Book Talk: A Study In Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

Book Talk: A Study In Charlotte by Brittany CavallaroA Study In Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
Published by Katherine Tegan on March 1, 2016
Genres: Contemporary YA, YA Mystery
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon
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

It’s set in a world where Sherlock and Watson really existed and their two of their descendants in the modern world end up going to the same boarding school. A murder happens at the school, Jamie & Charlotte are suspects and they work together to solve the mystery and clear their name.

a2WAHHH I JUST REALLY WANT THE NEXT SEASON OF SHERLOCK but this was fun in the meantime

[Keep Reading]

Book Talk: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

Book Talk: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnisA Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
Published by Katherine Tegan on October 6, 2015
Genres: YA Historical Fiction, YA Mystery
Also by this author: Not A Drop To Drink, The Female of the Species
Format: Hardcover
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

With a pregnant belly and family secrets buried in the depths of her mind, Grace Mae finds herself in an insane asylum in the late 1800’s. She keeps silent but her sharp mind is always alert. When she has a violent outburst she finds herself locked away in the darkest depths of the asylum next to a man who becomes her ally, as he can tell she’s a great mind, and helps her escape with a doctor who is dabbling in criminal psychology. They flee to an asylum in Ohio where they embark on their work and Grace finds friendship and strength in this new home of hers.

a2PERFECT FIRST HALLOWEEN-ESQE READ! Also, yesssss to loving another Mindy McGinnis book!!

a4I loved Mindy McGinnis’s Not A Drop To Drink so I was SO here for this book about something so completely different than that one…and I have to say I’m just so ready to read ANYTHING Mindy writes after experiencing both of these stories.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and could not put it down. It was a PERFECT October/Halloween read for those who don’t want scary but like a little mystery and an atmospheric setting that is equal parts dark/brutal (the mystery, Grace’s family secret, the conditions at the insane asylum) as it is heart-warming (Grace’s friends).

Specifically what I enjoyed:

  • Blend of historical fiction and mystery: I love historical fiction so I was definitely excited for this setting in the late 1800’s in Boston and small town Ohio. I hadn’t really read the blurb because I knew Mindy McGinnis + insane asylums + historical fiction was all I needed to know so I was pleasantly surprised by the thread of mystery in this one. Thornhollow reminds me of a quirky Sherlock-esque kind of character and I was so interested in their search for the killer and their delving into how the murderous mind works. I don’t want to say much but OH MAN for how the mystery ended up…not only who did it but how it all works out. GAH.
  • Insane asylum setting: Wow did Mindy McGinnis do a phenomenal job with the setting. I could picture these asylums — the cold, dark cells and the sounds of the patients. It was chilling. I just am so thankful to not have been alive in a time where it was so easy to throw women in these places for any reason that a man could say and it is their word vs the woman’s. We see two different asylums, the one from before she escapes and the one she and Thornhollow head to,  and they were pretty different from each other and I’m so glad that the bulk was spent in the more ethical asylum because the Boston asylum and their practices were just awful and I couldn’t handle Grace being there any longer.

[Keep Reading]

Book Talk: City Love by Susane Colasanti

Book Talk: City Love by Susane ColasantiCity Love by Susane Colasanti
Published by Katherine Tegan on April 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: All I Need
Format: Hardcover
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

Three girls move in together to an apartment in NYC the summer before their freshman year and gear up for their first taste of freedom and being on their own.

a2

a4I wanted to love this one so much. It had the makings to be a total Jamie book — great NYC setting, set the summer before college, new friends/roomies — but it just wasn’t at all. In the first chapter or so I was digging the “look at all the possibilities spread out before us/yay grand new adventure” vibe and all the traipsing across the city was making me want to be back in New York. And then I kept reading and it just wasn’t at all what I thought it was going to be.

