All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1): Review

22571275Release Date: January 20th 2015
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Series: Standalone
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Summary: This exciting new series from NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Ally Carter focuses on Grace, who can best be described as a daredevil, an Army brat, and a rebel. She is also the only granddaughter of perhaps the most powerful ambassador in the world, and Grace has spent every summer of her childhood running across the roofs of Embassy Row. Now, at age sixteen, she’s come back to stay–in order to solve the mystery of her mother’s death. In the process, she uncovers an international conspiracy of unsettling proportions, and must choose her friends and watch her foes carefully if she and the world are to be saved.

So far, 2015 has been a terrific reading year. January has graced me with so many beautiful titles. I’ve read a mixture of genres this month but it was only natural that I once again gravitated towards more contemporary reads . Contemporary, if done right, can easily be my favourite genre. Hence, my natural gravitation towards it.

So, me being the daring and adventurous personal I always claim to be, decided to read something a bit lighter and easier on the heart for a change. I’d also been determined to finally read my first Ally Carter read since figuring out I was the only person left on the blogosphere who hadn’t read anything by Ally Carter. Now, before you all start glaring at your computer screens and wishing you could gave me a one on one talk about my terrible life decisions, I should remind you that you are reading my review for All Fall Down. Ally Carter’s latest. So, I’ve officially popped my Ally Carter cherry.

You’re welcome.

So, how did me and All Fall Down get along? I’m not quite sure if I’m being a hundred percent honest. You see, I don’t know what I was expecting going into All Fall Down but coming off the emotional rollercoaster that was I’ll Meet You There, my heart and mind wasn’t ready to switch gears from emotional depressing to humorous and badass in a matter of hours. So getting into All Fall Down was a bit tricky those first few hours.

All Fall Down is a fairly quick book (it’s only three hundred and ten pages!) and it reads like one too. The pacing was quick and the dialogue was sharp. But, All Fall Down does read like a murder mystery and early on I knew that the quick pacing was not working for me in regards to the “murder mystery” aspect of the story. I felt like, as the reader, that all the things Grace (our protagonist) feels, believes, and even uncovers, was always being told to us, rather than shown to us. This made me feel almost disconnected from the story and took away much of my interest in the ‘murder mystery’ aspect of the novel that I was looking forward to the most. Instead of reading like a thriller with a touch of humour, I got a bland mystery. A good but nonetheless, bland mystery.

Of course, I did enjoy my time with All Fall Down. Even if I struggled a bit with what type of read this one was. While I may have struggled with the overall genre of this one I did enjoy the lovely blend of characters in All Fall Down. Early on I knew Grace was the type of character I was going to love. Quick wit and a courageous spirit are my favourite things to look for in YA heroines. The rest of the characters Noah, Rosie and Grace’s grandfather were also enjoyable characters to read about, although I do believe All Fall Down only scratched the beginning of the potential of many of the secondary characters. Especially Alexei, everyone’s new favourite Russian boy.

Now, where does this leave me with Ally Carter? I suppose we’ve got a complicated relationship. All Fall Down was not what I was expecting, but I found this one to still be enjoyable. I do have plans to continue reading the Embassy Row series since I find it highly entertaining and the ending was where things really picked up and the ball got rolling. I hope all the characters can be further explored in future sequels and I hope I can grow a stronger emotional connection with the overall plot of the next books. That being said, I finally gave Ally Carter a try and I’m looking forward to reading her books again.

 

I’ll Meet You There: Review

21469068Release Date: February 3rd 2015
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Series: Standalone
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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Summary: If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.
Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.

It’s so rare to find a novel that makes you both cry equal combinations of joy and heartbreak. There’s something beautiful in a novel that can be both soul shattering and inspiring all in one. I’ll Meet You There is a triumph in YA. It’s a story about a girl dealing with all of life’s terrible circumstances and a wounded marine  searching for his place after losing his one shot at escape. It’s a story about grief, love, heartbreak and joy. I’ll Met You There touches upon so many different themes it will leave it’s mark on you.

