461 Followers
184 Following
travelingthroughpages

Traveling Through Pages

 

I am a 20 year-old college student majoring in Biochemistry, who loves to read and make book-related videos on my YouTube channel. :)

I Started A New Book Blog

Hey everyone!

 

First off, I want to thank you all for following my Booklikes blog, I truly appreciate it. I have definitely enjoyed my time here on Booklikes. However, I have decided to create a new book blog using Blogger. I just wanted to have more freedom and creativity with my blog. Therefore, I will not actively be posting anymore here on Booklikes.

 

If you would like to check out my new blog, here is the link: http://www.kassidyvoinche.blogspot.com

 

Thank you so much for your support and kindness.

 

Kassidy 

Volition by Lily Paradis

Volition - Lily Paradis

Published: February 6, 2015 by Empire Books

 

Goodreads Summary:

"You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach that stays with you, then tears you apart slowly at first, and all at once shreds every fiber of your being? 

It’s because you’re contradicting the universe. 

Everything lines up so perfectly that you couldn’t have imagined it to work out better, but then you have to go and do everything humanly possible to ruin it because you can’t stand to have it go right? 

That’s what I did. 

I did it because there’s a darkness that surrounds me, and I think I want it there. 

My name is Tate McKenna, and my soul is blacker than my heart."

 

Goodreads Page

 

*I received an advanced copy of this book from the author and publisher in return for my honest review. All opinions are my own.*

 

 This is one of those books where not knowing much about it before reading is probably the best way to go into it. One of the beauties of this story is watching it unfold before your eyes.

The book switches between past and present timelines, which I enjoyed. It kept me on my toes and kept me guessing. It is also the perfect way to tell the story of Tate McKenna's life, depicting the way her past affects her present and future.

 

Tate is not your normal main character. She has a darkness that will never leave her. She is haunted by her past and has experienced terrible things. In attempt to put her old life behind her, she jumps on a plane to New York City. She meets a handsome man on the plane, Hayden. Tate definitely does not need a new man in her life, but she is drawn to something in him.

 

Tate intrigued me and I loved reading her story. She is very unique and I've never read about a character like her. I truly grew to care for her. Tate is constantly struggling to let go of some of her darkness, but she also does not want to lose herself in the process. This made for a thought-provoking and engrossing read. Her struggle felt real and raw, and even though she is not always the nicest person, I was rooting for her. I wanted the best for her.

Hayden surprised me, and the connection between him and Tate pulled at my heartstrings. I love how dynamic their relationship is. I don't want to get too into it, but I really appreciated his character and the complex bond between him and Tate.

All of the side characters are very interesting as well and I am glad they are included in the story, especially Catherine, Tate's best friend. I even wish we saw more of her.

 

The plot isn't heart-pounding and it didn't keep me on the edge of my seat, but it kept me reading. There are not a ton of crazy twists or anything, but there are some surprising developments with the plot and characters. I think the writing style and the switching of timelines really help move the plot along. 

 

I couldn't give the book 5 stars because I didn't feel completely connected to it. I have never experienced anything that Tate is going through and there are some things that didn't really click with me. Obviously, that's a personal thing, and not the fault of the writer. I think if you can identify with Tate or you have experienced similar things, you will form a strong bond with this story. That just was not the case for me. Although I appreciate Tate's character and her journey, I felt removed from it in a way. 

 

This is a dark story and I love that aspect of it. I love that the author was not afraid to go into those dark parts of Tate's mind and soul. With that said, I also love that this is a story of Tate learning to let go, and learning to accept positivity and happiness without losing who she is. This along with the twisting of the past, present, and future made for a very unique and moving read.

Twisted Fate - Norah Olson Playlist for the Dead - Michelle Falkoff

My thoughts on Twisted Fate by Norah Olson and Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff! 

Wicked by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Wicked - Jennifer L. Armentrout

Series: A Wicked Saga #1

Publication: December 8, 2014

Goodreads Link

 

Goodreads Summary: 

"Twenty-two year old Ivy Morgan isn’t your average college student. She, and others like her, know humans aren’t the only thing trolling the French Quarter for fun… and for food. Her duty to the Order is her life. After all, four years ago, she lost everything at the hands of the creatures she’d sworn to hunt, tearing her world and her heart apart.

