P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han // An Actual Bittersweet Symphony

P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #2), by Jenny Han          Publication: May 26, 2015, by Simon and Schuster BFYR                                             Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance                                                       Pages: 337                                                 Format: Hardcover                                 Source: Purchased                                 Rating: Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PM½

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

 

Sam’s thoughts:

Jenny Han is one of my all-time, ultimate favourite contemporary writers. Her stories are captivating, unique and I end up falling in love with every single male love interest who Lara Jean lays her eyes on. It’s that perfect love story that’ll leave you thinking about first love and romance, and you’ll never want to stop reading. Sadly, this was only a duology and Lara Jean’s story just ended here, but her and Peter’s love story lives on.

P.S. I Still Love You was fascinating and gorgeously written, just as all of the other stories that I own for my collection. Lara Jean and Peter turned out to be the cutest, bittersweet couple in all of YA fiction for 2015, and I just feel like tearing up and letting all of my feels explode. Not every author has that capability to make every, single reader fall in love with their work, but Jenny has that ability. I need everything she’s ever written, all sent to me in a pretty, posh letter like Lara Jean’s, and I’ll spend the rest of eternity reading it all. I needed to read it all at once, in one gorgeous sitting.

“The minutes longer, stronger, more vibrant. All I know is that very minute without him feels interminably long, like I’m waiting, just waiting for him to come back to me. I, Lara Jean, know he isn’t, but my heart doesn’t seem to understand it’s over.” (256)

This continues right from where the last book left off at. It’s New Year’s Day and the Covey family are going all out, getting fancy, though Lara Jean can’t stop thinking about Peter and about everything that has happened between them in the past. Sooner than later, we find them back together for real now, and Lara Jean is the happiest girl alive. When a mystery guy from her past appears in her life once more, she finds herself falling in love with two amazing guys, where she has to make the biggest choice of all: Who will she pick?

It’s a freaking hard decision for her to make. And the best thing is that Lara Jean is one intelligent young woman who completely knows how to talk back, how to win at stupid conversations and make people who hurt her feel bad and guilt. Two guys from her childhood are foolishly in love with her, and she is secretly in love with both of them. You know we all hate instant romance? This is none of that, because they were childhood friends since they were able to walk and… it’s magical. I can’t stop thinking about the attraction between her and John or Peter and… I don’t know what I would’ve done if I were in her shoes.

The minor issue which I had was Peter. I GOT SO UPSET AT HIM AND GENEVIEVE AND I WANTED TO PUT MY HAND THROUGH THE PAGES AND PUNCH HIM. Ugh. I’ll just ignore that and stop raging because at least the ending was perfect with him alongside it. 

“Things feel like they’ll be forever, but they aren’t Love can go away, or people can, without even meaning to. Nothing is guaranteed.” (29)

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The ending to this fabulous duology is special and 100% satisfying. I just can’t get the meaningful story out of my head and especially all of the characters. As always, Jenny Han’s writing is enchanting, mesmerizing and like an illusion—I’m stuck in her fictional worlds for ages after I flip through the last pages. I’m in love with this book, as well as Peter and John Ambrose. *blushes*

can every contemporary author produce the feels in their writing for you? are you a fan of jenny han’s writing? do you enjoy love triangles?

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Boys Like You by Juliana Stone // A Heartwarming Story With Many Themes Incorporated

                                                                                    Boys Like You, by Juliana Stone       Publication: April 7, 2015, by Sourcebooks Fire                                                                     Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance                                                         Pages: 304                                                       Format: Paperback                                   Source: Borrowed                                     Rating: Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PM

IF
If I hadn’t fallen asleep.
If I hadn’t gotten behind the wheel.
If I hadn’t made a mistake.

For Monroe Blackwell, one small mistake has torn her family apart–leaving her empty and broken. There’s a hole in her heart that nothing can fill. That no one can fill. And a summer in Louisiana with her grandma isn’t going to change that…

Nathan Everets knows heartache firsthand when a car accident leaves his best friend in a coma. And it’s all his fault. He should be the one lying in the hospital. The one who will never play guitar again. He doesn’t deserve forgiveness, and a court-appointed job at the Blackwell B&B isn’t going to change that…

There’s No Going Back

Captivating and hopeful, this achingly poignant novel brings together two lost souls struggling with grief and guilt–looking for acceptance, so they can find forgiveness.

Michelle’s Thoughts:

This is a love story that Nicholas Sparks would be proud of to write or even read about. It’s something that stands up to the rest of the contemporary romances that are found all over the place. It’s unique and hopeful, dealing with subjects that come so close to heart to many people out there. It’s a love story that’s completely believable and beautiful. I can imagine something like this happening and real life and it wouldn’t sound like some kind of stupid story that is impossible.

Juliana Stone’s Boys Like You hit me and I couldn’t stop tearing up in my heart. It was happy and sad, all at the same time, where the two beautiful characters needed each other more than everything else happening to them. It’s such an inspirational novel that means so much to me and there isn’t one wrong thing about it.

