Reviews: A Hilarious Memoir, a Heartbreaking Historical Fiction, a Surprising Murder Mystery, and an Addictive Assassin Fantasy!

As promised, here I am with some reviews of some recently (and not-so-recently) read titles! I haven’t written a review in such a long time, so let’s hope I remember how! Also, instead of including all of the book info in the post, I’m going to link to Goodreads for this one, don’t hate me.

29102966MY MAD FAT DIARY: A MEMOIR (Rae Earl, #1) by Rae Earl

Add it on Goodreads!

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

Reading a whole lot like fiction, this memoir is a book that I’m so glad I took a chance on. Rae’s writing on her teen life is so relatable, fun, and utterly hilarious. Any fan of YA contemporary will immediately fall in love with Rae and her story, so don’t let the fact that it’s a memoir scare you away! I really can’t picture anyone not enjoying this book.

5 hearts

25614492SALT TO THE SEA by Ruta Sepetys

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Wow, what an incredible story. This was my first time reading Ruta Sepetys, and I was blown away. Her storytelling is beautiful and heartbreaking. She took me on a journey of survival, love, loss and hardship following a group of individuals whose stories history often neglects to tell.

I’m an avid reader of historical fiction , particularly about the second World War, and this book did not disappoint. I can’t wait to read the companion, Between Shades of Gray.

5 hearts

29995905CITY OF SAINTS AND THIEVES by Natalie C. Anderson

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Special thanks to Penguin Random House for providing me with a copy of the book for review!

I went into this looking for an intense mystery or thriller, but what I got was so much more. Tina is the definition of a badass female heroine. She’s extremely stubborn, fierce, and can’t be controlled. But among these somewhat common elements of YA are unique and interesting focuses on Africa’s poverty, refugees, and warfare that I’d never read about before.

5 hearts

30011014POISON’S KISS ( Poison’s Kiss, #1) by Breeana Shields

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Special thanks to Penguin Random House for providing me with a copy of the book for review!

I really enjoyed this book and it was a super quick read! The concept of a kiss that kills is nothing new, but the addition of the Indian folklore was an element that kept the book from being more of the same. It kept my interest but I still had some problems with the ease of resolution to some major events. The ending felt more like an epilogue than a final chapter, but I’m still very excited to see what the second installment brings!

3.5 hearts

As I mentioned above, it’s been a while since I’ve written reviews, so these were rough. But I hope that you enjoyed it, and will check out some of these lovely titles!


Review: This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp (+ GIVEAWAY!)

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: January 5th, 2016
Series: N/A
Pages: 292
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre(s): Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Synopsis from Goodreads:

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

The auditorium doors won’t open.

Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

my rambles

Special thanks to Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review!

I’ll start out this review by saying that this is NOT a book for everyone. I don’t normally tend to read lots of books that are focused around tough issues, such as school shootings. The reality of the story is sometimes too much for me to handle. But something about the summary for This Is Where It Ends made me pick it up. Maybe the idea of it being told over such a short amount of time. Maybe the fact that it follows so many people, each of whom has a connection to the shooter. I can’t quite pinpoint the why, but this was a book I was immediately intrigued by.

I knew I had to be in the right mindset to read a book about a shooting. They happen much too frequently in the United States, and around the world, for this book to be one that is read lightly. But in light of the recent events around the US, I was already almost numb, I’ll say, to the horrible events of mass shootings.

The main focus of the book is the school shooting, but there are also other tough topics conquered by This Is Where It Ends. There’s physical, mental, and sexual abuse. There’s sexuality. You may be thinking, “Why cover so many tough topics in one book, where the main story is already so hard to take?” Well all of those other topics factor into the life of the shooter, and make this book truly emotional. There’s romantic and familial relationships. Friendships. All of them are extremely important to this story.

The story is told through multiple POVs, and their parts in current as past events. While this allows us to learn more about the POV characters, and even bits and pieces about the shooter, we don’t get to learn about the internal struggle that is clearly happening inside his mind. I was warned about this before starting the book, but I agree that the inclusion of the shooter’s perspective would have made this a truly unique book, and not so typical.

What I really loved was how the book was told over the span of only 54 minutes. The flashbacks did make it seem like it was a longer span of time, but I still liked the chaotic tone the book had. I read this in almost one sitting, which I think is a good thing to do, especially considering the timing. Reading practically all of it at once made me feel immersed in the story, more so than the normal book I’d read in one sitting.

Yes, there were things that I would have liked to have been different. No, the book wasn’t perfect. But I think that it’s extremely relevant considering the world we live in, unfortunately. And I think that Marieke Nijkamp did a wonderful job of portraying so many of the current issues and relationships in today’s society.

Not for the faint-hearted, This Is Where It Ends is truly an emotional and heart-pounding read that will make you wonder how you would act in the character’s places and question the inner turmoil of those around you.


Continue reading “Review: This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp (+ GIVEAWAY!)”

Review: Wildlife by Fiona Wood

Publisher: Poppy
Release Date: September 16th, 2014
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Series: N/A
Genre(s): Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Synopsis from Goodreads:

During a semester in the wilderness, sixteen-year-old Sib expects the tough outdoor education program and the horrors of dorm life, but friendship drama and an unexpected romance with popular Ben Capaldi? That will take some navigating.

