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.' "
Thieving Weasels by Billy Taylor
*I received an ARC from Penguin First Reads, but this in no way affects my review.*
Synopsis: "Skip O’Rourke is dragged into one last con . . . but he doesn’t know the con’s on him in this funny, page-turning debut YA for fans of Winger and Ocean’s Eleven.
Cameron Smith attends an elite boarding school and has just been accepted to Princeton University alongside his beautiful girlfriend, Claire. Life for Cameron would be perfect, except that Cameron Smith is actually Skip O’Rourke, and Skip O’Rourke ran away from his grifter family four years ago…along with $100,000 of their “earnings” (because starting a new life is not cheap). But when his uncle Wonderful tracks him down, Skip’s given an ultimatum: come back to the family for one last con, or say good-bye to life as Cameron.
“One last con” is easier said than done when Skip’s family is just as merciless (and just as manipulative) as they’ve always been, and everyone around him is lying. Skip may have given up on crime, but there’s one lesson he hasn’t forgotten: always know your mark. And if you don’t know who your mark is . . . it’s probably you.
Witty and irresistibly readable, this standout debut will always keep you guessing."
Review: I am slightly sad that this book did not make it up to my full expectations. I had a good mix of mystery, action, and romance, but I couldn't find that spark while reading this book. Although this book was not particularly up my alley, I think that this could be a great read for someone really into mystery and action.
Thieving Weasels had a lot of potential and that is why I liked the core of the novel, but I think it could have been built upon more. There were many scenes I found that went on for too long and other scenes I wanted more of. The characters were all present and had interesting roles, but the confusion and constant conning left me a little lost on all the character development. I found myself very partial to keeping Skip happy (and alive), but I didn't seem to know anyone else well enough to really want to have them have their happily ever after.
The romance was a bit unrealistic for me. I found it practically impossible for them to resolve their issues with just a single conversation. However, I liked that there was romance included in the novel, because a lot of action or mystery novels seem a lot more focused on the mystery/action part. The relationship also helped Skip seem more realistic (even though the relationship didn't seem realistic if that makes sense?).
The plot line was really what kept me reading. I may not having liked some parts of this book, but the plot did have me questioning what the conclusion of this book would bring. There were also many surprises along the way. This book is not something I would usually pick up, but I'm glad I did because even though it didn't become my favorite book I think that this would be a great recommendation for those who love a good action filled young adult novel with hints of mystery!
Favorite Quote(s): "They're a pack of weasels. Who knows why they do what they do?"
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
*I received an ARC from Netgalley but my review is in no way affects my opinion or the content of my review.*
Synopsis: "The first in a new fantasy series from the New York Times bestselling author.
In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.
Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.
Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.
Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?"
Review: Let me just say I am SO grateful that there is more than one book. Nevernight is so much more than a book. It is a journey and a lesson. Nevernight has changed me forever. When I started out reading this book I was more than confused. I was completely and utterly lost. However, before I knew it I was drawn into Jay Kristoff's magical world and I did not want to leave. Mia is one of the most inspiring characters I have ever read about and I think she could be one of the best role models for girls (leaving out the hundreds of kills though of course...).
Mia Corvere is one the most amazing characters I have ever read about. Mia is strong, but with weaknesses that make her feel real. She is the shadows, but so much more. Mia teaches the reader about family, love, friendship, and how to find yourself along the way. Her second shadow, a cat called Mister Kindly, represents loyalty and friendship. Tric is a rare, one of a kind, kind of friendship.
Jay Kristoff creates the most amazing characters and the background behind Mia is even more amazing. However, my favorite part of it all is the perfectly planned plot. Nevernight is full of suspense, action, magic, romance, and twists you never expect. It has everything you have ever wanted and more in just 448 pages.
Again, I must stress how much Mia inspires me. She is like Katniss + Tris + Hermione + (any other amazing female character you can think of) all in one. Mia is the best of friends and the worst of enemies. She is dark and has ghosts in her past, but her future is full of all kinds of people and stories. She is someone I wish could be my best friend, but even if I met her (and made it out alive) it almost feels right that she is alone in solitude with only Mister Kindly. Mia is fearless (really and once you read it you'll get why), but sensible (most of the time), funny in a different/good kind of way, and most importantly good. This seems ironic for one of the best assassin/murderer, but she really is good and it seems almost impossible that someone with her background can still be good. All of this together makes Mia such a strong and ideal idol.
My personal recommendation for this book is to get a physical copy. I received an ebook copy and that is why the footnotes was incredibly hard for me to read, but if you all go out to get a physical copy (available August 9th) it will not only be an AMAZING read, but hopefully an easier one that mine as well!
Nevernight is one of those few books I know I will reread because of the beautiful writing and the gripping plot. (and so should you!)
