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The Rules for Breaking (The Rules For Disappearing #2) – Ashley Elston

The Rules for Breaking (The Rules For Disappearing #2) – Ashley ElstonTitle: The Rules for Breaking (The Rules for Disappearing #2) by Ashley Elston
Publishing Info: May 20, 2014 by Disney Hyperion
Source: Gift
Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: May 8, 2014
Related Posts: The Rules for Disappearing (The Rules for Disappearing #1), This is Our Story

    Anna Boyd almost lost her life to get what she wanted most in the world: freedom. But just when it seems that her family has finally escaped Witness Protection, the illusion that Anna could resume a normal life comes crashing down. The deadly man Anna knows as Thomas is still on the loose, and now he's using her as a pawn in a dangerous game with the drug cartel determined to silence her forever. When Thomas and a mysterious masked man capture not only Anna but also her fragile younger sister and her boyfriend, Anna decides it's time to break all the rules—even if it means teaming up with the lesser of two evils. Anna will do whatever it takes to protect the people she loves and win her life back once and for all. But her true enemies are hidden in plain sight. Before long, Anna will learn that putting her trust in anyone may be the last mistake she ever makes.

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It’s no secret that I’ve been dying for more YA mystery/thrillers so I was really excited to pick up THE RULES FOR BREAKING and continue on with this exciting series from Ashley Elston! The details were a tiny bit foggy from when I had read the first book, in part because I wasn’t expecting there to be a second book as I was reading, but I was glad there were little bits of recaps sewn into the story to help refresh my memory!

This book was really exciting. I felt like the action was pretty well spaced throughout the book which was great! I feel like it’s hard to spread out a story and keep the pacing steady in mysteries or thrillers without going overboard on what exactly is happening but I felt like this book really just kept on going, and the surprises kept on coming! I felt like there were more twists and surprises in than in the first book (or maybe I just didn’t remember the details from book one) so that was really fun too! There were a few things I didn’t see coming and I really liked how they tied into events and characters from previous books as well.

I’m so glad that Ashley Elston kept Anna and Ethan together. I go through “second in a series syndrome” where I get irritated when characters who united in book one are split apart in book two or all of a sudden a new love interest is introduced so it’s so refreshing and really adds to my overall enjoyment of a series as a whole when an author can really expound on what’s already been established in the first book and just really make that story line grow. My only “complaint” is that I didn’t swoon for Ethan as much in this book because of all of the crazy events that were going on, but I felt a bit like Anna did — how you have all the little butterflies as you’re falling for someone and then the butterflies are maybe not as constant but deeper feelings grow. That’s really how I felt about the characters. My feelings for them grew and I was really happy to see more of them and to see them grow as well.

I really enjoyed the story and a lot of it felt like it really could happen, which is pretty scary to think about! I had a great time reading it and it was a really enjoyable read for me all around. It always had me guessing, never sure what to expect and that layer of mistrust is still there — I was still never sure who to trust!

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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!

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Anna // Character Obsessions: Protecting Teeny, avoiding Thomas, staying alive.
I felt like I really got to know Anna better in this book! It was interesting to be able to get more of her past because as much as we got to know her current situation in the first book, I really got to know her personality and who she was before the program and her insane situation. I really admired her determination in this book as well.
Ethan // Character Obsessions: Protecting Anna, family.
I wished I had seen more of the romantic side of Ethan like I had in the first book, but it was much harder with everything these two kids had going on. I didn’t get to see as much of his personality in this book, but I did see a different side of him. He was much more protective and I really liked how fiercely protective he was of Anna and his family.

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Kept Me Hooked On: YA thrillers. HOORAY for YA thrillers! AND duologies. I loved the action and all of the suspense from this book. I was definitely on the edge of my seat and I felt like the pacing was really great!
Left Me Wanting More: Romance. Usually I’m always good with the romance or there’s too much, but I’m not usually asking for more. I think because there were so many high pressure situations and we were already past the “meeting & falling for each other” stage, so even though Anna and Ethan still had great chemistry and they had bigger things to focus on then romantic butterflies!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

I really enjoyed both of these books and I’m a big fan of YA mysteries and thrillers. A great couple of books from Ashley Elston!

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(Click the cover to see my review!)

       Shadowlands     Paper Valentine

Fairytales for Wilde Girls – Allyse Near

Fairytales for Wilde Girls – Allyse NearTitle: Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allyse Near
Publishing Info: June 23, 2013 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Gift
Genres: Fantasy, Magical Realism, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: April 24, 2014

    A deliciously dark bubblegum-gothic fairytale from a stunning new Australian talent.
    ‘He's gone the same way as those little birds that bothered me with their awful songs! And you will too, you and your horrible heart-music, because you won't stay out of my woods!'
    There's a dead girl in a birdcage in the woods. That's not unusual. Isola Wilde sees a lot of things other people don't. But when the girl appears at Isola's window, her every word a threat, Isola needs help.
    Her real-life friends – Grape, James and new boy Edgar – make her forget for a while. And her brother-princes – the mermaids, faeries and magical creatures seemingly lifted from the pages of the French fairytales Isola idolises – will protect her with all the fierce love they possess.
    It may not be enough.
    Isola needs to uncover the truth behind the dead girl's demise and appease her enraged spirit, before the ghost steals Isola's last breath.

