3 stars · reread review · young adult

Reread Review: Every Day by David Levithan

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every day

author : david levithan

pages : [hardcover] 322

memorable quote :

I wake up thinking of yesterday. The joy is in remembering; the pain is in knowing it was yesterday.

summary :

I wake up.

Immediately, I have to figure out who I am. It’s not just the body – opening my eyes and discovering whether the skin on my arm is light or dark, whether my hair is long or short, whether I’m fat or thin, boy or girl, scarred or smooth. The body is the easiest thing to adjust to, if you’re used to waking up in a new one each morning. It’s the life, the context of the body, that can be hard to grasp.

Every day I am someone else. I am myself – I know I am myself – but I am also someone else.

It has always been like this.

original rating, december 2012 : 5 stars

december 2017 rating : 3 stars

I remember the love that I had for this book. I remember being unable to put it down, until to get this remarkable concept out of my head.

I have fallen out of love with this book.

I still love the premise. The concept is the driving force of this book and David Levithan does a fantastic job with it. The diversity presented within this book is astounding.

It just isn’t a very good love story.

I realize that it needs to be insta-love; A only spends one day in each body so in order for them to form a connection with anyone it needs to be a little instantaneous. But it was also slightly . . . weird. As in, A kept pressuring the love interest to be with them and kiss them and all when she’d repeatedly said she has no interest in them and has a boyfriend.

It made things jarring and less fun and less . . . good.

I still think everyone should give this book a try, if only for the intriguing concept and the diversity spread throughout. It’s worthwhile. It’s just no longer a favorite, and I’m not sure I’ll ever read it again.

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3 stars · series · young adult

Daughter of the Pirate King: entertaining but disappointing

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daughter of the pirate king

daughter of the pirate king #1

author : tricia levenseller

pages : [hardcover] 320

favorite character : alosa

summary :

There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I’ve gotten what I came for.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

review :

Daughter of the Pirate King was a lot of fun and proved why we need more lady pirates in books. But it wasn’t perfect.

I’ve wanted to read this book ever since I saw the MC compared to a ‘female Jack Sparrow’ (and my love for the Pirates of the Caribbean films is never-ending despite theirfaults). The cover is cool, the concept cooler. I finally managed to get a copy from the library and settled in.

The book immediately draws you in. The plot begins with a big battle scene, the beginnings of a cunning scheme, and blood. Lots of blood. Oh, and death. This isn’t some sanitized version of pirating–there are lots of people who aren’t going to make it through the book, simply because they were in the wrong place, or didn’t fight hard enough, or were too drunk to defend themselves. I loved that ‘classic’ pirate things were happening–the pillaging, the plundering, the drinking. All seen through the lens of this incredibly strange and powerful young woman.

Alosa is an amazing main character in many ways. She’s interesting to follow. She’s smart, has witty comebacks, and is a fantastic fighter. The only problem is possibly that she’s too good. She’s too perfect at getting herself out of sticky situations; too perfect at being better than everyone else. Even when she’s defeated she is only losing because she allows the other person to think of her as weaker. This wasn’t merely something like she has the ego to think she’s the best. There’s nothing here to show she isn’t the best.

And, with that comparison to Jack Sparrow–we all know even the best pirates need someone else to save their skin sometimes.

The writing I think is what kept me from giving this book any higher than three stars. While I know that it’s just due to my taste, I couldn’t dive into the style. The tone didn’t feel right to me. For all of the reasons I loved the way this book was going, that couldn’t persuade me to fall in love with the writing. Which is . . . pretty much a big one for me when I judge books.

I think this is going to be a series; I can almost guarantee that I won’t read the sequel. Which disappoints me so muchbecause, like I said, I love some badass women pirates. I love these types of characters. I just wish this had been written differently.

