Someone I Wanted to Be by Aurelia Wills
*I received this book for free through Netgalley from Candlewick, but this in no way affects my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*
Synopsis: When an insecure teen starts impersonating someone else, her life spirals dangerously out of control in a realistic, relatable novel about finding yourself—and discovering your true friends.
Leah Lobermier dreams of becoming a doctor, but it’s hard to stay focused on getting good grades when boys make oinking sounds at her in school and her mother spends every night on the couch with a bottle of wine. Leah’s skinny and popular "friends," Kristy and Corinne, aren’t much better and can hardly be counted on for support. When the girls convince a handsome older man to buy them beer, Leah takes his phone number and calls him, pretending to be Kristy—coy and confident—and they develop a relationship, talking and texting day after day. But as the lie she created grows beyond her control, can Leah put a stop to things before she—or Kristy—is seriously hurt?
Review: Someone I Wanted to Be was not exactly one of my favorite reads. Although some points were enjoyable overall I was not given that kind of endless pull to read it or continue reading. I found Leah to be quite a likeable character but without the correct plot I just never connected with anything. It was like one of those movies you would watch at the theater and just sort of forget about.
I have to say that the ending was the most disappointing for me. It wasn't meant to be a cliffhanger (I don't think) but it left me asking ' what just even happened?' I was just clicking between pages on my kindle completely lost. Not very appealing.
My only liking to this book was that it really did touch on the teenage feel of life and some life problems and challenges which are clearly not easy to face or bring to the public eye. I liked that Leah was not just viewed as a 'fat' girl, but, to the reader, we could see all the troubles she faced whether it was at home, school, or with friends, Leah really did have a lot to go through which was really the biggest reason I finished the novel, to see if she could overcome her problems.
Overall everything felt too mediocre/ not attention grabbing which left me quite sad. However, feel free to pick this book up if a relaxed read is what you're into the mood for!
Favorite Quote(s): "I was a kid again. I was playing hideandseek with the whole world."
"The streetlights looked like burning matches sticking out of the sidewallk."
"I was alone. It was so familiar."
"no more kittens or puppies. They'd all grown up and run away."
NO SHAME.... yes I bought more books (THIS IS ACTUALLY TWO (and a half) HAULS PUT TOGETHER)
to be fair I have very few books compared to the rest of the bookish world (bloggers, bookstagrammers, etc.)
So let me just show you guys what I ordered! (and pretty much some books that will be reviewed in the future)
Let me know in the comments which books you've read or want to read!
The Brilliant Light of Amber Sunrise by Matthew Crow
Synopsis:"A poignant and unexpectedly funny novel about Francis - one of the best and bravest teenage boy narrators since Adrian Mole. This is an emotionally honest story about wanting the very best from life, even when life shows you how very bad things can be.
Francis Wootton's first memory is of Kurt Cobain's death, and there have been other hardships closer to home since then. At fifteen years old he already knows all about loss and rejection - and to top it all off he has a permanently broke big brother, a grandma with selective memory (and very selective social graces) and a mum who's at best an acquired taste. Would-be poet, possible intellectual and definitely wasted in Tyne and Wear, Francis has grown used to figuring life out on his own.Lower Fifth is supposed to be his time, the start of an endless horizon towards whatever-comes-next. But when he is diagnosed with leukaemia that wide-open future suddenly narrows, and a whole new world of worry presents itself.There's the horror of being held back a year at school, the threat of imminent baldness, having to locate his best shirt in case a visiting princess or pop-star fancies him for a photo-op . . . But he hadn't reckoned on meeting Amber - fierce, tough, one-of-a-kind Amber - and finding a reason to tackle it all - the good, the bad and everything in between - head on.In Bloom is a bright, funny, painful and refreshing novel about wanting the very best from life, even when life shows you how very bad it can be. It is a novel about how to live. "
Review: Amber Sunrise is an absolutely brilliant, funny, and wonderful girl, but this book was, unfortunately, not up to par for me. This novel follows the stereotypical plot of a cancer ridden teen (aka a similar plot to what most people would know as The Fault in Our Stars). However, don't get me wrong I actually do love a good stereotypical YA novel! I just didn't find this novel to grab my interest as well as others do.
