Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Why does it still feel like Monday??? I’m trying to get back into a normal schedule after being gone last week. My actual job is starting to pick up and so I’m trying to find more and more time to read. Thankfully, I’m managing because I (seriously) need to get through my huge stack of TBR books that have been gathering dust.

IMG_0921Lara Jean is in love….or was in love…or at least thinks she was. Things are changing and it’s hard to cope with everything. Her big sister Margot is moving across the world for college. She’s starting her junior year in high school. And somehow, the love letters she’d written for the five boys she’s ever loved have been mailed out. Lara Jean is mortified and confused and now must somehow figure out how to navigate the fact that her biggest secrets have been released into the world.

When I first started reading To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before I wasn’t sure what to expect and honestly, I was afraid I wouldn’t like it. It seemed to much like a teen drama for me to enjoy. (I’m in my 30s for those curious.) And while I did get a bit bored in the beginning, it wasn’t difficult for my curiosity to be piqued. I wanted to know how Lara Jean would deal with all the things life was suddenly throwing at her. I got a bit annoyed in certain parts because it felt like the author was trying to move the story along without actually connecting the plot points. But it didn’t bother me enough to stop reading. I was especially annoyed with the ending of the book…because now I have to go buy the second one to find out what happens!

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a cute and quirky teen romance novel, mixed with a bit of coming-of-age story. Jenny Han pulls us into a family filled with love, laughter, and everyday relationships that anyone can relate to. It was an easy read with quick chapters. Overall, a typical love story with a unique twist. I’m just not sure it’s enough to make it stand out from other novels of its genre.

Review: Shatter Me

264 days. That’s how long Juliette has been in isolation. No one knows what to do with her or even what she is capable of. After accidentally killing a little boy, just by trying to help him to his feet, she’s been locked away until someone can figure out what to do with her. That is, until the day she wakes up to find Adam Kent in her cell with her. Then things begin to get interesting.

IMG_0901In Shatter Me, society has fallen. What’s left of civilization has been broken up into sectors. Food is scarce and families are broken apart. A young man named Warner has taken a special interest in Juliette and her power. She is taken to his home and introduced to the world that she’s been away from for so long. It’s nothing like what she remembered. And it’s made even worse by the fact that Warner now wants to use her as a weapon for his own personal gain.

Shatter Me was a pleasure to read! I loved every minute of it. I’ve been on a dystopian/post-apocalyptic kick lately and this fit right in with my mood. Mafi creates characters that make you want to read and her prose is beautiful. I can’t tell you how many times I had to pause in my reading just to admire the wordsmithing. Beautiful! Uniquely written and kept on the edge of my seat, this book was a page-turner that I couldn’t put down. While I felt that the romantic relationship seemed to move a little quickly in Shatter Me, I still appreciated the connections made between characters.

Overall, an excellent read and I can’t wait to pick up the second book in the series!

Review: The Girl With All The Gifts

Is there anything better than reading in the mountains? I’m out in Colorado (heading home today) for my real job but I still found some time to cozy up with a book and get some major reading done.

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The Girl With All The Gifts is a post-apocalyptic tale focusing on a young girl named Melanie at the center of a chilling science experiment. The world has ended. People have been infected and are turning into “hungries”. Except the children. The children still seem to hold a sense of self-awareness and no one can explain why. But Dr. Caroline Caldwell is determined to find the answers, no matter what’s at stake. Meanwhile, Miss Justineau, a teacher for the children, has become attached to Melanie which causes issues in itself. When the base they are inhabiting is attacked, the three of them along with two soldiers must find their way back to civilization (or what’s left of it) without falling victim to the infection that has killed most of the population.

img_0841I’ll be honest, I was not expecting a zombie novel when I first picked this book up. I did what they always say not to do and I judged the book by its cover. Still, I’m glad I picked it up. M.R. Carey managed to write a not-so-typical zombie novel which kept my interest and had me on the edge of my seat through some of the situations these characters had to go through. Each character was easy to get attached to (or despise with a fiery passion) and I felt fully involved in each of their separate stories. I did, however, get a little lost in the scientific talk throughout the book but could understand enough to get the basic gist of it.

