I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios // PTSD, Love and Being a Teenager

  I’ll Meet You There, by Heather Demetrios                       Publication: February 3, 2015, by Henry    Holt and Co.                                     Genre: Young Adult Fiction,    Contemporary, Romance               Pages: 388                         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

If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.

Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.

Michelle’s Thoughts:

I love dreamy books, books that make you feel like you’re the only reader in the world because it’s just fitting your style of reading. I’ll Meet You There was special, different, and had the right dosage of real-life issues and situations that many people, including teenagers like myself, face from day to day, night to night. It is a passionate tale that I cannot throw out of my head (and not like I would want to toss it out) and it is seriously recommended.

I’m glad that I am not the only person in the world who has not read this book. Heather Demetrios is an author who has always been on people’s favourites lists, and her writing supposedly always strikes people’s hearts. At the moment, I am sincerely grateful that I am one of those people whose hearts have been struck. This is such a witty, smart tale that I would never trade my experience for. If you enjoy unique but precious characters, writing that could make you bawl at any moment, and a lyrical, deep meaning, this is for you. But then again, who would not want that in a story?

“To wake up and know this is who I am, this is what I do, this is where I belong. To have tasks and accomplish them. To have some goddamn pride. And she needed backup, I could tell, and I wanted to, I don’t know, be her fuckin’ knight in shining armor, I guess, but I couldn’t get out of the truck fast enough.”

I’ll Meet You There focuses on an unexpected couple. Two teenagers, Skylar and Josh, are just trying to get out of their small home-town where not much goes on except for being stereotypical people. But when both of their worlds turn around, Skylar having to work for the whole summer and her dream of art school floating away, and Josh being injured in the Marines, they don’t have much hope left. The two “meet,” having known each other before but having their friendship grow could definitely start a gorgeous romance YA readers would not want to miss out on.

The hype that established itself around this book is real and meaningful. It absolutely makes sense that readers would go MAD for this book. Demetrios throws in a nice, realistic YA story that is different than the rest, still focusing on contemporary themes that many deal with at the same time. There’s romance, war struggles and finding a way to follow your dreams, as Skylar had. There could definitely be discouraging people out there who just do not understand what it is like to have big dreams and fall in love with life.

“Soon, the party was a distant murmur, the music and laughter already memories. I walked more slowly, feeling close to my dad as I looked up at the familiar bend in the creek and the trees that leaned over it. His spot. I wished he were there right then, to tell me why boys were such jerks. I wanted to ask him if it would always be this hard.”

Skylar could be your best friend. She is a character who seems like a real person—there are traces of her in every person and teenager. Ms. Demetrios spent a grand time making her be like readers and really show what it is like to be a teenager. Everyone has it hard and the teenage years could be the absolute bullshit years, and Skylar tried to make the best out of it which is truly magical. Josh too, I must say. They are a beautiful couple who WERE ADORABLE AND BEAUTIFUL AND MAGICAL AND ASDFGHIKL. They are the pure definition of love. And whoever says romance cannot occur in teenagerism is completely wrong, because it seems like the same story where two thirty year olds fell in love. It is absolutely believable.

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Heather Demetrios then threw in an end that whirled me around, threw me upside down… whatever you want to call “that feeling.” I was shocked, I could not believe it, and some inner tears exploded somewhere in my body. It sure is a wonderful book, I thought to myself later on. And now? I am trying to encourage you to pick this book up too someday, whether it be tonight, tomorrow, in a week, or in a few years. It is one of those spectacular, mystical stories that can hook you up at any moment and leave you aching for years later. Then again, it is not really that heartbreaking when I think about it. THIS BOOK WILL MEET YOU IN HAPPINESS AND GRATITUDE.


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Conversion by Katherine Howe // Witches and Mystery Equals My New Thing

  Conversion, by Katherine Howe        Publication: July 1, 2014, by G.P. Putnam’s   Sons BFYR                                         Genre: Young Adult Fiction,                                Contemporary,  Mystery                                           Pages: 402                             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

It’s senior year at St. Joan’s Academy, and school is a pressure cooker. College applications, the battle for valedictorian, deciphering boys’ texts: Through it all, Colleen Rowley and her friends are expected to keep it together. Until they can’t.

