Comparing Before and After: The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

conspiracy of us

This book was my WoW pick(hosted by Breaking the Spine) back on September 17th 2014 and back then, my thoughts were:

” It’s a YA Da Vinci’s Code! Sounds like a lot of action and fun puzzles to try to solve along with the characters.”

After reading it and reviewing it, I still stand by the Da Vinci code comparison. There was definitely a lot of action, there were great characters and lots of twists in the plot. There were puzzles like I thought there would be but they were mostly for the characters to solve and the reader to watch them solve instead of the reader getting to solve the puzzles along with the characters. Still a fun read though.

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Book Review: Solitaire by Alice Oseman

solitaire

Solitaire

Release date: April 20th 2015

3 stars

Tori Spring has a blog no one knows about and spends most of her free time blogging, watching movies, or sleeping. This school year brings changes to her life. It brings Michael Holden – and it brings Solitaire. Tori tries to convince herself she doesn’t care about Michael or Solitaire but she’s lying to herself and eventually the truth will come out.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect going into this book. There wasn’t a whole lot to go on just from the cover and the synopsis. I did end up mostly enjoying it. It was a pretty easy read that still managed to touch upon some deep issues, though I wish it had gone deeper into them. And I also really enjoyed all the pop culture references thrown in.

Tori’s voice was what really drew me into the book. She claimed to be a boring person, completely uninteresting, but what she saw as boring, staying home every night, blogging, watching movies, no real interest in hanging out every single night or going out every night, I saw as things I could relate to. The not liking to read part was something I definitely couldn’t relate to but I could understand her point of view on it when she explained it. For the most part, Tori hid her depression and her struggles well but there were times it seemed like other characters were noticing. I thought her character was a pretty honest and realistic portrayal of a struggling teenager. I also really liked Tori’s relationship with her younger brothers, how she obviously loved them and took care of them when they needed her. The developing friendship with Michael was really nice as it pushed her a little outside her comfort zone and she seemed a little more open when she was with him.

The other names on the cover, other teen characters, were all interesting on their own. Michael just seemed to love life most of the time but there were times we’d get a little glimpse of his own struggles with anger or school. Becky and Lucas didn’t get as much time to make an impression but still managed to become more than simply Tori’s best friend(Becky) and Tori’s childhood friend(Lucas). Charlie, one of Tori’s brothers, was the character I really felt the most for. I wish his struggles had been touched on more than they were but what we did get was heartbreaking while showing him to be a strong and compassionate person. His relationship with Nick, the little we saw, was a huge highlight of the book.

At first the Solitaire mystery was fun. It was annoying pranks at the school, harmless, maybe a little farfetched to be executed in real life but still funny. As the so-called pranks became more serious, it started to lose me. It seemed more and more unlikely that the pranks could be pulled off, that there were no clues left behind, that the school wouldn’t have called the police. By the time the big reveal happened, I’d already figured out who was behind Solitaire.

As mentioned, I did enjoy the pop culture references, and there were quite a few of them. The book was set in the U.K. so the English spoken and written was, of course, the British version over the American but even though there were a few unfamiliar terms, it was still understandable to me.

In the end, even though the mystery lost me, I enjoyed the book for the characters and their relationships.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Waiting on Wednesday

New WoW

This is a feature started on Breaking the Spine that puts the spotlight on upcoming books.

This week’s pick is:

nowhere but here

Nowhere But Here

Release date: May 26th 2015

Goodreads: Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she’s curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.
Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They’re the good guys. They protect people. They’re…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club’s most respected member—is in town, he’s gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it’s his shot at his dream. What he doesn’t count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.
No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

Why I’m excited: Forbidden love, motorcycle gangs, complicated families, non-blood family, and it’s written by Katie McGarry. How could I not be excited?

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Weekly Reading Recap

14836299-stack-of-books-books-stacked

Another week is done, another week full of reading thanks to two full days of being stuck inside due to snow. Is it summer yet? Yes, this is the same beginning as last week. Why? Because we had another storm. If that wasn’t the last one, I’m moving to a place where snow doesn’t exist.

