Review: Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

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Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Published March 10th 2015

“Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara’s beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it’s too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.”

I’ve read all of Lauren Oliver’s YA books except Requiem and I’ve always enjoyed her books. She has such a distinct style and vibe to her books. I feel like even if her name wasn’t on the cover, once I started reading the book, I could tell for sure that it was a Lauren Oliver book.
I think all her books have mixed reviews and it’s kind of a toss up if someone will love or hate her books. I personally like her stand-alones way more then the Delirium series and even though I seen a lot of mixed her reviews for Vanishing Girls, I knew that I’d want to it no matter what. Lauren is definitely an auto buy author for me.
I definitely think Vanishing Girls was exactly what I thought it was going to be and I liked it exactly how much I thought that I would.

It’s hard to explain how I feel about Vanishing Girls because it’s very Young Adult in a way that I didn’t find to have a whole of anything.
I felt like the plot was all over the place and disorganized. So insanely messy. It bounced from Dara’s POV to Nick’s. From website posts to personal messages to diary entries. From “before” to “after”. Just a whole lot of mess. I had a hard time keeping things in order in my head and towards the last half of the book, I felt really frustrated because I couldn’t remember what was going on and I just really wanted to know what was happening. Every time I picked this book up, it felt like starting a tv show in the middle of season 5.

The writing style was so Lauren Oliver. On one hand, it was nice to feel already comfortable with the writing style but on the other hand, I wanted something new and different. If you’ve read Lauren’s books in the past and didn’t like the writing style, you won’t like Vanishing Girls.

The characters are fairly good. I liked Nick a lot more over Dara, just because I couldn’t stand Dara’s attitude and I felt like she was written with the sole purpose to be disliked by the reader. I couldn’t understand her reasoning for the things she did and I was frustrated with her 100% of the time.

The pace was really quick. I was able to buzz though this book fairly fast. There wasn’t a whole lot of boring parts but I felt like the first half was kind of slow.

Overall, Vanishing Girls was a pretty good read. I enjoyed it for most part. It’s not my favorite book by Lauren but I still liked it. The plot was pretty empty of substance and it was confusing at times. It actually reminded me a lot of Pretty Little Liars. Entertaining but not the most intricate.

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Review: Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang

18163646Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang
Published : September 9, 2014

Summary: “On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road.

Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? Amy Zhang’s haunting and universal story will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and Jay Asher”

Fist off I’d like to say that I personally, haven’t read If I Stay by Gayle Forman yet, but I’ve heard that if you like that book, that this is something very similar to I recommend it to those people.

I’d also like to start this review with a disclaimer that I’m not the biggest contemporary fan. I picked this book up on a whim from my daily BookBub e-mails that send me e-book deals. So I think I got this book for like 99 cents or something and I didn’t really expect to like it. But holy crap it kind of hooked me from start to finish. I’ve been having a crazy few weeks with moving my boyfriend into his new home, job searching, interviews and just helping out my mom whose recently come home from a five month stay at the hospital. I’ve been in a reading slump/had no time to read.

So last night I thought, well, I’m not in the mood to keep reading The Goblet of Fire, and I’m not really in the mood for Egg & Spoon. So I dove into this hoping for the best.

And Amy Zhang just wrote this is such an interesting way that I couldn’t put it down.  This book is written in a non-linar way (so it doesn’t go chronologically it jumps from past and present). And it’s about this girl Liz who decides to end her life by crashing her car. And her classmate finds her and the book just goes back and forth between Liz’s wrong-doings and her life and relationship between her mother, her friends, her enemies, her classmates, her teachers, and so on and so forth. The book though is written in a narration that isn’t Liz. At first I thought it was her dead father but when they started referencing the dad, I knew it wasn’t him. But the narrator ends up being Liz’s imaginary friend from when she was a child.

I really enjoyed this book because it just kind of made you question how your actions really effect other people. And why do you do the things you do/done. It kind of pushes the limits and had you sit back for a second and just kind of question yourself and what you’ve done and if you have done anything negative, why and how did it effect certain people. I think Zhang wrote this book with a better purpose than just a story and entertainment, and I have to tip my hat to her.

