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Open Road Summer

Open Road Summer - Emery Lord Open Road Summer was one of those books I knew I would automatically love just by reading the synopsis. And it didn't disappoint at all. The story is from the POV of Reagan O'Neill, the best friend of Lilah Montgomery who is a huge up and coming country pop star. the POV is the first thing I liked, that it was from the eyes of the best friend and not the pop star herself. It didn't switch POVs, either. The second thing that was awesome was that it was set around the country states, aka Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, etc. I have relatives who in live in Ohio and Kentucky so to be able to relate to the setting was really important to me, and being from Ohio herself, Emery Lord truly got that southern, mid east states environment down.

Although the plot itself was a little bit predictable, it still made me want to read. There was so much about the characters that you didn't know right from the beginning, which was refreshing. Reagan also reminded me of Anna Kendrick's Becca in Pitch Perfect. She had a snarky attitude and her own dreams and did her own thing, but was always there for her best friend. She also wasn't too interested in falling in love at first, which was great, since that made the protagonist's relationship complicated, tense, and all the things us YA readers want to see. I even love Lilah, her best friend, and thankfully didn't find her prissy or prudent, didn't find her selfish or bitchy at all.

There were a few things i wish had been a bigger portion of the plot, which would complicate Reagan's relationship with Matt Finch a bit more, but I suppose it still played out well enough where I was satisfied with what happened. The ending, also, wasn't super cheesy and in fact wasn't even a cliffhanger. I'm not sure if this is a stand alone, but it could possibly be. There could also be a sequel with the way it ended if Lord wanted to take it further, (and I hope she does).

Truthfully, Open Road Summer brought me out of my reading slump. If you're looking for a great beach read, this is definitely it. Also, if you're a fan of Pitch Perfect and you watch Nashville, this is DEFINITELY something you want to read.

Uninvited

Uninvited - Sophie Jordan The premise of Uninvited is actually quite creative. The idea of having a gene that would trigger someone to become a killer is a neat idea. Well, you know what I mean. There were a lot of things I liked about this book, and a lot of things I didn't. What I did like was, like I said, the premise. I liked the setting of the story and the fact that it took place in Texas. I loved the other side characters she ends up going to school with, and I really liked the letters from the government and text messages she placed in between each chapter to give us a feel for the world outside.

Davy Hamilton, the main protagonist, truthfully bugged me. Ever since Twilight I get really annoyed with female characters who seem to remain weak throughout the story until a guy shows up. Look, I'm all for romance and everything, but when a girl has to depend on a guy for safety - that's not romance, that's pathetic. Her weakness really made her unlikeable for me.

Sean, the boy she likes, equally bugged me even though his character seemed to be the most promising. He already has his imprint so you would expect him to be a little more forthcoming, a little more edgy. There was a lot of staring. A lot of gawking. And the whole "you have to be safe because you don't know anything" really put me off. Maybe I'm just tired of reading stories where guys think they have all the answers. It's what makes the main character so weak and dependent.

The second half of the story was a almost better than the first, and I'm almost glad that I wasn't too angry about a cliffhanger. It didn't make me throw the book against the wall and get down on my knees and say "WHHHHYYY???" Instead I shrugged and went, "okay. They'll be a second book, cool."

While Uninvited did bring me out of a writing slump and I wasn't sorely disappointed, I'm glad I got it from the library. I have been meaning to read Sophie Jordan's other novels, but I'm not exactly waiting for the second book of Uninvited.

Under the Never Sky

Under the Never Sky - Veronica Rossi I've read many good things about this series and so me being a book nerd, I finally decided to follow the hype. Even though the synopsis didn't sound so appealing to me, I tried it. And, well, it wasn't a complete fail at least.

I'm not one for science fiction worlds, mostly because if I can't fully picture the setting in my head, I can't really connect to the characters. Rossi's world did just that. At first, the world building seemed disjunct to me. I had a hard time figuring out Reverie, the realms, the outside, all that. Of course once I got through the middle of the book I understood it more. Yet still, I found myself pushing through the book to read it, hoping to find something redeeming and worthwhile that would make me reach the end.

