book in this dystology thus far, the ending perfectly sets up events for the next book. But Unsouled, like the other Unwind books, is anything but predictable. There are so many twists and turns that I don’t even know where to begin this review.

There aren’t any new voices to hear from in this third installment. Book two brought three additional unique viewpoints to the trilogy and apart from a few sections here and there, Unsouled didn’t introduce anyone major. In fact, one important character from book two isn’t in this novel at all . . which makes me hope that she’ll be in the next one! I can hardly imagine what she’s been doing throughout the events of this novel. Because they’re crazy.

I absolutely love the pieces of propaganda scattered throughout the novel because they deal with the events the main characters are directly involved in. But the people reading these announcements don’t have firsthand experience and can’t tell which companies and organizations are lying to them. I can’t imagine how I would react to some things, in a world like this. Organizations are pushing for unwinding of criminals, voluntary or not. They make all of these arguments about not wasting tax money on prisons and giving prisoners with life sentences a chance to give back for the crimes they’ve committed-they’ll even be giving to their victims’ families. These organizations are making this terrible invention seem so appealing when they don’t even care about how terrible it is to the people they’re literally tearing apart.

These are books that I’d recommend to anyone. The writing is powerful and brilliant; it isn’t too fancy but it leaves a poignant punch. The characters are all extremely different and all represent different facets of the unwind problem as well as the world in general; they’re different ages, genders, come from different walks of life. Even though these books are very dark and deal with difficult material, they’re just amazing to read.

Unsouled was a great third addition to this dystology and left me wanting more. I didn’t find it boring or lacking in pace; I can’t wait for book four!

5/5 stars

The Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee

8 Jul

 

The Midnight Dress

author : karen foxlee

pages : [hardcover] 288

memorable quote When you are in love, you think nothing will ever be the same but then the tide rushes out and there it is, everything, just as it was.

favorite character : rose

summary :

Quiet misfit Rose doesn’t expect to fall in love with the sleepy beach town of Leonora. Nor does she expect to become fast friends with beautiful, vivacious Pearl Kelly, organizer of the high school float at the annual Harvest Festival parade. It’s better not to get too attached when Rose and her father live on the road, driving their caravan from one place to the next whenever her dad gets itchy feet. But Rose can’t resist the mysterious charms of the town or the popular girl, try as she might.

Pearl convinces Rose to visit Edie Baker, once a renowned dressmaker, now a rumored witch. Together Rose and Edie hand-stitch an unforgettable dress of midnight blue for Rose to wear at the Harvest Festival—a dress that will have long-lasting consequences on life in Leonora, a dress that will seal the fate of one of the girls. Karen Foxlee’s breathtaking novel weaves friendship, magic, and a murder mystery into something moving, real, and distinctly original.

review :

This book was so interesting; I really enjoyed the way in which it was written. The chapter headings were unique in that they all begun with a different kind of stitch. I know nothing about sewing so I thought that it was a nice addition to the story, especially as Rose’s knowledge of how to make her dress progresses. I also like how the narrator asks if we’d mind knowing the end of the story, right as it begins. While you might think that hearing what will occur at the end of the novel will spoil it, it’s told in such a way that it’s confusing and intriguing until you reach the conclusion and finally understand what the narrator has been showing you.

Rose was an interesting character. At first I had her pegged as the typical odd girl out who’s turned rebellious because of her situation. Because the novel is in third person, it took a while to really get into her head to understand her motivations. I loved how complex she was and not quite knowing what she was going to do next. Honestly, I don’t feel like I had a full understanding of her character until the conclusion of the book, which I liked. It made things much less predictable.

Even though I would consider this a contemporary novel, it does have many elements that makes the plot seem fantastical. Rose’s meetings with Edie seem to transport the two of them to another world, where it’s possible for them to create a magical dress and Edie spins tales about the love and loss she’s experienced throughout her life. While I loved hearing more of Edie’s story, it did distract me from Rose’s life, and I often found myself forgetting what was supposed to be happening with the rest of the book.

While I enjoyed reading it, I felt as though something was missing. The plot seemed to flow by steadily and with the end being told in portions throughout the novel, there didn’t feel like there was a real climax. Instead, I was happy to figure out the mystery, and it didn’t have as much of an impact on me because I was anticipating something terrible happening. I’m glad that I hadn’t predicted every part of it but wish it’d been a lot more intense.

Overall, this was an interesting and quick read, but doesn’t stand out from other books I’ve read. It was an interesting but okay novel.

3/5 stars

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