“I’ve learned in my sixteen and a half years that there are things that will surprise you because you don’t see them coming. They can be hard, painful things, and it’s those ones that will live with you forever, bound to your soul in layers that grow thicker each year. Hopefully those layers will eventually dull the pain.” (186)

This is one of those perfect summer love stories between two people who are kind of attracted at first sight. But I wouldn’t classify it as instalove, either. It’s between Monroe, a girl from New York City who’s trying to get away from the rest of the world after her extreme mistake that she feels is all her fault and Nathan, who’s trying to get over the fact that his best friend is in the hospital, in a coma, all because of him. It’s a beautiful story that just kind of forms out of nowhere, but it’s truly memorable.

The plot was completely entertaining and intriguing from the start. I felt mesmerized with all of it from start to finish, leaving me truly believing that it’s the most enchanting story about first love from the time I began it to the last page, and even after. It’ll leave you with a hole in your heart—because there’s no more to the story than the pages that you’ve already flipped. It’s exhilarating and interesting.

We always look for chemistry in a fictional relationship, right? Some characters don’t have that; Nate and Monroe did. Their relationship turned out to be healing, though completely sexy as one with two wild individuals would be. As Monroe’s grandmother says, they caught each other and are meant to be. It’s not something you’ll read about in a movie or have issues with because of corniness. It’s charismatic, as every portion of the novel is.

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Boys Like You initially gave out the vibe of a girly, chick-lit, ordinary contemporary novel that I only read because I own another novel by the same author. It’s more than chick-lit, it’s beauty, and I’m so excited to continue to read Stone’s work in the future as it’s unlike anything else I’ve read in the past. Every girl or book lover would find something special in this novel, and it’s now your turn to explore Monroe and Nate’s electrifying story.

what is your opinion of contemporary novels? what if you disliked them, but someone told you this one is completely different than the ordinary? would you still go for it?

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A Book of Spirits and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes // I’m the Biggest Fan of Her Books!

 A Book of Spirits and Thieves (Spirits          and Thieves #1), by Morgan Rhodes        Publication: June 23, 2015, by Razorbill   Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy   Pages: 368                             Format: Hardcover             Source: Borrowed                                   Rating: Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PM

Worlds collide in this suspenseful, page-turning Falling Kingdoms spin-off series, which explores a whole new side of Mytica—and an even darker version of its magic.

Crystal Hatcher, Modern-day Toronto: It’s a normal afternoon in her mother’s antique bookshop when Crys witnesses the unthinkable: her little sister Becca collapses into a coma after becoming mesmerized by a mysterious book written in an unrecognizable language.

Maddox Corso, Ancient Mytica: Maddox Corso doesn’t think much of it when he spots an unfamiliar girl in his small village. Until, that is, he realizes that she is a spirit, and he is the only one who can see or hear her. Her name is Becca Hatcher, and she needs Maddox to help get her home.

Farrell Grayson, Modern-day Toronto: Rich and aimless Farrell Grayson is thrilled when the mysterious leader of the ultra-secret Hawkspear Society invites him into the fold. But when he learns exactly what he has to do to prove himself, Farrell starts to question everything he thought he knew about family, loyalty, and himself….

Fate has brought these young people together, but ancient magic threatens to rip them apart.

Sam’s Thoughts:

Back when I read Morgan Rhodes’ stellar Falling Kingdoms, I fell in love and added all of her books onto my TBR list on Goodreads. And at that time, I already had a copy of A Book of Spirits and Thieves ready in hand so I could fall in love with her writing all over again. I should’ve read it right away because I keep falling in love with the fictional, beautiful world of Mytica where everything is fantasy and just speaks to me. This series can probably one day be classified as just as good as the other series that I’ve come to love, that’s for sure.

A Book of Spirits and Thieves is more magical and special than any other fantasy book I’ve read about in a while. It’s interesting, definitely more real than the usual in writing, and just as powerful as Morgan Rhodes’ writing usually is. I really enjoyed it, and there’s nothing I can possibly complain about or regret reading about. Agh. Fangirl alert, I tell you.

“It had been just over two years since Daniel Hatcher left. Her father. Her hero. Her friend. Her mentor. The man who’d shared with her his love for animals and photography.”

Even though this dealt with magic and the astonishing world of Mytica, there were real-life concepts that many readers could relate to. Sisterhood, losing someone who you love, divorce. It’s set in a contemporary-fantasy reality and world where two out of the three protagonists and main characters which Rhodes introduces live in modern day downtown Toronto. The atmosphere is so relatable. For once, I could read a book where I finally am able to understand the street names and tourist attractions found nearby. It’s certainly magical for a Canadian.

I must say that I fell in love with this story from page one. We were introduced to Crystal and her sister, Becca, who are obsessed readers. They help their mother out at their bookstore downtown and when a large package comes in the mail, they open it and discover an old book with weird scriptures and writing. This immediately sends Becca to the hospital where it’s like she’s been transformed into another world. In fact, she has—Mytica. Crystal strives to help her sister and bring her back, alongside some help from a rich, “snobby” teenager named Farrell, who I fell in love with. Then, there’s Maddox, who is extra adorable as well. Again, Morgan Rhodes creates a cast of characters who certainly deserve a bookish Oscar for the best crew. *grins*

Crystal Hatcher: She’s kickass and totally reminds me of myself, in a way. She’s shy, quiet but rebellious at the same time and I loved her personality at all times. She made the best decisions at the best time. I think she’s exactly like Cleo, in Morgan’s other rocking series. Pretty similar, if you ask me.

