Book Reviews, Fantasy, Young Adult

Finally the Finale

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Finale by Stephanie Garber

Read: 8/24/19-9/2/19

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Boy, what a ride. I still remember reading Caraval for the first time and just absolutely falling in love with the world and the characters and now here we are at the end. Stephanie Garber, I love you and this series and your creation so much, this will forever be a favorite series for me.

We’re swept away into more magical places and locations and we get to see more of our characters true nature than ever before and this book was just so satisfying as an ending to this amazing trilogy.

I love both Tella and Scarlett. Everyone always asks which sister I like better, but I don’t know if I could actually answer that question because they’re both amazing in their own ways. I loved that no matter who was narrating, I could tell immediately without even reading the name at the beginning of the chapter because each sister has such a unique voice and feel and I think that speaks volumes on Garber’s ability to write.

Both sisters have gone through so much since the beginning of Caraval and I loved watching their growth throughout the books. Neither of them strayed from who they truly are, but they both came into their own and really grew up over the course of these books and I just adored that growth.

I want to say so much about what happens throughout this book, but maybe I’ll come back to that another time because I would hate to ruin the magic that was this book for anyone.

I loved that this book was so focused on the Fates and their backstory. The concept behind them was so intriguing to me, I’ve always been a sucker for anything that involves fates, gods, mythology, any of that. So that aspect of these books just made me love them that much more.

The ending of this book was perfect, I absolutely love how things were wrapped up and I cannot wait to get my hands on any other series or books Garber writes in the future.


-Laurenxx

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Book Reviews, Young Adult

Apocalyptic Dandelions

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Project Dandelion by Heather Carson

Read: 8/8/19

⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

First of all, a HUGE thanks to the lovely author, Heather Carson, for sending me a copy of this book! I probably would’ve picked this out based on the cover alone if I’d seen it at a bookstore, I’m honestly in love with it. But, onwards with the review!

Trigger warning for this book: rape. (This scene is addressed in the review, so please be aware!)

Okay, so the storyline behind this book was beyond intriguing. I’m all for post-apocalyptic stories and stories that lean on that Lord of the Flies behavior when it comes to groups of kids trying to hack it on their own. BUT, I feel like there was so much to the world that we didn’t get to learn about. I know that it’s only book one, but I feel like if this had been expanded and was a 300+ page novel, it would probably be one of my favorites. It just felt like it needed that bit of fleshing out to really drive some things home.

There was a lot to this book that I did enjoy very much.  I loved the setting, the simple design for their underground bunker and how it functioned for the kids, but again, I feel like there could’ve been some expanding on that as well. This had to have been some long-planned contingency plan, so why were all the kids so out of the loop with any kind of information? I liked that there was legitimate conflict and that things played out in a way that was actually feasible, that’s always one of my biggest pet-peeves when it comes to apocalypse stories, things just play out way too conveniently and that wasn’t the case here.

I honestly liked Katrina as a many character a lot. She stood up for herself and her beliefs and didn’t back down in the face of a bully. The whole group mentality leaning towards those who could make them feel the most secure in the moment really did play out as I would imagine it would, so I definitely appreciated that as well. The side characters were great, but once again, I wanted more from them. Mia and James were probably my favorites after Katrina, but there were several characters I despised and a lot that we really didn’t learn anything about.

The couple things that bugged me: some typos/ misplaced words, which I could get past and I understand, especially with indie books. There was a scene where someone is allegedly accused of attempting to rape a girl. She insists they don’t do anything to the guy, and the guy complains that she was lying, that he went to comfort her, she came onto him, then proceeded to freak out. Either way, it wasn’t really addressed, nothing seemed to come from it, and aside from it causing a fight between two characters, I feel like that could have occurred under different circumstances and that particular part wasn’t needed.

The entirety of this story takes place in only two weeks, and I do feel like some of it was moved a little too quickly, but that just goes back to the fact that I wanted it to be longer. I wanted so much from this book and I feel like I barely got to scrape the surface. I’m fascinated though, and will most definitely be picking up the sequel when it’s released!


What’ve you been reading lately?

-Laurenxx

Book Reviews, Sci-Fi, Young Adult

(Wild)er… Girls.

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Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Read: 7/31/19- 8/7/19

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2

We don’t get to control what hurts us.

Ughhh. I’m honestly conflicted with this book. On the one hand, I did really enjoy the story, on the other, I feel like I walked away with more questions than were answered and that always kinda leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Again, it wasn’t bad, but I also wanted more.

Here’s the one thing that super duper put me off and probably one of the reasons I can’t give it even that 4th star: I didn’t like any of the characters. Any of them. I didn’t find myself rooting for anyone or getting upset when something happened to someone. It was actually surreal as things would happen to characters and I found myself just sort of lackadaisical about each incident.

I found myself uninterested in even finishing the book on more than one occasion, but I pushed through and finished the book and I’m kinda pissed about that. The ending wasn’t really an ending, there are SO MANY things left with loose ends or gaping holes and there isn’t even a confirmed second book that I can see, so I’m left feeling even more underwhelmed.

