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You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation
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Beier, Ernest G. Beier
The Deepest Night (The Sweetest Dark, #2) - Shana Abe See more of my reviews at We Live and Breathe BooksI can’t even begin to express how well The Deepest Night follows The Sweetest Dark. If you read my review of The Sweetest Dark, you’d know that I loved it. With how much I loved it, The Sweetest Dark was a hard act to follow; however, The Deepest Night did not disappoint.The Deepest Night picks up the story not very long after the end of the first book. Because most of the plot line for this follow-up either spoils the first book or this one, I can’t go into too much detail about the plot, but this story is filled with action. During The Deepest Night, Lora finishes up her year at Iverson and, however reluctantly, joins Armand at his family home as a nurse for the military hospital he established there. Through various events, Lora and Armand are off, venturing into the warfront. The way this story twists and turns kept me so interested in what was going to happen. I found myself worrying about whether or not Lora and Armand would make it out alive and accomplish their goal. Shana Abé perfectly mixes such action packed scenes with sweet and heartfelt ones, allowing a wonderful story to unfold with characters that feel so real.Just like in the first book, I LOVE LORA. Lora is just so great. While still being her sassy and strong self, Lora grows a lot in this story. The reader begins to see a more thoughtful and caring side to her. While in the first book she was mostly concerned about herself, she is not learning how to be fully conscious to the people around her and how her actions may affect them. Then there’s Armand. In the first book, I didn’t really love Armand. I didn’t hate him, but he definitely didn’t strike me as a wonderful character. In The Deepest Night, however, he definitely grew on me. I started to see who he truly was, rather than the duke’s son who needs to get what he wants, and how deep his emotions ran. It was a refreshing change from his character in the first book.Overall, there is really nothing I would change about The Deepest Night. Shana Abé creates such wonderful characters in a wonderful world filled with wonderful mythology through wonderful writing. Not only is the plot interesting, but also the way she paces all the events is absolutely perfect. If you haven’t started reading this series yet, I highly recommend that you pick up The Sweetest Dark and delve into the world of the drákon.
Grumpy Cat: A Grumpy Book - Grumpy Cat I got this book in the gift shop at the Art Institute of Chicago and it is the most amazing book ever. I've always loved Grumpy Cat, but this book just brings it to a whole new level. The combination of Grumpy Cat memes and tips on how to be grumpy are hilarious. I laughed pretty much the whole time. I definitely recommend this to everyone in the world. It is beyond perfect.
The Boy on the Bridge - Natalie Standiford See more of my reviews at We Live and Breathe BooksThe Boy on the Bridge follows a college girl named Laura, who is visiting Communist Russia as part of a study abroad program. Laura was fascinated by Russian history when she was young, but once she’s studying there, she’s disenchanted by all the government restrictions and how little the dramatic history of the country came through. Until she meets Alyosha (aka the boy on the bridge). When Alyosha saves her from a gypsy attack, Laura gradually grows closer to him. At first they just meet up for coffee so Alyosha can show Laura around Leningrad, the city she’s staying in, and so she can practice her Russian, but as the story progresses, their love story unravels.I received an uncorrected proof of The Boy on the Bridge at Book Expo America this past June, and I didn’t really know what to expect from it. I thought the cover was pretty (Russia, cool!) and the blurb seemed sort of interesting, although quite clichéd. When I started reading this book, I wasn’t especially pulled into the story. Sure, it wasn’t bad, but I wasn’t eager to read it either. Through most of the book I was in this state of apathy. Only at the end did I get really into it and eager to see the fate of the characters.Laura, for one, was very bland. She was this American girl here to study Russian and ended up dating some handsome Russian stranger, which was predictable at best. Of course, this was in the premise of the story, so it’s fine – there’s nothing wrong with that. It was just the way that she immediately saw him as this savior who embodied the spirit of Russia. It was so… ugh. She didn’t even think it was strange that a perfect stranger came up to her, saved her, and gave her his number. It was baffling, especially given that, as Laura herself acknowledges