Trying to properly articulate just how much I loved this book and exactly what i loved about it is just too hard. Trying to explain how perfectly real, poignant and raw I’ll Meet You There was doesn’t even begin to do this one justice. I was completely consumed by this one and trying to imagine putting this one down to do anything else but read seemed like too big of a task.

I love my characters to be flawed and bottled down by issues. I love when characters have substance. I seek out books with characters who are so weighed down by their problems it’s a wonder they get up each and every day. Maybe it’s sad and depressing to some. And maybe it means I don’t read to simply escape, but to face life’s problems head on. Needless to say, when I met Sky and Josh I immediately knew they were my type of characters. Both of them were  broken souls because of the cards they had been dealt in life. Imagining a better life for both of them seemed impossible.

“The moon’s not big enough to wish on, nothing is.”– I’ll Meet You There, Heather Demetrios

What I adored the most about both Sky and Josh is that they go through major character growth in I’ll Meet You There. While I loved Sky and connected with her end-of-high-school-looking-to-the-future issues the most (since my own goodbyes are soon approaching) , it was Josh who completely broke my heart. His chapters, while short and far in-between, completely broke me. It was in those chapters I really got a sense of how much Josh had lost in the war. Watching Josh, the wounded marine, deal with so much grief and heartbreak was incredibly hard as a reader. But seeing him with Skylar and seeing them try to move past their shared grief and problems was incredibly rewarding as a reader as well.

“How’s the Sky today?”
“Chance of rain.” I didn’t want to tell him what happened, but I didn’t want to be fake either – not after our night at the gas station.  I walked over to the closet where we kept our towels.
“One of these days, you’re going to tell me it’s sunny,” he said.–I’ll Meet You There, Heather Demtrios

Heather Demetrios created a perfect blend of characters in I’ll Meet You There. While Sky and Josh were the main characters and this was very much their story, Heather created a lovely set of secondary characters with their own lives and problems to help better shape Sky and Josh. From math geek and best friend Chris to always-looking-good Dylan. To Sky’s mom and Josh’s younger brother, and quirky motel owner Madge. I kept seeing all the secondary characters in I’ll Meet You There as a firm, developed, unit.

I’ll Meet You There’s setting wasn’t exactly all that beautiful. Heather Demetrios paints a picture of a not so beautiful California town where people live in trailers and the nearest Starbucks is over an hour away. They live in a town that’s surrounded by nothing but open road for miles and miles but while the setting wasn’t all that pretty, it’s the story and the love that grows between Sky and Josh that adds beauty to the overall picture.

Now, I  know it’s early in the year but I already know I’ll Meet You There is a 2015 favourite for me. I know that this year is a big year for contemporary YA releases but I just know that this one will end up on my top ten for 2015 at the end of the year. I’ll Meet You There was a beautiful story and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to thank Heather Demetrios enough for not only creating Sky and Josh’s story, but sharing it with us.

Whatever Life Throws At You: Review

20757528Release Date: October 7th 2014
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Series: Standalone
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Summary: Seventeen-year-old Annie Lucas’s life is completely upended the moment her dad returns to the major leagues as the new pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals. Now she’s living in Missouri (too cold), attending an all-girls school (no boys), and navigating the strange world of professional sports. But Annie has dreams of her own—most of which involve placing first at every track meet…and one starring the Royals’ super-hot rookie pitcher.
But nineteen-year-old Jason Brody is completely, utterly, and totally off-limits. Besides, her dad would kill them both several times over. Not to mention Brody has something of a past, and his fan club is filled with C-cupped models, not smart-mouthed high school “brats” who can run the pants off every player on the team. Annie has enough on her plate without taking their friendship to the next level. The last thing she should be doing is falling in love.
But baseball isn’t just a game. It’s life. And sometimes, it can break your heart…

I am a lazy person. A very lazy person. If you were to give me the option of going to the gym or a Yoga class (which i’m starting to really get into, mind you) instead of setting home alone reading or watching Friends on Netflix (I will never stop being thankful for this) I will, ten times out of ten choose the option of staying at home. It’s one of my many personal faults. I’m lazy. So, what does my over active mind like to do to combat my physical laziness? Easy. My over active mind likes to read books with butt kicking female MC’s, and now, apparently sport romances.