That came in the form of Perry. Perry was an interesting character. I loved his abilities, I loved the way he struggled to hold them and control them around Aria. I wish there had been more, but I feel like in this book we just scraped the surface of what he could do. Aria bugged the crap out of me. If she had written a whole story around Perry I would have been just fine with that. I also liked Roar (which is a badass name for a character, by the way). I didn't care for the relationship between Perry and Aria, to be honest. It wasn't as in depth as most YA relationship were. Either that, or it was probably just because I didn't like Aria.

Now to comment on the writing itself. I'm not an expert, I'm just reader. But when I read books that are simply just, "she did this" "he did that" or books that have action sequences that aren't really that exciting, it puts me off a bit. I found myself sighing in action sequences because they just didn't have that complexity I needed to really be into that action. Third person narrative can be tricky, because it's easy to just "tell" the reader instead of "show" the reader, and that's what I felt like the whole book was.

The whole book wasn't bad. There were some redeeming qualities, and the world itself is very original. I'll probably finish the trilogy, but it is not going to be one of my favorites, that's for sure.

Allegiant

Allegiant  - Veronica Roth The final book in the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth is definitely an explosive end to a wonderful, different dystopian YA series. Sometimes within trilogies I get annoyed when the last book seems to sum everything up. But Roth made sure that didn't happen. She ended it on a perfect note, without explaining any lessons or any plot points, which I found very refreshing.

Allegiant takes place right after Insurgent. To not give away any spoilers for those who haven't read the last book, Tris and Tobias, along with Christina and Cara and Peter, find themselves in a completely different world than they've known, and the secrets the find out about their factions change the way they think, and change the world they've always known. It definitely challenges these characters to look inside themselves and discover who they really are, and who they should be. It makes them question, and it makes them come to self-realizations. Loyalty is definitely put to the test, but Roth's characters come out strong.

What I loved about Allegiant was that we were introduced to an entirely new world. It was the world outside the world we've known from the first two books. Not only had Roth created the faction world, but she created the world outside, and we learned about it while the characters did. It makes the reader look at the first world in a whole different light, and- like Tris and Tobias - realize that not everything was as it seemed.

There is a death everyone is talking about, and let me say I was quite surprised. And, may I say - Veronica Roth has balls to kill off the character she did. Seriously.

Allegiant was the perfect ending to a wonderful trilogy. I am definitely skeptical on the story as a movie franchise, but I will definitely be watching it in the theaters.

Crash into You

Crash into You - Katie McGarry This rating is really 3.5, but of course Goodreads doesn't do half stars.

Crash Into You follows Isaiah's story. He meets a girl name Rachel Young, who is a pretty rich chick that loves fast cars and adrenaline. But her problem? She's a replacement daughter in her family for a sister who died of cancer, a sister she never knew. Her brothers are over protective, her family views her as weak, and Rachel has to learn to over come her panic attacks. When she and Isaiah meet, they're lives interwine as they get messed up in some racing business, and they owe someone money - a lot of money - or else. Fast Cars, hot guys...sounds a little like Fast and Furious, right? That's what I hoped, any way.

I loved Pushing the Limits. It was one of my favorite reads of 2012. Dare To You was also very well done. There was something about Crash Into You that bugged me, and I think it was Rachel's Character. This is the first time in McGarry's books where the female lead bugged the shit out of me. Maybe it's because she never stood up for herself. Maybe it's because of her situation and she let people walk all over her. Maybe it's because she didn't stand up to Isaiah when he was being bossy or overprotective. But she was not like Echo or Beth. And maybe that's a good thing, but for me I was hoping that she'd do something in the middle of the book that was off character, but she wasn't very dynamic.

isaiah, on the other hand, was probably my favorite guy of the trilogy. He's a stubborn, hard headed guy who is loyal and protective of the ones he cares for. It's true, the overprotectiveness of rachel bugged me, But it wasn't for selfish reasons. He knew the risks they were taking. He knew the world they had entered so it was necessary. But I wished he would loosen the leash on her a little, that way Rachel would have been able to grow more within the plot.

Truthfully I wished there was more about Eric and the drag racing. There wasn't much, only background mentions through the rest of the story as they try to win money to pay him off. There wasn't much action in that area, which I wished there was. It would have risen the stakes. It would have made the plot much more intriguing.

