DNF Digest [2]


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I didn’t intended on making “DNF Digest” a regular thing because honestly? I always hope to finish a book! Lately, though, I’ve been more inclined to mark a book as DNF because there are just soooo many books I need to read (you’ve seen my shelves) so I just can’t afford to be pushing through books that I’m really not enjoying. If I’ve read a lot of the book I finish, it’s sort of a policy of mine to try to write a small “review” saying why it didn’t work for me, but today’s collection of DNF round-ups didn’t quite warrant reviews because I didn’t make it as far as I’d hoped.


Title: We Are the Goldens
Author: Dana Reinhardt
Format I was reading: eGalley
Started reading: 4/8/14
Date marked as DNF: 5/14/14
Marked DNF at: 25%
Reason for marking DNF: I just knew this wasn’t a “me” book. I really tried reading as much as I could but I wasn’t into the characters or the plot or even the concept. I think it was a lot less mystery than I thought it was going to be… I was thinking it was a real hardcore mystery and it was more just a secret the one sister was keeping. Not a bad book but I just knew it wasn’t for me. I feel like it’s a better thing for me to stop reading than have myself push through and give it a low rating just because it’s not what I usually enjoy!


Title: The Crown (Queen of Hearts #1)
Author: Colleen Oakes
Format I was reading: eGalley
Started reading: 1/30/14
Date marked as DNF: 5/15/14
Marked DNF at: 20%
Reason for marking DNF: I just couldn’t get into this one. Alice in Wonderland isn’t always my favorite fairy tale but it can be a great retelling. I loved TIGER LILY and I’ve never been a fan of Peter Pan, so it really just depends. I picked it up and put it down a few times but nothing was catching me and I could not stand the main character. She was a brat and the story was weird and I just couldn’t keep going with it. It wasn’t that I was bored or knew it wasn’t for me… I was actively turned off.


Title: The Body in the Woods
Author: April Henry
Format I was reading: ARC from Macmillan
Started reading: 5/25/13
Date marked as DNF: 6/29/14
Marked DNF at: 20%
Reason for marking DNF: (Mini-review, posted on Goodreads) With a tough final decision, I chose not to come back to this book.
I tried a few times to get into it but I really just wasn’t feeling it at any point in time. That really makes me sad because I LOVE YA mysteries and I always want there to me more in the world, but this one just wasn’t working for me.
Ultimately, I think it was the writing. The characters didn’t grab me — and with three POVs, it was really hard to connect with anyone — and everything was so… technical! When the characters are talking to the “professionals”, everything was like step by step, almost textbook descriptions of how murder investigations work. It was very cut and dry and instead of weaving those facts into dialogue or inner thoughts, it just felt like I was reading a textbook.
I tried coming back but it just wasn’t working for me so I decided to DNF rather than force myself to finish and end up with a two star rating.


Title: Graduation Day (The Testing #3)
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Format I was reading: ARC from HMH Kids
Started reading: 6/12/14
Date marked as DNF: 6/29/14
Marked DNF at: 20%
Reason for marking DNF: (Mini-review, posted on Goodreads) I know, I know. You’re probably asking who in the world reads the first two books, rates them four stars, and then DNFs the LAST book in the trilogy? Answer… I just don’t have the desire to read it. 
    I started and made it about 20% in but I feel like I have zero connection to this series anymore.
I read The Testing and I liked it, but it felt too much like THE HUNGER GAMES for me. And DIVERGENT. Nothing really felt original about it and I was never really impressed by Cia or any of the characters. 
    I read INDEPENDENT STUDY on Christmas last year and I actually enjoyed it… But I realized as I started GRADUATION DAY that I have noooooooo idea what happened in that book and I didn’t really care to go back and find out. I felt like I really was never connected to the series and I really don’t like Cia that much at all… Things were good but the more I sit on it, the more I find myself unmotivated to finish.
I could have worked my way through GRADUATION DAY but honestly? I didn’t really care how it ended and I feel find knowing that I never will know. The world didn’t stick with me enough and just from those 50 pages or so, nothing was sticking much at all and I found myself annoyed.
So sorry to quit on the final leg of the series but… I’m just not into it.


