Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler // New Adult With a Twist

22719283  Under the Lights (Daylight Falls #2), by   Dahlia Adler                                                                Publication: June 30, 2015, by Spencer Hill Contemporary                                                     Genre: New Adult, Contemporary,    Romance, LGBTQ                                                       Pages: 312                                                   Format: Paperback                                   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 PM

Josh Chester loves being a Hollywood bad boy, coasting on his good looks, his parties, his parents’ wealth, and the occasional modeling gig. But his laid-back lifestyle is about to change. To help out his best friend, Liam, he joins his hit teen TV show, Daylight Falls … opposite Vanessa Park, the one actor immune to his charms. (Not that he’s trying to charm her, of course.) Meanwhile, his drama-queen mother blackmails him into a new family reality TV show, with Josh in the starring role. Now that he’s in the spotlight—on everyone’s terms but his own—Josh has to decide whether a life as a superstar is the one he really wants.

Vanessa Park has always been certain about her path as an actor, despite her parents’ disapproval. But with all her relationships currently in upheaval, she’s painfully uncertain about everything else. When she meets her new career handler, Brianna, Van is relieved to have found someone she can rely on, now that her BFF, Ally, is at college across the country. But as feelings unexpectedly evolve beyond friendship, Van’s life reaches a whole new level of confusing. And she’ll have to choose between the one thing she’s always loved … and the person she never imagined she could.

Michelle’s thoughts:

Sometimes it seriously is great to read a book that is hassle-free and just full of drama. Under the Lights is just a great novel that just made me laugh, giggle and want to gossip about each of the characters for days with my friends who haven’t even heard of this series since they’re non-readers. Dahlia Adler is an amazing author whose books I haven’t read before, but when I read this, I just wanted to add all of these books onto my TBR list for the future and fall in love again and again. There’s an unexpected romance, a nice crew of characters, and a story that could go either way for some.

There’s so much drama here. I just imagine this taking place in Hollywood or Miami, any party central of the world where the characters will spend time partying and just having fun. There’s friend-zoning (FOR REAL) and an unexpected romance that will have you wondering… WHAT?! It’s crazy, but pretty great.

The novel starts off with our protagonist, Josh Chester, who is a star of the TV show which this trilogy is named off of, Daylight Falls. He’s a bad guy, and basically rebels against everything that happens in his life. He parties hard, and finds out that he begins to start liking his costar, Vanessa, who has her mind on other things. It’s pretty crazy and everything is falling apart in their lives. THIS IS A GREAT, GREAT, GREAT STORY.

The plot is racing. This is a story that could be placed in The Hills or One Tree Hill and seem perfect. Everything came together quickly, formed a plot and Under the Lights just wow-ed me. I became so excited and hoping to read more, more of the series that was seriously awesome. The characters seriously became developed and I liked them all seriously. Josh was annoying, but arrogant at the same time that made me stay on opposite sides of love and hate. This is LGBTQ, I must admit, and it was formed in a surprising way. Vanessa realized her feelings in a surprised matter that was different than the regular books where we are introduced to characters who already are understanding their feelings.

Dahlia knows how to handle love. This isn’t a book where the romance comes quickly and characters spend time trying to run away. Josh felt feelings, so did Vanessa, and there was a love triangle essentially. I fell in love with the plot and it captured all of the feelings that I ever had about chick-lit. This was seriously intriguing.

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Under the Lights is racing, bright and a great read, though nothing special and not my favourite book ever. There are developed characters, those who are easy-going and made the story better, and it’s the perfect beach read. Adler’s books have been on my radar for years, and I am very excited to have given her writing a chance because the public was somewhat correct. I loved the racing-ness of how quickly the story came together and made me smile. I seriously recommend it to all contemporary romance lovers, enjoy and adore it.

do you enjoy new adult romances? what about those books that feel like they’re all about drama? have you read anything by dahlia adler?

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Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit // This Was So Weird.

  Anna and the Swallow Man, by Gavriel        Savit                                    Publication: January 26, 2016, by Knopf   Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Historical   Pages: 240                                         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 PM

Kraków, 1939. A million marching soldiers and a thousand barking dogs. This is no place to grow up. Anna Łania is just seven years old when the Germans take her father, a linguistics professor, during their purge of intellectuals in Poland. She’s alone.