Farrell Grayson: HOT is the only word that I could use to describe him. Other reviews have noted that he doesn’t know what he’s doing and we’re all meant to hate him and all, but I do think otherwise. He’s hot, sexy, and interesting. I don’t know if I could even possibly ship him with Crystal or anything, because he’s certainly all mine.

Maddox Corso: A male witch? We don’t usually see this in YA fiction, and I grant another large applause to Morgan for that. She did a fantastic job shaping his character, showing his powers and how strong of an attitude he has at all times. I loved the person who he became by the end, and he helped Becca in so many ways, including some romantically. *wiggles eyebrows*

“One sees a snake, and one is afraid. But snakes are no more frightening than any other beast. A rabbit’s bite might lack lethal poison, but it can be every bit as deep and dangerous as Aegus’s. But one sees something pleasant to the eye, and the fear vanishes, the guard drops. Appearances can be deceiving.”

That’s just one of the many beautiful samples and snippets of Morgan’s writing. The plot was just about perfect, and I would definitely rate it five freaking awesome stars. My heart raced alongside the characters’s, and my mind couldn’t stop fidgeting with everything—I was in love, and that rarely has happened lately. Mixing fantasy with a contemporary, realistic world is one of the best ideas I’ve read in a book in ages. And it came together so smoothly. This was a complete pleasure to read.

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Reading this is something that every lover of any genre will adore: You don’t have to be a hardcore high fantasy fan. To tell you the truth, I never was until I came across of Sarah J. Maas and Morgan’s writing. This lightly touches some genre and hints of romance, but I bet that it wasn’t meant to had. It’s interesting, compelling, and will throw you into a room full of these characters from the first page—that’s how real it feels. I just wish I could take a time portol to Mytica, because I’d rise up on my tippy toes and give a big kiss to Farrell and Maddox, your two new book boyfriends. SEQUEL, I DON’T KNOW IF I COULD WAIT MUCH LONGER. PLEASE ARRIVE BY FEDEX IN TWO DAYS AND I WILL NEVER LEAVE MY HOUSE AGAIN.

dO YOU ENJOY SPINOFFS BY YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHORS? wOULD YOU ENJOY READING ABOUT THE SAME WORLD AGAIN?

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Etherworld by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam // Please Take Me to the Future

Etherworld (Elusion #2), by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam                               Publication: March 31, 2015, by Katherine Tegen Books                                                 Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Science Fiction, Dystopian, Romance                               Pages: 352                                                   Format: Hardcover                                     Source: BEA/Publisher                           Rating: Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PM

In this sequel to Elusion, three teens fight a virtual reality program that threatens to destroy their minds. Dangerous secrets and lies add up to a thrilling futuristic fantasy with an Inception-inspired twist.

Elusion was hailed as an exciting leap in technology—until users began to disappear amid rumors of addiction. Regan’s search for the truth led her and her new love interest, Josh, to Etherworld. Etherworld is a dimension hidden deep beyond Elusion’s firewall, where players can hide, and ultimately fight back. Regan’s father and others are here working to destroy Etherworld, but the longer they stay the less likely they’ll be able to return to the real world alive.

Escape means attacking Elusion from within the program. It’s dangerous and it’s a puzzle. And even if they manage it, how will they be able to stop Orexis from distributing Elusion to the masses when the people who run it are corrupt?

Sam’s thoughts:

I often find myself wishing that I could be part of some kind of new project that’d totally change the world and its history. Make a new discovery or whatsoever. A girl can only dream, right? Reading Etherworld, the sequel to the magnificent Elusion that captivated me so much when I first read it made me feel that I was part of this new ‘project’ and ‘discovery.’ Gabel and Klam’s inner vision of what the human race may turn into, by looking at personality and intelligence, of the future seems to be perfectly on-point, especially as the knowledge of everything and the universe expands and strengthens. I seriously loved this.

After reading dystopian hundreds and hundreds of times in the past, you know that you could possibly get sick and tired of the same subject over and over again. Although this was a sequel to a duology that readers loved from the first page to the last, and although it features the same characters and problem/issue, it’s not something to get tired of. Yes, Gabel and Klam feature aspects of dystopia that sounds so cool and realistic both at the same time, and yes you’re going to want to read about it. This is like a virtual reality, reading about a completely alien planet and universe that may seem perfect at first. But everything has flaws. 

“When I returned, things between us felt uncomfortable and weird, as if we weren’t sure if what had happened was the result of how we really felt or a product of artificially stimulated euphoria.” (257)

Klam and Gabel are masters of diction, of literature. Their descriptions of the setting that Regan is introduced to is utterly fabulous. It’s not like you’re just reading a book, it’s more like you’re living it. You know how George R.R. Martin wrote about readers living thousands of lives? These authors’ work truly exemplifies that saying. They can multitask and make everything that a reader looks for right.

This starts off straight from where the magic of the first book left us off at, I’m telling ya. Regan and Josh, her new beau (a hot one, too) are in Etherworld, where Regan discovers that what people have been telling her about Elusion and her family are all complete lies. There are other people there, too, and alongside the help of the new couple, everyone’s trying to destroy the weird atmospheric world and get back to their normal lives where people who they love are left behind, struggling to get by life without them. When Regan heads back to reality, people, including the people she love, suspect that she is crazy and going through nano-psychosis. I’m not trying to sound like an actual summary, but… Will she be able to destroy the world and be back with her family once again?