First it’s the school’s queen bee, Clara Rutherford, who suddenly falls into uncontrollable tics in the middle of class. Her mystery illness quickly spreads to her closest clique of friends, then more students and symptoms follow: seizures, hair loss, violent coughing fits. St. Joan’s buzzes with rumor; rumor blossoms into full-blown panic.

Soon the media descends on Danvers, Massachusetts, as everyone scrambles to find something, or someone, to blame. Pollution? Stress? Or are the girls faking? Only Colleen—who’s been reading The Crucible for extra credit—comes to realize what nobody else has: Danvers was once Salem Village, where another group of girls suffered from a similarly bizarre epidemic three centuries ago . . .

Inspired by true events—from seventeenth-century colonial life to the halls of a modern-day high school—Conversion casts a spell. With her signature wit and passion, New York Times bestselling author Katherine Howe delivers an exciting and suspenseful novel, a chilling mystery that raises the question, what’s really happening to the girls at St. Joan’s?

Michelle’s Thoughts:

Conversion, despite all of the expectations I’ve ever had, turned out to be mind-racing. It’s a novel I’ve been meaning to read for ages, but I never had gotten the chance to head out and borrow/buy it, but now when I have read it and given it an honest rating based out of my opinion, I’m so glad that I gave it the change right at this instant. Not two months ago, not in another year. Today, this experience, was better, the most greatest.

Witchcraft? Ivy League? Freaking prestigious schools? That’s something I’m into. And if you have or haven’t been informed by the Salem witch trials before, this will be a new experience for you, alongside an epidemic that is mysterious and may or may not have the name “PANDAS.” Not those white and black furry animals who eat bamboo. It’s an illness that picks on random girls that seems to do crazy stuff, like making people bald or having some choke up metal. It’s a legit thing. And if you read the Author’s Note and where this came from… You’ll find yourself so inspired.

NOT INSPIRED TO DO MAGIC, IS NOT WHAT I’M SAYING. You’ll find yourself so enchanted by the story that you’ll have no other route but then to not be allured by it. Although Howe’s tale is quite difficult to get into at first, especially with dealing with two complete different perspectives told in different places, you’ll adore it eventually. I’m also quite excited to pick up Howe’s future works and read a whole new story, because hey—standalones are pretty awesome, too.

St. Joan’s Academy is prestigious, and a lot of young women find themselves getting accepted to any university they wish to attend. For Colleen, being the best at everything is all that matters, and she wishes to get into Harvard or Dartmouth. When some of her classmates fall dangerously ill randomly (and at the worst time), she strives to figure out what’s behind it all, because an illness that had absurd symptoms cannot just appear out of the ordinary. Does magic have to do with it?

Of course I’m not going to spoil the whole story for you, but I’ll tell you this: You won’t forget it. It’s pretty difficult to forget about a book that stood beyond the expectations, and beyond the ordinary. Howe’s writing is interesting, exciting and racing, my heart felt like it was going to explode at times. Flipping between contemporary and historical times with two main characters who basically saved and ruined the day, I’m sure there’s something to love in every single bit of the story. Katherine Howe isn’t your average storyteller: She’s a magnificent writer whose stories you’ll never want to get out of you.

Colleen, the contemporary setting protagonist, is a fighter. She reminds me tons of myself, with that overachieving attitude but someone who obviously has a good heart (not that I’m bragging, heh) but it was good to read about someone who you could relate to. She has so many issues in life and they keep piling up onto each other, as everyone periodically feels their lives become, and things can literally go upside down for them when they wouldn’t really like it to. She was the main highlight of the story. And there wasn’t too many hints of romance, either. It was like a ghost story that focuses more on the spooky aspect of things.

