Tag Archives: Lauren Oliver

Broken Things – Lauren Oliver

Broken Things – Lauren OliverTitle: Broken Things by Lauren Oliver
Publishing Info: October 2, 2018 by HarperCollins, HarperTeen
Source: ALAAC18
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Date Completed: October 6, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: Annabel (Delirium #0.5), Requiem (Delirium #3), Before I Fall, Vanishing Girls, Panic

It’s been five years since Summer Marks was brutally murdered in the woods.

Everyone thinks Mia and Brynn killed their best friend. That driven by their obsession with a novel called The Way into Lovelorn the three girls had imagined themselves into the magical world where their fantasies became twisted, even deadly.

The only thing is: they didn’t do it.

On the anniversary of Summer’s death, a seemingly insignificant discovery resurrects the mystery and pulls Mia and Brynn back together once again. But as the lines begin to blur between past and present and fiction and reality, the girls must confront what really happened in the woods all those years ago—no matter how monstrous.

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BROKEN THINGS was a very interesting read! I always appreciate Lauren Oliver’s storytelling style and this book certainly followed suit. There were a number of pieces that fit into Summer’s murder and as the book unfolded, things fell out of suspicion and others fell into place. I actually had no idea who Summer’s actual murder was until it was revealed but looking back, there were still small clues that I could have picked up on but didn’t. It was woven in well throughout the book and I was surprised, even though it didn’t quite feel right somehow.

One thing I really loved what the depth of each character. The main characters and narrators, Mia and Brynn (the girls who were blamed for Summer’s death), have both had life-changing experiences from their best friend’s murder, of course, and not just because they were blamed for it. They had other things going on with their families and friends and I really liked how Lauren Oliver really included all of those burdens & secrets that a person carries with them on a daily basis, not just the events after this tragedy and subsequent shunning. There was so much more that each character, including the supporting characters, was going through. They were mentioned as broken people and misfits, but really, I think everyone has a little bit of something that they’re carrying with them and I didn’t really love that label. I think a lot of people may feel like they’re “broken” but what I did love was that all of these characters found solace in each other, which is really what friendship is all about. When you’re a kid, everything feels so personal and I think as these characters grew up, much like I’ve experienced growing up, you find out that everyone has something they’ve gone through and you start listening to other people’s experiences. Each person got to understand things outside of their own world in different ways and that was a neat thing to witness in this book.

The other really interesting concept here was the addition of Lovelorn, a fantastical place in the girls’ favorite book that they used to imagine was real. There was a blurry line whether the place was real or not due to the experiences that they had, and even though the world is fictional, in a way it became real with the girls’ fan-fiction novel and how they tried to bring it to life through their actions. I liked how the line was constantly blurred throughout the book to get readers to feel like it could be real but there are still facts and truth that show what the real story is.

BROKEN THINGS definitely held my attention and I read over 200 pages in just a few hours. It was a book that I didn’t want to put down and the characters were well-rounded, and I really enjoyed it from start to finish.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Muddy boundaries. I did enjoy how there was a blurred line between real and imaginary/fantasy! I liked how this was still a mystery but there were moments when you weren’t quite sure what was real.
Left Me Wanting More: Clues. I think I wanted just a few more clues to point to the killer. I liked that I had no idea who it was but it also made it less believable once it was revealed.

Addiction Rating
Try it

This is very typical of Lauren Oliver’s writing style and it was really enjoyable! I think if you like her books, this one will be a hit.

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BOOKS LIKE BROKEN THINGS

              

Redesign Reactions [6]: The Delirium Trilogy by Lauren Oliver

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Welcome to Redesign Reactions, where we talk about books, covers, and what happens when new cover designs take over a series!

On this edition of Redesign Reactions, let’s talk about
The Delirium Trilogy by Lauren Oliver

I’ve had my ups and downs with the Delirium Trilogy but DELIRIUM will always hold a special place in my heart for being one of the first dystopian books after THE HUNGER GAMES that I really, truly fell in love with. It opened the doors to more dystopian and consequently, more young adult (there really wasn’t any adult dystopian that I could find so I inhaled all young adult). I was actually really excited to see the redesign for some new paperback editions of the series! It was great to see the series  move away from the cut-off face trend and I really like these bright and beautiful colors.

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OLD COVERS: The old covers were great for their time, I think. It was a trend that was in and these books were one first big series that I personally read and so I think they were sort of trendsetters too. I don’t quite like how all of the covers look side-by-side like this because there’s not a good pattern to how Lena’s face is cropped (one side cut off, then the other, then not a cut-off but just a different angle), but I do love the flowers that frame her face and how the colors of each cover are different but work well towards an overall collection. They don’t necessarily create a specific color palate but they don’t clash and I actually like the teal with the orange and red.