Title: Illusive
Author: Emily Lloyd-Jones
Format I was reading: egalley from Little, Brown
Started reading: 7/3/14
Date marked as DNF: 7/21/14
Marked DNF at: 35%
Reason for marking DNF: (Mini-review, posted on Goodreads) This was SUCH a disappointment. I was so excited for Ocean’s 11 meets X-men (or vice versa) and that’s not to say that it wasn’t… It had the heist aspect of Ocean’s 11 BUT it was severely lacking in the humor that I loved so much from that movie. The characters did make jokes, but they were not nearly as witty as my favorite sharp-tongued characters and that whole aspect felt like a let-down. 
    Just nothing about this book grabbed me. I don’t even think it was too much hype in my own head. I just… didn’t enjoy it. I picked it up a few times trying to keep going through since I specifically requested this from the publisher because I was THAT excited and I feel like I’m letting the pub down a bit but I just couldn’t keep going. I made it about 35% of the way through and was really, really pushing myself to keep going. I wasn’t interested in the plot. I wasn’t even entirely sure what the overall plot arc was. I really didn’t like the characters (except for maybe Devon) but one character won’t keep me reading the whole book.
Everything just felt flat and so disconnected. I wonder if the format had anything to do with it? (Written in third person present tense which I don’t think I’ve read before.) It felt like it was trying too hard with the weird tense and was a bit distracting at first but I don’t think it really tripped me up TOO much.
Anyway. I tried to pick it up a few more times and was having just such a hard time with it. I even skipped to the end (which I NEVER do) and found myself not really caring what happened.
A major disappointment for me. Didn’t HATE anything about it but just couldn’t find anything to latch onto to really enjoy.


Title: Stitching Snow
Author: R.C. Lewis
Format I was reading: egalley from Disney Hyperion
Started reading: (sometime in July… I accidentally deleted my original version of this on GR)
Date marked as DNF: 7/28/14
Marked DNF at: 20%
Reason for marking DNF: (Mini-review, posted on Goodreads) I tried to pick this one up a few times and… I just couldn’t get back into it. It always felt like a poor man’s Cinder (not to sound harsh, but my brain just made some strong parallels) and even when a “good part” came up, it wasn’t enough to hook me into the story. 
    I didn’t really care for the main character and actively disliked the secondary characters. I wasn’t into the world either. I’m working on not pushing myself to finish books I’m not enjoying since there are SO many amazing books out there to be read so sadly I just put this one down and didn’t have the heart to come back to it.


Well. Those are my latest DNFs. I always feel so terrible walking away from a book, but I just have to tell myself that I can’t like them all and if I didn’t feel a responsibility to review just because I’m blogging, I really wouldn’t have an issue putting them down. Some I waited MONTHS to DNF because I just felt so bad doing it, but I took the time to let them marinate and decided that I still couldn’t make it happen.
Do you have any that you agree with? Any you’re disappointed I didn’t enjoy?

The Selective Collective features A Little Something Different

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The Selective Collective reads A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT by SANDY HALL

The Selective Collective features A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT by SANDY HALL provided to us by Macmillan & Swoon Reads for review and use in The Selective Collective feature!

For my part in this Selective Collective post, I wanted to do… well, a little something different! Throughout the book, I felt like Gabe and Lea had trouble expressing themselves and maybe needed a little bit of help to do so. What better way to do that than through music? Music can be so powerful and say everything you need to say! Music was also a huge part of my college career so I think it’s the perfect thing to incorporate into this month’s Selective Collective post for A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT! Without further ado, here is my soundtrack for the book!

A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT soundtrack:
Listen to the full collection of songs at 8tracks.com!

Now, 8tracks doesn’t let you see the full listing of songs but I’m going to cheat and let you see the whole listing of songs! Unfortunately with 8tracks you can only skip three songs on one mix so I wanted to share the entire collection with you so you can see what’s on it even if you end up skipping a few!

