2 stars · fiction · young adult

All of This is True is NOT the contemporary you were looking for

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All of This is True

author : lygia day penaflor

pages : [ebook] 432

summary :

Miri Tan loved the book Undertow like it was a living being. So when she and her friends went to a book signing to meet the author, Fatima Ro, they concocted a plan to get close to her, even if her friends won’t admit it now. As for Jonah, well—Miri knows none of that was Fatima’s fault.

Soleil Johnston wanted to be a writer herself one day. When she and her friends started hanging out with her favorite author, Fatima Ro, she couldn’t believe their luck—especially when Jonah Nicholls started hanging out with them, too. Now, looking back, Soleil can’t believe she let Fatima manipulate her and Jonah like that. She can’t believe that she got used for a book.

Penny Panzarella was more than the materialistic party girl everyone at the Graham School thought she was. She desperately wanted Fatima Ro to see that, and she saw her chance when Fatima asked the girls to be transparent with her. If only she’d known what would happen when Fatima learned Jonah’s secret. If only she’d known that the line between fiction and truth was more complicated than any of them imagined. . . .

review :

I received an e-Arc of this book from Epic Reads in exchange for my honest review.

I was very excited to read All of This is True because I want to read more contemporary this year. The book is told in alternative format, which I love–in podcast interviews, emails, texts, and book excerpts. There’s a book-within-the-book going on, which I think is an interesting move. I was highly interested and didn’t know much about the plot before I dove in.

Let’s start by talking about the format. Some of the alternative text didn’t lend itself well to ebook format, though this may just be an issue with the ARC, so I’d suggest getting a physical copy to get the full affect. Still, I think it could have been done in a better way to really capture the narrative voice. The podcast interviews were impossible to tell apart—all of the girls being interviewed ended up sounding the same. Because the names of the people in the book-within-the-book, characters based on the characters we’re learning about in ‘reality’, all began with the same letters as the people they were based on, it was hard to keep track of who was who. There was no real foundation for the story to stand on.

Next, the characters. If the voice couldn’t be the foundation, surely the characters could. But they were all very unlikable, and I’m not certain that was done on purpose. I didn’t really care about any of them. I didn’t care if they were hurting, or in trouble, or excited. I didn’t want to hear their perspectives on the incident. Actually, I still don’t knowwhy the book was told in this format. Why did we need to hear their perspectives on the incident? Only one character actually says anything that adds to the intrigue of the book (such as it is). In that case, we could have focused on her for the whole of the story and made things less confusing.

The book-within-a-book was . . . bad. This is another thing that, if I knew for certain was done on purpose, I would like a lot more. The book-within-a-book is supposed to be written by this young, best-selling writing prodigy. I think she’s in her mid-twenties and she’s supposed to be really, really great at writing amazing, thought-provoking passages. The book-within-a-book was so laden with cliche and specifically YA cliche that I thought it had to be done as a parody. I really hope it was. Matching this terrible book-within-a-book with the supposed prodigy author, within the context of the theme of the real book, would make things very interesting.

The plot twist . . . as soon as that portion of the plot was mentioned, I called the resolution then and there. Actually, I thought that the book would have been better and bolder if the plot twist hadn’t existed and the plot had taken a completely different direction. Instead, the plot relied upon and built up to this twist that was completely unnecessary, that needed ‘shock value’ I guess, and made the book pretty . . . boring.

It was a very unique idea, but I can’t say that I recommend it.

2/5 stars

 

 

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4 stars · fiction · romance · young adult

Hooked by Liz Fichera

Hooked

author : liz fichera

pages :  [paperback] 368

favorite characters : fred & ryan

summary :

When Native American Fredricka ‘Fred’ Oday is invited to become the only girl on the school’s golf team, she can’t say no. This is an opportunity to shine, win a scholarship and go to university, something no one in her family has done.

But Fred’s presence on the team isn’t exactly welcome — especially not to rich golden boy Ryan Berenger, whose best friend was kicked off the team to make a spot for Fred.

But there’s no denying that things are happening between the girl with the killer swing and the boy with the killer smile…

GET HOOKED ON A GIRL NAMED FRED.

review :

I have to admit that I was really surprised by how much I loved this book! I really don’t read many contemporary books unless it’s something written by Sarah Dessen or one that I’ve read enough good things about that I just need to get my hands on it. With Hooked, there was the added strike against it that I generally don’t enjoy golf, playing or watching it. I don’t have the best memories of it, so I thought it’d be a real testament to the  book if it could make me get over the little interest I had in one of its plot points. What I did want to read about, though, was how she was going to make it on an all boy’s golf team. I love hearing about girls who are passionate enough about sports that they have to go out for them, even if there aren’t any other girls going for it!

Needless to say, Liz Richera proved me wrong and made me really rethink how I read. The characters really carried this story to the point where it didn’t really matter what sport they played. All that mattered was that Fred had a dream and was facing a lot of obstacles to achieve it and get herself a better life.

I also really loved how Fred was a Native American girl living on a reservation. I’m going to have to assume that this was an accurate depiction of life in that area because I really know nothing else about it. I liked that she stood by and had such strong beliefs, even if the outsiders wouldn’t understand and thought that it was all odd. She had all of the people from the reservation cheering her on and then she had me cheering her on as well!

The only thing that really felt forced about this novel was the ‘bad guy’. I say it like that because it kind of felt like a stretch to make someone snap that far, so suddenly, but it didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment of the book. Fred and Ryan would have been great to read about even without any dangerous drama involved.