Ren Owens is the last person Ivy expected to enter her rigidly controlled life. He’s six feet and three inches of temptation and swoon-inducing charm. With forest-green eyes and a smile that’s surely left a stream of broken hearts in its wake, he has an uncanny, almost unnatural ability to make her yearn for everything he has to offer. But letting him in is as dangerous as hunting the cold-blooded killers stalking the streets. Losing the boy she loved once before had nearly destroyed her, but the sparking tension that grows between them becomes impossible for Ivy to deny. Deep down, she wants… she needs more than what her duty demands of her, what her past has shaped for her.

But as Ivy grows closer to Ren, she realizes she’s not the only one carrying secrets that could shatter the frail bond between them. There’s something he’s not telling her, and one thing is for certain. She’s no longer sure what is more dangerous to her—the ancient beings threatening to take over the town or the man demanding to lay claim to her heart and her soul."

 

Jennifer L. Armentrout is for sure one of my favorite authors, and this book did not disappoint!

I love the setting, characters, romance, and paranormal elements. I like that the story doesn't focus on one plot line too much, there is a great balance. 

 

I live in Louisiana, so I am always looking for good books set here and I think JLA did a great job with the New Orleans setting! It has its charming qualities, but she also recognizes the danger and dirtiness of the city. While I love visiting New Orleans, it is definitely not the cleanliest of places. I appreciate that Armentrout incorporated that, while also bringing to life the beauty of the city.

 

Ivy is a great main character. She is intelligent, spunky, and strong. I like how she is girly, but is a badass at the same time. The hardships of her past give her depth and it was touching to see her work through her issues and grow. 

I also love Tink! I don't want to spoil anything so I'm not going into details, but I had to mention him. I think he makes a great addition to the story.

Ren is a wonderful love interest. I couldn't help but fall for him along with Ivy. He definitely brings the heat to the story. He is the perfect bad boy. He's tough and says inappropriate things, but he has a tenderness and sweetness to him that I couldn't resist, haha!

Ivy and Ren's romance is a tense and slow-building one. I enjoyed reading about it and I wanted them to be together so badly. It adds some spice to the story that I loved.

 

The paranormal elements are neat and I love the action they bring to the story. It is a very interesting world to read about and fascinated me. I also like that the main characters are not a part of this supernatural world. Both Ren and Ivy are human, so it's a cool twist on a paranormal romance. The paranormal aspects are still there, but the romantic love interests are kind of apart from it.

 

The plot takes some fun turns, although many are predictable. This book doesn't have the most riveting plot. There's mystery and action, but I wasn't on the edge of my seat. It kept me entertained, but I was more interested in the romance. However, the ending twist got me, and I seriously need the sequel now!

 

I enjoyed this book very much. I was not blown away, but I'm so excited to see where the story goes.

 

Wicked is a hot romance set in a world where supernatural creatures exist, and the lovers must put their lives on the line to keep the people of New Orleans safe. The setting is vivid, the characters endearing, and there is a perfect balance of danger and beauty.

 

*I must warn that there is mature content in this book*

 

Ignite by Lily Paradis

Ignite - Lily Paradis

Series: Ignite #1

Publication: August 26, 2014 by Empire Books

Goodreads Link

 

Goodreads Summary:

"After her father’s untimely demise in a mining accident and her mother’s abandonment, Lauren Lindsay is no stranger to loss. She’s used to living life for one person: herself. That is, until another family tragedy thrusts three children into her care and uproots her life in ways she could never imagine. 

Lauren's first instinct is to run, until she meets their striking, mysterious neighbor Dean Powell. Their immediate chemistry and his connection with her late father just might be enough to keep her in town long enough to uncover pieces of her past that she never had answers to. Dean’s shady past and her reluctance to trust him could cost her the life she's always been searching for, but will she run back to her old life? 
Or will she choose to stay and live the life her father always imagined for her?"

 

Ignite is a fast-paced, fun, and entertaining read. I like the characters and the storyline is different than any other new adult/contemporary book I have read.

The story touches on many different topics, including romance, grief, family relationships, mystery, accepting one's past, and growing up. While this made for a potentially touching and gripping story, it ultimately led to a busy plot that lacked the development needed.