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The soundtrack has a very “chill” feel. Gabe and Lea get a little tongue-tied around each other (hence song #3), but for the most part, they seem like pretty relaxed sort of people! They’re just a bit shy and both seem like they’d listen to a lot of mellow, easy-listening alt rock and indie rock.

I think “Tongue Tied” and “Something to Talk About” are two of my favorite selections because they sum up the book pretty well according to my reading experience! Gabe and Lea connected on a level past words since they had a hard time talking to each other and putting themselves out there… And yet everyone (and even everyTHING (squirrels and benches included)) were talking about their chemistry and how obvious it was that these two lovebirds should just get together already! The lyrics obviously don’t EXACTLY line up with the story, but I really like the idea and the sentiment behind them and the titles work REALLY well!

Don’t forget to check out the mix on 8tracks.com and you can listen to it in full!

So what do you think? Which songs would YOU put on the soundtrack for A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT? What do you think best sums up Gabe and Lea?

And please don’t forget to check out the features from the other ladies in The Selective Collective! We each have a post to feature a different side of A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT so please go visit their take on the book as well!

Tee @ YA Crush  From Page to Screen
Candice @ The Grown-Up YA  A Little Something Different: Candice’s Choice
Diana & Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks  Round Table: A Little Something Different
Daphne & Kristina @ Gone Pecan  Interview with Sandy Hall + Giveaway!

 

 

Book and a Beverage [70] – Allie from Little Birdie Books

Book and a Beverage

Welcome back to BOOK AND A BEVERAGE!

In case you don’t know the deal about Book and a Beverage, it’s a very simple yet fun feature: We read books, we drink beverages, we take pictures of them and then I share your photos and a little about you to the blogging world!

Give a big welcome to Allie from Little Birdie Books!

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Name & Blog Name: Allie @ Little Birdie Books
Tell us a little about your blog! Little Birdie is a place where I let my inner fangirl run the show. It started over a year ago as way for me to escape from my university syllabus and read the things I loved again… and, man, have I read some amazing books since then. I love the freedom and variety of running my own book blog; how one post could be a review, and the other a random discussion on something I’ve been pondering. Basically, my blog is a fun and spontaneous place where fellow book junkies are always tackle-hugged on entry (and given cookies. There are always cookies to be had).
What’s been your favorite post you’ve written so far? (Link us up!) Isometimes write these ‘Rules That Must Be Obeyed’ poststhat are my sarcastic way of rounding up clichés and dismissing blogger / reader myths. The latest one ‘Blogger Rules That Must Be Obeyed’ was so hilarious to write and I absolutely loved the responses I got from everyone. Everyone loves a snarky Allie!
Got anything special coming up we should know about? Oh, come on, every day is special at Little Birdie (haha).

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Whatcha reading? Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Where did it come from? (Library, purchased, publisher, etc) Bloomsbury sent me over a copy, because they’re awesome like that.
Any special reason you chose to feature this book? I adore the Throne of Glass series (ridiculous amounts) and take any chance I can to push it on unsuspecting readers!
What’s important that we should know about this book? Would you recommend it? This series has the most wonderfully written, epically detailed, fantastically varied fantasy books I’ve ever read. And this third book is the best of the lot – it’s the only book to ever make me cry!

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Whatcha drinking? Thai Iced Tea, because it is the most glorious invention ever.
What’s your favorite thing to drink while reading? If it’s not iced-tea, then I actually love a glass of Blackberry and Elderflower Pimm’s, especially in the summer.
Favorite beverage of all time. Go! Elderflower and pomegranate cordial with lemonade is the BOMB (and I like it so much, I’m not even going to feel guilty about saying the phrase ‘the bomb’).
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What are your top three books you would recommend to other people? The Raven Boys (and, by extension, all of the other books in the series, because they are pure magic). Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Cinder (and, again, all of the sequels because they are AMAZING).
What’s your proudest blogging/reading/writing moment? It’d probably be when I made my first real blogging buddy. It’s so lovely to know I’ve made some genuine friends in the blogosphere and I think that was my proudest moment.
Anything else you’d like to share? DFTBA, guys.

