Series Send Off: Something Strange & Deadly series by Susan Dennard

Check out past Series Send Off posts in which I finish the last book in a series & chat about it plus introduce new readers to the series with my general & non-spoilery thoughts about the series as a whole!

I do this weird thing where sometimes I hold off reading the last book of series I love — especially if I’ve waited the time in between rather than binge reading. It’s a weird thing. I KNOW. It’s a combo of 1) I just don’t want things to end and 2) also I get afraid because I’ve been let down in series before.   I had read the first two books a while ago and finally had the guts to finish it!

 

 Goodreads // Amazon

 

Upon finishing the series I say to all of you who haven’t started the series:

 

This would make such a good series to binge read because it’s ridiculously action-packed and you’ll want to compulsively read it. And it honestly truly feels different than a lot of series out there! It’s this great mix of magic and adventures (holy great settings to have these adventures in) and steampunk goodness. So action packed, too! The stakes get higher and higher in each book and things get even more real! Necromancers! Armies of the dead! Really intense baddies! Magic! Demons! What is going on in Book 1 is just a smaller sliver of the bigger picture of what is at work!

 

 

What The Series Is About:

It’s 1876 and the Dead are rising in Eleanor’s city of Philadelphia because of a necromancer who is hellbent on raising them. She finds out her brother’s disappearance could possibly be related to what is going on and, in her search for answers, finds herself spending time with a rag tag group called The Spirit Hunters who are also trying to track down this necromancer and stop all the madness! Together with the Spirit Hunters, Eleanor sets out to find her brother and stop the necromancer which proves to be a tough feat that sends them all over the world for answers and the chance to stop even worse things from happening.

 

 

Recommended For People Who Love:

steampunk, adventure novels, magic, zombie-lite type of books (if you are looking for like a really heavy classic zombie book this isn’t it…like the dead have risen but THEY aren’t the main focus), readers looking for action

 

 

Thoughts On Each Book

(Skip below to the next section or read my review for book 1 if you haven’t read the series yet!)

 

Something Strange & Deadly — You can read my full review of Something Strange and Deadly here but I just have to say, especially after finishing the series, this book is definitely the lighter of the 3 in terms of what is going on. Seriously the magic and things going on gets so much darker. And after thinking about this book I’m just like WOW WOW WOW look at the adventure they went on after the things they realize in book 1 and how those things were small in comparison to the scope of the rest of the series. LOVED this book…hold your butts for the adventure that goes on in the next 2. That’s all I’m saying. Also, LOVED that the setting was my stomping grounds of Philadelphia in the late 1800’s.

 

A Darkness Strange and Lovely: I personally didn’t think this book suffered from second book syndrome in the way that some other books do. It definitely did a lot of setting up for the epic and explosive book 3 but in a way that I felt natural because at the end of book 1 they are figuring out just what kind of shit Eleanor’s brother was really in and how much bigger it is. They are looking for answers and figuring things out in this book and trying to put an end to it all — without realizing just how dark it all is. Plus, we meet Ollie — a demon that changes things for Eleanor when he offers her magic and who is one of the greatest characters in this series. It creates a lot of interesting things between her and the Spirit Hunters but also I think Eleanor has a lot to grapple with as she uses it. You see her really change and test the limits of her own morals as she discovers what she can do and how she can use it. She wants to help and save her friends and put an end to the stuff going on. She has good intention but that kind of power doesn’t come with consequences. I loved the Paris setting and the action and the development of the story.

Strange and Ever After: WOW what an emotional, explosive and truly action-packed series conclusion! I loved that the stakes really and truly felt higher and more dangerous. Sometimes I feel like battles aren’t as tough in some series as I’d like them to be but this one truly made me feel how hard these characters fought. I truly felt like they were in danger as soon as they really figured out what they needed to do. That this battle they would inevitable have would cost them in ways. And I wasn’t wrong in that feeling as the gang faces Marcus in this book. Eleanor grows a lot — she isn’t always easy to like or get along with and she constantly pushes people away but she’s starting to realize her tendencies. Plus I think a lot of how she changes and grows is related to the power she possesses. It changes her and she has to figure that out — same with her friends — they don’t approve of it but also they recognize how it helps them. All these moral grounds they all have to work through.  I really loved how much we got to understand Ollie in this book. I love him so damn much. I will say the only thing that tripped me up during this book is that I felt like confused with some of the magic. Even more elements are added and even some Egyptian gods and stuff but I got so confused with some of the layers of it all.

