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Jane, Unlimited – Kristin Cashore

Jane, Unlimited – Kristin CashoreTitle: Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore
Publishing Info: September 19, 2017 by Penguin, Listening Library
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Alternate Reality, Parallel Universe
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 6, 2017
Related Posts: Graceling (Graceling Realm #1)

Jane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia—an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago in Antarctica on one of her expeditions.

Now, with no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash—a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who shows up and asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family's island mansion called Tu Reviens.

Jane remembers her aunt telling her: "If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you'll go." With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn't know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price.

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JANE, UNLIMITED is literally the most unique book I’ve ever read. It’s unlike anything else, with a unique concept, characters, plot, and structure, and this both enhanced my reading experience and left me utterly confused.

I need to go into books blindly so I don’t ruin the twists and the overall experience for myself so I did some reading up on the book immediately after finishing to help ground me a little bit, and I found (which I actually had heard before and completely forgot) that the concept originally started as a sort of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure novel and developed into what it is. It’s quite impossible to really discuss the book without mentioning specific spoilers so for spoiler-free thoughts, I’ll say that it was quite a wild ride and listening to an audiobook may have made it even more complicated, not able to SEE what was going on with the print on the pages, but I also thoroughly enjoyed the audio performance (one of Rebecca Soler’s best, in my opinion).

Without knowing the CYOA concept, the book seemed unmoored — flowing from story to story not really knowing where one ended and the next began. Once I understood that these were actually telling different parts and weren’t following a chronological timeline, it made a lot more sense to me and I was able to appreciate it more. I thought at first that things were just non-sequential and I kept trying to put each part back into the first to follow through with the same timeline and it was just so confusing, but again, that probably would have been more easily deduced if I was reading a print copy and not the audio version. It also made a LOT more sense once I figured out that these were being told in different parts because I was thinking as I was listening that this story feels like it’s wrapping up but holy cow, I have a LONG way to go to finish this book haha!

That being said, I enjoyed most of the adventures. The first few parts were more enjoyable than the last few because things really started to go off the deep end towards the end of the book. It sort of starts in the more probable and drifts towards the more fantastical with each story and it was hard to grasp so many different genres within the same book as possibilities all at once, but I will say that it was incredibly interesting and I found them all fascinating, even if I didn’t particularly love each one. I DID love that each part revealed a little something and tied back to a point that was made in the beginning of the book or a part of another story. There were so many things going on in this peculiar house and Jane ended up discovering them all… just not all in the same version. I’m really glad the readers get to see why the characters are doing peculiar things, why the house feels a little bit emotional, and why the art plays such a big part of everything. Though I still don’t know why umbrellas are such a big deal.

One of my disappointments with the book was just that I needed a little something more from the ending. I would have been really impressed if the book had wrapped up with a singular ending that sort of put all of the stories at peace because none of them really ended and I would have been SUPER impressed if Kristin Cashore somehow tied them all up, sort of how the beginning set them all up. Instead they all kind of just taper off and there’s not a solid conclusion for any of them. I don’t mind open endings but I think this was a little TOO open and I would have been super impressed with something closing all of those open doors.

Usually when I’m confused about a book, the more I write about it, the more I realize how disappointed I was but I’m actually finding the opposite with JANE. The more I talk about it, the more fascinated I am and I wouldn’t be opposed to another collection of JANE stories somewhere down the road with even more possibilities. It’s a story with infinite worlds to explore and I’m sure even more things could be touched upon that I haven’t even thought of. I don’t think it’snecessary to know the structure of the book before starting but it did help me understand it more after finishing and helped me appreciate it more. I still would love that one last thing to tie it all together though.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

Listening Library has basically been my reading savior this year. With so many candle things to do, I just don’t have time to sit and read anymore and they are so kind as to keep me on their reviewer list for audiobooks. I’ve been listening to one right after the other this year and I was so excited to see JANE, UNLIMITED as one of the options!

I knew I was in good hands with Rebecca Soler as the narrator. If the name sounds familiar, it’s probably because she narrated The Lunar Chronicles audiobooks but personally, I feel like this is her best audiobook performance yet. I think her voices were more distinct in this book than in previous books and her voice and tone just really fit the overall feel of JANE, UNLIMITED.

The audio was probably a little bit harder to follow than the print copy due to the nature of the book but it still totally works and probably isn’t confusing if you don’t go into reads blind like I do!

 

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Kept Me Hooked On: Extremely unique formatting. I love seeing new and unique things not only in YA but anywhere in the literary world. This book cobbled together the different decisions that Jane could have made and it was interesting to see each one of them play out!
Left Me Wanting More: Closure. I didn’t really feel like the ending of the book really closed it off. I guess the point is kind of that the choices really are unlimited… I’d totally be up for another book full of possible endings though!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

This was so clever and so unique. The tone was also a LOT of fun with a neat cast of characters, including a house that was a character in itself.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE JANE, UNLIMITED

(Click the cover to see my review!)

     

Where Futures End – Parker Peevyhouse

Where Futures End – Parker PeevyhouseTitle: Where Futures End by Parker Peevyhouse
Publishing Info: February 9, 2016 by Penguin
Source: Borrowed from Hoopla
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Parallel Universe
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: December 6, 2016

Five teens.
Five futures.
Two worlds.
One ending.
One year from now, Dylan develops a sixth sense that allows him to glimpse another world.
Ten years from now, Brixney must get more hits on her social media feed or risk being stuck in a debtors' colony.
Thirty years from now, Epony scrubs her entire online profile from the web and goes “High Concept.”
Sixty years from now, Reef struggles to survive in a city turned virtual gameboard.
And more than a hundred years from now, Quinn uncovers the alarming secret that links them all.
Five people, divided by time, will determine the fate of us all. These are stories of a world bent on destroying itself, and of the alternate world that might be its savior--unless it's too late.

