4 stars · fiction · young adult

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

author : jesse andrews

pages : [hardcover] 295

memorable quote : If after reading this book you come to my home and brutally murder me, I do not blame you.

favorite character : greg

summary :

Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.

Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel.

Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives.

And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight.

review :

If after reading this book you come to my home and brutally murder me, I do not blame you.

I’ve heard really good things about this book so when I saw it for a bargain price I couldn’t resist grabbing it! Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is not your typical YA novel that deals with cancer. It’s a very realistic snapshot of Greg’s life; it doesn’t revolve around any one specific thing in the novel. Instead it’s complex and the reader is taken through what he feels is important to document. You get out of it what you want.

What’s really unique about this book is that it’s told by Greg, who’s consciously writing a book. In fact, several times throughout he complains about the writing process or how terrible he believes the novel will turn out. For example, the quote above appears in the thick of the book. While Greg’s sense of humor is definitely not for everyone, I really enjoyed it. I wasn’t laughing out loud throughout the whole book but there were a few moments that really got to me. I was amused for most of the novel, however, and think that this is something I can reread and still laugh over.

Another thing that I really enjoyed about the book was how it took my expectations, that typically come when I read books in the YA genre. Being reminded of what wasn’t going to happen, by Greg, was a little distracting and pulled away from my enjoyment because I began to wonder if Jesse Andrews had made some decisions in this novel to purposefully distinguish it from other books about cancer, not because he was artistically inclined to do so. Obviously this didn’t affect me enough to make me dislike the book completely; it was still a solid novel.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a quick, unique read. At two hundred-something pages, you can fly through this book. There’s another unique attribute that helps with that: Some of the pages are written in the form of a film script, as Greg is an aspiring director. Not only is it told humorously in this format, I thought it was a great addition to the novel because it showed another facet of Greg’s personality.

I look forward to reading more by this author.

4/5 stars

young adult

Crash Into You by Katie McGarry

Crash Into You

Pushing the Limits #3
Book 1: Pushing the Limits
Book 2: Dare You To

author : katie mcgarry

pages : [hardcover] 474

favorite character : isaiah

memorable quote I can’t give you the world, Rachel, but I’ll give you all I got.

summary :

From acclaimed author Katie McGarry comes an explosive new tale of a good girl with a reckless streak, a street-smart guy with nothing to lose, and a romance forged in the fast lane

The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that’s who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers…and she’s just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can’t get him out of her mind.

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look.

But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they’ll go to save each other.

review :

I was so excited to read this book because Katie McGarry is one of my favorite authors who writes contemporary young adult novels. I usually don’t go for books like this but I just love the way she crafts the story around the characters, presents unconventional relationships, and creates suspense and drama without the story feeling over the top. I really enjoyed reading Crash Into You. Although it’s daunting at over 400 pages it honestly didn’t feel like I was reading that much because of how engrossed in the plot I was! That said, I do feel like this is my least favorite of the three companion books so far. Perhaps because some of the characters were frustrating to me.

This book focuses on Isaiah, who appeared as a minor character in both of the other books, and Rachel, who’s new. I loved getting to know more about Isaiah, his past, and being able to understand him better because the book focuses him and his feelings as he deals with different situations. Rachel was a little bland for me, compared to the female leads in the other two books, but I also enjoyed how passionate she was about cars. I could empathize with her feeling restricted but her family was just very difficult to read about. The entire dynamic there was messed up and her brothers were so infuriating. I hated the way they behaved toward her, even when they knew she was sick. I’ve heard that one of her brothers, West, and I’m definitely going to read it. But his character better have some major changes coming his way because his attitude just makes me angry.

Another thing that bothered me was the instalove between Rachel and Isaiah. Sure, I definitely feel like it blossomed into more, but there was too much going on too soon especially because Rachel is always paranoid about how everything looks to her family. It didn’t make sense to me, how they immediately felt this connection after they’d barely talked and definitely didn’t know each other.

Despite those faults, Crash Into You was a book I couldn’t put down. Katie McGarry has pulled out another book that I really enjoyed, even if I’m hoping I like the next book more than I liked this one. I’ll just need to wait and see!