3/5 stars

 

 

 

2 stars · fiction · young adult

She, Myself, & I by Emma Young: bland writing, cool concept

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She, Myself, & I

author : emma young

pages : [hardcover] 384

favorite character : rosa

summary :

Ever since Rosa’s nerve disease rendered her quadriplegic, she’s depended on her handsome, confident older brother to be her rock and her mirror. But when a doctor from Boston chooses her to be a candidate for an experimental brain transplant, she and her family move from London in search of a miracle. Sylvia—a girl from a small town in Massachusetts—is brain dead, and her parents have agreed to donate her body to give Rosa a new life. But when Rosa wakes from surgery, she can’t help but wonder, with increasing obsession, who Sylvia was and what her life was like. Her fascination with her new body and her desire to understand Sylvia prompt a road trip based on self-discovery… and a surprising new romance. But will Rosa be able to solve the dilemma of her identity?

review :

I received an ARC of She, Myself, & I from BookCon and while I am exceptionally thankful for that, it in no way affects my review.

I wanted to love this book. From the minute I read the summary, I knew I had to get my hands on it, and my friend and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time during BookCon to grab an ARC. I guess the only book I could possibly compare it to is that Meg Cabot novel about the girl who has her brain placed inside the body of a celebrity. This is nothing like that.

Rosa is in many ways a typical teenager. Her brother is simultaneously annoying and a best friend; she has friends online across the world she’ll probably never meet in real life; her parents hover a little too much. But she’s also been diagnosed with a real, debilitating, terminal illness. Her independence has slowly been taken away by this neurological disorder that isn’t ever named (so far as I know) and the specifics of which remain vague. Still, it’s shown that the longer it progresses, the less Rosa has a chance at life.

Until tragedy strikes, and one family is losing their teenage daughter. But for Rosa, this means she might get to live.

I love how She, Myself, & I addressed so many questions that there aren’t really answers to–ethical, spiritual, physical. One brain, one body–so is it all Rosa? Is anything left of the dead girl? As painful as it was, I loved that struggle, because it made it feel so much more real. Rosa’s questioning her own soul, what it means now that all that’s left of her old self is her brain.

While the ideas and themes were great, the writing just didn’t do it for me. The dialogue was fairly bland and the writing was quick, simplistic, and not very descriptive. The romance felt a little forced for me, less insta-love and more like Rosa picked the best out of all of her options and simply went for it. I didn’t feel much chemistry between them, and honestly thought it would have been more interesting had they remained simply friends. The book didn’t particularly need the romance; it didn’t improve from it, and Rosa is already dealing with so many other changes I feel like the focus should have remained on them.

There were a few other plot points that fell flat for me, but I won’t mention them because I don’t want to give out any spoilers. That’s because I know there will be people who love this book more than I did. I really want to read more of Emma Young’s writing in the future because I can see the potential here and feel like her perfect book for me simply hasn’t been written yet.

I probably won’t go around recommending this book, but I’ll certainly hand it off to someone else so they’ll have the chance to read it.

2/5 stars

 

5 stars · series · young adult

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo; amazing, astounding, astonishing

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Crooked Kingdom

Six of Crows #2

author : leigh bardugo

pages : [hardcover] 536

memorable quote :

I would have come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together.

favorite character : matthias

summary :

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.

review :

I’ve avoided reviewing this book, probably because reflecting on it reminds me that it’s one of the most painful stories I’ve read. Beautifully written, wonderfully executed, and the kind of book that makes me cry so much I kind of resent it.

If you haven’t read Six of Crows, you absolutely need to. Not only because it’s book one in this duology, it’ll be one of the best books you’ve ever read. If you’re a fan of fantasy, or inventive new worlds, or great character novels, or heist schemes, you’ll love this book. Then you’ll crave more of it. These books are incredibly hefty–basically, the length of four books compiled into two. I think the duology option was incredibly smart because there’s no room for “middle book syndrome” here. Just nonstop action. And heartbreak.

I still can’t think of Crooked Kingdom without being filled with a curious mixture of happiness and devastation. It worked for me perfectly, and ensured this duology will remain as one of my favorite reads.

But, you know. No spoilers.