And then Anna meets the Swallow Man. He is a mystery, strange and tall, a skilled deceiver with more than a little magic up his sleeve. And when the soldiers in the streets look at him, they see what he wants them to see.

The Swallow Man is not Anna’s father—she knows that very well—but she also knows that, like her father, he’s in danger of being taken, and like her father, he has a gift for languages: Polish, Russian, German, Yiddish, even Bird. When he summons a bright, beautiful swallow down to his hand to stop her from crying, Anna is entranced. She follows him into the wilderness.

Over the course of their travels together, Anna and the Swallow Man will dodge bombs, tame soldiers, and even, despite their better judgment, make a friend. But in a world gone mad, everything can prove dangerous. Even the Swallow Man.

Michelle’s Thoughts:

Is it possible for someone to imagine reading a WWII-based book that is weird? I mean sure, we read eerie, peculiar books all the time. That is the reality of being a blogger and reviewer. A few times a month, I encounter novels that were boring, weak, stupid or the scary factor: all of the above. I went literally bananas for this book at BEA last year, and there were a few reasons why. I loved the idea of some kind of Swallow Man or spiritual literary guide for the main character, Anna. Little did I know that this would turn out to be one of the weirdest books in the history of books. It wasn’t bad, but extremely confusing, and I am still not sure if some poets or philosophers would be able to distinguish the hidden message between the lines that Gavriel Savrit implies. It’s either that I’m too dumb, or that this was written without any sort of clarity.

Sometimes when I write for English class, I realize that my main message is not clear. I have problems with that from time to time—I am a bright person who constantly has so much to say and it occasionally is difficult to put it into words. That kind of happened with Savrit’s debut YA story in this case. Anna and the Swallow Man is such a short book, too, which leaves me confused with what was the issue to write more? I would have loved more emphasis and more bizazz on the real themes of Anna’s story. This is not your typical WWII story either. I would call this story a mix of fantasy (think of the title, I don’t think birds really make any sense) and philosophy, but that’s just my take on it.

“It’s their failure, my little Anna, not yours. Men who try to understand the world without the help of children are like men who try to bake bread without the help of yeast.” (39)

I know that this story is not meant to be creepy whatsoever, but I kind of felt this confused, creeped-out vibe coming from Gavriel’s writing. To this very instant, I am still utterly confused with who the Swallow Man is. This book did not do any justice for me. Is he part of Anna’s imagination? Is Anna hallucinating or something? Is she violent? Is she mentally ill? (I wouldn’t deny it because she’s a kid in the midst of a terrorizing World War). Or do we take this in a literal context and just call the Swallow Man a creepy dude who decides to take Anna out from her ordinary society and go out on the run with her? This kind of does not make any sense, and you’re probably wondering and believing that the book was supposed to answer those questions for me. It did not, at all.

I loved the setting of this book, though. “YAY, POLAND!” I first exclaimed when I picked this one up on a gorgeous May morning in 2015. My heritage is Polish, so I have tried many times to understand its history from YA books, but it’s never really happened well. Most WWII books take place in Germany or in The Netherlands, which is just for the situation since a lot of the events occurred there, but Poland was terrorized as well. Sadly, we did not get much of a view on the war per se, but on an emotional journey of a character as she strives to survive on her own with the influence of some dude. That’s all. No biggie. *sarcasm*

I wouldn’t say that there is a reason that this book should be classified as YA fiction. I don’t remember how old she is in the book, but I know she’s not as old as I am. She’s around ten, am I wrong? Yeah, there are bombs, but I have seen/read worse. Maybe children would enjoy the light-fluffy theme of this story, but it kind was just strange for me.

“A friend is not someone to whom you give the things that you need when the world is at war. A friend is someone to whom you give the things that you need when the world is at peace.” (104)

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Anna and the Swallow Man stunned me. Not because of its gorgeousness or well-writtenness (yes, that is not a word), but because of how different it was compared to other stories I have recently read. It is not a favourite for me and I will probably forget about most of it, but there were interesting, smart phrases, quotations, passages and chapters that made me look at things a little differently than I am used to. Take weirdness, mix it in with a cute little girl protagonist, add a creepy man who has birds and there you go: Anna and the Swallow Man. I must say that it is a pretty complex formula.