NEW COVERS: I actually really like these new covers! I had no idea they were in the works and just happened to see them the other day and I’m really impressed! I like that it’s sort of minimalistic with just a heart as the main focus but the heart on each cover is made up of different smaller elements that seem to relate to the books. The shadows and shading are a nice touch to really add some texture as well as focus and I really like how the colors work together in an overall scheme! I love that shade of teal on the DELIRIUM cover and I really like that PANDEMONIUM changed from an orange scheme to more gray/dark purple/dark blue. I also appreciate that while they’re totally new covers, they do still have (generally) the same color schemes to really tie into the original hardcovers. (Although this DELIRIUM cover is actually the first redesign of the very original which also looked totally different.)

Which do I like better? I’m totally into the new covers! I really, really love them and I like how it’s bringing the series into the latest cover design trends. I think this seems a lot easier to transcend throughout the years and remain a design that will age well. I don’t know why but I am totally digging the shades of teal/aqua and the raspberry sort of red. There’s just something about them that’s so appealing to me!

So tell me! Which design do you like better? Take the poll below and let me know in the comments which you prefer and why! I’d love to hear your reactions!

[bctt tweet=”Which covers for The Delirium Trilogy do you like better: Original or redesign? Take the poll at @bookaddictguide!” via=”no”]

Panic – Lauren Oliver

Panic – Lauren OliverTitle: Panic by Lauren Oliver
Publishing Info: March 4, 2014 by HarperCollins
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery/Thriller, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 18, 2015
Related Posts: Annabel (Delirium #0.5), Requiem (Delirium #3), Before I Fall, Vanishing Girls, Broken Things

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.
Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.
Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.
For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

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It took me a while to finally pick up PANIC and when I did, I actually opted for the audio instead of the physical book that I’d had sitting on my shelves since March. Of last year. It wasn’t even the book so much as that feeling where you find a favorite author and then things start to be… less magical. I absolutely loved DELIRIUM, didn’t feel as strongly about PANDEMONIUM, and felt a little disappointed by REQUIEM. I recently read VANISHING GIRLS and was hoping to find that magic of DELIRIUM again but it still fell a little short for me, (I’m not a middle grade reader so I haven’t read any of her MG works either) so naturally I was a bit on the fence about my enthusiasm for PANIC… and sadly I was right to hesitate.

PANIC wasn’t a bad read for me but it didn’t quite go the way that I had hoped. From the book’s synopsis, I was under the impression that PANIC was mostly a thriller and yes, there were definitely some thrilling and action-packed events throughout the book, but I actually found myself bothered by how much the book delved into the personal lives of each character. I know, I know, that sounds absolutely ridiculous. Who doesn’t want character development? Well, it’s not that I didn’t want it but the issues that each characters had and some of their current life situations ended up shifting the focus to really dig into personal backgrounds and the drama surrounding their current situations felt like it took away from the thrill of the game of Panic. I went into the book expecting so much thriller and less contemporary BUT I should have known that wouldn’t be the case since every other Lauren Oliver book I’ve read digs very deeply into each character and presents the reader with some very serious issues. This was definitely a personal preference/expectation for me.

I did enjoy the concept of Panic. I loved the adventure and suspense that it added to the book overall and how each character really was pushed to their limits (and beyond)  because of it. I was, however, a bit skeptical about the whole concept. The town is fairly small and although 12,000 people is still a lot, I feel like the cops should have been able to catch someone in the act of participating in Panic, especially when most of the entire senior class congregated to watch/join in and they visited the same spots from year to year. Some of the challenges also felt extremely intense. I guess that is the whole point of Panic but since I was already questioning things, I began to question those as well.

I was really all over the place character-wise. I didn’t really feel strongly about anyone and was actively turned off by others. I wasn’t a huge fan of Heather and I really didn’t care for Natalie. I just didn’t find myself connecting with them much at all. I started feeling like I was okay with things and then something popped up that really bothered me so I really ended up a bit disappointed overall.

I think I’m just really disappointed that this book still wasn’t the Lauren Oliver magic that I was hoping it would be. I did finish and felt… all right with it but it felt like more of a disappointment than a book I enjoyed. It seems more like one of those cases where several personal preferences come into play because I have seen a lot of excellent reviews for PANIC but this one just didn’t do it for me and I’m starting to feel less of a pull to read Lauren Oliver’s books.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

I borrowed the audiobook of PANIC from my local library (I love their audiobook selection) and overall, it was a good performance. Sarah Drew (who also plays April on Grey’s Anatomy, for those who don’t know) is the narrator for all of Lauren Oliver’s YA books so far, PANIC included, and she does a really great job of narrating. I don’t always like her voices for the characters and I don’t always think the timbre of her voice fits the main character so that was a little hard for me at times. I think she was a great selection for BEFORE I FALL but I didn’t think she was a great Heather for PANIC and I don’t think I’d want to listen to her narrate the Delirium trilogy. I think she does do a good job with narration though and I always enjoy the way she narrates, even if I don’t always love her voice for that specific character.