Here’s why:

1. I was honestly bored through most of it — I was expecting this to be a whirlwind summer of new adventures and just trying to figure your shit out. I eat that stuff up. Instead I just found it dragging on and didn’t really find myself enjoying it. I should have put it down but I didn’t bring another book to the pool so I was COMMITTED. I will say that closer to the end things got REALLY interesting to the point I was devouring it but most of the book I was just bored. I mean, the timeline for this book is really short so it’s not like SO MUCH STUFF is going to happen but that’s also why I felt iffy about how much the romances dominated everything in that short time which I’ll talk about below.

2. I thought there was going to be a greater emphasis on the friendships but no: I was really thinking there were going to be some good friend dynamics with this roomie situation and honestly most of this book was about random boys they meet in like the first 5 days they are there and fall hard for (wow how lucky that all 3 just happen to find these dudes so quickly. THAT NEVER HAPPENED TO MY FRIENDS AND I). I can understand that sometimes people are just your roommates and you aren’t bffs with them but the vibe I got from the summary would lead me to believe it was more about the friendships, too. But it also did seem to act like the friendships between the roommates were so great but we got such a shallow view of it in my opinion of it. So, this was more of an expectation thing that let me down. I thought it would be a great friendship  book but no.

3. Ugh the romances: I love romances and love stories and the swoons. YOU KNOW THIS. But none of these inspired any swoons or anything other than UGH. Like at least if I didn’t get the friend dynamics I was hoping for I was hoping I’d at least get some good romance if that was what it was going to focus on. The one romance DID take a turn for the interesting but I just still wasn’t invested much at all. I don’t mind insta-love or attraction in lots of cases because I find it to be very realistic (I mean I thought I was in REAL LOVE like 100 times as a teen let’s be real) but I think I just really didn’t dig that the romance was the MAIN THING going on in this novel when there was so much other stuff to explore and the romances didn’t even feel like anything special enough to incite any feels in me.

4. The 3 POVs blended together so much for me: The 3 girls had such different and interesting backgrounds and stories but honestly when I was reading their voices sounded the same. For how different they all were, their voices were not distinct in my mind at all. At certain points I had to really thing like, “okay which girl’s chapter is this??”

 

a6RATING-Not-a-fan

factors+ NYC setting, the concept of this novel (and planned series)
–  expectations of what I got vs. what it was, not shipping any of the romance, blending of the main characters voices, finding myself bored

Re-readability: No
Would I buy a copy for my collection? No
Do I plan on reading the sequel?
Probably not unless I hear AMAZING things. I do want to know what happens just out of curiosity but not enough to read it.

a5maybe people looking for a really, really fluffy romance for the beach (but bring a backup just in case!), people looking for a book set in NYC, younger teens maybe (maybe it will seem more glamorous and romantic than it did to this lady?)

a8It pretty much comes down to my expectations for what I thought this novel was all about –new adventures, taking a stab at independence, friendship, that moment in time before college where there are infinite possibilities, some romance — and what it actually was/how it was executed which was basically a whole lot of romance and pretty skimpy on the other stuff I had hoped for. I knew to expect romance (what I am so normally there for) but I expected more than JUST that. In addition to my expectations,  I just didn’t even enjoy the romance storylines and found the POVs to blend too much together. I think there’s so much to explore with the concept of this series but the first book just didn’t do it for me.

review-on-post-it

city love susane colasanti

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?
Based on what I had HOPED this book would be like, do you have any recs?