throughout the story, the KGB often arrested citizens for fraternizing with foreigners. Then Laura starts skipping classes and breaking rules to see Alyosha more, jeopardizing her studies. That, I just couldn’t stand. Maybe it’s just me, but I would never give up on my education or risk expulsion just to see some random guy I won’t see when I go back home. It was just absurd.Then there was Alyosha, who I didn’t particularly care for either. It was sweet how he spent all his time showing Laura around and teaching her about the culture, but he was too… nice. He was always like, “Yay, Laura! I’m so happy to see you!” and his life just revolved around her. It seemed so fake. Probably the biggest downfall of The Boy and the Bridge, for me, is that the romance could have been so much more. I like a romance that makes me feel like I’m in love along with the couple, but this one just didn’t do anything for me. The relationship was so abrupt – they never argued or had encounters that tested their relationship, they were just all lovey dovey for no apparent reason. There were also parts throughout the story that just didn’t seem tied up in the end, which always bugs me. For non-spoilery example, we never find out what happened with Tanya or how Alyosha has an apartment all to himself. Then there are parts that just seem random. At one point, Laura and her classmates are at a bar and she randomly asks them if they think the soldiers have inner lives and they talk about souls. It was just a weird conversation to have.On the other hand, Natalie Standiford does a great job immersing the reader into Communist Russia. In all my past history classes, the only touches on communism were to talk about were wars related to communism and attempts to end communism. Getting to see into the everyday life of communism was really interesting. The way Standiford had the characters explain the general dissatisfaction with the state of society and how the government could do whatever it wanted was so shocking. I loved how authentic it all felt – the character’s reactions, the living arrangements, the food, everything. Overall, I didn’t quite find The Boy on the Bridge spectacular, but it was far from bad. The historical aspect definitely stood out to me as positive, and I feel that I’ve learned a lot about the time period by reading this book. Unfortunately, the plot kind of just fell through for me. I wasn’t gripped by the story or the characters, so it didn’t really leave a huge impression on me – I didn't even care what happened to them until the very end. However, if you’re interested in how life was in Communist Russia, I definitely recommend it. Although the romance is rather, for lack of a better word, lame, the world is so interesting that it’s worth the read.
Searching for Tomorrow - Kathryn M. Crane Check out the cover reveal and an interview with Katie Mac at We Live and Breathe Books!
Stolen Away - Alyxandra Harvey Check out more of my reviews at We Live and Breathe Books.I got Stolen Away as a Kindle daily deal – I was so intrigued by the blurb that I had to have it. Eloise Hart is just a normal girl who likes to fly under the radar. One day when she’s at the ice cream parlor with her friends, a strange boy in medieval dress kneels in front of her and tells her that she needs to go with him or “the others” will find her. Of course, Eloise is totally freaks out and leaves. As it turns out, Eloise’s aunt Antonia was married to the King of Faery, Lord Strahan, and Strahan wants to lure Antonia back to the world of Faery with Eloise as bait. Soon, Eloise gets captured and it’s up to her friends to try to save her.Stolen Away is told from alternating point of views between Eloise and Jo. Although I found both girls to be charming, their voices were very similar and I found it a bit confusing sometimes. When the girls were separated, it was fine because of how different their situations were, but when they were together, I could barely follow who was saying what because of the “she said” and “I said”s. Jo’s story seems to center around her romance. Jo’s romance was cute, but it was really rushed, even more so than Eloise’s. Jo sees this gorgeous stranger at a party, but doesn’t get a chance to talk to him. One day while she’s at a coffee shop, said stranger appears and she starts getting to know him. Of course, when I say, “getting to know him,” I’m using this rather loosely. Jo ends up bringing this guy to her family’s farm and kissing him before she even knows his name. In fact, he actually shows up at her farm later on and they kiss some more and she still doesn’t know his name after this encounter. Once she finally knows his name, she insists that she loves him. Sounds a bit like my favorite Pixar dog… But seriously. After they actually get to know each other, the romance grew on me a lot more. In between seeing this boy, Jo is supposed to be