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review 2015-07-20 23:24
Pretty flippin good
A Book of Spirits and Thieves - Morgan Rhodes

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

This book was a delight to read and the best thing about it is that I hadn’t even read the Falling Kingdoms series but I still managed to follow along and enjoy the book.

A Book of Spirits and Thieves follows the lives of Crystal Hatcher, Farrell Grayson and Maddox Corso. Each of their stories is compelling in their own right and while I may have had a favorite storyline, I thought that there was enough time spent developing all of them that I enjoyed reading all of the storylines.

My biggest problem with the book all comes down to one quote.


“Sounds like a good book.” Or a piece of feminist trash.**

This quote made me see red but at the same time, I am not ready to write this book off just because of the one horrible quote. I want to give the book the benefit of doubt since everything else in the book was fantastic and pretty much contradicted the implications of that quote. Maybe the quote was a way of representing the character who said it (and how far gone he was) instead of just saying that books featuring strong women are feminist trash (which would be odd considering that this book features badass females!)

This book is classified as fantasy and I thought it was interesting that that two of the storylines are set in the modern day world where as one is set in a completely different world (Mytica.) I thought the transitioning between the two worlds worked very well and the author took steps to show us how the two timelines are related. But, I JUST WANT TO KNOW WHERE THINGS COULD GO. I have SOOOO many theories and I am dying to read the following books in the series to see whether or not any of them pan out.

Crystal Hatcher, aka Crys is not always the nicest kid but it isn’t because she thinks the world is out to get her. Over the past two years, since her father and confidant left her, she has become detached from her surroundings. She misses a lot of classes and spends most of her time taking photos. She isn’t as close to her younger sister as she used to be and she takes her family for granted. When her sister goes into a coma after touching a book, it’s a moment of awakening for her as she realizes what a bad sister she has been for the past two years. It’s up to her to solve the mystery of THE BOOK.

One of the great things about Crys’ storyline is that even though she sometimes doesn’t trust the right people, she does eventually confide in her mom and that made me happy. I like it when kids don’t always run around doing things on their own and instead choose to trust an adult who actually knows what’s going on.

Crys was a great main character. She frustrated me at times but people make the wrong decisions all the time. That doesn’t make them awful. Crys is determined, mostly smart, loyal female lead and super badass.

Farrell on the other hand, whose story is also set in the modern world, wasn’t as awesome. But then again, he wasn’t meant to be.

His story isn’t about him finally realizing all the things he has been doing wrong but rather about him sinking further into a deep dark place. Maybe to the point of no return. I don’t know.Farrell just worries me because we all know that he isn’t a horrible person. The initial chapters make him out to be a great person under all that yucky exterior. He obviously has self-esteem issues and is still grieving the death of his older brother; however, those two things don't mix well and lead him to making some veryyyy horrible decisions and saying a lot of mean things. It’s kind of terrifying to watch him become more and more detached and lose his morality. I just want to read the next books and see what will become of him. I want him to live up to the good person we all know he is.

This brings us to the last character, a young Maddox. I’ve said so much about the other two and I am trying to think about what sets him apart. I think what sets Maddox apart is that he isn’t as bitter or even detached as the other two characters. There seems to be a naivety to him (although that could be because he is a little younger than the other two characters), that makes him endearing. He has been through so much in his 16 years but he never completely loses hope and that’s great.

I love the way his story works out too. In his story, we really see the fantastical elements come to life since we are immersed in a world that is clearly not our own. We meet a fantastic array of characters who support him (INCLUDING Crys’ comatose sister. INTERESTING? …)

There is a bit of romance in the book which ended up not working for me. There isn’t much of it so it wasn’t that big of a problem but I just didn’t think it was needed ya know? I didn’t need there to be an insta-love kind of thing to make the book more enjoyable since I already thought it was fantastic.

So basically this book is great, a quote and romance aside. It’s easy to get into, it flies by and it’s quick to read. You maybe, definitely want to check this one out. ALSO DAT COVER THO. Lookit! IZ SO PRETTEH. I just want to stroke it all day….. NOW GIMME NEXT BOOK *makes grabby hands*

**The author confirmed that that quote was in fact meant to rile the readers.

Note that I received a finished copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2015-03-30 03:54
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda - Becky Albertalli

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

This book needs to be read.

I wish I could leave it at that but I guess if I am here, I might as well write something because I am sure you are all curious as to what prompted such a passionate response. For starters, I just want to say this book is the cutest thing ever and you would be missing out if you didn’t read it.

I don't know what else to say though. What? I need to do? FINE. I'll attempt figuring this out but don't you blame me if this reads like it's a bunch of nonsensical fangirling!