I think the ending to the series is definitely polarizing but I found that I REALLY loved it.

View Spoiler »

 

 

 

Rating Broken Down By Books

Something Strange and Deadly

RATING-loved-it

A Darkness Strange and Lovely

RATING-reallyliked
Strange & Ever After

RATING-loved-it

 

And so I’m saying farewell to this series:

Farewell my spirit hunting, friends! Thank you for taking me on wild adventures and reminding me that, despite what you’ve gone through in life and how easy it is to push people away because of it, it’s better to embrace the people who genuinely want to love you. Thanks for allowing me to become part of your rag-tag, misfit unit of a family.

 

What did you think of the conclusion to this series if you’ve read it?? What did you think of the series overall?? If you haven’t read it, have I piqued your interest?

Book Talk: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Book Talk: Everything, Everything by Nicola YoonEverything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Published by Delacorte Books For Young Readers on September 1, 2015
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

Madeline hasn’t been able to leave her house for the past 18 years as she has a rare disease that basically makes her allergic to the world. The only people come in her house are her mom, nurse and sometimes a tutor who all have to undergo a long decontamination process. One day she looks out her window to see a family moving in and she makes eye contact with a boy her age. They start communicating from the window and email and she knows she’s falling in love and she knows it’s pretty impossible considering she’s stuck in her house.

a2WOW.

a4

I really liked this one but am having a hard time figuring out just WHAT to say about it. I want you to know that the main character has lived a bubble basically her life. She’s had this really super rare disease that basically makes her allergic to the world because they don’t know what triggers these deadly attacks to her body. She lives in her house with her mom and the only two people who come in besides her are her nurse and sometimes a tutor — and they have to go through major decontamination. I want you to know that she meets a boy that moves in next door and that they start talking via email. And they fall for each other. That’s what I want you to know. I don’t want to give any hints on if they end up together or how they have a relationship given her disease. I feel like any reactions I have will give too much away.

Things I’m willing to say: it’s such a cute and heartwarming book but also it’s deeply heartbreaking in ways. I loved how it explored how, once she tasted what having love and a boyfriend would be like and experienced things she never had, she could never go back to the life she had. I loved watching her trying to wrestle with that even though it hurt my heart — watching her realize all that she has missed out on and FEELING it.  I will also say the writing was excellent and I totally shipped them even though it felt like an impossible ship.

I have some conflicted feelings that I honestly keep waffling back and for towards regarding aspects to the ending but overall really enjoyed this!!

If you’ve read it, here’s what I’m going back and forth over. SPOILERS.

View Spoiler »

 

a6RATING-reallyliked

factors+ plot, writing, romance
–  unsure how I feel about a thing


a5contemporary YA fans, people looking for a romance that is unique

a8Everything, Everything is a book with a unique romance that felt impossible but I still totally shipped. I had a lot of FEELS for the main character and her situation especially as it played out. It was well written and I every much enjoyed that it wasn’t like anything I’ve really read before.

review-on-post-it

Everything Everything Nicola Yoon

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?
If you’ve read it, did you expect what happened?? (mark spoilers please)

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

Book Talk: Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center

Book Talk: Happiness for Beginners by Katherine CenterHappiness For Beginners by Katherine Center
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on March 2015
Genres: Adult Contemporary
Format: Paperback
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

Helen is 32, has been divorced for a year and just really wants to get her crap together and bounce back from this. When her younger brother, by 10 years, suggests a 3 week wilderness survival expedition she jumps on the opportunity as a way to get her life back on track and prove she can still be happy and strong after all this. What she doesn’t know is that her brother’s best friend, who she’s known since they were younger, is also going which Helen is not happy about because she wanted to be anonymous on this trip while she worked on her life. And when she gets there? The group is definitely not made up of the people she expects but they end up teaching her a lot about herself.

a2I need to start a 3 good things notebook — reminds me of something two of my friends did back and forth for quite a while!

a4This book had been raved about by a bunch of my friends — specifically Estelle and Anna. I am happy to report that I LOVED it. It was just what I needed to read right now where my particular headspace was at. It was funny but really hit these serious notes about growth and change that resounded within me so deeply. I found myself really reflecting about life while reading this and even after finishing it.

