When A Book Just Hits So Close To Home

Sometimes when a book hits super close to home I don’t know how to write about it. I decided to go for the method I did when I wrote about Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson and write a letter to the author.

The book in question?

Emery Lord’s The Names They Gave Us which is OUT TODAY! I did receive this book as a review copy, c/o Bloomsbury for review consideration, but I pinky swear that these are all my own thoughts and I wasn’t compensated for them.

 

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

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Book Talk: Queen of Shadows General Thoughts + Marked Spoiler Discussion

Book Talk: Queen of Shadows General Thoughts + Marked Spoiler DiscussionQueen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on September 1, 2015
Genres: YA Fantasy
Also by this author: Empire of Storms
Format: Hardcover
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1

IT IS BOOK 4 IN MY MOST FAVORITE SERIES. DO NOT PASS THIS SECTION IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THIS SERIES AT ALL. Go here instead.

a2Queen of Shadows837696 bowdown(credit)

a4Queen of Shadows was everything I had hoped for. When I finished it (literally binged it from Friday night, went to bed, then woke up and finished it Saturday which was intense because that book is THICK) I was just like BRAIN. EXPLODING. BRILLIANT. OMG. I LOVE THESE CHARACTERS. I LOVE EVERYTHING. CAN I HAZ BOOK 5?? I’m just so obsessed with this story and world and obviously the characters. I can’t really put into words, non-spoiler words, to explain what this book did to me and why I loved it so much…it was just everything and made my love for it expand all the way to the undiscovered parts of the universe and back. Sarah is just so brilliant in the way she truly makes me feel and understand these characters, why they do what they do, their struggles, what they are fighting for, etc. Everything was epic. I am so, so beyond invested and basically will sign a deal with the devil not to die before this series ends haha.  Sooo I’m just going to talk in spoilers now because that’s the only way I can discuss it.

<< SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.>>

View Spoiler »

 

a6RATING-beyondloved

factors+ EVERYTHING.
Not a thing I would change. Honestly. I mean, I would change that I have to wait for so long for the next book?? Or that like it’s not a zillion more pages so I can be with them for forever.

Re-readability: UH YEAH. Will probably reread a whole lot of times.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? ALREADY HAVE.

a5EVERYONE. DUH. No seriously, if you were mixed about it in book 1 I think you should give book 2 a try because maybe it really IS for you and you will miss out on so much epic like in this book.

a8Queen of Shadows is all I had hoped for and more. All the love I had for this world/characters/story before x 1000000000000. Sarah continues to deliver the perfect amounts of everything I need: amazing character development, complex romances/relationships, hella interesting plot and flawless writing. It’s just one BIG, and I mean big, book of badassery and perfection. GIRL SQUADS, HOT DUDES, HOLD-YOUR-BREATH MOMENTS. SCENES THAT WILL MAKE YOU LAUGH AND CRY AND HAPPY CRY. It was all glorious and I am basically dead still after reading it.

review-on-post-itQueen of Shadows

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*PLEASE LABEL ANY AND ALL SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS PLEEEEAAAASE*

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

Book Talk: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Book Talk: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn BarnesThe Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on July 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA, YA Thriller
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1

Tess has grown up with her grandfather but when her sister, who she hasn’t seen in years, comes to visit and realizes things aren’t what Tess pretends they are at home, she’s suddenly whisked off to DC. She is enrolled in a super private school which seems to be the pulse of Washington as the rich and politically inclined have sent their kids there. She learns very quickly that her sister is famous in DC — she’s a political fixer. Without meaning to, she is thrown into fixing some of her classmates problems and finds herself tangled in a dangerous conspiracy that has implications for her classmates and higher up in Washington.

a2Is this going to be a series because that would be fun??? *scurries to Goodreads*
(There is at least a sequel from what I see but this totally stands on its own)

a4Oh this was fun! It was the perfect read for being on vacation because there was mystery and scandal and a fast moving plot to keep me reading and not distracted on the beach/at the pool. This book was pitched as Scandal meets Veronica Mars and I’d have to say it’s pretty accurate. It’s basically like if Olivia Pope had a little sister who came to live with her and caught up in messy Washington things. I get the Veronica Mars nod with the teens getting caught up in things and trying to solve/fix stuff but I can’t FULLY get behind the VMars comparison there will never be another character like V because she’s so perfectly snarky and charming (even though I rather liked the main character here). So that’s my thought if you saw the comparisons and wondered how it held up!