New girl Lou has zero interest in fitting in, or joining in. Still reeling from a loss that occurred almost a year ago, she just wants to be left alone. But as she witnesses a betrayal unfolding around Sib and her best friend Holly, Lou can’t help but be drawn back into the land of the living.

Fans of Melina Marchetta, Rainbow Rowell, and E. Lockhart will adore this endearing and poignant story of first love, true friendship, and going a little bit wild.

my rambles

Special thanks to Poppy and NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy for review!

I went into Wildlife very unsure of what to expect – will it be a cute and fun contemporary read, or will there be more to it? With Wildlife, I was happy to find that it was the perfect mix of both fun and serious topics.

Wildlife is a very character-driven book, with a writing style which did a wonderful job of really helping to emphasize the character’s personalities. But, that being said, I found it a little bit difficult to differentiate between the two POV characters, Sib and Lou. The writing style is very distinct and unique which made it a little harder for me to really get into the story. But, I did get used to it eventually and I think that the author’s style for telling the story really added to the book itself.

As for the actual story, Wildlife was a lot deeper and more serious than I was expecting it to be from the cover (yes I definitely judged the book by the cover). I think the author did a great job intertwining the serious and the fun. together to create a beautiful coming-of-age and friendship story.

The few problems that I did have were with the choices of certain characters and the relationships between characters. I won’t go into too much detail as not to spoil, but some of the choices and consequences of choices made by characters were quite predictable. Also, one friendship in particular really got on my nerves, and I hated one of the characters for staying friends with the other. It wasn’t a healthy friendship at all, but that was part of the story.

All in all, Wildlife was something different from the usual contemporary. The writing style was definitely unique and fresh, and the story was definitely heartwarming and relatable for those who are the same ages as the characters, or those that remember being that age once. It really deals with growing up, relationships, and choices in a wonderful way. Just like the description says, fans of Rainbow Rowell and E. Lockhart will love reading Wildlife!


Review: Stolen by Lucy Christopher

Publisher: Chicken House
Release Date: May 4, 2009
Pages: 299
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Series: N/A
Genre(s): Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Synopsis from Goodreads:

A girl: Gemma, 16, at the airport, on her way to a family vacation.

A guy: Ty, rugged, tan, too old, oddly familiar, eyes blue as ice.

She steps away. For just a second. He pays for her drink. And drugs it. They talk. Their hands touch. And before Gemma knows what’s happening, Ty takes her. Steals her away. To sand and heat. To emptiness and isolation. To nowhere. And expects her to love him.

Written as a letter from a victim to her captor, STOLEN is Gemma’s desperate story of survival; of how she has to come to terms with her living nightmare–or die trying to fight it.

Stolen was a book that I’d been eyeing for a very long time, as it has been out since 2009, it was brought to my attention on various occasions. I finally caved and bought it after it came highly recommended to my by a friend of mine before she even finished the book. I knew by the way she talked about it that it MUST be good if she was raving about it like she did before she even completed it.

My friend was 100% correct to be talking about this book like she did. Her praise for Stolen was bigger than I’d ever seen over a book she’d read before.

The story that Stolen tells is beautiful, heartfelt, emotional, and gripping. The book would have been amazing on its own, without it’s unique writing style, but Lucy Christopher created a letter from Gemma to her captor shedding light on the characters, their feelings, confusion, and time when they were together.

Stolen was a very intense read, and definitely a life-changing one. It makes you think about how you would act in Gemma’s place, how you would feel toward Ty, and what choice you would make in the end. Tears were continuously flowing from my eyes throughout the book, especially in the end. Since you get to read all of Gemma’s raw feelings toward Ty, you, the reader, ends up just as confused and filled with emotion as Gemma would have been.

All in all, Stolen was dark, gritty, but beautiful all at once. Unlike anything I’ve ever read, it’s a must read.

IMG_4426I was so eager to read more about these characters that I checked out Lucy Christopher’s site as soon as I finished and came across this…I don’t know when this was posted, but I will cling on to the possibility of getting to continue on with their story.

Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: May 13, 2014

Pages: 240

Format: Hardcover

Source: Bought

Series: N/A

Genre(s): Realistic Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

I went into We Were Liars completely blind. I had no idea what it was about other than the vaguer than vague description and the numerous advance review rating it 5 stars. After all, once you finish reading this book you’re asked to lie…

There were so many promotions for this book, so much hype, that by the time I got to reading it a few days after it’s release I was nervous I was going to be let down. I’m glad to say that for the majority of the book I wasn’t.

The whole book is written to be very mysterious, sometimes confusing. I felt a lot like I was in a daze while reading, like I’d just “come to” after being in a coma – a state of delirium. But I really loved E. Lockhart’s prose-like way of writing. Her style went along perfectly with the kind of book that We Were Liars is – a dark and dreamy one.

Unfortunately the ending was the only part of the book that I felt a little let down by. It has nothing to do with the book itself, just the huge amount of hype surrounding the book and everyone talking about the “shocking” ending. The ending was indeed shocking, but I felt like I had been expecting more due to all the advance talk. If I hadn’t bothered to pay attention to the hype I would definitely give this 5 hearts!

Overall, We Were Liars is beautifully written, perfect for summer. My one recommendation for those of you who still want to read this: put all the reviews, hype, etc out of your mind and just enjoy the book. This was the first book I’ve read by E. Lockhart and I will definitely be adding more to my TBR after this one!