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Wow, that was so incredibly disappointing. Even after finishing, I’m not sure what the point of this book was. I was excited because it featured four different points in time, all tying back to one specific concept but the different time periods were truly pointless. I’m even more disappointed because I actually liked the very first POV of Dylan and his discovery of The Other Place. I would have read a whole book about that in itself and I think that’s how this book really should have gone because the switches to different times left literally everything undeveloped. It wasn’t enough time to get to know new characters, it wasn’t enough time to get to know new times, and it wasn’t nearly enough time to understand how The Other Place connected to these time periods other than brief encounters that some of the characters had. There was absolutely no point to the 10 years from now and 30 years from now time periods. The 60 didn’t really have much more substance either, I guess, but it had a virtual reality concept that I enjoyed given my experience with books like READY PLAYER ONE and a Sanderson novella, Perfect State. 100 years from now tied back into The Other Place but this was something that could have been developed in an entire story with just Dylan’s POV, all set in today’s time, and it all could have actually been developed. That was truly the only enjoyable part of this story. There’s so much switching around and the new time periods don’t even tell you much about The Other Place, why it’s so important, and what its actual connection is with our world.

I would have actually read Dylan’s whole story and I think that WOULD have been a great book. It had a Neverending Story kind of feel (I’m sure I was influenced by their mention of it but it really did have that feel for me) and his story was clearly the most important. There was a lot to explore and set up and build there and the author chose instead to push the meat and potatoes of the book aside and start exploring new worlds. I think maybe those future worlds would have made good novellas to supplement Dylan’s story, or even a series with these being sequels or companions… But for the love of all that is good, don’t abandon something so important like that. The other time periods weren’t even interesting. They were surface stories that didn’t go anywhere, setting up romances to watch them fall, celebrity fame, egos… I mean, it didn’t even connect to the Other Place other than some interactions with the people and mentions of people going back and forth. There was little to no reason for these characters to be main characters in the story and they barely interacted with the important parts of the plot. They were shallow characters, shallow stories, and really not for me.

This book was kind of fanta-sci (a fantasy and sci-fi mix) but I don’t feel like that concept was structured well. It was fantasy in the sense that the Other Place was made to feel like a fantasy world — magic, forests, mages, water nymphs, creatures, etc — and yet it was also described as an alternate universe. So is it a magical world made real or is it a real world that we create into fantasies? It was all a little fuzzy. I wouldn’t say this alternate world has to be like ours, because you can’t expect all universes to be like ours, but the author didn’t seem to really distinguish exactly what it really was and kind of waffled back and forth, especially with the mix of calling the people from the other world “aliens”. I can see why aliens would be an appropriate term but it also didn’t quite feel right. The different futures also added to the sci-fi feel but then it even extended into dystopian as the futures progress and the readers see such a decline of our own world. And Dylan’s portion in the beginning was sort of magical realism meets sci-fi… so it was just all very muddy.

When it comes down to it, I’m mostly just so disappointed in how everything was so underdeveloped. When a seasoned reader can’t even tell you the point of the story when the book is over, that’s not a good thing. I needed to spend so much more time with the Other Place to really understand it and even just understand why this story about it was important. Sure, okay, it was important because in the end, it severely impacts our world but why? How? It was just kind of told that this is what it is and this is what happens but there was no detail how things worked, why our world was connected, or even why the Other Place affected our world so much.

Mostly, I just didn’t enjoy the writing. I can sometimes overlook plot holes or lack of details if I’m enjoying a book but pretty much everything except the beginning and end was pointless. Every character except for Dylan was annoying (Reed was okay but his world was still meh). This book was just one giant disappointment when it could have been so good. So much potential and not put to good use.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Fantasci. This book was kind of a mash-up of fantasy and sci-fi… with some magical realism feels? It was interesting but I did wish for more clarification.
Left Me Wanting More: Of one story. Just when things got going in one character’s story, the story switched to a new one. It was really frustrating, felt under developed, and didn’t allow me to connect with anyone or anything.

Addiction Rating
Skip it

This book was too all over the place and didn’t come together in the end. I’d say just skip it!

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BOOKS LIKE WHERE FUTURES END

(Click the cover to see my review!)

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Blog Tour: The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry | Playlist

Blog Tour: The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry | Playlist

Welcome to the blog tour for
THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD
by Emily Henry!

I’m thrilled to be on the blog tour today for THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD by Emily Henry! I finished the book a couple weeks ago and I am still so in love with everything about it. This was truly a special book and I’m truly thankful that I get to be a part of the blog tour too! Today’s post features a playlist of songs that Emily Henry has selected for one of the main characters and male lead Beau and I have to tell you… they’re absolutely perfect!

Before we jump into the tour, let’s take a second to check out some details about the book:

Blog Tour: The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry | PlaylistTitle: The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry
Publishing Info: January 26, 2016 by Penguin
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult, Parallel Universe, Time Travel, Science Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: January 17, 2016
Related Posts: The Love That Split the World

Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves.
Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start... until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.
That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.
Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.

CHARACTER PLAYLIST: BEAU

For the tour today, Emily Henry put together a playlist for Beau! I absolutely adore it and love her selections. Take it away, Emily!  

When I made a playlist for Natalie, earlier, I made the decision to focus the tracks on things I thought she would listen to. Beau’s playlist is a little bit different. Some I think he would listen to, but others just capture him, I think. Odds are he’d listen to a lot more country I’m not familiar with or old rock I don’t like enough to know about but I also think he’d keep some of the classics close to his heart. I actually asked my husband to help me with this, and we jointly decided that even though Beau has a complex relationship with his father, a lot of the music Beau would listen to would’ve come from his dad. (Sidenote: while we were making this, my husband asked me if Beau likes Elvis and without missing a beat, I said, “No, but his grandma does, and he calls her ‘granny.’” So there’s that.)  

See the full playlist on YouTube!