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

Book Talk: The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

Book Talk: The Orphan Queen by Jodi MeadowsThe Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
Series: The Orphan Queen #1
Published by Katherine Tegan on March 10, 2015
Genres: YA Fantasy
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

As a child Princess Wilhelmina watched as her kingdom got overtaken by the Indigo Kingdom and her parents and the rest of the nobility were killed. The children of the nobility, like Wilhelmina, were taken as orphans to live in the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. They broke out of the orphanage and for years have formed a group called the Ospreys who intend to take back their kingdom and give Wilhelmina her throne. The next phase of the plan becomes more dangerous and includes infiltrating the palace to gain more information which is a task for Wilhelmina and Melanie. With the wraith that has been destroying kingdoms moving closer to the kingdoms, the stakes are even higher.

a2BlakeShock  tumblr_mcfoxvFkOR1rw5melo1_500

(plus a whole lot of F BOMBS in a text to Alexa)

a4OH MAN. Fans of action-packed and exciting YA fantasy with kickass ladies? Check this one out for sure!! I could NOT put it down. I’m usually pretty strict about getting to bed on time but I kept saying “just one more chapter” like 10 times before I finally could pry myself away from it (and that was only because of necessity to be functioning in the morning).

What had me up reading it so late??

1. ESPIONAGE & vigilante justice: I love espionage, you guys. I loved watching Wil and Melanie (who are badasses) infiltrate themselves into the palace posing as refugees of nobility from a kingdom that has been destroyed by the wraith. I loved watching them carefully learn what they needed to know and carry out tasks that would help them take back their kingdom all while in the comfort of their enemies home. There were those hold-your-breath type moments because there is ALWAYS the high risk of being caught. I also liked how she did begin to see some of her enemies as people as she got to know them. I think she understood that not everything was as black and white as she thought before. In addition to the espionage there is a character named Black Knife who is a complete unknown but this person goes around catching people who use magic and turning them in. Wil and her gang have crossed paths with him but she ends up face to face with him again. I love how his character is slowly unraveled and become more complex. Plus their relationship is interesting especially since he catches people who use magic and she USES it! If you haven’t read Orphan Queen yet… MAYBE skip this sentence if you want to go in 100% blind. (I TOTALLY CALLED WHO Black Knife was!!)

2. I love books where characters rise up to take back their kingdom: I’ve read 2 books in a row somehow where this was this case (Finnikin of the Rock was the other) and I LOVE IT. Wil’s family was killed. All the nobility was killed. Her kingdom was taken. She and many other children from the nobility families were spared but orphaned. I love how they broke themselves free and have been plotting FOR YEARS to take back their kingdom and give Wil her rightful place on the throne. I love the dynamics of the Ospreys — especially the one between a character who has become a leader within the group even though, when the kingdom is theirs, that Wil will be queen. At times I wondered how the orphans, being so young and cut off from the people that they are hoping to gather up to rebel with them, were going to pull it off but I think their resourcefulness from surviving all these years made them quite smart and cunning. Though at times I was confused with how many THINGS/missions they were involved in at the same time vs. how many people there were in the Ospreys. It seemed like they bit off more than they could chew and were stretched thin? Or that was my impression as of right now?

3. The magic element: Okay so the other side of this whole situation, besides taking back the kingdom, is that there is this wraith that is DESTROYING kingdoms and causing chaos and havoc. And it’s getting WORSE and closer to them. Some believe using magic is what causes it. This is why Wil’s kingdom was taken over because they wouldn’t sign the treaty that would cease the use of magic in their kingdom. To be honest, the wraith thing is a little confusing — I don’t really understand how it works or what causes it — but neither do the leaders of the kingdoms. Nobody TRULY understands it which makes it SUPER terrifying and detrimental to figure out how to stop it. There is a whole lot of unknown that they have to piece together to even have a chance. Wilhelmina magic is super interesting and I loved how as she used it, she begun to realize even MORE about her own magic and if somehow she can help stop the wraith.