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

What is the weirdest book you have read (recently or ever)? Would you take this one into consideration after I told you about its weirdness?

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Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon // My New Favourite Gorgeous Pretty

Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon  Publication: September 1, 2015, by Delacorte Press                                                         Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance                                                                     Pages: 320                                                                 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 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PM

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Michelle’s thoughts:

This might just be the cheesiest and well-known way to start a review about this book but… Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything was seriously everything. I can’t stop thinking about it after putting down and there are millions and trillions things that I simply adore about it. You know how every bookworm has many favourite novels, not only one? I kind of now believe that this one may take that special spot, fellow friends. And that the most amusing, happiest thing that has happened to me in a while.

Everything, Everything took a whip and journey around your unusual, unique contemporary-romance plot. It’s compelling, different and flawless. Nicola Yoon’s writing is some of the best I’ve seen, and I just keep wondering: Where did that gorgeous premise and plot arc come from? Some may compare it to John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, a totally recommended novel that’s one of my favourites, but this takes its own compelling route and is more unique. No one can simply weave another storyline like this one.

“I keep picturing myself floating high above the earth. From the edge of space I can see the whole world all at once. My eyes don’t have to stop at a wall or at a door. I can see the beginning and the end of time. I can see infinity from there. For the first time in a long time, I want more than I have.” (80)

Maddy, our African American-Japanese mixed protagonist has SCID. It’s a disease where she’s basically allergic to everything. (What a coincidence with the title, right?) She’s beginning to get depressed onto why she has to have it and the fact that she can’t live an ordinary life. When a new family moves in next door, Maddy is compelled to watch them and imagine what a great life they must have. But they have issues, too. The teenage boy in the family, Olly, begins to talk to Maddy through IMing and over notes seen from each other’s windows, and slowly fall in love though they both know it’s kind of impossible to be with each other. What happens when the extraordinary occurs and all your life has basically been a complete lie?

I’d get pissed and raging, that’s for sure. NICOLA HONESTLY KILLED ALL READERS IN THE END. Our book-loving, reviewer protagonist used books and her lovely unique self to promote her message to the one she loves. Without spoiling, that was one completely messed up truth. Not that it was horrible or anything. I’ll just state that I was left shocked with my jaw wide open, not being able to even remember my name after this trauma that hit me. I seriously wanted to punch Maddy’s mother as well as her nurse, because that was kind of messed up. Okay, never mind, it was messed up, but when looking at the amount of enjoyment, it’s a good thing that it happened, because I never thought that it would.

Alongside All the Bright Places, this is definitely the most hyped up contemporary of the year, and I can totally see why. I SUPPORT THE HYPE THROUGHOUT AND THOROUGHLY. Let’s get Team Everything, Everything t-shirts and be the best bookish fangirls on this planet for bookish sake. Contemporary-romances are practically my most favourite genre and finding an unique one with a tall tale is difficult to find. I’d really like to promote an award to Nicola, for everything, and to the person in Penguin Teen’s department who decided to hand copies of this beauty out at BEA. You rule, friend.

“I think of Olly, decontamination-cold and waiting for me. He’s the opposite of all these things. He’s not safe. He’s not familiar. He’s in constant motion. He’s the biggest risk I’ve ever taken.” (69)

I’m this book’s Daddy/Mommy.