I got sooo wrapped up in the dramz in The Fixer — the sister drama, the new school drama, the political drama. OH SO MUCH GOOD DRAMA to keep the pages turning. Murder and scheming and political maneuvering, oh man! It was exactly the kind of twisty stuff that I love about an episode of Scandal or a show in that same vein. I loved that it kept me guessing as the mystery got twistier and twistier and the stakes even higher. I kept changing my theories…although I had a nagging suspicion about one thing and turned out to be right and I was like AHHH I KNEW I KNEW IT (but not in a bad way that was like UGH SO PREDICTABLE but in a DAMN THAT WAS GOOD..YOU ALMOST GOT THAT PAST ME).

There’s a whole host of interesting characters and players in The Fixer and I am really delighted that it looks like we will get to know them better with another book. I love romance in most of my books but it was refreshing for there not to be a full scale romance in here because I was ALL about the political thriller-ness that was this book — just maybe some inklings of something something in the romance department later on in the next book?? MAYBE. HOPEFULLY.

TIME FOR SOME SPOILERS:

View Spoiler »

 

a6RATING-reallyliked

factors+ plot, characters, twists & turns, writing, unputdownable quality
–  Nothing.

Re-readability: Probably not (I don’t tend to read mystery/thrillers again so that’s just a me thing)
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Because it’s not an all time favorite or a book I’d reread, no. But I wouldn’t hesistate to buy it for a gift especially for the teens in my life who like fast paced books.

a5fans of thrillers & mysteries (especially of the political variety), fans of Scandal and Veronica Mars (love when the “this meets this” is actually accurate on marketing material), readers looking for something fast paced and that will hook you easily, people who are looking for a book with basically no romance (but some kind of ~feelings there~ vibes and banter)

a8The Fixer was such a fun, thrilling book. I loved Scandal so I was happy this kind of lived up to that political twisty-ness. Loved that I was constantly changing my suspicions and, even though I had a nagging suspicion about something, that I was still like AH OMG throughout because the stakes were so high and the reveals were so spectacularly written.  If you are in need of a book that will just HOOK you, get this one immediately!

review-on-post-itthe-fixer-jennifer-lynn-barnes

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
What other YA political thrillers are out there? (I’d also totally take great adult ones but asking specifically for YA because I feel like there are barely any!)

 

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

5 Reasons Why You Should Buy The Start Of Me & You by Emery Lord TOMORROW!

5 Reasons Why You Should Buy The Start Of Me & You by Emery Lord TOMORROW!The Start Of Me & You by Emery Lord
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on March 31, 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: Open Road Summer, The Names They Gave Us
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1

Paige’s boyfriend died suddenly a year ago and she’s been living her life with the title of The Girl Whose Boyfriend Drowned hanging over her. She’s shut mostly everyone else out besides her best friends and has let the event dictate her life. She finally feels ready to move forward so she doesn’t lose even more time and creates a list of things to do to make this coming school year a good one — things like get her crush to want to date her, join a club, swim & more.

a2Screenshot at Mar 17 21-33-26

FIVE REASONS YOU SHOULD BUY THIS BOOK WHEN IT COMES OUT TOMORROW:

 

1. Emery Lord is writing some of the best realistic contemporary YA out there: Tis true! If your jam is contemporary YA, Emery Lord is where it is at. Jump on that bandwagon early because I know Emery Lord’s popularity is just going to grow more and more. I loved her debut Open Road Summer and this sophomore novel solidifies Emery Lord as one of my favorites already.