 

Lauren is a likable character that is easy to relate to. She does have her faults and makes some wrong choices, but she feels like a real person. She is put into an unimaginably tough situation, and while I think she could have made some better choices, she handles things as best as she can. 

Dean Powell is an intriguing and charming love interest. I like his mysterious vibe. However, I did not fall madly in love with him along with Lauren. I just didn't understand many of his actions and he felt TOO perfect at times (I know there will be another book from his perspective, so maybe that will give some insight). I liked him overall, but was not captivated by him.

The children that are now in Lauren's care are the highlight of the book. They each have their own distinct personality and I grew to love them. I loved seeing Lauren form a connection with each kid.

 

I do wish the story focused more on the children and Lauren's relationship with them instead of the romance. The romance is okay, but it feels rushed almost. It just did not click with me. While I like Lauren and Dean and the bond they started to form, I did not buy into their desperate need for each other. 

 

The plot is also weird for me. Like I said before, there are a lot of things going on and each one is developed minimally. It might have been better to just focus on a few things instead. 

I did like the mystery aspect. It really intrigued me, and I enjoyed seeing the plot lines come together in the end. 

Either the book should have been longer or taken place over a longer period of time to adequately work out and expand each element.

 

The writing did make the book feel fast-paced and easy to read, but it's almost too easy to read. The writing is very basic and simplistic without a lot of flourishes. Maybe that is why I had a hard time really connecting to the story. There are quite a few pop culture references that I enjoyed, but, to me, the writing lacked richness. 

 

The author said that she had a lot of problems with the editing of the book, and that is evident in the writing. She did a blog post about it, here is the link: http://lilyparadis.com/?p=893

I think it is important to mention this because it explains a lot. 

 

This book has a great foundation and premise, but I do not think it was developed to its full potential. I can tell that Lily Paradis has talent and put a lot of work into this story. There is something special here, I just wish it really had the chance to shine.

 

*I received a physical copy of this book for free from the author and publisher in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own*

Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick

Black Ice - Becca Fitzpatrick

Publication: October 7, 2014 by Simon and Schuster

Goodreads Link

 

Goodreads Summary: "Britt Pfeiffer has trained to backpack the Teton Range, but she isn't prepared when her ex-boyfriend, who still haunts her every thought, wants to join her. Before Britt can explore her feelings for Calvin, an unexpected blizzard forces her to seek shelter in a remote cabin, accepting the hospitality of its two very handsome occupants—but these men are fugitives, and they take her hostage. 

In exchange for her life, Britt agrees to guide the men off the mountain. As they set off, Britt knows she must stay alive long enough for Calvin to find her. The task is made even more complicated when Britt finds chilling evidence of a series of murders that have taken place there... and in uncovering this, she may become the killer’s next target. "

This book entertained me and kept me guessing. I really enjoyed the mystery elements and how I could not trust anyone, but the book does have some flaws.

 

With this book, everything good that I like about it, there is something that I don't like so much.

I was very intrigued by the characters and their motives. I couldn't wait to find out the truth. However, the main character is a little vanilla. She did not have any qualities that made me really like her, she was just there. She also says/does some things that are annoying and frustrating.

The mysterious men really kept me interested in the story, but still they are not extremely compelling.

 

The plot captivated me at first, but there are definitely developments that are unrealistic and predictable. Although, the plot line is creative and I appreciate that.

There is a romance that I didn't buy into. I guess I can understand where Britt is coming from, but everything is so sketchy. Romantic feelings would the last thing on my mind if I were her.

 

The pacing in the story is a little weird. The beginning and end have a good bit of action and kept me on the edge of my seat, but the middle drags out. I think some parts could have been cut out and the book shorter. I did end up reading this in a day. I like the writing style, it was fast for me to read and it captured my attention, but I could still feel when the pacing dragged.

 

For me, this book provided a unique story that really piqued my interest. I wanted to keep reading to figure out everything and to see what happened to Britt and the characters. On the other hand, there are undeniable weaknesses in the characters and plot that hindered my enjoyment. Mostly, the book did not make me feel any strong emotions toward it, good or bad.