After reading so many novels, most readers have that same sense as to when you watch a scary movie and you just want to scream, "DON'T OPEN THE DOOR!", but with romance and life issues instead of bloody murderers delivering pizza. In a sense everything felt too predictable for me.
My favorite part of the novel is mainly the character development. Francis is definitely a brave soul, and after facing cancer it's clear he can handle a lot (like his dad!). It is strange however, that even in a first person narrative of Francis I feel like I almost understand Amber better. Amber is a great inspiration for people to have and she just always seems to have this spunk and eternal optimism to her. Francis's family is also such a great group of people. I found it so kind of them to be there for him so much, especially his mother who really worked so hard for him that her own life had to be put on pause until he got better.
One more thing I wish was expanded on more was the cancer itself. There was a lot of mentioning of days in bed, but it almost seemed to completely push away the pain of cancer to the side. It was strange to read this novel seeming as if cancer is just a lack of hair and going to the restroom at night to puke. Yes, this is just a YA novel so clearly all the details won't be found in the book, but it was just something I thought could be portrayed more accurately.
I could almost see this becoming a better movie than it is a book. The scenes that float in my mind seem to wish to see more detail of what's actually going on than just the words that are in the book. (this is just my opinion however.)
Favorite Quote(s): "She was designed for color and movement. She was not a girl born for the click of the camera's lens. No device could capture her, the way she was, the way she was meant to be. She was not born to be still or stationary. WIthout her color she was broken, a faulty image that could never be fixed. Without her voice she was nothing."
" 'Do you know the best things about stars?' 'What?' 'They're all dead, but we can still see them. When we look up it's like we're looking up at a million different memories, a million different versions of something that sued to be. That's not romantic either; it's just science.' 'It is a bit romantic,' I tried to argue. 'No, it's not,' she said. 'It's real, and that's what's important.' "
It's Thanksgiving here for us in America and I would like to take this chance to just let you guys know of things I am thankful for:
1) YOU - Thank you for all the support and amazingness (you deserve everything you've ever dreamed of)
2) the bookstagram community - If you are from the bookstagram community THANK YOU SO MUCH because you guys might be some of the nicest and most positive people I have ever met!
3)Family and Friends - They probably won't see this, but thanks for being there for me all the time (even when I'm weird) it means a lot!
4) BOOKS- ahah no explanation needed
5) animals - I really want a dog in my life (or a cat no judgement)
6) book fandoms- It's really crazy to think that even when you don't know someone you can both be Harry Potter fans or love SJMaas. (I LOVE IT)
7) Food- seriously though, it's great you should try it sometime
8) EVERYTHING- It can be hard to believe, but I really am SO grateful for all that I have, because not everyone is as fortunate. The chance that this small teen (me) can find such an amazing group of people with the same passion is something that only happens in our world and I'm so thankful to be living in this time and I can't wait to see where we grow from here. I'm also so grateful for a roof over my head, clothes, food, and the fact I can keep on growing my small book collection with a group of amazing people. Again, thanks so much!
Let me know in the comments what you are thankful for!
The Missing Crimoire by Robin Puelma
Title: The Missing Crimoire
Author: Robin Puelma
Series: Standalone (I believe?)
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher:Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Rating:★★★★☆ (If I were younger)
★★★☆☆ (2.5 for young adult readers)
*This book is written by my english teacher's friend but this will not affect my honest review (first time I ever wrote that)*
Synopsis:"Twelve-year-old Luke Cedrus lives in the most un-magical place (an adoption ward), under the authority of the most un-magical person (Mrs. Hall), believing only un-magical things happen to him (detention). Until one night, Luke discovers he is anything but un-magical. He is a keeper of magic. The one thing Luke wants in life? Family. With his new magical powers, he's convinced he can have just that.
Or can he?