I admit I did shed a few tears towards the end but, overall this book has my good graces and many rounds of applause. The narration was great, the writing was wonderful, light and easy to just breeze through. Almost as though each and every single word was chosen so carefully. Each character was broken down slowly and almost to a point where they were just completely stripped and you knew the ins and outs of everyone and each person was just so different and had their own little world of issues and strengths and weaknesses.

All in all this book was just, pure genius. Complex yet simple, and beautifully thought provoking and heart-wrenching.

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Review: The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun Hutchinson

The Five Stages of Andrew BrawleyThe Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun Hutchinson

Published January 20th 2015

“Andrew Brawley was supposed to die that night. His parents did, and so did his sister, but he survived.

Now he lives in the hospital. He serves food in the cafeteria, he hangs out with the nurses, and he sleeps in a forgotten supply closet. Drew blends in to near invisibility, hiding from his past, his guilt, and those who are trying to find him.

Then one night Rusty is wheeled into the ER, burned on half his body by hateful classmates. His agony calls out to Drew like a beacon, pulling them both together through all their pain and grief. In Rusty, Drew sees hope, happiness, and a future for both of them. A future outside the hospital, and away from their pasts.

But Drew knows that life is never that simple. Death roams the hospital, searching for Drew, and now Rusty. Drew lost his family, but he refuses to lose Rusty, too, so he’s determined to make things right. He’s determined to bargain, and to settle his debts once and for all.

But Death is not easily placated, and Drew’s life will have to get worse before there is any chance for things to get better.”

I’d never heard of this book prior to seeing it on Pulse It and the cover was kinda cool so I picked it up right away. I was pleasantly surprised with this book but at the same time, I was a little disappointed.

The overall premise for The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley is pretty sad. There was a few lines that I smiled at but for the most part, this book just made me sad. I felt so bad for the characters and even sadder knowing that some things that happened in the book, happen in real life.

This whole book was just a big ocean of emotion. The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley is a book that will weigh on my mind for the next few weeks and I’ll always remember it as being really sad. I can’t say I enjoyed reading this book because I didn’t. This book is a really great book but it’s not something I enjoyed reading. It was just so sad.

I had a hard time connecting with the characters because I couldn’t relate to a lot of the thing they’re were going though. It made it hard to really feel for the characters deep down. I felt bad for them but at the same time, it was kind of a disconnected sad.

There was something about the writing that felt a little impersonal, for lack of better word. It felt distant and a little cut off from the characters. This could be some way of the author trying to get some deeper meaning or something to the reader but I just didn’t get it.

Overall, this is an amazing book. It’s so emotional and something that the Young Adult genre needs right now. The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley has added to the YA genre and has made a difference. Maybe this isn’t the most enjoyable book but it’s incredibly important. I’d like to see more people taking about this book because it’s beautiful. It may not be one of my personal favorites but I highly recommend checking it out. I’m definitely going to be getting a print copy of this book in the future.

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Review: Benjo by Shira Ohayon

25115530Benjo by Shira Ohayon

Published April 2015

“Jordan is the hot young starlet who has appeared in several successful films. While she is just in her early 20’s, Hollywood is hers for the taking.
Benjamin is her older leading man. A well-respected and successful actor in his own right, he is also known for dating – and ditching – his co-stars.
Even as sparks fly during their first encounter, their mutual attraction is undeniable. On set, their chemistry sizzles.
But in “real life” things are a bit more complicated.
For one thing, they are each dating other people. Then there’s a considerable age difference. Should they be content with a good working relationship? Can they be just friends? Should they even attempt taking their friendship to the next level?”

I really wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. I’d never heard of it or the author. The reviews were really good but I was still unsure. However, this book was surprisingly great.

The writing style was really wonderful. It was straight forward and really refreshing.

The characters were also really wonderful. They’re were really original and, I can’t stress this enough, very well written. These characters blew my mind. They seemed real and normal.
There wasn’t really any insta-love, just insta-chemistry. Which, coming from someone who hates insta-love, I was totally okay with.