Don't get me wrong, I love McGarry's books. I love her characters and I love the world she's created with these characters. And the hot scenes? Yeah. There's hotness, and it's INTENSE. Not like, Echo and Noah intense, but...it's still worth it. Her next book is Take Me On, and it's Rachel's brother West's story.

If you like her books, I'm sure you'll like Crash Into You, but maybe not as much as Pushing the Limits.

The Fiery Heart

The Fiery Heart - Richelle Mead Oh goodness. What do I have to say about the Fiery Heart, other than the fact that I absolutely adore this series? I will admit that when I first learned that Richelle Mead was doing a spin off of Vampire Academy, I was majorly apprehensive. There were a few people who convinced me to read Bloodlines, and I'm glad I did. Sydney Sage is pretty much a bad ass alchemist who falls in love with a hot, sexy brooding vampire. The thing is, I love that Adrian is in this series because I loved him in Vampire Academy. I remember being a shipper for him and Rose way back in the day. But I'm glad that never happened, because he definitely belongs with Sydney.


I have to say there is a lot more going on with the Fiery Heart than the last two books. Between Sydney's sister, Adrian's struggles, and the two subplots of the alchemists' compulsion tattoos and the Strogoi transformation, you are definitely never bored while reading. Part of this is also because the Fiery Heart is split into two POV, Sydney's and Adrian's, so you get both sides of the story. Truthfully I think I liked getting into Adrian's head more than I did Sydney's. But that's just me.

I'm going to stop for a moment and talk about the relationship between Adrian and Sydney, because I think there's something important I need to address. A lot of YA books nowadays, especially the fantasy books, portray the guy as hot and sexy and controlling. Secret relationships are definitely a huge part of YA plots at the moment. I have to say that Twilight started this craze of the overprotective - to - the - point - of - stalkerish - guy that the heroine falls in love with. That is not okay with me anymore.
And this is why I love the Bloodlines series and The Vampire Academy. It is the rare exception to when the relationship is dangerous, but it's the "we can't see each other because our races won't allow it" kind. Adrian's relationship with Sydney is, in essence, healthy and true. Sure, it's a secret, but Adrian isn't controlling. He doesn't control Sydney, and he allows her to be independent. Just because they can't be together out in the open doesn't mean he sets rules for her to follow. I like that. And I'm glad Mead sees that two characters can have this sort of relationship without glorifying abusive behavior.

Ahem. Anyway. The Fiery Heart is definitely worth it if you've read the first two books. Let's just say that the way Mead ended it - you'll want to throw the book across the room. Seriously. But in a good, loving way.

Divergent

Divergent - Veronica Roth Everyone has been raving about this series for the past year and a half, since The Hunger Games trilogy ended. Now that the movie is to be released next year and the third book has finally been published, I can now say that I am a fan, because honestly - I need another fandom to follow. [seriously though, do I? Really?] Truthfully, like Hunger Games, it took me at least three times to start this book before I really got into it. The first four chapters or so are dull enough to make you want to think twice about starting the trilogy. But to be perfectly honest with you: push through those four chapter because after that, you'll be so, so very glad you did.

Roth has created this world that is almost like the Hunger Games, but not very much at all. In the Hunger Games, Collins' Districts are all different according to status and class systems. In Divergent, Roth's factions each have certain human qualities attached to them that make them unique. Candor for truth, Amity for peace, Erudite for intelligence, Abnegnation for selflessness, and Dauntless for bravery (or for fearlessness, as I like to think of it). It would be much more difficult to create a fictional dystopian world based on human qualities, I think, because each character placed inside those Factions must represent those qualities. Each character must be defined by their faction. Roth does this perfectly with all supporting characters around the protagonist, Tris.

Joining the Dauntless helps Tris become more of a dynamic character. For me, I was cheering for her when she kicked ass and a few times I literally wanted to wring her around the neck for not thinking straight and being stupid. To be honest, it is not Bella Swan stupid, but stupid to the point of "why the hell would you think that?" or, "stop crying like a baby."

But I'm pretty sure that's what Roth was trying to do with Tris, because she's from Abnegation. Abnegation made her a conservative, selfless girl who never seen herself in the mirror and who never, ever had any sort of PDA with the opposite sex. And I like that Roth took her time to let Tris grow.