2. The girl power in this book makes my heart soar: I already wrote a post that was inspired by the friendship in this book but Imma take some more time to talk about it because it is AMAZING. The friendship between the 4 girls is one of my FAVORITES I’ve come across. Seriously, I just want to be like, “HEY GIRLS…is there room for one more in your group?” I loved how they were all so supportive of each other and their dynamic with one another was different but still important. A lot of times I find in YA that it’s always about the main character and her bff and the other girls in the group are kind of these caricatures who actually don’t seem THAT important to me. Not the case in The Start of Me & You. Each girl was so distinct and their presence in the group was felt and was important. I loved all their shared history and how they stick with each other through all the growing pains of life. If you love positive & strong female friendships, The Start of Me & You excels here! (I also loved how their group expanded to also include some males and there weren’t any dramatics with that).

3. The romance in this book will cause your heart to melt into a sticky sweet puddle of swoons: NO LIKE THE CUTEST EVER. SO SWEET IT HURTS. I promise. It was so realistic and so well done!!! I love when a romance seems unlikely but develops after they spend actual TIME together and get to know each other. I have to admit that I’m fond of the romances where the love interest starts over a friendship of sorts and is totally unexpected. It’s so like what happened between my husband and I. I actually liked a guy he was friends with, like totally had my eye set on him, but we kept spending more time together as I was trying to get close to the other dude….and well, the rest is history. I LOVE THAT STUFF and it totally appealed to me with Paige and Max. From how they bonded over small interests to how they confided REAL stuff, it just completely captivated me and I was shipping them hard. If you like cute, awkward romances….this one is aces!!

 4. NERDINESS ABOUNDS: I love books about nerds and smart people! It’s sexy, yo! Nerds showing off their nerdiness. Nerds enjoying Quiz Bowl. NERDY BANTER AND FLIRTING (um getting flirty with Pride & Prejudice chatter!! MY FAVE PART!). It was just so refreshing and their passions were so real.

5. It’s a touching and realistic story about a girl who wants to start anew and not be bound by her past: I really related to Paige’s story A LOT. She became known as The Girl Whose Boyfriend Died and that identity just became her — to others around her and even to herself. When a label like that clings to you (I was The Girl Whose Mom Died) it’s easy just to keep living your life under that assumed identity. I loved Paige’s determination to break free from that finally. I loved the list she constructed that she hoped would help her and I loved how she opened herself up even though it was hard. Luckily the girl had AMAZING support — friends AND family. And I loved that her grieving wasn’t just about the old boyfriend. Sure, she mourned him obviously, but she really they had been only dating for four months and his death impacted her life beyond that which is a hard thing to reconcile. But I think it was also a lot experiencing death for the first time at such a young age. That’s never something easy to reconcile when you encounter someone your age that dies so young.  I think Emery Lord explores this in a balanced way — it never becomes too overwhelming or sad — it’s a lot more about her second chance in light of what happened.

a6
RATING-loved-it
factors+ characters (main and secondary alike), plot, romance, feels, strong friendships, writing
–  Nothing

Re-readability: YES
Would I buy a copy for my collection? YES

a5fans of realistic/contemporary YA, fans of sweet romances, readers who are looking for strong female friendships, readers looking for a great beach read (a balance of happy/ tough real life stuff)

a8The Start Of Me & You absolutely delighted me — from the strong female friendships to the sweet & nerdy romance, it slapped a constant grin on my face. Emery Lord is so skilled in writing realistic fiction — the romances, the friendships, the hardships, high school life, familial relationships — in a way that it includes it all but never feels overwhelming nor underdeveloped. Emery Lord’s sophomore novel is a must read and solidifies why I’ve been so bold to say she was a favorite author after her first book, Open Road Summer.

review-on-post-itThe Start of Me & You Emery Lord

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!

CAN WE JUST TALK ABOUT THE FRIEND GROUP?!? Also, please give me recs for good, strong friendship books in YA!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

The Summer I Fell Head Over Heels In Love With Fantasy Because of ONE Series

So, dear readers, you know me. I like to read a lot of variety but the main thing I read is contemporary YA. I read other genres too but fantasy is a genre I’ve only dabbled in a handful of times. I’ve really enjoyed some fantasy novels immensely but my love affair with a series I binge read this summer absolutely has me ADDICTED.

