BOOK REVIEW: Fairest — Marissa Meyer

3.5/5 stars

This book was short, so it was naturally very fast-paced. It was interesting to see Levana’s past, as it shaped her to be the queen she is in the Lunar Chronicles. After reading the book, I can see why some people would be sympathetic towards Levana. By learning about her past, you start to understand Levana’s character and actions.

I also liked how we got to see more of Levana’s relationship with both Selene and Winter. It was nice to understand more about the dynamic of their relationship, as it wasn’t conveyed in the other books.

Although this book was an interesting and quick read, I gave it 3.5 stars because Luna was underdeveloped. I was looking forward to learning more about Luna’s society and features, yet I was thoroughly disappointed. The setting was hardly described, and frankly, I didn’t learn much about Luna.

If you’ve read the Lunar Chronicles, you should definitely check this book out. It’s interesting to read from Levana’s point of view, and this book will keep you satisfied until Winter’s release. November 10th please come sooner.

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BOOK REVIEW: Stolen — Lucy Christopher

1.5/5 stars

DNF at 52%. One word–disappointed.

A book about a girl who gets kidnapped and suffers through Stockholm Syndrome? Sounds interesting, or so I thought. The premise was intriguing, and it made me so excited to read the book. When I did pick up this book, boy, was I disappointed.

In short, this book is about a 16-year-old girl named Gemma who gets abducted from the airport by a twenty-four-year-old man named Ty. He takes her to an isolated desert, hoping to get her to fall in love with him. This book is told in a single letter from Gemma to Ty, recounting her thoughts during her time as his captive.

The pacing of the book was terribly slow. For the first half of the book, Gemma narrates her time with Ty as a captive. They spend their time in a desert, which makes the book especially boring because the only two characters are Gemma and Ty. Gemma spends so much time talking about camels and snakes to the point that I wanted to rip my hair out and smash my Kindle in the wall. Sure, it’s fine to read about camels, but Lucy Christopher describes them so heavily that I just ended up skipping paragraphs at a time. Not only were scenes overly-descriptive, there was no action whatsoever in the first half of the book. The book was so bland and unexciting as there was hardly any tension, fights, or even romance.

The one thing I liked about the book was the point of view. I liked reading second person narrative because it made the story seem more raw and personal. Overall, however, the book was a huge let-down. I rarely leave books unfinished, but this book has become an exception.

BOOK REVIEW: Maybe Someday — Colleen Hoover

4.5/5 stars

Maybe Someday is about twenty-two year old Sydney who discovers that her boyfriend is cheating on her with her best friend/roommate. Homeless, heartbroken, and betrayed, Sydney finds herself staying with her neighbor, Ridge. As they bond over their passion for music, they begin to form a connection with each other. Truths unfold, emotions run rampant, and things turn a lot more complicated.

I typically read Young Adult novels, but this New Adult novel has convinced me to read more NA. This book holds so many subtle lessons. It’s not your typical love story; it’s so much more than that. It’s about finding yourself, being selfless, and handling situations with honesty and maturity. It’s about moving on, connecting without words, and being independent.

Colleen Hoover has a talent with making the reader feel the emotions the characters are experiencing. There are so many complications between Sydney and Ridge which causes them to feel a mixture of confusion, guilt, and yearning. Throughout this novel, I felt their whirlwind of emotions as if I were one of them. Sometimes I supported their relationship, sometimes I didn’t. It wasn’t until halfway into the book that I realized that this is exactly what Colleen wants us to feel. She wants us to feel their conflicted emotions so we can relate to them, and boy, did I feel them.

Surprisingly, I liked all the characters in the book. Sydney is independent, and I respect that so much. She’s unwilling to ask her parents to back her up, and she values herself and doesn’t let anyone lower her self-worth. Ridge is beautiful with words, but not in an over-the-top way. He’s no Augustus Waters, but he manages to pour his heart and soul into his words while making it realistic at the same time. Warren, Ridge’s best friend and roommate, is simply hilarious. His remarks throughout the story made me laugh and added entertainment into the story. He’s funny, but can be serious at times. He’s so supportive of all his friends, and is always the shoulder to lean on.

All in all, Maybe Someday was a fulfilling read. You feel all the happiness and pain the two main characters face, and that’s what makes the story so beautiful. It really pierces you in the heart, and is definitely a book you should pick up if you’re looking for an emotionally charged romance.

Pasadena Loves YA

The Pasadena Teen Book Festival, Pasadena Loves YA, was hosted on Saturday, May 23 at the Pasadena Public Library.

I arrived at the event at 11:00 a.m. (the event started at 12:00 p.m.) When I entered the auditorium, the volunteer handed me a “Pasadena Loves YA” tote bag. He informed me that I could choose two free ARCs from the caphoto 2 (1)rts next to the entrance. Man, only choosing two books was hard because they all looked so interesting! I ended up choosing Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld/Margo Lanagan/Deborah Biancotti and Illuminae by Amie Kaufman/Jay Kristoff. (I will be reviewing them once I read them, so keep an eye out for those reviews!)

Mary McCoy, author of Dead to Me, kicked off the event by giving the keynote speech. Not only is she an author, but she is a librarian as well. Mary shared a touching story of her encounters as a librarian with a shy teenage girl. Her story reminded us of the power of books and the importance of them.