helping her friend escape from the Faery Rath in which she is trapped. Jo is surprisingly resourceful when it comes to finding her friend, but she’d probably do a better job if she weren’t obsessed with her handsome stranger.On the other hand, Eloise’s story is a lot more action packed. Her story follows how she’s trapped in Strahan’s Faery Rath and how she finds out about the Faery world and her aunt’s part in it. Through Eloise’s point of view, the reader finds out most of the mythology in this book. Although the mythology is interesting, it’s thrown at the reader a bit too fast. Like Jo, Eloise had a romance, but hers was much briefer. Eloise’s romance was so sweet and made me giddy. I wish there had been more of this romance. The ending of Stolen Away, while finishing the actual conflict of the story, seemed to need more. I wish there had been a few more chapters to explain how everything turns out rather than the few pages of epilogue we get right after the conflict is resolved. It was just too brief. After investing myself in the plot and the characters, I just wanted more from the ending. Honestly, I would love to see a sequel. With a second book, Stolen Away would definitely move up to 4 stars for me. Overall, I really wanted to enjoy Stolen Away more than I did, but it was just too brief. This book had so much potential with its story, but it lacked the follow through and elaboration I was looking for. However, I would still recommend this story for someone looking for a fun paranormal story with interesting faery mythology.Rating: 3.5 stars
SYLO - D.J. MacHale See more of my reviews at We Live and Breathe BooksWhen looking through the author signings for Book Expo America, I stumbled upon SYLO and thought it sounded interesting. So, naturally, I went to the signing and got a copy.SYLO follows Tucker Pierce, a high school freshman living in a small town on Pemberwick Island. At the beginning of SYLO, Tucker is warming the bench at a football game when one of the players, Marty Wiggins, mysteriously drops dead at the end of the game.“It was the night of the death.The first death.And it was only the beginning.”Creepy, right? So, at that point I was pretty interested in finding out how all this foreshadowing was going to turn out, especially after a special branch of the Navy called SYLO invades Pemberwick Island and shuts off all connection to the outside world. Of course, things only get weirder from there. As much as I was interested in finding out what was happening on Pemberwick Island, I found that SYLO dragged a lot for me. Yes, I wanted to know about SYLO and the battles in the sky. Yes, I wanted to know what Tucker and his friends were going to do to get off Pemberwick Island. What I didn’t care about was all of the action chases and explosions. The funniest thing about it is that if you asked me in the beginning of the book, I would have told you that there was not enough elaboration on the sky battles, but nearing the end of the book, there was just too much. The entire second to last chapter is just explosions and turn this way, turn that way. That chapter almost made me abandon SYLO when I had less than 50 pages left. Of course, maybe I’m wrong about the explosions being in excess. I suppose some people would like that sort of thing. Besides excess, I found it a bit pedantic and mechanical, focusing a lot on directions and how the ships and planes worked rather than aesthetics of the action. There were a lot of very specific terms thrown out there that seemed unnecessary.As for the characters, none of them really stood out to me as wonderful characters, but they didn’t bother me either. I enjoyed watching Tucker grow from lacking confidence and always playing it safe to a boy with confidence who takes risks. The only thing that notably bothered me about Tucker was that sometimes his narration didn’t match his character. I just don’t see Tucker Pierce using “for” as a conjunction. Just, no. What I very much liked seeing was Tucker interact with Tori.Yea… I ship that.In the end, I was mildly annoyed. When SYLO ended, I felt like I knew very little more than I had 300 pages prior. The whole book, Tucker and his friends don’t know what’s going on, and guess what – at the end, they still don’t really know what’s going on. They know what’s not going on, but they don’t exactly know anything about SYLO or what is going on with Pemberwick Island’s quarantine. Overall, I enjoyed parts of SYLO, but some of it moved really slow for me and made me generally less enthusiastic about the book. The story wasn’t bad, by any means – I certainly enjoyed it enough to read book two, Storm, when it comes out – I just didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped to and it wasn’t one of my favorite books I’ve read as of late. However, I would definitely recommend this to people who like science fiction and a lot of action.