Immediately, life flips upside-down as in one night, he must escape from the ward to save his life and learns that his mother is dead and his father is wanted for the murder of a powerful keeper.
Now, engulfed by his new magical surroundings, Luke faces ridicule and ultimate danger for the actions of his father. Plus, after discovering an evil keeper's secret plot to dominate keepers everywhere, Luke is thrust into an adventure well beyond his years.
It'll take the help of his new friends, magical key, and sheer belief in himself to tackle the terrors facing the keeper world. And discover what family truly means."
Review: This review will be slightly different because I could see my younger self really enjoying this whereas older readers may not. I'll start off with what my younger self would say.
This book was A BLAST. There was action, magic, drama and everything you needed in a book! The key idea was really cool! I also really enjoyed Luke's character, background story and his entrance to his new life. His race to stop evil was full of adventure, mischief, friendship, and family. There were many plot twists (I'm assuming my younger self probably wouldn't be able to predict anything..) that I couldn't see coming! I would really recommend this book to anyone who loves magic and adventure!
As an older reader, I found this book way too similar to Harry Potter. Luke, the main character, lost both his parents got sent into a magical world in practically a split second. There he befriended a boy and a girl and there were magical competitions involving lakes and his famous blood helped him through a lot. There was even a boy who hated him for his father and his blood... (Malfoy pretty much). However, even with this slight problem and this book clearly being aimed towards younger readers, I have to say that I did want to finish this book! Yes, it would have been better reading this book a couple years back, but it wasn't a bad read even now.
I also found this book very predictable, again a problem that I probably wouldn't have faced if I read it a couple years back, but I was pretty much able to predict the two largest things that would happen by page 100 or before.
Overall, I really would recommend this book to younger readers, but even as an older reader I found the urge to keep on reading. As you can see I have two ratings one for younger readers and one for older readers!
Cover: ★★★★★ (cool art!)
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
Synopsis:"The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.
Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: An ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry—except for one.
Christian Kane is a notorious playboy—insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life.
When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though—swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them . . ."
Review: This book is great read for the summer (ahh summer is almost over where has the time gone?!) and although I don't know if it was intentional, this novel was pretty much a contemporary retelling of the Little Mermaid. From the mermaid hunting, seashell necklace, lack of voice, multiple sisters, and a sort of prince charming, this sounds quite familiar no?
I actually read this book all in one day, so I would say that this book is pretty easy to read and get through. However, it wasn't one of the best contemporary books I've read. I just found the romance in this novel to be both unrealistic (because um he was dating someone else and that girl didn't even care?!).
The main reason I took off stars was because of the ending. It just didn't answer to my endless curiosity and because it's a standalone I guess I'll never find out certain things! It did have the main questions answered but others were not (and it was on purpose) but I did not like guessing the ending.
Overall, I did enjoy this book and the way it connected to the Little Mermaid. My favorite part of this novel was Elyse, as a character and her adventure throughout this story. She is actually a twin, (there are so many twins in YA?) and so am I, if you didn't know, so I found a sort of connection with her. Elyse is a girl who was on her way to becoming a famous singer, but tragically loses her voice. It was incredible to see her journey from shying away and into accepting herself. The message this book sent was an inspiring one and I thought that was really great to take away from this novel.
Favorite Quote(s): "There were lots of ways to lose your voice."
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
Synopsis:"The capital has fallen.
The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.
Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.
Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.
Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for."
Review: My heart was throbbing with the amount of feels I got throughout reading this book. Once again, Leigh Bardugo has forced me to actually stop between scenes to just process my feelings and calm my poor heart.
Ruin and Rising really brought this series to a beautiful ending that left me content with what I was given, even though I love the Grisha world so much and don't really ever want it to end. This book may only be a couple hundred pages long, but like Siege and Storm, so much happened. I honestly paused every couple of scenes just to process everything because the plot was amazing and my heart was definitely being stressed out.