If you follow me on Twitter, you are probably knowing exactly what I’m talking about because I haven’t shut up. (But seriously, I try to reserve my CRAZY fangirling for these times so YOU KNOW I MEAN BUSINESS).

 

SARAH J. MAAS THRONE OF GLASS SERIES OH MY GOD YOU GUYS. OH MYYY GAWWWWD.

 

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I read Throne of Glass during Memorial Day weekend and then two weeks ago started my binge read of Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire. I DO NOT KNOW WHAT WAY IS UP OR DOWN AND I AM JUST A VERY FRAGILE, EMOTIONAL MESS RIGHT NOW. (I am also having a toddler-esque meltdown because HOW DO I LIVE LIFE WITHOUT THE NEXT BOOK ON HAND??) Seriously, it’s just like this light switch just flipped on and I just really, really found myself immersed in this fantasy world.

Okay so if you’ve never read it or heard of it here’s my best spoiler-free lowdown of what this series is about.

OKAY there’s CELAENA. And she’s a badass assassin. LIKE THE QUEEN OF BADASSES because she’s been through A LOT + knows how to use a dagger or sword, isn’t afraid to make tough decisions and she has a BRAIN. And she’s snarky. SO SNARKY. I giggle snorted many a times because of her. And she lives in a kingdom (such a well written kingdom) ruled by an awful king who outlawed magic. BUT THERE IS SO MAGIC IN THIS SERIES. And guys you are going to DROOL over. And some really compelling friendships. And some crazy moments. Some epic battles and fights. Crazy reveals that will have you turning the pages. ACTION THAT ELEVATES YOUR HEART RATE. (That counts as exercise right?). JUST READ IT OKAY. It gets even better after book 1. I can’t even write you a proper summary because OH MY GOD. And there’s like going to be 6 books or something like that!! OH OH AND THERE ARE MAPS IN THE FRONT. I LOVE MAPS.

Will always can tell when I’m really obsessed with a book and he said I became SUPER obnoxious when I read these books (which is generally the biggest telltale sign to how much I love a book…the more obnoxious, the more love). Apparently I was saying a lot of “OH SHITS” and “OH NOES”, “YEAH GIRL”  and “OH MY GOD HOLD ME” and jumping up and down a lot. Okay, I half remember doing those things but they just come out because I’m so immersed. The biggest thing was how much I wanted to tell him what was happening because I couldn’t contain myself. (One thing on his list of things he’s sick of me saying). And then he said it was odd to hear me talk about swords, fae, assassins and magic so much and so excitedly (apparently I was VERY animated) because, well, I don’t read those things typically. But seriously, SWORD LIFE IS SO AWESOME.

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So needless to say my reading experience was something Will could NOT wait to be over because I was a nut..all hopped up on my fantasy high. Everyone told me to read these books since Throne of Glass came out and I always knew I would but I wasn’t expecting to become obsessed. I mean, I was just so excitable and immersed through this whole binge reading experience (AND I RARELY EVER BINGE READ) and it was just one of those experiences where I remembered that feeling in my gut of WHY I love reading and how it feels to be so totally consumed.

 

Elissa_i_am_obsessed

 

So here’s a bit of a peek on my thoughts about the books individually. I’m going to be as spoiler-free and as vague as possible but reading my thoughts for Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire COULD spoil you. That’s your warning.

 

THRONE OF GLASS

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

I immediately loved Celaena. And Chaol. And Dorian. This book drew me in from the start and I was so into watching Celaena be a badass vs. all those other guys fighting to be the King’s Champion. I could feel her struggle between FREEDOM and having to work for someone who was so awful. I loved how twisty this book got towards the end and things were happening so fast I could barely hold on, man! But seriously let’s talk about Calaena…this girl has endured a lot and she prides herself on being a badass but there’s also this vulnerable side to her where she feels the weight of the things she’s done….but she doesn’t shy away from the fact that she does those things. That’s part of who she is. I also loved that, yeah she is badass, but she totally is a bit of a girly girl — she loves her clothes and cares about what she looks like. I think so often female main characters get pegged as one or the other but it’s okay to be a complete badass with your sword and also find your heart flutter because of a pretty dress. And as confident as she is with how badass she is..she is so relatable because she’s self conscious about other things. AND CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE BANTER?? I loved the Celaena/Chaol banter. But also the Celaena/Dorian banter. (In Crown of Midnight my favorite banter might even be with her and Mort..god I just love her banter with everyone). I finished Throne of Glass SO ready for more because there was so much that was set up in that book and I knew the rest of the series was about to get CAHRAZY.

