Category Archives: 2015 Read

REVIEW {45} THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING

The Beginning of Everything
By: Robyn Schneider
Published By: Katherine Tegen | August 27th, 2013
Edition: EBook | Library Loan
My Rating: 2.50/5.00 | Goodreads Rating: 3.82/5.00
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?

Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.

LIKES
  • How Ezra changed over the course of the novel.
  • Toby’s character. He didn’t let his personal tragedy ruin his life. He is completely confident in who he is.
  • The writing; Schneider is a good author.

DISLIKES
  • Cassidy Thorpe.
  • Ezra and Cassidy’s relationship.
  • What happens to Cooper.
  • The End.
  • All of Ezra’s old friends – the jocks/song squad.
  • Comparisons to The Great Gatsby.
  • Ezra’s entire book-long Pity Party.
  • Cassidy’s “personal tragedy”.
MY THOUGHTS: Upon initially finishing this book, I gave it a 4 star rating. I couldn’t write the review immediately though, I needed time to digest what I’d just finished reading. Over the past day or two, I’ve decided that this book is not a 4 star for me. In fact, I am bumping it all the way down to a 2.5, which pains me to do. I did find some enjoyment in this story, and I did enjoy portions of it. However, I did not really like or love enough of it to warrant a higher rating.
We start out the book learning about Ezra’s past friendship with Toby Ellicott, and how it fell apart after a day at Disneyland when they were on a roller coaster and someone a few seats up on the train stood up and was beheaded. Toby caught the severed head. This was his ‘personal tragedy’. Throughout the book, Ezra is fixated on tragedy, and how everyone has a personal tragedy that completely changes the course of their life. This was an interesting concept, but ultimately set up the book for Ezra really to just pity himself the whole time.
There are a lot of references throughout the book towards F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. I’ve read the book a couple of times and seen both of the movies, and I must say that I cannot figure out the meaning of it. It doesn’t seem like a parallel to the story, though I can pick out a few things that may seem similar. Ultimately, I think it’s just Ezra’s dog calling him ‘Old Sport‘ in his mind. Or Ezra thinking he is, anyway. 
As the story goes on, I started to enjoy the building of Ezra and Cassidy’s relationship. I really thought that it was going to be one of those epic love stories and that they would save each other. But when I started really thinking about it after I finished the book, I realized that their relationship sucked! First off, Ezra fell in love with her really fast. Which is okay to a point because there were some really cute one-liners about how beautiful she was in his eyes. It felt real and believable. But once they were together and I really got to see how big of a train wreck Cassidy is, it started to go downhill for me.
What I liked the most is how Ezra started seeing that popularity didn’t equal lifelong friendships and loyalty. He lost his friends and girlfriend but gained a group of really great and loyal friends – including Toby, whom he ditched all those years ago. This is a wonderful book when it comes to friendship and realizing that sometimes the people you think are your friends – aren’t. 

WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK? I think that this book would really resonate with some people. It was likeable and had tons of funny and sweet moments while also exploring heavier topics like grief, death, and losing the person that you once were – but finding a new, better version of yourself.

Happy Reading!

REVIEW {44} – SILVER SHADOWS by Richelle Mead

SILVER SHADOWS
Series: Bloodlines – Book #5
Author: Richelle Mead
My Rating: 3.50/5.00 | Goodreads Rating: 4.40/5.00
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.

Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive.

For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him. . . .

Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.


LIKES
  • Sydney and Adrian’s love for each other.
  • Hopper – the dragon!
  • Sydney and Adrian’s relationship status – at the end of the book.
  • How fast paced and full of action this book (and ultimately the entire series) is.
  • How strong the bond of friendship is between Jill, Angelina, Eddie, Sydney, Neil, and Adrian. In a world where dhampirs and vampires do not have relationships (friendship or otherwise) with Alchemists, the way they’ve banded together and the loyalty towards each other is insane!
  • Sydney’s magic. I love this aspect of the book, I truly do!
  • Carly Sage.
  • Rowena.
  • Jill’s bond with Adrian – and her maturity.
  • Jill and Eddie. Please, get together! I’m OTP’ing it! Jeddie? 
  • Diversity in characters and lifestyles.