Overall, this was such a fun, quick read. I really enjoyed the characters and the writing style.
I would have liked a little bit time to get to know the characters because the book started so quickly and I didn’t really get a chance to get to know the characters separately, as individuals. But really, this book was such a great surprise. If you’re looking for an original romance with really great characters, I recommend picking up Benjo.

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Blog Tour: Love, Lucy by April Linder

love, lucy

love lucy

Published January 27th 2015
While backpacking through Florence, Italy, during the summer before she heads off to college, Lucy Sommersworth finds herself falling in love with the culture, the architecture, the food…and Jesse Palladino, a handsome street musician. After a whirlwind romance, Lucy returns home, determined to move on from her “vacation flirtation.” But just because summer is over doesn’t mean Lucy and Jesse are over, too. In this coming-of-age romance, April Lindner perfectly captures the highs and lows of a summer love that might just be meant to last beyond the season.
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Review
I always love books that take place outside of the US. It’s a lot of fun to me to read about new places, places that I’ve never been. So when I read the synopsis for Love, Lucy, I knew that I would love this book. And I totally did.
I loved reading about Italy and all the adventures that Lucy, Charlene, and Jesse went on.
Everything was described really well and I could picture everything perfectly.
I thought Lucy was really likable and she was so awesome. I felt like she really made the best out of her situation and didn’t dwell on the bad things. She wasn’t whiny or annoying at all. And even though this is a romance, Lucy didn’t drop everything for a boy. And I felt like the story was still focused on Lucy, not a boy and Lucy.
I felt like Charlene was a bit of a hypocrite and really critical of Lucy. She seemed to try to control Lucy a lot. It was really frustrating as the reader because I just wanted to tell Charlene how mean she was being to Lucy without even realizing it. But I thought the character development was really wonderful and I did end up liking Charlene in the end.
The tone of this book is so wonderful. It’s light and fun, something that I love in contemporary.
The author did a really wonderful job of creating a really lighthearted story.
Overall, I really, really enjoyed this book. I was so much fun and I felt like I had been on the trip with Lucy and Charlene. The writing is great and the author did a great job setting the scenes.
This is definitely one of my favorite contemporaries that I’ve read in the last year. I read this as an ebook but I’m going to be picking a print copy soon because I enjoyed it so much.
I highly recommend Love, Lucy to anyone who loves fun, quick reads full of adventure and romance.
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 About the author

love lucy blog tourApril Lindner is the author of three novels: Catherine, a modernization of Wuthering Heights; Jane, an update of Jane Eyre; and Love, Lucy, due out in January, 2015. She also has published two poetry collections, Skin and This Bed Our Bodies Shaped. She plays acoustic guitar badly, sees more rock concerts than she’d care to admit, travels whenever she can, cooks Italian food, and lavishes attention on her pets—two Labrador retriever mixes and two excitable guinea pigs. A professor of English at Saint Joseph’s University, April lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons.

 

Blog Tour hosted by The Fantastic Flying Bookclub

Review: Rise Again by Ben Tripp

Rrise againise Again by Ben Tripp 

Published October 26th 2010

I’d seen Rise Again randomly on BookOutlet.com at the end of last year and I’d never heard of it before. The cover looked really awesome and I love horror and  post apocalyptic so this seemed like the perfect book for me. I was a little hesitant because I’d never heard of it before but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this book.

Rise Again is about Sheriff Danielle Adelman who is suffering from PTSD from her time Iraq. She’s struggling to take care of herself and her younger sister when her sister runs away and dozens of people start to get sick. Danielle soon learns that the zombie apocalypse has started and she needs to find her sister and save a few survivors along the way.

I was a little unsure for the first 30 pages of this book. I rarely read books outside of YA and I’m always doubtful when I start anything that’s not Young Adult. But, after the first 30 pages, I could see that I was completely wrong. It was going to be really great. And it was.

To be honest, the first 20 pages didn’t really hit me right. I couldn’t relate to the main character, Danny, and I didn’t know her well enough to feel any sort of empathy. But right around page 50, when crap got real, I really started to get into the story.