five (There Are More) Reasons Why You’ll Adore Everything About This Beauty:
  1. HAWAII. I had to note that extraordinary trip of a lifetime, right? I’ve always wanted to go, and Maddy has routes from there. She’s been there when she was a kid, back when “everything seemed to be okay.” She wanted to rebel, have an amazing life and be with the person she loves the most, as well as see the state fish. *giggles* That’s freaking adorable and I wish I could go on that trip.
  2. OLLY, DUH. Olly’s the cutest guy that you’ll read about for ages. HE TOOK RISKS, HE DIDN’T GIVE A SHIZ ABOUT WHAT DISEASE HIS GIRLFRIEND HAD. He acted like it hadn’t existed because Maddy wanted him to think about it in that way. It’s amazing.
  3. DIVERSITY. Woo for diversity! Maddy’s background is African American and Japanese, which is the strangest yet coolest mix I’ve ever read about. Yoon really did add everything in this book to make it perfect and stick out to all readers, readers of contemporary or not. Plus, many readers hadn’t enjoyed contemporary until this book popped out to them.
  4. SUPPORTIVE CHARACTERS WHO ARE THERE FOR MADDY. Maddy’s nurse, Carla, was always there for her when her mother wasn’t. It was like she was her only friend and that simply added thousands of tears to my eyes. She understood teenagers unlike any other parent or bookish character.
  5. THE WRITING. Nicola Yoon is my new favourite author. Her words are compelling, intriguing and I read this all in a sitting. Agh, I can’t stop thinking about that beautiful feeling, that’s for sure. The feels kept flying over me and I couldn’t stop myself from giggling or being afraid for Maddy, as she was a character who reminded me of myself in a way. Relatable main characters are always keepers. I’m this book’s keeper. 😉

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This is something special. You’re probably rolling your eyes right now, but I’d seriously like to say it once more because Nicola Yoon has changed my life with this gorgeous thing. It’s not just a thing, either. It’s a symbol of literature that wins all of the positive medals. I don’t know how Nicola has created this story, but I’d love to creep into her mind for a little bit and hear some of those other perfect stories, because this sure is. Every teenager needs everything that this book gives to readers. September 1, you’ll one day be marked as a special day in history where literature’s best novel was first released.

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

Wow. talk about life changing, huh? What’s one of those books that completely made it life changing for you? If you only could go one place in the world, where would you go? how would you keep yourself busy if you were stuck in maddy’s situation? thanks for listening to me fangirl and bawl.

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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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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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The Cage by Megan Shepherd // I’m In a Glass CAGE of Emotion

The Cage (The Cage #1), by Megan Shepherd                                      Publication: May 26, 2015, by Balzer + Bray Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Dystopia, Science-Fiction, Romance                                     Pages: 400                                           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 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-22 at 7.12.37 PM

The Maze Runner meets Scott Westerfeld in this gripping new series about teens held captive in a human zoo by an otherworldly race. From Megan Shepherd, the acclaimed author of The Madman’s Daughter trilogy.

When Cora Mason wakes in a desert, she doesn’t know where she is or who put her there. As she explores, she finds an impossible mix of environments—tundra next to desert, farm next to jungle, and a strangely empty town cobbled together from different cultures—all watched over by eerie black windows. And she isn’t alone.

Four other teenagers have also been taken: a beautiful model, a tattooed smuggler, a secretive genius, and an army brat who seems to know too much about Cora’s past. None of them have a clue as to what happened, and all of them have secrets. As the unlikely group struggles for leadership, they slowly start to trust each other. But when their mysterious jailer—a handsome young guard called Cassian—appears, they realize that their captivity is more terrifying than they could ever imagine: Their captors aren’t from Earth. And they have taken the five teenagers for an otherworldly zoo—where the exhibits are humans.

As a forbidden attraction develops between Cora and Cassian, she realizes that her best chance of escape might be in the arms of her own jailer—though that would mean leaving the others behind. Can Cora manage to save herself and her companions? And if so . . . what world lies beyond the walls of their cage?

Michelle’s thoughts:

Where have you been all my life, wonderful novel? Megan Shepherd is a brilliant writer, seriously brilliant. From her Madman’s Daughter trilogy, which I’m just about finished reading excluding its final novel, to this, she keeps impressing me every time and I can only expect a 5 star read from her. Let’s just say that this rarely occurs in my bookish ratings. The Cage was terrifically head-pounding and left me speechless. Bear with me, fellow Shepherders, because we’re in for a wild ride after all.

Lately, dystopias haven’t been my exact favourite genre of novels as they once were. Authors seem to be using the same kind of ideas over and over again, in different settings, political views and with different character personalities, of course. When I grabbed a copy of this, I kind of already knew that it is promising. It sure is. It promises you a read that has similar traits to The Maze Runner, but nothing completely like it. Imagine you wake up and discover that you and five other humans have basically been abducted by aliens and are stuck in a cage for the remainder of your lives, possibly. That’s only the start where this begins.