As for the mysterious Four, he is really the one that wanted to know more of. Each time his presence graced the page, I wondered what else I would learn about him. His sarcasm and his determination was endearing. His protection of Tris and his hesitation to express his emotions made my heart ache. And because I like Four so much, I'm almost afraid to see what Roth does to him in the next two books. (AND PLEASE, NO ONE SPOIL IT FOR ME) because honestly, in these types of books - 95% a character you love either gets really injured, turned to the dark side, or dies.
I heard there's a death in the third book.

I do hope it's Peter.

Rating: 5/5

The Iron King

The Iron King - Julie Kagawa Truthfully, I don't read books with faeries. Why, I don't know, but they have never interested me. This book and this series, however, interested me. I'm not sure why, but it did. And I'm glad I tried the first book, because now I want to read the rest.

Meghan is this seemingly ordinary girl who lives with her stepdad and her mom and her little brother Ethan. Her best friend, Robbie, is pretty much her only friend. But when Ethan is stolen and replaced by a Changeling, she is suddenly whisked into this world of the Fey, finds out that (spoiler alert) her best friend is actually Puck from a Midsummer's Night Dream, and her father is really King Oberon. In a desperate fight to get her brother back, she encounters Ash, a Prince of the Unseelie court who has vowed to bring her to his queen and kill Puck. But guys...it's a YA book. You know what happens with this, right? Right! And let's just say...it's pretty damn intense.

Kagawa has written a book within the faerie world as if she's been there herself. In fact, I'm pretty sure she might be part faerie. The world she built of Nevernever was so vivid in my mind that I felt like a kid - or Alice traveling into Wonderland. I could see and picture EVERYTHING in this world, and it was like I was going on this journey with Meghan. Her characters were so particular. She was spot on the personalities of Puck, Oberon, Tatiana, etc - as though she had truly stepped into a Midsummer's Night's Dream, once. It was so much fun going on this adventure with these characters, and Kagawa's humor and sarcasm within these characters just made it all the more enjoyable.

And for some reason, I kept picturing the Iron King looking like Benedict Cumberbatch, Meghan as Emma Roberts, and Puck as Nicolas Hoult and Grimalkin with the voice of Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch. (Grimalkin was hilarious. I found myself laughing every time his excuse was, "I'm a Cat.") Someone should get on this casting. Stat.

Clockwork Princess

Clockwork Princess - Cassandra Clare While I devoured the first two books in the Infernal Devices, Clockwork Princess took me forever to read. I'm still not sure why, but maybe I was losing interest in the Infernal Devices world and was paying more attention to the current world, The Mortal Instruments. Who knows. What ever happened, Clockwork Princess frustrated me more than anything. Tessa is one of those girls who can't choose between her guys, Will's tortured soul was bugging the crap out of me, and Jem - well, I think he was the only character I started to feel for until the end, when Clare decided that something wasn't going to happen. I'd rather that thing happen instead. To me, it felt like she used a cop-out ending for Jem's existence.

What I did like is that we finally figured out what Tessa's Clockwork Angel was, and who she comes from. I also liked that bond between Will and Jem, which seemed to be stronger in this book than the other two. There are also some other characters that become stronger players, such as Will's sister and Sophia, the maid of the Institute. Also there is more to the automan's than we saw in the first two books.

The other thing that bugged me is the dialogue at the ending. The conversations that centered around Jem seemed to over-emphasis a certain fact, and it got irritating after awhile. I won't say what it was so to not spoil it for those who haven't still read the last book, but it is a point that should probably only be emphasized in at least one or two conversations, not from a million different point of views.

Now that I finished the last book of this trilogy, I'm impatiently waiting for the next book in the Mortal Instruments series. If I had to choose, Mortal Instruments is probably more of my choosing. It's nice to know the origins of that world, but Infernal Devices does not necessarily need to be read before hand.

Letters to Nowhere

Letters to Nowhere - Julie Cross If there's one thing I love about reading, it's reading a book that makes me smile at the end. There are a lot of YA books right now where the author likes to play with the readers emotions up to the point of the reader wanting to throw the book across the room. I'm sure you've been there. I know I have. Letters to Nowhere, all though it tackles tough subjects in teenager's lives, is a refreshing read of the YA genre.