All in all, I highly recommend picking up The Girl With All The Gifts if you’re looking for a newer take on the zombie story, or if you enjoy reading post-apocalyptic novels.

The Defiant Heir

Ok, you guys, I am obsessed with this trilogy. And it kills me that there are only three books to this amazing story! Why?!?!?

img-0812The Defiant Heir is the second book of the Swords and Fire trilogy. Amalia Cornaro has made her way to Callamorne with Zaira, the fire warlock, and Marcello by her side. Their mission: attempt to find out what Prince Ruven is planning and, hopefully, stop the impending war. But when a Witch Lord offers to court Amalia, what’s a girl to do?

I could not get enough of this book! I literally did not want to put it down and, if I didn’t have to sleep, I probably would have finished it in a day. Melissa Caruso is killing me you guys! She has such a good creative mind and it blows me away that she has created such an amazing world. I want to stay in Eruvia forever! Honestly, I don’t have any complaints about this book. Except for maybe the fact that I finished it. I’d love to go back and read it again with the same fascination I had the first time.

If you’re looking for a good fantasy trilogy, I highly recommend picking up The Defiant Heir (after you’ve read The Tethered Mage of course). The final book in this trilogy is set to be released April of this year and you can bet it’s at the top of my most anticipated books for 2019. I can’t wait to see how she wraps up Amalia’s adventures!

The Snow Gypsy

One of my absolute favorite genres to read is historical fiction. I usually enjoy anything written in the Victorian era and set in England. Although recently, I’ve enjoyed reading a good American Revolution era novel. So when I found a free copy of The Snow Gypsy, I did what you’re not supposed to do. I judged a book by its cover. And as I began to read it, I realized this was not a book I would have chosen for myself.

img_0799The Snow Gypsy follows the intertwining stories of two women, Rose Daniel and Lola Aragon. Rose is living in London as a veterinarian during the aftermath of World War 2. In the years of the war, her brother Nathan joined the fight. But the last letter Rose received from him was eight years ago. Now she is determined to find her brother and get the answers to the question that’s been nagging her for years: what happened?

Lola is a young flamenco dancer who also lost her family in the war. As a gypsy living in Spain, she meets Rose in a stroke of fate. Between the two of them, they form a bond stronger than any could fathom and help each other to heal the wounds the war has left behind.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I found the plot to be unique and held my interest almost to the end. The characters were well developed, however, I didn’t find myself getting attached to either of them. While I appreciated the history side of things, and loved that this book put me outside of my comfort zone (I don’t usually gravitate towards books set in Spain), I was disappointed with the last few chapters. I felt that the author was unsure how to end the story and therefore the ending fell flat. Also, there is a touch of romance in this book that I felt was unnecessary. It didn’t really add anything to the characters or the plot and felt more like filler.

If you’re looking for a good historical fiction, pick up The Snow Gypsy and let me know what you think. I’d love to get someone else’s take on this story.

**I received this book through Amazon’s First Reads program.**

The Tethered Mage

I’m a sucker for a fantasy novel involving magic and a strong female character. The Tethered Mage is absolutely perfect for anyone who enjoys the same.

img-0778Welcome to the Serene Empire. Where children with the mage-mark are taken to the Mews to become Falcons, an elite group of magic-wielders who are at the mercy of the Empire’s political schemes. Lady Amalia Cornaro, the daughter of a well-respected Council member, has just found herself a Falconer and in the middle of a political battle she has no interest in waging. But family duty calls and she must find a way to save her beloved home from those who would destroy while also navigating the struggles of having a Falcon who despises everything they stand for.

The Tethered Mage had me staying up late simply to finish “just one more chapter”. Caruso does an incredible job of creating a system of magic, politics, and even a bit of romance that work so well together. This book managed to anger me, bring me laughter, and intrigue me beyond measure. I didn’t want it to end! Thankfully, this is just book one of her trilogy and I can’t wait to get my hands on book two and see what else happens in Eruvia.

The Immortalists

Hey book lovers! So summer is coming to an end and I’m so looking forward to the cool days of fall. Those who know me know how much I love Halloween and all the spooky coziness of autumn. I tend to enjoy reading much more in the fall; all cozied up under a blanket with some fuzzy socks on and a cup of cider. What are you looking forward to this autumn? Any new books coming out that are on your “To Read” list?