I loved the characters from the main ones to the more minor ones in her wilderness group.  JAKE JAKE JAKE ILU, man! They made me laugh and made me think. I feel like *I* learned a lot from them. I LOVED the romance as it wasn’t super typical. I totally shipped it. TOTALLY. And I also really loved the setting — I’m not the MOST outdoorsy girl but I do love the outdoors and I loved how we saw the wilderness and the beauty which contrasted with how grueling this program was.

I could go on and on about how excellent this book is and what I specifically liked about it but I want to touch on Helen’s journey because where I’m at right this moment? It hit me right in the feels. I am so the person who thinks I need to like Eat, Pray, Love my way out of a funk and change my life and BECOME HAPPIER.  I am all about FINDING MYSELF. I wouldn’t have signed up for a crazy outdoor thing like this but I am SO this type of person. I just always get caught up in thinking I need this life-changing experience to CHANGE or to grow/find myself/get out of my rut and be happy… when really, as Helen finds out, we can learn, cultivate happiness and grow in smaller ways (as well as these grand ways) when we shift our thinking about what happiness really is and how we can find it. I also am the type who gets really disappointed when said HUGE THING doesn’t produce the results I expected. I just SO understood where Helen was at to even contemplate doing this wilderness program so her journey resonated with me the whole way through. It kind of shook me at the core how entangled I felt in her journey.  I felt so proud of her and all she learned.

 There were some things about the book that were kind of predictable but it didn’t really affect how I felt about the book because of how much it entertained me and how much I feel like it really hit me on a personal level. The other thing is I SO wanted more wilderness stuff but it wasn’t like a problem if that makes sense?

a6RATING-beyondloved[Keep Reading]

Book Talk: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

Book Talk: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren GibaldiThe Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi
Published by HarperTeen on June 2015
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

Ella and Matt, the new bass player in her friend’s band, meet the summer before her senior year after she’s just been dumped by her boyfriend months before. The night they meet deviates from what it ought have been and turns into a fun and crazy night of “saying yes” with Matt and her best friends. Six months later Matt leaves town and none of them hear from him….until he’s back and standing in front of Ella wanting to explain why he disappeared and wanting to recreate the night they met to show her he’s worth a second chance — something Ella isn’t sure can happen after he broke her heart and just left them all.

a2SUPER CUTE! Also, it would be really fun to have a night of saying yes like they do in the book but I’d be careful who I choose to partake in that hahah

a4This book was so cute & such an enjoyable summer read! I absolutely devoured it!

Here’s what worked for me:

1. The fact that it’s set in that summer after graduation and before freshman year of college: I remember that summer being such a BIG summer for me. It held all these infinite possibilities and your head got carried away with dreaming and planning and imagining. But it also produced so much nostalgia within — even though you hadn’t left already things were starting to look and feel different to you. Everything felt SO significant — this is the last time we would all be here together and doing this before everything changed. There was also fear and anxiety of the unknown. All of this that I can remember so clearly these 11ish years later? This is what Lauren Gibaldi wrote SO well in The Night We Said Yes. I could feel all that pulsing through these characters.

[Keep Reading]

Book Talk: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

Book Talk: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah OcklerThe Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
Published by Simon Pulse on June 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: eARC
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

Elyse was on her way to a singing career with her twin sister when an accident took everything away from her — her voice. She decides to get away from her home in Tobago and goes to live with her aunt and cousin in a seaside town in Oregon. She meets Christian Kane — a notorious ladies man — who doesn’t treat her like she’s The Girl Who Can’t Talk and his adorable mermaid chasing little brother Sebastian and suddenly finds herself, in spite of her new fear of the ocean after the accident, in a high stakes boat race to fight for the town and the people in it she’s grown to love.

a2“Where’s my quote notebook? A few I need to add from this one!!”

a4

I think this one was so excellent and it was one of those books that got better to me after I finished it and thought about it a bit! It’s a contemporary Little Mermaid retelling but don’t let that scare you off if you don’t typically do retellings — it’s pretty loose on the retelling. I would say more INSPIRED BY. I honestly didn’t know until about half way through the book and would have probably never thought OOOH LITTLE MERMAID RETELLING.

