December 31, 2014

Tag, You're It!

 Hi guys! Get ready for a tagtastic post with not one, but two tags! I was tagged to both a long time ago, and I do have valid excuses for their lateness, but I figured enough talk and more tagging, so let's begin!

No one tagged should feel obligated to do the tag if you don't want to! 
First, I was tagged by Amanda @ The Book Badger to do the Book Shelf Tag

Book Shelf Tag

1. Is there a book that you really want to read but haven't because you know it'll make you cry?

Hmm... not really. There are books I really want to read but don't because I'm effing scared of them, but none because they'll make me cry. I tend to shy away from ugly-cry-books, so I end up getting into those without even knowing it. Plus, I don't mind crying in books - as long as there's a HEA at the end! (and, okay, even if there isn't. But I get mighty depressed afterwards...)

2. Pick one book that helped introduce you to a new genre
Well, to be honest I'm kind of a creature of habits, and to prove it - there's only one book that comes to mind with this question. It's the book that made me look differently on contemporaries, after years of being really anti about them.
Since childhood, I was of the opinion that "there's no point in reading about Real Life because I effing live in it and its sucks. There's no magic in real life!" Well, turns out, there is magic in real life. I often find it, unsurprisingly, in the form of love and romance, and this book founded my love for this type of "magic".
Oh, wait, I forgot to say which book it is! Silly me. It's My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick.

3. Find a book that you want to re-read
OMG, just one? Dude, I'm a re-reader. I re-read a lot. Just last month (November) I re-read four books. Just 'cause I felt like it.
But if you're asking which books are at the top of my To Re-Read List right at this very moment... Cinder, Harry Potter (but HP is always on that list...), On the Island, Percy Jackson... Do I need to name some more? Because I certainly can.

4. Is these a book series you read but wish you hadn't?
Umm.... not... really? I mean, there are some firsts in series I read and wish I hadn't, because oh my god they made me want to hurt something, preferably the heroine, but I tend to stop with really awful series after the first. I certainly never finish them. What would be the point in subjecting myself to such torture?

5. If your house was burning down and all your family and pets were safe, which book would you go back in a save?
I can't believe you just asked me this questions. Who does that?! That's like asking which child I would save! Have you no mercy?
I refuse to answer this. On principle.

6. Is there one book on your shelf that brings back fond memories?
Lolz, all of them? You'll have to be a bit more specific with your questions. Every book that I love bring back fond memories of... well, reading it. If you mean memories from my life related to the book, Harry Potter is front center because that series is so integral to my childhood its practically my childhood itself.

7. Find a book that has inspired you the most
Inspired me? Well at long last - an easy one! Harry Potter. Yes, I know, quite the standard response, but HP inspired me to write. Inspired me to read. Inspired me to be a better person. Inspired me to live, when I was going through middle school and spending my time being mostly miserable. HP - I love you ❤
8. Do you have any autographed books?
Ohh, yes! Pretty much my most prized possessions; and they were all extremely hard to get, what with me living in Israel. And most of them are not personalized, unfortunately.
Let's see if I can list them all: The Edge of Never and Killing Sarai (J.A Redmerski is an amazing person, sending me personalized copies! ❤), Black Dawn, Redesigned (another awesome author!), More Than Jamie Baker (personalized & she may be the queen of awesome!), Red Hill, Losing Hope, How Zoe Made Her Dreams (mostly) Come True, Blue Lily, Lily Blue, Lola and the Boy Next Door... I think that's it.

9. Find the book that you've owned the longest
Excluding my baby books, that would be my Hebrew versions of the first six books of Harry Potter, which are now in my younger brother's room in the false hope he will be tempted to read them. 

9. Is there a book by an author that you've never imagined you'd read and enjoy?
Before a few months ago, I would have said there isn't - I never read a book I assume I won't enjoy (call it a character flaw). But then I read Bared to You by Sylvia Day. I thought I wouldn't like this book because it's been said in the same sentence as 50 Shades of Grey so often, and I couldn't get past the first page of that book. But I was pleasantly surprised to actually enjoy it!