 

*I received an ARC of this book from Book Expo America 2014 in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*

 

Sublime by Christina Lauren

Sublime - Christina Lauren

Publication: October 14, 2014 by Simon & Schuster

Goodreads

 

Goodreads Summary: "When Lucy walks out of a frozen forest, wearing only a silk dress and sandals, she isn’t sure how she got there. But when she sees Colin, she knows for sure that she’s here for him.

Colin has never been captivated by a girl the way he is by Lucy. With each passing day their lives intertwine, and even as Lucy begins to remember more of her life—and her death—neither of them is willing to give up what they have, no matter how impossible it is. And when Colin finds a way to physically be with Lucy, taking himself to the brink of death where his reality and Lucy’s overlap, the joy of being together for those brief stolen moments drowns out everything in the outside world. But some lines weren’t meant to be crossed…"

 

I really liked this book in the beginning, but as it went on, it went downhill. At first I was captivated by Lucy's story. I wanted to know what happened to her and why she came back after death. Her connection to Colin intrigued me and their relationship excited me. However, at about the halfway point the story lost its gravity and some of plot developments just seemed silly. Towards the end I had a hard time taking it seriously, and I did not care about the characters any longer.

 

The story is really heavy on the romance, which I am usually okay with, but Colin and Lucy's relationship got to be too weird for me. At first I liked how they took their time and it was sweet. Then it became all about physicality and it lost meaning. They became too focused on the wrong goal and I stopped believing in them. 

Also, just a warning, there are some mature romance scenes, so I wouldn't suggest this for the younger audience.

 

The mystery aspect is really interesting, and I like how it is explored. There are answers to Lucy's state of being and how she got there, but I did want to know more. As the book went on it became a little confusing and then very confusing by the end. I do wish it was explained more clearly, especially the ending. I understand that the vagueness adds to the haunting feel, but it just left me disoriented and not in a good way.

 

I like the writing style. It is quick and kept my attention. It's descriptive without going overboard. I was easily able to imagine everything, but the plot didn't get bogged down. I read this book in one sitting, and I think the writing was a big reason I was able to do that. It also created a strong, eerie atmosphere. The story is set in winter at a boarding school with a creepy history, and the writing did a great job of making this come to life. 

 

This book starts out with intensity and intrigue. I felt drawn in by the setting and Lucy and Colin's characters. However, it lost its pizzazz as it went on and felt unrealistic and not believable. The characters became aggravating and the ending left me unsatisfied. 

Overall, I was entertained by this story and I enjoyed the writing, but it failed to have a powerful effect.

 

*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*

Atlantia by Ally Condie

Atlantia - Ally Condie

Publication: October 28, 2014 by Dutton Juvenile

Goodreads

 

Goodreads Summary: "For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamt of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden—she has nothing left to lose.

Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the complex system constructed to govern the divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths."

 

I was really hoping to like this, but I just don't think Ally Condie's books are meant for me.

 

This story has a cool, unique, and clever premise, but unfortunately it did not deliver. The idea of Atlantia is neat and I was very interested to see how a world can exist underwater. However, the world building is so underdeveloped.

I could not picture what it looked like, and it just did not make sense. The elements of the world felt very random and thrown together. I did not buy into it at all and I was confused on how it worked and operated. It is almost like the author is describing it as if the reader should already know what it looks like and how it works. 

Rio is supposed to be a siren, but I could never fully grasp what being a siren meant or how they came to be, so it just left me confused.

 

The characters are generic and dull. Rio has some spunk, but she did not feel real. I could not connect to her or the others. They feel like cookie-cutter characters. Along with that, there is a one dimension romance that made me feel nothing. 

I don't want to sound cold-hearted, but honestly, nothing in this story made me care or feel emotion.

 

The plot is basic and I kept waiting for something exciting to happen, but every plot development is underwhelming. It is fairly predictable, but mostly it's underdeveloped. The writing is simple and not cohesive. I really had to force myself to get through this book. 

 

I admire the creativity of the premise and the world. It is a hybrid dystopia/fantasy, and unlike any world I have read before. I also like the family dynamics. Rio and Bay have an interesting relationship. It parallels the relationship of their mother and aunt. I think this could have been a really great element and layer of the story to explore. I just wish that I believed in it. 

I couldn't help but feel disconnected and unemotional towards the story.

 

Even if a book isn't amazing, I will give it some credit if it kept me entertained. This one, however, was tough to get through. It definitely did not click with me.