Thanks, Allie! Apparently we need to be new best friends now because all of your recs are books that I LOOOOVE and I’m reading Heir of Fire right now and have fallen in love with this series too! Thanks so much for being on Book and a Beverage!

I hope you enjoyed getting to know Allie! Connect with her at the links below!
Blog // Twitter // Goodreads // Pinterest // Bloglovin’ // Instagram

And don’t forget! You can participate in Book and a Beverage at any time! Got a book? Got a beverage? Just tweet or post your photo on Instagram using the hashtag #bookandabeverage and I’ll retweet or repost your photo!

#bookandabeverage

 

Kiss of Broken Glass – Madeleine Kuderick

Kiss of Broken Glass – Madeleine KuderickTitle: Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine Kuderick
Date Completed: June 18, 2014
Publishing Info: September 9, 2014 by HarperCollins
Source: egalley approved via publisher through Edelweiss -- Thanks!
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Goodreads // Buy from Amazon
    Madeleine Kuderick’s gripping debut is a darkly beautiful and lyrical novel in verse, perfect for fans of Sonya Sones and Laurie Halse Anderson. Kiss of Broken Glass pulses with emotion and lingers long after the last page.
    In the next seventy-two hours, Kenna may lose everything—her friends, her freedom, and maybe even herself. One kiss of the blade was all it took to get her sent to the psych ward for seventy-two hours. There she will face her addiction to cutting, though the outcome is far from certain.   
    When fifteen-year-old Kenna is found cutting herself in the school bathroom, she is sent to a facility for mandatory psychiatric watch. There, Kenna meets other kids like her—her roommate, Donya, who’s there for her fifth time; the birdlike Skylar; and Jag, a boy cute enough to make her forget her problems... for a moment.

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When I first started KISS OF BROKEN GLASS, I actually had no idea it was in verse. Verse is not usually my thing, but I decided to roll with it and I was glad I did! It was a very interesting story and definitely one with a powerful message.

The story starts with fifteen-year-old Kenna being brought to a facility for psych evaluation after being caught cutting herself in the girls bathroom at school. What really intrigued me about the story as I was reading was Kenna’s reason as to why she was cutting. See, it’s become sort of a fad at her school. Girls do it for a thrill, for bragging rights, for proof that they’re daring. Some of them really are hurting inside and we find out throughout the story that Kenna is a little bit of both.

For some, the fad of cutting may seem like a really unrealistic concept but I actually read the afterword when I completed the book and it broke my heart to read that Madeleine Kuderick’s daughter actually went through a very similar situation that Kenna did and that’s how she came up with concept for the story. I’ll also tell you that I’ve witnessed this fad first hand at my own high school – not as quite as portrayed in the book but I’ve had friends who used to cut and I’ve seen how that idea can take off as something appealing as a physical release of an emotional struggle and catch on with others.

The book sort of reminded me of something like a YA Girl, Interrupted. It definitely had the same kind of feel and it was shocking and intriguing all at the same time. I really appreciated the message and how the story evolved too. Even though it was verse which is something I’m not really as into, the book really moved quickly and it was a very easy read.

The only lack of connection I had was actually because of the verse. There were small rhyming poems strewn throughout the book which were actually composed by one of the characters that I seemed to connect with more than the overall composition. I used to write some really bad high school poetry, but it worked really well for dumping all of my feelings into a creative outlet like that so I had hoped the verse would make me feel the same way writing my own poetry had, but I think it actually had the adverse effect on me. KISS OF BROKEN GLASS didn’t at all feel like bad high school poetry, but I felt like I would have personally connected with Kenna better if I had been able to really dig deep into her feeling through more conventional prose. I really wanted to read through long paragraphs, climb into her mind, and sort of let all of those feelings wash over me. I feel like the verse really put up a small wall that I couldn’t break past in order to really connect with the characters.