4. THINGS that happen at the ending: I will not say anymore than MASSIVE CLIFFHANGER but basically I did a lot of THIS toward the end:

 

skyler-crying-gif-breaking-bada6RATING-reallyliked

factors+ plot, page-turning abilities, twists
–  LIKED the characters but didn’t feel that surge of LOVE for them YET

Re-readability: I would maybe revisit as a refresher before book 2.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Maybe!

a5YA fantasy fans (esp maybe those who are newer to the genre or those who aren’t wanting a more DENSE  fantasy series…this one is a duology plus novellas, I believe), people who like espionage and saving kingdoms, readers who like magic in their fantasy

a8The Orphan Queen was one I could NOT put down. There was so much to catch my interest and keep me reading — espionage, mystery man practicing vigilante justice, orphaned princess wanting to take back her kingdom, a bit of romance, magic, betrayals and shocking moments galore! It was an exciting read and I can’t wait for the second book. Think it’s totally the perfect book for newer fantasy readers because the setup isn’t AS slow or dense as some can be (from my experience thus far).

review-on-post-it

The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows book review

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?
On a scale of 1-10 how much did you just lose it at the ending??

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

Book Talk: Gone by Michael Grant

Book Talk: Gone by Michael GrantGone by Michael Grant
Series: Gone #1
Published by Katherine Tegan on June 2008
Genres: YA Science Fiction
Also by this author: Eve & Adam
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
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

So one day everything is normal and the next….poof. Everyone over the age of 14 is gone without an explanation. Chaos ensues because no adults + no power or internet or anything like that. The teens try to make some sort of order and help the little kids and form a society of sorts in the meantime. They are dealing with rationing food, lawlessness and bullies. Not to mention strange things are happening — mutating animals, some of the kids have some sort of superpowers — and things begin to get a bit sinister. The kids try to stay alive and fight off the rich, dangerous kids who have tried to take control all while they try to figure out what happened to the adults before THEY turn 14 and POOF.

a2I just want to know THE THINGS.

a4This was our book club pick and as a group it was a very mixed bag about this one! It isn’t at all my typical read but I was highly entertained throughout most of it. Definitely reads a bit younger than I typically read though.

1. Gone by Michael Grant was SUPER fast-paced: As I was reading I found myself kind of amazed with how quickly the pages were turning. I was like staring at my hands like WHAT IS THIS? HOW AM I READING THIS FAST? It was easy to jump right into the breakneck speed that this chunkster of a book as events unfold upon the disappearance of everyone over like 14. If you like your books with ACTION ACTION ACTION you might want to cozy up with this one! It’s a book I plan to give my 12 & 14 year old nephews who need to be immediately hooked and wanting fight and chase scenes and CRAZY action! Twist and turns and secrets and surprises are in store if you read this one.

2. I was LOVING it…until about halfway through: Gone was kind of like what happens to me when I run. I start out running like a crazy person all fast and barely breaking a sweat feeling good…and then I hit a wall. A wall that makes me just want to fall down and sleep right where I am. I was so into this book and then halfway through THINGS happened and I was just like UMM WHAT (talking werewolves kind of stuff) and it kind of diminished some of my enjoyment. It also started to get a little muddled and confusing and some action scenes were just jumbly. I would have to reread parts over for clarification…and this is not a difficult book.

3. There is SO much going on in this book: I don’t think I realized what this book would entail. The premise was fantastic right away — WHERE DID ALL THE ADULTS GO? Where did these powers come from? How do we form a society/some sort of order without adults? WHAT HAPPENED. Oh and then there is this thing and that thing that I can’t tell you because spoilers. I felt very intrigued but all at the same time very overwhelmed. Lots of different side stories and people and little details that I’m sure will come together but WOWSA…overload at points. But overall I was just getting more and more sucked into this carefully crafted story that I know is going to be some crazy complex web going forward! So many questions, tidbit of answers.

4. I’m really undecided if I want to continue on even though I did enjoy it enough: Here’s the thing. I was REALLY enjoying it because it was different for me — fast paced, action-y and had all sorts of fun elements to make it addictive. But then, like I said, halfway through it was just MEH. I want to KNOW THE THINGS because there are SO many answers I need + I want to see how this society of no adults continues on but I’m struggling with if all the books in the series are worth the investment. It’s a commitment. They are a big and it’s a long series and I didn’t care about the characters. But I want answers.

