3 stars · fiction · young adult

The Romantics by Leah Konan: Cool concept, meh execution


The Romantics

author : leah konen

pages : [hardcover] 336

release date : november 1 2016

summary :

Perfect for fans of Lauren Myracle and Rainbow Rowell, The Romantics will charm readers of all ages. Gael Brennan is about to have his heart broken when his first big relationship crumbles on the heels of his parents’ painful separation. Love intervenes with the intention of setting things right—but she doesn’t anticipate the intrusion of her dreaded nemesis: the Rebound. Love’s plans for Gael are sidetracked by Cara, Gael’s hot-sauce-wielding “dream girl.” The more Love meddles, the further Gael drifts from the one girl who can help him mend his heart. Soon Love starts breaking all her own rules—and in order to set Gael’s fate back on course, she has to make some tough decisions about what it means to truly care.

review :

This book seemed like it was going to be so interesting because it has a unique narrator–Love. Love goes on to explain the different types of people there are out there, including romantics like main character Gael. Love explains that she can’t be in all places at once and, sometimes, when she’s distracted by putting one couple together, another will fall apart and get divorced. That’s what happens to Gael’s parents and he’s in so much pain after their separation that he wants to throw himself into love as soon as possible. Love knows that isn’t what’s best for him–somehow she can actually see what will happen in his future depending on what relationships he has.

It was kind of interesting to see a YA guy dating a “college girl”. It’s a dynamic you don’t usually see. But, based on growing up in a college town, I know the odds of this kind of romance happening aren’t so great to begin with, unless the relationship started when both parties were in high school. But that’s just a side note.

For the most part, the writing was fairly dry and forgettable. Terrible things would happen to Gael, literally in front of his parents, and it didn’t seem like they were doing much to try to help him out. It got to the point where they talked so little to Gael about important things that, of course, he started to make all the wrong assumptions about his parents and why they divorced.

For all of the build-up that happens in the book, the ending just isn’t satisfying. It comes too abruptly, after everything Gael’s been through in his various relationships, and I really wanted more. After all, Love herself has been spouting about how great this will be for Gael if he could just reach that point in life, but we get . . . nothing.

I don’t think I’ll be recommending this book, but I know there are people out there who would really enjoy it if they like contemporary romance and want the experience of a unique narrator.

3/5 stars


5 stars · fiction · young adult

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead


Goodbye Stranger

author : rebecca stead

pages : [hardcover] 289

favorite character : bridge

summary :

Bridge is an accident survivor who’s wondering why she’s still alive. Emily has new curves and an almost-boyfriend who wants a certain kind of picture. Tabitha sees through everybody’s games—or so she tells the world. The three girls are best friends with one rule: No fighting. Can it get them through seventh grade?
This year everything is different for Sherm Russo as he gets to know Bridge Barsamian. What does it mean to fall for a girl—as a friend?
On Valentine’s Day, an unnamed high school girl struggles with a betrayal. How long can she hide in plain sight?

review :

I really, really liked this book and was so surprised that I did. When I first opened it, I’d forgotten most of the premise so dove right into it and was a little disappointed to see how young the characters were supposed to be. Lately I haven’t had any luck with middle grades. But, here, Rebecca Stead has created a beautiful book that I feel will be enjoyed by people of several age groups. At 22, I certainly enjoyed this one.

It speaks about so many important issues faced by students today. Betrayal in friendships. Peer pressure. Fighting to let go of the past. Sometimes these things are more intense–like Bridge getting hit by a car and nearly dying at the start of the book, or Emily being pressured by a fellow seventh grader to send her pictures in her underwear. It’s scary just because I know these things really happen and, looking back, seventh grade seems so young. But I know that girls will do so many things just to feel accepted, or to please a boy they like, or just because they’re confident about themselves. Which leads me to another thing I really loved about the subplot of Emily’s dilemma: she discussed how adults wanted her to feel ashamed of herself, when really she still loved herself. Which is perfect.

Even though this book kind of has a little bit of everything, with two different storylines going on, it worked. I was slightly confused about why the “high school girl”  narrator needed to remain anonymous. I wanted to know who she was, but because of the age difference it was obvious that her situation was removed from the three middle school girls. It was interesting to see those chapters written in second person, though, and the writing was beautiful here too.

I really liked this book and would recommend it to anyone. I feel like it stretches across such a wide age group that a lot of people could enjoy it. This also brings up important issues, so it could bring some awareness or discussion to them.