DISLIKES
  • The Re-education center and the Alchemists.
  • Queen Tatiana’s voice in Adrian’s head. (Curious to see what that’s all about.)
  • Adrian’s negative Spirit attributes.
  • Some parts that seem to lag and drag.
  • The Alchemists. Did I already mention them? I hate them.

MY THOUGHTS: 
*I cannot promise that this is a spoiler-free review. If you haven’t read the first 4 books of the series, I recommend not continuing with this review!*
 I have been obsessed with the Vampire Academy world from the first page of Vampire Academy, and when I found out that there was a spin-off series, it made my little vampire-loving heart leap with joy! So far, I’ve loved Sydney and Adrian’s story, told throughout the Bloodlines series.With  every book, I’ve closed the cover and had the worst book hangover – desperately awaiting the next book to come out.
While I did enjoy the continuation of the story, I felt that this one was just a little stagnant. At the end of The Fiery Heart, Sydney was taken by the Alchemists for re-education, and Adrian is left fighting to find her. But in his spirit-wielding way, Adrian falls back into old habits at the start of Silver Shadows, and Sydney is wasting away in a dark cell, drugged until she admits she sinned, and is willing to undergo re-education to find her way back to the light. She is in this dark place both physically and emotionally – as it was her own sister, Zoe, who betrayed her, and her father who committed her to this place. She leaves her hopes of rescue in Adrian – who is back at Court, after his mother came to get him and bring him back after Jill contacted her. Back at Court, Adrian teams up with Nina – another Spirit user – who joins him in his drinking escapades, and makes sure he gets back to his room. She also has feelings for him.
Mostly, this book just starts to tie up the loose ends from the series, getting ready to end it all in just one more book.
While it ended on a cliffhanger in true Richelle Mead style, I found large chunks of this book leaning towards boring. Even though we get the typical unexpected – like what Sydney and Adrian do in the end – that I can say that I wasn’t expecting AT ALL – for the most part it’s Sydney in re-education, confirming what we already know – that she is a bad ass – and Adrian falling back into old drinking patterns and we follow him around Court while he parties. I don’t feel like a lot happens, which I suppose being the last book before the finale, it can happen. 
I still love Mead’s writing style, and her characters feel like they are really some of my BFFs. Her characters have such depth and emotion that it’s hard not to get invested in them. Even though this was not one of my favorite books in the series, I still fully enjoyed it and I am so sad that when I read The Ruby Circle, that this series will be finished. I don’t think I am ready for that!
Would I recommend it? Obviously, if you’ve read the first 4 books then YES you need to read it!

Happy Reading!

REVIEW {43} THE THORN AND THE SINKING STONE by CJ Dushinski

Hey Bookworms! Today I am sharing with you my review of this paranormal dystopian as my stop on the tour! Continue through the review to the end to enter the giveaway! Leave comments and let me know if you plan on reading this one! Check out the rest of the stops on this book tour HERE.

THE THORN AND THE SINKING STONE
SERIES: Thorn and Dagger Series – Book #1
AUTHOR: CJ Dushinski
RELEASE DATE: March 2015
PUBLISHER: Entangled Teen
MY RATING: 3.00/5.00 Stars | GOODREADS RATING: 3.61/5.00 Stars
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:  Warring families. Forbidden love. And danger they can’t escape…

Daggers. Roses. Cowboys. Boat Men. Survivors of Earth’s Last War, four “families” vie to rule the dreary streets of Rain City through violence and blood. Valencia Hara, Princess of the wealthy Black Roses, is raised in warrior ways with sharpened steel. But she is no ordinary Rose. She is Cursed—tainted with the ability to see seconds into the future…

To avenge his father’s death, Sebastian Leold, of the rival gang Two Daggers, must face off against the Black Princess, he with his dagger, she with her katana sword. Yet a secret from a shared past leaves him unable to kill beautiful Valencia; nor can she kill him. For they once knew each other beyond their blood feud…and they have more secrets in common than they know.

But in a world filled with vengeance and violence, there can be no room for love…

MY REVIEW:  A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The first time that I read the summary for this book; I realized that it was one that I wanted a copy of ASAP.

My first thoughts were that it was a futuristic, dystopian re-telling of Romeo and Juliet – which I see lots of other reviewers saying they thought the same thing – even though this book isn’t marketed as such. Personally, I feel that I’d have picked this one up without a second thought if it had been marketed as such. Romeo and Juliet is one of my fave stories of all time!

