Mini[ish] Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: August 13th, 2013
Series: Throne of Glass, #2 | Throne of Glass
Pages: 418
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Genre(s): High Fantasy
Synopsis from Goodreads:

An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt but her heart never wavers

Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become the King’s Champion. But she is far from loyal to the crown. Though she hides her secret vigilantly, her deadly charade becomes difficult when she realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. No one is above questioning her allegiance—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then, one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie … and whom she is willing to fight for.

my rambles

I’ve put off writing this review, which I am quite mad at myself for because after reading Crown of Midnight I had SO MANY FEELS. I guess that was part of the reason why I didn’t write my review straight away, but still, an incoherent review is better than one with very little words. Oh well…

Crown of Midnight totally lived up to my expectations after reading Throne of Glass. I picked it up because (not going to lie here) I was in need of some Chaol in my life. Once I delved into the book and really got immersed in the story and world again, I was in it for much more than the swoony guy.

Where Throne of Glass was mainly action and Celaena being a complete badass, Crown of Midnight was all that PLUS more magic and fantasy aspects that just make it that much better. There were so many twists and turns in the plot, and as I mentioned before, parts that made me FEEL ALL THE FEELS. Well, pretty much every bit of Crown of Midnight made me feel it all, but you get what I’m saying.

There’s lots of depth to the story, great relationships, friendships, and amazing fantasy aspects. The ending was a killer. (Again with the feels…) I wanted to run out and get Heir of Fire the minute I finished this one.

Basically, if you enjoyed Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight is a must read. While there is something I can’t quite pinpoint that made me knock off a half a star, I believe Crown of Midnight deserves a very high 4.5 rating. It’s a sequel that will not disappoint those who adored Throne of Glass!

xo

Review: What We Knew by Barbara Stewart

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: July 14th, 2015
Series: N/A
Pages: 256
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Genre(s): Contemporary, Thriller
Synopsis from Goodreads:

When a local myth starts to seem like a dangerous reality, two girls are set on a path that could change their lives forever

“When I was little, I imagined a monster: Scaly hands. Pits for eyes…”

When Tracy and her best friend, Lisa, were kids, stories about a man—a creep who exposes himself to little girls—kept them out of the woods and in their own backyards. But Tracy and Lisa aren’t so little anymore, and the man in the woods is nothing but a stupid legend. Right?

But someone is in the woods. Someone is watching. And he knows all their secrets, secrets they can’t tell anyone—not even each other.

“Monsters don’t exist.”

Lisa’s just being paranoid. At least that’s what Tracy thinks. But when a disturbing “gift” confirms her worst fears, it sets the girls on a dangerous journey that takes them beyond the edge of the woods. But reality is more terrifying than the most chilling myth, and what they find will test the bonds of friendship, loyalty, and love.

“Once upon a time, two girls were lost in the woods.”

In Barbara’s Stewart’s What We Knew, Tracy and Lisa can’t destroy the evil they’ll face, but can they stop it from destroying each other?

my rambles

Special thanks to St. Martin’s Griffin for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review!

What We Knew was a thrilling page-turner that I devoured in practically one sitting. The synopsis hinted that this was going to be a dark book, and it was. There were lots of moments where I was chilled to the bone by the horrors that this book brought to light — the horrors of reality.

While What We Knew should definitely be classified as a thriller for the mysteriousness in the way that it was written, the content was that of a darker contemporary, and I thought that the story reflected that. The main characters are troubled and there is more going on than just the thrilling and scary aspects of the story, which I really liked.

My favorite aspect of the book had to be the emails that were interspersed throughout the chapters, written from the main character, Tracey to her brother, Scott. Those emails gave lots of insight to what happened to Tracey, her best friend Lisa, and Lisa’s sister Katie at the end of the novel. They created tons of suspense and curiosity to find out what the events described amounted to.

One part of the book was a bit confusing to me and seemed sort of unnecessary (I can’t say without spoiling), which is why I felt like I could only give this a 4.5 star rating.