KISS OF BROKEN GLASS didn’t bowl me over but it was still a powerful story nonetheless. I think it’s a great read and a really great selection for those who don’t normally read verse. It was actually really quick and easy, but also enjoyable and carries a really powerful message.

THE VIEW FROM GOODREADS

“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Kenna // Character Obsessions: Friends, popularity, family, control, cutting. 
I really felt for Kenna as I was reading. It’s quite complicated when you want to fit in with your friends, when what your friends are doing becomes appealing to you even when it initially isn’t, and even when you know it’s a bad idea. I feel like a lot of people who read this book won’t believe that something like cutting can become a fad or something that girls would do to impress one another but I’ve actually seen it at my old school and I can tell you that it is a real thing. I understand how fitting in with your friends and wanting to be important in the group, not wanting to be that goody-two-shoes feels. Not to mention that I felt like expressing myself through poetry in high school was the way to get my feelings out too haha!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Serious issues. I don’t read a lot of “issue” books, for lack of a better term, but when I do, I try to choose them carefully. I think there are a lot of different stories to be told about people who suffer from self-harm and I think they’re important stories to read. I think if you’re not someone who has suffered from it or knows someone who has, it may be difficult to understand why it happens so I really appreciate the authors who write the genuinely realistic stories for others to read and experience and understand.
Left Me Wanting More: Connection. As much as I wanted to connect to the book and initially didn’t expect the verse to hold me back, it actually did a little bit. I was hoping it would help the story flow and infuse more emotion but I actually felt like it took away from the emotional side for me. I didn’t have time for those long, emotional paragraphs to really take me over.

Addiction Rating
Read it

I think this book is definitely an important read, even if I hadn’t connected with it as much as I had hoped. It’s a important topic to read about and inspire conversation and awareness and also a really good book for those who are starters in verse.

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(Click the cover to see my review!)

       Fault Line Christa Desir   The Stone Girl Alyssa Sheinmel

If You Liked… If I Stay

12 BOOKS TO READ IF YOU LIKED IF I STAY

One of my favorite parts about being a book blogger is sharing the books that I love with others. I absolutely love sharing my favorite reads and recommending them to others who are looking to fall in love with a new book! With all of these amazing YA adaptations coming out recently, I know a lot of people are looking for more books similar to the movies that have hit the silver screen, so for all those looking for books similar to your blockbuster favorites, I’ve got some recommendations lined up for you!

Gayle Forman’s novel IF I STAY is one of my all-time favorites. I love the characters and everything about the book is just wonderful and beautifully written. Now that the book is on the big screen, a lot of people who may not have been avid readers or who aren’t as familiar with the genre (whether that be contemporary, out-of-body experiences, or YA) may be wondering what to read next or what kind of books are like IF I STAY. That’s where I step in — I’ve read quite a few that I think have the same sort of feel so without further ado, here 12 books to read if you liked IF I STAY!


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IF YOU LIKED IF I STAY…

Try… THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE by Leila Sales.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

I connected with this book right from the beginning. If you’ve ever felt like an outside who just wanted to fit in, you’ll definitely see a little bit of yourself in THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE protagonist Elise Dembowski. The book was incredibly well-written and it really hit home in so many ways. Elise goes through quite a bit and it was definitely an emotional journey to witness. The book has a wonderful overall message and it stuck with me long after I finished reading.

Try… MY LAST KISS by Bethany Neal.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

I like MY LAST KISS as an IF I STAY comparison because there are a lot of similarities: an out-of-body experience creating a sort of paranormal feel but at the same time definitely holds a contemporary feel as well. MY LAST KISS also has a bit of a mystery as well as Cassidy, the main character, tries to figure out exactly how she did by reflecting on her life as well as following the lives of her family and friends after her death. It was a really interesting concept and although it wasn’t as emotional for me, I think it has a lot of the same qualities as IF I STAY!