I don’t think I would have picked this one up in all honesty if I hadn’t gotten a copy of it at Inspire back, in November from the Entangled booth. This one just didn’t seem like a Lily book. I don’t typically read sport centered romance books and while I love some romance here and there I’m still overly cautious when I pick up a romance book. I always slightly worry they’ll be too cliché in my eyes. This is another personal fault of mine. I’m just laying them on you today, aren’t I? Whatever Life Throws At You surprisingly, had me completely engaged. I was twenty   pages in when I knew I had made a mistake and that this one was in fact a “Lily” book.

It was absolutely effortless to fall in love with Annie, our protagonist, from the start. She was funny and sweet, and her dialogue was so perfect I was grinning ear to ear throughout the entire read. Annie’s a hardcore runner and dreams of getting a scholarship for track. She lives with her father, a cancer survivor and amputee who was a former Yankees baseball player in his youth. Both of them along with her and her grandmother are uprooted to Missouri so her dad can be the new coach for the Royals baseball team. Then in comes Jason Brody, the nineteen year old new pitcher for the Royals and the young man her father most admires. Annie and Jason begin a friendship, things happen and well *cue romance music* .

Whatever Life Throws At You strongest theme was its strong father-daughter relationship between Annie and her dad. In many ways, it’s just the two of them and the support they show one another throughout the book was one of my favourite aspects. In most cases, there was a type of maturity Annie would bring forth in relation to her relationship with her dad. She looked out for him and his best interests throughout most of the book and really wanted him to be happy in his life. Albeit through his work, relationships or friendships.

Of course, this is a romance novel, so Annie’s relationship with Brody was at it the books forefront. I found myself really enjoying their relationship and transition from friends to a little bit more and then eventually full out girlfriend and boyfriend. In many aspects Whatever Life Throws At You is a rather mature YA novel but there were certain scenes between Annie and Brody that felt a bit too over the top for me. There were a few instances that screamed ” Very young and naive romance set in the backdrop of a mature YA novel” but considering both characters ages and past dating experiences, I can’t completely fault them.

That being said, Whatever Life Throws at you was an extremely engaging read with spot on dialogue. It’s a sport centered romance story that’s got tons of heart. From Annie and Brody to Annie and her dad and a few other surprises. All in all it was a rather enjoyable novel with a lot of great fleshed out characters and a good central plot. If you’re in the mood for a romance than I recommend giving this one a go.

Never Never #1: Review

23383567Release Date: January 8th 2014
Genres: YA, Contemporary Romance
Publisher:
Series: Part One
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Summary: Best friends since they could walk. In love since the age of fourteen. Complete strangers since this morning. He’ll do anything to remember. She’ll do anything to forget.

 

I love tragedies. I live and breathe for them. Unicorns, and dandelions just aren’t my thing. I know some people like there reads like they like the inside of their closets; completely organized and nothing out of place. I get it, I totally do but I happen to hate having an organized closet. THING MUST BE THROWN AROUND EVERYWHERE FOR ME TO ABLE TO FIND THEM (I kid you not), so it shouldn’t be all that surprising that I’ve got a profound love for books that aren’t neat and organized. Hence, my love for tragedies.

Tarryn Fisher and Colleen Hoover know how to perfectly blend tragedy and romance together. These ladies know how to rip your heart out of your chest faster than Damon snapped Jeremy’s neck off back in season three of TVD (Yes, I just made a pop culture reference, sue me).