Crown Of Midnight

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

crownofmidnight

THIS BOOK GUYS. Crown of Midnight was my favorite of the series so far I think because it was just SO EPIC. Also, in general it was one of the best sequels I’ve ever read. This is where I became obsessed. I was in love with Throne of Glass but I became a full on crazy because of this book. SO MUCH WAS HAPPENING AND IT WAS NUTS….seriously my heart was racing as I devoured this book. It begins with Celaena a couple months after she wins the competition and we find out what she’s been up to now that’s she’s supposed to be doing the king’s bidding….and then shit just gets crazy. People die. People betray. Crazy things are revealed. There is so much sneaking around and Celaena is just generally even more of a badass and maybe even more ruthless. The sheer amount of emotions that I had during this book was a record level and the amount of times my jaw dropped became too many to count. Really seeing the rebellion start to form was exciting and scary. I came to love beloved characters EVEN MORE FIERCELY. Seriously Chaol and Dorian, not just even as fictional crushes, are just all around great characters and it was so hard for me to see some cracks in relationships in this one. Especially A BIG MOMENT where Celaena really doubts someone. My heart sunk! I just was thanking my lucky stars I had Heir of Fire by the time this book ended because I was flailing (for real) and the way it ENDS. OH MY HEART.  If I hadn’t had Heir of Fire I would have left with a crazy book high where I would have been jittery and inconsolable and it would have taken me a long time to come off this one.

Heir of Fire

Heir of Fire Sarah J. Maas

I was still reeling from Crown of Midnight when I started this one. The pace was a bit slower in Heir of Fire than it was in CoM but look at how long it is!! (seriously, trying to hold this book gave me issues). I was trying to explain to someone that Heir of Fire was a bit more slow but not in a BAD WAY. It was actually a bit welcomed because it couldn’t keep up that Crown of Midnight pace forever and we really get even MORE insight into Celaena (and other characters).

Heir of Fire peeled back the layers to Celaena and we learn even MORE of her backstory after what was revealed at the end of Crown of Midnight. It was fascinating and HEARTBREAKING (ow, seriously) and MAN did it make everything a whole lot more interesting and complicated and AWESOME. We see a whole new side of Celaena in Heir of Fire and I loved it — she’s always been such a badass but we see a Celaena who is really struggling to know what to do next or who she really WANTS to be. Celaena is easy for her. But the other identity we learn of her, the one she’s pushed back so far, really starts to be imposed on her and she can’t hide from it. I loved watching her wrestle with it all and it made me love her more.

The other really great thing about Heir of Fire is all the new characters we get to meet!! CAN WE TALK ABOUT ROWAN? I WANT A SHIP but I don’t know to what capacity. All I can say is I was very pleased we got to know Rowan very well. And Manon. I thought the witch POV was strangely placed at first and I wasn’t sure I liked it but I really did start to enjoy seeing things coming together on another side of the story. I also loved some of the demi-fae and the rebels too.  OH AND AEDION!

The other thing that made Heir of Fire so great was that everyone was really on their own journey…literally and mentally. At first, I was like NOOOO I want Celaena to be with Dorian and Chaol and I don’t like how split they are but I actually really ended up loving that about this book. I don’t think Dorian or Chaol could have challenged Celaena the way Rowan really did to get her to step up and do what she needed to. Celaena was so far away and on this really challenging journey mentally and physically and I LOVED THAT JOURNEY — all parts of it. But I also really loved watching Dorian and Chaol. I hated how they weren’t friends but I loved how much they still loved each other and had each other’s best interest in mind. Chaol really grew because he had to face his dad and decide where his loyalty was and how far he’d go now that he knows what he knows. I loved watching him work with Aedion as well! Dorian really has to come to terms with what he is and the magic he possesses but also what that means considering who his father his. I love this line that Chaol has at the end because it sums it up pretty well about how Dorian “was the one true king in the room” because I really felt like Dorian started to grow into someone who could lead.