I'm warning: I am too lazy to check whether you guys already did this, so you might've. 

Faye/Rashika/Aimme @ The Social Potato
Gillian @ Writer's of Wrongs
Stephanie @ Bookfever

The Book Gif Tag

I was tagged by Stephanie @ bookfever to do the Book Gif tag (a tag I would love to do again and again with different lists! Maybe I should make it a thing? Anywhos, feel free to tag me to it again!)

Basically, you get ten book names, and you have to sum them/your feeling toward them in a gif. So... here goes nothing.
1. The Emperor's Conspiracy by Michelle Diener

2. Torrent by Gemma James

3. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
If I read you in my childhood, I think I would've loved you. But I didn't, and now it's too late. I can't enjoy you anymore!

4. Gone by Michael Grant

It's cool like that ;) You should totes read it!

5. Blood Vine by Amber Belldene

6. Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott

7. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
Yep, I am super scared to read these books! But I will, once the whole series is finished. I'm not torturing myself through deaths of favorite characters just to be stuck on a cliffhanger for years!

8. Murder on Olympus by Robert B. Warren

9. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

So excited to read this book, which hopefully will happen soon!

10. Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
Maybe I'll read this, maybe not.

So... this is awkward. I actually haven't read all but two of these books *feels ashamed*. Feel free to tag me again in hopes the next list will be a bit more interesting and I would've read most of them ;)

I'm tagging 

I'm warning: I am too lazy to check whether you guys already did this, so you might've...

Christina @ Christina Reads YA
Ashley @ Noze Graze

My list of books to you:
1. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
3. Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
5. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
6. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
7. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
8. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stifvater
9. Ruby Red by Kerstin Geir
10. Being Jamie Baker by Kelly Oram

I would actually love to make this a thing - so tell me about cool tags. I don't think I have to be tagged to do them, so long as I tag others at the end, so don't be shy about it! 

December 26, 2014

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler 
Source: bought hardcover
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: May 21st 2013
Age Group: Young Adult
When all signs point to heartbreak, can love still be a rule of the road? A poignant and romantic novel from the author ofBittersweet and Twenty Boy Summer.
Jude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious heartbreakers. She’s seen the tears and disasters that dating a Vargas boy can cause, and she swore an oath—with candles and a contract and everything—to never have anything to do with one.
Now Jude is the only sister still living at home, and she’s spending the summer helping her ailing father restore his vintage motorcycle—which means hiring a mechanic to help out. Is it Jude’s fault he happens to be cute? And surprisingly sweet? And a Vargas?
Jude tells herself it’s strictly bike business with Emilio. Her sisters will never find out, and Jude can spot those flirty little Vargas tricks a mile away—no way would she fall for them. But Jude’s defenses are crumbling, and if history is destined to repeat itself, she’s speeding toward some serious heartbreak…unless her sisters were wrong?
Jude may have taken an oath, but she’s beginning to think that when it comes to love, some promises might be worth breaking.
I'm going to admit something: I decided I wanted this book purely because of the cover. The fact the synopsis sounded appealing... well, that was just a bonus. But I am not ashamed of this. I am not ashamed of it at all, because it made me read this book. and this book... THIS BOOK, you guys.

This book is hella emotional, and it deals with the hard, painful subject of early onset Alzheimer's, which is on itself a subject not discussed enough in literature, in my opinion. But it's not a tearjerker, even though it will make you cry. Why? Because you don't feel like this book is trying to make you cry. You don't feel like the whole purpose of it is to wrangle your emotions and make you an emotional mess. And that makes it all the more powerful, to me.

It shows you the truth, reality, in such an honest and upfront way, and that reality is painful, and it is hard, yes. But it balances the hard. It balances it with the good, and the romantic, and the familial. This book, it doesn't try to bring you down with it. It tries to push you up. To give hope, where a situation is hopeless. To show us it's not the end.

