Book Review: The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman

cost of things

The Cost of All Things

Release date: May 12th 2015

3.5 stars

Told in alternating POVs and a timeline that jumps around, The Cost of All Things is the story of teenagers who have to deal with the consequences of spells place upon them and the truth behind the death of one of their friends.

At first, this book was a little confusing with the time jumping around a bit but once I got used to it, I found myself enjoying the book. The hemakist mythology was interesting and I liked that there were consequences behind the spells, with the more powerful the spell, the worse the consequences.

There was no real main character, though Ari seemed to get the most focus so if one had to be chosen, it would be her as the main character. I liked how the beginning set up certain perceptions of the characters, Ari was uncaring about getting a spell, Markos was a stereotypical player, but the perceptions were wrong the more you read. Each characters was important to the overall plot. Ari desperately trying to keep secret that she got a spell to forget her dead boyfriend, Markos always in the shadow of his brothers, invisible Diana starting to be seen, insecure Kay needing to be sure her friends will never leave her, Win trying to be the perfect boyfriend, lonely Echo wanting to save her mother. Without even one of them, the whole plot would have changed. The spells they chose were the easy way to do things and questions of morality arise more than once, but it was also understandable as to why each character chose to do what they did.

The timeline bounced back and forth a lot, between the present after the death and the past leading up to the death. There were times when it took a few sentences to figure out which part of the story was being told, unless it was the dead person’s POV. The hemakist and the story behind them was my favourite part. I don’t want to go into too many details in case of spoiling but it was a really interesting mythology.

For the most part, I really enjoyed the book. I did take some issues with the ending. It felt a bit rushed and also a little predictable. Overall I liked the way things wrapped up but a little more surprise or shock would have been appreciated. Still, a book that said a lot about the easy way out, the consequences, and how decisions affect more than just the person making them.

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

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Book Haul

April has been such a huge month for book releases. I have no idea how I’m going to catch up. May seems like it’ll be just as many books. Deep breaths, one book at a time, this is possible.

Bought:

queen of brightchallenger deeprogue

The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things – Ann Aguire. This seems like a really cute read and like it’ll be good for a lazy Spring day.

Challenger Deep – Neal Shusterman. I loved the ARC so much I needed a physical copy to fully appreciate the art inside.

Rogue – Julie Kagawa. I really need to read Talon but I now own the sequel so hopefully I like this series.

ARCs:

what we sawdreamlandash and bramble

What We Saw – Aaron Hartzler. I’ve been waiting for this one.

Dreamland – Robert L Anderson. I love the cover of this one and the concept seems really cool.

Ash & Bramble – Sarah Prineas. Another pretty cover and a fairy tale re-telling. I haven’t read many of them this year so I’m excited for something a little different.

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Book Review: Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay

everything that makes you

Everything That Makes You

3.5 stars

Fiona Doyle wears the scars of an accident from when she was young on her face. She writes songs, notebooks full, but doesn’t have the courage to sing them. She has a huge crush on Trent McKinnon but gets flustered every time he’s around. She’s slowly coming out of her shell and maybe soon she’ll be seen as more than just the girl with scars. What if that accident never happened? Fi Doyle is the best lacrosse player in the state, a sure bet for a scholarship. Her best friend Trent has been acting weird ever since that kiss but Fi doesn’t have time to deal with that. An accident on the field leaves her lacrosse career in jeopardy and Fi’s left to wonder who she is without her sport.

This book ended up being pretty different from what I’ve read before as it was two separate stories. It was told in alternating POVs from Fiona and Fi but you could have easily read just one girl’s POV and still had a full story. It made for some thought-provoking observations on just how much one incident can shape not only you, but the people around you.

I was expecting to like one of the versions of Fiona better than the other but I actually really liked them both. They were very different but there was enough of a similarity to know they were the same person, just with a different past. At first, I did find myself identifying more with Fiona and her shyness and insecurities than with Fi’s brashness and confidence but the more I read, the more Fi’s vulnerable side started to show. It was interesting to see how each version of the same character handled the problems that arose in her life and how those problems shaped the kind of person she was.

It was also interesting how the relationships between the characters changed with each version. There were people Fiona had as friends that Fi barely talked to, the dynamic between Fiona and her brother Ryan and Fi and Ryan was completely different, as was the dynamic between both versions of Fiona/Fi and her parents.