Heir of Fire was emotionally intense and had some crazy heart-pounding moments along with the amazing character development. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO LIVE LIFE WHILE MY FRIENDS ARE JUST LEFT HANGING THERE? I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS. But I suppose now I am going to get my hands on the novellas even though I am like morally opposed to novellas (okay not morally but it sounded good but for serious I don’t ever read them) BECAUSE I NEED MORE OF THIS SERIES.

 

So have you read this series?? Thoughts?? (Even if you felt differently than me I am still interested in hearing you perspective!!). What should be my next fantasy series??

 

Book Talk: Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae

Book Talk: Wish You Were Italian by Kristin RaeWish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on May 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

A1

Pippa is off to Italy for the summer except she’s not at all excited that she’s being forced to go to this art program by her parents. When she finds herself ALONE and in ROME she embraces spontaneity and decides to spend her summer in Italy but NOT how her parents are expecting her to.  She ditches the art program and decides to travel on her which opens her up to new friends, some cute boys and incredible memories.

a2GET ME BACK TO ITALY, PRONTO!

a4What a cute, adventure-filled romance! It was a really good summer read that simultaneously cured and riled up the travel bug in me. I enjoyed and breezed right through it and really enjoyed Pippa’s full story — her relationship with her mom and grandma, the romance, her adventure and seeing the world through new eyes.

Here are the highlights for me:

1. The travel descriptions absolutely transported me: Seriously, Kristin Rae nailed the Italian setting and just completely immersing you in this adventure as a reader. I hated when I had to put it down and be reminded that OH WAIT I’M JUST HERE ON MY COUCH instead of eating gelato (True story: the main character went to the same gelato shop I ate at) or staring at the Coliseum all wide-eyed because of how her descriptions just invited all your senses to just plop right into the story and experience it all alongside Pippa.  The descriptions were just really fantastic and were exactly like what I NEED in a good travel-y novel to satiate my wanderlust temporarily and then make me start fake planning trips immediately after. (Seriously, Will was so irritated with how much my wanderlust HOWLED during and in the days after reading this one). I loved revisiting Rome and seeing more of Italy through this book.

207307_502515195062_247_nfrom my trip in 2007

2. What a sweet romantic hook: I always dreamed of being swept off my feet but some hot Italian when I went  to Italy. (It would only ever be a dream because I had just started dating Will haha). So I completely understood where Pippa was coming from in making “fall in love an Italian” one of the things on her list. Oh and then there’s a charming American boy too! I wouldn’t say there is a love triangle really. I mean, she has feelings for both guys and entertains both ideas but her feelings all make sense to me honestly. I loved watching her try to figure out her feelings for both guys — one who is sexy and more exciting and the other the sweetest guy ever. I liked them both as people but there was only ONE in my mind. But the swoonworthy moments just absolutely made me melt. I CAN’T EVEN TELL YOU. Especially the end.

3. I loved the premise and how Pippa really did embrace this opportunity: I thought it was a fun premise that the main character would be sent to Italy for an art program that she had no interest in and then she decides to do what SHE wants to. At first I’m like, CHILD THIS IS DANGEROUS but then I saw Pippa has a good head on her shoulder and makes sure somebody knows where she is. I know I learned a lot about myself through travel and I enjoyed Pippa start to, from the moment she chose to say yes to this adventure, to really start to see herself, her parents and the world through new eyes. This is the element that made it more than just a cute romance and I enjoyed this self-discovery and seeing how her perspectives shifted and changed in certain areas.

And now I’ll share some pictures of little College Jamie in Italy!

208164_502555125042_6661_nTrevi Fountain, bring me back!

207215_502515439572_3483_nFlorence!

215642_502515359732_8572_nVatican!

207189_503020836752_6364_nSeriously, I wanted to faint when I saw the Colosseum. History made my bones just giddy.

a6RATING-reallyliked

factors+ the fun, the romance, the travel
Nothing really.

