Sunday, January 31, 2016

#ARC Review | Chasing Spring by R. S. Grey

ARC via author for an honest review
Goodreads // Amazon
Feb. 1, 2016

I thought I’d left Blackwater, Texas behind for good. I didn’t belong in the small town, but my dad wouldn’t listen. He dragged me back home in his beat-up truck and dropped a bomb along the way: Chase Matthews was moving in with us. He was the golden boy of my high school, my former best friend, and the last person I wanted sleeping across the hall. His presence was too great a reminder of the ghosts I was trying to forget.

I didn’t ask for a hero. I don’t want to be saved. 

To me, Lilah Calloway meant late nights sneakin’ out, moonlit hair, and sparklers in July. She was my best friend until the day she left and I’d assumed Blackwater had seen the last of her. Then, like a tempest, she rolled back into town for the final half of senior year. The chopped hair and dark devil-may-care attitude warned most people away, but I knew if I fought hard enough, I could find the lost girl.

I didn’t want to be her hero. Some girls don’t need to be saved. 

“My family’s secrets had been plucked, pressed, preserved, and put on display” (ARC).

This is a deceptively cute, carefree cover. Very, very deceptive. *eyes cover* It’s all pretty and flowery and nice. I mean, the book is gorgeous (I highlighted at least one sentence in every chapter) but goodness, it was sad. But it was also happy and hopeful. And sad. Lilah runs to her Aunt’s house in Austin after her life unravels when secrets are exposed in her tiny hometown of Blackwater, Texas. In the beginning of the novel, we’re told that her Aunt has to take a job overseas. Lilah moves back to the place where she’s spent two years trying to escape. And the person she’s trying to escape: Chase. This boy is sugary sweet, a tad bit annoying, but so completely in love with Lilah.

The reader doesn’t get the whole story at first. We get bits and pieces to ignite our curiosity, and as we read on the story becomes one of unbreakable friendship forged with a bond deeper than family, the dissolving of sanity, and the hope that things will get better molded with the marrow-deep fear that it never will. And, holy cheese and crackers, is it beautiful and heartbreaking and swoony and so, so sad. It’s so gloomy.

I downloaded the ARC while I was at school. This was my first mistake. I swear I had every intention of doing some homework last night. I really, really did. I was going to do biology and English and history. I was going to work on my extended essay. And I was going to update my IB CAS hours. But somehow (how did it happen, really?) I ended up opening my Kindle app on my phone, walking up to a chair in the game room, and just sat there. And finished the entire book. AND I REGRET NOTHING.

Lilah (whose name I pronounce LEE-LUH half of the time and LIE-LUH the other half) is broken. She doesn’t need someone to fix her. She’s obsessed with secrets. She’s falling into her mother’s patters to understand the women she was. And she is so not over Chase. He’s the boy she left behind, and whose searching for the girl she used to be—somewhere underneath all the black hair dye, stay the hell away attitude, and desperate attempt to get away from Blackwater. One thing she didn’t leave? He adoration for using the dirt to make something gorgeous bloom. She’s chasing spring.

Both of these main characters are so well fleshed out. I loved how the POV of the story flip-flopped between the two of them. Then there were the flashbacks which let the reader see how everything got started. Basically, I love the way the story is told. I love the words that were used. I love that every emotion- the good and the bad and the ugly- that was felt in CHASING SPRING was one that I could feel as well. And sometimes it was really, really good. Other times it was a special brand of fury.

The kind that sets the world on fire.

Lordy, this book was lovely. Betrayal, loss of hope, metamorphosis. Gorgeous cover. After my love for R.S. Grey’s books SCORING WILDER, this one certainly did not disappoint.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

If The Characters in #WhatYouAlwaysWanted by Kristin Rae Were Cakes

What You Always Wanted by Kristen Rae
Rating: 4.5 Sparkling Stars
Published: March 29, 2016 // Bloomsbury
ARC from publisher
Goodreads // Amazon

If Only . . . he was the boy she's been dreaming of. The If Only line continues in this fun high school theater-themed romance!

Drama girl Maddie Brooks has always had high standards for guys. But she has yet to find one who can live up to the romantic, classic Hollywood heartthrobs, especially the dreamy song-and-dance man Gene Kelly. When Maddie begins to carpool with Jesse Morales, her new neighbor and star pitcher of the baseball team, she's struck by his wit, good looks, and love for his family--but a guy so into sports is definitely not her style. Then Maddie discovers that Jesse was raised as a dancer and still practices in the community theater dance studio to keep in shape. Perhaps her perfect dream guy exists after all! But when it becomes clear that baseball--not dance--is Jessie's passion, can Maddie find a way to let her dream guy go and appreciate the charms of the amazing guy in front of her?

So. This review (if you even want to call it that) is going to be a little different. Mainly because this book is just so, I don’t know, high-schooly. And I’m in high school. SO RELATABLE. I like it a lot. A lot a lot. Some might even call it love. OKAY- back to the reviewing. This is going to be a little different because I’m mostly going to talk about Maddie and Jesse. And I’ll be talking about cake, and if they were cake what kind they would be (and neither of them match up with their favorite flavor!).

