November 7, 2014

Review of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Pub Date: March 25, 2014
Pages: 301

Short Sweet Synopsis: Follows the mysterious lives of the Roux family and their tragic experiences with love. Ava, the newest member of the Roux family, is born with wings adding to their enigma.

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrow of Ava Lavender is a beautiful novel. If you enjoy realistic fantasy and whimsical storytelling then you should read this book. I highly recommend the audio book, I felt like I was listening to someone telling me a modern fairy tale. Even though this book has magical elements, it still has real heartbreak and, just like classic fairy tales, there are some very graphic and disturbing scenes. Honestly, as I am writing this review I am left wanting more of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. I'm pretty over sequels, but I wouldn't mind reading more of the Roux family.

May 28, 2014

Review of "We Were Liars" by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Pub. Date: May 13th 2014
Pages: 240

Short Sweet Synopsis:  Cadence Sinclair Easton, Cady, was in an accident that she can't remember, which has altered her life forever.  No amount of her family's fortune can mend her brain; she will have to find a way to remember on her own, but will she be able to handle the truth?

"We Were Liars" was a wonderful book; I read it in just a few sittings.  I had to know what happened to Cady!  What is Gat's issue?  Why are Johnny and Mirren being so selfish?  My brain was full of these questions and more.  At first, I found E. Lockhart's writing style to be a bit confusing, but I got used to is pretty quickly.  Cady's brain is broken, so how can you expect her narrative to be clear?  I thought Lockhart did a wonderful job of showing us Cady's mental instability.

"We Were Liars" was not just about Cady's personal struggles; it was also about the family dynamic.  Yes Cady's family has more money than I can imagine, but we learn that family expectations and pressures add conflicts that wear down on all its members.  It was awful seeing how the family was, essentially, tearing themselves apart.

By the end of the book I was completely shocked when all was revealed.  I did not see any of it coming.  I would never have guessed what the accident was!  If I had taken time to stop reading and really think about what was happening, I guess I might have been able to figure out some of it.  I was just so entranced with "We Were Liars" that there was no way I was going to put it down!  I was truly caught up in this book and I think that, if you read the book with an open mind, you will too!

May 26, 2014

Review of "Hollow City" by Ransom Riggs

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Pub. Date: January 14th, 2014
Pages: 396

Short and Sweet Synopsis:  The peculiar children have left their island and now must find a way to save Miss Peregrine by exploring time loops with wights and hollowgasts on their tail.

"Hollow City" was a really good book; it had a great plot and interesting new characters.  I especially enjoyed learning about the different time loops.  The book had a good pace and I was constantly worried about the well being of the characters, especially Miss Peregrine.  Would she stay a bird or would the children some how succeed in their impossible quest?  Another aspect of the book that I appreciated was seeing Jacob's peculiar ability develop.

My one criticism of "Hollow City" is that the photographs didn't feel like they added anything to the story.  When "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" came out, I thought the photographs eerily fit the story; however, the photographs in "Hollow City" felt like more of an afterthought.  The pictures in this sequel weren't always good representations of the story or characters.

Overall, "Hollow City" was great!  The photographs were disappointing, but the  story and characters were very intriguing.  There was a twist at the end of the book that I did not see coming and left me craving more.  I will be continuing with this series!

May 9, 2014

Review of "The One" by Kiera Cass

The One by Kiera Cass
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Pub. Date: May 6th 2014
Pages: 323

Short and Sweet Synopsis:  In the third book of "The Selection" series, we finally find out if Maxon will choose America to be his queen!!!  There are also rebels trying to kill people all the time and the small problem of Aspen, America's first love, being a guard in the castle.  Oh the DRAMA!!!

I loved this book so much that I read it in one night! I got into bed expecting to read a few pages and ended up finishing the book.  This was such a great series and I'm happy that it held up from start to finish.

Even though I new how it would end, it didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book.  I just loved the characters and enjoyed seeing what antics they would be up to next.   Whether it was sneaking around the castle, wearing another ridiculous gown, or openly defying royalty;  I just couldn't get enough!

If you are a fan of romance, humor, big dresses, and dystopia;  then this is the perfect series for you!  It doesn't sound like it would be a recipe for a great book, but it's kind of like ketchup and eggs.  Sounds disgusting and an affront to breakfast,  but you eventually try it and find you can't have eggs without ketchup.

I just realized that the series is over and I feel sad.  What will I do without America and Maxon banter?!?!  As I say this, I wonder if it is really over... YA authors are tricky with their series.  There could be more!!!  Maybe I don't have reason to fret!  For the time being, does anyone know of another amazingly hilarious YA couple?  I think I'm going through withdrawal already...

January 21, 2014

Review of "Reality Boy" by A.S. King

Reality Boy by A.S. King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Pub. Date: October 22, 2013
Pages: 368

Short Sweet Synopsis: As a child, Gerald was on a reality TV show where he was named "The Crapper" for pooping all over the place.  Gerald is now a teen with anger issues just trying to survive a life where everyone knows your family issues, or at least they think they do.

"Reality Boy" by A.S. King is an amazing book.  I hate to admit this, but I am a sucker for reality tv.  I like watching shows about people in situations very different than my own.  Many of them I find inspiring or just plain intriguing.  While I know a lot of it is staged and altered, I can get sucked into the stories so easily.  "Reality Boy" describes how damaging these shows can be, especially to children who find themselves being taped 24/7.  I don't watch reality shows that feature children, but this book is definitely going to be in the back of my mind while watching them in the future.

Gerald is a great character with a heartbreaking childhood.  There is much more going on in his life than just being upset about his childhood "stardom" as "The Crapper".  Parts of the book were difficult to read, not just because of what Gerald had to go through, but more so because of the lack of support from his family.

"Reality Boy" is gritty realistic fiction.  I've only read one other book by A.S. King, "Dust of 1000 Dogs", and I HATED it.  I honestly didn't think I would ever pic up a book by her, but after hearing rave reviews of her other books, I finally decided to give her another shot.  I'm so glad I did!  I now see why everyone raves about King and I look forward to reading other books by her.  "Reality Boy" makes it on the list of my favorite books released in 2013, and will be one of my favorite books read in 2014.

Part of the reason I loved "Reality Boy" so much was because it was just the right book for me to read at the time.  Some of the characters reminded me of loved ones, and not all in a good way.