There is a bit of romance (and I guess you could consider it a love triangle…), but it felt right for the story. It wasn’t overpowering and it made the whole story of a group of high school kids seem more realistic.

I mentioned before the darkness that this book has within its pages. Without spoiling too much, I wanted to warn that sexual abuse is a topic, and it’s handled well, but it’s definitely prevalent and a major part of the storyline.

Overall, What We Knew was chilling, realistic, and a suspenseful page-turner! If you’re into books with dark themes and thrilling stories, this is the book for you!

xo

Mini Review (Because I Can’t Find the Words to Describe My Feels): The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

Publisher: HarperTEEN
Release Date: May 5th, 2015
Series: N/A
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Synopsis from Goodreads:

When Gia Montgomery’s boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she’d been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend— two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it’s not the real Bradley she’s thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn’t even know. But tracking him down doesn’t mean they’re done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend’s graduation party — three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.

my rambles

There has not been a book by Kasie West that I haven’t felt the need to gush over, and The Fill-In Boyfriend was no exception. If you’re in need of an adorable, unlikely romance that will put a smile on your face, then you’re in for a real treat!

I couldn’t have read the book at a better time, as I had just gone to my prom (dateless, of course). I absolutely loved the way that Gia and fill-in Bradley (I won’t spoil his name because if you read the book, you’ll know it’s important) first met, and their interactions throughout the book.

Basically, the two of them are so freaking cute that I physically didn’t put the book down for want to keep reading the high levels of fluff and adorableness that were oozing from The Fill-In Boyfriend‘s pages.

As you can tell from the title of this review, I don’t really have words to write because all I can really think of when I turn my brain to this book is: CUTE SWEET SWOON ADORABLE I WANT THAT BOY I WANT THIS RELATIONSHIP THIS BOOK IS PERF KASIE WEST I LOVE YOU. [Cee has written a wonderful post on the syndrome I’m having more and more often which is the “I love you too much to review you syndrome.”]

So, that’s pretty much all I have to say to you about this book other than READ IT. *throws book at your face*

xo

Review: Girl Underwater by Claire Kells

Publisher: Dutton
Release Date: March 31st, 2015
Series: N/A
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover
Source: Wunderkind PR
Genre(s): Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Synopsis from Goodreads:

An adventurous debut novel that cross cuts between a competitive college swimmer’s harrowing days in the Rocky Mountains after a major airline disaster and her recovery supported by the two men who love her—only one of whom knows what really happened in the wilderness.

Nineteen-year-old Avery Delacorte loves the water. Growing up in Brookline, Massachusetts, she took swim lessons at her community pool and captained the local team; in high school, she raced across bays and sprawling North American lakes. Now a sophomore on her university’s nationally ranked team, she struggles under the weight of new expectations but life is otherwise pretty good. Perfect, really.

That all changes when Avery’s red-eye home for Thanksgiving makes a ditch landing in a mountain lake in the Colorado Rockies. She is one of only five survivors, which includes three little boys and Colin Shea, who happens to be her teammate. Colin is also the only person in Avery’s college life who challenged her to swim her own events, to be her own person—something she refused to do. Instead she’s avoided him since the first day of freshman year. But now, faced with sub-zero temperatures, minimal supplies, and the dangers of a forbidding nowhere, Avery and Colin must rely on each other in ways they never could’ve imagined.

In the wilderness, the concept of survival is clear-cut. Simple. In the real world, it’s anything but.

my rambles

Special thanks to Wunderkind PR for providing me with a copy of the book for review!

When I got the email asking me if I would like to read and review Girl Underwater I was really excited. It seemed just like the kind of book that I would love. The synopsis was awesome, and I was completely sold. I went on Goodreads to check it out and saw that it had a high rating, but scattered among them were some really negative reviews. While I completely disagree with giving this book a low rating (as I really enjoyed it), those reviews helped me know what to expect from Girl Underwater. The synopsis may give you the impression that this is more of a survival story. While that aspect is a part of the story, the bulk of it is about the relationship between the main character, Avery, and Colin.