3/5 stars

3 stars · fiction · romance · young adult

Towering by Alex Flinn

Towering

Author : Alex Flinn [also wrote: A Kiss in Time, Beastly, and Cloaked]

pages : [hardcover] 293

favorite characters : rachel & wyatt

summary :

At first, I merely saw his face, his hands on the window ledge. Then, his whole body as he swung himself through the window. Only I could not see what he swung on.
Until, one day, I told my dream self to look down. And it was then that I saw. He had climbed on a rope. I knew without asking that the rope had been one of my own tying.

Rachel is trapped in a tower, held hostage by a woman she’s always called Mama. Her golden hair is growing rapidly, and to pass the time, she watches the snow fall and sings songs from her childhood, hoping someone, anyone, will hear her.

Wyatt needs time to reflect or, better yet, forget about what happened to his best friend, Tyler. That’s why he’s been shipped off to the Adirondacks in the dead of winter to live with the oldest lady in town. Either that, or no one he knows ever wants to see him again.

Dani disappeared seventeen years ago without a trace, but she left behind a journal that’s never been read, not even by her overbearing mother…until now.

A #1 New York Times bestselling author, Alex Flinn knows her fairy tales, and Towering is her most mind-bending interpretation yet. Dark and mysterious, this reimagining of Rapunzel will have readers on the edge of their seats wondering where Alex will take them next!

review :

I’ve loved all of Alex Flinn’s fairy tale retellings and when I heard she was doing one based on the tale of Rapunzel I was overjoyed. I love Disney’s Tangled and wanted to see what one of the most well-known names out there in modern fairy tales could do with the story. I was excited for the creativity, how the girl would react to being saved, what the evil villain would be like . . Towering was nothing like what I expected and not really in the best of ways.

First of all, and a little thing too that probably only annoyed me, I was kind of hoping for a more romantic, fairy tale name for the heroine rather than Rachel. Second, in the book she mentions that she can clearly see a lake from her tower and can see people there in the summer, etc. The town that this story is set in is one where everybody knows everybody else and there’s practically nothing to do. Don’t tell me that no bored group of teenagers wouldn’t go and investigate a tower that they can see out in the woods, even if it does seem abandoned. It kind of seems impossible that no one but Wyatt could have ever found it.

I didn’t really feel the entire evil plot going on, either. It was an interesting take on things but just didn’t work for me. It seemed too little and insignificant, contained in that small town. At times it just felt . . off.

I did like how Wyatt was with Rachel, being so kind and gentle and allowing her to experience things that she’d never had before because she’d been kept up in that tower because of Mama. I loved hearing about his past and what had brought him to stay in that place, so far away from home and everything he’d ever known. That said, I do hope that I enjoy Alex Flinn’s next book more than I did this one. I’d recommend checking out another of her tales before trying Towering.

3/5 stars

If you like this, you might want to try Sisters Red or Tiger Lily

action · Fantasy · fiction · romance · series

Every Which Way But Dead by Kim Harrison

 

Every Which Way But Dead

Author: Kim Harrison

Pages [paperback]: 501

The Hollows #3
Book 1: Dead Witch Walking
Book 2: The Good, the Bad, and the Undead

Memorable Quote:
Join us next time for Days of the Undead when Rachel learns her long lost brother is really a crown prince from outer space.

Favorite Characters: Jenks & Ceri

Summary:

There’s no witch in Cincinnati tougher, sexier, or more screwed up than bounty hunter Rachel Morgan, who’s already put her love life and soul in dire jeopardy through her determined efforts to bring criminal night creatures to justice.

Between “runs,” she has her hands full fending off the attentions of her blood-drinking partner, keeping a deadly secret from her backup, and resisting a hot new vamp suitor.

Rachel must also take a stand in the war that’s raging in the city’s underworld, since she helped put away its former vampire kingpin–and made a deal with a powerful demon to do so that could cost her an eternity of pain, torment, and degradation.

And now her dark “master” is coming to collect his due.

Review:

I’ve quickly fallen in love with the Hollows series, and am already trying to get my hands on book four. Every Which Way But Dead picks up a few months after book two ended, with Rachel stuck as a demon’s familiar and a new, powerful threat in town ready to take over while Piscary’s in jail.