We’ll begin with Maddie; she’s a Chicago native who’s just moved to Texas with an affinity for all things Gene Kelly and theatric.

If Maddie was a flavor, she wouldn’t be her favorite yellow cake with chocolate frosting. I think she’d be a chocolate and rose Bundt cake topped with a chocolate ganache. Why is this you ask? This girl is totally sweet and incredibly unique. Her love for classic movies, and the way she weaves them into her everyday life (like the star on her check) are totally deserving of the classic kind of cake. When I think of a classy cake, I think of a Bundt cake. Something about them. You can dress them up or down. Maddie wants it all. And I think this is why I like her so much; she is a whole lot like me. She has a lists of wants in a guy (dance, Gene Kelly, singing, parental approval) and doesn’t really understand her attraction to Jesse- a dashing lad who she thinks is SO not her type. He plays baseball, which is not on her lists. But, he’s also incredibly sweet. These two struggle with growing up and living up to expectations, whether it is their own or someone else’s. As a chocolate and rose Bundt cake covered in chocolate ganache, Maddie a crowd-pleaser and gorgeous. Struggling to figure out who she is, and what she really wants, she embraces life with flair.

Jesse is Maddie’s next door neighbor and brother to Maddie’s first friend in Texas. He enjoys long walks on the beach, conversations about the stars, and movies that have a lot of explosions. Actually, I’m not sure about any of those, but he is a total sweetheart.

Jesse (hold on while I swoon all the swoons real quick. No really, I’m still swooning) has a long time adoration for vanilla cake. However, this boy is anything but vanilla. If he were a cake, he’d be a New York Chai Cheesecake. Let’s all just ignore the positively swoony baseball pants for a moment. Have I mentioned he plays baseball yet? He so does. *winks* He’s this cake because you know it’ll be good (it’s cheesecake- how can it not be yummy?) you don’t know just how yummy it’ll be. When you bite into the cheesecake it’s not just yummy and rich and cheesecakey; oh no, it’s yummy and rich and SPICY and cheesecakey. Like Jesse. There’s elements to this boy that you are expecting when you initially meet him, but it makes him who he is and I JUST I LOVE HIM. The relationship between Jesse and Maddie is just the cutest, but it’s also not without it’s mistakes and hardships and quick-to-judge moments. It’s not as easy as you’d think, just like a cheesecake is a little hard to make.

This book was so cute. It wasn’t on my to-read list before, but I seriously think it needs to be on everyone’s radar now. Cute characters sprinkled with growing up. Dancing and Gene Kelly. Bigger than life smiles and real issues that teens face. This book is darling.

Monday, January 25, 2016

How to know you’ll love THE BONE SEASON before you start it

THE BONE SEASON by Samantha Shannon
Book 1 // Finished Edition Sent from Publisher
Goodreads // Amazon
Published August 20, 2013

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people's minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine and also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.

So I think THE BONE SEASON by Samantha Shannon is the epitome of the bee’s knees. I mean it has so freaking much going for it and I was just totally not expecting it. Though, I suppose, I really should have known. In order to help you hurry along your prance to a copy of THE BONE SEASON, I’ve complied a list of things you can check off in order to figure out if this book is the book you’ve been searching for.

One.) You are faced with books, on occasion, with excerpts- maybe they’re just sentences, snippets- that are so beautiful and so moving that you just have to take a deep breath and let that psychotic grin overtake your face. I mean, you look like The Joker for a little while, but that book? So worth it.

"I apologize for upsetting you. But even if you resent me, know I only sought to understand you. You can hardly blame me for your refusal to be understood.”

This quote was that for me. It reminds me of the quote from George Orwell’s 1984, Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.”

I like that.

Two.) You happen to fall for Darkling-like and Darcy-like characters faster than a rockslide down a mountain. Sometimes you even fall to sleep wondering what it would be like for these two to be mushed together and given a save/destroy-the-world complex. Well, darling. Search no more.

May I present to you Warden. Your newest book boyfriend. He enjoys lots of things. But you’ll just have to find all that out for yourself.

"He was the single most beautiful and terrible thing I'd ever laid eyes on."
And hell to the no, this was in no way, shape, or form insta-love. Praise the Lord for small mercies. It was more like insta-want to kill and maim and set on fire and maybe make you go insane. Sounds like a toatal Lady Gaga song. MWAHAHA. Hehehe.

Three.) You like your evil queen badass. You want her marrow to be steeped in bad intentions. You want her morals to be trampled. You want her to trample people.

Oh honey baby sweetheart are you ever in the right place. Because this mistress of all things going to hell breaks everything, she takes what she wants. And she’s determined to get what it is she wants at whatever the cost, and no matter now high the body count is.

Four.) You like your heroines to mess up and make mistakes and have regrets. But you want them to embrace them, not to let that slow them down. You want them to allow those regrets to have a place inside of them, and you want that heroine to fight to the skin of her teeth. Of course, supernatural abilities are a plus. So is the inability to bow down.

 "Your eyes hold death. Death and ice."