 

*I received a free hardcover copy of this book from Penguin in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own*

Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

Pretty Girl-13 - Liz Coley

Publication: March 19, 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books

 

Goodreads

 

Goodreads Summary: "When thirteen-year-old Angela Gracie Chapman looks in the mirror, someone else looks back--a thin, pale stranger, a sixteen-year-old with haunted eyes. Angie has no memory of the past three years, years in which she was lost to the authorities, lost to her family and friends, lost even to herself. Where has she been, who has been living her life, and what is hiding behind the terrible blankness? There are secrets you can’t even tell yourself.

With a tremendous amount of courage and support from unexpected friends, Angie embarks on a journey into the darkest corners of her mind. As she unearths more and more about her past, she discovers a terrifying secret and must decide: when you remember things you wish you could forget, do you destroy the people responsible, or is there another way to feel whole again?"

 

This is such a thought-provoking and impactful read. 

I enjoyed how much it focuses on Angie's mind and the psychological aspects of being a kidnapping victim. It is definitely not sugarcoated.

 

Angie's situation is brutal, and it was hard to read at times. I felt a lot of emotion and sympathy for her and her story.

I like how raw and real the book is. Liz Coley definitely did her research and I found all of the psychology elements to be fascinating.

 

Even though there were not any huge, surprising twists, Angie and the reader go through a very intense journey.

The writing is interesting. The book deals with Angie having multiple personalities. There are some parts of the book written from these personalities. It is a little disorienting and times and hard to figure out. While I admire the writing style, it was hard to get into. I wasn't totally drawn into the story because of the writing style.

 

There is not any real romance, but Angie does have to deal with going back to school after 3 years of being gone. Her struggles are heart-breaking, but it is nice to see how she develops and which characters are there to help her.

Even with everything happening to her, Angie has a bright personality and I was always rooting for her.

 

The ending is slightly open-ended, which is frustrating. However, it is not the type of story that can really end. Angie and her family will have to deal with everything that happened for the rest of their lives. It's hard to have a cut and dry ending.

 

This story is really disturbing at times, but it will stick with me. Angie's mind fascinated me and I felt emotion and hope for her. This is definitely a story that will trouble you, but also make you think!

 

 

Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Don't Look Back - Jennifer L. Armentrout

Publication: April 15, 2014 by Disney-Hyperion

Goodreads

 

Goodreads Summary: "Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend. 

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it's one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took "mean girl" to a whole new level, and it's clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She's getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she's falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash. 

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn't just buried deep inside of Sam's memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?"

 

Jennifer L. Armentrout knows how to capture my attention and hold it until the end of the book. This book sucked me in and I loved experiencing this crazy story.

 

Although I predicted some of the plot developments, I was totally shocked by the big twist. I love how JLA made every character a suspect, and I literally did not trust anyone, not even Sam.

What I really loved is the balance of the story. There's a lot of mystery and suspense involved in trying to find out what happened, but there's also the normal high school drama. The author does a great job of weaving these elements together. 

Even though Sam has just been through something traumatic and has lost all her memories, she has to get back into her old life, it is her only choice. I like how JLA spends time developing that part of the story and it's not all about the mystery. It gives the book a more realistic feel. 

 

I also think the romance fits in nicely. I could not bring myself to trust anyone, not even Carson, so I didn't really let myself fall in love with him. I could understand Sam's feelings, though. The situation adds a little lightness to a serious story.

 

The change in Sam's personality is also an interesting kink. I had fun reading about her changing her ways and figuring out who the old Sam was. The family dynamic is also strange but intriguing as well because there is a lot of drama between her parents.

At points, Sam is very naive which got a bit frustrating, but she is overall a likable main character.

 

I found this story extremely compelling and intriguing. I could not put it down and I kept thinking about it even when I wasn't reading. This is a great book for those who want to get into YA mystery!

Made For You by Melissa Marr

Made for You - Melissa Marr

Publication: September 16, 2014 by HarperCollins

Goodreads

 

Goodreads Summary:

"When Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital, she’s confused—who in her sleepy little North Carolina town could have hit her with their car? And why? But before she can consider the question, she finds that she’s awoken with a strange new skill: the ability to foresee people’s deaths when they touch her. While she is recovering from the hit-and-run, Nate, an old flame, reappears, and the two must traverse their rocky past as they figure out how to use Eva’s power to keep her friends—and themselves—alive. But while Eva and Nate grow closer, the killer grows increasingly frantic in his attempt to get to Eva."