It does so through Jude, and her journey dealing with this Demon that's eating through her father.

She's just finished high school, and instead of enjoying her last summer, she is home taking care of her father. I loved this girl, and her voice. She was funny, emotional, real and very much her age - she still had that naivety and awkwardness we all have at her age. She feel like I did two years ago (and I still feel like this sometimes).

But she also grew tremendously throughout the story. She learned a lot about life, about human nature, about love and independence. About family and standing up to them. I loved watching her evolve and grow.

Than we had Emilio Vargas. Naturally, he's the love interest, and I think he is definitely worth some swooning. He is not a bad boy, despite what the synopsis might hint. He is actually just a kind, nice, motorcycle loving guy, which I loved. You get the nice hot guy with an edge. And Jude sees that, which makes the whole swore-not-to-get-involved-with-a-Vargas deal extremely difficult.

Though, I did think the whole 'I betrayed my family' deal was a bit over-the-top. Her sisters are grown women - they should know better, and act better. I would've liked to hear more, too, about what happened in the past. It's never fully explained - and I was interested. This is really the only reason I didn't give the book a full 5 stars.

However, this really doesn't matter. The synopsis doesn't lie when it tells you this is a "poignant and romantic novel", and if that sort of thing is anywhere near your thing, you should read this book ASAP.

Ps. even if this isn't your thing, you should read this book just for the pleasure of meeting Pancake the dog and his obsession with bunnies. Just saying.


December 25, 2014

Thursday Oldie: On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves

On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves
Source: bought paperback
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: Aug 16, 2012
Age Genre: Adult
Originally published: July 14, 2013
When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family's summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day.
T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He's almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn't bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family - and a stack of overdue assignments -- instead of his friends.
Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.'s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island. Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter.
Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.'s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.

I can't--how will I--I just--okay. *Takes a deep breathe*. Give me a second here, this book makes me a little crazy. *pulls herself together* Alright, I'm ready. I can do this. Let's start.

I started On the Island one day at midnight. I was having a slight case of insomnia, and wanted to pass time a bit and maybe tire my brain out so I could sleep. I had no idea what I was getting into, because this book was un-put-down-able. Once I started, it was a race to the finish line, and at 16 minutes past four a.m, I flipped the last page of the book. But if you think this is where it ended, you're wrong - I proceeded to be plagued by the characters of this story throughout the night, and the following weeks and months. They just wouldn't let go

For me, this book is pure magic

T.J and Anna go through one hell of an ordeal, but everything that happens on the island... everything that happens between them, was just magical. Some of their adventures had a fairytale feel to them, while still being realistic. 

My heart broke more times than I am comfortable with throughout the book, but never for the same reason. There were just too many feels attacking me. From all directions. All at once. And I lost. 
On the Island doesn't describe a situation that takes a few days to resolve, or even a few months. At the end of things (if I don't consider the freakin' amazing epilogue), the book spans about four and a half years. That on its own is pretty unique, especially considering the horrifying epidemic of insta-love in literature.

The way the book moved, we'd sometimes jump a year in time just because on the island, nothing changed. Everything is the same, an inescapable routine, until the next hurdle comes along to punch you in the face and put your life hanging in the balance. Or, occasionally, bring something amazing to you.

And personally, I thought that was the perfect way to handle the long period the book covers.

And the characters? God, don't get me started. They were simply incredible. Anna and T.J both felt so real, and each held a unique voice. 

Watching T.J grow and became a man on the island was such an overwhelming experience, because you can really see it happen, right in front of you. He was always a kid who knew how to adapt, a kid who knew death, but somewhere along the way, T.J becomes the rock that holds him and Anna afloat. And he is a very swoon worthy rock, I'll tell you that.