The plot covered quite a long period in a short amount of time. 3 years in a little over 300 pages. It did make the growth arc for both girls seem a little too fast and ended up being a little light on development for a lot of the other characters. It did, though, make for a fast read and one that was interesting and kept raising questions the whole book. It was a book about ‘what ifs’ but also about the type of person you would be under different circumstances and whether or not some people are meant to impact your life no matter what.

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Comparing Before and After: None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio

none of the above

I chose this one for my WoW pick(hosted by Breaking the Spine) back on November 12th 2014. Before reading it, my thoughts were:

“It’s different from anything I’ve read and it’s about a topic that doesn’t get much attention. It claims it be sensitively told, which is good, and thought-provoking, which I love.”

Now that I’ve read it and reviewed it, I am so happy that the claims of being sensitively told and thought-provoking were right. It brought a lot of attention and information to a subject that isn’t well known and it did so with a very likeable character. This is the type of book someone can read just to enjoy the story, read to learn, or read to write a school essay. Or all three.

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Book Review: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

start of me and you

The Start of Me and You

4.5 stars

It’s been a year since Paige’s boyfriend died from a drowning accident. She shut out the world since then but now, she’s ready to start moving on. She has a plan to help her. First: date Ryan Chase, her first crush. Second: join some school clubs. She’s thrilled when Ryan starts talking to her and wants to hang out with her and her friends. What she didn’t count on was Max, Ryan’s sweet but nerdy cousin tagging along. Max, captain of the Quiz Bowl Paige has agreed to join. Max, who makes her smile and who is impossible to ignore.

This book was cute, just so cute. I had a smile on my face most of the time while I was reading it. I really enjoyed Emery Lord’s first book, Open Road Summer, but this one topped that one. It had a lot of the elements I loved from the first book but added more to love.

I really felt for Paige through the book. The book was her journey of healing from both her boyfriend’s death and the fear and PTSD that she suffered from afterward. It was also about her re-discovering herself after being ‘the girl whose boyfriend died’ for so long. She was a genuinely nice person and so loyal to her friends. I loved the relationships she had with her friends, the ones that developed with Ryan and Max, and the ones she had with her family. All of them were so well written and believable.

Paige’s group of friends was small but close. Each of them had a very distinct personality so they all stood out. The friendship between them was one of my favourite things about this book. There were fights and disagreements and uncomfortable moments just like in any friendship but they knew they had each other’s backs no matter what. Adding in Ryan and Max to that small group made for an interesting dynamic and I really liked that it was more focused on friendship and supporting each other than on romance.

Not to say I didn’t enjoy the slow burn romance. It was very cute and sweet. Each moment made me fall more for Max. He was so perfect for Paige even if it took her a while to figure it out. And he loved Firefly! Heart stolen.

The plot was a lot more complicated than just being about Paige trying to succeed with her plan. It was about facing her fears, about falling for the person instead of a pretty face, about realizing and going for your dreams. It was about strong friendships and new romances. It was about healing and about growing up. It was impossible to put down.

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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:

what we saw

What We Saw

Release date: September 22nd 2015

Goodreads: Kate Weston can piece together most of the bash at John Doone’s house: shots with Stacey Stallard, Ben Cody taking her keys and getting her home early—the feeling that maybe he’s becoming more than just the guy she’s known since they were kids.
But when a picture of Stacey passed out over Deacon Mills’s shoulder appears online the next morning, Kate suspects she doesn’t have all the details. When Stacey levels charges against four of Kate’s classmates, the whole town erupts into controversy. Facts that can’t be ignored begin to surface, and every answer Kate finds leads back to the same question: Where was Ben when a terrible crime was committed?
This story—inspired by real events—from debut novelist Aaron Hartzler takes an unflinching look at silence as a form of complicity. It’s a book about the high stakes of speaking up, and the razor thin line between guilt and innocence that so often gets blurred, one hundred and forty characters at a time.

Why I’m excited: This sounds like the type of book that stays with you long after you read it. It’s about important issues that will be hard to read about but also need to be said. I predict a hard and emotional read.

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Weekly Reading Recap

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Still reading a book a day. Catching up on some easier to read series is really helping.