 

I was totally captivated by this book! The plot drew me in and would not let go. This is a thrilling, and slightly disturbing, mystery full of suspense! 

 

My favorite part of the book is that there are chapters from the killer's perspective. The reader knows what is going on in the killer's mind, but the killer's identity is not revealed. The whole book I was dying to figure out who this messed up person is in Eva's life. 

 

Also, I am a sucker for books set in a small town, so this one is right up my alley! The drama that arises is so entertaining.

 

I connected very well with the main character. Eva is the kind of girl that does not want to give into the small town state of mind, but sometimes she has to follow along to keep her friends. Although, she does have one best friend that is from out of town, who is so funny and makes sure to keep Eva in check. Eva definitely understands how this town works, but she still struggles to endure it.

 

There's also a romance, but it does not take center-stage, which I appreciate. This book is all about the mystery and finding the killer.

There is also the paranormal aspect because Eva can now see how people die. This also is not a focus of the story. She uses this skill as a tool to help keep her friends and family safe, but it isn't fully explored.

 

This story feels very realistic and I think most everything plays out in a realistic way. Except for some things at the end.

 

I couldn't give this book a higher rating because I wish the paranormal aspect was more developed and some parts towards the end were a little out there.

 

With all of that said, this book will give you goosebumps and keep you on the edge of your seat! I highly enjoyed it.

 

* I received a physical ARC of this book from RT Booklovers Convention for free. Thanks to HarperCollins for handing them out. All opinions are my own. *

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

The Young Elites - Marie Lu

Series: The Young Elites #1

Publication: October 7, 2014 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Goodreads

 

Goodreads Summary:

"I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all. 

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen. 

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her."

 

This book is one of my most highly anticipated books of the year, and it did not disappoint. I love it so so much.

 

What makes this book unique, is how dark and gritty it is. The main character, Adelina, went through unimaginable horrors before the book even begins. This leaves her with a deep-rooted darkness in her soul. Adelina is not the pure heroine of most YA books, she has so many issues to work through, and she has to find the strength to do this. It is a struggle for her throughout the story to find the goodness and strength within herself. She is pulled in many different directions, and it was a compelling adventure to read her story.

 

I also love the overall feel of this book. It is a fantasy, but has a historical feel to it. Like I said before, it's really dark. Even the setting and the world is not a happy place. It is on the brink of war and the people are unsettled. Malfettos (marked survivors of the blood fever) are being burned alive in the belief that they are Young Elites. The whole atmosphere is distressing.

 

There is also a focus on family. Adelina has a troubled family life and is pushed to drastic measures because of it. I like how her family bonds are explored in the story and they play a big role in Adelina's character development. 

 

Adelina is such a rich character with faults and strengths. She stands out from all other characters I have read. She definitely brings an edge to the story and I would venture to say that her character MAKES the story. I love what Marie Lu did with her.

 

There is a little bit of a romance, but it definitely does not take center stage. I think it fit in with the story nicely and had purpose. In some books similar to this, the romance seems forced or out of place, but that is not the case with this one.

 

I do have to say that the world-building in this book is not very strong. I felt the same way with the Legend series. The world is cool and pretty, but I didn't feel captivated by it, and I didn't feel like it came to life. This could just be my experience, but I definitely think the story focuses on the plot and the characters instead of world-building. 

 

There are changes in perspective, although they do add to the world building, they mostly further the plot and character development. The POV changes are a nice addition and they kept me on my toes.

 

With the way the book ended, I think the world will be expanded in the next books, and I love the direction the book takes at the end, I am seriously salivating for the next one!

 

This book has the same writing style as Lu's Legend trilogy, it's fast-paced and easy to imagine. The plot will keep you guessing and the characters will stealthily grab your heart. 

I love how bold and abrasive this book is at times. This is a unique, intense, plot-focused fantasy, and I think many will fall in love with it!