I did really enjoy the Tox and was happy with how things played out on that front, for the most part. I liked getting to see how it changed each girl, how it affected the animals and plant life on the island. I don’t want to give anything away on the info we receive surrounding the Tox, but I was pleased with that part of the book at least.

The other thing I had a problem with was the fact that, in all honesty, not a whole lot actually happened. There were a lot of flashbacks and chapters that really didn’t progress the story or make a whole lot of difference. It was an interesting read, and if a second one comes out, I’ll read it to get my answers.


Who’s read this themselves? What did you guys think?

-Laurenxx

Book Reviews, dystopian, Sci-Fi, Young Adult

Deviation

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DEV1AT3 by Jay Kristoff

Read: 6/25/19 – 7/9/19

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“Sometimes you don’t know you’ve crossed the line till you’re on the other side.”

Oh boy. It’s hard to believe how quickly everything has progressed for these poor characters. This book really pushed the storyline forward and presented us with even more twists and turns for these poor characters. Right off the bat, we meet some new characters and the way Kristoff manages to weave them into the story so naturally is brilliant.

Lemon. Poor fucking Lemon. She’s gone through hell and back already and yet here she’s tossed around yet again and in for a whole new ride. From beginning to end, Lemon’s chapters were my favorite because I just absolutely adore her and I was always so invested in what was going on with her. She’s such a strong little badass and I just absolutely love her so much.

Zeke. I can’t imagine what’s going on in his poor head. I mean, when it really comes down to it, he’s only had a couple years to learn how to control his emotions. Even if he did it quicker than humans, that’s still leaving him with the emotional control and understanding of a child. And with all the shit he’s gone through, it’s a wonder he’s not bat-shit crazy.

CRICKET. My poor little baby. Not going to lie, Cricket’s POV always made me so sad, it’s honestly hard to have to watch him obey orders and stuff when he really doesn’t want to. But boy does he have some development in this one. So proud of him.

I want to just write about everything that happened and everything I loved and hated, but that would mean loads of spoilers and I’m not about that. All I can say is, no matter how hard I tried to anticipate the next twist, I was never able to guess what was coming next. Kristoff has got a knack of keeping you on your toes until the last page, and always making you want more afterwards. Thank you, Kristoff, for what I’m sure is going to be a horrible book hangover.


 

-Laurenxx

Book Reviews, dystopian, Sci-Fi, Uncategorized, Young Adult

Life-ish

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LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff

Read: 6/16/19-6/20/19

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“Your past doesn’t make calls on your future. It doesn’t matter who you were. Only who you are.”

Guys. I cannot express my love for this book enough. There’s just absolutely no way I can do any sort of justice for this masterpiece. Kristoff, you’ve done it again, damnit. This book was one that I couldn’t put down and that I loved for so many reasons, I just can’t get over it. I will have the absolute WORST book hangover because of this.

This book was a mashup of so many different worlds and stories and through it all, it was one of the most unique and gripping books that I’ve ever read. Guys, this was Mad Max, I, Robot, Alita: Battle Angel, Anastasia, and so many others and I cannot- CANNOT express how much I loved it. I don’t know how Kristoff made it work, but he did. And he made it work so well.

Plus, it was full of beautiful quotes like these:

“Breathing in the ink and feeling all those wonderful lives beneath you fingertips. In between the pages, I’m an emperor. An adventurer. A warrior and a wanderer. In between pages I’m not myself-and more myself than in any other place on earth.”

“It’s simple to love someone on the days that are easy. But you find out what your love is made of on the days that are hard.”

“Your scars tell who you are. Your skin is the page, and your scars are the ink, telling the story of your life.”

And those are just some of my favorites.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? That prologue was absolutely heart wrenching. Kristoff didn’t waste time letting you know this book was going to be a damn tragedy.

“Almost everybody called her Eve”

And boy, did I love our MC. Eve and her fauxhawk had me hooked from the first page. She’s determined, stubborn, and just an all-around badass.

Lemon Fresh. I kid you not, you guys, that’s her name. And I adore her. She and Eve had one of the purest, most refreshing friendships I’ve ever read about in a book. They were sisters in something so far beyond blood and I absolutely loved their friendship.

CRICKET. Cutest little robot in the world. He reminded me a bit of Marvin from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy but only because of the big old head. He was just an absolute delight and I love how much he hated on Ezekiel as they interacted. All I can say is: him fixing the window in the car.

Kaiser. What a good boy. Every good dystopian or sci-fi novel needs man’s best friend, right? The way Kristoff introduced and used the blitzhunds in this novel. SO. COOL. All I wanted to do was give Kaiser a good scratch behind the ears and take him home with me. That dog is TOUGH.
Ezekiel. Gahhh. I honestly feel for him. I don’t want to say a whole lot, so that I’m not giving away any plot points, but I loved him.

The romance wasn’t overdone. The plot moved along at a great pace- it made you want to keep reading and the action scenes were great. The plot, the development, the world, all of it was amazingly well done. I’m thrilled that I waited until the last minute to read this book, because if it wasn’t going to be in my hands on Tuesday, I would be livid. To all of you who read this when it came out and who are also waiting to get your hands on DEV1AT3, I’m so so sorry.