5/5 stars


5 stars · dystopia · Fantasy · fiction · romance · series · young adult

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds
The Darkest Minds #1

author : alexandra bracken

pages : [hardcover]

memorable quote The Darkest Minds tend to hide behind the most unlikely faces.

favorite characters : ruby and liam

summary :

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

review :

I finished this book a few days ago and I literally can’t get it out of my head. I love it when a book does that to me, digs so deep into my mind that the characters and plot and setting all get caught there and I obsess over them. Until the next book comes out, and the next, but I have until October until the sequel comes out, I think, and I just can’t wait until then. That’s how quickly Alexandra Bracken has made me fall in love with her characters and this story that she has created. It’s a tragic one, not exactly the most pleasant one, and at times it’s hard to read because you just feel so badly for all of the characters. It’s hard to remember that all of this is happening to the children and teenagers of the country, all growing up without the chance to have real childhoods. It’s heart-wrenching and beautifully written.

It’s also incredibly action-packed. One thing after another happens in this book and that really helps to emphasis the sweet moments that happen between the characters when they’re all given a chance to stop, catch their breath, and maybe even act their age for a little while. Ruby was in the camp for six years so she’s had it harder than most, but I loved watching her evolve throughout the novel. She begins jumpy and scared, just like anyone else would have been, but she really comes into her own to help herself and, more importantly, her new friends.

And what a lovely group of characters they are. So diverse and wonderful. Zu, Chubs, and Liam are the best group of people I could have hoped that Ruby would run into. I’m so glad that the summary doesn’t give too much away about what happens after she meets up with them because they’re just so wonderful together . . even if they have so many people chasing after them.

And there are so many enemies to watch out for in this novel! It’s hard to put down who I hate the most out of all of them because really there are just too many that are downright detestable. I can’t even see where the sequel will go because this book had so many twists and turns it ended entirely differently from how I tried to imagine all of it.

THAT ENDING. Alexandra Bracken really has a thing for breaking hearts and giving people too many feels, because I’m still not over that ending. Ah! I could fangirl over this book FOREVER! You need to read it, immediately. It’s fantastic in every way.

5/5 stars

5 stars · fiction · romance · series · young adult

A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner

A Conspiracy of Kings 

The Queen’s Thief #4

author : megan whalen turner

pages : [hardcover] 335

memorable quote : What a strange world it is, where prisoners are left their weapons and the written word is a mortal danger.

favorite characters : sophos, eddis, & gen

summary :

Sophos, under the guidance of yet another tutor, practices his swordplay and strategizes escape scenarios should his father’s villa come under attack. How would he save his mother? His sisters? Himself? Could he reach the horses in time? Where would he go? But nothing prepares him for the day armed men, silent as thieves, swarm the villa courtyard ready to kill, to capture, to kidnap. Sophos, the heir to the throne of Sounis, disappears without a trace. In Attolia, Eugenides, the new and unlikely king, has never stopped wondering what happened to Sophos. Nor has the Queen of Eddis. They send spies. They pay informants. They appeal to the gods. But as time goes by, it becomes less and less certain that they will ever see their friend alive again. Across the small peninsula battles are fought, bribes are offered, and conspiracies are set in motion. Darkening the horizon, the Mede Empire threatens, always, from across the sea. And Sophos, anonymous and alone, bides his time. Sophos, drawing on his memories of Gen, Pol, the Magus and Eddis, sets out on an adventure that will change all of their lives forever.

review :

I love this series so much! It’s probably one of my all-time favorites. That’s how much I idea these characters, the world they live in, and the obstacles they have to go up against. Every book, and this installment is no exception, has twists I never saw coming, gripping action and heartfelt dialogue. So incredibly wonderful!

I loved how this book alternated between the first person accounts of Sophos and an omnisicent third point of view. I wanted the chance to see all of the characters I’ve grown to love over the last three books as well as learn more about those who haven’t been specifically focused on. I’ve loved Sophos from the beginning and seeing the changes he experienced in this novel made me like him even more. If that’s possible. He isn’t perfect, he has flaws just like everyone else in the book and in real life.

 Usually books that contain a lot about politics, even fictionalized politics, wouldn’t interest me in the slightest. But this not only kept my interest, it kept me flipping through the pages. I wanted to know what was going to happen next as soon as possible. And not one part of it disappointed me.

I’d really recommend this series to everyone! It starts with book one, The Thief, continues to book two, The Queen of Attolia, and then there’s book three, The King of Attolia.

5/5 stars 

5 stars · action · classic · fiction · romance

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

The Princess Bride

Author: William Goldman

Pages [paperback]: 456

memorable quote:
Good night, Westley. Good work. Sleep well. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.

favorite characters: inigo & fezzik


As Florin and Guilder teeter on the verge of war, the reluctant Princess Buttercup is devastated by the loss of her true love, kidnapped by a mercenary and his henchmen, rescued by a pirate, forced to marry Prince Humperdinck, and rescued once again by the very crew who absconded with her in the first place. In the course of this adventure, she’ll meet Vizzini-the criminal philosopher who’ll do anything for a bag of gold; Fezzik-the gentle giant; Inigo-the Spaniard whose steel thirsts for revenge; and Count Rugen-the evil mastermind behind it all. Foiling all their plans and jumping into their stories is Westley, Princess Buttercup’s one true love and a very good friend of a very dangerous pirate.