 

* I received a hardcover copy of this book for free from Penguin in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own. *

Blackbird by Anna Carey

Blackbird - Anna Carey

Series: Blackbird Duology #1

Publication: September 16, 2014 by HarperTeen

Goodreads

 

Goodreads Summary:

"This twisty, breathless cat-and-mouse thrill ride, told in the second person, follows a girl with amnesia in present-day Los Angeles who is being pursued by mysterious and terrifying assailants.

A girl wakes up on the train tracks, a subway car barreling down on her. With only minutes to react, she hunches down and the train speeds over her. She doesn’t remember her name, where she is, or how she got there. She has a tattoo on the inside of her right wrist of a blackbird inside a box, letters and numbers printed just below: FNV02198. There is only one thing she knows for sure: people are trying to kill her. 

On the run for her life, she tries to untangle who she is and what happened to the girl she used to be. Nothing and no one are what they appear to be. But the truth is more disturbing than she ever imagined."

 

This book definitely grabbed my attention and entertained me. The amnesia aspect made for a fun and mysterious read. I enjoyed trying to figure everything out along with the main character. 

This book is also unique because it is told in second person. I can't decide how I feel about this. At first it was off-putting and took some getting used to. Once I did get used to it, it didn't really make that much of a difference to me. I'm not sure if it is really necessary. I think I would have enjoyed the book the same amount if it was told in first or third person. 

I think the second person writing is a good way to grab the reader in the beginning and it makes the book a bit more thrilling in the first part. However, in the rest of the book, it didn't make that big of a difference. I don't think it was done poorly, but the novelty of it wore off throughout the story.

 

There is a lot of action and the mystery keeps the reader on edge. I was always wondering what was going to happen next. The plot gets pretty crazy with a few twists thrown in. 

There are some flashbacks and changing of perspectives to help develop everything. I think these elements worked at points, but some disrupted the flow of the story. I also felt some were unnecessary. A few even left me more confused.

I don't think the book had enough answers in it. After finishing, I am still confused on certain parts that I think should have been resolved. I think the book could have been a little longer.

However, I am anxiously awaiting the sequel/conclusion and I will definitely read it in hopes of getting more closure and answers.

 

If you're looking for a quick read that has a lot of mystery and action, I would recommend this. Also, if you are willing to read something with a unique writing style.

This isn't one I would suggest rushing out to buy, but if you have the opportunity to read it, I would recommend.

 

* I received an eARC of this book for free from Edelweiss and HarperTeen in return for an honest review. *

Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday

Of Monsters and Madness - Jessica Verday

Publication: September 9, 2014 by EgmontUSA

Goodreads

 

Goodreads Summary:

" A romantic, historical retelling of classic Gothic horror featuring Edgar Allan Poe and his character Annabel Lee, from a New York Times best-selling author.

Summoned to her father's home in 1820's Philadelphia, a girl finds herself in the midst of a rash of gruesome murders in which he might be implicated. She is torn romantically between her father's assistants-one kind and proper, one mysterious and brooding-who share a dark secret and may have more to do with the violent events than they're letting on. "

 

This is a fun, entertaining, and creepy read that is great for Halloween. I honestly do not have much to say about this book because there was not much to it. It's an interesting little story.

 

I would consider myself a fan of Edgar Allan Poe's work and so the retelling aspect of the story definitely intrigued me. I enjoyed seeing what the author did with Poe and Annabel Lee. 

This book is also set in a historical fiction setting that creates a wonderfully dark mood. Philadelphia made for a haunting setting that gave me the creeps.

I don't have much to say about Annabel's character. She has a hard time adjusting to life in her father's home, which is understandable. She has a strong will to be a doctor and to transcend a woman's role of that time. She has admirable traits, however, she bored me and I didn't find her overly intriguing.

 

The mystery and the plot is what kept me reading. I had to find out what these secrets were and how everything was going to play out. The pacing is fairly slow with a day by day time line, but I didn't mind. I can't say that I was blown away by the ending. It was slightly predictable and abrupt. I'm not sure if there is going to be a sequel, but the ending is left open for one. I'm not sure if I would read the sequel though.

 

If you are a hardcore fan of Edgar Allan Poe, I would not suggest this book for you because the author takes many liberties with his life and the story is definitely not accurate.

 

Overall, if you're looking for a quick, creepy read for the Halloween season, this might be a good one. However, I think if you are a huge fan of horror, this book will probably not impress you.