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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!

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Heather // Character Obsessions: Her sister, thriving, Panic.
I didn’t really enjoy Heather’s character… She was okay but at times she was a bit too much for me and I got easily irritated. I think part of it was that everything felt so forced with her. Her character didn’t seem natural and really the things that she experienced felt over the top (for what I was expecting when I started reading the book). Maybe if I didn’t have expectations, it would have been totally different.

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Kept Me Hooked On: YA thrillers. This definitely DID have some thrilling moments and I really appreciated the various things that the characters had to go through.
Left Me Wanting More: Suspense. I was really missing the suspense in this book. I think the reason that I really didn’t enjoy the more personal and realistic fiction developments were because they totally STOPPED the suspense that I was feeling. I would have loved to be on the edge of my seat the whole time.

Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

PANIC didn’t do it for me. I really wished for so much more and I feel like that magic is gone. The plot was okay, characters were okay, action was okay, but nothing ever felt GREAT.

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BOOKS LIKE PANIC

(Click the cover to see my review!)

HOW TO LEAD A LIFE OF CRIME     THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING

Vanishing Girls – Lauren Oliver

Vanishing Girls – Lauren OliverTitle: Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
Publishing Info: March 10, 2015 by HarperCollins
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: April 5, 2015
Related Posts: Annabel (Delirium #0.5), Requiem (Delirium #3), Before I Fall, Panic, Broken Things

    Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara's beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it's too late.
In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

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I had heard a lot of interesting things about VANISHING GIRLS before I started so I was pretty anxious to jump in once I had decided the time was right! I had just finished THE DEVIL YOU KNOW by Trish Doller (review to come!) so I was in a very mystery/thriller mood and I had hoped VANISHING GIRLS would keep me on that streak!

The book was really interesting but I do have to admit that I sort of waffled back and forth between being really curious and feeling a like the book was a little sluggish. I think some of that stems from my impatience whenever I read a mystery or thriller (I get too excited!) but Lauren Oliver’s writing is always a bit lyrical and her words are very carefully chosen so I tend to feel frustrated when that drags out the mystery a bit longer. That being said, I do think that it worked very well for VANISHING GIRLS (impatience and all) because of the way the story was put together and how the ending came to be.

The relationship between Nick and Dara was really interesting. I really wasn’t sure at first why the two POVs were necessary, plus a constant switch from past to present, but it ended up not feeling as jarring towards the middle of the book and felt downright necessary towards the end. I also had a hard time in the beginning just getting into the book because I’m always greedy for immediate mysteries and clues to present themselves when I know something is coming, so I always hope for just a touch of something to really hook me at the start. The first half of the book felt a bit slow and I felt like there was a lot of time spent developing the story between the two girls which in retrospect the reader does need in order to fully understand them both BUT it did feel like a lot of set-up and so it dragged for me just a little bit.

I was able to predict the ending but I also think that I picked up just the right amount of clues. I didn’t really start forming theories until about halfway through and by that time I think the readers are supposed to be picking up what’s going on. Nick is hot on the trail of the “vanishing girls” (including her sister) and the reader starts to realize what happened even before Nick does so it’s a really interesting dynamic to the book! It was actually really neat to see everything come together and the fact that I was able to guess how the book ended really didn’t affect my reading experience negatively. Actually, it allowed me to seeing a wider perspective than just Nick or Dara’s POV so it was really cool to put those pieces together and watch the ending unfold around them.

I was hoping for a BIT more thrill from VANISHING GIRLS but it was a really interesting story! I love mystery/thrillers and Lauren Oliver threw in some nice twists for the reader! I think if you don’t pick up the clues, the ending will SHOCK you and if you do, it’s still a ton of fun!

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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!

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Nick // Character Obsessions: Reconnecting with Dara, family, keeping the peace.
Nick seems a lot like me. Dara was the more adventurous sister and Nick was much more reserved, followed the rules, and really wanted to keep the peace between everyone. She didn’t like to rock the boat when it caused fights, even at the expense of her own feelings. But I also loved how much she missed her sister when the accident fractured their relationship and how much she really wanted to patch things up. She was really persistent to repair that relationship and it really meant a lot to her.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Lauren Oliver. I’m not gonna lie… I still feel a bit let down with REQUIEM since I fell head over heels for DELIRIUM and it was one of the books that got me reading YA. I still haven’t read ROOMS or PANIC (although I want to) so this is the first book I’ve read since the Delirium Trilogy and I really wanted that magic to come back. I did enjoy the book so that was good but it wasn’t quite as much as I had hoped. I kind of want to revisit Lauren Oliver’s writing but back in a non-contemporary book. I haven’t really had success with her more realistic fiction.
Left Me Wanting More: Thrills. I really enjoyed the overall story but I really wanted to be hooked in by more thrills! The ending was really great but the pace didn’t really pick up until halfway through. I just prefer things to be a bit more spaced out throughout the book to hold a reader’s attention!