I highly recommend this book to any contemporary fans and anyone looking for a good, quick read with great characters and an inspiring storyline.

4/5 stars

promotion

Cover Reveal : Little Sacrifices!

Hello everyone! Today I’m excited to show you the cover of Jamie Scott’s coming-of-age story, Little Sacrifices. Some of you might better know this author as Michele Gorman, a chick lit author now presenting this YA novel. Here’s a little more about the author:

Known for her best-selling chick lit (the Single in the City series and Bella Summer Takes a Chance), Michele also writes coming-of-age fiction under the name Jamie Scott and today sees the re-launch of her first novel, Little Sacrifices. This atmospheric, evocative depiction of the American South may just be the perfect summer read for fans of The Secret Life of Bees or To Kill A Mockingbird.

To me this book seems like a very interesting, thought provoking book different from most I see in the YA section these days. Here’s the summary:

How much would you risk to stand up for your beliefs?

When the Powell family moves to Savannah Georgia in the late 1940s, they hope against hope that they’ll be welcomed. But they’re Northerners and worse, they’re civil rights advocates almost a decade too early. The American South is deeply segregated.

At first their daughter, May, can pretend they’re the same as everyone else. It means keeping quiet when she knows she should speak up, but it’s worth the sacrifice to win friends. Unfortunately her parents are soon putting their beliefs into action. And when they wake to find that they’re the only family on the block with a Ku Klux Klan cross blazing on their front lawn, the time comes for them to finally decide between what’s easy and what’s right.

Doesn’t that sound interesting? The time period this is set in is one I’m really interested in and there aren’t many authors going for that these days. I think everyone needs to give historical fiction a try.

Pick up your copy of Little Sacrifices today!

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

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet

Lunar Chronicles #2
Book 1: Cinder

author : marissa meyer

pages : [hardcover] 452

memorable quote She did not know that the wolf was a wicked sort of animal, and she was not afraid of him.

favorite characters : wolf & scarlet

summary:

The fates of Cinder and Scarlet collide as a Lunar threat spreads across the Earth…

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

review :

Oh. My. Goodness. I could NOT wait to read this book after I read Cinder. I took such a long time getting my hands on the first book that I didn’t delay in running off to get the sequel as soon as I was finished. Now, I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not because I can’t quite read Cress, book three, yet. Not until 2014. 2014. 

This book introduces another set of main characters, the two most exciting to me being Scarlet and Wolf. Again this sci-fi take on a fairy tale surprised me. Wolf . . oh! He gave me all of the lovely, fluttery, agonizing emotions that make me wish his character was real so I could date him. He’s just so adorable, even though he’s also lethal and mysterious and did I mention lethal? Prince Kai never gave me so many feels in Cinder but I can forgive him because Wolf more than makes up for that!

But even before Wolf was fully introduced to the story I was in love because there was another kick-ass heroine to love. Scarlet isn’t going to let anything stand in the way of her rescuing her grandmother even when she realizes that investigating this further could get herself killed and doesn’t even guarantee her grandmother’s freedom. It’s really awesome how she’s been through so much and is such a great girl. Plus she never loses her signature red hoodie!

Cinder’s story picks up just where it left off in book one and I’m so, so happy to see how tough and awesome she is. Not that she wasn’t before but it’s so easy to see how she’s growing and changing because of all of these events and revelations. Even if she has to deal with an annoying partner in crime, who I thought was hilarious!

You really, really need to read this book and you won’t regret it. I promise! Stars, it’s great.

5/5 stars

If you loved this, you might also like Tyger Tyger or Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow

Check out the book trailer!

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

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

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Unravel Me

Shatter Me #2
Book 1 : Shatter Me

author tahereh mafi

pages : [hardcover] 461

memorable quote “Books are easily destroyed. But words will live as long as people can remember them.”

favorite characters : adam & kenji

summary :

tick
tick
tick
tick
tick
it’s almost
time for war.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She’s finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam’s life.

review :

I have waited so long to read this book! I read Shatter Me last year and it gripped me immediately; I loved the colorful and embellished writing style and couldn’t wait to read more about Juliette and Adam. At the end of book one there are so many exciting revelations that set up the sequel to be much different from what I ever could have imagined it to be when I first started reading. There were so many new, interesting characters to learn about as well as a new villain and, of course, Warner returns.

I love how the writing style has evolved as Juliette changes and grows stronger. It’s less centrally focused as she comes out of her shell and less whimsical as she’s forced to face reality for maybe the first time in her life. She’s found people who might come to accept her if she gives them the chance. I think it’s really brilliant, how Tahereh Mafi manages to pull this off so smoothly and seamlessly and doesn’t interrupt the flow of the plot at all. Unravel Me is more fast-paced than the first book. Now that everything has been set up it’s time for action and I can’t wait to see how that climaxes in the next and final book in the trilogy.

I’ve always had a thing for characters with superpowers, even more so when they’re flawed and the reader really gets to see the changes the character has to make throughout the book. As a rather shy person myself, it’s awesome having a leading lady like Juliette who is often afraid to speak for herself or offer up information even if it’s being asked for or she feels ridiculous for not speaking up. I think that having a person like her as a role model is great; even if she isn’t perfect, it’s easy to see how she’s testing the surface and making her way now as her own person.

I’d recommend this series to anyone! I love the characters so much . . even if the only complaint I have is the whole thing between Warner and Juliette, that I didn’t warm up to until near the end of the book. Other than that this book was as great and gripping as I’d hoped it would be and now I can’t wait to read more!!

5/5 stars

If you love this book, try reading Paranormalcy or The Darkest Minds!