Admittedly, I’ve been struggling a bit with some of Hoover’s latest releases since I haven’t been able to emotionally connect with them as much as I have with her previous books, but that’s more of a me thing really. To date, I’ve loved every book Tarryn Fisher has ever released and while she’s always expertly cooking up some tragedy and romance in her books, it’s her special gift for adding in suspense and mystery that really solidifies her as one of my favourite authors.

So, a book by two of literatures greatest authors was bound to be epic. Really epic, and it was. Kind of. I mean it could have potentially been. If it had all been one book.

Okay, let me start at the beginning. It’s best to go into Never Never as blind as possible. There’s a reason that synopsis is extremely vague. Hoover and Fisher alternated chapters and while both ladies have a true knack for writing, I could immediately tell that the romance had a spark of Hoover and the mystery had a spark of Fisher. I didn’t mind this in the least. The plot itself is entertaining and engaging. I didn’t want to put this one down. I ended up really liking our main protagonists Silas and Charlie. They were likable and didn’t get on my nerves, once. Which I completely expected they would because of the books subject matter. I didn’t exactly have any issues per say with Never Never’s plot direction or characters, but there were times I felt the story was moving a bit too fast. By the time I reached the end and saw the “PART 2 COMING MAY 2015″ I had a big issue.

I started Never Never expecting it to be a full length book. It was, at first, completely advertized as that. This was where my one big complaint comes in. I believe Never Never should have been a full length novel. Not only does Never Never end on a huge cliffhanger that makes the wait until May 2015 for part two unbearable, but I feel like the story would have worked better as one entire book. Never Never has a lot of potential to be a great mystery romance but now i’m afraid part one and two will just be scratching the surface of the all wonderful and amazing things they could have become. I feel that because both parts are bound to be short and to the point the characters and plot aren’t as in-depth as I would have liked them to be.

Since I completely love Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher I’m refraining from making any real complaints about the part one and part two business until the release of part two in May. Both authors are extremely talented human beings with a knack for making my heart hurt. I expect tons of tears in part two.

Last Will and Testament (Radleigh University #1):Review

23357716Release Date: December 9th 2014
Genres: NA, Contemporary
Publisher: Smashwords Edition
Series: Book one
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Summary: Lizzie Brandt was valedictorian of her high school class, but at Radleigh University, all she’s acing are partying and hooking up with the wrong guys. But all that changes when her parents are killed in a tragic accident, making her guardian to her two younger brothers. To keep them out of foster care, she’ll have to fix up her image, her life, and her GPA—fast. Too bad the only person on campus she can go to for help is her humorless, pedantic Byzantine History TA, Connor Lawson, who isn’t exactly Lizzie’s biggest fan.
But Connor surprises her. Not only is he a great tutor, but he’s also a pretty great babysitter. And chauffeur. And listener. And he understands exactly what it’s like to be on your own before you’re ready. Before long, Lizzie realizes having a responsible-adult type around has its perks… and that she’d like to do some rather irresponsible (but considerably adult) things with him as well. Good thing he’s not the kind of guy who’d ever reciprocate.
Until he does. Until they turn into far more than teacher and student. Until the relationship that helped put their lives back together threatens everything they both have left

I thrive off pushing the envelope. I detest being “normal” or “ordinary” and so by default, I find it excruciating to subjecting myself to both “ordinary” and “normal” reads. I don’t believe humans can be normal or ordinary. I simply do not believe that there is a conventional way to be human. Therefore, I just can’t possibly accept labels and names and even status quo’s. None of that makes sense to me. I do not believe in black or white when it comes to people. I believe people are grey and only grey. I know you’re wondering what this rambling has to do with Last Will and Testament. I know you’re thinking “Lily, who decided to put a big spoonful of wisdom in your Cheerio’s this morning?” (No one did, thank you very much) but I promise this will all make sense in a second.