Let us start with the awesomeness that is Simon. Simon is a beautiful creature and if he was real I would hunt him down and force him to be my friend just because.Literally like where do I begin with this guy? He is so real and relatable and if you think you cannot relate to his problems because you aren’t gay, that is where you are absolutely wrong. There is so much more to this book than just a young teen’s struggle with his identity. It’s about friendship, it’s about family, and it’s about learning to not be afraid of who you are.

Simon isn’t so much struggling with his sexual identity as he is with this idea of coming out. He is worried that his parents will make a big deal, he doesn’t know how to come out to his friends and he most definitely doesn’t want to come out to the school because he lives in Georgia and he knows he will get shit for being gay.

The only person who seems to understand him is Blue. Blue is someone who goes to his school but Simon doesn’t know who he is because their conversations are anonymous, they don’t know who the other person is yet they know each other in ways no one else does. Their emails are so incredibly fun to read and made me smile like a doofus.

But going back to Simon, the best thing about him is that he isn’t perfect. He makes mistakes but what makes him so lovable is thathe is willing to apologize and give his friends, family and potential lovers (;)) the respect they deserve. It may take him a while to realize that what he did was wrong but when he does, he goes out of his way to make up for his mistakes.

There are amazing family dynamics within this storyand it was so much fun watching to see this family interact. They are so bizarre and fun and you can tell that underneath all the weird jokes, they all care for each other. I especially liked that one moment between the parents and Simon where Simon’s dad admitted to being insensitive and apologized for it. I love how much they all respect each other. It's such a healthy relationship!

One of my problems with this book was Nick. Nick is one of the best friends in their trio and the problem with Nick is that he was kind of an asshole. I think one of the reasons for this was because we never saw him apologize for his mistakes and because we also never saw him and Simon have any special moments. That made it a lot harder to see them as friends because we had nothing to go on except for the fact that we were told they were best friends.

The romance in this novel is beautifully developed and while I easily guessed at Blue’s identity, it was just so much fun watching Simon figure it out. You could see how he tried to figure out who Blue was and along the way learned about what is important in his life.

This book starts with Simon being blackmailed and things go somewhere with that. Somewhere intense. Somewhere like bullying. It was incredibly painful to watch all these kids being such douche canoes but we also saw people stand up for Simon. People like teachers and that warmed my heart because that isjust so positive! Of course, in a lot of similar real life scenarios, things might not go the same way but that doesn't mean they cannot!

When I finished this book, I got off my bed and went outside to the common area to have a little awkward jumping 'I am so very excited' session (no one was awake so it wasn't all that awkward). I was on such a high from the book and I walked around trying to calm myself down a little but just ended up smiling like a doofus.

This book is so clever and heartfelt and one I think everyone needs to read. Go follow my orders, young padawans!

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review 2015-02-22 20:48
Liars, Inc. - Paula Stokes

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

This book is special indeed. After all the hype surrounding this book, I dived in expecting to be thoroughly charmed but I wasn’t. At least not at first. I liked it, I enjoyed it but I didn’t see why everyone loved it so much until a certain moment near the end. That's what made this book so brilliant and awesome and fantastic and I am running out of adjectives since my vocabulary is limited. So now I find myself in a dilemma. I cannot even begin describing this book (although I just did, so I am contradicting myself) and the affect it had on me.

For starters, if you read The Art of Lainey and are going in expecting something as fluffy and fun, turn around and rethink whether you want to read this book because fluffy it is not. It’s clever and witty and poignant and oh so brilliant. As you can see, I cannot stop singing this book praises, even though it wasn’t perfect and I had issues with it. ALL THE FEELS you see. All the feels. It’s becoming hard not to ramble but I shall get my shit together and write this review down anyway.

Max is a great main character. His voice shines out and he actually sounds his age! Surprise! He underestimates himself and has self-doubt but at the same time, they don’t weigh him down! There are things he believes, even if he shouldn’t, and until given proof, he won’t change his mind. He has his stupid moments, quite a few of them to be honest, but he has so many other positive qualities. I love his loyalty and I love the growth he undergoes over the course of the book, the things he realizes about himself and his family. It’s a beautiful journey.

For the most part, neither of his friends did anything for me but I grew to like Parvati more over the course of the book as we got to know her better. I have to give Paula credit though, she characterizes the friends really well. They may be fishy and I had some moments where I felt some very strong emotions towards them but at the same time, I had this need to know more about them and why they were the way they were. I just wish Max had been smarter about the two and had realized early on that they weren’t the best of friends.