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Conversion will literally convert you into (A) a literary buff, if you already aren’t one and/or (B) someone willing to read anything by this author over and over again. It have a few cons as for story development and the way the story turned out in the end as well as the beginning part, but I’m sitting here with tons of compliments towards it. You’ll really love this, if you haven’t read it already. Pick it up, it’s already waiting for you to devour and enjoy it!

how much patience are you willing to give for a book? are you easy-going with boring plots or are you a tough bud like i am? do books usually surprise you with suspense and a rapid change of movement in the plot?

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Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill // The Parent Trap Without the Sister Dilemma

Being Sloane Jacobs, by Lauren MorrillUntitled-1      Publication: January 7, 2014, by Delacorte Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance                                                             Pages: 352                                         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

Meet Sloane Emily Jacobs: a seriously stressed-out figure-skater from Washington, D.C., who choked during junior nationals and isn’t sure she’s ready for a comeback. What she does know is that she’d give anything to escape the mass of misery that is her life.

Now meet Sloane Devon Jacobs, a spunky ice hockey player from Philly who’s been suspended from her team for too many aggressive hip checks. Her punishment? Hockey camp, now, when she’s playing the worst she’s ever played. If she messes up? Her life will be over.

When the two Sloanes meet by chance in Montreal and decide to trade places for the summer, each girl thinks she’s the lucky one: no strangers to judge or laugh at Sloane Emily, no scouts expecting Sloane Devon to be a hero. But it didn’t occur to Sloane E. that while avoiding sequins and axels she might meet a hockey hottie—and Sloane D. never expected to run into a familiar (and very good-looking) face from home. It’s not long before the Sloanes discover that convincing people you’re someone else might be more difficult than being yourself.

Michelle’s Thoughts:

I feel pretty bad for my books. I treat them as real people, if you can believe it—not to sound weird or anything. I’m friendly, no stalker. But if I leave a book itching for me to read it for ages, I feel bad that I’m not picking it up instead of all of the other new books that are being released and those that I’m requesting and borrowing from the library. Being Sloane Jacobs by the awesome Lauren Morrill was one of those books that I’ve been waiting to read forever. It was pretty fabulous, if you ask me.

Have you ever watched the classic film The Parent Trap? This book is so similar to it. Minus the actual secret twin/sisterhood thing as well as parents getting back together, Morrill basically adds all of the quirkiness and entertainment that you ever have wanted in a contemporary-romance novel, with two different perspectives that’ll leave you giggling for ages, even after the whole story is over.

“Either you love it or you don’t. Either you can do it or you can’t. And, kid? I been watching you for years, and I know you can do it. The question you gotta figure out is, do you love it?” (4)

This features two distinct girls with the same name: Sloane Jacobs. One is a figure skater while the other plays hockey. When summer vacation comes, they decide that they’d like to go to camps where they’re able to do the talents and hobbies that they enjoy the most. When they meet in a hotel in Montreal and discover that they look pretty similar and both are able to skate, they decide to switch places. They fall in love with different people, learn new things and decide how they’ll actually be themselves when the time comes.

I adored the concept which Morrill handed to us. There’s no doubt about that. I can’t get the story and its events out of my head, including the cute picture-perfect romance and all of the things that made each character and perspective themselves. The writing is brilliant, though quick, fast-paced and interesting, leaving me unable to stop reading. As I’ve read the author’s other books in the past, I kind of already knew what to expect, but it all turned out to be more satisfying than what I already predicted beforehand.

“I, Sloane Emily Jacobs, am sitting in my pajamas on the handlebars of a boy’s bike, being whisked around a foreign city at midnight. I can’t even imagine what my mom would say. The thought makes me grin.” (139)

When I think about it, I don’t really have a favourite “Sloane Jacobs.” The girls were two different, distinct personalities who loved different things, behaved differently and had a different view on life and what you should do to be happy. Love isn’t all you need kind of felt like the motto by the end as well. Fame and fortune? Those don’t matter either, actually. All that mattered to me was the writing, plot, characters and pacing, as well as the meaning discovered in the end. At least, those things satisfied me. *giggles*

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All in all, Being Sloane Jacobs turned out to be one of those books that you’ll finish and enjoy in one sitting. It’s fast-paced, and unique, compared to the large selection of contemporaries that are found in YA lit today. Did you enjoy The Parent Trap films? Do you enjoy books about the theme of friendship and first love? What about starting over again once something bad occurred to you in life? This has that all.

do you prefer a fast or slow pace when contemporaries are written? have you read anything by lauren morrill before? Do you like similar cover schemes from one particular author and all of their books?