Branded (Sinners, #1) - Abi Ketner,  Missy Kalicicki See more of my reviews at We Live and Breathe BooksWhen I found Branded, I immediately bought it after reading the concept – I was really intrigued by a society that literally brands people for their sins. Branded definitely did not disappoint me.The society of Branded is crazy. I could never have imagined something like Lexi’s society until I read this. In Branded, the Commander calls the shots. He can make whatever rules he wants for whatever reason he wants and doesn’t have to explain. The Commander thought the seven deadly sins were the reason for all the bad things in the world, so anyone accused of a sin was branded and sent off to the Hole, the place where all sinners are forced to live. Just for being accused. There’s no trial – any one accused of sinning is assumed guilty and branded. That’s precisely how Lexi ends up there.Branded follows Lexi when she is accused of lust and thrown into the Hole. When Lexi goes into the Hole, she has pretty much given up on life. After her whole family either abandons or betrays her, Lexi is left very meek and feeling like no one cares about her. I absolutely loved watching Lexi evolve throughout the story. While she starts out accepting her fate even though she was wrongly accused, Lexi grows to be a confident girl with the will to survive and get out of the Hole.While Lexi’s actions and developments felt so real, Cole, the guard assigned to watch and protect her, was kind of all over and never fully made sense to me. From the beginning of the story, Cole is nice to Lexi for what seems like no reason. Instalove? It’s the only possibility I can think of for him caring for her so much almost immediately after they met. Even though this didn’t make sense to me, I really loved Cole. The way he cared for Lexi through everything was so sweet. This was definitely a romance that made my fingers all tingly and filled me with joy, although there were a few corny lines. I was especially happy for Lexi finally finding someone who truly cared for her and made her happy when her life had been so dismal. The romance wasn’t the only aspect of Branded that evoked emotion in me. Throughout the entire story the reader gets tastes of the trauma that Lexi went through before being thrown into the Hole. My heart absolutely broke when I found out exactly what that trauma was (and it was by no means predictable!). Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki did a phenomenal job expressing Lexi’s emotion. When Lexi was scared, I was scared; when she was desperate, I could feel her desperation deep down to my core. Branded threw me through so many emotions that I didn’t expect. It made me laugh, it made me smile, it made me cry – it was just wonderful.One thing that was sort of disturbing but completely necessary to the world building was the violence in the Hole. Not only are sinners branded and sent to live in the Hole, they’re also treated as though they aren’t human beings. Like the Commander does whatever he wants in the society, the guards do whatever they want in the Hole. Without protection by a guard, a pretty, young girl like Lexi, branded for lust, would be attacked by anyone, including the guards. The Hole is a place of chaos with no rules. The people living in the Hole have been reduced to nothing and they act that way. There was so much violence and death in Branded, but it shows exactly how unhinged and desperate the people who live there are.The end of Branded wasn’t quite a cliffhanger, but it definitely left me wanting more of Lexi and Cole’s story – I absolutely cannot wait to find out what happens to their world after the events of the book. I saw one of the “twists” at the end coming, but I think it was just me trying to figure out how a twist could work in rather than the twist actually being obvious. Overall, I really loved Branded. There were some minor mistakes in the Kindle copy I had (sider instead of spider, on instead of in, etc.), but nothing that took away from the story. I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for an emotional journey through such an intriguing dystopia.
The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns, #1) - Rae Carson See more of my reviews at We Live and Breathe BooksOh, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, how I have loved thee.What makes this book just so different from anything else I have ever read is the religious aspect. Elisa’s whole life centers on her being the bearer of the Godstone – a stone that appeared in her navel from a ray of light on her name day. Now, this all might sound a little strange, but believe me when I tell you that the way Elisa’s religion and status as bearer weaves its way through this story is truly remarkable. From the history of Godstone bearers to different forms of her religion, Carson masterfully created a believable and well thought out religion on which Elisa’s society was built.And that brings us to Elisa. There’s something so wonderful about how Carson jumps right into the insecure mind of our main character, Elisa, from the very first page of this book. At the start, we know that Elisa is a young and coddled princess, but she grows tremendously by the end of the book. Elisa is so different from main characters I’ve read in other books in a way that I could actually relate to her more. Elisa loves to eat, and I am not using the word loves lightly. Moreover, she’s fat. The fact that Elisa is fat actually drives a lot of her character in the beginning of the story. Elisa worrying about her weight and what a cute guy thinks of her appearance is so normal for a 16-year-old girl, and it made me love her so much more. One of my favorite lines:If my gown isn’t going to fit anyway, I might as well soothe my pounding head and rumbling stomach with a warm pastry.A girl after my own heart – couldn’t have said it better myself. Of course, weight is not