Everything was practically the most action-filled that it could get. And seriously, the authors surprised me with the fact that Josh and Regan did have the ability to head back and forth between two worlds, trying to figure out hints and answers to all of the issues around them. Everything expanded and turned out better. The first book had expanded on the issue of Elusion not being safe, and this one has truly unfolded into the works of Elusion and what the actual founder has to go through. Get ready for scientific explanations and kick-assness coming from Regan.

Regan supported her family. After all of the lies that her father has told her to keep her safe and happy without any troubles, she’s still fine and has a great relationship with him. Thank the book lords that we don’t have a bratty teenage girl who only cares about her boyfriend and them kissing and hating her father, because I’m sure that we wouldn’t have had a great turn out. Her character and perspective is certainly entertaining and more protagonists should definitely be like her. Please, authors-to-come, learn from this advice.

YOUR SHIP DREAMS WILL COME TRUE. Regan and Josh are the ultimate one true pair, I promise. Perhaps you’ll even adore watching them go through battles and discovering the truth, as well as make the right or wrong decisions. It’s kind of awesome to be in love when everything around you is falling apart, actually.

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Claudia and Cheryl have totally blown me away with this epic finale. I just had to write my thoughts down after I completed and flipped the last page over because this story means so much to me and my perspective of dystopian fiction. Etherworld captured me, threw my emotions around and left me aching for more of their indulging, descriptive writing. But hey, I guess you’ll realize that by simply taking a peek at the gorgeous, stellar covers of this series. You know you want all of it.

*A finished copy was provided by the publisher via BookExpo America in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much!*

What do you think of virtual realities and how technology is expanding? what is a ya dystopian novel which you believe the subject it focuses on may turn into our planet someday? do you enjoy books with evil villains turned good? lemme know it all in the comments below!

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Sway by Kat Spears // Love From a Teenage Boy’s Perspective Is Magical

Sway, by Kat Spears                            Publication: September 16, 2014, by St. Martin’s Griffin                                                     Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance                                                                   Pages: 320                                                           Format: Hardcover                                         Source: Gifted                                                   Rating: Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PM

In Kat Spears’s hilarious and often poignant debut, high school senior Jesse Alderman, or “Sway,” as he’s known, could sell hell to a bishop. He also specializes in getting things people want—term papers, a date with the prom queen, fake IDs. He has few close friends and he never EVERlets emotions get in the way. For Jesse, life is simply a series of business transactions.

But when Ken Foster, captain of the football team, leading candidate for homecoming king, and all-around jerk, hires Jesse to help him win the heart of the angelic Bridget Smalley, Jesse finds himself feeling all sorts of things. While following Bridget and learning the intimate details of her life, he falls helplessly in love for the very first time. He also finds himself in an accidental friendship with Bridget’s belligerent and self-pitying younger brother who has cerebral palsy. Suddenly, Jesse is visiting old folks at a nursing home in order to run into Bridget, and offering his time to help the less fortunate, all the while developing a bond with this young man who idolizes him. Could the tin man really have a heart after all?

A Cyrano de Bergerac story with a modern twist, Sway is told from Jesse’s point of view with unapologetic truth and biting humor, his observations about the world around him untempered by empathy or compassion—until Bridget’s presence in his life forces him to confront his quiet devastation over a life-changing event a year earlier and maybe, just maybe, feel something again.

Sam’s Thoughts:

Do you ever feel like swaying to a beautiful song that you have just heard on the radio? What about gushing and giggling when an author just writes a brilliant sentence that is so quote sticky-note worthy? If you answered “yes” to at least one of those two questions, that means that 50% of you is a lover of contemporary romance novels. It is just meant to be. And through this review, I promise you that you’ll feel captivated to purchase/borrow/beg for a copy of Kat Spears’s Sway. I almost typed “swag” there, LOLZ.

This is a novel that I admit I wasn’t too sure about. How could you be when it’s about instant romance, in a way? Or money making slash romance? Those can simply go either way, but at least I had enjoyed Owen Matthews’s How to Win at High School, which was kind of similar to this, in a way. I promise you that there are hundreds of phrases/things/quirks that this book has which will leave you gushing, even if you’re not an original fan of these kinds of books or work.

Having to remind myself since it’s been quite a while since I touched the gorgeous dust jacket of Spears’s tale, this is all about first love, which came in an unexpected way to two, completely different teenagers. Written in a male’s perspective, Jesse is the guy you’ll surely fall in love with. He could practically sell anything, or do tons of favours for people, for a price, obviously. When this hot-shot jock named Ken asks him to talk to angelic Bridget for him, Jesse is first hesitant but knows that he’ll get paid well if he succeeds. When he meets her, they click instantly and their friendship begins, and strengthens to limits that aren’t really allowed as Jesse’s doing this as a job. 