Re-readability: Possibly but um can this be a movie?? I’d watch it!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? I’m split. I want one just because what if I need an immediate armchair adventure to Italy but I’m picky about what stays on my shelves. Has to be a favorite or I know for sure I would reread it (and I don’t re-read a TON). I would, however, purchase it for a friend if I knew they dug travel-y YA novels.

a5People who like light and fun contemporary YA with substance, people who want fun travel novels, lovers of cute romances

a8Wish You Were Italian was a charming armchair adventure through Italy complete with a side of heart-melting romance and self discovery! It was a great story as a whole and the vivid descriptions just completely transported you to the point where you might start to question yourself if you were really there or not. My heart felt as light as cotton candy while reading this one (except for the one part that made me CRY) while also wrestling with some of the things Pippa was struggling with — her parents, knowing what she wanted, etc. Perfect read in the summertime but also a great way to battle winter blue’s I’d imagine.

 

review-on-post-itwish-you-were-italian-kristin-rae

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
* If you haven’t read it, is it something on your radar or that you think you will read?
* What are some other books that make you all wanderlust-y??

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Where The Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller | Book Review

Where The Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller | Book ReviewWhere The Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on September 24, 2013
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: Something Like Normal, Made You Up, The Devil You Know
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

four-half-stars

 

 

 

Callie has been on the run with her mom for ten years when her mom picked up and left her dad. She doesn’t remember much of her dad and only knows what her mom tells her. Life with her mom hasn’t been at all normal — she never went to a real school, she wanders around whenever she wants, she takes care of herself and she and her mom pick up and leave whenever things go south with one of her mom’s men. When they hit the road again, this time Callie’s mom is arrested for her kidnapping and Callie is sent to live with her dad and his new family. Callie is thrust back into this town she doesn’t remember, a dad she barely knows and a big Greek family she never got to know and she struggles to fit into it all, have a relationship with her dad and let herself love.

I read Where The Stars Still Shine in August and I’ve really struggled to put pen to paper when it comes to this story because it was literally flawless for me. You know I loved Something Like Normal when I read it back in February and I declared Trish Doller a new favorite contemporary author based on that book alone and Where the Stars Still Shine really solidifies that for me. Trish deserves more recognition and if you EVER listen to me when it comes to a great contemporary YA book…PLEASE let it be this one! PLEAAASE!

I knew I was in trouble immediately when early on I started to cry and my emotions didn’t stop there. I kept crying so much that I had to keep dunking myself underwater at the pool so nobody could notice all the tears streaming down my face. Callie’s life is ROUGH and you learn early on that her mom’s irresponsibility and flighty behavior has really affected her. It was so hard to read about her life and everything she’s had to go through and all the things her mom said about her dad. The most EMOTIONAL part for me was definitely when she was reunited with her father and then all the triumphs and missteps in them trying to have a relationship.

The biggest part of the book for me, even though the romance was quite lovely, is all about family. We see Callie’s relationship with her mom at first and her mom is someone you want to hate for everything she’s put Callie through — the lies, choosing men over her and just being altogether irresponsible. Callie’s dad? One of my new favorite parents in YA! There were so many touching moments that included him and I definitely cried a lot on his behalf also. It was so emotional and the way Trish wrote him really made you love him.

Aside from him there was Callie’s cousin and her huge Greek family and I just really began to love these characters so much and wanted Callie to feel accepted and like she was a part of this family. The family aspect of this novel was written perfectly as Trish really contrasts Callie’s life with her mom with this new family. It’s SO easy to see where Callie struggles but as a reader you just want her so badly to accept their love even though you UNDERSTAND her issues.

Callie is a memorable character that I just wanted to hug. I loved her relationships with so many people in this novel — familial and romance. I felt her journey and growth was admirable and I didn’t want the pages to end at all. I wanted to be sure she would be ok because that girl has been through a lot. Her whole journey from the time she set foot in the car with her dad felt believable and I could GET why she had a hard time feeling like she fit into this new life with her dad and his new family after ten years of being with her mom.