the only thing driving Elisa – there’s also the Godstone and how she must fulfill her act of service to God as a chosen bearer. Throughout The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Elisa struggles with her faith and how everyone thinks they know what God’s will is while she remains utterly clueless. Elisa truly evolves through her search to figure out what she is meant to do, allowing her to learn how to act on her own and building her confidence.Don’t call my name, don’t call my name… Alejandrooooooo. Ok, now that I’ve gotten that out my system, onto the lovely king to whom Elisa is married at the beginning of The Girl of Fire and Thorns. There really isn’t much to say about Alejandro’s personality: he’s indecisive, weak, and shady, but also quite friendly at the same time. His relationship with Elisa isn’t much – in the beginning, he tells her he wants to be friends, but he is largely absent, barely giving Elisa the time of day. At the same time, the way he conducts himself allows Elisa to grow into her role as Queen. Because Alejandro is indecisive, Elisa learns a bit about leading, and because he pays no attention to her, Elisa learns that what he thinks of her doesn’t really matter in the long run – she must do what she needs to do in order to rule and fulfill her act of service.Now we have the guy who actually cares about Elisa: Humbeurto. From the moment we meet Humbeurto, we see him caring for Elisa and protecting her. The only downfall about Humbeurto, for me, was that we only really see him as a person who revolves around Elisa. We know he’d do anything for Elisa and all that, but there isn’t a lot of any of his other motivations (besides revenge). However, the fact that Humbeurto loves Elisa to such an extent and that he defends her not only to physical harm, but also to her doubts, allows Elisa to feel powerful.Cosmé, on the other hand, works against Elisa for much of the book. Cosmé constantly looks down on Elisa, belittling her. Despite the way she antagonizes Elisa, the two become friends. Cosmé’s nagging at Elisa becomes motivation for Elisa to work harder and prove herself. I was really surprised by how much I grew to like Cosmé. If someone had told me I would like her by the end when I first met her in the book, I would have laughed. Hysterically. But Cosmé becomes so much more than Elisa’s hand maiden who she doesn’t trust – she becomes someone Elisa can rely on, someone she trusts whole-heartedly.Another interesting character is Ximena, who is largely a mystery to both Elisa and the reader throughout The Girl of Fire and Thorns. Ximena is Elisa’s nurse and the closest thing Elisa has ever had to a mother. Ximena will do anything for what she believes is best for Elisa or Elisa’s protection. Ximena is so devoted to Elisa; their bond, so sweet.Of course, there’s the matter of a war and crazy Inviernos out to take over Joya d’Arena. The Inviernos are crazy. I know if I was Elisa, I would be terribly frightened by them, but she stands her ground. How Carson describes the battle scenes is wonderful, adding drama and suspense and making the reader anxious to know the outcome.Overall, I truly loved The Girl of Fire and Thorns. It’s original premise and wonderful character building truly pulled me in and made this an unforgettable read.
Trail of Dead - Melissa F. Olson See more of my reviews at We Live and Breathe BooksBecause I wasn't quite as drawn in as I was with Dead Spots, but it was still a great continuation of the series, I'm giving this one 4.5/5 stars.After buying Dead Spots as a Kindle Daily Deal and absolutely loving it, I was anxiously awaiting Trail of Dead – with the ending of the first Scarlett Bernard book, it’s a miracle I made it until the release! I was very happy after reading Trail of Dead – with action, mystery, sarcasm, and subtle romance, it did not disappoint! *For the sake of keeping this spoiler free for both Dead Spots and Trail of Dead, I will be using “the villain” in place of a particular character’s name.At the beginning of Trail of Dead, I was anxiously waiting to see what the villain had in store for us, and the mystery was set up almost right away. I loved the way the mystery of this book built because it gave me the sense of the way Scarlett and the other characters were trying to evaluate all the information and figure out what was going on. Another great aspect of this book was the psychology of the characters. Scarlett went through a lot in Dead Spots, and this was not forgotten in book two of the series – Scarlett is still recovering from some of the trauma during the events of book one while she delves into this mystery. It’s good to see that she doesn’t just get over everything – that she truly was affected by what happened to her. But by far the most interesting psyche was that of the villain. The villain was just… psychotic, for lack of a better word. There were just layers upon layers of crazy in that character. The more I learned about the villain and the villain’s past, I was even more disturbed, freaked out, and happy the villain wasn’t after me. Melissa F. Olson did a wonderful job building the villain’s history and portraying how the villain’s mind worked.Besides all the mystery stuff, we also got a lot more of the Scarlett Bernard world’s mythology on witches and a bit more on nulls – a lot of the plot was driven by the way witch magic works and how magic affects nulls. Besides that, we had a small taste in romance, but I wish there had been more interaction between Scarlett and Eli (although I see how that didn’t quite fit into the plot).The ending of Trail of Dead, although much less inclined to make you want to tear your hair out waiting for the next book than Dead Spots, left me craving the next book and anxious to see what is in store for Scarlett. Overall, I highly recommend the Scarlett Bernard series to anyone looking for a paranormal mystery with a sarcastic female lead.