  1. Glenn Campbell – Gentle on My Mind: This classic is just so fitting for Beau and what he wants out of life. Natalie is ambitious and driven and searching, but Beau’s got a simpler idea of happiness and contentment, which this song captures well.
  2. Neil Young – Heart of Gold: I just came up with an elaborate backstory for why this song matters to Beau. This is 100% not in the book, but I made him up, so I’m allowed to do this. Growing up, Beau really looked up to his dad’s older brother, who was just sort of a kind, laid-back dude who travelled a lot with weird, random jobs, but died when Beau was thirteen or fourteen. At his funeral, a friend of his played and sung a not-great cover of this song, and it’s stuck in Beau’s heart since. He wants to be the kind of man his uncle was.
  3. Charlie Feathers – Can’t Hardly Stand It: I love the drawl of this song. It’s perfect dive-bar rockabilly but also super classic. I mostly like to imagine this playing on the jukebox wherever Beau and his brother are playing pool. As a sidenote, let’s please make sure we never get rid of jukeboxes.  
  4. Ryan Adams – The Shadowlands: I don’t know whether Beau would listen to Ryan Adams. Natalie and Megan would listen to Ryan Adams and be like, “Ughhh, this is just like Beau!” and then Beau would just smile and think it was charming but have no intention of ever listening to Ryan Adams. HOWEVER, this song makes me think of him. He’s had a pretty rough life. If Natalie were PMSing and she heard this, she’d start crying immediately. Wow, it’s so sad and beautiful.
  5. Rolling Stones – Play with Fire: Mostly needed something upbeat, and I love this song. But Beau is a liiiiitle “dangerous” (heavy on the air quotes) for a girl like Natalie. I also do think Beau likes the Rolling Stones. (I bet his dad would listen to them while sitting in a folding chair in the garage, drinking beer and drumming on his belly, before he got sober.) 
  6. Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Hey hey, My My (Into the Black): I imagine he listens to this while he’s working on his car. That’s incredibly vague because I know nothing about cars, but BEAU does, and he definitely listens to this while he’s fixing them.
  7. George Harrison – I Live For You: Frankly, I do not think Beau cares about the Beatles. I think if you asked him what he thought about them, he’d be like, “They’re all raht.” And you’d be like, “Did you hear me? Because I said The Beatles. Arguably the most significant band of all time.” And he’d be like, “I like George all raht.” Because George was the most country. Plus this song relates to Beau’s idea of a good life. Beautiful place, doing things you love, with a person you’d do anything for. 
  8. Tom Waits – In Between Love: Natalie would totally show Beau Tom Waits, expecting him to love it, and then Beau would make fun of Tom Waits’s voice. He’d be like, “This guy sounds like he’s been eating lit cigarettes.” Nat would get mad and Beau would admit he liked it. I honestly don’t know if he’d be lying or not. I bet it would grow on him.
  9. Bob Seger – Night Moves: Beau’s dad probably played this song while they drove around in his truck when Beau was little. Beau hated it then but loves to listen to listen to it while he drives his truck around  now, not that he’d ever tell his dad. 
  10. Big Star – Ballad of El Goodo: This is so fitting for Beau and his life. It’s such perfect “summer daytime driving with the windows-down” music, and that’s Beau’s favorite kind.
  11. Willie Nelson – Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground: I’d guess Beau’s a big Willie Nelson fan. I certainly HOPE he is, and that he has a Willie Nelson T-shirt, although I don’t know where he’d get it. He definitely doesn’t buy clothes. Maybe his brother bought it and Beau just started wearing it. I think he “gets” most of his clothes from the floor and doesn’t question where they came from. All that to say, he loves Willie Nelson and this song reminds him of Nat, for sure. 
  12. Joe Cocker – Something: See “I Live For You” for a long explanation on Beau’s opinions on the Beatles. BUT, once you put a Beatles song in Joe Cocker’s voice, everything changes. I’m sure he’d love this cover, and it would remind him of Natalie.
  13. Johnny Cash – Hurt: Beau’s more likely to listen to classic Johnny Cash than this Nine Inch Nails cover, but I had to use it because it’s so powerful and ultimately lines up too perfectly with Beau’s feelings about himself, Nat, and the world. 
  14. Glen Campbell – I’m Not Gonna Miss You: This song. Hnnnnnnnngh. It’s one of the saddest things I’ve ever heard. Glen Campbell’s team helped him record this while his Alzheimer’s was aggressively deteriorating his memory. It’s about how, when he forgets the people who love him, he won’t be sad. He won’t know what he’s missing. Nat and Beau have gone eighteen years not knowing each other. They wouldn’t have ever had to cross paths, and then this crazy thing happens and they’re thrown together. Two people who shouldn’t ever have met fall in love and it has this bigger-than-time effect. It leaves them feeling like they’ve been missing one another all along. They weren’t, but now that they have one another–and are afraid of losing that–they know what they were missing.
  15. Claude Debussy – Clair De Lune: Beau is a pianist, and while I don’t think he spends much time listening to classical music, I imagine he plays somewhat like this: sparse, beautiful, delicate songs. 
  16. Rolling Stones – Wild Horses: This song just makes me cry immediately, and I’m not sure why. I don’t think Beau knows why it makes him feel something either (if I don’t, he stands no chance, being the sort of person who isn’t concerned with these questions). So much of Beau and the book are wrapped up in the song–thoughts about freedom and love, holding on and letting go, and ultimately about clinging to hope. I don’t want to give too much away, but I feel like this is the song to listen to when you finish the book.

Thanks, Emily! This playlist is stunning and absolutely perfect. Gahhh, my feels just thinking about these songs in relation to Beau! It kills me (in a good way)! 

Have you read The Love That Split the World yet? What songs would you choose for Beau? Aren’t Emily Henry’s selections just perfect!?


Don’t miss the rest of The Love That Split the World blog tour stops!

http://theyoungfolks.com/ The Young Folks 1/18 – Interview
http://readingteen.net/ Reading Teen 1/19 – Guest post 1
http://itstartsatmidnight.com It Starts at Midnight 1/20 – Top 10 list
thehollowcupboards.blogspot.com The Hollow Cupboards 1/21 – Book soundtrack
Http://www.owlalwaysbereading.com Owl Always Be Reading 1/22 – Review & giveaway
http://www.fictionfare.com Fiction Fare 1/25 – Guest post 2
http://www.buttermybooks.com/ Buttermybooks 1/26 – Interview
http://thehardcoverlover.blogspot.com The Hardcover Lover 1/27 – 25 Random Things About Me
http://effortlesslyreading.com/ Effortlessly Reading 1/28 – Interview
Http://www.amidsummernightsread.com A Midsummer Night’s Read 1/29 – Review & giveaway
http://www.forestofwordsandpages.com/ The Forest of Words and Pages 2/1 – Character playlist
http://www.loveisnotatriangle.com Love is not a triangle 2/2 – Would You Rather?
http://www.bookaddictsguide.com The Book Addict’s Guide 2/3 – Character playlist 2
http://www.onceuponatwilight.com/ Once Upon a Twilight 2/4 – Dreamcasting post
mugglenet.com MuggleNet 2/5 – Review & giveaway

The Love That Split the World – Emily Henry

The Love That Split the World – Emily HenryTitle: The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry
Publishing Info: January 26, 2016 by Penguin
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Science Fiction, Time Travel, Parallel Universe
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: January 17, 2016

Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves.
Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start…until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.
That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.
Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.

bookreview1

As soon as I started reading, I knew that THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD was a special book. Emily Henry’s writing immediately hooked me and I was instantly transported into Natalie’s world, fully involved in her story. Even after thirty pages, I knew that I would fall in love with this book. With moments that reminded me of childhood favorite WALK TWO MOONS, I was immediately invested (in so many ways, really) and this turned out to be a very special read for me.