Currently reading: dream a little dream

Finished reading: everything that makes youstart of me and youlost files 4cost of thingslost filescemetery boyswritten in the stars

Reviewed: written in the starsthings we know by heart

What I’m hoping to get to next week: made you upinvaded to read

cost of thingsstart of me and you everything that makes you to review

What this means for my challenges:

  • Added 7 books overall: currently standing at 111 books read
  • Added 5 contemporary: currently standing at 40 books read
  • Added 2 paranormal/fantasy: currently standing at 53 books read
  • Added 2 male authors: currently standing at 13 books read
  • Added 3 debut authors: 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 favourite authors of all time. I’ll be sticking to the YA genre since that’s mainly what I read.

10. anna big Stephanie Perkins. Her books are so addicting and are the perfect choice for when I need a little cheering up.

9. open road summer Emory Lord. Her writing is beautiful and her books have such amazing friendships.

8. Raven boys big Maggie Stiefvater. So creative and definitely books you can’t skim through.

7. obsidian Jennifer L Armentrout. There’s just something about those boys she writes….

6. storm big Brigid Kemmerer. I fell in love with each of her Merrick brothers and Hunter in turn, depending on which had the POV. Not an easy thing to get me to do.

5. something real Heather Demetrios. She creates such realistic characters with problems I’ll probably never face and makes me care about them from the first page.

4. madman's daughter Megan Shepherd. Her two series couldn’t be more different from each other but the creepy writing is consistent and so good.

3. unwind big Neal Schusterman. To go from such a creepy dystopian concept to an eye-opening contemporary about mental illness is amazing.

2. vampire academy big Richelle Mead. I wasn’t huge on spin-offs until her Bloodlines series. Because of her, I’m more open to giving others a chance.

1. harry potter JK Rowling. Because she created Harry Potter.

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Booking Sunday Favourites: Cheer-me-up book

I pretty much read every spare second I have in the day and usually, it’s something new. But every now and then I need to pick up a book that I know will make me smile, make me feel good, because I’ve had a bad day and need something comforting and familiar. There’s a few titles that have found their way on to my ‘comfort book’ list but the one I seem to gravitate toward every time is:

anna big

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I loved the other two books in the series(and Isla will forever hold a special place in my heart for the PEI mention) but Anna is where it all started. It’s light and fluffy with just a hint of drama and it never fails to bring a smile to my face when I need it.

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Book Review: Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby

things we know by heart

Things We Know by Heart

Release date: April 21st 2015

3 stars

Quinn has been unable to move on since the death of her boyfriend Trent. She hopes meeting the people who received his organs will help but whoever received his heart, the person Quinn truly wants to meet, never replies. So Quinn does her own research and tracks down nineteen-year-old Colton, recipient of a heart transplant the same day Trent died who lives only a few hours away. She plans on just watching him but instead, an small accident brings them together in ways Quinn never expected. In order to let Colton in – she’ll have to let Trent go.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect going into this book. The cover was very cute and seemed to promise a light read but the synopsis promised more of a healing journey. It turned out to be a little bit of both with a mix of family time and some uncomfortable moments due to secrets kept thrown in.

Part of the time I liked Quinn and part of the time I wanted to shake her. She did a good job at pulling me into her world, understanding her love for Trent and why she couldn’t move on, why she felt she needed to meet Colton. Her need for closure drove her to do something desperate and then she kept digging herself in deeper. I could see why she fell for Colton. He was such a sweet guy and genuinely cared about her even when she was a complete stranger. Even with all the secrets between them, they had a connection.

I really liked the family bond that was shown in this book. We didn’t see a whole lot of Colton with his family but there was still that close feeling from the blog his sister had kept during his health problems. Quinn’s family appeared a lot more. They were obviously close but mostly did their own things, but were always there if someone needed advice or needed a little push or tough love.

The romance was mostly light, even with all the secrets being kept between them. I really liked Quinn and Colton together but had a hard time letting myself get completely lost in them as a couple. It was the way Quinn had tracked him down and the secrets that kept me from becoming too invested in them together. Instead of enjoying them falling in love, I found myself wondering when everything would blow up in their faces and if their growing love would survive. It ended up being a bit predictable but still enjoyable.

The writing was so great. There were many beautiful passages about love, grief, moving on, family. It was a huge part of why I enjoyed reading this book. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had been sold on the romance but I liked the characters and the struggle to move on with life both main characters showed.

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

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