I don't normally read books that center around sports. But I picked up this one mostly because it's center was Gymnastics. I love Gymnastics. I went through tumbling classes because my older was doing competitions, and I wanted to be just like him. So the subject was relatable, and it's been a long time since I could relate to a character in a book. And that's exactly what made this book so endearing.

Cross's characters were definitely people to get interested in. The protagonist, Karen, writes letters to her dead parents as she tries to cope with their death and everything else around her. Jordan, on the other hand. is not your average bad boy brooding guy. He's got a scruffy side, but Cross makes sure that there is a depth to his background, and you feel for both characters as they connect together. At first it gets off on a rocky start, and I felt at first it was a little premature. But after awhile I began to see that they were definitely a match, and they fit together - and it wasn't so anymore. The only problem I had with the relationship was the fact that the two decide to hide it. I hate it when literary characters do it, because to me it definitely makes me want to punch their faces in.

There was another character I would have loved to see more of - Jordan's friend Tony. I won't tell you why because it's actually kind of a spoiler.

It was a well paced, excellent read that definitely left me wanting more without wanting to the throw the book across the room and curse like a sailor.

Karen's story isn't done yet. At least, I hope not!!

P.S. If you've watched Make it or Break it, or the movie Stick It - you will definitely like this book.

Mind Games

Mind Games - Kiersten White Kiersten White's newest novel, Mind Games, is definitely nothing like Paranormalcy. I didn't think it would be when I first heard of the plotline. In fact, I was very excited about it, because it sounded like a a bad ass, action-packed thrill ride.

It wasn't as action-packed as I hoped it would be. A lot of the time spent going back and forth from present day to months ago confused me, to the point where it took away from the storyline. I felt the time jumping wasn't needed, and I was wishing halfway through for a single, solitary moment in time. It's the flashbacks that made it seem as though she tried to cram a prequel book into the first book all at once.

With that being said, I loved the characters. I loved Fia's attitude, her humor, her wit and the way she is determined to do what is necessary to keep her sister Annie alive. Adam, the boy she is sent to kill, was a little too weak of a character for me to believe any sort of attraction whatsoever, especially since she had always been into James, who is the son of the head of Keane Foundation. All though they don't start a premature relationship, her attraction to him didn't make sense, and it didn't go both ways. I was sorely disappointed when there was nothing built up between them.

Mind Games, all though wary at times and not as thrilling as I expected, is a fun read for the Summer. But if you're like me, and you want crazy, sexy, cool with thrills and car chases and more action, you'll be disappointed. If you're like me, you'll read the last sentence and be like wait...that was it?

Sad to say, really, because I really like White and I might read the sequel or give Chaos of Stars a try (Egyptian Gods! Almost like Rick Riordan! But Not!). But this book gets three awesome hats.

Black City

Black City  - Elizabeth  Richards I started reading this book because I didn't know what else to read. I also didn't know exactly what it was about. It was just one of those books that I picked up because of all the hype, and the sequel is coming out soon. Let it be known, I will carefully choose books next time. I've got to stop following the hype.

The basic premise of the story is interesting. Ash is a twin-blood, (basically a hybrid vampire) so he doesn't have a heartbeat. But when he meets Natalie, who happens to be the daughter of the Emissary his heart starts beating and both of them betray their own kind and fall in love. And that's where the story lost interest for me. The background of the world and a real plot was lost behind the focus of the relationship and why they are in love. The mystery of Ash and the dark intensity had in the first few chapters was lost by his need for Natalie.

Behind the love story is another subplot, in which Haze is being dealt in the black market. Haze is blood / venom from Darkling's that give humans a feeling like they're high. There's a new form of Haze being passed around that has killed six people. Ash is pinned as the dealer, all though he's never heard of it until one of his classmates die from it. This should have been the plot. This should have been the focus, because I was more interested in the mystery behind the new drug than I was the relationship between the two protagonists. Their relationship drowned the important plot aspects, and it made me completely lose interest in the end. I stopped caring after about 50% of the book was read.

Another nitpicky thing that I would like to point out. The author uses exclamation marks in first person narration.(Pg.214: I stomp away, but she chases after me. I can't believe how badly I've screwed everything up! ) I hate that. She also uses Fragg instead of the real word, which - at first, was funny, but then it got irritating.