A few new characters were introduced in this book, both allies and enemies, and they were all as equally brilliant as the returning faces I was happy to see. And, a few people who mildly annoyed me from before had the good sense to stay out of the plot, making it even better. I finished the book in a few days, because each chapter flowed seamlessly into the next, and kept me rooting for Rachel and wanting to know where the plot would twist next. Because everything I didn’t expect seemed to happen.

I like it when a book can take me by surprise, still make sense, and really stick with me. Some books I read, the characters’ names slip out of my head as soon as I set it down. Not so for this series, and I don’t see it happening anytime soon. I don’t want to anticipate too much and disappoint myself, but I think I’ll definitely read these books through to the end. Which I hope is a long time coming.

SUPERNATURALLY THRILLING. 5/5 stars

5 stars · Fantasy · fiction · series

The Good, The Bad, and the Undead by Kim Harrison

The Good, the Bad, and the Undead

Author: Kim Harrison

Pages: 453

Book 2 in The Hollows series
Book 1: Dead Witch Walking

memorable quote:
You cry you get angry then you do something about it.

favorite characters: Rachel & Jenks

summary:

Former bounty-hunter Rachel Morgan has it pretty good. She’s left the corrupt Inderland Runner Service and started her own independent service. She’s survived werewolves, shape-changing demons, bad-hair days, and sharing a church with her vampire roommate Ivy. She even has a cute (if human) boyfriend, what more could a witch want?

But living with a reformed vampire isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, particularly when your roommate’s very bad ex-boyfriend wants her back, and wouldn’t mind you in the process. And especially when he’s six feet of sheer supernatural seduction, and you’ve got a demon mark that makes vampires literally hotter than hell….

To save herself and Ivy, Rachel must confront the vampire master and the dark secrets she’s hidden even from herself.

review:

I loved the first book of this series, and got the second one as soon as I was finished. This book is exactly the same, and really makes me wish I had book three already. In this sequel, Rachel is back. This time, with her own business as a runner, now without a death threat hanging over her head. But someone out there is killing ley line witches. And from what Rachel’s been doing, she fits the target profile perfectly. She just might be the next victim.

As fast-paced, viciously funny, and gruesomely addictive as Dead Witch Walking, this book had me interested from the first page. The first few paragraphs. All of the wonderful characters were back again, with new problems to face, and a few others were introduced-both allies and super creepy, very evil bad guys. I don’t envy Rachel for having to go up against that. But she keeps on fighting with as much spunk as I’d expect, after getting to know her.

There weren’t any lagging moments, which I loved. But it wasn’t one of those books where you never have a chance to sit back and catch your breath. There was a perfect balance here that is one thing I really look for in a book. And while it annoys me that I may have to wait for a while to get to reading more, that’s about the only negative thing I can come up with.

I recommend you read this book, even if it isn’t something you usually go for. It’s definitely worth it.

WHAT A WONDERFUL WITCH. 5/5 stars

4 stars · Fantasy · fiction · series

Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison

Dead Witch Walking

Author: Kim Harrison

Pages [paperback]: 416

Book 1 in the Hollows series

Memorable Quote: Most of the upper management of I.S. were undead. I always thought it was because the job was easier if you didn’t have a soul.

Favorite Characters: Jenks & Nick

Summary:

The underground population of witches, vampires, werewolves—creatures of dreams and nightmares—has lived beside humans for centuries, hiding their powers. But after a genetically engineered virus wipes out a large part of humanity, many of the “Inderlanders” reveal themselves, changing everything.

Rachel Morgan, witch and bounty hunter with the Inderland Runner Services, is one of the best at apprehending supernatural lawbreakers throughout Cincinnati, but when it comes to following the rules, she falls desperately short. Determined to buck the system, she quits and takes off on the run with an I.S. contract on her head and is reluctantly forced to team up with Ivy, Inderland’s best runner . . . and a living vampire. But this witch is way out of her league, and to clear her name, Rachel must evade shape-changing assassins, outwit a powerful businessman/crime lord, and survive a vicious underground fight-to-the-death . . . not to mention her own roommate.

Review:

Rachel Morgan is one tough witch, and she’s really got me wanting to continue this series. I actually already have book two sitting beside me… The faster this review is done, the faster I can get to reading! (:

Dead Witch Walking is set in a sort of parallel universe where during a time called the Turn, several decades before the book is set, a great majority of humanity’s population was wiped out as a result of a great virus, originating in . . . tomatoes. Although it might be an odd way to have a disease introduced, this does lead to several funny scenes involving tomatoes. Anyway, the non-human species-witches, vampires, pixies, etc.-all decided to reveal their presence in the world, because, being immune to the virus, their numbers were near equal to the humans. What better time would they have to make sure the humans wouldn’t be able to freak out and kill all of them?