Everything about this book was flawless for me. I literally can’t think of one thing about it that could have been better. Trish Doller wrote a story that made my heart explode into pieces so small they shouldn’t have been able to been able to be put back together — but somehow she managed to put them back together with a moving story of family, second chances, love and facing your future despite your past. If you like amazing character development that feels incredibly real and makes you feel emotions so fiercely, pick this book up. The plot was immediately interesting to me and the characters just took it and ran and I didn’t want to pull myself out of the story because I was so immersed in it. Such a COMPLETE story that reminds me of why I love reading!

Where The Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read Where the Stars Still Shine? Heard of it? What did you think of it if you’ve read it? Agree/disagree with me?

four-half-stars

Liar by Justine Larbalestier

I’m sitting down to write this review and I cannot reconcile in my head whether I absolutely despised this book or I think it is effing genius. That makes writing a review really hard. I don’t think I’ve had such a strong reaction to a book in a while and, due to the nature of the book, I can’t reveal a whole lot to explain to you why I did.

Liar by Justine Larbalestier is told in the first person. Our narrator, Micah, is a liar — a compulsive, pathological liar. Right off the bat, she says she isn’t going to lie to us but that seed of an unreliable narrator is already planted in our mind and continues to grow when throughout the story Micah will tell us one thing and then minutes later tell us that what she just told us was a lie. The basic plot of the story is interesting enough. Micah’s boyfriend is found brutally murdered and her tangled web of lies starts to make her a suspect amongst her peers. The story shifts through the past and the present as we learn about the present investigation of Zach’s death, her family history, her and Zach’s relationship and some of the big lies she’s told in the past.

Rather than try to sort out my extremely complicated feelings about this novel I’m just going to tell you the things about it that made me 1) really dislike it and 2) make me think it was genius

Why I Really Disliked It:

True story, if it didn’t take me so darn long to load audiobooks on to my Ipod I would have not finished this one. But, truth be told, I have a sucky commute and needed an audiobook.. So, firstly Micah is really irritating and very hard to like or relate to. I mean, we are all liars, yes, but she was the Gold Medalist of Lying About Crazy and Stupid Things. I’ve LOVED books with main characters I’ve hated, so that’s not a dealbreaker for me. I just couldn’t STAND being in Micah’s head anymore and had to curb any and all urges to drive my car off the road so I could NOT hear her anymore.  But the biggest thing for me was the HUGE BIG PLOT TWIST that I won’t spoil..because, well I just don’t even know what to say about it. When the big “reveal” happens halfway through the book (which I was quite enjoying the book before this point despite not liking Micah in the least), I audibly in my car said WTF and I emphasis on the F. In the scope of the story, you are sitting there like “Oh dear LAWD, this has to be a lie” but then this thread of the story keeps going through the rest of the book so, like everything else Micah tells you, it becomes hard to discern if it’s a big lie or if it’s the truth. It changed the book for me. It was like biting into a cupcake and it taste like pizza or something. Not necessarily bad but dammit, I wanted a cupcake! Basically if you hate the plot twist, like I did, it made the rest of the novel prettttyy unbearable.

Why I Thought It Was Genius:

I always find books with unreliable narrators interesting and some are better than others. The author turned Micah into the ultimate unreliable narrator because Micah admits freely to being a liar and she strings you along and then admits to different lies just within what she has already told you. It’s fascinating! You find yourself never feeling sure of what is the truth and when you think you have the “answers”…you just don’t.  The twist that happens really changes what you even thought this book WAS. And while I didn’t like what the twist was at all, I thought it was written well, considering it could be kind of cheesy. I also thought it was genius as it challenged your notions of what KIND of book this was and actually becomes quite thought-provoking on a larger scale.


Final Thought: This is definitely not a book for everybody. If you hate unreliable narrators, back away. If you don’t mind taken for an uncertain ride that might drive you crazy, give it a try! I can’t say this was a great book for me but it was certainly memorable and there are so many layers to it. Like I said, I can’t figure out if I really hate it or if I thought it was brilliant. I certainly didn’t enjoy the ride as others might have but I can appreciate what she did.

Review On A Post-It
one-half-stars
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