 

a6RATING-OKAY

factors+ non-stop action, high enjoyment, cool premise, surprising elements, world-building overall
hitting a wall halfway through, lots of little annoying things, weird elements that made me go EH?, writing just okay, flat characters

Re-readability: No.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? No. I plan to library these if I continue on.

a5readers who like fast paced/action-y novels, people who like a mismash genre-wise, might give it to reluctant readers because it’s easy to get sucked into

a8My enjoyment level was pretty high for this book — minus some annoyances and the second half not capturing my attention the way the first half did. There was a lot of interesting things going on here — people over 14 disappearing, a dome that formed around the town, superpowers, strange things occurring and more PLUS survival, how to create order in chaos and good vs. bad. It’s an entertaining, fast paced and suspenseful and my curiosity wants me to continue on but I’m not sure yet.

review-on-post-itGone by Michael Grant

 

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?
* Should I continue on with this series??
*Anyone else get super irritated with the “brah” talk. Too old for that. haha


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Book Talk: The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor

Book Talk: The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie ConnorThe Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor
Published by Katherine Tegan on June 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon
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

Bettina’s super strict dad never lets her date or really out of the house much at all. But when she starts talking to Brady, a decently popular and cute guy at school, he manages to woo her dad as well and suddenly Bettina has something she never really had — FREEDOM. Plus a great boyfriend. Until suddenly Brady changes and suddenly isn’t who she thought he was at all. As she tries to figure out what to do with Brady, she meets a much older guy in his twenties who she ends up spending significant time with. As she tries to keep this secret relationship with Cowboy under wraps and keep herself at a distance from Brady without sacrificing her freedom, something that happens that tears it all apart and brings the truth out in the open.

a2*wipes eyes* I need a moment, please. *curls up in a ball*

a4

I did not expect The Things You Kiss Goodbye to make me cry. Nope. Sometimes there are books that I have a hunch that might make me cry but this was not one of them — not even when I was reading it did I think that. But oh did I cry…sob really. It’s really hard to explain how I felt about this one — it affected me for sure but I can’t say it was in a way that was lasting or that made it a favorite but I absolutely couldn’t put it down and think there was so much good about it.

Here’s some of the main things I thought about this one:

1. It certainly was a dramatic, intense story and I felt emotionally devastated by the end: I read this prior to BEA and knew I’d forget things about it if I didn’t write down and one of the first things I wrote was “reminds me of the kind of drama you’d get from a Lifetime movie or a soap opera but less cheesy.” A few days later I saw Blythe say something similar to that and it made me feel better because I didn’t know if I was explaining it right in my preliminary thoughts. There’s a whole slew of intense things in this book: abuse, secrets, family drama, an older man and a thing that happens that was pretty intense and made me weep alongside Bettina. The escalation of emotional things happening made me turn the pages faster for sure and by the end I just wanted to sleep for days because I just felt sad.

2. I never felt anything for the romance but had complicated feelings towards it: So there is a secret romance that happens. I guess the age difference didn’t really bother me — it happens — I saw the struggle there. But I never felt the butterflies or FELT the fireworks as I was reading. But I found myself feeling really invested in it toward the end — even though I didn’t believe necessarily it as it was happening. I can’t explain much more of when I felt invested or else it would give the whole thing away but I was very emotional towards their relationship for REASONS.

3. The whole Bettina and Brady situation made me physically panicky: It was very hard to read about how Brady changes. You see how charming he is and how their relationship starts and it’s really sweet. And then I felt like I wanted to vomit each and every time we started to see this other side of Brady. I seriously felt tense and sick to my stomach when it came to Brady. I think the progression of their relationship was written very well because it definitely got to me as a reader and it felt so plausible. It wasn’t ever this huge, explosive thing but these little things that were just getting more and more aggressive and it made me sick how he could just laugh it off and Bettina could doubt herself. HOWEVER, as much as I think this was written very well, I feel conflicted as to how it was dealt with by the end. I felt like there weren’t any consequences for Brady AT ALL. And I know sometimes that is realistic but I kept having this nagging voice wanting SOMETHING a little more when it came to him.