Addiction Rating
Try it

I feel good about the book overall, but the beginning was a touch slow for me. I wished I had fallen in love a bit more but I do still recommend it to those looking for a fun mystery/thriller!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE VANISHING GIRLS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

WE WERE LIARS E LOCKHART     DANGEROUS GIRLS

May Author Signings Recap & Giveaway!

Event: Author appearances by Lauren Oliver + Lauren Morrill + Lenore Appelhans, Richelle Mead, Pitch Dark Days Tour
Location: Anderson’s Bookshop, Naperville, IL
Date: May 2 – 9

So excited to finally be catching up on these author recaps! Anderson’s Bookshop (my local indie bookstore, for those of you who don’t know it) has had some AMAZING author events this month so far. I mean like, MY FAVORITE AUTHORS AND I GOT TO MEET THEM *happy dance*

LAUREN OLIVER, LAUREN MORRILL, LENORE APPELHANS
MAY 2, 2013

OMG, you guys. I was so nervous and excited to meet Lauren Oliver! She was one of the authors that even got me into YA in the first place!!! Meeting her was honestly a dream of mine, one of my “bucket list” authors, if you will. And don’t count out Lauren Morrill or Lenore Appelhans! I’ve been fortunate enough to work with BOTH of them for a Selective Collective feature, not to mention that MEANT TO BE was an instant favorite of mine!

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  • Firstly, Chicago traffic and rain made L. Morrill and L. Appelhans late BUT, the lovely Lauren Oliver was there to entertain us and introduce each of the books being promoted AS each other. She did a great job as Lauren Morrill and Lenore Appelhans! Very funny. I actually didn’t IMG_1275expect Lauren Oliver to be that outspoken and “bossy” as she called herself, maybe just because her books carry such a serious tone! She was a blast to listen to and I really heard some interesting things about her writing process!
  • Did you know that Lauren Oliver’s BEFORE I FALL was written entirely on a Blackberry? I did not!! L. Morrill said “SEE, there are no excuses not to write!” which I totally commend, but I would never be able to concentrate writing on the subway or in transit like L. Oliver did!
  • It was really interesting to hear Lenore talk about how she came up with ideas for LEVEL 2! She knew she wanted memories to be involved and involving good memories as sort of a currency. Lenore is a world-traveler so most of Felicia’s travels were easy for Lenore to write! And sadly…. There really are no prancing goats. That was a total creation from Lenore!
  • Quick bragging moment: Each of the authors played a game where they decided to read a passage from the book that they were promoting. Since Lauren Oliver was promoting the third and a trilogy and didn’t want to spoil anything, I volunteered my copy of Delirium. So Lauren Oliver read from my copy of Delirium and call me crazy, but I honestly found it SO. COOL. that the author herself was reading the very same book and the very same words that I read and fell in love with. It was an awesome thing for me!
Reading from my copy of Delirium eeeeep

Reading from my copy of Delirium eeeeep

Of course I was extremely awkward when trying to talk to any authors because let’s face it… I always am, BUT I did get to take photos with all of them and they were all super sweet!

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RICHELLE MEAD
MAY 5, 2013

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Okay, I know Richelle Mead is hugely popular and has had many, many books, but I had no idea that the crowd for this event was going to be that huge! Thankfully I come to these events alone (or not thankfully, because that sounds sad) so I was able to squeeze into a solo seat and not have to stand in the back for the whole event! I was SHOCKED to find out that probably about half of the people who were at this event came from two hours away or more (quite a few were four hours or more!!) so that just tells you the magnitude of her writing and the audience that she reaches!

  • Richelle started off by giving us a lengthy taste of THE FIERY HEART (Bloodlines #4) which actually alternates between Adrian’s & Sydney’s point of views. It was a darker & deeper side of Adrian and interesting to hear thoughts from his perspective. Usually I don’t like when books start with one narrator and switch to dual POVs, but I’m actually pretty anxious to hear what Adrian has to say!
  • The audience got to do a Q&A and there were some specific questions which Katie at The Polished Page Turner was kind enough to take notes on for her own recap of the event! I’m not a note taker so… I forgot all of them haha.
  • She talked about the MOVIE. I guess the guy who plays Dimitri, although most of us probably haven’t heard of him, is kind of a big deal in Russia so that’s pretty cool! I hope that the movie does the books justice because the VA series is one I felt come off SO well in books and I’m scared the wrong actors could ruin it! Hopefully not 🙂

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We didn’t get to do any posed pictures since there were SO many people so I got some awkward photos as someone was nice enough to snap a few haha. I made THE MOST awkward conversation with Richelle as she was kind enough to sign my books by telling her that I almost didn’t pick up VA because it was “another vampire series”. Of course I went on to tell her that I love it (duh) and I’m so glad that I read them because they’re really unique! I hope she didn’t think I was TOO awkward. I really shouldn’t be allowed to talk to authors. I don’t know how I’ll survive BEA with my pride intact.