After Mary concluded her speech, I went up to the 4th floor to hear the first panel–Second Chances. This panel featured Brandy Colbert, Morgan Matson, Lauren Miller, and Sarah Tophoto 4 (1)mp. They discussed their day-time jobs, their writing schedule, and the scenes they would’ve changed in their book if given a second chance. Next to the panel were free book swag and food provided by the library. There was actually so much food, including madeleines, fruit, cookies, and water. The book swag was awesome too, especially the Shadowhunter freebies!!

The next panel, The First Time: From Draft to Finish Line, consisted of Victoria Aveyard, Alexis Bass, Virginia Boecker, and Kody Keplinger. Kody was the moderator, and she did such a great job (it was her first time moderating too!) From talking about dating paleontologists to eating avocado sandwiches, the entire panel was extremely interesting and HILARIOUS. Victoria also had to describe the next book of Red Queen in one word, and she said “sacrifice”. I PRETTY MUCH DIED WHEN SHE SAID THAT BECAUSE I LOVE ALL THE CHARACTERS IN RED QUEEN AND I HOPE NO ONE HAS TO SACRIFICE HIS/HER LIFE. Anyway, they took a few questions from the audience in the end, and I actually worked up my courage to raise my hand and ask a question.  I asked them, “What do you guys do when you get writer’s block? What advice would you give to aspiring writers on how to overcome them?” They all gave me long answers but in all honesty, I was too busy fangirling to really absorb what they said. After their panel, I stood in the line for their signing. The line was out the door, and I had to wait 45 minutes to get to the front. I talked to Victoria first and we photo (22)took a picture. I asked her what ability she would want to have if she could choose. She answered that she would want to be a Whisper in the world of Red Queen, but a space/time traveler in general. Then, I got The Duff signed by Kody Keplinger. She was so friendly and her bubbliness was incredibly contagious.

After that panel/signing, I stayed at the auditorium for the last panel. There was some waiting time, so I chatted with these two girls I met for thirty minutes (shoutout to Melissa and Char). Finally, the last panel began at 3:30–Tough Topics. It featured Stephen Chbosky, Ava Dellaira, Liz Maccie, and Jennifer Niven. They discussed how they dealt with writing about these tough topics, as well as their TV show addictions. When the panel ended, there was a signing. I got All the Bright Places signed by Jennifer. I told her some things, and she was an absolute sweetheart. You can tell that Jennifer is a very genuine person, and it was so nice to see that my words affected her. Last but certainly not least, Stephen Chbosky. photo 2 (2)Can I just say that when Stephen Chbosky first entered the room, I started freaking out and tearing up? Perks of Being a Wallflower is my favorite book and the reason I went to the Teen Book Festival in the first place. I appreciate Stephen so much and his book has affected me in so many different ways and that’s exactly what I told him when he signed my book. I am honestly so thankful of his book and so thankful that I got to meet him.

Pasadena Loves YA was such a wonderful event. It was my first book signing, and it is definitely something I will remember. Thank you to all those who made it possible!

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BOOK REVIEW: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1) — Leigh Bardugo

shadow and bone4/5 stars

If you’re interested in reading a book filled with magic, love, and a hint of mystery, this book is for you.

Shadow and Bone is set in Ravka, a once-mighty nation. Ravka is now torn into two parts, the homeland and the Fold. The Fold is a land of darkness filled with monsters that feed on humans. The story follows Alina Starkov, a teenage orphan drafted in the army as a Mapmaker. She is sent on a dangerous mission into the Fold with other soldiers including her best friend, Mal. While in the Fold, they are attacked by bloodthirsty monsters. Everything seems hopeless until Alina reveals a power strong enough to save them. She is sent to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite. The leader of the Grisha, the Darkling, takes a particular interest in Alina. He sees her as the one who can save the nation and destroy the Fold. Whisked away from her best friend and held with an expectation of being the nation’s savior, Alina struggles to find her way into her changing life.

The Darkling was one word: mysterious. He was so so so mysterious and that’s what drew me into him. I wanted to know about his past, his thoughts, his intentions. Everything about him was intriguing, but no, I don’t ship him with Alina. I SHIP MAL WITH HER. Mal is such a wonderful character. He’s the kind of character who makes your heart feel all warm and fuzzy. He’s funny and sweet and handsome and charming and courageous and does it get any better than that??? He’s definitely one of my favorite characters in the book. I mean, who wouldn’t love him? (Besides the Darkling of course). And then there’s Alina. Alina had her moments, but I felt she was a little dull at times. I enjoyed her character, but I didn’t LOVE her. I heard her character grows in the second and third book, so I’m excited for that.

The plot was pretty much like any other fantasy novel except for the plot twist. Oh man, the plot twist killed me. It was so unexpected, and I didn’t believe it at first.

Overall, the book was interesting and a great read. I can’t wait to pick up the sequel, Siege and Storm!!

Trying Something New

Hi guys, it’s Em here!

I’ve always loved reading, and I’ve always loved sharing my thoughts on books. So I thought, why not make a book blog? So here I am, making my first ever post on this blog. This blog will include book reviews, book hauls, and book giveaways. Whoever you are, wherever you are, I hope this blog inspires you to read one of my recommended books. Or hey, if you find that you enjoy the same books as me, let’s talk about how much we love certain characters (Jace Herondale) or how much pain we’re in because of cliffhangers. Anyway, enjoy!!