At first, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect from THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD. From the synopsis, it sounded like a book about alternate universes but I couldn’t tell if it was going to be more contemporary, more science-fiction, or none of the above. I ended up with a lot of contemporary romance feelings as I read about the epic romance between Natalie and Beau and I easily got swept up in their whirlwind romance. I absolutely loved that there was a sense that these two simply belonged together. There are books that proclaim destiny and connections but Emily Henry’s writing truly convinced me that these two souls were irrevocably connected, which left me feeling quite impressed! The way the story was written and how everything fell into place really had me feeling that connection instead of just being told it was there. I become utterly involved in Natalie and Beau’s story and couldn’t tear my eyes away from the page!

The characters were wonderfully developed! Each character had many layers and each of their relationships did as well. Of course I can sing praises of the romance but really one of my favorite relationships in the book was Natalie’s friendship with Megan. Their friendship really reminded me of my own with my best friends and it just felt so genuine and true. It was an easy friendship and the two girls also had an incredibly strong bond, able to talk about anything and everything, including some humor that you only experience with a best friend. I instantly connected with their friendship and it really developed their characters even more!
I was also pleased to see the relationship that Natalie had with her family. Being adopted, she does struggle at times to feel like she fits in, especially when her siblings are actually biological children, but they do have a special familial bond that also just felt so genuine. I could really feel the hesitation as Natalie tries to find out if and where she fits in but she still has a strong love for every person in her family.

Natalie’s self-discovery was also incredibly so well-done. Having her hallucinations/visions sets her apart even more, on top of the fact that she’s adopted and looks nothing like her family (Natalie being of Native American heritage and her family having pale skin and red hair). She struggles to find out where exactly she belongs and as high school ends, the crisis escalates even further. It was wonderfully subtle and obvious all at the same time and I really felt for Natalie as she tried to figure out exactly who she was and where she fit in. I think we’ve all been through a similar phase but Natalie faces much bigger questions, especially as her life comes to a major crossroads with her latest “visitation” from a wise figure that she calls Grandmother.

As much as the book was partially a love story, it was also quite magical. I loved the Native American traditions and folklore that really set the tone of the novel and tied into Natalie’s current timeline. It was just wonderful to read each story and connect it to a specific moment, even if I couldn’t make that connection until later on in the book. Natalie learns and and repeats creation myths, tradition origins, and life lessons through each story and I really loved experiencing and learning about each one as I read. I also felt like it offered a little explanation and left clues for what was happening to Natalie and why.

I do want to touch on large concept of the book involving the concept of parallel universes and the sci-fi/magical aspect but I don’t want to give anything away so all I will really say about that is how much I loved it and how well everything connected. Natalie, Beau, and the readers are really trying to figure out throughout the book why their surroundings keep changing, why their friends are acting differently, and what the deal is with what is happening to them. It was an incredible journey and discovery to witness so I’ll leave all of the details inside the pages of the book but I was so impressed with the way it was done, including all of the reveals. The tension and suspense really picks up towards the end and I had a few rushes of emotion as things finally took shape and started to reveal themselves. It felt like a wonderful take on a commonly used concept and I just really loved how original it all felt!

Oh wow, clearly I can gush for days on end about this book but when it comes down to it, I can sum it up by repeating how special this book really was. I had feelings on top of feelings with a dash of amazement and a thirst for knowledge. THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD was so incredibly well-written and I think it’ll appeal to such a wide audience, spanning genres and age ranges alike. Don’t miss this book, friends! It’s a keeper.
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“The View from Goodreads” is a 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!

the love that split the world gr update

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Natalie // Character Obsessions: A mission, fitting in, friendship, Beau, Brown. 
I just adored Natalie. She was a wonderful mix of so many things and just felt so real. I also really adored her sense of humor. It was a humor that I feel like I use a lot but doesn’t come across well in books but this just made her even more genuine for me. She was such a wonderful character and really a delight to get to know.
Beau // Character Obsessions: Friendship, football, crossing, Natalie. 
Beau = Tim Riggins. It took me a while to realize this but once I did I was like, “Ohhhh” and then fell even more in love. (He’s not really Tim Riggins but totally reminded me of him.) I just loved how he and Natalie came together and give me that dark, brooding type in a book any day!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Contemporary/Sci-fi mix. I think the last book that really did this for me was TIME BETWEEN US by Tamara Ireland Stone. The romance and connection between the two characters was so important that there was a lot of love story and a lot of feelings combined with a sci-fi concept.
Left Me Wanting More: Ending. This wasn’t really an open ending but I was just enjoying the book so much that I wanted it to keep going! I could have used a couple more paragraphs or even a couple more sentences but I understood the ending just the same.

Addiction Rating
Buy it!

Oh, friends. This book was so special for me. I think so many readers will love it no matter their go-to genre or age range. It’s so easy to relate on a personal level with Natalie and the “other world” concept was done so well.

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BOOKS LIKE THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD

(Click the cover to see my review!)

LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT    DISSONANCE

Trial By Fire (Worldwalker #1) – Josephine Angelini

Trial By Fire (Worldwalker #1) – Josephine AngeliniTitle: Trial by Fire (Worldwalker #1) by Josephine Angelini
Publishing Info: September 2, 2014 by Macmillan
Source: Netgalley
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Parallel Universe
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: October 2, 2015

Love burns. Worlds collide. Magic reigns.
This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying many of the experiences that other teenagers take for granted...which is why she is determined to enjoy her first (and perhaps only) high-school party. But Lily's life never goes according to plan, and after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class Lily wishes she could just disappear.
Suddenly Lily is in a different Salem - one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruellest of all the Crucibles is Lillian . . . Lily's identical other self in this alternate universe. This new version of her world is terrifyingly sensual, and Lily is soon overwhelmed by new experiences.
Lily realizes that what makes her weak at home is exactly what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. It also puts her life in danger. Thrown into a world she doesn't understand, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can't hope to shoulder alone, and a love she never expected.
But how can Lily be the savior of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?

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TRIAL BY FIRE was a really interesting book! I admit that I was a bit hesitant about the mash-up of science-fiction and fantasy with the alternate universe and magical powers merging into one story line but the further I got into the world building, the more I really enjoyed it! It was one of my first adventures into “fanta-sci” (the very first one didn’t go so well) and although it took a bit of adjusting, I really got into Lily’s world in TRIAL BY FIRE!

The beginning of the book was a bit slow for me. There were a lot of mixed messages regarding characters in terms of who was good to Lily and who was not so I was on a bit of roller coaster for the first portion of the book trying to get a hold on who I should like and who went on the naughty list… Once all of that sorted itself out and the focus started to turn more to Lily, I rather ended up enjoying things! All of the friendship/relationship drama in her “actual world” (or the world as she knows it) grew a bit tiresome but I also think it was supposed to. Clearly from the synopsis of the book and general concept, the reader knows that Lily is destined for bigger and better things… just in another universe. I was happy and totally hooked to see Lily’s place in the alternate world and what exactly she could do there.

The world building and magic system were really interesting for me! It took me a while to really wrap my brain around the fact that we were dealing with an alternate world but then throwing magic in there, but I rather enjoyed that the magic was grounded more in science and that the differences in the world were because of scientific reasons. Once I got to that point, I think I was able to see it more as an alternate universe instead of a fantasy world — even though it was a little bit of both! My brain really just has a hard time merging the two because sci-fi is obviously based on reality, a what-could-have-been, or speculation about the future and a fantasy world is something totally unrelated to our world as we know it. (I supposed there are exceptions to that like urban fantasy, paranormal aspects, and where other mash-ups but since I’m mainly a high fantasy reader, it was a bit harder for me to reconcile).

The relationships in the alternate world totally pulled me in too. I loved seeing Lily’s relationship with Rowan develop, as well as how complicated things are for Lily in general given that there’s already a Lily (known as Lillian) in this alternate world. Things really started to get complicated for everyone with a Lily and a Lillian and I got even more curious how Lily was pulled into New Salem to begin with! I loved the growth of each of the characters throughout the book and I was so happy to see Lily really come into her own.

TRIAL BY FIRE was definitely enjoyable and by the end of the book, I was sucked into this new fanta-sci world. I wanted to essentially binge read the series but I didn’t end up reading the second book right away so I think I’ll save it for when book three comes out! I’ll need to keep myself up to speed for this exciting series!

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a 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!

trial by fire gr updates

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Lily // Character Obsessions: Health, magic, learning, friendship. 
I wasn’t totally sure about Lily at first but she really grew on me throughout the book! I was so glad to see her mature — both mentally and with her abilities — as the book went on. I was really happy to see her get a new perspective on her relationships and her own self-confidence.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Fanta-sci. This is still a really new concept for me but I enjoyed how this came together! I think it was easier for me to grasp a little magic in a sci-fi setting than science fiction in a fantasy world.
Left Me Wanting More: Connection. Overall I was missing just a bit of connection — to characters, to the world, to the story — that prevented me from falling in love with it. If that was there, it could have been a home run!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

This was an interesting concept and I think the series will only get better! I can’t wait to  see where it goes!

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BOOKS LIKE TRIAL BY FIRE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

TANDEM    DREAMSTRIDER

Resonance (Dissonance #2) – Erica O’Rourke

Resonance (Dissonance #2) – Erica O’RourkeTitle: Resonance (Dissonance #2) by Erica O'Rourke
Publishing Info: July 21, 2015 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Parallel Universe, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: May 5, 2015
Related Posts: Dissonance (Dissonance #1), Harmonic (Dissonance #1.5)

    As a Walker between worlds, Del is responsible for the love of her life—and the fate of millions—in this thrilling sequel to Dissonance.
Del risked everything to save Simon, and now he’s gone, off in another world with no way for Del to find him.
She’s back at the Consort—training to be a Walker like everyone in her family. But the Free Walkers have other plans for her. This rebel group is trying to convince Del that the Consort is evil, and that her parents are unwittingly helping the Consort kill millions of people. The Free Walkers make Del the ultimate promise: if Del joins their fight, she will be reunited with Simon.
In agreeing, Del might be endangering her family. But if she doesn’t, innocent people will die, and Simon will be lost to her forever. The fate of the multiverse depends on her choice...

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DISSONANCE really took me by surprise last year and ended up being one of my (many) favorite reads of 2014 so naturally, I couldn’t hold out too long when I was approved for a review copy of RESONANCE! I was anxious to dive back in to the main plot of the story and figure out what the ending of DISSONANCE really meant for Del and Simon and I was once again impressed with Erica O’Rourke’s crafty plotting and lovely writing.

What I really enjoyed about the beginning of RESONANCE is that the book doesn’t take too long to get back into the action and the possiblility of what happened to Simon but I also wasn’t dropped straight into action without a little refresher. There were also some nice allusions to the pieces of Addie’s story in HARMONIC (which isn’t necessary to read before RESONANCE but I highly recommend it — it’s helpful for the plot and characters and also because it was just really, really good)! The action stays steady throughout the whole book too. RESONANCE is a fast-paced, exciting adventure but also has some really great tender moments between characters and I really got to know each of them more.

I think I was more impressed with the world building in DISSONANCE but don’t get me wrong — RESONANCE is pretty awesome and twisty. There’s just a different side to be revealed in this book. DISSONANCE really gets the reader into how Walking works and what the general Consort rules are but RESONANCE is all about digging deeper into why those rules are in place and of course, we get more information about the Free Walkers too. There’s one HUGE plot point that really blew my mind and I loved it BUT it also affects the relationship of a couple characters (no spoiler — what huge plot point wouldn’t, right?) and I wasn’t sure how I felt about where those two were left. It was actually kind of a good thing in a way. I didn’t feel as strong about the link between those two characters but it also opened my eyes to how other people perceived what was going on too. It was a really interesting turn of events, especially assessing my own feelings towards what happened. Cryptic, I know, but when you read it, let me know because I think it’s a really neat thing to discuss!