PITCH DARK DAYS TOUR
MAY 9, 2013

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Fierce Reads isn’t coming into town, but I got to go to the Pitch Dark Days tour!!! Aprilynne Pike, Amy Tintera, Elizabeth Norris, and Kiera Cass were all in attendance and a great group of ladies to meet!!

I was kind of overjoyed that……. I forgot everything that happened. With four authors, it was all kind of a daze (in a great way) but once again, Katie at The Polished Page Turner did a great write up about it so I can refer you to her page haha. I feel terrible that I don’t take notes at some of these things sometimes because I have no specifics to tell you but I feel awkward being on my phone the whole time or writing things down. I just feel like I’m not paying attention even though I’m taking notes! So I just watched and listened, smiled and laughed and had a grand old time!

True to form, I made awkward small talk with the authors (I’m just SO BAD at small talk. Why do I do this???) and took pictures will ALL OF THEM.

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Also got to meet Alison from Harper! She was super sweet and a little ball of energy! She did a great job at moderating the event!! (Also a pretty awkward picture of me but… meh!)

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GIVEAWAY

Oh yes, there is a giveaway! I don’t have books from every author mentioned in this post (because I wanted to keep a lot for myself hahaha), BUT I do have a signed hardback of LIFE AFTER THEFT and a signed copy of THE INDIGO SPELL for one lucky winner! Best of luck!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway is open until Friday 5/24/13. US and Canada entries only, please. (Sorry, international!) Go forth and enter!

Here are a few more upcoming events that I will be attending! If you’re going to be at Anderson’s in Naperville, IL for any of these signings, let me know and we can say hi! 🙂

Rick Yancey – The 5th Wave: May 22nd, 2013
Joelle Charbonneau – The Testing: June 4th, 2013
Young Authors Give Back Tour: June 14th, 2013

Before I Fall – Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall – Lauren OliverTitle: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Publishing Info: March 3, 2010 by HarperCollins
Genres: Alternate Reality, Contemporary, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: April 5, 2013
Related Posts: Annabel (Delirium #0.5), Requiem (Delirium #3), Vanishing Girls, Panic, Broken Things

With this stunning debut novel, New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver emerged as one of today's foremost authors of young adult fiction. Like Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why and Gayle Forman's If I Stay, Before I Fall raises thought-provoking questions about love, death, and how one person's life can affect so many others.
    For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—"Cupid Day"—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.
    However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.

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My first impression of BEFORE I FALL is Groundhog’s Day meets Mean Girls but with a darker twist: Samantha Kingston is one of the popular girls… Until she dies on the night of February 12th and must relive the day over and over until she rights the wrongs of her life. I loved the beauty of Lauren Oliver’s writing in the DELIRIUM trilogy so I figured it was about time I got to her stand alone, BEFORE I FALL.

This is a tough book for me to review. I think this is another book that suffered from everyone else being in love with it and combine that with the fact that I expected to love it simply because it’s Lauren Oliver and I ended up with… disappointment. I did still enjoy the book and I love the concept, but as Rachel helped me realize, I don’t like the “mean girl” story lines in books. I know this story is about Samantha and trying to find a way to redeem herself from being that popular mean girl, but even still, it was hard for me to get on board with any of her friends who still were that way, completely oblivious to the fact that they’re hurting others, and the things that they do. So yeah, that was a BIG part of the book for me that was hard to stomach. Since the whole point of BEFORE I FALL is for Sam to right the wrongs of her world, I did end up liking her a whole lot more, but I still couldn’t say the same for her friends. But I mean, seriously. Mean Girls. Except instead of Candy Cane-grams, we have Vale-grams (or however it was spelled (SORRY, listened to the audio so I don’t know haha)).

I loved the Groundhog’s Day concept and how even though we’re reliving the same day over and over and over again, it’s always different, even if it’s the same setting. Sam finds different ways to relive her school day, different ways to change the party, different ways to interact with her friends, but she can only change HER part of it and the other people around her have the tendency to fall into the same routine that they do in every scenario. It was interesting to see what exactly Sam had to learn from each day and what she had to come up with to really make a difference.

The other thing I really liked was that it’s not obvious how the book is going to end. It starts with Sam dying and the day restarting, that we know, but I was never able to guess if she was going to snap out of this cycle of repetition and have a happy Bill Murray ending or if Sam’s destiny really is to die on February 12th regardless of the things she corrects. Up until the very last minute, I STILL didn’t know what was going to happen, so I loved that I was kept on the edge of my seat.