4. Despite my concerns for Bettina and my empathy for sure, I never quite found her to be a character I thought about after: I really did feel for her and have major anxiety when it came to things going on her life but I always felt a bit of a distance from her. She just never really leaped off the page even though her story definitely did…if that makes ANY sense at all.

a6RATING-LIKED

factors+ page-turning, got me emotionally invested, felt unique in lots of ways
–  lack of true connection to MC, never truly felt the romance with Cowboy,


Re-readability
: More than likely not to be honest.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Because it wasn’t a favorite/I wouldn’t read it, no. But I’m contemplating buying this for my 17 year old niece for her birthday because I think she’d dig it.

a5people who like books that are a bit more dramatic and pretty damn emotional, people interested in books that feature a more unique relationship (a significantly older guy), readers who don’t shy away from a book where abuse happens, people looking for books that deal with family, readers wanting a POC main character

a8This book hooked me for sure with its emotional intensity and drama. From the Brady situation to the budding romance with Cowboy, an older guy, I couldn’t stop turning the pages because I was nervous for Bettina and how all this would turn out. I felt emotionally devastated by the end and wasn’t sure WHAT to think about the ending in certain ways. I wished for more in different areas –actually FEELING the thing with Cowboy, wishing for a less flat MC — but I can’t deny that I was sucked in.

 

review-on-post-it

The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor

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?
* Did anyone else wish the whole Brady thing was a little more wrapped up? I just…I could see it being realistic that way but maybe I just wanted some sort of justice or responsibility or something?
* Was I the only one who wasn’t shipping Bettina and Cowboy (and not even because of age for me)?? I liked their relationship but never felt how this romance happened.


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Book Talk: Life By Committee by Corey Ann Haydu

Book Talk: Life By Committee by Corey Ann HayduLife By Committee by Corey Ann Haydu
Published by Katherine Tegan on May 2013
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: Making Pretty
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

Tabitha has been ditched by her friends who think she’s suddenly changed just because she’s gotten bigger boobs and become a bit of a beauty. She’s dealing with mean rumors at school. Her parents are having a baby. And the boy she thinks she is in love with (whom she’s sure shares the same feelings)  and has been secretly hooking up with? He has a girlfriend. It’s almost serendipitous that she finds this online community called Life By Committee to share her secret relationship with. The rules? If you share a secret, you will be given an assignment to compete within  a certain amount of time that ensures YOUR secret is kept safe. The assignments give Tab a chance to do things, related to her secrets, that she would never do on her own — a chance to take risks and be bold — until they assignments toe the line of causing absolute havoc in her life and the lives around her.

a2HOLY SHIT. *sends frantic g-chat to April saying,  “LIFE BY COMMITTEE. Read that shit!”

a4WOW. This book. It was as addictive as it was powerful and thought-provoking. I’m going to have a hard time talking about this one. You should know it made my top ten books of 2014 so far…that’s how much I loved it!

Here’s what you need to know:

1. I FREAKING LOVED EVERY MOMENT OF IT. Everything about this book was just flawless for me and MAN Corey Ann Haydu can WRITE. The things I need for a book to really stand out were in this book. It was complex, beautifully written, gripping and thought-provoking. Honestly I’m really frustrated because I don’t have the words to explain what an EXPERIENCE this book was.