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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.


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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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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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Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker // Horror Awesomeness

Beware the Wild (Beware the Wild #1), by Natalie C. Parker                               Publication: October 21, 2014, by HarperTeen                                                     Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Romance                                                                       Pages: 327                                                                   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

It’s an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp—the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn’t return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed.

Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp’s done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance—and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her.

This debut novel is full of atmosphere, twists and turns, and a swoon-worthy romance.

Michelle’s Thoughts:

I’m the biggest diehard horror, gore fan you’ll ever meet. But I only read YA horror, because I’m still kind of hesitant to get into Stephen King, or else I’ll pee my pants of fear. So the first sentence was kind of exaggerated, please excuse me for that. *giggles* Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker is one of those Southern novels that has its own concept, own thrill and whirl of uniqueness. It’s a step before perfection.

Have you ever read a book and gave it four stars, but feel like there was nothing wrong with it, it’s just the rating that you choose to give it? Yeah, that is the feeling which is punching me in the guts at the moment. Beware the Wild scared the heck out of me, but only in one of those ways where I know it is simply impossible to occur in the suburban area which I live in. Thank goodness I do not live close to a swamp or forest though. There is a pond nearby though… *getting some weird scenarios stuck in my head*

This could definitely be Sterling! She’s so beautiful.

“Don’t fear. Your way home will be clear and as for finding me again, all you need do, my brave girl, is say my name. And I will find you.”

I totally can imagine a movie coming out of this. BTW is about two siblings, Sterling and Phin who are super close. When Phin goes missing by running into the swamp that the whole town is afraid of, Sterling knows that she’s not hallucinating or dreaming about anything when someone else returns, a girl named Lenora, who claims to be Sterling’s sister. Basically acting like a detective alongside super-hot guy Heath, Sterling wants to figure out what happened to her brother and who the heck Lenora May actually is, because something’s fishy.

It’s a fast paced story that’s for everyone. Parker’s plots seem to be very straight forward but leading to the point. I seriously would be in total shock if I read about a story like this on the news, but at the same time, it sounds totally believable. Although there are details turning to fantasy with monsters and strange creatures and abnormal events, it’s not like your typical cheap American monster movie. At least, it’s not stereotypical or found often all over the place. And the fact that this is going to be a series makes the happiness worth a diamond ring practically.

3 Reasons Why YOU Need to Beware the Wild in this Book:

  1. A Sexy Hot Male Love Interest: What would a classic horror story be without a sidekick, trying to save the day alongside the girl? Heath and Sterling had this special connection that left them in love. They were seriously in love, without all of that instalove. It’s like Heath was the bad boy and Sterling disliked him at first, but then felt attracted to him as he wanted to help out. Agh, geez, my heart still flutters when I think about how cute their story ended up.
  2. Shine and the Side Characters You’ll Meet: They’re wicked and wild, honestly. You’ll meet Lenora May and Shine… and hate them at first. But as Parker continues her story from Sterling’s perspective, you’re bound to discover that without them, the story would’ve gone nowhere. At least they acted like one of those villains who felt like telling the truth to the people they hate. *giggles*
  3. The Ending: WOW. POW. SHOOT. HOLY. OMG. Those are the words that kept splattering my mind as I flipped over the last pages of the book. I couldn’t believe what had occurred, and I must say that it still longs in my head to this day. I just am not able to comprehend and move on after what Parker revealed to us about Lenora and everything. It’s like Sterling’s whole life was a lie.

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This is one of those stories that readers of all genres are bound to love. There are practically hints of everything, all packed up into a dust jacket of 327 pages. Parker is a freaking cool author who knows exactly how to attract all kinds of readers to her horror-fantasy read. Trust me, there are tons of lies involved with every single character, and you won’t be able to tell who is telling the truth and what actually is the truth. Wow.


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