The mystery in this book is so intricately developed.Not that the direction was predictable or unpredictable but the thing is that Stokes does it well. I spend a good chunk of the book trying to figure out what she was trying to do.  I had ideas but at the same time, given how she had developed certain things, I wasn’t sure what route she’d go down so when Stokes chose the one I had only guessed at, I was surprised but delightfully so (if you were nearby you might have heard me irrupting into a chorus of ‘I KNEW IT!’ and awkwardly attempting to jump up and down while lying on my bed). What made the ‘twist’ work so well in this case was that the author set things up for it. If you were looking in the right places, you would have seen it coming. It’s not predictable but it’s not random and therein lies it’s beauty.

There is a bit of a romance in this book but it’s done so realistically. This book is so sex positive and that makes me happy. I may not have been shipping this ship hard at the beginning but you betcha by the end of the book, I wanted the two to sort things out. I do admit that at learning certain things, I had hoped for a little bit more anger but that’s probably just my bloodthirsty nature talking (and I do love me a good grovelling).

This is a gorgeously written book that will keep you on your toes and will keep you guessing but it’s more than just a mystery. It’s about friendship, lies, families, making the right choices and learning to love yourself. Really, it’s a fabulous book and one I’d urge anyone looking for something gritty to read.

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review 2014-10-22 06:54
The Aussies do it again
Every Breath - Ellie Marney

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

The two books I came across this year that were pitched as some hybrid of Sherlock made my priority lists and while one let me down, Every Breath most certainly did not. Every Breath was FUCKING AMAZING. I guess I’ve kind of come to expect that from Aussie YA though. The Aussies have it right, a couple of exceptions aside, they know how it works. They know us cray teens. They feel us, yo.

Now that I’ve said that, I have no idea where to go. Do I start with the amazing characters, the fantastic plot, or just the general excitedness I felt while reading this amazeballs mystery? Or do I instead talk about how much I love the main characters as a couple and how they are the ship to ship?

So many things to talk about but not nearly enough words to do so. Isn’t that every reviewer’s problem?

I figure I’ll start with the beginning. With Rachel.

Rachel is an amazing female lead and oh so relateable.I love how she isn’t all happy and isn't easily adjusting to the new move her family had to make for financial reasons. While she’d give anything to be back, she has also made friends and isn’t casted as a loner cliché. In fact, one of the sub plots deals with her adjustment to the city and how she grows to embrace it. Of course, it isn’t some 180 degrees turn, hell no. It’s just her maturing about the situation they are. It’s wonderful to watch her develop and she is just such a realistic character. She is also pretty mature but then again, she has moments when she is not.She isn’t always wiser than the world, she can be naïve, she makes bad decisions, she says hurtful things. It’s what we teens do.

James Mycroft could be my one true love. I LOVE HIM SO MUCH. MY PRECIOUS. But seriously. I have to admit, he wasn’t a 100% perfect. I did have some problems with his characterization but even as I say that, he was realistic. I am not going to dwell into my problems with him because most people won’t care and it all comes down to personal tastes. Moving on to the good. Have I mentioned he was fabulous? HAVE I? Because I should. Again and again and again. I think he is one of the best tortured guys I have come across.  He has the whole tortured vibe but he isn’t a jerk. He’s just eccentric. He is also just an amazing friend. You wouldn’t think he could be but he is. He cares for his friends and while he can be self-centered at times, he is not malicious.

Can we talk about the romance now? Can we talk about how perfect these two are for each other because they are? One of the things I adore about Aussie YAs is how mature the relationships tend to be. Once they realized there were feels involved, they didn’t do the awkward chicken dance around it. That’s the ship you wanna ship. Where even when mean things are said, they work it out in a way that  is respectful to the other person. They are supportive, for the most part, they know each other’s deepest darkest secrets and they aren’t perfect!

The plot keeps you on your toes. Of course, it isn’t ‘OMG MINDBLOWING’ but it was definitely exciting. I love the way they work these things out. Given James’ super smartness, it isn’t surprising he manages to figure things out so easily, but he doesn’t always work everything out right away which makes the mystery a little more realistic. It isn’t that the mystery is unpredictable because it isn’t but it isn’t predictable either which makes it all the more fun. Some of the leads they had did sometimes throw me off though because there didn’t seem to be enough supporting evidence. The puzzle pieces did fit though once the mystery was solved so I wasn't too worried about that.

I think the best thing about this story was just the secondary characters. Mycroft aside, the secondary characters took the cake. There was depth to them and they weren’t just flat characters. In fact, they were essential to the story, they weren’t just plot devices. Rachel’s brother was a fantastic addition and the story wouldn’t have been complete without Mai and Gus.

I am really looking forward to reading the sequel and seeing where things will go from here.

If you’re looking at this and wondering if the hype is telling a lie, let me reassure you, it’s not. Go grab yourself a copy. NOW.

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review 2014-03-18 21:04
"Just bear that in mind, Percy. Even the bravest can fall."
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