-Laurenxx

Book Reviews, Sci-Fi, Young Adult

Aurora’s Rise

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Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Read 5/11/19-5/21/19

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I mean… will there ever be a book by one of these authors that doesn’t immediately suck me in? Will there ever be a shortage of characters by them that I’m not just immediately in love with? I love this book and everything in it. I love the world. I love the characters. I love… everything.

I don’t know how much any of you guys know about me, but my two biggest loves when it comes to books? Sci-fi and most importantly- SPACE. I’m a huge sci-fi and fantasy person, don’t get me wrong. But there’s something about sci-fi that calls to my inner nerd. And when it happens in space?! Count me in. I love Star Trek. Star Wars. The Orville. Doctor Who. It’s all amazing and I love how much more widely it’s being embraced. But that’s a rant for another time.

THE WORLD. My goodness. This was brilliant. I love the Legion and that we’re at the point in our star-travel that we’re working alongside alien races and the way the squads are structured. One of my favorite things about stories like this is seeing how far along we are in our space days, how far technology has advanced, or how closely we’re working with other species. I loved seeing some of that stuff come to light in this book and I love knowing we’ve got a lot more to learn!

THE CHARACTERS. Each character on the squad was so unique. They all had their own unique voice, and I think that tends to be one of the hardest things to do in a book that switches POV’s quite frequently, but I think that Kaufman and Kristoff pulled it off so damn well, I applaud them for that. I’d love to go into everything about every character and why I loved them so much, but I fear I’d be going on for ages, because there’s lots to love. There’s so much strength to this rag-tag group that you honestly can’t help but love each and every one of them for all they are. Watching the way they come together and how they work when it comes down to their moments to shine, it really was a sight to behold.

THE STORY. I was engaged from the first page. I loved seeing how each scene panned out and this book was really really tough to put down. I may have taken me ten days to read, but I was thinking about this book constantly when I wasn’t reading. This story was action-packed without being too much. There was just enough of the “other stuff” to keep the storyline flowing and your interest piqued. I love/ hate how everything went down at the end, mostly because I was not ready to get that emotional. But I absolutely CANNOT wait for the second book. I can’t wait to see what else awaits our crew.


Who’s read this book and who’s ready for more?!

-Laurenxx

Book Reviews, Fantasy, Young Adult

Curses and Monsters and Magic, Oh My!

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A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Read 3/14/19- 3/30/19

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Yet another brilliant fairytale retelling. Gah. What a world we live in.

Okay, so I’m a sucker for fairytale retellings, but Beauty and the Beast has always been one of my favorite fairytales so I’m always stoked to read them but nervous that I won’t like them as much. This one definitely held up to my expectations and then some. I just absolutely loved it.

First of all, the representation in this book is amazing. I mean, our MC, Harper, has Cerebral Palsy. Guys. That’s amazing. And she doesn’t see it as a disadvantage, it’s just something she has that means she’s learned to navigate life a little differently is all. She’s still brave, determined, smart, and, honestly, a straight badass. And then we have her brother, Jake, who’s this big dude in all sorts of trouble, who’s gay. She has no idea but seeing that unfold was also amazing, she supported him without skipping a beat and THAT is the kind of thing I love to see. I had a similar experience with a friend when they came out to me, and I just love seeing loved ones support the person unconditionally, because really, that shouldn’t even be a label or defining factor for someone, but I’m rambling now. BACK TO THE BOOK.

HARPER. I love a good, strong MC who isn’t afraid to stand up to others or for themselves and Harper was definitely that. She has one of the biggest hearts ever and goes out of her way for others time and time again and I have so much respect for her.

RHEN. I loved him. He was such an amazing Prince and I don’t want to spoil too much for those of you who haven’t read it, but his heart rivals Harper’s. Though things don’t always appear that way, when you start to boil things down, you can really see who he is under the walls he’s built up. He’s dealt with so much over the course of the hundreds of seasons he’s endured and it’s honestly a wonder he’s even still sane. So, props to Rhen.

Grey. Scary Grey. Can I just give that big dude a hug? Man. I adore that man so freaking much and I love how hard he fought to help keep Rhen safe over the years. Everything that he went through was just…. Wow. Especially since he was tortured time and time again at the hands of Lilith.

I have nothing to say for Lilith aside from this: What. A. Bitch.
She was aptly named, that’s for darned sure. (Lilith is the Queen/ Mother of Demons)

I loved the world-building for this book and I can just see how much is open to be delved into in future books and I cannot wait for that! I only just finished this book and I’m anxiously awaiting the sequel. Gotta love waiting for books.

The kingdom of Enderfall has such an interesting story so far though and I can’t wait to see how everything plays out after the events of this one. ESPECIALLY THAT EPILOGUE! GAH!

If you’re on the fence about this book but you enjoy retellings, especially if you enjoy Beauty and the Beast retellings, I say go for it! Give it a read.



I know it’s been a minute since I posted, but I promise from here out, I’m back on track. I recently got a promotion so I’ve been adjusting to that but things are finally settling down and I’m much more motivated to get some reading done!

-Laurenxx