Cover: ★★★★★ (UM FREAKIN GORGEOUS)
Favorite Quote(s): "No shadow without light, Ever day follows night, Between black and white, There is gray. - ANCIENT ASHKAHI PROVERB CAVEAT EMPTOR"
"People often shit themselves when they die."
"She faded from the world's view, became almost translucent, like a smudge on a portrait of the city's skyline."
"Only a child of ten, and already she knew the color of fear."
"But wrapped up inside her shadows, she crept on, on through the nevernight glare, just a watercolor impression on the canvas of the world."
"Names speak to the namer as much as the named."
"The books we love, they love us back. And just as we mark our places in pages, those pages leave their marks on us. ... You're a daughter of words. A girl with a story to tell."
"The brighter the light, the deeper the shadow."
The Blood Between Us by Zac Brewer
*I was sent an ARC copy ( through a giveaway on goodreads run by Harper) of The Blood Between Us, but this will in no way affect my review. *
Synopsis: "Family secrets turn deadly in this edgy page-turner about the insidious limits of labels and the ties that bind just a little too tightly, from the New York Times bestselling author of the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod.
Growing up, Adrien and his sister, Grace, competed viciously for everything. It wasn’t easy being the adopted sibling, but Adrien tried to get along; it was Grace who didn’t want anything to do with him. When their scientist parents died in a terrible lab fire, there was nothing left to hold them together.
Now, after years apart, Adrien and Grace are forced to reunite at the elite boarding school where their parents were teachers. Being back around everyone he used to know makes Adrien question the person he’s become, while being back around Grace makes him feel like someone he doesn’t want to be.
For as much as Adrien wants to move on, someone seems determined to reopen old wounds. And when Adrien starts to suspect that Grace knows more about their parents’ deaths than she let on, he realizes there are some wounds no amount of time can heal. If Adrien isn’t careful, they may even kill him. "
Review: This book really addresses the new changes of society and the acceptance of LGBT's as well as Zac Brewer himself, a transgender and gay. (PS. The letter he wrote in the beginning of the novel for all his readers was incredibly touching.)
Yes this book talked about family and mystery and communication, but I think one of the main points was trust. Throughout the novel Adrien did NOT trust his sister, Grace, AT ALL, but in a way he didn't trust almost anyone, but progresses to throughout the novel.
I found this book to be a great shorter read (especially since it's AP test time). It was a good book with a bit of everything (action, love, mystery, and drama). The book was just great for something to find yourself in another world with someone else's problems for a while. Adrien had plenty of problems to share.
Adrien and Grace's relationship was sad and yet a little relatable. I have two sisters myself (a twin and an older sis) whom I love, but can hate at moments and that's why I could see Adrien's side of things. It never feels good to be left out. Being a twin is a lot like Adrien and Grace's circumstance because everything needs to be fair and equal or nothing at all. The slight twist is that their equality really set off Grace's fury.
Grace is that person we all love, but hate. She's the girl that got perfect grades but partied every day and never even touched her textbook. It sucks because no matter how much I wanted to see Grace's side of things in the beginning of the book I couldn't due to seeing things through Adrien's perspective. BUT DON'T JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS (like I did) Things aren't always what they seem (Another great point this novel really shows)
Adrien's sexuality. He really went through a lot, but I was glad that there was time for him to figure himself out. Unfortunately a lot of people are against certain sexualities which could even be seen through the peer pressure Adrien faced. This book really advocates for people to be whoever they are HOWever they are, because it's ok.
THE PLOT TWIST. I saw it coming, but not really. I felt in my bones that something would happen, but what actually happened was nowhere close to my radar. SO YEA There was THAT.
This book was very cute. There was a lot of chemistry related with this book so at the start of each chapter there were chem vocab words and definitions which made me laugh. (especially since I'm actually taking chem this year and I've been learning a lot of them). It was pretty cool to see something I learned in this book.
The only problem I had with this book was the ending. I have a couple questions. ( What were on those pages?! ) As well as my dislike for the quickness of everything in the last 1-2 chapters. I felt stranded, because I felt like I had just gotten to understand everything and quickly my world was turned upside down. (otherwise I would have given this book a 5 star)
Overall I really enjoyed reading this book and I would recommend this to anyone in need of a book, but doesn't have a lot of time!
Favorite Quote(s): " 'To think that someone could love someone else so much that they would give up everything for them.'
'It must have been a hard choice to make.'
'When it's love, I don't think the choice is all that hard at all. You just feel it. Even if it scares you. It's just there.' " (pg 230)
" 'So many of the stars are dead before we see them.'
'There's a cheery thought.'
'It's true. The light reaches Earth on delay, and by the time it does, so many of the stars are already gone.' I wondered how quickly all the light in my life would disappear. My parents, my friends, my dreams. My chest felt heavy. 'Kinda makes you wonder why they bother shining at all.' "(pg 231)
A fan of anything fiction, furry, & fun.