2. The story nor the characters are of the “neat and tidy bow” variety: The main character, Tabitha, is not always someone you like and you are going to cringe often because of her though, actually at her core, I really LIKED her. We would be friends despite me not liking her actions sometimes. I mean, there is cheating and Tabitha KNOWS the guy  has a girlfriend and she does it anyway. Some of the decisions made because of the Committee are going to infuriate you. The story is not always black and white and Tabitha is just trying to figure it all out because life is not so simple always. I could feel myself wanting to SHOUT about things but, in my heart, I could UNDERSTAND things — the way Tabitha is acting because of how she’s been treated at school, how alone she felt in not yielding to what people wanted her to be, etc.  But it was such a raw portrait of how we as humans deal with the mistakes we’ve made in life. It’s messy and complicated and imperfect and I LOVED IT. And it just isn’t Tabitha that but also some of the secondary characters…and they just were all such so ALIVE and complex..just the way I like it. Lots of learning and picking up the pieces to the messes you’ve made — not just for Tabitha but for other characters.

3. The concept was TOTALLY original! Secret online society? HELL YEAH: I was fascinated by the idea of this online community from the initial idea of it — a community that would keep your deepest secrets, but in return for telling a secret, you would get an assignment related to that secret and HAD to complete what they told you to do or all your secrets would be shared. I totally felt how exhilarating this new community was as someone who has gotten sucked into MANY online communities. There’s that camaraderie. That obsessive logging in and just being OBSESSED WITH IT. I was always dying to know what assignment would be given next. I could totally understand Tabitha’s interest in being bold and DOING things which is what the assignment’s were supposed to do — push the limits with whatever situation you were dealing with. It was exciting and I think, at the core, it was supposed to be super empowering. But then you see what happens when other people start dictating your life for you and how maybe that isn’t a good thing especially as some of the assignments get a little bit out of hand and could have some really lasting effects.

4. Seriously, this book was addictive and unpredictable in the best way possible. You’ll be reading faster and faster because you want to know what is going to happen next with Tabitha’s missions and then a point came where something happens and it was VERY MUCH an “OMG” moment for me because I sat STRAIGHT up from my lounging position (to which Will laughed and said, “Shit must have gotten REAL in your book.” and I was FRANTICALLY flipping back through the whole book to see THINGS.

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+ writing, plot, characterization, addictive factor…really it has it ALL.
NADA

Re-readability: I already want to read it again!!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Absolutely!

a5people who don’t mind characters who make big mistakes and are super unlikeable at times, contemporary YA lovers who like messy & complicated stories, people who like smart & thought-provoking books

a8

Corey Ann Haydu’s Life by Committee is one of my favorite books I’ve read so far this year. It’s addictive, well-written and the way in which it constructs and deconstructs these characters just drives home the fact that PEOPLE and interactions are complex and life is messy. There are a lot of really thought-provoking themes that kept me up late at night that are woven together brilliantly with the page-turning plot that never became predictable. Highly recommend!

review-on-post-it

Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu

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?
* Did you find yourself sympathizing with Tabitha or no?
* Did you kind of LOVE the idea of this online community at first and then were like OH NO NO STOP?
* Were you SHOCKED by THE THING?


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Ashes to Ashes by Melissa C. Walker | Book Review

Ashes to Ashes by Melissa C. Walker | Book ReviewAshes to Ashes by Melissa C. Walker
Series: Ashes #1
Published by Katherine Tegan on December 2013
Genres: Paranormal YA, Supernatural 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!

three-stars

 

 

 

book synopsis Callie dies in a tragic accident and finds herself in the afterlife which is not at all what she pictured. She’s stuck in a realm called the Prism which is where one goes after they die and before they go to heaven. The point of being at the Prism is that you learn to move on and let go of your former life and help the loved ones you left behind to heal and be at peace. Her guide Thatcher helps her to deal with her feelings and tries to help her learn about the Prism and the whole haunting process on earth. She struggles to see her dad, best friend and boyfriend in so much pain and she has a hard time letting go. Soon she meets some ghosts who are angry and have not yet moved yet and they will do whatever they can to stay on Earth. The things they tell Callie conflict with what Thatcher has told her and she struggles with letting go and moving on or trying to cling to her old life.

