Review// A Court of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J. Maas

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Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns & Roses
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Book Length: 416 pages 
Publisher: Blooomsbury USA Children's
Review: 3/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

My Review:

No one understands how happy I am to finally be done this book. No one. Not because I disliked it, but because it took me way too long to get into it once I did—which is sad because the second half was actually really great!

If I went to look up ‘hyped’ in the dictionary, this book/series would be plastered all over the page—you wouldn’t even be able to see the definition. Do I think it’s for good reason? Somewhat. The last half of the book was amazing, but it didn’t entirely make up for how painfully slow the first half was. I kept asking myself if I was reading the same book everyone else has been because nowhere had I been warned of how anticlimactic it could be at times. I appreciate a slow burn, but not too slow a burn which is what I felt this was.

However, when the pace picked up, it really picked up and I had a hard time not thinking about reading it every chance I got. Honestly, once I saw that there was a map at the beginning of the book, I was all in and that aspect did not disappoint. The world Sarah J. Maas created  was really cool; I wish I could actually see it come to life (although that would be bad because we as humans wouldn’t stand a chance in it, but whatever).

Feyre was also such a badass character, and it was nice to see her walls come down a bit as the story progressed. I felt like, although flawed, she was a pretty well-rounded protagonist and someone I wanted to root for. I liked being kept guessing whether characters like Lucien, Tamlin, and Rhysand were ‘good’ or ‘evil’ because that is what kept me going through the slower parts. I have heard these names floating around the book community for a very long time, and it was exciting to actually be reading about them finally!

Hopefully the next books bring more action and excitement because I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.

What did you think of this book if you’ve read it? Did you have the same problem with the pacing? Does the series get even better? I would love to know!

Catherine

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Review// They Both Die at The End by Adam Silvera

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Author: Adam Silvera
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: 2017
Book Length: 368 pages 
Publisher: HarperTeen
Review: 2.5/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

Adam Silvera reminds us that there’s no life without death and no love without loss in this devastating yet uplifting story about two people whose lives change over the course of one unforgettable day.

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today.

Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.

My Review:

I’m kind of sad right now, and no it’s not because They Both Die at The End, but because this did not live up to the hype for me.

As someone who is a sucker for quotes, I can say that this book has a couple good ones:

“…no one should feel bad for trying to be good.” 

“There has to be more to life than imagining a future for yourself. I can’t just wish for the future; I have to take risks to create it.” 

However, a book needs a little more than a few inspirational quotes sprinkled in there every 20 chapters to keep me intrigued. Of course I felt awful for Mateo and Rufus–they were called by Death Cast, a company that contacts people when they have 24 hours or less left to live so that they can experience their last day however they choose. I don’t think I would ever want to know that kind of information; it’s such a heavy weight to carry around for even just a day. I did have empathy for them, but I was trying so hard to forge an actual connection with either and I just couldn’t.

Something that I did enjoy despite not feeling a major connection to either of them was how both Mateo and Rufus gained personal growth from spending the day with each other: Mateo being able to get out of his shell more and Rufus learning to trust someone and have his heart soften. However, sometimes it felt like Rufus was Mateo’s cheerleader through everything to the point where he didn’t really get to live the day for himself. I can kind of understand it because Rufus wasn’t able to spend time with his own friends given their circumstances, but I felt it was a bit less two-sided than I would have liked.

In a way, I wish we could have known more details about Death Cast and the whole behind the scenes processes that go into it, but at the same time I think Adam Silvera left that out for a reason. Although it would have been cool, we were meant to enjoy these two teens living their last day to the fullest and take away the inspirational message that came from their story, and including the background story of Death Cast would have probably taken away from that.

I am actually really torn about my opinion of this, especially after going to my book club meeting and hearing other people’s views who had more positive opinions than I did. I would still recommend this to people because it does make you think and I still believe the idea behind the plot is so interesting. Just because it didn’t quite live up to my expectations, doesn’t mean the same will happen for you.

If anyone else has read this, I would love to hear your opinions on whether you enjoyed it or not and why! Let me know.

Catherine


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Review// Save the Date by Morgan Matson

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Author: Morgan Matson
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: 2018
Book Length:  432 pages 
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for 
Young Readers
Review: 4.5/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait—for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster.

There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo.

Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractingly…cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.

My Review:

I love my family and everything, but I’m just saying that if the Grant’s wanted to adopt me into theirs, I wouldn’t say no. The family dynamics in this was incredible, and I liked how that is what the main plot centered around. Despite how dysfunctional they could be at times, it actually made them more lovable. Charlie’s relationship with each of her siblings was so different but all were really believable; I enjoyed getting to know each and every one of them.

This book was not just a book—as many other reviewers have said, it reads like a movie. If you can’t tell by the cover or title, the book is about a wedding. Many things go wrong leading up to, during, and after the wedding and at a point it did get to be extremely far fetched that that many things went wrong for one event. Regardless of how annoying it was that literally nothing was going right, I still thought it was a really fun read.

I also want to mention something I haven’t seen in any other review. There was a love subplot in this wherein the main character had a major crush on one of her older brother’s friends. I thought the way that was handled was extremely relatable (possible spoiler ahead). The reason being that the guy was honestly kind of an asshole, but Charlie had fabricated a version of him in her head that she wanted to believe was true, and it blinded her to the fact that he was never as seriously into her as she was into him. Pretty sure like 99% of girls (and guys) can relate to something like that. For her to realize on her own that he never deceived her, but that she just chose to ignore the parts of him she didn’t want to see was huge and I don’t think there’s enough representation of that, something sooooo real to people, in books. I’m really happy she became self-aware of what she was doing because she deserved so much better than that guy anyways.