 

* I received an eARC copy of this book from Edelweiss and EgmontUSA in return for an honest review. *

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After - Stephanie Perkins

Series: Anna and the French Kiss #3

Publication: August, 14 2014 by Dutton

Goodreads

 

Goodreads Summary:

"Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart."

 

I have to say that this is my favorite of the three. I just felt so much more emotional connection to the story and the characters, it brought me to tears at times.

Isla is a character I could really identify with. Her insecurities and apprehension about the future are things that I have experienced, so I did feel a special connection with her.

She seems sweet and innocent on the outside, but definitely has vitality and vigor. I really enjoyed learning about her and seeing her grow and come into her own. Isla is definitely not perfect, but she goes on a emotional journey. I loved seeing how her relationship with Josh helped her overcome obstacles.

 

This story felt very real for me. I think it depicts a more realistic relationship along with the issues that accompany it. Josh is a great character as well. It was wonderful learning more about him since he was in the first book as a side character. He definitely has his personal issues and, again, his relationship with Isla does help him overcome these.

 

Josh and Isla have a beautiful connection and their story is very moving. They have their ups and downs, but ultimately they both learn what is important.  I absolutely adored seeing their growth personally and together.

 

Another thing I love is the setting. This book takes place in Paris, New York City, and Barcelona. The scenes are beautiful and I couldn't help but be captivated by them. Also, being that this is the final book, seeing everything come together in the end was so heart-warming, but bittersweet at the same time.

 

The characters from the previous books make an appearance and I shed some tears of happiness at seeing everyone together. 

This book just really hit home with me and touched my heart. So many wonderful things happen, and even though there are some dark times, the characters work through it. It makes the happy times all the more beautiful.

I laughed in this book, I cried, it has a little bit of everything. There are issues beyond the romance that make it more realistic and touching. I quite enjoyed Isla's best friend, Kurt, he really added something special to the story. I love the attention Stephanie Perkins gives to the details and side characters in her books. This book just really blew me away. It is a fantastic conclusion to this trilogy.

 

*I was sent a copy of this book in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door - Stephanie Perkins

Series: Anna and the French Kiss #2

Publication: September 29, 2011 by Dutton Books

Goodreads

 

Goodreads Summary: 

"Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion...she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit--more sparkly, more fun, more wild--the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket--a gifted inventor--steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door."

 

I love this one just as much as Anna and the French Kiss! They are different, but I couldn't pick a favorite.

Lola is one of the most unique and crazy cool characters I have read about. I love how she always dresses up in these outfits just for everyday life. She has remarkable confidence and spark. I could not really connect or relate to her because she is so different, but that did not hinder my enjoyment of her character. She is someone I would love to have as a friend and I think she is fascinating. 

However, again with this book, we have the cheating element. Lola has a boyfriend, but starts to have feelings for Cricket.

 

Cricket is a great, unique character as well. He also expresses himself strongly through his wardrobe and he sounds like a very fun person to be around. Him and Lola have a sweet chemistry that has a history behind it since they were neighbors before. Cricket is very kind and when he would do things for Lola I couldn't help but go "Awwwww!"

 

This made the on-the-line cheating even more frustrating. Cricket is just so sweet and cute and I got so aggravated with Lola for keeping her boyfriend, who is a jerk. Again, it did add tension and drama, but it also just got to be old. 

 

However, I did like Lola's journey throughout the book of her trying to figure everything out. She went through some great character development and she came out even stronger in the end. So, I did appreciate how the boyfriend drama lead to that. I just wish it happened sooner so there could be more swoon-worthy moments between her and Cricket without it being tainted by her boyfriend.

 

Again with this book as well as Anna and the French Kiss, the scenery is wonderful. I love the descriptions of San Francisco and the cute neighborhood Lola lives in. Stephanie Perkins is great at making the world and story come to life. I was again captivated by this story.

The side characters are really great as well. Lola has two dads, who are so hilarious and I loved reading about their relationship with Lola. I also appreciated the other plot lines beyond the romance which help to add more depth and reality to the story.

 

This is a quirky and unconventional contemporary that I adored and highly recommend. You don't have to read Anna and the French Kiss to read this one, but it would be a lot more meaningful if you do. The characters from Anna do make some cameos, which is so much fun!