Accidents make everything better. It’s like that cheesy saying about karma, “Good things come to those who wait.” Bridget and Jesse’s relationship really was an accident full of lies and stupid mistakes, but it all turned out to be 5 starred and spectacular. It was an accident that they ever clicked, when their personalities never should have clicked as they’re opposites. If Jesse had never begun a friendship with Bridget’s little brother, things wouldn’t have gone to where they ended. It’s a realistic, beautiful story that I just couldn’t keep my eyes off of. And I can tell you that many, many real-life relationships had never been meant to be, but something randomly clicked, and all fell into love’s hands.

Kat’s writing is lyrical, right-to-the-point and like a fresh breeze. Most contemporaries revolve around A) a jealous ex (B) somebody hiding from their past and looking for a way to shine/feel better and/or (C) a huge secret. This book revolved around the last option, but it’s not like we were reminded by it. Jesse and Bridget’s attraction was real, new and enchanting, nothing like it was fake or just written for pleasure. They made the pacing, concept and plot become what it turned out to be, not the other way around. I’d seriously read anything else Spears comes up with in the future, because I just can’t get it all out of my head.

Smart, brainy, beautiful girl, plus a badass, hot guy? That equals absolute flirtation. We all saw some huge fit coming or else the story wouldn’t have been real, but I’m glad to see that the plot and everything practically glued, sewed together to form a true masterpiece in the end. If you typically read science-fiction, go for this book. If you typically read high fantasy, go for this book. I just can’t pronounce it enough. YOU NEED THIS BEAUTIFUL BOOK IN YOUR LIFE, OKAY?

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This is something that I would’ve been a hundred times proud of if I discovered that John Green or Rainbow Rowell had written, some of the best contemporary writers in modern lit. But it takes its own whirl at things, to teenagers’ hearts. Sway will leave you swaying, swaying to the incomprehensible song it promotes, the song that readers are only able to receive once they’ve read it and understood its real message. Plus, who doesn’t like to read about cute elderly people who played on with it all? *winks*

What do you think of romances that are not so typical? what about those that deal with lies and emotional destruction through the end portion of the plot? are you willing to give this a chance? (because i hope you are.) this is wonderful, pure brilliance.

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Free to Fall by Lauren Miller // Dystopian Kickassness

Free to Fall, by Lauren Miller                          Publication: May 13, 2014, by HarperTeen   Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Dystopian, Romance, Science-Fiction                                 Pages: 469                                                           Format: Paperback                                                 Source: Borrowed                                             Rating: Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PM

Fast-forward to a time when Apple and Google have been replaced by Gnosis, a monolith corporation that has developed the most life-changing technology to ever hit the market: Lux, an app that flawlessly optimizes decision making for the best personal results.

Just like everyone else, sixteen-year-old Rory Vaughn knows the key to a happy, healthy life is following what Lux recommends. When she’s accepted to the elite boarding school Theden Academy, her future happiness seems all the more assured. But once on campus, something feels wrong beneath the polished surface of her prestigious dream school.

Then she meets North, a handsome townie who doesn’t use Lux, and begins to fall for him and his outsider way of life. Soon, Rory is going against Lux’s recommendations, listening instead to the inner voice that everyone has been taught to ignore — a choice that leads her to uncover a truth neither she nor the world ever saw coming.

 

Sam’s Thoughts:

I admit that I was hesitant to read this book. After disliking Miller’s Parallel, I didn’t think that I’d ever go for another book by her in the future. But then, the great big concept which Free to Fall shared enchanted me, and I knew that I needed to read this dystopian read. And trust me, you need to, too. There’s just no getting by in life without reading it if you’re a big dystopian lover, as I am proud to call myself.

This novel literally stunned me. It takes you into a modernized future where it seems that this could definitely occur in reality, in a few decades or so. It focuses on a perspective of a talented and highly intelligent teenager named Rory who lives with a family with tons of secrets that were never told to her. She’s been living a life out of a lie, and this is all about her trying to go out in her boarding school and discover the truth behind basically everything.

And the technology used and described seems so cool, but life shattering at the same time. But I bet that sociologists should definitely research this, because the device that every human uses in this book can seriously ruin communicating and socializing. It’s called “Lux,” and Rory, our protagonist, is a person who is definitely against it when we get to the end. How can you live life when a little device solves all of your issues for you—tells you what to eat, how much of it, where to go, why to go, everything. I’m kind of scared for the future now that I think about it.

Reasons Why You’ll Adore Everything About Free to Fall:

1. Miller’s Writing: The story is so enticing from the first chapter to the last. It’s a thicker novel that uses stellar language and plot twists to surely captivate readers. And the ending? That’s something I just can’t get out my head.

2. Rory, The Protagonist: I find it pretty difficult to find a great protagonist who has just the right attitude. Rory, thankfully, had that. She’s so cool!

3.  THE ROMANCE: Bad boy, goody-two-shoes chick? That’s the cutest romance that I’ve seen in a loooong time. And it’s cute because it all seemed to work out from the start.

4. Everything In-Between: There simply was a right amount of everything, but not something that’ll equal a 5 star rating, either. THE DETAILS, SIDE CHARACTERS AND A LOT OF THE THINGS WERE LOVELY AND MEMORABLE!

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Free to Fall has everything that a dystopian novel found in YA has to offer: a gorgeous cover, enduring writing, fabulous characters and a spectacular ending that’ll leave your jaw dropping. I’ll gladly read anything else that this magnificent author writes, because it’s my kind of thing. I don’t need some steampunk, stereotypical sci-fi story that’ll have me confused, you know?

if you enjoy dystopian fiction as i do, what do you like in those stories? what do you dislike? do you have a favourite writer? i can’t think of one from the top of my head, that’s for sure.