Try… LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD by Ava Dellaira.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD is another really powerful book that’s been getting a lot of attention recently. (It’s actually already been optioned for film as well!) The book is written entirely in letters that Laurel is writing to celebrities who passed away young like her sister May. The letters help her work through her life after losing her sister and how to regain a sense of normalcy, knowing that things can never go back to the way they used to be. There’s been a lot of praise for this book recently and it’s easy to see why!

Try… OPEN ROAD SUMMER by Emery Lord.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

OPEN ROAD SUMMER was one of my favorite reads so far this year. It’s a fantastic combination of cute & swoony and serious & emotional. The book follows Reagan who’s just been through a really difficult string of events and it’s ready to leave it all behind her. It just so happens that her best friend is none other than country-pop superstar Lilah Montgomery. Reagan hits the road with Lilah on her 24-city summer tour and not only leaves the past behind but finds a new future and solidifies her friendship. I absolutely loved this book (and I don’t even like country music) thanks to its great characters, amazing friendships, and fantastic romance.

Try… THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE is a book that reads very similarly to LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD (I actually made the comparison when I picked up LOVE LETTERS) — Protagonist Lennie Walker is putting the pieces of her life back together after the sudden death of her sister. Aside from figuring herself out, she’s also left to repair the relationships with her sister’s boyfriend and her own family, meanwhile learning a thing or two about love. I finished this book in one day, ugly crying and all. It was so beautiful and heartbreaking and one I really recommend.

Try… TIME BETWEEN US by Tamara Ireland Stone.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

If you’re digging the “other worldly” aspect of IF I STAY but still caught up in all the swooniness, I highly recommend TIME BETWEEN US! The book has such a contemporary romance feel and yet the main plot involves a time travel aspect. The characters are just fantastic and the book really hit me in the feels. Like IF I STAY, TIME BETWEEN US is actually the first of a duology as well!

Try… NANTUCKET BLUE by Leila Howland.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
NANTUCKET BLUE is the first in another duology (I swear I didn’t pick all the duologies on purpose… But I do love them) and I just fell in love with it when I first read it last year. After the death of her best friend’s mom, Cricket’s plans for summer in Nantucket with her best friend’s family are entirely up in the air. NANTUCKET BLUE is a wonderful story about friendship, loss, romance, and finding oneself in the most unexpected places. I love Cricket’s character and I really connected with her on so many levels!

Try… ONE MOMENT by Kristina McBride.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
I read ONE MOMENT few years ago and thought it was so well done. I feel like it touches on a lot of the same situations and predicaments that IF I STAY does. It was emotional, psychological, and raw. I really wasn’t expecting to connect so much with this book and I really ended up loving it! I feel like it’s much lesser-known but that doesn’t make it any less wonderful! If you’re looking for something similar, it’s definitely worth a try!

Try… THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING by Robin Schneider.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
I devoured THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING last year! It was a lovely, bittersweet contemporary romance told from the POV of main character Ezra who returns to school after a debilitating knee injury, therefore ruining any future he may have had as his school’s tennis star. His life was turned upside down after an awful night of breaking up with his girlfriend and then a terrible car accident and Ezra sort of has to go back to the beginning, back to his roots with his old best friend, in order to figure out how to start the future he didn’t anticipate following. I just loved the writing and the story. This book was top notch for me!

Try… GOLDEN by Jessi Kirby.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
GOLDEN was a fan-favorite last year when it was released and it’s easy to see why — this book contains a great coming-of-age story, a bit of a mystery, and a situation that I’m sure many teens (or even adults) have related to as they’re about to embark on a totally new venture in their lives. It was really beautifully written and follows a heart-breaking as well as heart-warming tale. I loved watching main character Parker’s growth throughout the book and felt a sense of accomplishment for her by the end!