Black City could have been very good with a more developed world and better flushed out characters. But the fact is, the intensity of the relationship and the intrigue of the plot was lost amongst a ridiculous, premature love story.

Blood Magic

Blood Magic - Tessa Gratton I picked this book up sometime last year simply because I loved the premise of the second book, The Blood Keeper. I finally got around to reading Blood Magic and I'm so glad I did. This is a great premise for a series that is definitely dark and the kind of stuff that I love.

Silla isn't a normal teenage girl. She discovered her parents dead a long time ago and people think she's crazy. But she knows there's something else within her family - a tradition of magic that runs through their veins - Blood Magic. She believes that this Magic had something to do with her parents' death, and convinces her brother Reese to help her discover the truth. Enter Nick Pardee, the city boy who moved next door. He witnessed Silla doing magic in the graveyard, and suddenly his past comes back to him - and he knows that he has magic running through his veins, too. Together, Silla and Nick form a relationship that is both dangerous - and dangerously sexy at the same time.

I loved Nick Pardee. His character made the book worth reading, because of his kindness and love for Silla, and also his sarcasm and wit gave the story its humor. His story, I think, is more interesting than Silla's, because he goes into this self-discovery mode once he realizes who he is. He's the kind of guy who will defend the people he loves, even if it means dying. And he'll fight for what he wants. Silla was interesting character as well, but she was still that girl character who had a weakness, and that weakness was her past and everyone believing she was crazy. Her strength was knowing she had magic, but it took her awhile to discover that it was her strength, even with Nick's help.

The story was fast-paced and very exciting, full of blood, hot and heavy kissing scenes, danger, action and magic. Lots of magic. One thing that bugged me (and it's the smallest tiniest thing) was the font used for the journal entries. Not sure why but it was hard for me to read, so I found myself skimming those pages and going back to the original story.

In any case, I will definitely be reading The Blood Keeper sometime soon. Blood Magic didn't end with a clffhanger that made me want to throw the book across the room, but it did make me want to continue reading on, to find out more about Nick and Silla's magic.

Dare You To

Dare You To - Katie McGarry Dare You To is the companion novel to Pushing the Limits, which was one of my favorite reads of last year. Pushing the Limits was such an emotionally powerful book, and I honestly didn't think that Dare You To would match up to the hype.

I was wrong.

Dare You To is centered around Beth Risk, who happened to be a minor character in Pushing the Limits. I found it interesting she chose such a minor character to center a book around, but it still kept my interest. And you know what? This book is full of all sorts of feels. McGarry really knows how to take your heart one way, then rip it out and stomp on it until it shatters into a million pieces. She must like torturing her readers as much as she tortures her characters, because she puts both of them through hell.

While Pushing the Limits was more in a city / suburban setting, Dare You To was set in the rural part of Ohio / Kentucky, where baseball is everything and what's on the outside matters. Because of this setting, I have a personal connection to this book. Having relatives that live in in both states, I could picture everything, it was relatable and believable at the same time.

I loved Ryan and his character, his determination to always win and his growth throughout the novel. Honestly, he's the only one who truly grows through the whole book. Beth, on the other hand, is very protective of her mother and barely sees what's in front of her. She frustrated me a lot, and all though I liked her in the first sneak peak of the book, I started to grow wary with after awhile. Ryan helped with that, though. It was Ryan's story that I grew more interested in.

But you put the two of them together and holy hell, it is a HOT read.

If you were a fan of Pushing the Limits, I definitely suggest checking this companion novel out. What's great is that even if you haven't read Pushing the Limits...you don't have to read it first. Beth's story is her own story, and not a continuation. Dare You To is definitely a great summer read. I'm patiently (haha) waiting for Crossing the Line, which is Isaiah (Beth's best friend's) story and involves drag racing.

Can you say...Fast and Furious?? (kidding!)

The Kissing Booth

The Kissing Booth - Beth Reekles This book was picked up by Random House after the popularity of it on Wattpad caught their attention. Beth Reekles lives in the UK and is seventeen years old. This is her debut novel. And, well, it could have been good.