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The Sunday Addiction [1] April 10

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The Sunday Addiction is my personal little weekly reflection where I complain about my hardships (when I know people have had it worse), announce news, and share my love for blogging.

The news:

Hello friends! This is not going to be a sucky blog post. Okay, it might a little. You must cut me some slack because this is my first ever book haul post! Hopefully, as my blogging skills improve, I could also improve on my photography skills.

I have been gearing up (slowly) for BEA in Chicago and counting down the days! 20 more school days and one actual month left today to when I leave for the Windy City! I am so excited to go to Chicago. I love exploring new cities and I was extremely fortunate to experience New York City’s BEA last year! Anyways. I have been receiving so many assignments and tests in the last week that I literally was ready to blow up. I hate having more than one thing due in a day! This week hopefully will die down. Next Saturday I’m heading over downtown to a Math conference, so that’ll be interesting, hopefully! I’m currently reading The Girl With Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee. It’s soooo good! I also just finished Yann Martel’s Life of Pi and… I am in an utter state of shock. How am I sitting here, writing this post?

I have some other BIG NEWS. BIG BIG BIG NEWS.

A friend of mine from school will be joining me over here, posting reviews! Her name is Sam and hopefully we’ll get some posts up this week! WOO WOO WOO. This is a trial thing for her, so I don’t think she’ll become a regular here but she would like to see how blogging works!

The Haul (I splurged. Okay?)

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I didn’t receive this all this week, but I have accumulated all of these beauties in the past little while!

Ten Thousand Skies Above You is now in my shelves! I am still in shock over this. More than a year ago, I fell in love with Claudia Gray’s story and I kept anticipating the sequel. When I was coming home from a March Break trip to Mexico (which I have to give a recap about), I spotted a paperback copy at the airport! In case you did not know, this was just released so there’s only hardcovers around. This fit my budget (LOL) and was the most recent book I actually purchased!

I received Complicit, The Hidden Twin and The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem thanks to St. Martin’s Press! THEY LOOK SO INTRIGUING AND MY TYPE OF READ. I’m sure that I’ll be satisfied!

Twenty Questions for Gloria, The Glittering Court and Lab Girl all came to my door in a huge package a few weeks ago. I was shocked! THEY ARE GOING TO BE BOTHERING ME UNTIL I READ THEM. I am so angry that I have a huge TBR pile! *laughs* Thank you Penguin Random House Canada!

In the coming posts of these, you will spot my most enjoyed posts of others here! I am not ready to display that just yet. *smiles*

How was your reading week? Have you read any of the books that I received/bought? Do these look captivating to you? How are you?

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Finding Paris by Joy Preble // John Green’s Rival Novel

Finding Paris, by Joy Preble                  Publication: April 21, 2015, by Balzer + Bray Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance                                                                     Pages: 272                                                             Format: Hardcover                                           Source: Purchased                                                   Rating: Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PM

A page-turning, evocative novel for fans of THIRTEEN REASONS WHY and SPEAK, about a girl who must follow a trail of mysterious clues to discover what happened to her sister.

Sisters Leo and Paris Hollings have only ever had each other to rely on. They can’t trust their mother, who hops from city to city and from guy to guy, or their gambler stepfather, who’s moved them all to Las Vegas. It’s just the two of them: Paris, who’s always been the dreamer, and Leo, who has a real future in mind—going to Stanford, becoming a doctor, falling in love.

But Leo isn’t going anywhere yet… until Paris ditches her at the Heartbreak Hotel Diner, where moments before they had been talking with physics student Max Sullivan. Outside, Leo finds a cryptic note from Paris—a clue. Is it some kind of game? Where is Paris, and why has she disappeared?

When Leo reluctantly accepts Max’s offer of help, the two find themselves following a string of clues through Vegas and beyond. But the search for the truth is a not a straight line. And neither is the path to secrets Leo and Max hold tightly.

Michelle’s Thoughts:

Road trip novels with beautiful covers that just make me want to scream the characters’ destination? Joy Preble truly gave us that. And by the way, in case you haven’t noticed already, I do enjoy beginning my reviews off with rhetorical questions that not everyone can answer since not everyone read the book. Hah. But seriously, back to matter that we’re currently facing, Finding Paris is my pleasure. I’m not feeling guilt in any way, so I won’t call it my guilty pleasure, but I’ll tell you that it’s one of the best books of the summer. Just get ready to adore it and find a million specks of beauty that’s pretty difficult to find anywhere else.

HarperTeen made me fall in love this book and its cover from the winter of this year. When I first spotted it, I knew that I needed it right away before I even read its summary. You may not be a believer of solemn love at first sight, but it surely does happen with and in books. This is a literature masterpiece that I’m so thankful to have read in a matter of hours.

There are points that come around that will remind you of John Green and Jay Asher’s writing, two talented men whose books I adore. Paper Towns and Thirteen Reasons Why were very similar, and they click with this, but it hadn’t bothered me because it was its own kind of style that was very interesting and cute.