Anna is both strong and weak, but that's part of who she is. She cries easily and get scared a lot, but she can hold her own and can and will fight for the her life and T.J's. She takes care of what's hers. Actually, I think that's the best description for her - a caretaker. She is not a kickass heroine and don't expect her to be one, but I for one didn't begrudge her that for a minute.
And the romance between them?
Hold your horses, folks. Don't get all crazy about the age gap thing. Chill. Yes, there are thirteen years between them, and it sounds disturbing when you hear it, but it's really not, for a few reasons.

First, we never got to see T.J as a 'kid'. When we meet him, he is already mature beyond his years because of the illness he overcame. By the time he leaves the island, he is easily as old as Anna mentally. He's a full grown man. And because we spend half the book inside his head, we know and feel this fact better than anyone.

Second, they're meant for each other. Pure and simple.

The island drafted an unbreakable bond between these two. They saw the absolute best and absolute worst in each other. They know each other on the deepest level possible. First, they become best friends. After that... well, you can't go through such an ordeal and leave without a mark. Their mark is love. 

And, trust me, you'll fall together with them, and you will not be able to fault them for a minute. So don't let the words "age-gap" deter you from giving their life story a shot. 

I know it's crazy to speak of a fictional story as if it's real, but I kind of feel like the entire crash was done by god to give these two a chance, because otherwise they'd have never come together and maybe married the wrong people. I know, I know, it's strange, but...
Last thing I feel like I have to mention is the epilogue. I think it was probably the most fantastic epilogue I've ever read. At the top of my top ten, anyways (as is this book in general).

And if all of my hysterical gushing isn't enough to get you to read this book, I genuinely have no idea what will - but I feel sad you'll never experience this intoxicating story. That you will never let it engulf you. This is a mesmerizing debut, and I cannot recommend it enough.


December 23, 2014

Bookish Discussion: All That Drama

So, today I want to discuss with you contemporary romance series, and share what types I read and what type I don't on the most basic level.

As a rule, I don't read those kind of series that deal with the same couple throughout all the books. I cannot get enough of standalone series, and I enjoy them immensely but once I see the couple's story is not finished in that first installment... I'm put off. It's has stopped me from one clicking a freebie more than one time. 

Why? Because it means said couple just has to go through a TON OF DRAMA to hold more than one book. There are always going to be annoying issues, or misunderstandings, or popping secrets (or exes) or suddenly one will decide he's not good enough for the other after three books of being together just to sustain the interest of the reader...
I can't stand that. I rather know the HEA is going to be coming at the end of the book, and not a massive cliffhanger or a new pile of issues.

In fantasy series, there's usually a bigger plot arc that holds the story, allowing the couple to have less drama and more time in between, so I'm not only fine with one couple being the center of all books - I'm all for it. Especially if it's slow burn and develops over time, allowing me to really believe in the fiber of my bones that the two should be together. Same goes for mysteries and the likes; there's usually something else going on, so the couple needn't suffer from meaningless anguish.

But contemporary romances series? just LOTS OF SHIT going on, all the time. The couple is usually never happy for long, which tires me fast.

So I stir clear of all that.

What about you? Do you love same-couple based contemproray series, or are you like me - preferring standalones or standalone series?


December 19, 2014

The Emperor's Edge by Lindsay Buroker - a Gifed Up Review

The Emperor's Edge by Lindsay Buroker
Series: The Emperor's Edge #1
Source: Free Kindle Copy
(still free at the time of writing this review!)
Publisher: Indie
Publication Date: Jan 1st, 2010
Age Genre: Adult (no sex)
Check out my reading process here!
Imperial law enforcer Amaranthe Lokdon is good at her job: she can deter thieves and pacify thugs, if not with a blade, then by toppling an eight-foot pile of coffee canisters onto their heads. But when ravaged bodies show up on the waterfront, an arson covers up human sacrifices, and a powerful business coalition plots to kill the emperor, she feels a tad overwhelmed.
Worse, Sicarius, the empire’s most notorious assassin is in town. He’s tied in with the chaos somehow, but Amaranthe would be a fool to cross his path. Unfortunately, her superiors order her to hunt him down. Either they have an unprecedented belief in her skills… or someone wants her dead.
You guys, let me tell you of this little hidden gem. According to Amazon, I one clicked The Emperor's Edge on September 28th, 2012. That was before I had any form of e-reader. All I had was the free PC kindle app, and a trigger happy finger for freebies because I was so stoked by the idea of getting to read a book legally for free.