You see, as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to understand the world around me a bit better. I’ve noticed that I have a lighter step in my walk compared to my fellow classmates, I’m less full of angst and bitterness compared to my best friends and just more understanding, compared to many of the adults I have in my life right now. I’ve realized that I’m like this not only because I immerse myself in other’s shoes through movies and books but because of what movies and books I both read and see. It is what I see and read that’s changed me compared to my peers. I’ve come to the realization that I have a different outlook on a lot of things in life. So how does this all relate to Last Will and Testament? I’ll point it out to you. Last Will and Testament is a very grey book. It’s not ordinary and normal. NOTHING about it is ordinary and normal. It pushes the envelope. It’s even considered taboo and that’s why I read it.

Lizzie Brandt isn’t doing so great in college. Former valedictorian, Lizzie finds herself nearly failing out of University, losing her scholarship money and sleeping with a guy whose still in a relationship. She’s not the girl she thought she was going to be when she entered University, but after her parents pass away and she becomes the guardians to her two younger brothers, Lizzie knows she has to step up to the plate and look after her brothers. It’s her responsibility. Things help when her nerdy but attractive History TA is there for her during her time of crisis, but under very unconventional circumstances they develop not so conventional feelings for each other and things become very, truly grey.

I’ve read a few student-teacher relationship books, such as Slammed and Unteachable (No I don’t have a weird teacher-student fetish. I just had to put that out there) and while they’ve been memorable (for their own reasons) and good overall, I don’t feel the least bit awkward about reading books that some would label “taboo”. While I’m not actively seeking out these types of reads there’s a specific reason why I somehow find my way towards them. They’re real. They’re honest. They’re flawed.

Now before you hit the brakes and start getting worried about my morals here I’ll clear some things up for you. I don’t condone teacher-student relationships or anything of that nature. Just because I read about certain topics doesn’t mean I believe they are right. I like perspective, and I like the insight books with taboo subjects give me. They’re the books that generally get across the complexity of human nature. One of the major things I loved about this book was how it focused heavily on the idea that during time of crisis we either push people away or pull them closure to us.

Last Will and Testament was very much Lizzie’s story. It was her journey through grief and welcoming into adulthood. I think that if this story had taken the time to delve deeper into Connor and Lizzie’s younger brother’s lives while they lived with her, I may have rated this one higher. As much as I enjoyed Last Will and Testament I do very much believe it was primarily Lizzie’s story, rather than hers and her brothers. Last Will and Testament gets its message across without having to be overly heavy with grief. This book’s just about how people handle everything life throws right at them .

The Young Elites (The Young Elites #1): Review

20821111Release Date: October 8th 2014
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Publisher: G.P Putnam Books for Young Readers
Series: Book One
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Summary: 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.
It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

I’ve always been more interested in villains than superheroes. In a time where more and more superheroes are getting their own films and TV shows I find myself consciously paying to sit in a theatre with a bunch of other moviegoers not to see things blow up on screen, or to see the super hero save the day, but to see and properly analyze what makes the villain tick. I want to go back a step and clarify that I don’t condone every villian’s plot to murder innocent civilians, I’m just more interested in figuring out why they want to do all these horrible things. Why did they end up that way? There’s a darkness in humanity that i’ve never particularly shied away from. I welcome it’s presence and try to figure it out. Throughout the years I’ve noticed that i’ve connected more with stories and characters that are particularly dark, which is probably why I was able to enjoy The Young Elites as much as I did.

From what I’ve read about on Goodreads and through other blogger’s reviews, The Young Elites is just a bit too dark for some. Adelina is a particularly difficult character to like and the other character’s morals are too questionable to stomach. I can easily understand where everyone’s troubles are coming from, but where other’s struggled with those problems I revved in them.