Ever since then, both humans and creatures have been working to subdue some of the nastier creatures. That’s where Rachel comes in. She’s been working to help with this for a while, but has decided to quit. And the organization doesn’t exactly let people out of their contracts. Now that she has assassins coming for her, life isn’t looking too well.

The plot in this book is so quick, it had me hooked immediately. Some parts had me wincing, wondering what could possibly happen next. Others had me laughing aloud. I loved the versatility, pulled off smoothly and effortlessly. I fell in love with all of the characters-and can’t wait to see more of the bad guys. This is one series I’ll be following for a while. There’re about a dozen books out so far, I think. That’s enough to keep me happy.

BEWITCHINGLY FANTASTIC. 4/5 stars

Fantasy · fiction · romance · young adult

“Shiver” by Maggie Stiefvater

“Shiver”

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Pages [Hardcover]: 390

Available in stores now!

Opening Lines: I can remember lying in the snow, a small red spot of warm going cold, surrounded by wolves. They were licking me, biting me, worrying at my body, pressing in.

Memorable Quote: Hope hurt more than the cold

Favorite Character: Beck

Summary:

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human … until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human–or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

Review:

I’ve been looking forward to reading this book for a while, because I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. I have to say that I was mildly disappointed. The main characters, Sam and Grace, tell the story through alternating points of view. A definite plus, because the reader gets a look at the werewolf life versus the human life. But they don’t seem very fully developed, and there were some parts of the story where I sat back and asked myself how that could have possibly happened. I seriously think I missed a few pages…Or chapters…

The ending really saved it for me. The last forty pages or so were action packed and kept me interested, unlike the beginning.

Throughout the novel Grace mentions her friends Rachel and Olivia. These seem like the only two friends she has, and when Sam comes along, she drops them to cling to him 24/7. Not very loyal. Rachel and Olivia only pop up when convenient for the plot, casually vanishing into the background at all other times.

I know the sequel is coming out soon. Sometime next month, I think. I might borrow it from the library, or a friend, just to see what will happen. Not worth purchasing, however.

‘Shiver’ gets 2/5 stars from me.

Fantasy · fiction · young adult

“The Last Olympian” by Rick Riordan


“The Last Olympian”
Author: Rick Riordan
This is the fifth and final book of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Read the reviews for book three here and book four here.
Pages [Hardcover]: 381
Available in stores now!
First Lines: The end of the world started when a pegasus landed on the hood of my car.
Memorable Quote: I felt like one of Apollo’s sacred cows- slow, dumb, and bright red
Favorite Character: Percy Jackson
Kronos is reformed and he won’t let anything stop him from overthrowing Olympus-even a hero like Percy Jackson.
Knonos’ army is marching closer and closer to New York City. The gods are all busy fighting Typhon, the most powerful monster of all. It’s up to Percy and the other half-bloods to keep Kronos from destroying Olympus. Will they succeed? Or will Kronos be the new ruler?
—-
Like all Percy Jackson books, this novel was fast-paced and full of funny lines and characters. But I love these books, and I’m sad knowing this is the final one. The new Camp Half-Blood series coming out next fall will have new characters, apparently with a few familiar faces popping in every now and then.
But still. It’s Percy.
This son of Poseidon is a great leading character. He has normal temptations and flaws and it is easy to relate to him.
I love how the setting is described so vividly, especially in the fight scenes. I’ve only been to NYC twice, but I could picture everything that Percy was seeing perfectly.
Rachel Elizabeth Dare makes another appearance in this book. She’s more defined in this one, and more information of her background and such are given, which I liked.
The ending wasn’t cliff-hanger like the others (obviously, it’s the last book), but I’ll forgive it for being a little cliche. Sometimes we need a little bit of that thrown in there.
The Greek mythology was spot on. I love how it connects to everything! These books have me itching to read another book with Greek mythology tied it.
“The Last Olympian” definitely gets 5/5 stars. It’s a great book.