IMG_3532I’d seen post after post about The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin. I did what we’ve always been told not to do, I judged the book by its cover (which is beautiful by the way). But then I read the blurb and thought I wouldn’t enjoy this novel as much as I first believed. Still, I went ahead and added it to my ever-growing stack of books I plan to read. I wasn’t quite in the mood for the genre but it was on the top of my stack so I picked it up and I’m so glad I did!

I’m usually the type of reader that enjoys fantasy, sci-fi, romance novels. You know, the kind that don’t necessarily fixate on tragedy and familial relations. But The Immortalists had me hooked from page one.

The Golds family consists of four children; Varya, Daniel, Klara, and Simon. When they are young, they go to see a fortune teller who has been rumored to be able to tell you the date of your death. What follows is a story of choice, the power of thought, and the connection of family. In the thirty-six chapters, we follow each child as they grow with the weight of their impending doom sitting on their shoulders. Beautifully written with an underlying discovery of how much our choices dictate our lives, The Immortalists is a book you don’t want to pass up!

#FictionFriday: Seveneves

Hey book lovers! I’m still working on getting back into the swing of regular reading after taking a break. And hoping to get a habit going before my actual job kicks into high gear for the next couple of months.

Today’s #FictionFriday, I’d like to introduce you to Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. I’m not usually big on Neal Stephenson’s books. They’re usually very dry. Imagine if Anne Rice wrote a science novel. It’s almost boring just to think about, right? But trust me, Seveneves is an exception.

SevenevesThe moon is shattering. The fragments are colliding into each other and falling to Earth. It won’t be long before the human race will cease to exist. The government decides it would be best to evacuate as many people as possible onto a “Cloud Ark” in orbit and they need to survive for five thousand years. But as usual, things go wrong and it is up to seven women to save the human race.

It’s incredibly difficult to explain this novel without giving too much away. But I promise you it’s worth a read. Be prepared though, it’s a long book (880 pages) and sometimes Stephenson’s technical writing slips through but it’s not nearly as dry as his previous books. If you’re a love of The Martian or other space sci-fi books, pick this one up!

Moxie

These days, when you see the word “feminist” thrown around, it puts a bad taste in your mouth. I won’t get into a debate about the connotations surrounding that word, but it’s hard to deny that women are taking a stand these days.

IMG-2310Moxie was the perfect novel to read. It took my a while as I hit a reading lull in the middle of it but that didn’t keep me from loving this young adult novel. Moxie follows Vivian, a teenage girl living in Texas where the football team rules the school, the city, even the county. And I mean literally. The boys are untouchable. Again and again, they are sexist and harassing the girls of the school. But Vivian’s had enough. So Moxie is born.

This thrilling tale of a one girl revolution that eventually becomes an all girl revolution is breath-taking. To see one teenager take it upon herself to do something about the problems in her school without recognition or assistance. Vivian puts herself out there in a way she never has before. Not only hoping to change things for the rest of her time at the school but for all the girls after her as well. If you’re looking for a book about strong women coming together to stand up for one another, this is definitely the book for you.

#FictionFriday: The Sight

It’s Friday!!! *cue happy dance* I don’t know about y’all but it’s supposed to be gorgeous today and I intend to enjoy every bit of this weather. Anyone else happy to have those winter blues melt away?

This #FictionFriday I’d like to introduce you to The Sight. I read this book a few years back and absolutely fell in love with David Clement-Davies’s work. I even went out and bought another of his books because I loved the stories he was telling.

51WsYOlYyFLIn the middle of a Transylvanian winter, a wolf pack seeks shelter. As they are stalked by a lone wolf, Morgra, possessed by a terrifying power known as the sight. Because of this mysterious curse, Morgra knows there is a wolf pup in the pack that has power even greater than her own. The pack will do anything to protect the pup, even as far as starting a war involving all of nature.

When I first heard about The Sight, I was afraid it was going to be another White Fang but Clement-Davies does a wonderful job of creating his own story. I love a good animal story (although Watership Down tore me up) and this is one of the best. If you like stories like the ones mentioned above, I highly recommend picking up The Sight or Fire Bringer. Both are solid works and will leave you wanting more!