Having known ahead of time that the story was largely going to be a romance with a side of survival and action allowed me to enjoy the book for all that it was. I went in expecting an emotional PTSD romance, and that’s what I got!

The chapters in Girl Underwater alternate between the past and the present, which created a story that was fast paced and entertaining. It also created a sense of mystery surrounding what Avery kept from the reader that happened between her and Colin after the plane crash.

The book was a very emotional read, more so that I was expecting. Avery battles severe PTSD after the accident along with struggling to come to terms with her emotions regarding the little boys she helped keep alive, and of course Colin.

At first I found Avery and Colin’s relationship to be a little confusing. I wasn’t exactly sure why they acted the way they did with each other due to the alternating chapters of past and present, but it’s clarified as you read further into the book. I was really rooting for the two of them to make it through their hardships together!

The ending was left open, but the epilogue clears things up and left me very happy and satisfied. I liked how we could use our imagination to fill in the blanks from where the book left off and where the epilogue wraps up.

While Girl Underwater is classified as New Adult, I found it to read much like Young Adult, and could definitely cross over. I strongly enjoyed this book. It was fast paced, emotional, while still action-packed and sometimes sexy! Girl Underwater is everything I look for in a great read!

xo

Review: Life Unaware by Cole Gibsen

Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Release Date: April 28th, 2015
Series: N/A
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Genre(s): Contemporary
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Regan Flay has been talking about you. Regan Flay is on the cusp of achieving her control-freak mother’s “plan” for high school success―cheerleading, student council, the Honor Society—until her life gets turned horribly, horribly upside down. Every bitchy text. Every bitchy email. Every lie, manipulation, and insult she’s ever said have been printed out and taped to all the lockers in school. Now Regan has gone from popular princess to total pariah. The only person who even speaks to her is her former best friend’s hot but socially miscreant brother, Nolan Letner. Nolan thinks he knows what Regan’s going through, but what nobody knows is that Regan isn’t really Little Miss Perfect. In fact, she’s barely holding it together under her mom’s pressure. But the consequences of Regan’s fall from grace are only just beginning. Once the chain reaction starts, no one will remain untouched… Especially Regan Flay.

my rambles

Special thanks to Entangled: Teen for providing me with an advance copy of this book for review!

Life Unaware is the type of book that I would normally steer away from. As I’ve mentioned many times before on the blog, I’m not one for “tough subjects.” But something about this book called to me to request it when I got the email from Entangled: Teen in the my inbox. For being a book that I considered to be out of my comfort zone, Life Unaware was a surprisingly fast (I was going to say easy, but considering the topic of the book, it wasn’t really a fitting descriptor) read.

Not only does the story deal with bullying, but it also talks about anxiety (very coincidental and relatable to me at the moment, as I’m going through school-work related anxiety), sexuality, family issues, friendships, relationships, basically everything a high schooler deals with. The book is so relatable because everyone has probably gone through issues in one of the areas that are touched on.

The story is one that will hit home with someone, as well as having a main character, Regan, that is so complex. She’s the bully and the bullied. I think Gibsen does an amazing job at portraying all of the different sides of people, and what’s happening in their lives.

There is also a romance that I found to be really sweet, as well as working to lighten the mood of the book. While I don’t consider Life Unaware to be a really really dark book, I think it definitely depends on the person that’s reading it and their experiences in life. If you can really relate to one of the characters closely, this may be a difficult read for you to handle. But the strongest feeling that I have about this book is that it needs to be read by everyone no matter what. Bullying and all of the other topics touched upon have become horrible and some people are oblivious to the consequences that haunt everyone if someone goes through a rough experience.

One of my favorite things about the book though, was the ending. Gibsen comes up with an amazing idea (I won’t spoil) that really could become an amazing project if it was implemented in the high schools of today. I loved how she left us with a good feeling, and a want to do something.

All in all, Life Unaware was heartbreaking, touching, eye-opening and beautiful. I’ll repeat what I said before: Life Unaware is a book that needs to be read by everyone.

xo