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Wow, FAIRYTALES FOR WILDE GIRLS is just so unlike anything I’ve really read before. It first caught the eye of Alyssa, Amy and I (well, I’m sure one of them saw it first and recommended it to me, actually) was the fact that it was billed as “bubblegum gothic”. We weren’t even sure what that quite meant, but we wanted it! We ended it up selecting it as our April read for our On the Same Page feature and I will tell you that “bubblegum gothic” is an extremely accurate description!

FAIRYTALES FOR WILDE GIRLS follows the story of Isola Wilde — a teenage girl who seems a bit odd to the normal public (even her father). She grew up reading the fables and fairy tales of Lileo Pardieu, an author who she ended up idolizing for her fantastic and magical tales which also seemed to fit perfectly with Isola’s fantastical and imaginative reality. See, for Isola, those fairy tales were a bit more than just stories. She’s a girl who sees ghosts and mermaids and fairies that she’s collected as her “brother princes”, a sort of collective of friends and trusted advisors to council her and guide her on a day-to-day basis. To her friends and to her father, they’re just imaginary friends and possible serious delusions, but Isola knows they’re real and they’re the people who are always there for her. When Isola happens upon a dead girl in the precious Vivan’s Wood, her life slowly begins to change for the worst when this girl threatens to shatter her relationships and her safety.

Okay, so normally I don’t rehash the plots in my reviews, but I felt the need to give a brief explanation of what this book is really about. It’s an amazing mix of fantasy and contemporary wrapped in magical realism and author Allyse Near really leaves no stone unturned with each genre-specific feel. I don’t have a lot of experience with magical realism so I will say that sometimes it’s a bit difficult for me to follow. I’m used to reading worlds that are entirely real or worlds that are entirely fantasy so when the two combine, it’s hard for me to tell what is real and what isn’t and where the lines blur to create that middle where the book exists. It wasn’t always simple to figure it out, but I think that’s also the point of FAIRYTALES FOR WILDE GIRLS and I really enjoyed the places this book took me.

The first thing I need to say about this book is that the writing is simply gorgeous. Allyse Near is a fantastic writer. Sometimes the use of metaphors is a turn-off for me but not with this book. They’re done superbly, excellently placed, and really just fit with the theme of the book. I loved how descriptive everything was and the words were so beautiful, really just flowing off the page.

One thing that was really special for me was Isola’s relationship with her brother-princes. Alejandro — the ghost of a young Spanish man who died at the age of 24 in Victorian London — was the first one we meet and naturally, he was my favorite (whispering to Isola in Spanish, hellooooo. Their relationship wasn’t romantic at all but I sure had a crush on him). Isola has a fantastic connection to each of her brother-princes and the love that they have back for her is so fierce. I loved that even though she was an only child, Isola had her siblings in that sort of way and they did everything they could to protect her and advise her and you could just tell the love that they had for one another was so genuine.
On the more contemporary and realistic side, Isola also has some semi-complicated relationships with her friends and family. She feels responsible for taking care of her mother who goes through spouts of mania and depression. She feels incredibly disconnected from her father who seems to ignore both of them for a majority of the time. She has a best friend James but their friendship started to get complicated with “feelings” getting involved; a best friend Grape with whom she always has a partner in crime; and a new friend Edgar that may develop into something romantic. Just like Isola and her relationship with them, each person is incredibly dynamic and complex and I just felt like each character in this book just leapt off the page.

I felt like the pacing of the book was just perfect. I never really felt a lull and the only time things tripped me up a little bit was when I was just trying to get a grasp on the balance of magical versus real. I think one of my only major hesitations was the ending, actually. I really enjoyed it, don’t get me wrong, but I wasn’t quite sure it sat right with me based on how I was reading the first three quarters of the book. The reader does get quite the resolution but I also felt like little things were sort of left open to interpretation and that made me second-guess how I had read the beginning and perceived that. I’m sure that’s not the case with everyone who reads the book, but for me, that was something that I was just a tiny bit unsure about.

FAIRYTALES FOR WILDE GIRLS just felt so original and magical. It’s unlike anything I’ve read recently and I wish there was more access to wonderful Australian books like this for American readers (although Fishpond is a great place to start)! If you’re looking for a combination of fantasy, contemporary, and horror, FAIRYTALES FOR WILDE GIRLS is a fantastic place to start!

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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!