In terms of romance, Ruin and Rising does finally put an end to the love triangle and because I don't want to give any spoilers, I will just say that I was incredibly happy with who Alina ended up with. The romance was really built up in suspense throughout this entire book and I liked that because even though I was very much on a certain character's side, the feeling of suspense really glued my attention to the story. PS Alina and her love is now my OTP. Seriously, I get the feels everytime I read about them.
The plot in Ruin and Rising, personally, was the best out of all three of the books. I loved all the plots but I found this one the best due to the many plot twists that I couldn't predict as well as how much Leigh Bardugo was able to fit in so little pages. This book could honestly be made into a two to three hour movie (yea that much happened). I loved that in this novel Alina really found out a lot about herself and all these cool mysteries that always seem to occur. I also loved that there is almost always something happening which can actually be hard to say for many books. Even when I stopped reading I couldn't stop thinking about what was happening and I would say that really means that this book is able to fully capture my imagination. I just could not stop thinking about what was going to happen.
After reading this book I actually really fell in love with Zoya, Genya, and Harshaw. (As well as the character I was rooting for, but I won't say who.) It's strange that after what they've been through the reader is also able to fall in love with characters Alina didn't always like!
PPS: I haven't mentioned in my previous reviews, but I also love the before and after parts of this book. They really get me in the Grisha mood in the beginning and tie up any loose ends to keep me content.
PPPS: Let me know if Genya reminds you of the Selection series?!
If you want a soul touching book, filled with action, magic, and love, this is it! Ruin and Rising and the rest of the Grisha Trilogy is a series I will never forget, because it's just something that won't let you forget it. Seriously, go and pick up Shadow and Bone today to start the series, you can thank me later!
Favorite Quote(s): (can dedications count?) "For my father, Harve -
Sometimes our heroes don't make it to the end."
" 'Beauty was your armor. Fragile stuff, all show. But what's inside you? That's steel. It's brave and unbreakable. And it doesn't need fixing.' "
" In the end, maybe love just meant longing for something impossible bright and forever out of reach."
" 'Maybe you're hungry,' said Zoya. 'I always get mean when I'm hungry.'
'Are you hungry all the time?' asked Harshaw."
"It was stupid. It was dangerous. But Ana Kuya used to tell me that hope was tricky like water. Somehow it always found a way in."
Heartless by Marissa Meyer
*I received a digital ARC of Heartless from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group through NetGalley , but this in no way affected my honest opinion about the book.*
Synopsis: "Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.
Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.
At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.
Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans. "
Review: Heartless was one of my most anticipated reads this year, but although the book was written well I found it somewhat disappointing (but I still didn't take away any stars because it was that sort of bad if you know what I mean). Essentially, Heartless is a twist on Alice and Wonderland, but not in the same way Marissa Meyer twisted many fairy tales for the Lunar Chronicles. You can expect for Heartless to stay a bit truer to Alice and Wonderland and less of a completely different story like her other series.
Although the world itself was not the most interesting part of the book for me (especially since the world of Alice in Wonderland is already SO wondrous) I found myself more attached to the characters and the plot. Catherine in the main character of the book and I actually related to her in many ways (as most parents do have their children's futures in some kind of set path and when I younger I actually wanted to become a baker). Despite my connection to Catherine, I found myself even more intrigued by Jest. Jest was by far my favorite character in the book and before long I was deeply invested in Jest. Like most perfect fictional guys, he was kind and gorgeous, but Jest, being the Joker also had a quick wit and was humorous. My main attraction to the other characters was really the fact that I could tie them back to the original story and find out how Marissa Meyer tweaked them, which was incredibly interesting to look for (almost like Where's Waldo?).
The plot was heartbreaking, beautiful, and well thought out. There is a love triangle (warning for those who don't like the love triangle), but it wasn't really one of the annoying sorts of love triangles. I found the romance to be by far one of my favorite things about this novel and though things didn't go the way I wanted (NO SPOILERS I PROMISE), I still accepted the outcome. The rest of the plot was also incredible and Marissa Meyer really found a way to incorporate the entire world of Alice in Wonderland in a slightly different angle. However, I did find the ending of this novel to be a little to fast for me and I wished that there was more to really help me get through it.