I was kind of all over the place with my feelings for Del and Simon. I do love them but there were just so many things going on in this book. And then I was reminded that they’ve only really known each other for a few months. When you say it like that, it sounds like insta-love a bit but looking back on my relationship with my husband and when we first started dating, we fell pretty hard pretty fast so that’s really not an illogical connection, especially when things are so high-stakes. I actually didn’t even think about the shortness of their relationship until it was brought up in the book (oops) but it made me stop and think about it for a minute. Of course, though, I still love these two. I really adore how their relationship has serious highs and lows and they really do have to fight for each other. I guess really looking back on the book, I like that there were so many obstacles — both physically and mentally — that they had to face because once the book was over, I felt even more secure about their feelings for each other.

I just loved these two books from Erica O’Rourke (and novella!) and I’m so, so happy I got to read them. They were just so up my alley with the parallel universes, the musical elements, and the Chicago setting. If any or all of these things appeal to you, I highly recommend this series! These were just so well done Erica O’Rourke’s writing is just beautiful.

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a 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!

resonance GR updates

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Del // Character Obsessions: Simon, Walking, the truth, integrity.
I think I liked Del a bit better in book one when she was more feisty and less heartbroken… but she’s still a pretty awesome MC! She may not be as sassy in RESONANCE but that’s just because her energy is directed towards making a BIG difference (but first and foremost, protecting her friends and family).
Simon // Character Obsessions: Protecting Del, family.
I LOVED how much Simon was involved in this book. Firstly, I liked that Del had to save Simon and it wasn’t the guy saving the girl. I’m not usually too picky about things like that or even notice things like that but it was really interesting to see that flip-flopped. I also really liked how much Simon meant to the book and that his involvement was much more than a love interest. Very, very cool stuff happening in this book.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Echoes. If you haven’t read the series, the Echoes are the variations of us that live in each parallel universe. I was SO impressed with how this concept was handled and how detailed it was. Usually I save this space for something more general but learning about the Echoes was one of my favorite parts of the book. I really loved how Erica O’Rourke handed the different variations in each world and how they interacted with each other and with the Walkers.
Left Me Wanting More: Attitude. I missed Del’s attitude a bit. Oh, she’s still just as sassy but RESONANCE was a bit more serious than DISSONANCE so I felt like I didn’t get as much of Del’s attitude and sarcasm (or when she was sassy, it was towards authority). I mean, not a big deal but I like the tone it brings to the book and her character!

Addiction Rating
Buy it!

These two books were just great. I really love this series and how everything came together! If you’re a fan of parallel universes, you don’t want to miss these!

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BOOKS LIKE RESONANCE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

PIVOT POINT     CREWEL

Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether

The time has come to put together a few mini reviews of some books I’ve read recently! Today I’ve got a novella, a Stephanie Plum novel, and a DNF “report” (since I don’t feel I read enough to merit an actual review). As usual, I just wanted to share some quick thoughts since these aren’t quite long enough for full reviews!


Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: TetherTitle: The Audition (Seraphina #0.5) by Rachel Hartman
Publishing Info: June 19, 2012 by Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: March 25, 2015
Related Posts: Seraphina (Seraphina #1)

The Audition is a free prequel to Seraphina available online. It takes place a few weeks prior to Seraphina, covering Seraphina Dombegh's audition to become Viridius's assistant and thus Glisselda's music tutor.

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I really just adored SERAPHINA so I was delighted to see THE AUDITION in the end of my book when I finished! I really appreciated this story because it was an extra glimpse at the friendship that I grew to love between Seraphina and Glisselda. I always love little snippets that allow me to get to know the characters more that I’ve already come to know and love.

The story wasn’t really much but I loved every little bit of it. Glisselda is the same opinionated and strong-willed girl she always is and it’s really fun to see how her little pranks in THE AUDITION sort of shape her and prepare her to become the political schemer that I see her becoming in SERAPHINA and hopefully in future books.


Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: TetherTitle: Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum #14.5) by Janet Evanovich
Publishing Info: January 6, 2009 by Macmillan
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: March 28, 2015
Related Posts: Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum #13), Plum Lucky (Stephanie Plum #13.5), Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum #14), , Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum #15), Mini-Reviews: Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16) & Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Mini-Reviews: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top-Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), , Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum #22), Curious Minds (Knight & Moon #1), Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Dangerous Minds (Knight & Moon #2), Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel #1)

Evanovich fans rejoice! Stephanie Plum is back in town, along with her sidekick Lula, her Grandma Mazur, and an ever-widening cast of freaks, criminals, deranged felons, and lunatics looking for love. And just when Stephanie thinks her life can't get any more complicated, in walks the mysterious Diesel. A man who seems to show up at the most inconvenient moments. This time, he's the instigator for Stephanie's new adventure, which involves camping in the Pine Barrens with Lula, and perhaps even a sighting of the Jersey Devil...so hang on for a Stephanie Plum novel that is sure to send chills up your spine--it gives new meaning to the words hilarious, and "spooky."

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I’ve read every Stephanie Plum book there is so far but I have to admit that they ARE getting a bit silly. This “Between the Novels” book was supposed to come before 15 but because the audio wasn’t available, I read FINGER LICKIN’ FIFTEEN first and then came back to this one (since I know the in-betweens really don’t follow the main plot much anyway).

I’m actually glad I read FIFTEEN first. PLUM SPOOKY was… a bit too much. Monkeys, magic, vampires, head cases… Oy vey. (Honestly it was the monkeys that did me in. Monkeys that act like humans? Nah. No thanks.) I always love stories with these characters and Stephanie still cracks me up but sometimes the ploys for laughs are just too silly and this book actually turned me off a bit. Will I keep reading them? Yes. I still own the rest of the novels in paperback (they were one of my first book collections aside from Harry Potter that I actually kept and owned and took the time to keep purchasing) and Stephanie Plum will always be a friend of mine! I just hope they don’t get TOO much sillier. I can handle wacky and fun but let’s keep it a tad realistic, huh?


Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: TetherTitle: Tether (Many-Worlds Trilogy #2) by Anna Jarzab
Publishing Info: March 10, 2015 by Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Parallel Universe
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: April 10, 2015 | DNF at approx. 33%
Related Posts: Tandem (Many-Worlds Trilogy #1)

Tether, the sequel to Tandem, continues the captivating tale of rebellion and romance that spans parallel worlds.
Everything repeats.
Sasha expected things to go back to normal once she got back on Earth. But now that she knows parallel worlds are real, and that an alternate version of herself exists in a world called Aurora, her old life no longer seems to make sense . . . and her heart breaks daily for Thomas, the boy she left behind. Troubled by mysterious, often terrifying visions and the echoes of a self she was just beginning to discover, Sasha makes the difficult decision to journey once more through the tandem.
Thomas is waiting for her on the other side, and so is strange, otherworldly Selene, Sasha’s analog from a third universe. Sasha, Selene, and their other analog, Juliana, have a joint destiny, and a new remarkable power, one that could mean salvation for Selene’s dying planet. With Thomas’s help, Sasha and Selene search for the missing Juliana. But even if they can locate her, is Sasha willing to turn her back on love to pursue a fate she’s not sure she believes in?

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“Everything repeats.” Oh boy, did it feel like book one repeating in so many ways… Firstly, I had some issues when I started TANDEM last year. I had a really hard time getting into it, keeping the worlds straight, and getting a grip on the characters. I finally got into the book maybe halfway through so I was hoping to pick up with TETHER where I left off in TANDEM but it sort of felt like starting all over again. I was once again lost and the worlds felt foggy. Sasha felt flat. I felt very bored, spending over 100 pages of set-up trying to get into the book and it just wasn’t happening.

A third analog is introduced in this book and I was just ugh, not a fan. She really felt like Juliana Part II and didn’t feel unique at all. I was still trying to spend time getting to know Sasha and Juliana because it was a struggle in TANDEM and here comes another character who is… just like them. Things didn’t really pick up within 100 pages and I put the book down about a month before I DNFed to see if the desire came back to read it and I found I just didn’t care how it ended. It was time to call it a day and quit this series which was sad because I LOVE parallel universe books. This one just really didn’t feel quite developed.

Undercurrent – Paul Blackwell

Undercurrent – Paul BlackwellTitle: Undercurrent by Paul Blackwell
Publishing Info: July 23, 2013 by HarperCollins
Genres: Parallel Universe, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: May 10, 2014

A SHADOWY FIGURE.
AN INTENSE ROAR.
THE SENSATION OF FALLING - FAST.
That's all Callum Harris remembers from his tumble over the waterfall. But when he wakes up in a hospital bed and finds his best friend trying to kill him, Callum knows something is seriously wrong. Unfortunately for him, the mysteries are just getting started.
Why are his parents acting like he's some big sports star all of a sudden? And why are all the buildings in town more run-down than Callum remembers? Worst of all... what happened to Callum's brother? Either Callum has gone seriously crazy or something happened when he went over the edge of the falls. Something impossible. Callum needs answers, and now. Because in this twisted new version of the life Callum knew, his former best friend isn't the only one who wants to see him dead.
  

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To continue my kick with male POVs, I was hoping UNDERCURRENT by Paul Blackwell would hit the spot. I had seen a lot of mixed reviews, but right from the start, I was really enjoying Callum’s voice and his perspective. I don’t know what it is, but male POVs just really sound authentic to me — well, good ones anyway — and I think I read soooo many female protagonists that a good male character is just so well-appreciated!

So in UNDERCURRENT, Callum knows he went over the falls near his house and survived… But doesn’t remember anything about how it happened and why his life is so different from what he “left”. His family acts entirely different, stores are missing, his friends aren’t the same, and even he is being treated like he’s a totally different person. I was curious to see exactly what would happen because clearly the story was leading somewhere but I was really suspicious as to where…

I had peeked at a few reviews that compared it to The Butterfly Effect, so obviously I knew something similar was up, but it really wasn’t quite as psychological as that and didn’t jump around as much as that movie had. I really can’t say if it was because I had this expectation that I felt like the book moved a bit slowly or if it was just that I wasn’t as into it as I had hoped. There were a lot of questions brought up and Callum only slowly gets answers. It wasn’t so much of a story about how to fix his current situation so much as figuring out what happened to him and how he got there so I think I was hoping for just so much more action and less set-up. Either way, I did enjoy what I read, and even though I tried to keep my expectations a little bit lower due to very mixed ratings amongst friends, I still found myself not as into the book as I had hoped.

I really wanted a bit more character development as well. Obviously since Callum’s entire world has been turned upside down, we’re mostly in his head, spending time with his thoughts and surroundings. That allowed very little opportunity to really explore other characters and get to know them since they’re not even the people he once knew, and I think as great as that concept for a story line is, it made it hard for me to really connect with the book because I wasn’t really able to connect with the characters at all.

I did enjoy UNDERCURRENT, but my feelings do still fall somewhere in the middle. It was an interesting read, but it wasn’t something that made a lasting impression on me. I think others could enjoy it too, but it’s not really something that’s going to blow you away.

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“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!

Screen Shot 2014-05-25 at 7.19.01 AM

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Callum // Character Obsessions: Recovering, discovering, the falls. 
Hmmm, Callum. You know, for as much as this whole book was really about him, I still don’t feel like I got a really strong feeling from him. I enjoyed reading about him as I did, but his character isn’t one that’s sticking with me when I go back to write the review. I think he handled the situation sort of like I would — he’s more of an unassuming type and just kind of goes with the flow for a long time, unsure of what happened and how to fix things. He’s not really a pro-active type of person most of the time so it was hard to really push the story forwards sometimes.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Mild sci-fi. I’d say this is sci-fi lite. We spend the most time knowing that something happened but we don’t know what. If your’e not big on sci-fi, this is the best way to try out something new!
Left Me Wanting More: Action. Is it bad that I expect more action from a male POV? Probably. But nevertheless, I was hoping for more. I think the book needed a little something extra, more fast-paced, and exciting to keep the plot moving.