'Course, I am still trigger happy for that, but I am a little more reserved - only getting books I truly think I'm going to enjoy. Thing is, I didn't do this filtering process back at 2012. And so I ended up with a TON of books that I just... left hanging. This was one of those, until I saw some very strong recommendation for this book (and series) by my friends Ellen and Sierra (you should follow them, they're totally awesome).

So, I read it. And guess what? I LOVED it! 

The best thing about this book is hands down the characters, though hell if I know how to pronounce their names!

In a militaristic empire in an unknown world, lives Amaranthe, a young female enforcer where women warriors are highly unusual. But no matter how much people may look down at her, Amaranthe knows what she wants - and it's not to be a business woman or a housewife. She's a protector, through and through. And possibly an adrenaline junkie... *shrug*
She's a stickler for details (actually, kind of verges on OCD), she's serious and.... how did Sicarius coin it?... focused. In other words,
Seriously, the girl isn't even a great warrior or anything, but she's just so badass she's Queen! And she managed to remain  female despite that! 

Then there's Sicarius - aloof, poker faced Sicarius... a deadly assassin who moves like a shadow. You never see him strike, and he is cold and emotionless. For the most part. Naturally, there's more to the ruthless killer, and anyways, my strong opinion on Sicarius could be summed pretty neatly by the following gif: 

As for these two together... 
Oh yeah, you guys. I ship it... I ship it bad. If you're a fan of slow-burn romances, of these couples that drive you crazy and make you shake the book and chant "just kiss!" at it, those couples you know will be just so EPIC if they would just kindly decide to smooch, get married and have beautiful children please because IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK FOR!?.

Then you'll love this series, for sure. 

Aside for these perfect two, we've got an occasionally functional gang with tendencies toward violence that consists of a hilarious ex-heir turned male escort, a drunk professor, and a magical punk. All lovable, all added to the story, all deserving of hugs and love.

Truly, this book is just so much fun. It's epic adventure, with dire mission and high stakes, and death (though, I admit, the reason this book is not a 5 star is that I felt death was handled a bit too offhandedly) but it's has such a light comedic tone to it that makes it so readable. It doesn't depress you, like a lot of epic adventure stories do. 

I truly recommend you go get and read this one, you guys. It will literally cost you nothing!


December 12, 2014

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Series: Seraphina #1
Source: Bought hardcover
Publisher: Random House
Age Genre: Young Adult
Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.
Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

I adored Seraphina. It's been a while since I've read any good "dragon" book, and I love them as a creature. Fire breathing, treasure hoarding, deadly, beautiful winged-scaled animals? What could be better?! Maybe this is also good time and place to ask you guys on suggestion for other good dragon books.

But I digress.

Seraphina is a wonderful heroine. She is so fleshed out, that she is right there in front of you. You could almost touch her. She is a brave, smart young lady, filled with insecurities and self doubt and self hate. But she never lets it stop her, and you feel her pain as strongly as if it were your own.

Alongside Seraphina we have a great cast of side characters, from the headstrong and sometimes silly princess (but don't let that fool you - she's a sharp one) to the adorable Dragon uncle Orma, to the music master, and the cast of grotesques (of whom we will hopefully see a lot more in the sequel).

Oh, and let's not forget the prince.
Kiggs is a prince. He is also a bastard, and the head of the Guard. He was smart, sweet and loyal to a fault. He is perceptive and once he makes you his friend, you'll be hard bent to shake him off. Not that you'll want to, really.

His and Seraphina's relationship was an interesting one. It progressed slowly, but surely, and I feel like we just touched the tip of the iceberg of what these two could become, despite love declarations already made. It feels to me like this could become an epic love, but it's not there yet.