The story centers around Rochelle Evans. She's a popular girl but hasn't really been on dates, mostly because her best friend's big brother has been overly protective and threatens any guy that tries to date her. Which is strange, since being the brother of her best friend doesn't exactly give him the right to control her love life. But he's just looking after her because any of these guys would want to get in her pants.

And he says this multiple times - in the same exact words. In almost every chapter of the book.


Going forward, Rochelle and Lee come up with an idea to make a Kissing Booth for the school carnival. Everyone gets excited about it, and when Noah Flynn shows up to kiss Rochelle, it sparks a dangerous relationship. Noah is NOT a good guy, despite everything that Rochelle tells the reader. He's over protective, overly jealous, way too controlling and violent. He won't start fights but he'll finish them. He'll knock out any guy that tries to touch her. And yet, Rochelle is convinced that he makes her happy. Why? I still don't understand how a guy like Flynn would ever make a girl happy. Cause he's a fantastic kisser? Cause he's super hot? Who knows. I sure don't understand why she would be happy with a guy like Noah Flynn.

Not only did her relationship with Noah not make any sense, the underdevelopment of her relationship with her best friend Lee also disappointed me. There was no depth into his character. He was present throughout the story of course, but he didn't evolve. He didn't change. Both characters were so static it bugged the crap out of me. I wanted her to end up with Lee instead of Noah. I wanted Lee to realize that he actually loved her as more than a best friend. That would have added the missing depth and tension to the plot. But there was nothing there. Her father also had no depth, and you would think once learning about his daughters exploits with Noah, he would be a little more of a parental figure. We also don't know much about her family life, only that she lives with her dad and brother, and oh yeah, about halfway through the book we find out her mother died in a car accident and that she still missed her.

We also know in every chapter that she grew up with Lee and that she knew Noah because he was always around.

It frustrated me that the writing of this book was atrocious, and that Random House would actually publish a book left written as it were. The grammar was terrible, the writing itself was repetitive and immature. She used words like "awesome" or "cool" in dialogue that didn't add anything to the conversation. True, some of the lines were hilarious, but that was all. This is what bugs me about things like this being published. It's why I cringe every time a celebrity has a book out, or why a book was "so popular in the self publishing world." This was no Pushing the Limits (Katie McGarry), which is what I was hoping to be like. Instead it was a frustrating let down.

Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone - Leigh Bardugo Shadow and Bone is another one of those fantasies that sucks you into a magical world you don't want to get out of. The story centers around Alina, a young orphan / mapmaker, discovers she has a great magical power that she never knew she had, and is suddenly whisked into the world of the Grisha. Grisha are the most advanced magical beings in the nation, lead by the Darkling. He takes a keen interest in Alina and her power. He is the tall, dark, handsome and seductive character every fantasy story has - but his is a different story. He's controlling, not brooding, and he's sketchy. You know something's up with him, but you want them together - but this novel doesn't focus on that.

Instead, the story focuses on Alina and her growing her power, discovering how far it can go and how much she can make. And as she grows with her power, she grows within herself and is taken not only on a journey of the Grisha life, but on a journey of self-discovery and self-worth. All though her best friend, Mal, is still alive through out the novel, he is rarely seen, therefore leaving Alina to understand her own self-worth. This is the most intriguing thing about this book. Most YA novels, especially in the epic fantasy series, have some male character that the heroine is confused about, obsessed with, or in love with, and the plot is focused around that. But not Shadow and Bone - and that's what I loved about it.

There were a few things that I was disappointed on, but they are minor. The first was the fact that Alexei - her mapmaker friend - was hardly ever mentioned again after the first five chapters. He seemed to be non-existent in Alina's mind, and made room only for Mal and the Darkling. Considering Alexei was her mapmaker partner, I would think that he would constantly be in her thoughts as well. The second thing was the ending. I won't spoil the ending, obviously. I know there is a sequel coming in June, and I will read it, but the end of Shadow and Bone was almost too sugary for me. The person I wanted to die didn't die. (Meaning, I kind of wanted him to die to make the plot for the second book even more awesome) I thought he was, but he survived through the whole thing. Which seemed a bit unbelievable in his given state at the time. Anyway. I loved it, through and through. In fact, I read through most of the book while waiting for Iron Man 3 to start at midnight.