Here’s what I enjoyed about it:

1. The idea of losing one’s voice: In the book the main character physically cannot speak anymore after an accident but throughout the book you see all sorts of people who have lost their voices to some degree. They can’t speak up. Elyse experiences the physical loss of her voice but throughout the story she really GAINS her real voice. I loved the exploration of ones voice — losing it, finding it, etc. It’s one of those books I really wish I read with a book club to TALK about this because I think this is something a lot of us can relate to.

2. The setting: Oh my gawwwwd you have no idea how badly I want to visit the Pacific Northwest now. It’s set in a teeny seaside town on the Oregon and the way Sarah wrote it is beyond gorgeous. I could envision it all and just found myself yearning to be there. VERY strong setting that really added so much!

3. The romance: One of the sweetest romances I’ve seen in a while. I loved it — their banter, the way they became friends first, the way they really got to see things in each other that they wouldn’t open up to others about. I didn’t think I was going Christian at all because he’s the town player that everyone has hooked up with but there’s definitely more to him but not in a super angsty “I’m just misunderstood/my tragedy made me this way” sort of way. He has depth and I really grew to like him.

4. The absolutely gorgeous writing: This is my 4th Sarah Ockler book and I think she’s an amazing writer but this book really stood out to me in the writing department. It’s just so BEAUTIFUL — I can’t even explain it. Lots of lines that just cause you to pause and really soak it in and beautiful descriptions that made me pause.

5. HELL YES STRONG WOMEN & FEMINISM: There are so many strong and flawed and amazing women in this novel. Elyse herself is amazing and I really enjoyed her as a character watching her fight through the hardest thing she’s ever been through and rebuilding her life after her dreams are taken from her. But then there are all these amazing ladies — Elyse’s aunt and cousin, Vanessa, Vanessa’s mom, etc. I just loved the strong women and how I could feel that pulse of feminism in this novel.

 

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+ characters, writing, romance, setting, plot, how it made me reflect about a lot of things
Nothing really..maybe that it took me a little to really get into it/care.

Re-readability: I would probably audio it sometime later in the future.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Probably not but making sure my library ordered it!

a5contemporary YA fans, readers looking for an amazing and absorbing setting, readers who are looking for a book that is equally as sweet as it is heart-wrenching.

a8I loved Elyse’s story so much and watching her find her voice again after a terrible accident and start living life after her dreams are shattered. It was an emotionally powerful journey with a vivid setting and a stirring romance.

review-on-post-itThe Summer of Chasing Mermaids review Sarah Ockler

 

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?

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

Book Talk: Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Book Talk: Yes Please by Amy PoehlerYes Please by Amy Poehler
Published by Dey St. on October 2014
Genres: Essays, Humor, Memoir, Non-fiction
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon
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’s part-memoir and part life lessons/advice from comedian Amy Poehler.

a2Can we be friends, Amy?? I mean, we don’t even have to be BEST friends but like I’d be down for being even like your second or third string friends.

a4I really like Amy Poehler and have heard good things about this one as far as celebrity memoir type books go so I decided to give this one a go. I really enjoyed reading it though I think, from all I’ve heard, I would have had an even BETTER experience if I had listened to the audio because apparently it’s amazing and she reads it and other comedians contribute to it as well (although in the book I loved some of the pages that had images on them which you obviously wouldn’t be able to SEE). It’s a really funny and wise book with warm personal memories and blunt wisdom.

I loved learning more about Amy’s career — how she started and what her path looked like. I loved getting a sense of her family and friends and just learning more about her as a person. I also really enjoyed these behind the scenes look at Hollywood and the fame scene — it was so fascinating! I especially loved learning who has inspired her and helped her along the way. I think fans of Amy Poehler will definitely love getting to know her on a more personal level. I know I definitely did!