Ghost Time - Courtney Eldridge See more of my reviews at We Live and Breathe BooksI must admit, when I started reading Ghost Time, I was very put off by the writing style – I found Thea's shallow, valley-girl speech quite off-putting. However, as the plot progressed and we started to see some depth in Thea, I found myself more and more drawn into this story.I received an uncorrected proof of Ghost Time from Amazon Children's Publishing at Book Expo America, and I was very excited to start it after reading the blurb – math-genius hacker, the voice of a mute girl, mysterious happenings... count me in! However, at the start of Ghost Time, the reader gets some of the prized dialogue that almost made me stop reading this book."It was cold, and I was just like, Brrrr!""...there was still a red outline of my lip gloss on his left hip bone, from when I'd knelt down, kissing him, because his hip bones drive me crazy.""...and his bone structure, like his cheekbones, are to die."" Because Cam has this really cool old car–it's so boss."Ugh. Luckily, this shallow Thea didn't last too long, which gave way to her insightful side - a side that is much darker and deeper. The way Thea grows throughout the story is astounding. Gradually, the reader gains more and more information about Thea's past and her relationship with her missing boyfriend, Cam, as well as her new friend Melody, a girl who speaks to Thea in her head. Despite how she sounds at the beginning, Thea has depth that I'm not sure many 15-year-olds can understand. Throughout her life, Thea has been through many hard times, but even after Cam, a boy who taught her to see the world through a different light, disappears, she still does her best to stay strong and keep going. Thea was a surprising heroine for me. When I find a heroine I really love, it's almost always immediate, – I'm usually drawn in by her strength and general disregard for society – but Thea is completely different. Thea is weak, she cares what people think of her, she needs other people – she is a 15-year-old girl, a teenager thrown into a terrible situation. The way Thea survives throughout the story is truly heroic. No matter how bad things seemed, she kept going and hoping for the best.And then there's Cam - who is, surprisingly, in very much of the book considering the fact that he is missing. Cam is probably definitely my favorite character in Ghost Time. While Thea may not be a scholar, Cam is very intelligent. The things he says to Thea are so insightful and captivating. Cam sees the world very different from most people, especially Thea, and he makes her see things differently. The title of the book, Ghost Time, comes from the equation that Cam is working on, regarding time moving in more than one direction at the same time. Courtney Eldridge does a brilliant job mirroring Cam's equation through the structure of the book, alternating between before and after Cam's disappearance. I love Cam. He is so loving and patient with Thea – it's kind of heart breaking. I wish there had been more Cam in Ghost Time – perhaps in Ghost Signs? While most of Cam's appearances are from before he disappeared (obviously), Melody appears afterwards. Mel is the daughter of the cop who is investigating Cam's disappearance. While Mel is paralyzed and mute, Thea has strange visions of Mel's "true self" and hears Mel's voice inside her head. Mel is one of the only people who can make Thea forget about Cam and all the drama surrounding his disappearance. Although Thea’s past contributes to her growth in the eyes of the reader, her friendship with Mel augments this growth, allowing the reader to see a nurturing side of Thea. Thea will do anything to help Mel feel like a normal teenage girl. The way Thea takes Mel under wing makes their relationship so charming and heartwarming.Overall, I really would have liked to give this book a higher rating, but the way Thea is portrayed in the beginning of the story just gets to me. When I compare the way Thea is in the first few chapters in comparison to the rest of the book, it's like she is a completely different character. I just don't see her being so different in the time lapses. Despite that, Courtney Eldridge crafted a wonderful novel filled with so many aspects of life: love, friendship, anger, sadness, family, longing – I could go on for a while. Even though I was skeptical about this book in the beginning, I'm glad I kept reading because the story was well worth it. The ending was very abrupt, leaving me asking, "WHERE IS THE REST OF THIS BOOK?!" but I'm hoping all will be resolved in Ghost Signs. The structure of the book along with the meticulous details, suspense, and insight made Ghost Time a great read.Also, there's this cool thing: http://www.saccadesproject.comCourtney Eldridge teamed up with some artists to gather inspiration for Ghost Time. It's really cool.