Addiction Rating
Library read

This is a hard recommendation for me. I did enjoy the book, but it definitely wasn’t as catching as I had hoped. I think it’s an enjoyable read, but didn’t really knock me over. Maybe grab it from the library to give it a no-strings-attached shot!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE UNDERCURRENT

(Click the cover to see my review!)

       Tandem     Nil

Tandem (Many-Worlds Trilogy #1) – Anna Jarzab

Tandem (Many-Worlds Trilogy #1) – Anna JarzabTitle: Tandem (Many-Worlds Trilogy #1) by Anna Jarzab
Publishing Info: October 8, 2013 by Random House Publishing Group
Genres: Parallel Universe, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: November 9, 2013
Related Posts: Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether, Tether (Many-Worlds Trilogy #2)

Everything repeats.
You. Your best friend. Every person you know.
Many worlds. Many lives--infinite possibilities.
Welcome to the multiverse.
Sixteen-year-old Sasha Lawson has only ever known one small, ordinary life. When she was young, she loved her grandfather's stories of parallel worlds inhabited by girls who looked like her but led totally different lives. Sasha never believed such worlds were real--until now, when she finds herself thrust into one against her will.
To prevent imminent war, Sasha must slip into the life of an alternate version of herself, a princess who has vanished on the eve of her arranged marriage. If Sasha succeeds in fooling everyone, she will be returned home; if she fails, she'll be trapped in another girl's life forever. As time runs out, Sasha finds herself torn between two worlds, two lives, and two young men vying for her love--one who knows her secret, and one who thinks she's someone she's not.
The first book in the Many-Worlds Trilogy, Tandem is a riveting saga of love and betrayal set in parallel universes in which nothing--and no one--is what it seems.
  

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TANDEM was one of my most anticipated reads for this fall (which still doesn’t explain why I waited until after its pub date to read it even though I had it from BEA, but moving on…) because PARALLEL UNIVERSES. That is so up my alley. I had super high hopes for this book, counting on it to wow me when I was in a bit of a reading slump. Maybe that wasn’t fair of me to put all my hopes and dreams on it, but hey. I think that happens to all of us every once in a while!

My first impression of TANDEM was… not quite what I hoped it would be. Being in a reading slump at the time, I was really afraid that I would be disappointed in it after its slow beginning. I know we had a lot of things to set up for the awesomeness to occur later on, but I felt like the first few chapters could have done without a lot of the details and lengthy scenes. We go through a whole prom scene, from the original asking to the dance all the way to the “afterparty” and while I understand the purpose of that throwing our two main characters together and setting up their relationship, I didn’t think it needed to be as long as it was.

The difference between the two parallel universes that we see in TANDEM was a bit hard for me to grasp at first, but I actually blame that on myself. We go from Sasha’s world — Earth as we know it today — to Princess Juliana’s world, an alternative universe in which the Last Common Event (or LCE) with our world was hundreds of years ago. My issue was that I was having a hard time picturing the world as modern. The royalty that existed in this universe just really threw me off since most of the books I’ve been reading involving royalty are historical fiction, high fantasy, or a combination of the two. That was just a mental block in my brain and I had a hard time shaking the notion that this alternate universe had a medieval feel because in many ways, it was even more technologically advanced than our own.

Once I really got into the meat of the story, I was so intrigued. Anna Jarzab has thought out not only each world and how they compare but the explanation of how the parallel universes exist, how people can travel between them, and she enables the reader to understand a science as complex this without it being over their head. I really thought she did a fantastic job with all of these technicalities and details. I was so fascinated and easily geeked out over how cool the whole concept was (also believing it to be entirely possible).

TANDEM also has many great plot twists, some of which lead you in gently and others which totally take you by surprise. Sasha’s character becomes invested in something of a mystery which spans throughout the second half of the book. Another twist was a TOTAL shock to me, shaking up the characters’ worlds and mine all at the same time and it totally took the book to the next level!

While TANDEM didn’t 100% knock my socks off, it’s definitely a very solid series starter. I think  the exposition of the book seemed a bit lengthy and took away a bit of my excitement for what I was hoping would be a wild and fast-paced adventure. The story absolutely picked up but I feel like I’m getting more and more frustrated with books that have slow beginnings. I was hoping to be immediately pulled into the story and it just took me a while to get there. I’d still definitely recommend it but just be aware that it may take you a little bit to get into it!

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Sasha // Character Obsessions: Returning home, her Juliana connection, Thomas.
Sasha was an interesting main character because her predicament is so unique. She essentially gets kidnapped and taken through the tandem to Juliana and Thomas’ world, being forced to impersonate Juliana in her absence. She definitely doesn’t have an easy time in Aurora and I felt really bad for her. I admired her strength and bravery trying to be convincing as another person because I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to do that! (Although the way her whole connection with Juliana worked, it wasn’t AS hard.) I wouldn’t say we turned out to be best friends, but I really admired a lot of her qualities.
Thomas // Character Obsessions: His duty as a KES agent, protecting Juliana/Sasha, secret missions.
I actually liked Thomas a lot. Maybe it’s just because I love a good tortured soul… My heart goes out to him — What can I say? I really, really enjoyed his interactions with Sasha and how their friendship/relationship developed. He was very dedicated — both to his job and to Sasha. And Juliana as well — and what was interesting was that being true to each one of those didn’t always lie on the same side. Several times Thomas had to make tough choices and decide which person or job took priority.

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Science Fiction. PARALELL UNIVERSES, GUYS. This is the kind of sci-fi that I just eat up. Anna Jarzab’s explanation of the worlds and the analogs was totally fascinating and HELLOOOOOO, I need book two like, right now.
Left Me Wanting More: Initial excitement. I must say that the beginning was slow for me. I understand that a book can’t be exciting every single second, but slow starts are really starting to bum me out. I think an exciting beginning is important to really pull me in so it was just hard to get the motivation to read until I got there.

Addiction Rating
Read & Recommend It!

I think TANDEM was an excellent beginning to the Many-Worlds trilogy and I’m so excited for more. I had a couple hang-ups that didn’t make it a totally stellar read for me but it was super interesting and another one of those books where I feel like with everything set up, book two will be even better!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE TANDEM

(Click the cover to see my review!)

          Time Between us           Just Like Fate