Currently reading: queen of the tearling

Finished reading: me and mompromInvincible_tagline_final.inddtimestorm bigvortexiron trialjkt_9780545810623.pdf

What I’m hoping to get to next week: racing savannahwrong side of right to read

jkt_9780545810623.pdfInvincible_tagline_final.indd to review.

What this means for my challenges:

  • Added 7 books overall: currently standing at 83 books read
  • Added 1 debut author: currently standing at 20 books read
  • Added 5 paranormal/fantasy: currently standing at 41 books read
  • Added 1 contemporary: currently standing at 29 books read

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Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday there’s a different topic. This week is top ten books from my childhood/teen years I would revisit.

10. bsc Baby-Sitter’s Club Series – Ann M Martin. This was one of the first series I started to collect with my own money and eventually I had the whole series plus the super-editions and the mysteries spin-off. It also made for some great bonding since my little sister was into the Baby-Sitter’s Little Sister series and I would usually buy one for me and one for her.

9. book of magic Circle of Magic Series – Tamora Pierce. My first taste of a fantasy world. I never really looked back after this series.

8. book of names Diadem Series – John Peel. First experience with worlds other than earth. I really liked the puzzles in this series that the reader could solve along with the characters.

7. magician's nephew The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis. The whole set was a Christmas present from my Godparents and after reading it, I insisted most of my family borrow them to experience the awesomeness.

6. animorphs Animorphs – K.A. Applegate. Me and my friends were so obsessed with this series.

5. sky is falling The Guests of War trilogy – Kit Pearson. The author visited my school and that’s how I heard of her books so they hold a special place in my heart.

4. tower treasure Hardy Boys Series – Franklin W Dixon. I collected this series more than any other as a child. Every sick day was a re-read of this series.

3. boxcar children The Boxcar Children – Gertrude Chandler Warner. I have three siblings so there were four of us, just like the book, but they never wanted to play boxcar children with me:(

2. harry potter Harry Potter Series – J.K. Rowling. Because who doesn’t want to re-visit Hogwart’s at every opportunity.

1. Anne Anne of Green Gables – Lucy Maud Montgomery. I actually grew up where this series is set so it hold such a huge, special place in my heart.

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Booking Sunday Favourites: Set during winter

There’s a lot of books set during each season of the year. With so many snowstorms this year, I can’t help but focus on winter.

bittersweet big

Bittersweet – Sarah Ockler

This book was so cute, I loved the characters, it had just the right amount of drama vs romance. And it involved figure skating and hockey, two things I love about winter(maybe the only things). It had that light, summer-read feel to it but it definitely wasn’t summer. I do love summer reads but sometimes it’s great to curl up in a blanket with some hot chocolate and a book that’s set in the same season as you’re experiencing. This was that type of book.

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Book Review: Finding Paris by Joy Preble

finding paris

Finding Paris

Release date: April 21st 2015

3 stars

Leo Hollings and her sister Paris are used to having only each other to rely on. Their mother follows her whims, from city to city and from guy to guy until she met Tommy, their new gambling addicted stepfather. Paris is a dreamer and Leo is a realist. Leo has plans – she’s going to Stanford. Tonight though, she’s driving around Las Vegas with her sister in search of pie to mend Paris’s broken-heart. All is going well until Paris ditches Leo at the Heartbreak Hotel dinner while Leo’s talking to cute Max Sullivan. What was supposed to be a fast trip for pie turns into a road trip where Leo, with Max’s help, tries to find Paris using the clues her sister left and wondering if this is all some game or if her sister’s really in trouble.

This was a short book, under 300 pages, so it ended up being a pretty fast read. I really liked the whole concept of the book, that and the cover was what originally caught my attention but I stayed with the book for the sisterly bond between Paris and Leo. They had a very ‘us against the world’ type of attitude and with their circumstances, I completely understood it.