But, get this, the most interesting part of this book is not any of that. The best part of this book is easily the dragons and the world - here, dragons are something like autistic people. They're analytic, logical, and seem to lack emotions - and an understanding of them. However, as much as people claim them "soulless", they are far from that. At least the dragons we meet in Seraphina.

The ideas behind this book are so intriguing and create one heck of a setting. Of which I'm actually thirsty for more. I can't wait to revisit this world in the next book!

The only "downside" of the book may be in the action department, which I felt was a bit lacking. The book was never dull or boring, but it wasn't action filled. Even the exciting parts were usually done or solved in talking. So don't expect any epic sword-fighting. And while this didn't bother my enjoyment of the book at all, I do feel this may relate to why the book also lacked that WOW moment that blows you away.

But even without that wow moment, this is a wow book, for me. I'll eat the hat I'm not wearing if I don't read the next book as soon as it comes out.

The Turbulence Journey to Getting Seraphina
And I'm going to digress again, this time on purpose, because the story behind how I finally got my hands on the book is one I need to tell. On July, I ordered the book from Amazon. Their shipping is normally too expensive for me, but I wanted the purple cover too much, as I'm not a fan of the black&white one. From experience, Amazon shipments get here in about two weeks, despite their month and a half expectation date. 

But two weeks flew by, then a month, then a month and a half. And still, I waited. The delay could be on my side, after all. We did have a sort of war going on for a while there. Fast forward another month and a half, and I know the book isn't going to get to me. Other orders have reached me, and three months is enough of a wait. So I sent a message to Amazon, after a frustratingly long time trying to figure out how to do that - it wasn't in any convenient/obvious place.

But finally I did. Maybe a day later, I got a reply. They put a new order for me, with the best shipping they had, which was unexpected. I had hoped for a new shipment, but didn't expect the extra mile. Three days later, the book was here. Three days!

Well done, Amazon! Well done.

December 5, 2014

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Series: The Ascendance Trilogy #1
Source: bought paperback
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: Feb 1st, 2013
Age Genre: Young Adult
Choose to lie...or choose to die.

Four boys, one treacherous plan, an entire kingdom to fool...
In a faraway land, civil war is brewing. To unify his kingdoms' divided people, a nobleman named Conner devises a cunning plan to place an impersonator of the king's long-lost son on the throne. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant and clever boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner's motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword's point -- he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner's sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of duplicity and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.
When I started reading The False Prince, I wasn't sure of it. It took a while for me to truly become immersed in this story, but once I did, it didn't let go. I had to know what happens next, who will live and who will die and how does Sage gets out of this mess?

Speaking of Sage, I love him as a main character. He is a flawed, brave, sharp-tongued, clever, headstrong boy. His positive qualities overweight his bad ones by a hair, which makes him so human and lovable. Though, he is clearly something special.

Next to him is a cast of interesting characters, from the two other boys - Tobias and Roden, who fought for my affection and my hatred throughout the whole book, Imogen, whom I honestly loved, Mott, Connor's loyal right hand (love you dude!), and Connor himself, who I kept second guessing about.

This book is filled with that - second guessing, I mean. You are never quite sure who's in the right and who's in the wrong. Who you can trust and who you can't. Who will be an ally and who would be an enemy. And I loved it.

I loved that the big twist - though I guessed it from literally the first moment - wasn't obvious. It was actually very underhanded, very subtly hinted at. And the book never failed to surprise me in regard to everything else. 

I thought everything was beautifully done.

The style of writing - and honestly, story - strongly reminded me of The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, one of my absolute favorite books. So I highly recommend this book for fans of Turner.

I don't think I'll get the chance to read the sequels any time soon - I have to order them, and I don't know if I've told you, but I'm starting my mandatory services in the army, so I might not have time, but I swear to god I will do it the first chance I get because I just have to know where this is going from here.