I liked the concept of BEFORE I FALL, but I just didn’t end up loving it as a book. I think there were too many “mean girl” moments that really prevented me for liking a lot of the characters so I found it hard for me to be on their side. It didn’t destroy the book for me but it really did prevent me from falling in love with it.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

Narrator: Sarah Drew
Listening Time: 12 hours, 25 minutes
Source: Local library’s digital catalog

You may not know her name, but you know Sarah Drew — she’s famous for playing Dr. April Kepner on Grey’s Anatomy (among other things, but that’s where I know her from). I spent the first half hour of the audiobook wracking my brain because I knew that I knew the voice but couldn’t place it! I had to Google her name to figure it out!
Sarah Drew was very pleasant to listen to as Sam, but I can’t really say that I liked the way she voiced other characters. They were all very distinct which can be a challenge when you’re voicing four or five different female main characters, but some of them were distinct in… annoying ways. Lindsay’s voice was very deep which I guess could be logical, but for Lindsay, Elody, and Rob, the voices all sounded drunk or just plain unintelligent half of the time (even when they weren’t drunk, which actually was half of the time) so that was just kind of annoying to listen to. It’s one thing if a character is supposed to sound unintelligent, but too many of the characters were voiced as slow and vapid.
Sam went through a lot of changes and that was also noted in her change of tone so I felt like Sarah Drew did a really good job on that part. She has a really good voice that I could easily picture as a teenage since it’s relatively high pitched. (Sometimes I get frustrated when it’s a very adult voice doing the audio for a teen book.)
She also narrates the audiobooks for the Delirium series (also by Lauren Oliver) but I’m so glad I hadn’t listened to her voicing Lena. The voice just wouldn’t fit for me like it had fit so well for BEFORE I FALL.

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Sam: I loved watching Sam’s realization of all of the things she needed to correct in her life and help correct in other people’s as well. It was a great story and really interesting to see how much she changed in that week that she was trapped in February 12th. I still didn’t totally feel for her character (it bothered me that she was teased so much as a kid BY LINDSAY and then ends up doing the same exact thing WITH Lindsay to other kids) but she did definitely redeem herself!
Lindsay: Hated her from start to finish. I just didn’t like her at all.
Juliet: I felt so, so bad for Juliet. She was definitely my favorite character because I could just see all the hurt and feel her pain. My heart went out to her the whole book.

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BORROW IT

I enjoyed the book but I was really hoping for more. It was definitely very different from the Delirium trilogy but I just wasn’t a huge fan of many of the characters so that made it hard for me.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE BEFORE I FALL

     If I Stay    The Sky Is Everywhere

Requiem (Delirium #3) – Lauren Oliver

Requiem (Delirium #3) – Lauren OliverTitle: Requiem (Delirium #3) by Lauren Oliver
Publishing Info: March 5, 2013 by HarperCollins
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: February 24, 2013
Related Posts: Annabel (Delirium #0.5), Before I Fall, Vanishing Girls, Panic, Broken Things

    Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has transformed. The nascent rebellion that was underway in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight. After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven. Pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels.
As Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain of the Wilds, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor. Requiem is told from both Lena and Hana's points of view. They live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

bookreview1** This is a spoiler-free review for REQUIEM but will contain spoilers if you have not read Delirium or Pandemonium **

I was SO NERVOUS to start REQUIEM!!!! I’ve heard quite a few mixed reviews from fellow bloggers and I was positively terrified to read the conclusion to one of my favorite trilogies/series, especially when quite a few people were disappointed in it. So where I my opinion shake out? I liked it more than I liked PANDEMONIUM but it still didn’t compare to when I first fell in love with DELIRIUM. So let’s talk!

One of the things I was the most apprehensive and yet curious about was the fact that REQUIEM is alternating chapters between Lena’s POV and Hana’s POV. I read the short story about Hana and was quite intrigued but I wasn’t quite sure how the book would shake out hearing her side of things. When it came down to it, I really enjoyed the alternating narrators. From Hana we get the view of Portland through the eyes of a Cured. Everything we see is much more organized and calm versus Lena’s passion and her messy, ferocious approach to life in the Wilds. The reason I loved the dual POVs so much was because we’re back in the Portland I knew from DELIRIUM again. I got really lost in PANDEMONIUM for a while because of the unfamiliar settings (something which happens to me often in book two…) and I felt like I was anchored back to the place I first met these characters and all of the emotions I had when reading the first book. It also pains me a little to say that I kind of liked Hana’s story line better than I liked Lena’s. I still felt a little lost in the Wilds and I think with Hana being anchored in Portland and unraveling a mystery of her own, I actually latched onto her story more than Lena’s more chaotic one.