Danny was a great main character. She kicked so much butt and didn’t get caught up in any stupid drama. She didn’t dwell on what ifs and how horrible everything was. She got crap done and she kicked butt while doing it.  And while I couldn’t even really relate to her, I really starting rooting for her and I liked her a lot.

I really liked how the story split off into two perspectives in the middle of the book. It sounds like a weird thing for the author to do but it really worked well for the story.

The writing style and all that good stuff was awesome. I couldn’t believe that this was a debut book. Ben Tripp knows how to write a great story.

The plot was so well thought out! I think that’s my favorite thing about this book. It was clear that Tripp had really thought about where he wanted to story to go and how to get it there. Some books, it feels like the writer was just making it up as they went, with no real end game. But Rise Again had a great story line. It was amazing.

I also really loved how this book didn’t have any romance. It was purely about Danny and her trying to save herself and others. Danny got to be the main character and nothing took away from that.

I really liked the zombies that Tripp created. They were fairly original, I thought. Not to the point of being weird and dumb but just a fresh take on zombies.

I live fairly close to where the last half this book takes place so that was so creepy and scary! As I was reading, I was like, Oh my gosh I know where that town is! It really added to the realistic writing.

Overall, I was tremendously impressed with this book. It was well written with a new take on an old idea. If you’re looking for a really good horror and/or zombie book, I recommend this book. And after an ending like that, I have a mighty need for book two!

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Review: Let It Go by DC Renee

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00061]Let It Go by DC Renee

Published December 23rd 2014

I was sent this book by the author an exchange for an honest review.

The cover is what really drew me in to this book. It’s different, interesting and I had to know the synopsis. Let It Go is about a guy named Benny who’s had a really troubled past full of gangs and drugs. But he’s trying to put his past behind him and start a better life.

I was so surprised by how much I really liked this book! I wasn’t sure what to expect but after the first two chapters, I was hooked. The characters had quite a bit of depth and were really likable, I thought. Benny really surprised me by how complex and interesting he was.

The plot was interesting and fun. I didn’t find it to be predictable or boring. I had a hard time putting this book down because I was just so curious to see what would happen next.

I did wish it was a little longer though. I know it’s novella but I wish it was a full length book. At times it felt like Benny and Sophie’s relationship was moving a little fast. I wanted a little bit more time for it to grow and develop.

Overall, this was a really fun story. I really wish it was full length because I was so into it at times. If you’re looking for a quick read that’s a refreshing take on New Adult (I think this is NA, I’m not 100% sure), I recommend checking this book out.

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Review: The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan

percy jack book 3

The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #3) by Rick Riordan.

Published May 5th 2007

I first started reading this series years ago but for some reason, I never actually completed it. I loved the first book and I loved the second even more. I was a little nervous starting The Titan’s Curse because how could this series get any better?

Book three in the Percy Jackson series starts off with Annabeth, Percy, and Thalia battling a new monster, trying to help new half-bloods. One thing that I love about this series is how strong each book starts off. Always action packed. I do with there was more a recap of the book before though. It’d been awhile since I read book two so I didn’t really remember what was going on.

One of the thing that makes this series stand out so much is the amazing world building. Everything is so well thought out and carefully explained. Each book adds more to the world and more Greek mythology.

I really love the characters in this series. Each book introduces new characters and expands on the old characters. We learn about the main characters with each book and I love how Rick Riordan writes his characters. They’re all different about some how each one of them has redeeming qualities and is so complex. And relatable! Somehow, I feel like I know Percy and his friends. Like if I met them in real life, we would be friends.

The one thing that I didn’t like about this book is sometimes the plot would be so fast paced and exciting that some important parts would be skimmed over. I wanted a little more after math with some events that happened. But that’s just a minor thing.

Overall, I really enjoyed this installment in the Percy Jackson series.  The Sea of Monsters is still my personal favorite but I can’t believe how strong this book is. Most series’ don’t get any better after the first book but this is one of very rare series’ that have.

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