December 4, 2014

Thursday Oldie: Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

So as you guys know, I just moved here. And that means my old blog now lies abandoned... alongside all my old reviews. But because I feel like some of them don't deserve such an awful treatment, I'm going to slowly move my favorite reviews here, especially if my opinion differs than Megs. (though some editing may occur, as I'm a little OCD about my reviews, and the older they originally are, the more likely I am to have things I want to rephrase). 

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
Source: hardcover version
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Publication Date: Apr 1, 2014
Age Genre: Young Adult
Originally published: May 26, 2014
Embrace the Forbidden
What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?
This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.
Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She's aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn't until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He's the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.
Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

This week, I felt like bringing back a not so old oldie of one of the best books I've read in 2014.
Love Letters to the Dead is a poignant, touching, beautiful story of coming to terms with death and growing up. Of finding yourself among the wreckage and accepting that person on all her faults--even coming to love her. To love yourself.

For me, this is one of those books I'll recommend in a heartbeat - no matter what type of books you like.

Laurel, the teenage girl telling the story, is trying to deal with her sister's death. She does so by writing... to dead people. About everything that happens to her, and everything that has happened in the past. May, Laurel's sister, was almost a part of Laurel. She was so closely tied to Laurel's identity, to who Laurel wanted to be, that without her, Laurel is not sure who she is anymore.

Her journey is an emotional one. One that will make you emotional on the way. She grows tremendously throughout the book, to the point where she stops trying to be someone else and just becomes herself. And herself is good enough. Herself, to me at least, was beautiful.
"You learned right away that applause sound like Love"
-- Love Letters to the Dead, p. 9
And not just by who she is, but by how she thinks and how she writes, which is - in short - gorgeous. Laurel's thoughts are so beautiful and often laced with such stunning poetry. From the first pages I found myself stopping to frame a quote in my mind. Then, eventually, I went and made sure I had a notebook right there on the bed so I could just write them all down. One day, when I own my own house and be free to decorate it, I would hang up quotes from books on the walls. And a good few of them will be from this book.
"Like a boat swimming over the dark asphalt surface of the earth"
-- Love Letters to the Dead, p. 9
Side note: we learn a lot about those dead people through her letters, which I found completely endearing. I now know a lot about artists and famous figures that I never did before!

Aside for Laurel herself, we've got a great supporting cast, and quite a few interesting side stories.

First, we've got Natalie and Hannah, Laurel's new friends. Both these girls are cool and wild, but I admit - at first I wasn't too sure about them! I mean, they made Laurel skip school, drink, flash people... It all seemed to me so far away from my own high school experience - and such a bad influence! But then we stopped this shallow introduction, and moved on to their real story - and that one I loved. Adored even. It's one of those side stories you eagerly wait to see what happens next with.
"I think Hannah must be afraid like I get afraid, the way I did when I heard the river yesterday, the way I do when I don't even know what the shadow is, but I feel it breathing."
--Love Letters to the Dead, p.99
Then there were Tristan and Kirsten. This is the bad boy x good girl love story... only we come into the story after he's been converted into a one gal kind of guy. And I did love them. I kind of want a book just for them, for what happens after this story.

And then, there's Sky. Laurel's love interest, and I really liked him. I don't think I got to know all of him, himself, deeply, because we didn't get to hear much of his past, but we did get to know the person he is - kind, caring, a bit messed up. However, maybe contrary to popular belief, the romance is not a huge part of the book, it's not the crux of it. It's something that accompanies the story, something that is tied in it and empowers it. It's part of how Laurel learns to like herself, but it's not the main story line and it doesn't overpower the actual story. I heart it!
"If beauty is truth, and truth is beauty, they are defined by each other, so how do we know the meaning of either?"
--Love Letters to the Dead, p. 110
And the last is... May, herself. While she is dead, May is very much a living character in the story. And her story is a sad and tragic one, but also one I loved reading about, despite everything.

This is one of these stories that I loved enough to become extremely sad when I see people not like it. It's a book that demands to be felt, and when it's not... it makes me really sad. Like, really.