Another thing I was nervous about was Lena’s affections for both Julian and Alex. I’ve been Team Alex all throughout PANDEMONIUM but guys… Julian start to grow on me and I did NOT see that coming. Lauren Oliver does a great job of making the reader like Julian; he’s a good guy who got himself tangled with a girl who loves someone else and sometimes you can’t help but feel for him. My feelings actually got a bit mixed up and turned around throughout REQUIEM. I wanted to root for both guys, but at the same time, my heart was still on Alex’s side. It’s a very interesting love triangle (FOR ONCE) and it’s one that I feel was actually done well because this may be the first time I almost had a hard time picking which guy to root for!

As far as the plot goes? All dystopians seem to reach a point nowadays where the fight vs. the “Society” gets a little too political for me. Since we’re seeing REQUIEM from the eyes of two girls who are closely related to the political side but still somewhat on the fringes of it, the whole resistance movement and constant battle made it a bit easier to stomach. We see a lot of battles that are lesser parts of the war and REQUIEM leads us to how this whole war wraps up. I won’t say anything specifically about the end, but what I WILL say is that it all ended a bit too quickly for me. Lena & Hana are obviously in their own worlds, telling their own stories, but I was constantly anticipating when they would collide and intertwine. I wanted a little more interaction between the two stories to really tie the whole book together. Once they finally do meet up, I was like, “NO WAY there’s still so much that needs to happen and there aren’t that many pages left!!!” I was loving the action that was going on and I wished we had spent a little more time there than in the Wilds, yaknowhatImean?

Anyway, overall, I liked the book — not quite to the point of adoring it like I did with the first book, but of course it’s a must-read for fans of the series. I can see where other people were disappointed but I did still enjoy it, even though there were a lot of things I was disappointed with.

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Lena: As much as I always love Lena, I will always miss the Lena of Delirium – What made that book so great was watching her transform from naive and cautious to taking a huge chance on Alex. Throughout Pandemonium and Requiem, obviously we see a hardened Lena and of course I still love her but it’s still just never quite as enjoyable as the first book. I did see a lot of REAL emotions come from her though, especially regarding her decisions between Julian and Alex so that really made Requiem great.
Hana: I loved hearing more from Hana in her own point-of-view instead of reading things as Lena sees them. Even though Hana is Cured, I really think we see a great range of feelings from her and even if they’re not feelings, they’re calculated ideas and thoughts which are carefully broken down into logic. The logic may not always be what Hana wants to hear, but that makes the story more exciting as well. I think it’s great to see a POV from a Cured and see exactly how the cure works and affects emotions. Hana may not be typical of all Cureds, but either way, I loved hearing from her. I really felt like her story was actually more interesting than Lena’s!

addiction_factor1Read it

If you’ve made it this far in the series, might as well complete the read! I’m still pretty disappointed in the ending and it wasn’t my favorite, but it’s worth the read to see how the trilogy ends!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE REQUIEM

     Sever      Through the Ever Night

Top Ten Tuesday – February 26, 2013: Top Ten Authors on My Auto-Buy List

TTT

It’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful blog at The Broke and the Bookish!

TOP TEN AUTHORS ON MY AUTO-BUY LIST
(Young Adult)

GF

 

No doubt about it that Gayle Forman is my number one answer to the question “Which authors are on my auto-buy list?” I have adored all of her works and after each book, I’m left dying for the next or to go back and re-read every book that’s come before it!

LO

Lauren Oliver is another author that I would follow to the ends of the Earth. I’m a little scared to be reading Requiem right now, but so far I’m enjoying it! I’m just praying the series wraps up well because I just always get scared when series end!! Anyway, Lauren Oliver’s writing is gorgeous and reading her books is always amazing!

WH copy

I fell in love with Sweet Evil over the summer and now I’m anxiously awaiting Sweet Peril! Before I knew what fangirling really was, I was fangirling for Sweet Evil! You can bet when SP comes out, I’m buying it immediately!

LDS

I just finished the last book in The Chemical Garden trilogy, Sever. I really enjoyed how Lauren DeStefano wrapped the series up (although I heard a lot of mixed reactions from people) and I look forward to purchasing anything else she writes!

SP

Anna and the French Kiss became an instant favorite when I read it. Although I wasn’t as big of a fan for Lola, I’m definitely buying any new books from Stephanie Perkins the nanosecond they come out!!

LBD

I never expected to like a fantasy book so much so when I read Shadow and Bone, I was blown away. I loved Leigh Bardugo’s writing and you can bet I’m barely able to contain my excitement for Siege & Storm!! I’ve also been able to meet Leigh Bardugo a few times and knowing that she’s such a genuinely nice person and how much fun she is makes it that much more exciting to pick up her books!

KM

I’ve only read The Sea of Tranquility but the sheer beauty of the book and the amazing characters that Katja Millay created has made me a believer! You can bet I’m getting this book when it comes out in print so it can have a home on my shelf and I’ll be buying any future books from this amazing author!