“Things happen like this, I know. One minute you’re whistling along and the next, life has gone off-kilter. The trick is to shift with it, like a computer resettling after an error. I size Max Sullivan and decide that he is not Hannibal Lecter.” (39)

This involves sisterhood, first love and a theme of having a basic tough life. The title does make sense, as Leo, the main character, is trying to find her sister, Paris, who is really weird and leaves clues all over the place. One minute they’re having coffee in a Las Vegas diner, and the next Paris leaves, taking the car and all of the money that Leo had, leaving her stranded. With the help of a super hot guy who is pretty bored at this late time named Max, Leo goes out to find her sister, who may not be so lost in the world as Leo herself is.

It’s a very easy-going story. Things flow well together, the romance is the perfect touch for a teenage girl to squeal and adore, and you will seriously love Joy Preble’s writing. I honestly can say that it was worth the wait, to wait for this book to be published and released, released into the world and into my heart. Books like this don’t show up on your doorstep quite often, I must say.

“We are like one of those still life paintings. I think absurdly. Mother. Daughter. Strange boy. Glass of wine. A million unsaid things.” (55)

Even though I read this novel ages ago in the midst of summer vacation, I still remember the plot perfectly, as well as the characters. Paris, Leo and Max were adorable, and the way their stories flowed with each other’s was unique. And did I mention that the romance between Leo and Max was adorable? There’s a beach scene that’ll have you going gaga. Good luck with your feels, because you better hold on them, they’ll explode and go out of control!

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Finding Paris is a memorable, riveting yet pretty well-used novel that is found all over the place but has its own tweak and quirk to it that makes me the happiest reader alive. Brace yourself for a romance that’ll make you squirm, because you want it in your life, and squeal because Max Sullivan is just too sexy. It’s your call, but I think the sisterhood, issues and girl power that Preble uses is just calling you.

What are your thoughts of books with road trips and clues? have you ever read a book that takes place in las vegas, or a ya one that mentions casinos and gambling? xd

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Another Day by David Levithan // A True Memorable Companion

Another Day (Every Day #2), by David Levithan                                                Publication: August 25, 2015, by Alfred A. Knopf BFYR                                                                   Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, Fantasy                                                     Pages: 300                                                                 Format: ARC                                                               Source: BEA/Publisher                                           Rating: Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PM½

In this enthralling companion to his New York Times bestseller Every Day, David Levithan (co-author of Will Grayson, Will Grayson with John Green) tells Rhiannon’s side of the story as she seeks to discover the truth about love and how it can change you.

Every day is the same for Rhiannon. She has accepted her life, convinced herself that she deserves her distant, temperamental boyfriend, Justin, even established guidelines by which to live: Don’t be too needy. Avoid upsetting him. Never get your hopes up.

Until the morning everything changes. Justin seems to see her, to want to be with her for the first time, and they share a perfect day—a perfect day Justin doesn’t remember the next morning. Confused, depressed, and desperate for another day as great as that one, Rhiannon starts questioning everything. Then, one day, a stranger tells her that the Justin she spent that day with, the one who made her feel like a real person . . . wasn’t Justin at all.

miCHELLE’S tHOUGHTS:

After reading hundreds and hundreds of contemporary romances, I still see David Levithan’s work as something else. And in that sense, his writing means so much to me and every single book of his that I’ve read holds a wide spot in my heart for most meaningful and unique. And especially after adoring Every Day, I’ve been eager for a sequel and now that it has hit me and left me breathless, I’ll definitely call that a true success.

Another Day focused on more of the romance and love story than the first novel did, which I can totally understand. Taken place in Rhiannon’s perspective, there were so many intriguing moments throughout that I could definitely relate to, and even remember from the first novel. But here’s the thing, as was mentioned in David’s letter in this ARC edition, anyone could read this book. Although this wasn’t as perfect as the first book, you could read this as a sequel, or if you’ve never heard of this series and you just want to begin with this one. That’s how awesome David wants to give us this reading experience.

“You know it wasn’t Justin with you that day. In your heart, you know. He didn’t act like Justin. He didn’t do things Justin does. That’s because it was me. I didn’t mean to do it. I didn’t mean to fall in love with you. But it happened. And I can’t erase it. I can’t ignore it. I have lived my whole life like this, and you’re the thing that has made me wish it could stop.” (76)

It’s a dark, gloomy read as well. It’s basically everything that happened in the first novel, all in Rhiannon’s view. I loved her in the first book, and kind of also longed for a POV by her, and this was the perfect occasion. I never saw it coming or about to be released, actually. And that cover is TO DIE FOR as well. David sure knows how to make his books look hipster, that’s for sure! You don’t even expect this book to be so great and heart-warming, but it took me for surprise and I just can’t stop fangirling/thinking about it.

I don’t even have to give a summary. It’s a simple yet complex read with a genre of paranormal, mixed in with 90% contemporary-romance. A’s character is Rhiannon’s main focus and she spends most of the novel thinking about him and what their relationship will eventually turn into. The confusion is real, and I totally get why she did the things that she did. I seriously adored this book and everything about it. Can I also note that it was pretty life-changing when I really think about it?

When you deeply, really think about it, this book is for anyone. You can be a guy or a girl, liking the genre or premise or not, and willing to enjoy everything. Life may be depressive and all of that, but you have to focus on the bright things. David couldn’t have said it better, to be honest.