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Isola Wilde // Character Obsessions: Brother-princes, Lileo Pardieu, taking care of her mother.
Oh, Isola. What a character! She seems so mature and yet still allows the fantasy of fairy tales and bedtime stories to fully weave in and out of her life. It’s an incredible balance between the two. I really loved her quite a bit and her story was quite incredible.
Edgar // Character Obsessions: Family, art, Isola.
I really loved Edgar. He was more of a quiet, soft-spoken, artistic type and I kind of fell in love with him a little bit too. I really loved the relationship he developed with Isola and despite everything going on in his life (or because of that), he just seemed so solid and understanding.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Dark & twisty fairy tales. I loved how dark this book was and yet how it was still all about fairy tales. A darker fantasy. I’m always fascinated and FAIRYTALES FOR WILDE GIRLS totally nailed it.
Left Me Wanting More: A concrete ending. So much was resolved at the end of the book but there were just tiny things that I wasn’t quite sure of that seemed to make a big difference for me.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

If you like fantasy and contemporary all combined into one, pick up this book! The writing is absolutely beautiful and amazing descriptive and I feel like this one will be an easy one for a lot of people to fall in love with!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE FAIRYTALES FOR WILDE GIRLS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

       Daughter of Smoke and Bone     The Graveyard Book

Night of Cake & Puppets (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2.5) – Laini Taylor

Night of Cake & Puppets (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2.5) – Laini TaylorTitle: Night of Cake and Puppets (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2.5) by Laini Taylor
Publishing Info: November 26, 2013 by Little, Brown
Source: Gift
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: January 12, 2013
Related Posts: Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1), Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2), Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3), Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1)

    In Night of Cake & Puppets, Taylor brings to life a night only hinted at in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy—the magical first date of fan-favorites Zuzana and Mik. Told in alternating perspectives, it’s the perfect love story for fans of the series and new readers alike. Petite though she may be, Zuzana is not known for timidity. Her best friend, Karou, calls her “rabid fairy,” her “voodoo eyes” are said to freeze blood, and even her older brother fears her wrath. But when it comes to the simple matter of talking to Mik, or “Violin Boy,” her courage deserts her. Now, enough is enough. Zuzana is determined to meet him, and she has a fistful of magic and a plan. It’s a wonderfully elaborate treasure hunt of a plan that will take Mik all over Prague on a cold winter’s night before finally leading him to the treasure: herself! Violin Boy’s not going to know what hit him.

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First of all… If you’re at all invested in this series, read this novella! Amy instantly gifted it to me via Amazon after we finished reading DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT (or were we even done at that point??) because she said it was a must-read and so incredibly cute and YES. Every part of that is true! I opened this on my Kindle as soon as I could and read it in one sitting.

Zuzana and Mik are two of my favorite characters. I love the little rabid fairy that is Zuzana and frankly, I just want her to be my best friend. She reminds me so much of my own friends pretty much all of the time and as my favorite character of the series, it was so exciting to read a novella from her point of view and in first person versus Laini Taylor’s usual third person that we see in the full-length novels.

The story that we see in NIGHT OF CAKE & PUPPETS is how Zuzana and Mik finally meet and end up talking for the first time, which actually turns into their first date (that Zuzana sets up). We get a glimpse of this story in DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT and I’m SO glad that Laini Taylor wrote this novella so we could experience it first hand because it really was a magical night for Zuzana and Mik!

I love how ferocious Zuze is but how Mik pretty much turns her to a sappy, love-stricken girl. Isn’t that so true? I know I’ve found myself being so much sappier in a relationship than I ever thought I would allow myself to act and I have no shame about it at all! Zuzana is bold, creating a treasure map for Mik to follow (keeping in mind that she hasn’t even actually talked to him yet) with the treasure being… her. Haha! Oh, she’s just so darn cute. She also uses a bit of Karou’s magic in the form of wishes to help her make the treasure hunt extra special! I’m also really glad that we got to see Mik’s point of view here too because you can see how strong his affection for Zuze was right off the bat and it just made me fall in love with their relationship even more!

If you’re a fan of this series, do yourself the favor and read NIGHT OF CAKE & PUPPETS. It’s absolutely adorable and I can’t see how you would be disappointed! If you’re not a novella person, you might be after this one!

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Mik // Character Obsessions: Playing the violin, avoiding Italian brats, watching Zuzana from afar.
I was totally stoked that we got to read Mik’s POV in this novella as well. We get a bit of Zuzana in the previous full-length novels, but nothing really from Mik’s eyes so to see his growing affection for Zuzana and how much they both like each other before they’ve even officially met… It just made my heart melt! He’s so adorable.
Zuzana // Character Obsessions: Creating her treasure map, working on wishes, luring Mik.
Oh, Zuze. She’s just too adorable and I love her character. I really wish she could be my best friend. I love that she puts herself as the treasure in her treasure map haha. She’s bold and confident but the thought of Mik turns her into total mush and her obsessing over little hearts and kissing… Sigh. These two are just so cute together!
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Kept Me Hooked On: This romance. THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITES. Yes, I had to capslock it.
Left Me Wanting More: All Zuze & Mik. More more more! I love Karou, I do. But Zuzana and Mik totally steal the show in this series. Yeah. I said it. It’s also a nice, light feel when this series is just so heavy! In a good way, but still.

Addiction Rating
Read it!!!!

Not a novella person? Don’t want to pay the money to buy it? Come on guys, just do it. This is such an amazing and adorable story.

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BOOKS LIKE NIGHT OF CAKE & PUPPETS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

The Night Circus   Graceling