Crooked Kingdom picks up just where Six of Crows left off, introducing even more characters (and a few familiar faces for fans of the original Grisha trilogy. I might have squealed). The plot is so intricate. Kaz Brecker, one of the main characters, is truly a master of twisting things toward his will. Often in painful and unexpected ways–painful for his enemies, of course, not always the reader.

Matthias has always been my favorite. But, honestly, all of the main characters are just very adorable–though I think all of them would kill anyone who called them such to their face, apart from maybe Wylan. I loved how this book delves more into everyone’s backstories. It explains so much, not only their actions from the books but their motivations throughout their entire lives.

The book ends, I believe, with a perfect balance. There is room left to expand and create more stories within the Grisha universe, but this particular story arc is complete. Not all ends of it are happy, but . . you’ll just have to read to find out what happens. Honestly, it’s such a wild ride that even a very detailed spoiler review would take pages and pages and pages to write. Leigh Bardugo is exceptionally talented at weaving these intricate plots together and I love it!

Read it. Please. And then you must discuss with me.

5/5 stars

 

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JOIN US! Read-a-thon Jan 13-17

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Hello everyone! I’m so excited to bring you this post because one of my resolutions for this year was to try new things! I’ve been wanting to try hosting a read-a-thon for a while now and luckily enough my friend Rae over at The Loquacious Bibliophile wanted to help me host! So, in order to kickstart your reading for the new year, join us from January 13-17 in reading as many pages as possible.

I’ll be posting daily updates on my page count, to be read, and what I’m currently reading to the blog and also my instagram, caughtbetweenthepages. We’re going to have lots of fun along the way!

If you’d like to join in and share your progress throughout the long weekend, please click on the link below. It’ll take you to a linky page where you can add in the info to link to your own blog (though of course you don’t need one to join!) so we can all visit and see what you’ll be reading.

This is going to be a lot of fun, and I hope you’re prepared to read hundreds (maybe thousands?) of pages!

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5 stars · horror · young adult

REVIEW: The Suffering by Rin Chupeco

The Suffering

The Girl from the Well #2

author : rin chupeco

pages : [paperback] 272

memorable quote Someone nobler than me might have given Okiku the final peace she deserves.

favorite character : okiku

summary :

Over the last year I’ve gone against faceless women, disfigured spirits, and grotesque revenants. Some people keep dangerous hobbies; skydiving and driving at monster truck rallies and glacier surfing. Me? I cast my soul into the churning waters of potential damnation and wait for a bite.

It’s been two years since Tark Halloway’s nightmare ended. Free from the evil spirit that haunted him all his life, he now aids the ghostly Okiku and avenges the souls of innocent children by hunting down their murderers. But when Okiku becomes responsible for a death at his high school, Tark begins to wonder if they’re no better than the killers they seek out.

When an old friend disappears in Aokigahara, Japan’s infamous ‘suicide forest’, both must resolve their differences and return to that country of secrets to find her.

Because there is a strange village inside Aokigahara, a village people claim does not exist. A village where strange things lie waiting.

A village with old ghosts and an ancient evil – one that may be stronger than even Okiku…

review :

 Okay, I’m not usually one for horror books, but this YA novel and its companion have me hooked. I seriously hope that the author writes more. I don’t think that you necessarily need to read the first book, The Girl from the Well, to enjoy The Suffering, but trust me, you’ll want to read both. Book one gives backstory for Okiku and Tark, how they meet, and sets the precedent for their beautiful little relationship. Book two picks up about a year or two after the first book ends. There are new bad guys to exorcise, ancient evils to fight, and some drama between Okiku and Tark as well.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but the horror movies that often scare me the most are the ones with ghosts like Okiku. Just the idea of them is . . . well, there’s a reason why people make so much money scaring the pants off of viewers with ghosts like that. But Okiku is on, like, a whole other level. I love her so much more than I’ve loved any other character in a while. Much more than Tark (okay, he’s cool too, but OKIKU). I could read a whole series just about how her mind works. And I think it’s so awesome how a character who’d be the antagonist in practically any other horror novel is actually the ghost kicking bad guy booty in The Suffering. Okiku experienced terrible things before she was killed; now it’s her life’s goal to avenge other victims and rid the world of murderers. Tark joins her in this, which is why he is also awesome.