LM

What a fun debut from Lauren Morrill!! I had just a blast with her characters and a really great story line. I’d be happy to buy any new books from her!

RM

Okay, admittedly, I haven’t actually purchased any of Richelle Mead’s books. SAD. I know. I borrowed all of the Vampire Academy series from the library since I was zipping through them and I then I quickly caught up with Bloodlines in anticipation of The Indigo Spell. Richelle Mead technically hasn’t been an auto-buy author but she’s definitely an auto-read author for me!!

RLF

Same with Robin LaFevers – I borrowed Grave Mercy from the library, but absolutely plan on buying it because I loved it so much! I have Dark Triumph on my Kindle right now, but I’ll be buying that too when it comes out!!

 

So those are my auto-buy authors! Anyone we have in common? Looking forward to see other people’s picks this week!!

 

 

Shout Outs for my Fav Adult Auto-Buy Authors:

1. Meg Cabot (Yes, I know she writes YA too but for some reason I’ve only ever read her adult books)

2. Lisa Lutz

3. Janet Evanovich

4. JD Robb

Annabel (Delirium #0.5) – Lauren Oliver

Annabel (Delirium #0.5) – Lauren OliverTitle: Annabel (Delirium #0.5) by Lauren Oliver
Publishing Info: December 26, 2012 by HarperCollins
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: December 26, 2012
Related Posts: Requiem (Delirium #3), Before I Fall, Vanishing Girls, Panic, Broken Things

Lena's mother, Annabel, has always been a mystery—a ghost in Lena's past. Until now. Discover her secrets in Lauren Oliver's brilliant original digital story set in the world of New York Times bestsellers Delirium and Pandemonium. Lena Halloway's mother, Annabel, supposedly committed suicide when Lena was only six years old. That's the lie that Lena grew up believing, but the truth is very different. As a rebellious teenager, Annabel ran away from home and straight into the man she knew she was destined to marry. The world was different then—the regulations not as stringent, the cure only a decade old. Fast forward to the present, and Annabel is consigned to a dirty prison cell, where she nurtures her hope of escape and scratches one word over and over into the walls: Love. But Annabel, like Lena, is a fighter. Through chapters that alternate between her past and present, Annabel reveals the story behind her failed cures, her marriage, the births of her children, her imprisonment, and, ultimately, her daring escape.

bookreview1

It’s a short story so I’ll just give some quick thoughts!

So far, I’ve loved these little short stories that give us more info about the characters in the Delirium trilogy. When I read HANA, I was left wanting a bit more from the story but reading ANNABEL kind of filled in some gaps and made the whole trilogy that much richer. Not only do we get to hear about Lena’s mother Annabel before Lena was even born, but we also get a little bit more background on the new set of rules and regulations surrounding the cure and how society is changing once and for all. I thought it was great to see how similar Lena and her mother are yet they’re still two very distinct characters.

As always, I love Lauren Oliver’s writing. The beauty of it just touches me and makes me dive head first into the story. It gave me a little taste of her writing again before I’m able to pick up REQUIEM, and if you’re wondering, NO I did not read the REQUIEM teaser at the end. If I start that, I’m just going to want more. I’ll wait (I’m)patiently for a copy!

character_breakdown1Annabel: Annabel is fierce and strong, making decisions for herself and not just going with the flow like the rest of the world. I loved her determination and her spirit. Lena is truly her mother’s daughter! I really think this little piece of Annabel will really help shape the rest of the series.
Conrad: YES, we even get to hear more about Lena’s dad! I actually found this to be one of the more interesting points of the novel and how Conrad and Annabel ended up being together when she was not cured and he was. Very great addition.

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Buy it!

If you like the DELIRIUM trilogy, I would recommend this novella. I really love learning more about the backgrounds of these books as well as meeting old characters to create a new story. This one was fascinating!

book_recommendations1

                

Top Ten Tuesday – November 27, 2012: Top Ten Most Anticipated Books For 2013

It’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful blog at The Broke and the Bookish!

This Week’s Topic is: Top Ten Most Anticipated Books For 2013
JUST TEN!?!?! Holy crap, this is going to be difficult. I’ll only include books that have a set pub date and a cover in order to keep some organization in this madness.

MY TOP TEN CAN’T-WAIT-UNTIL-2013 PICKS
(in no particular order)

1. SEVER- Lauren DeStefano
2. DUALED – Elsie Chapman
3. REQUIEM – Lauren Oliver
4. SWEET PERIL- Wendy Higgins
5. INVISIBILITY – Andrea Cremer & David Levithan

6. TAKEN – Erin Bowman
7. THIS IS WHAT HAPPY LOOKS LIKE – Jennifer E. Smith
8. DARK TRIUMPH – Robin LaFevers
9. MIND GAMES – Kiersten White
10. CRASH – Lisa McMann

What do you think of these titles? Which books are you most excited for in 2013??