I really liked Leo as a character. She was determined to get out of her current situation, she had a plan, and she was doing everything in her power to succeed at that plan. She obviously cared about her sister and she was very book smart, but definitely lacked some common sense. She even remarked a few times how crazy it was that she was running around town with a complete stranger just because he offered to help. Paris was one of those characters where it was hard to fully understand her until the end. She was definitely more of a free-spirit than Leo and until her motivations are fully realized, she could seem selfish and unpredictable and maybe a little wild.

I did find that Leo and Max fell for each other a little too quickly. The book took place all within a few days so I could have understood them sharing secrets between them or beginning to fall for each other, it all happened a little fast. They were cute together though and I would have bought into a slower developed romance.

For the most part, I liked the road trip hunt for Paris. I did find it a little weird that the notes where always there even if it took a while for Leo to find them. Less public places made sense for the notes to still be there but the busy spots, I found it strange no one else had noticed the note and taken it. It was something that I could overlook for convenience’s sake of the plot.

Paris’s reasoning and the big reveal made a lot of sense once everything was exposed. It was something I was expecting and I thought the author did a good job at hinting at the conclusion so it didn’t feel like the twist came out of nowhere, like it was a plot device to shock the reader.

A fast read with an interesting sibling dynamic and some twists while road tripping.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Comparing Before and After: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

isla

This was my WoW pick(hosted by Breaking the Spine) way back on October 9th 2013. Such a long time ago. Back then, I’d said:

“Anticipation level: 10/10. Books like this are the reason time machines should already exist.”

And I still completely agree with it! I reviewed it and I couldn’t say enough great things. It was perfect, the whole series was perfect. This is a series I could read again and again and it’s one I recommend to anyone.

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Book Review: Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan

unmade

Unmade

4 stars

After the events of Untold, Kami and her friends and trying to regroup. Rob has taken over Sorry-in-the-Vale and he’s demanding a sacrifice. It’ll take every trick Kami and her group can think of to defeat him, and there’s no guarantees they can win.

This was the final book in the Lynburn Legacy series and it took all my expectations and my hopes and it exceeded them. Unmade was the darkest of the three books and had so much action but still found time to include the humour and the family bonding that I fell in love with from the first two books.

There wasn’t as much growth for Kami in this last book but there was a lot for other characters. Especially the non-evil Lynburns. Their new family dynamic was really interesting to see and I really liked how it played out. None of them were used to really showing they care or being cared for so it was both nice and fun to see their reactions as they found themselves opening up to each other. The interactions between Kami’s dad Jon and Ash’s mom Lillian were hilarious and I really could read a book just based on them talking to each other. All the characters on Kami’s side each got their own moments to shine in the last book, even minor characters like Kami’s two adorable brothers Ten and Tomo.

The book definitely had a ‘this is the end’ feel to it. The tension never really let up and we were reminded of the stakes all the time. Someone was going to die. Sarah Rees Brennan did an amazing job balancing the darker moments in the book, and the whole series, with the great humour I’ve come to expect from her writing. So many great quotes. I thought the writing was very consistent through the whole series.

This book(the whole series, I admit it) made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me bite my nails(they used to be so pretty). Definitely one I will not be forgetting.

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Waiting on Wednesday

New WoW

This is a feature started on Breaking the Spine that puts the spotlight on upcoming books.

This week’s pick is:

lies about the truth

Lies About the Truth

Release date: November 3rd 2015

Goodreads: Sadie Kingston, is a girl living in the aftermath. A year after surviving a car accident that killed her friend Trent and left her body and face scarred, she can’t move forward. The only person who seems to understand her is Trent’s brother, Max.
As Sadie begins to fall for Max, she’s unsure if she is truly healed enough to be with him — even if Max is able to look at her scars and not shy away. But when the truth about the accident and subsequent events comes to light, Sadie has to decide if she can embrace the future or if she’ll always be trapped in the past.

Why I’m excited: I absolutely loved the characters Courtney C Stevens created in Faking Normal and the way she handled the sensitive subject matter in that book so I have confidence I’ll fall in love with these characters just as much and that it’ll be handled with the same care. Sadie’s journey as she heals sounds like it can be very touching and inspiring.

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