Sorry. Enough fangirling. The Suffering has a creepy setting that I feel like a lot of people have heard about lately, either through social media, movies coming out about it, or just articles online. Aokigahara is a place I might enter if I had Okiku by my side, but . . . see above for what my worst fears in horror movies are and imagine an enter forest filled with them. In this book, it’s speculated as to whether the forest draws in lost or lonely souls and that’s what leads so many to commit suicide there. It’s terribly devastating that a place like this exists in real life. In the book, a ghost hunting crew from a TV show thinks it would be a great idea to head into the forest to film Aokigahara and an ancient village inside that may or may not have ever existed. I can totally picture this happening in real life. And of course, the ‘ghost hunters’ are NOT prepared to meet any real ghosts. But that’s their own fault.

I don’t want to give any of the plot away but it’s incredibly detailed and creepy and sad. Most of the ghosts that are around in these books never deserved to die and were nothing in life like they are as spirits. Tark needs to figure out how to pacify the spirits, save everyone lost in Aokigarhara, and make it out alive. You won’t want to put this book down because there are so many twists and turns, you’ll never see this ending coming.

I loved this book so much and want everyone to give it a chance! I feel like even people who don’t often like horror might like to give this book a chance. It’s a real twist on everything you might expect to get out of a book like this.

5/5 stars

Fantasy · young adult

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Rebel Belle

Rebel Belle #1

Pages : [hardcover] 345

memorable quote I picked up the nearest weapon I could lay my hands on: a stapler. I lifted it, going for “menacing.” I admit it lacked a certain elegance, but hey. It was worth a shot.

favorite character : harper

summary :

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y’all beg for more.

review :

I have to admit that this book completely surprised me and blew me away. Ten pages in, I was ready to give up. Fifteen in and I just couldn’t put it down! Rebel Belle is like Legally Blonde meets Star Wars meets Greek mythology. If that can’t convince you to try this then I don’t know what would!

Rachel Hawkins is an author I’ve been meaning to try out for a while and after reading this I think I’ve fallen in love with her writing style. How an author writes is a huge point in how much I’m going to enjoy their books and I have a feeling I’m going to gobble up everything she’s written up to this point, immediately.

This book contains some of the best characters I’ve read about in a while. I didn’t care for Harper and David’s hate relationship at the beginning (seems to be based on . . nothing?) but they were interesting as individuals. Originally, I disliked Harper. She wasn’t my kind of girl. But then she kind of turned badass. She’s extremely loyal to her friends, wants to do well by her parents, and basically tries to be nice to everyone even when she knows that they’re being rude to her face. I was misjudging her, the same way most of the people in the book seem to get the wrong idea about her. David was an eccentric nerd, as I’d expected, but (surprise!) he had depth to him and that was awesome.

And the plot. Surprisingly unpredictable, even when it . . . is. Hear me out: The characters themselves recognize where the big showdown/finale is going to happen. Harper and the other rich, frivolously Southern girls in school are preparing for Cotillion both before and after Harper gets her Paladin powers. And everyone recognizes that the bad guys are big fans of obnoxious gestures of power so they know they’re going to save their worst until Cotillion night. It’s the kind of build-up you can always see coming in books and these characters actually acknowledged it themselves and appropriately prepared for the moment and still managed to make it exciting and action-packed.

I would recommend this book to anyone. If you start reading it and don’t think it’s for you, don’t worry–just keep on reading and soon you won’t be able to put it down until you’re finished! And then you’ll immediately reach for book two, like I did.

5/5 stars

World-Building: 85%
Writing: 97%
Action: 100%
Characters: 95%
Plot: 97%
Overall: 94.8%