Try… JUST ONE DAY by Gayle Forman.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
Let’s wrap up the list with another Gayle Forman book! If you loved IF I STAY, then I hope you’ll love the book in Gayle’s next duology, JUST ONE DAY.  It’s about a girl named Allyson who goes to Europe the summer before starting college and ends up finding the path that will change her entire life as she knows it. It starts with an adventure when she meets a handsome stranger, but Allyson’s journey is also so much more than finding a boy and falling in love. She really discovers so many things about herself through the experiences she goes through as well as what Willem (the handsome stranger) helped her see from a different perspective. This book was so beautiful and I just connected with it SO well.


Picking recommendations for fans of IF I STAY was not something I took lightly so I sincerely hope you find a good new read from the books above! They’re books I think read closely to IF I STAY and I hope that if you liked IF I STAY, you’ll love these books!

I’ve been working on all kinds of recommendations of what to read after that big blockbuster book-to-movie! In case you missed it, I also had recommendations for what to read after The Fault in Our Stars and coming up, I’m working on recs for what to read after DIVERGENT, THE HUNGER GAMES and more!

 

Summerfall Release Day!

SUMMERFALL RELEASE DAY TEASER!
a WINTERSPELL novella

I’m so excited to be a part of this release day promo for Claire Legrand’s novella SUMMERFALL! This novella is a prequel to the upcoming WINTERSPELL which release this September and I’m so excited to read them both!

For those of you who don’t know WINTERSPELL is a retelling of The Nutcracker and it sounds SO amazing so I’m really excited to get a prequel sneak peek with SUMMERFALL which is available for purchase TODAY! Here’s a bit more about the novella:

summerfallBUY LINKS: amazon | barnes & noble | books-a-million | ibookstore
CLAIRE’S SOCIAL MEDIA: site | blog | twitter | facebook | instagram | pinterest | goodreads

SYNOPSIS:  Rinka is a faery, passionate and powerful, determined to maintain the tenuous peace between faeries and humans.
    Alban Somerhart is a human, a reluctant king trapped in an arranged marriage, desperate to prevent war.
    Their love could save the kingdom of Cane… or shatter it forever.
    In this captivating novella, prequel to the upcoming Winterspell, Claire Legrand weaves a story of magic, political intrigue, and forbidden love that sets the stage for the rise of a wicked queen and the journey of a human girl named Clara… 

 Sounds awesome, right!? I sure think so! So let’s hop right into the teaser for this exciting new novella…

SUMMERFALL teaser 11


summerfall  Winterspell

Oooh yay! I don’t know about you, but I’m really excited for both SUMMERFALL and WINTERSPELL! You can order and read SUMMERFALL today and you can also pre-order WINTERSPELL for when it releases on September 30th, 2014! You can also enter the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win some swag and prizes!

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Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) – Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) – Sarah J. MaasTitle: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas
Date Completed: July 20, 2014
Publishing Info: August 7, 2012 by Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Source: Paperback purchased from Barnes & Noble
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Goodreads // Buy from Amazon
Related Posts: The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1 - 0.5)
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best. Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Review1

I first tried to read THRONE OF GLASS almost two years ago when it first came out and for whatever reason, I just couldn’t get into it. I wasn’t a big fantasy reader back then so maybe it was just the wrong time for me, but I eventually let it go back to the library unfinished, knowing I wanted to give it another shot someday. When Bloomsbury introduced their Throne of Glass series read along, I knew that was the perfect time to dive back in and hope I would enjoy it this time around!

As I said in my review for the novellas, I owe Nikki from There Were Books Involved a huge thanks for encouraging me to read the novellas first. Since I was hesitant to get back to THRONE OF GLASS due to my less than exciting first attempt, I really wanted to get to know the world and characters better and I felt like I had a good grip on what this world was really all about when I started THRONE OF GLASS. The only downside to reading the novellas first, I think, was that… well, I actually enjoyed the atmosphere of them a bit more. Well, don’t get me wrong — I really did enjoy ToG too, but there was definitely a different feel, and rightly so. Celaena went through hell and back before ToG even started so when we first see her in the beginning of the novel, she’s already quite a different person in some ways than she was before.