I also really enjoyed that, in addition to being a memoir, it was littered with life lessons, advice and just really great insights/observations about life. I think she is an extraordinary woman and I love how real she is in this book. Loved so much of what she had to say! She’s living such a fun, crazy and authentic life and it’s inspiring. This was a good reminder just to have fun with life!

amy-3

I can’t say it was a favorite book by any means or that I walked away with crazy life-changing insight (though I did walk away like HELL YEAH STRONG, FEMINIST LADIES DOING AWESOME THINGS) but it was really enjoyable to “get to know” a celebrity you really like a bit better and see how she’s risen in comedy which has always been so male dominated which is so inspiring.

Some of my favorite quotes:

1. “Good for her! Not for me. That is the motto women should constantly repeat over and over again. Good for her! Not for me.”   <—- good life advice, ladies! Amy on women who make different life choices than us but she was specifically talking about childbirth and how she chose drugs rather than natural childbirth.

2. “Telling me to relax or smile when I’m angry is like bringing a birthday cake into an ape sanctuary. You’re just asking to get your nose and genitals bitten off.”   FOREVER LOLS but so true! I hate that!

3. “You have to be where you are to get where you need to go.”

4. “A person’s tragedy does not make up their entire life. A story carves deep grooves into our brains each time we tell it. But we aren’t one story. We can change our stories.”

5. “Change is the only constant. Your ability to navigate and tolerate change and its painful uncomfortableness directly correlates to your happiness and general well-being. See what I just did there? I saved you thousands of dollars on self-help books. If you can surf your life rather than plant your feet, you will be happier.”

6. “The only way we can get by in this world is through the help we receive from others. No one can do it alone, no matter how great the machines are.”  <— LOVED her whole essay on technology and being in the moment. It was everything I’ve been thinking lately but she was so poignant and spot on in saying it.

a6RATING-reallyliked

factors+ writing, entertainment value, Amy’s openness
–  some bits I kind of skimmed through because I wasn’t as interested

Re-readability: Probably not though I would be inclined to audiobook it from the library in the future.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? No (I only keep books I would reread or are favorites).

a5fans of Amy Poehler, people who want to read an actually good celebrity-written book

a8

I highly recommend if you are a fan of Amy Poehler — it’s a good mix of memoir and life wisdom and insight. I felt like I got to know her better as a person and came out respecting and loving her even more. It’s funny, charming and wise — much like Amy herself — and I appreciate how candid she was.  I’d recommend maybe doing it on audio unlike me because I’ve heard it’s an even better experience.

review-on-post-it

Yes Please by Amy Poehler book thoughts

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 celebrity written books have you enjoyed?

 

 


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

Book Talk: A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery

Book Talk: A Million Miles Away by Lara AveryA Million Miles Away by Lara Avery
Published by Poppy on July 7, 2015
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

When a girl loses her twin sister in an accident she is naturally devastated. She realizes that her sister’s boyfriend has no idea about her death because he is in Afghanistan on a tour. She has intentions of telling him but when she does get to connect with him she doesn’t have the heart to tell him, for a couple reasons, but mostly in that moment she sees how hard things have been over them for him. She lets him believe she’s her sister but lines start to blur when she starts to have real feelings for him.

a2Clueless gif

a4

The marketing copy says “for fans of Nicholas Sparks” and I have to say I felt like that was pretty accurate. It was definitely the emotional drama type read I needed for the pool and I breezed through it though I felt SICK to my stomach the whole time as I was reading and she strung this lie out. This is one of those books from the onset that you are like OH GIRL THIS IS A BAD IDEA. I mean, impersonating your dead twin to her boyfriend who is overseas in the military? EEP. ALERT ALERT. HORRENDOUSLY BAD IDEA.

The bad decision she makes doesn’t even bother me that much. I believed it. That sometimes in the moment, especially when grieving, you could make a really bad choice. I understood that it made her FEEL something to feel like she was doing something good for him and also kind of denying that her twin was gone in some ways. I understood how sometimes you get yourself tangled so badly in a lie that you don’t know how to get out of it with the least amount of damage. I was like OH GIRL STOP THIS but I couldn’t stop reading because I truly was invested in her grief and how the story would play out. I enjoyed watching the dynamics of her family as they were trying to grieve as well.

