Genre: YA Contemporary

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater | Review

Posted January 13, 2017 by Samantha in reviews / 0 Comments

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater | ReviewThe Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2) by Maggie Stiefvater
Published by Scholastic Press on September 17th 2013
Genres: YA Contemporary, YA Fantasy, YA Paranormal Romance
Pages: 448
Goodreads
five-stars

The second installment in the all-new series from the masterful, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!
Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…

I had every intention of doing a video review for The Dream Thieves after I read it but then got nervous, since it was so close to the release of The Raven King, that I would get spoiled for later books in the series. Whether blatant spoiling or simply from people dropping subtle hints about later developments I’d be speculating about in my review… So I put it off.

I’ve already done a video review on The Raven Cycle here, and a lot of my thoughts remain the same for The Dream Thieves. The world feels magical and dark, and that atmosphere carries into everything about the reading experience. I actually liked this book far more than the first one, one of the main reasons most likely being that it was less scary for me. I walk a fine line with these books and they can creep me out at times, so I feel I have to be on guard and can’t fully connect with the story. Since The Dream Thieves takes a bit of a break from the main plot, it allowed me to connect a bit more. That may either be a plus or a minus for some people, as I know some reviewers hated that it strayed from the main plot too much. I personally liked a lot of the back story we got on various characters, and delving more into dream magic and it’s ramifications. I also found the villain enigmatic yet tragic, and the entire tone of this installment is something I wish we’d be getting more of. But sadly, for me, we will be returning to the main plot in the next book. And I’ll return to being on edge.

This second book stays true to the tone of the overall story, and the deep focus on this band of characters and their relationships. Fans of the series will enjoy this book, even if it meanders a bit more than some may like.

five-stars

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Summer Days & Summer Nights: 12 Love Stories | ARC Review

Posted January 12, 2017 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

Summer Days & Summer Nights: 12 Love Stories | ARC ReviewSummer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories by Stephanie Perkins, Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, Jennifer E. Smith
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on May 17th 2016
Genres: YA Contemporary, YA Magical Realism
Pages: 384
Goodreads

Maybe it's the long, lazy days, or maybe it's the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.
Featuring stories by Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Stephanie Perkins, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, and Jennifer E. Smith.

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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz | Review

Posted January 12, 2017 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz | ReviewAristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on February 21st 2012
Genres: YA Contemporary
Pages: 359
Goodreads

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

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Everbound by Brodi Ashton | Review

Posted January 11, 2017 by Samantha in reviews / 0 Comments

Everbound by Brodi Ashton | ReviewEverbound (Everneath, #2) by Brodi Ashton
Published by Balzer + Bray on December 23rd 2013
Genres: YA Contemporary, YA Fantasy
Pages: 384
Goodreads
two-stars

Two months ago, the Tunnels of the underworld came for Nikki Beckett. That night, Nikki's boyfriend, Jack, made the ultimate sacrifice. All Nikki wants is to save Jack before it's too late. All Cole wants is to find his queen - and he thinks Nikki is the one. Both determined, both desperate, Nikki and Cole form a tense alliance, leading them on a dangerous journey to The Heart of The Everneath.

Everbound is the second book in the Everneath trilogy, which was marketed as a Hades and Persephone retelling. I already have a review here of the first book, Everneath, stating how that was not the case.

Everbound continues in the same vein as the first book. The reader gets a tad more information about the world, but not much. The writing is still very simple, and easy to read. I enjoyed this one slightly more, as the characters get to visit the Everneath, and trips to the underworld are always a good time in my opinion. But the plague of the fake love triangle continues, and it continues to be useless. As I said in my review of the first book, this isn’t a real love triangle as it’s not as if both love interests have an equal chance. The protagonist has made it very clear from the beginning who she wants to be with. So dangling the other love interest in front of readers as if there is a possibility she is going to choose him…..is a joke. And a waste of a subplot.

Like I said in the first review, I will finish out this series as it is marketed as a Hades and Persephone retelling and one of my goals is to read and review all of the well known titles that are supposed to be Hades and Persephone retellings, but this is not necessarily something I would recommend.

two-stars

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Bone Gap by Laura Ruby | Review

Posted August 8, 2016 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby | ReviewBone Gap by Laura Ruby
Published by Balzer + Bray on March 3rd 2015
Genres: YA, YA Contemporary, YA Magical Realism
Pages: 368
Goodreads

Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That’s just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame?
Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go.
As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap—their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures—acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are.