I couldn’t help but make comparisons to THE HUNGER GAMES for some reason. In the novel, Celaena is entered into the competition to become the king’s champion and for whatever reason, I got a real Katniss vibe from her, though I think this easily happens with several strong female characters in similar situations. But this wasn’t a bad thing! I really admired Celaena’s dedication to her friends, her determination to win the competition to better her life, and her flat out talent. The aspect of the whole competition thing that I wasn’t a huge fan of was that it seemed fairly predictable. I guess it can’t really end any other way, but I was hoping for a bigger twist or two, I think.

I think what I enjoyed most is that while this was an enjoyable first book and I felt like it could have used a little more “oomph” here and there, Sarah J. Maas doesn’t rush into cramming all of the twists and surprises and plot elements all at once. It’s a longer series (six books instead of the common trilogy nowadays) so there’s plenty of time to allow plot to develop and for characters to grow. It had a very specific story line that wrapped up nicely for book one and at the same time led in perfectly to book two, and the best part about all of that is that it got me excited for the rest of the series.

THRONE OF GLASS was definitely an interesting read for me and thank goodness it held my attention this time! I think it was just right book but wrong time when I first attempted it and the novellas really did ground me in this world so I didn’t have to discover what it was all about all at once. The book didn’t totally knock me over but I really, really enjoyed it and I’m so excited to continue on with the series. I totally understand why so many people are in love with Sarah J. Maas’ books!

THE VIEW FROM GOODREADS

I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

tog

I started this book almost two years ago and just wasn’t in the right place for it. So glad I came back and tried again!!

Characters1

Celaena Sardothien // Character Obsessions: Freedom, becoming the King’s champion, trust, friendship.
It’s interesting to see the change in Celaena from the novellas to THRONE OF GLASS. She’s definitely not the same person after everything that happened to her and everything she went through in the salt mines… I definitely appreciate reading the novellas first so I was able to see the person that she was before the most terrible things in her life had happened to her, and yet, you can still tell she’s very much the same person in many ways as well. I loved getting to know her better and now the reader gets more of a detailed plot line with more adventure whereas the novellas were more getting to know Celaena and her history.
Chaol Westfall // Character Obsessions: Duty, honor, pride.
Starting to understand the whole Chaol love obsession here! I really enjoyed his character in THRONE OF GLASS and I loved him as one of the main characters. He’s definitely in a precarious position for so many reasons and I loved watching how he handled each delicate situation. It was a bit maddening at times… but in a good way!
Dorian Havilliard // Character Obsessions: Family, friendship, standing up for what is right.
I kind of loved Dorian. He was such a personable character that even when he was painted in, shall we say, not the fondest light, I still loved him. He felt very human and I really connected with him probably even more than I did with Celaena and Chaol. He’s in a tough spot in his family and he wants to do what’s right but at the same time doesn’t always know what that means in his life. Definitely a gem and I love what Sarah J. Maas does with his character.

AddictionFactor1

Kept Me Hooked On: High fantasy. I think I’m pretty much solid on the fact that I really enjoy high fantasy now. I felt like it was important to note because when I first attempted the book, I really didn’t. I was just starting to dip into fantasy and for some reason this book wasn’t catching me… No issues with that now! It’s become one of my favorite things to read.
Left Me Wanting More: Adventure. There are six books in the series so yes, we’re slowing building up the adventure bit by bit. The training and competition scenes for the King’s Champion were… okay. I enjoyed them still but it felt a bit like The Hunger Games in a way. Not in a bad way, but I guess I just expect more glorious adventures in high fantasy… Although not to worry since I’ve already read CROWN OF MIDNIGHT and I know things DO pick up!

Addiction Rating
Buy it!

This is really the start of a great series and I can already tell I’m going to get really into this one. I’ve already read CROWN OF MIDNIGHT and I’m toying with starting HEIR OF FIRE ASAP!

Recommendations1

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(Click the cover to see my review!)

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