We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach
Published March 24th 2015
Before the asteroid we let ourselves be defined by labels:
The athlete, the outcast, the slacker, the overachiever.
But then we all looked up and everything changed.
They said it would be here in two months. That gave us two months to leave our labels behind. Two months to become something bigger than what we’d been, something that would last even after the end.
Two months to really live.
I really loved how well written and honest this book was. I didn’t really fall in love with the characters but I appreciated them and I loved how believable they were.
I’m still blown away by how well written this book is. And for being a debut novel, I’m even more blown away.
A lot of this book reminded me of The Breakfast Club and I thought it was really interesting to see the similarities between the movie and this book.
Even though a lot of this book was slow for me, I still couldn’t stop reading it and ended up finishing it in just a couple of sittings.
Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen
Published July 8th 2014
“Every child knows how the story ends. The wicked pirate captain is flung overboard, caught in the jaws of the monster crocodile who drags him down to a watery grave. But it was not yet my time to die. It’s my fate to be trapped here forever, in a nightmare of childhood fancy, with that infernal, eternal boy.”
Meet Captain James Benjamin Hook, a witty, educated Restoration-era privateer cursed to play villain to a pack of malicious little boys in a pointless war that never ends. But everything changes when Stella Parrish, a forbidden grown woman, dreams her way to the Neverland in defiance of Pan’s rules. From the glamour of the Fairy Revels, to the secret ceremonies of the First Tribes, to the mysterious underwater temple beneath the Mermaid Lagoon, the magical forces of the Neverland open up for Stella as they never have for Hook. And in the pirate captain himself, she begins to see someone far more complex than the storybook villain.
With Stella’s knowledge of folk and fairy tales, she might be Hook’s last chance for redemption and release if they can break his curse before Pan and his warrior boys hunt her down and drag Hook back to their neverending game. Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen is a beautifully and romantically written adult fairy tale.
This was such an exciting, interesting book! I wasn’t really sure what to expect with this book and I really liked it. Instead of being a full blown retelling, Hook exists alongside the original story of Peter Pan. Hook is more of the “real” story where Peter isn’t a protagonist nor is he a hero. I really liked how this story didn’t have a black and white view of good and bad. Neither Peter not Hook was the good guy. Both of them are villains, one more so than the other, but still villains.
I loved the writing style of this book. It was so beautiful and unique.
I really liked the character development from both Hook and Stella. I really liked their relationship as well.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The writing and characters were great and I really liked seeing a very different take on Neverland.
Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen
Published February 3rd 2015
Sarah has always been on the move. Her mother hates the cold, so every few months her parents pack their bags and drag her off after the sun. She’s grown up lonely and longing for magic. She doesn’t know that it’s magic her parents are running from.
When Sarah’s mother walks out on their family, all the strange old magic they have tried to hide from comes rising into their mundane world. Her father begins to change into something wild and beastly, but before his transformation is complete, he takes Sarah to her grandparents—people she has never met, didn’t even know were still alive.
Deep in the forest, in a crumbling ruin of a castle, Sarah begins to untangle the layers of curses affecting her family bloodlines, until she discovers that the curse has carried over to her, too. The day she falls in love for the first time, Sarah will transform into a beast . . . unless she can figure out a way to break the curse forever.
This was such a surprising book! I was so blown away by the writing style and the plot.
Once I started this book, I couldn’t put it down and I ended up finishing it in a little over 2 hours.
This book was so full of magic and I loved how deep rooted in classic fantasy the plot was. Beastkeeper reminded me the books that my mom would read to my sister and I when we were kids. She always read fantasy to us and Beastkeeper is something that would have mesmerized me as a child.
Overall, I absolutely loved Beastkeeper. Not only is it a great book for young readers, it’s great for adult readers as well.
The Night Parade by Kathryn Tanquary
Expected publication: January 5th 2016
The last thing Saki Yamamoto wants to do for her summer vacation is trade in exciting Tokyo for the antiquated rituals and bad cell reception of her grandmother’s village. Preparing for the Obon ceremony is boring. Then the local kids take an interest in Saki and she sees an opportunity for some fun, even if it means disrespecting her family’s ancestral shrine on a malicious dare.
But as Saki rings the sacred bell, the darkness shifts. A death curse has been invoked… and Saki has three nights to undo it. With the help of three spirit guides and some unexpected friends, Saki must prove her worth – or say good-bye to the world of the living forever.
I enjoyed this book so much! I loved the plot and the writing was awesome. I loved how much Japanese culture was in this book as well. I learned so much and I think that’s really great, especially in a Middle Grade book.
I love all the creatures and the mythology.
I liked the characters and I really loved following Saki on her adventure.
I do like the concept of this book more than the actual execution. Saki was border line unlikable at times and while I understand why she was written so bratty, I wish that she wasn’t. It was annoying to read about because I knew she was inevitably going to go on her adventure and come back a better person. I would have liked this book so much more if she had just been a nice person to begin with.
Overall, even though I had couple of issues with this book, I really enjoyed it. I really loved the creatures and the concept as well as the Japanese culture. I’m definitely going to pick up a hardcover copy when it’s released.
November 9 by Colleen Hoover
Published November 10th 2015
Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.
Colleen Hoover is such an amazing writer. I don’t know how she does it but she creates these amazing stories that just blow my mind and give me all the feels. November 9 is only the second book of hers (I’ve also read Ugly Love) that I’ve read but she’s definitely one of my favorite writers.
I’m not a fan of insta-love but I actually didn’t hate that aspect of this book. It was written in a way that seemed real and believable. And it wasn’t exactly insta-love either, at least I didn’t think so. It was quick love. And I actually really liked it.
I loved the characters and how quick the book jumped from year to year. I feel like as the reader, I got to know Ben and Fallon at the same pace that they got to know each other.
While I did find this book to be really sad at times, it wasn’t the crying until you can’t breathe that Ugly Love was. I laughed more while reading November 9 than I cried. I was expecting to be a teary eyed mess all while I was reading but I wasn’t and that was kind of nice.
Overall, I loved every second of November 9. It was amazingly written and the characters were beautiful. I’ll definitely be rereading this book in the future.
Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee
Published: August 5, 2014
In the Labyrinth, we had a saying: keep silent, keep still, keep safe.
In a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own secret—she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she was found by Reev on the riverbank, and her “brother” has taken care of her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from—or where shecame from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together, and maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and intrigues her.
Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power.
I found this book entertaining for the first half and then everything kind of fell flat. I disliked Kai and Reev and their relationship as siblings. I feel like Kai was a bit TOO naive. I hated how she was so clueless in a way but I thought her whole controlling the time power was pretty awesome.
I just really had the qualm against the plot laying flat towards the end. The overall concept was awesome, but I just feel like it wasn’t executed correctly. There were some things like the gargoyles that I don’t think tied in properly. And I think it would’ve been awesome if there was less Avan/Kai romance and more action.