Camp Boyfriend - J.K. Rock, J.K. Rock My blog is participating in a Book Blitz + Giveaway for Camp Boyfriend! The giveaway is running until August 22. Check out an excerpt from the book and all the awesome prizes you can win by clicking the photo:
It's a Mall World After All - Janette Rallison See more of my reviews at We Live and Breathe BooksI got this as a Kindle daily deal, and, to be completely honest, I'm pretty sure the major sell point with this for me was the allusion to the Small World rides at Disney parks (I'm just a sucker for A Small World). When I began reading this, I wasn't quite sure if I would like it. The story starts with Charlotte working at a perfume stand in Bloomingdales, musing about what she's learned at the mall. This sets up the major conflict of the story - Charlotte's best friend's boyfriend is at the mall with another girl.Let's start with Charlotte. Charlotte struggles with holding grudges and generally trusting people. I found myself conflicted about whether I was annoyed that she was holding grudges or annoyed that she considered forgiving the person who did such things to her (I guess I learned something from this book...). Despite her general judgy-ness, she's very sarcastic and sometimes funny, but, sadly, some of the humor was lost on me. There were points where I wanted to laugh because I could tell it was an attempt at humor, but it just wasn't that funny. I felt bad because I make jokes that no one laughs at all the time, so I kind of empathized. Don't get me wrong, there were many humorous points throughout the story, just fewer than intended. Then there's Charlotte's love interest - Colton. Oh, what is there to say about Colton... He starts off as a super arrogant know-it-all. He's able to one-up Charlotte in almost every way possible, which, of course, drives her crazy. Basically he's awesome because he's smart, strong, gorgeous, and insightful. However, there were many points in the story where, if I was Charlotte, I probably would have slapped him across his handsome face while yelling obscenities regarding his always thinking he's right. I guess I just get angry easily.Of course, we cannot forget the best friend, Brianna, and her boyfriend, Bryant. To be honest, their relationship kind of made me sick. Brianna is one of those girls who gives up her whole life for her boyfriend. I really don't understand why girls feel the need to give up everyone else who was ever important to them just for some guy. She even tells Charlotte not to make her choose. Like, I'm sorry, what did you just say to me? And then Bryant with his superior attitude. Ew.There are also some semi-interesting minor characters, including Kelly, Wesley, and Candice. Kelly is so desperate for Wesley to ask her out that she has Charlotte stalking him, which presents some really funny situations throughout the book with Wesley's extreme awkwardness. Candice is a rich snob and her dialogue with Charlotte is pretty hilarious. Besides the romantic aspect of this story, there was also Charlotte as a philanthropist. One day, Charlotte is approached by two boys whose families don't have a lot of money. From here, Charlotte convinces Colton to organize a gift giving event for some children like the two she met at the mall. Charlotte's concern for the children and giving nature was charming and heartwarming, especially at the final event. Also, there is the greater lesson regarding grudges. In middle school, Charlotte was tormented by her classmates with an assortment of bug jokes - jokes that she couldn't seem to let go of. Through her growing relationship with Colton, Charlotte learns about people changing and growing up as well as how to forgive people.Overall, I found this book to be charming. Going into it, I wasn't looking for anything deep or dramatic, and I got exactly what I wanted: a quick, fun, easy read, which ended up having a greater message about generosity and forgiveness. It was not the most well written book I've ever read, but I found I could look past that and still enjoy the story.