With only minor complaints, (ones that I probably can't really complain about), I found Heartless to be without a doubt one of the best books I have read this year. It also really sparked a love for Alice in Wonderland that I didn't know I had in me! (Seriously! I went and watched Through the Looking Glass after reading this because I didn't want anything to stop!) I would really recommend Heartless to any Alice in Wonderland lovers as well as those who love retellings, fantasy, or romance!
Cover: ★★★★★ (UM FREAKIN' GORGEOUS)
Favorite Quote(s): " 'Perhaps we know each other in the future and you're only remembering backward.' "
"Fascinating, isn't it, how often heroic and foolish turn out to be one and the same."
" 'But hoping,' he said, 'is how the impossible can be possible after all.' "
I was lucky enough to be contacted by Quentin and I received a solar book light in exchange for a review, but this in no way affects my honest opinion about the product.
You can find it here: SOLAR BOOK LIGHT
First of all this light definitely gets ★★★★★'s from me!
I have very light sensitive eyes (bright lights hurt), so the fact that this book light comes with an option of off, half brightness, and full brightness is just AMAZING! Not only that, it can be solar powered or plugged in to be charged, but I do love that this gives people the option to be eco-friendly! (plus I live in Cali, so... solar powered it is!). It also has a bendy neck that allows readers to move the light to wherever they would like. Lastly, this book light is practically weightless, which is amazing! I hate reading off brightly lit screens (phones, laptops, etc.) so this light is so handy to read physical copies, or my kindle late at night. (Plus it's so light I can enjoy a good read right it my bed! I would seriously recommend this light to all readers!
PS: My dad even borrowed this and said he liked it! (So it is father approved lol)
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Synopsis: "Darkness never dies.
Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.
The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her--or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm."
Review: First off, this is the SECOND book of the Grisha Trilogy so don't read this is you don't want spoilers for Shadow and Bone!
Siege and Storm was action packed, so much so that I honestly had to pause a couple times to take everything in. There really was a bit of everything in this novel! I loved the action, adventure, romance, and emotions I experienced while reading this and I have to say that I can't stop thinking about this plot!
Now that the Grisha world was pretty much all set up, Leigh Bardugo really started the whole adventure of Alina vs the Darkling. Alina's struggle with Mal, the Darkling, Nikolai, and saving Ravka is something that is present throughout this novel and really caused a LOT of emotions. Alina really goes through a lot in this storyline whether it involve romance drama to saving the world, Alina has a lot on her shoulders. I love that Alina can make mistakes and that Alina comes from a poorer upbringing because after she is thrust into this new found glory, I just can't imagine would it would of been like if she already came from a higher upbringing.
We are also introduced to Tamar and Tolya, grisha twins whom I LOVE DEARLY (especially since I'm a twin too), but I just found them to be the side characters that really captured my attention. I actually found the characters in this novel to be incredibly unique and I really love them all.. except certain ones (cough Genya couch the Darkling)
This book had more of a focus on the culture of the people now that Grisha world was fully constructed. Although this book had much less world building than Shadow and Bone, SO MUCH HAPPENED ALL THE TIME. I honestly loved that about it! It feel like a plot induced adrenaline high? (if that's even possible because then book cardio could be real) I don't want to give anything away for those who haven't picked up this book yet so let me just say that I laughed, cried, yelled, and probably yelled some more (but mostly in my head ... I share a room ).
If you didn't get any of this review let me just make it known that this book was amazing and everyone should go and read it. (This is not even a suggestion, yeah it's that good).
Favorite Quote(s): " 'You were like a stranger, Alina. Beautiful,' he said. 'Terrible.' "
" 'he just blooms wherever he's planted.'
'I'm more of a weed,' I said drily."
" 'We're giving them hope. That's better than nothing.'
'Spoken like a man who's never had nothing,' "
" 'Fearless is other word for stupid.' "
" 'The world is changing,' ... 'We change with it, or there will be nothing left to remember us but the dust.' "
A fan of anything fiction, furry, & fun.