“You might have grown up in a rich-girl bubble, the gap-toothed girl had told her, but in here you have to learn the rules of the real world. First off: never trust a stranger—especially one who comes offering help.” (10)

So Megan actually hands us a variety of perspectives: different characters who simply have a total divergent view on where they’re at. Some believe that the Finders (the strange aliens who claim to be keeping them safe) are not doing any harm, while others, specifically Cora, the girl most likely featured on this astonishing cover and who’s technically the main character, believe that they have to get help, trying to be released and escape. Of course they want to escape. There are five other teens who have been held captive, one, who which is released in the middle of the book. The rest are: Nok, Rolf, Leon and Lucky, and Cora finds some kind of connection between Lucky, but she realizes that he knows too much about her past. The Finders have three rules, and the six held in captive must follow them all by twenty-one days, or they’ll be taken away, presumably death.

Oh I’m serious all right. Did I mention that this book may hold one of the most bold love-triangles in modern YA history? After reading, I sat there, thinking, “what the hell just happened?” because readers certainly never expect a romance between two people who actually have been together in the past (in a way) and a girl and an alien. WHAT?! The thing is, Shepherd delivers the idea of an alien (a Finder) so awesomely. They’re not green and gooey as we all expect them to be, and they’re certainly not UFOs. Cora and the others describe them as: bronze and without pupils, basically. You’ll have a horrible time trying to decide which guy is perfect for Cora…

Cora has a wonderful, unique name as well, just like the book is. With a hint of contemporary and mystery from her life on Earth, she is very, very badass. I do wish that we had been able to hear more of her life in juvie, but it’s pretty nice of her that she took the blame for manslaughter, which was all her dad’s fault. I don’t know if I would’ve done it, but in a way, fate has placed her on this foreign planet when all of Earth could be destroyed. O_O Karma’s probably a factor for tons of the events here, too.

Remember me mentioning how the dystopia aspect was done perfectly? Well let me just say it again. When reading, I kept wondering how Shepherd was able to conquer this idea in just a matter of 400, gorgeous pages. The different biomes and habitats found on the weird planet just made the story tens of hundreds of times more interesting. It’s like traveling to different places on the Earth, in a matter of acres. They had to make some kind of escape, or the book would’ve been plain boring and wouldn’t focus on anything. Shepherd’s writing is mad, wicked and freaking stunning. I’d actually read about Cora and the crew over and over again until the sequel is about to be released.

“This couldn’t be her life. Four walls made of endless trees and mountains and a ceiling made of limitless sky, and a man with black eyes who thought giving her the stars could make this world real.” (199)

You know how many quotes I have sticky notes in? 8. That’s actually a ton for me, and shows how unique this story is. How much depth there is in the writing. How touching it is. Whoa. And when the romance actually kicked in and readers got a sense of what was yet to come (after the taking-food-away incident), things got even more thrilling. Although Cora hadn’t admitted it yet, she kind of fell in love with Cassian. Picture a lonely alien who never has felt love or kissing before, until he saw her. Let’s just say that Cassian will play mind games with you readers, until you discover the truth in the end, though I bet that there are still an endless amount of questions that will be answered until the trilogy (duology?) will be completed. I just wish that I could have all of the books, pronto!

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I declare that I’m officially obsessed with this book. I’d seriously make a Tumblr account and post all of my wacky theories on there of what is yet to come and the reason why everything makes sense… or why it doesn’t. The Cage explores romance (in a love-triangle format without any instant affection), a broad sci-fi subject matter which not even the best scientists can conquer, and awesome characters. All of the plot and time spent on different events made total sense. I’m a fan of Lucky and Cora together and I WANNA SEE THEM GO BACK TO EARTH TOGETHER. Can those underground ocean ways bring them back to their *SPOILER* destroyed planet? *SPOILER*

do you think you’d survive in some cage like this? what role would you grasp to have? i’d be the chick who makes the escape plan. *JOKES* I’d get the food, definitely. Would you make friends with the alien creatures who captured you? What about fall in love with one of them?

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