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Just Visiting by Dahlia Adler | ARC REVIEW

Posted July 15, 2016 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

Just Visiting by Dahlia Adler | ARC REVIEWJust Visiting by Dahlia Adler
Published by Spencer Hill Contemporary on November 17th 2015
Genres: YA Contemporary
Pages: 407
Goodreads

Reagan Forrester wants out—out of her trailer park, out of reach of her freeloading mother, and out of the shadow of the relationship that made her the pariah of Charytan, Kansas.
Victoria Reyes wants in—in to a fashion design program, in to the arms of a cute guy who doesn’t go to Charytan High, and in to a city where she won’t stand out for being Mexican.
One thing the polar-opposite best friends do agree on is that wherever they go, they’re staying together. But when they set off on a series of college visits at the start of their senior year, they quickly see that the future doesn’t look quite like they expected. After two years of near-solitude following the betrayal of the ex-boyfriend who broke her heart, Reagan falls hard and fast for a Battlestar Galactica-loving, brilliant smile-sporting pre-med prospective…only to learn she’s set herself up for heartbreak all over again. Meanwhile, Victoria runs full-speed toward all the things she thinks she wants…only to realize everything she’s looking for might be in the very place they’ve sworn to leave.
As both Reagan and Victoria struggle to learn who they are and what they want in the present, they discover just how much they don’t know about each other’s pasts. And when each learns what the other’s been hiding, they’ll have to decide whether their friendship has a future.

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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz | REVIEW

Posted May 9, 2016 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz | REVIEWAristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on February 21st 2012
Genres: YA Contemporary
Pages: 359
Goodreads

This Printz Honor Book is a “tender, honest exploration of identity” (Publishers Weekly) that distills lyrical truths about family and friendship.
Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

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Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour | REVIEW

Posted May 6, 2016 by Samantha in reviews / 0 Comments

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour | REVIEWEverything Leads to You by Nina LaCour
Published by Dutton Books for Young Readers on May 15th 2014
Genres: YA Contemporary
Pages: 312
Goodreads
four-stars

a novel about the L.A. film scene and unexpected love

Everything Leads to You follows an up and coming set designer in LA who uncovers a mystery while at an estate sale for a deceased Hollywood star. This ends up taking her on a scavenger hunt where she meets an array of people, one of which is a girl she falls in love with.

I was surprised by the mystery element to this story. While the mystery is not sinister in nature, it did keep me intrigued about the outcome throughout the story. The love story shared the spotlight with the mystery element, which I wasn’t expecting. I was expecting contemporary fluff the entire time, so this was a pleasant surprise.

I loved the set design element that was worked in. I never knew anything about set design before, and now I find myself noticing things while watching TV or movies, so that was a neat side effect.

I enjoyed the romance in this story. The main character has been out for a while before the story starts, so this is not her first relationship. While coming out stories are important, it was refreshing that this was not one. I found the story to be very cute and realistic. The romantic scenes focused on consent, and the difference between being in love with a fantasy vs. being in love with the actual person.

Overall, I enjoyed this story and the writing. I look forward to reading more from Nina LaCour.

four-stars

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Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith | ARC Review

Posted April 16, 2016 by Samantha in reviews / 0 Comments

Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith | ARC ReviewHello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith
Published by Poppy on September 1st 2015
Genres: YA Contemporary
Pages: 246
Goodreads
four-stars

On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan have only one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night leads them to family and friends, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?
Charming, bittersweet, and full of wisdom and heart, this irresistible novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, explores the difficult choices that arise when life and love lead in different directions.

I picked up an ARC of this book at Book Expo American 2015.

I was surprised by now much I ended up enjoying this book. I went into it with very low expectations, expecting only fluff, and got so much more from this.

Clare and Aiden as characters felt very real to me. Their story is one that is echoed around the world by many different couples as they decide what to do about their relationship as they go down different paths after high school. Although not every couple has the dramatic last minute “road trip of our relationship” night, that is what made this book fun. And the night was still not all together unrealistic!

Clare and Aiden’s problems rang true. There were moments that both made me nostalgic and made my stomach drop because I either experienced something similar or knew someone else that did during that crucial crossroads moment after high school. My only complaint was that the side characters were a bit two dimensional. There was potential there for them to be fleshed out more. But I went into this book knowing it was going to be completely about the relationship, so I didn’t mind much.

I also found the ending to be very satisfying. With books set around this time in a teenagers life, it can be common to have a vague outcome. This book tied up all the loose ends, which I was grateful for.

Overall, I think this is a very underrated contemporary that will ring true to a lot of people who have experienced the confusing and exciting time between high school and college.

four-stars

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First & Then by Emma Mills | ARC REVIEW

Posted October 12, 2015 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

First & Then by Emma Mills
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on October 13th 2015
Genres: YA Contemporary
Pages: 267
Goodreads

Devon Tennyson wouldn't change a thing. She's happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon's cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn't want them: first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.
Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.

 

 

 

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