“But that’s not all. Justin loves me and hates me as much as I love him and hate him. I know that. We each have our triggers, and we should never reach in to pull them. But sometimes we can’t help ourselves. We know each other too well, but never well enough.” (2)

This book seriously was fabulous. Everything about it was, including the writing and characters. Although something tiny was missing from it all, I adored it and the book itself made my reading experience feel special. You don’t have to believe in everything, but then again not being naïve, and this is that whole experience full of things that are possible. I wouldn’t even call the book fictional in a way because the concept is possible. It’s beautiful.

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Another Day is a companion novel that’s full of everything that a reader would love in a book: awesome romance, intriguing writing and little hints of something special that Mr. Levithan adds into his writing every single time. Get ready to fall in love with A and Rhiannon all over again, through their interesting adventures that fate put them into, following each other for love. You’ll never want to hear the name “Justin” again, definitely. A is now my favourite letter of the alphabet, and also for the meaning it stands for.

*A review copy was provided by the publisher via BookExpo America in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much!*

do a lot of series that you’ve heard of/read have companion novels? what is your opinion of them? are they needed? do you enjoy them more than the first, previous novel? let me know your crazy thoughts, heh. 😉

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This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales // One of the Most Touching Stories

This Song Will Save Your Life, by Leila Sales                                Publication: September 17, 2013, by Farrar, Straus and Giroux BYR                                             Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance                                                   Pages: 288                                         Format: Hardcover                           Source: Borrowed                                                 Rating: Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PM

Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, This Song Will Save Your Life is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.

 

Michelle’s Thoughts:

I’ll tell you this: it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to relate to a book and its protagonist so much. Sure, I can find the odd laugh or two in relation with other books, but Leila Sales has given me that opportunity where I cried, even bawled, reading about Elise’s experience and love for her talent. So in that case, let me write a letter to Ms. Elise Dembowski to celebrate her gorgeous, satisfying and unbelievable story.

Dear gorgeous dj elise,

Remember when you spoke about this back in the day?

“I had worked so hard, wished so hard, for things to get better. But it hadn’t happened, and it wasn’t going to happen. I could buy new jeans. I could put on or take off a headband, but this was who I was. You think it’s so easy to change yourself, but it’s impossible.”

That quote hit me like never before. I felt you, I understood everything you had gone through to help yourself. Although I’ve never been suicidal or plan to, your sense of loss in the world, trying to find yourself and what you love to do was something that speaks to me. My life situation isn’t has horrid as yours has been, but I bet that we can speak to each other and understand each other. You’re totally a new favourite character, but you felt more like a friend in the end.

I’ve had so many friendship issues. I never have been able to find the right group of friends for me, people who understand me and have the same likes and hobbies. When I joined the book blogger community, I found that sense of hope, just like you did with DJing. I love music too, so we can talk about that. But you’re simply fabulous, and I can’t even explain how much everything hit me. I felt your pain, your tears and your happiness.

Thank you for giving me the feels and all of that, seriously. I’ll definitely be buying a copy and will be rereading it for years to come. Your story is a classic, my friend!

nOW ONTO MY ACTUAL THOUGHTS OF THE PLOT AND WRITING. i’LL JUST LET YOU KNOW FROM HERE THAT IT’S ALL PERFECT. ALL THE STARS FOR EVERYTHING.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book like this. Something with everything you feel is so perfect? It’s 100% for all. Leila Sales has never impressed me as much ever, and now I’m thousands of times even more eager to read her future works, including her newest and upcoming, Tonight the Streets Are Ours. Sales hits on the right amount of everything: romance, friendship, family and passion. It’s my first time ever reading about a talented DJ, that’s for sure!

Sales doesn’t make love seem like it’s perfect or that it happens instantly. There are twists and turns given when readers realize the realism of fiction. This is the most contemporary a book can get. The ending shocked me, but it stayed real and blew my expectations in the best way. You don’t always expect the best things to happen to characters once their story is over. Although I must admit that as a protagonist, Elise deserved all of the best for her future. Now we’re caused to think and wonder about what happened next. 

“Does this seem weak to you? Could you have done better? Fine, by all means, do better. But you don’t understand this: sometimes when you are worn down, day after day, relentlessly, with no reprieve for years piled on years, sometimes you lose everything but the ability to cry.”

So after everything, I firmly believe that This Song Will Save Your Life can save one’s life. Elise went from being suicidal and cutting herself without any friends to a girl with a strong view of talent and happiness. It spoke to me like never before. Leila Sales has featured an extraordinary view on a high school experience, and it certainly fit mine more than ever.

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Would you possibly like your life to be written on a 300 paged document that everyone else is fanning over? That’s the question that I would’ve loved to have been asked beforehand, before picking up this stellar masterpiece of a novel. And I would’ve answered yes without any questions asked. In a way, this book did kind of save my life. It’s unique, true-to-the-heart and just perfect. Elise will leave you wondering what happens next in her story, and about yours as well.

So I just can’t get this book out of my head, for obvious reasons. have you ever been stuck in a situation like elise’s? you don’t have to go deep into it, my friends. but i can tell you that i have, and leila just understands teenagers unlike any other writer. did you ever feel that way about a book? that it just speaks to you and your life?

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