I was digging the book but then slowly my feelings started to wane as we get closer towards the end and things happen with the ~romance~ between Peter and Kelsey. I can’t explain it without spoilers so just know that how it all ended up made the difference from it being okay to my next notch up on the rating scale.

So here’s my super spoilery explanation for what irked me:

View Spoiler »

 

a6RATING-mixed
(I was going back and forth between it was okay and mixed feelings to be honest. But typically my “it was okay” doesn’t have me feeling such strong negative feelings about a big aspect).

factors+ how compulsively it made me read, writing, the grief explored & the family dynamics
–  THE ROMANCE, THE ENDING

Re-readability: no
Would I buy a copy for my collection? no

a5people looking for a Nicholas Sparks-esque book, people looking for a romantic beach read you’ll race through, people who aren’t bothered by predictability

a8It was no doubt a compulsive read that was perfect for the beach but I just really didn’t enjoy the romance and the ending even though I should have realized that it was going to be predictable. I did enjoy the story up until then and the grieving process she goes through really had me emotional.

review-on-post-it

a-million-miles-away

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 did you think about the ending if you’ve read it?? Mark spoilers in the comments please! :)

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

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
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: God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo

Book Talk: God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartoloGod-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark on 2002
Genres: Adult Contemporary
Format: Paperback
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

Beatrice is a 29 year old living in Los Angeles where she makes high end jewelry and dates casually. She comes across a personal ad saying, ““If your intentions are pure I am seeking a friend for the end of the world”  and on a whim answers it — something she’s never done. This leads her to Jacob Grace — a 30-something free-spirited writer who is so full of life and passion. There’s a spark between the two that ignites a passionate romance between two people who have big ambitions and dreams that propel them forward away from the dads that have abandoned them.

a2crying-gif-24

a4

Wow. It’s been a while since a book had me up reading until 2AM and then rendered me unable to fall asleep until 4am because I was just feeling a lot of feelings that wouldn’t shut off. Thanks Estelle and Ginger for this solid rec and I’m only sorry I didn’t listen sooner when you told me years ago!

I don’t want to say a lot about this book although from the official summary on the book you can get a sense of it. It was a love story that kind of took my breath away from its whirlwind nature to start and its ability to be this quiet, fly-on-the-wall view of two people who are just falling deeply and madly in love and how energizing and all consuming that is — the attraction and sex, the intimacy in revealing who you are through your history and your secrets and your every day habits. There is beauty in that unraveling of layers that comes when you start to really KNOW someone. It’s exhilarating even in the quiet and mundane of daily life as habits and routines in the relationship set in. It just felt so real and like romantic in the normalcy of it? Reminded me how there’s just something so magical and romantic in your own love story.

It’s a book you are pretty certain you know how it’s going to end from the first page pretty much (especially if you read the summary on the book) but it takes your breath away anyways and knocks you flat on your ass like you never saw it coming. Like get-out-of-your-bed-in-the-wee-hours-of-the-morning-to-go-cry-in-the-bathroom-so-your-husband-doesn’t-hear-your-wracking-sobs never saw it coming at the end. I had this mounting dread and tension as I read wondering whether or not what is dropped in front of your face in the beginning had any bearing on the story or how it could be interpreted.

It’s the kind of book that reminds you of the most exuberant and thrilling feelings you can feel in this life mingled with the most bone-crushing and soul-shattering ones we know we are destined to feel at some point in this life. The weight of all that honestly made me curl up in a ball and cry in bed. I didn’t know how I felt —  maybe contemplative, depressed, thankful, understood, small, distraught, in love with life? Other things I couldn’t put into words?

 From a non-feels standpoint, I also really LOVED the writing and the voice. It felt refreshing and it was funny, too! I wish it hadn’t been the libraries copy because there were sooo many passages I just wanted to dog-ear.

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+ writing, feels, characters, romances
nothing

Re-readability: Yes!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Yes I want to dog-ear the crap out of it!

a8It’s a magnificent love story but it’s so much more. It’s about longing to be understood, loneliness, finding your path in life that fulfills you and the way we all go about filling up that void, or that “God-shaped hole”, inside us all that yearns for so many things. So many poignant things in this book. So many emotions felt. I will be thinking about this for a long time.

review-on-post-it

god-shaped-hole

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?

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

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