I’ve wanted to read this book, badly, ever since I first randomly caught the movie on TV. I loved the humor of it, and the adventure, and the romance . . . And I’m happy to say that I loved the novel just as much. Maybe more, because there was much more to offer. The details, a writing style until any other I’ve come across before, the little quips the characters make . . . Is it possible to be in love with a book?

What always grabs me about any favorite book of mine is that it’s different from the norm. ‘Different’ can be an entire range of things, from out of this world characterization to insightful ideas to, what caught me in The Princess Bride, a unique narrative voice and a story that held both a satirical and fairy tale quality to it. I think anyone who can pull that off is pretty awesome.

This is a book that actually made me want to read the introduction. I know. Usually those are only included in things I need to read for school, are dull and droll and dry. Basically the last thing I need to do is make myself hate the story before it’s even begun. Completely different case here. I expected to read a page or two, get bored and skip to the actual story. Didn’t happen. It actually made me look forward to the story more, like the author a whole lot more, laugh at loud and make everyone around me think I was crazy . . .

Well. Not everything can be perfect.

This is a book where you can like the minor characters as much as, and more than, the major ones. In the beginning, I thought I wouldn’t like Buttercup at all because, well, she can be a real idiot. But she’s funny. And that makes all the difference. Once I got over her (about ten pages in) it was easy enough to accept everyone else. I particularly loved Inigo and Fezzick, their rhyming together, and generally amazing abilities to not die.

This is a book I’ll read again and again and again. And I really want to watch the movie right now. It’s been a while, but while I was reading I could see clearly which movie scenes fit in where and which lines had been put directly into the film. That was fantastic as well. To anyone who’s watched the movie, go read the book. Please. If you haven’t done either, do both. And if you’ve just read the book . . . Go watch the movie already.

A NEW FAVORITE. 5/5 stars

5 stars · fiction · romance · young adult

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green


The Fault in Our Stars

Author: John Green [also wrote Paper Towns]

Pages [hardcover]: 318

memorable quote:
Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.

favorite characters: augustus, isaac, & hazel


Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.


 Oh, John Green. You really need to stop making me fall in love with your characters.

The Fault in Our Stars is as depressing, heart-wrenching, lovely, wonderful, and well-thought as I’d imagined it would be. Hazel and the supported cast of characters combine to make a horrible situation, albeit one that’s been written about before, into something unique and not entirely hopeless. While not everyone will get what they’re looking for if someone’s searching for a perfect plot or ending, I think every bit of this fit in perfectly.

First off, I have to say that the characters made it what it was. Augustus, Isaac, and Hazel were definitely my favorites, but I also loved all of the parents, those random characters that popped in for two sentences, Isaac’s little brother (and I can’t remember his name). Each had their own quirks, exaggerated features, personal hopes and shortcomings and flaws. No one was perfect. Thankfully. They were as real as a reader can hope to get.

While at some times I had no idea where the plot was going or what was going to happen next, I didn’t really care. I just wanted to learn more about this budding friendship, about Hazel’s health problems, and what life could bring her. There’s no sweetening of the details here, or brushing over of the more technical or depressing parts. I liked how the reader is there with her through thick and thin.

If you want to read this, don’t bother trying to prepare yourself. Dive right into it, and let it take you on a ride you’ll never forget.


5 stars · classic · fiction · romance

Atonement by Ian McEwan



Author: Ian McEwan

Pages [paperback]: 351

Memorable Quote: “A person is, among all else, a material thing, easily torn and not easily mended.”

Favorite Characters: Robbie & Cecila


On a summer day in 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment’s flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant. But Briony’s incomplete grasp of adult motives and her precocious imagination bring about a crime that will change all their lives, a crime whose repercussions Atonement follows through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century.


Wow. I had to read this for English class, and as soon as I was finished it, I decided it was one of the best books I’ve ever read. My teacher said that the ending made the book, and that knowing it would spoil the entire thing and she was definitely right.

Although there were some parts of Atonement that seemed to drag on, I loved the writing style and the interesting way in which everything was addressed. That still kept my interest, even when my attention was starting to drift. I loved the little twists of the plot, and how everything wasn’t spelled out in simple terms. By reading between the lines, the reader gets a full grip of the story, its characters, and what exactly is happening to everyone.

Briony annoyed me from the start, and though it’s hard to read a novel in which the main character isn’t very likeable, everything else helped me to forget about that. The settings, all of them, were wonderfully described. I could picture everything perfectly in my mind, from the odd Tallis house, to the evacuation of English troops, to the giant birthday party. This made me want to watch the movie even more, because I’ve heard great things about it. That’ll definitely be one of my next priorities.