The world-building in this story was pretty remarkable. I think that the author had a clearly defined world in her imagination and was able to perfectly portray her visions onto the pages.

I liked the characters too. Each was 3d and able to stand out from the rest. There was such an array of different types of characters too – apart from the main characters that really made this book stand out in its genre.

The writing style was just okay – I don’t think that there was anything that would make it stand out or have me remember it as being incredible.

Would I recommend this book?
Yes, if you love sci-fi/dystopian/paranormal/tragedies. 


Will I continue this series?
Yes, I anticipate finishing the series.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | KOBO BOOKS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  While attempting to navigate life as a responsible human being, CJ graduated from university with a B.Comm and worked her way along as a marketer, copywriter, and graphic designer to earn a paycheck while pursuing her passion for creating fantastical stories set in dark and wondrous corners of the world. Born amongst the wheat fields and open skies of the Canadian prairies, CJ’s imagination has always run wild, taking her on adventures across the world from modeling in Seoul, South Korea to backpacking through Europe and surfing (poorly) in Hawaii.

After wandering through ancient cities and civilizations, learning from diverse cultures, and surrounding herself in new experiences, CJ was inspired and began work on her debut young adult novel THE THORN AND THE SINKING STONE, to be published by Entangled Publishing 2014/15. CJ currently resides in Calgary, Alberta Canada – home of the Canadian Rockies – and keeps one hand on her passport and pen at all times, ready to pick up, see the world, and weave her experiences into stories.

CJ is represented by Marlene Stringer of the Stringer Literary Agency LLC.

AUTHOR LINKS

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook  


GIVEAWAY

 

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Happy Reading!

REVIEW {42} – Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour
By: Morgan Matson
Paperback, 344 pages | Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
My Rating: 5.00/5.00 Stars | Goodreads Rating: 4.06/5.00 Stars
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it’s Amy’s responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn’t ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip – and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar – especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory – but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way.
MY THOUGHTS: There is just something so perfect about a Morgan Matson novel. You can expect awesomeness, and it will be delivered. She manages to do Contemporary Romance perfectly – there’s no insta-love, and her character’s are each flawed and struggling in their own ways. In Epic Detour, we have Amy Curry – fresh off the loss of her father in a car accident that she is convinced was her fault; and Roger Sullivan – who is still reeling from a recent breakup. They are thrown together on a cross-country road tour, and of course, they both get more than they bargained for.
For the past month, Amy has been living alone – her father is gone, her twin brother is in rehab, and her mom picked up and moved to Connecticut – which is the destination of the road trip with Roger. She is horribly depressed, blaming herself – wallowing in a pool of self-pity, and basically has become an empty shell of herself. She’s abandoned all of her friends, including BFF Julia who is officially giving up on her. 
 “The best discoveries always happened to the people who weren’t looking for them.”
Roger is back in California from Colorado, where he attends college, and is heading to Philadelphia to spend the summer with his father. He was dating Hadley Armstrong – the pretty girl who’s M.O. is to leave guys high and dry, with no explanation of why it went bad. She’s basically not a nice girl. But Roger needs closure – and wants her back. He agrees to this road trip thinking he can drive to Colorado and win Hadley back. 
Day One – Amy and Roger decide to throw her mother’s four day itinerary out the window, and make their way from California to Colorado, stopping to see the sights. What they find on the way is more than either thought they’d get.
***
I cannot tell you how much I seriously HEART this book. It is so perfect, well, except for the end – I want MORE! Please, write a sequel, Morgan, I beg of you! I need to know where our characters end up after this. 
  
I picked this book off my shelf looking for a light read, which I did and didn’t get. Sure, there’s the contemporary part of this book, but there are some pretty hefty topics in this book too – death, addiction, breakups, and finding yourself – and your way out of grief and depression. Matson does this is such a wonderful way too, mixing the good with the bad. You can feel Amy or Roger’s despair one second, and the next you’re laughing. It’s wonderful! 
WOULD I RECOMMEND IT? Oh my gosh, YES! In a heartbeat, I would recommend it to any Contemporary Romance lovers looking for a five-star read.
Happy Reading,
Laura