Genesis - Bernard Beckett When I started reading this book, I wasn't quite sure I would like it, - I bought it as a kindle daily deal because it seemed kind of interesting - but i found my self liking it more and more as I read and loving it at the end. The story is about Anaximander's examination to get into the Academy. Throughout her examination, the reader learns about the society that she lives in (the future) as well as how the previous society fell. Gradually, the reader finds out more and more information about a story that shaped Anax's society - the legend of Adam and Art - ending with a shocking twist. The ending definitely took me by surprise and made me consider the entire story in a new light. Overall, I really enjoyed Genesis. It's a lot more intellectual than the books I normally read, but it made me consider things I've never given much thought to while still providing an intriguing story.
Delirium - Susan Kaye Quinn See more of my reviews at We Live and Breathe BooksAs soon as I saw the premise of this series, I knew it was something I would be interested in; so I was very excited when I found out I won a copy of this from a giveaway the author was holding. Susan Kaye Quinn always delivers on interesting premises. I first became a fan of her work when I discovered Open Minds on Amazon, and even though Delirium was completely different from the Mindjack series, it was equally absorbing. This first installment in the Debt Collector serial follows Lirium as he collects a dying man's debt and goes through his post-transfer ritual. Lirium has a way that he goes about his days, but all of this gets knocked upside down when he meets Apple Girl.Delirium may not give a lot of insight into who the characters are, due to its length, but it starts to show the world they live in as well as their motives. I can’t wait to continue on with this serial and find out more about the world as well as the characters.
Alex (Delirium, #3.5) - Lauren Oliver This wasn't my favorite of the Delirium stories, but it was nice to find out how Alex ended up finding Lena. He was always one of my favorite characters and I liked seeing some of his point of view.
The Sweetest Dark - Shana Abe See more of my reviews at We Live and Breathe BooksI won an Advanced Reader's Edition of this book through Goodreads First Reads (although I probably would have bought it anyway) and it is now one of my favorite books I've ever read. There is something so exquisite and eloquent about the way Shana Abe writes - some of the imagery doesn't necessarily seem realistic coming from a 16-year-old, but I was too caught up in the beauty to really notice or care. Beyond the glass of my window the night was now amethyst. Infinite amethyst, deep and dark with a ripple of stars winking over the obsidian break of the forest paralleling the tracks. I found that depth of purple sky mesmerizing. Nights in the city were always gray or black or the color of the streetlights. Always. So I wasn't sure why this particular hue--those stars, the jagged line of trees--was so familiar. I must have imagined it this way, I decided. I read so much. I must have read of amethyst nights and imagined it.Ugh, why is that so beautiful?! This is the first I've read of Abe, but I'm definitely going to be reading her Drakon series in the near future, as well as The Deepest Night when that is released.The Sweetest Dark takes place in World War I England at Iverson, a prep school for daughters of wealthy families. Lora, our heroine, is an orphan who doesn't remember her past and is thought to be crazy by the people at her orphanage. At the beginning of the book, Lora finds out that she has been given a scholarship to attend Iverson. Throughout the story, she gradually finds out who she is and tries to uncover her past while also falling in love.Lora is probably the greatest heroine I have ever read. Not only is she strong, determined, and headstrong like most heroines, but she also has this nefarious side to her - she is not afraid of what people think of her and couldn't care less about how she is "supposed" to act. And she is so sassy. She pretty much always has a witty reply to anyone's attitude or rudeness. Even when she's outnumbered by all those rich girls at Iverson, she still tells them off regardless of the consequences. "Call me anything you like," I answered, pulling out my chair. "I certainly understand how someone with such an abnormally tiny head would struggle to remember even the most undemanding facts. It must be quite a burden for you."I just... I love Lora so much. She is perfection.Of course, one cannot forget the two love interests: Jesse and Armand. Oh, Jesse. He is a dreamboat. He is compassionate, understanding, loving, handsome, sweet... I could probably go on all day. Jesse is the one who helps Lora figure out who she is and acts as her guide throughout the book. Armand, on the other hand, is brooding and snarky. A lot of Lora and Armand's interactions in the story are through witty banter, which both adds to their personas and gives a bit of humor to the story. When Armand and Jesse interact, it is especially intriguing because the two couldn't be more different.So, basically, this book is awesome. The characters and the relationships are so well developed, and the plot will keep you engrossed all the way to the end. Although the ending was bittersweet (and I may have bawled my eyes out), the story was absolutely captivating and I cannot wait to get my hands on The Deepest Night.