good books to read I’m familiar with the author’s contemporary novels, though I haven’t read them, and my interest was certainly piqued to learn she was writing something a bit more supernatural. The premise seemed interesting to me because I’m fascinated by “after life” kind of stories so I picked it up when I was in a pretty bad reading slump. My feeling overall was that it was an “okay” to “good” book but it was perfect to get me out of my reading slump because it’s so out of what I normally read. I read it all in one day and just COULD NOT STOP. It’s hard to explain because I know that it sucked me in but it wasn’t necessarily because it completely blew me away. I’ll break it down:

Things I enjoyed

 + the world building: I was very fascinated by Melissa’s version of the afterlife. After you die, you kind of hang in this balance and you are supposed to “haunt” your loved ones to help them move on and then you move on yourself. The way Melissa wrote the afterlife just completely set the mood and I enjoyed learning how the “moving on” process went and how things work in the Prism. We learn everything through Callie’s guide, Thatcher, and it really started to get interesting when some characters emerged who DIDN’T move on and started telling Callie conflicting things from what Thatcher was telling her. I kept wanting to figure out the truth and see if Thatcher was keeping things from her about the whole process.

+ Callie’s own moving on story: Callie’s death actually became more devastating to me as she went and haunted her old life. The scene with her dad really choked me up. Even though Callie was a bit much to handle for me personally, I did cut her some slack because of the fact she’s dead and has to watch her old life  — especially when she starts to find out something about someone close to her. I enjoyed watching her try to grapple with the fact that she’s in this afterlife and decide what to do with the information she’s presented with. Her emotions were very strong and I couldn’t even imagine having to watch your loved ones mourn you and feel so connected to your life. It got even more complicated when she starts hanging out with some of rebel type ghosts because we watch her struggle with the idea of moving on or staying like that forever so she can be “a part” of her old life still in a way and not let go of it. ALSO, part of the story was that Callie seems to have more energy and be a bit “special” comparatively to the others. THAT was pretty interesting and I was dying to find out why.

+ how the ending sets up for book 2: MAN. Game changer kind of ending and I think the story has the ability to be super interesting because THINGS.

Things that were MEH

+ the pacing: While I was interested in the worldbuilding personally, it was just very uneven. It was pretty slow moving in the beginning, which I don’t even mind, but it seemed like the end just because VERY break neck. All of this info came at us and all of these things happened and there was just so much. Wish it had been a little more even. I was intrigued from the beginning so I was committed but it definitely had pacing issues.

+ Callie: I couldn’t figure that girl out. It was hard to get a sense of who she was before and all I knew of her was what we got to know in her time of grief when she was dead. I didn’t feel like she was all that developed for my taste and I really didn’t like connect with her. I think her confusion and grief over dying stood out to me and leapt off the page but that’s about it. Something was off with her voice but I couldn’t even begin to try and explain that. I also found her very naive in ways to an almost unbelievable point. I mean, CLEARLY there was something different with her and she just shrugged it off.

+ The ending: As much as I said I LIKED it up there because of the potential it brought with it, I totally had an inkling about it and thought it was maybe a bit predictable.

book reviewsAshes to Ashes was the sort of book I needed to get me out of my rut because it was a different kind of read for me being paranormal. I read it all in one day because I was fascinated by this version of the afterlife and thought the mood of the afterlife and Callie’s grieving was written really well. However, there were things that definitely detracted from the story like pacing and Callie herself in ways. I wouldn’t say this is a MUST READ but I found it to be an entertaining read. I’ll be reading the conclusion to this duet for sure though!

short book review

Ashes to Ashes Melissa C Walker

for-fans-of-book
afterlife stories, books like Touching The Surface & The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg, paranormal/supernatural books

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? If you read it, what did you think? Did you find the setup of the afterlife interesting? Did you guess the ending? Any predictions for book 2? Have any of you read any of Melissa Walker’s contemporary novels and do you think I’d like them?


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

three-stars
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