I went into this thinking that it was going to be cute and light—something cheesy that the romantic hidden deep inside my heart would love. It was all of those things, but it was also so much more. There are a few life lessons in here that I didn’t anticipate but that I needed to hear at the moment—a lot of which had to do with change. Sometimes change can be scary and it’s really easy to shut yourself off from it because that’s just the more convenient thing to do. Charlie was dealing with a lot of changes in the book, and it was kind of nice to see a bit of myself in her and relate to someone in that way.

Anyways, I told myself when I started this that I wasn’t going to write a long review, but obviously that went out the window because this book surprised me and I couldn’t control the urge to get my thoughts out. I guess I can’t really blame Morgan Matson for not knowing when to stop adding so many details in her writing because I am the exact same way; it’s no wonder she is my favourite YA author. I already can’t wait for her next book release.


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Top 10 Tuesday | Books With Sensory Reading Memories

Hello! It feels like it has been forever since I have actually sat down to write a post for this blog, so I thought I would get back into it by trying something new. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is to write about  10 books that have sensory memories attached to them for me.

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This book is about a baby bird that is born while their mother is away trying to find food for it. The bird keeps going up to different animals asking if they are its mother because it doesn’t know where she is. I remember my mom reading this to me so many times as a child and I look back on it as such a cute story, especially for someone just learning how to read on their own.

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There was a point in time when I didn’t read that much, but this book was an exception. Usually I prefer original covers, but I remember seeing this and having to read it before watching the movie and being so in love with Logan Lerman.

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When I had braces, my orthodontist’s office had this jar with some sort of candy (so ironic) for Halloween that you could guess the amount of inside to win a prize. Long story short, I won a gift card to Chapters—a bookstore in Canada—and I bought this book with it. I think this is the first book I read with really big Young Adult themes so I will always remember it.

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In grade 5, my class read this book. It is about a Sikh living in small-town British Columbia who is the first Sikh to try out for the hockey team. It touches upon themes such as racism, discrimination, and bullying and I remember being so upset that people actually treat others this way. Definitely an eyeopener.

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As my first high school read, and also my first Shakespeare read, I can’t not add Romeo and Juliet to this list.

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I read this twice in school. Although I remember it being a little tough to get through the language, I did really enjoy it. I took an English class in summer school to get ahead, and when I think of that summer I think of The Great Gatsby.

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I cannot, for the life of me, remember what the Madison Finn books are about, but I remember spending weekends in my room reading them all. The cover art kind of reminds me of Angela Anaconda (I really want to re-watch that show now!).

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Not this book specifically, but the whole Goosebumps series was a major part of my childhood. I am totally scared of the dark, scary movies, etc. but I also love creepy things like this. If I am not mistaken, my first introduction to Goosebumps books was in grade 4 when my teacher used to make us sit on the carpet while she would sit in front of us reading a few chapters a day. From that point on, I would always ask my parents for the books from the Scholastic flyer we could order from every month at school (I wonder if this is a thing specific to where I live or if other people got to do that at school?).

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The Hating Game was one of the first books I read when I started reading as a hobby again. The story is really swoon-worthy, I will probably read it again soon!

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My childhood best friend and I were obsessed with this series and I will always think of her and our memories when I see it 🙂

Wow, that was fun! Totally going to participate in more of these in the future. I honestly expected a lot more of them to be childhood books but I actually have a good mix from many different points in my life.

Do any of these books resonate with anyone else? What are some of your top sensory reading memory books? I’d love to know!

Catherine


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Review// The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

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Author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: March 7, 2017 
Book Length:  452 pages 
Publisher: Clarion Books
Review: 5/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

The first day of senior year:

Everything is about to change. Until this moment, Sal has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican-American family. But now his own history unexpectedly haunts him, and life-altering events force him and his best friend, Samantha, to confront issues of faith, loss, and grief.

Suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and discovering that he no longer knows who he really is—but if Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?

My Review:

You know that saying that goes, ‘home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling’? Well, this book felt like home. It felt like being simultaneously lost and found. It felt like a million firecrackers going off in my chest—bright and burning; it kind of hurts but it’s also kind of beautiful.

Salvador, Samantha, and Fito were all very intricate characters with many personal struggles and it evoked so much emotion from me to read about these friends who had each other’s backs through it all. My favourite character was Samantha, she was so bold and wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. Salvador always admired her fondly in the purest form of best friendship. He would always say things like, “That Sam, she is brilliant. And she’s really pretty too. She has a beautiful face and a beautiful mind” and not once did he ever make it seem to the reader like he was saying it because he wanted to be more than friends. He was just saying it because it was the truth. So many YA books emphasize a romantic interest that the story kind of centers on, but this one didn’t have it and I liked that. I also loved how she would always kiss Salvador and Fito on the cheek whenever they expressed a difficult thought or said something that made her happy; it was so endearing. The theme of friendship in this novel was just the best thing about it.

Sal’s dad deserves a mention as well. He had the best words of wisdom, and it was the most amazing thing watching his relationship with Sal continue to bloom. As a white boy adopted into a Mexican family, I loved how Sal was always so embraced by his adoptive relatives. I wouldn’t even call them his adoptive family, they were truly his blood.

I was struggling at a point to determine what rating I was going to give this, simply because it felt a lot like I was reading it in Aristotle’s voice from Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (by the same author). I guess the narration, although so poetic, felt a little bit recycled? Also, the texting scenes were so far fetched in terms of language. It was extremely exaggerated and a bit cringy!

The truth of the matter is, for the last 25% I was crying on and off; the writing was just so magical. I never expected to cry or feel so many emotions at all, and for that reason I could overlook the minor flaws I experienced.

If you like Young Adult books about friendship, this is a book you must read!

Catherine


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