After falling ill with the deadly Blood Fever during childhood, Adelina is an elite malfetto. With her new markings and potential power Adelina (like all other malfetto’s) is ostracised and treated poorly for years. She’s embarrassed, harassed and treated like a dog compared to her unmarked younger sister. Given her awful nurturing Adelina has a darkness inside of her, one she unconsciously harbours and is determined to be set free. Adelina finds herself joining a band of malfetto’s ,like her ,who end up pushing her to her limits, limits that may just be beyond what the other bandits were expecting.

What I found so entertaining about The Young Elites wasn’t it’s central plot, as interesting as it was I couldn’t help but feel like it just moved a bit too slow for me at times. What really captivated me about The Young Elites wasn’t it’s storylines or setting, but it’s psychological analysis of Adelina and a few other characters. While some of the characters were a bit too difficult for other readers to stomach I found that their morals and ideas were completely enthralling. While I’ve always been plagued with fascination of the nature vs nurture debate, The Young Elites showcases how the characters nature heavily influences how they are nurtured in society and shape their morals. It is because of Adelina’s horrid and humiliating childhood that she seeks out retribution for every wrong. She isn’t afraid to do what needs to be done out of self preservation.

While I haven’t read Marie Lu’s Legend series I have heard lots of praise for the main characters in it. While I believe her characters in her other series were extremely likable, In The Young Elites her characters are the completely opposite. The goal in The Young Elites is never to particularly like the characters. Some might not even feel any sympathy towards them. The Young Elites one and only objective was to simply make you see things from a contrasting view to those of other YA novels. We aren’t meant to like some of the thoughts and internal battles the characters face. We’re just meant to understand them.

The Law of Moses: Review

23252517Release Date: November 17th 2014
Genres: NA
Publisher:
Series: Standalone
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Summary: If I tell you right up front, right in the beginning that I lost him, it will be easier for you to bear. You will know it’s coming, and it will hurt. But you’ll be able to prepare. Someone found him in a laundry basket at the Quick Wash, wrapped in a towel, a few hours old and close to death. They called him Baby Moses when they shared his story on the ten o’clock news – the little baby left in a basket at a dingy Laundromat, born to a crack addict and expected to have all sorts of problems. I imagined the crack baby, Moses, having a giant crack that ran down his body, like he’d been broken at birth. I knew that wasn’t what the term meant, but the image stuck in my mind. Maybe the fact that he was broken drew me to him from the start.It all happened before I was born, and by the time I met Moses and my mom told me all about him, the story was old news and nobody wanted anything to do with him. People love babies, even sick babies. Even crack babies. But babies grow up to be kids, and kids grow up to be teenagers. Nobody wants a messed up teenager.And Moses was messed up. Moses was a law unto himself. But he was also strange and exotic and beautiful. To be with him would change my life in ways I could never have imagined. Maybe I should have stayed away. Maybe I should have listened. My mother warned me. Even Moses warned me. But I didn’t stay away.
And so begins a story of pain and promise, of heartache and healing, of life and death. A story of before and after, of new beginnings and never-endings. But most of all…a love story.

I’ve come to heavily rely on my New Adult reads to be contemporary books. I can’t say I was doing this on purpose or exactly why I only picked up other genres when they were YA, but I’ve realized that I have. Going into The Law of Moses I was expecting a contemporary novel like my usual preference, but at about 30% into the story I quickly realized I was getting something else. I wasn’t completely bothered by this. I liked the completely unique direction the book was taking, but looking back on all the glowing reviews I kept seeing for this one everywhere, no one mentioned just what kind of read this one was. Of course, wise bloggers did this to only enhance readers reading experiences. There’s nothing like beginning a book expecting one thing and getting something else–something better. So after many days of thinking I’ve decided to be a little vague in terms of what genre this one belongs in. I want you all to come face to face with it yourselves.

Amy Harmon definitely delivered a highly emotional book for readers. Unfortunately this one didn’t quite hit all the emotional notes for me–most likely because I’m a cynical human being and sometimes it’s just extremely hard to make me cry, but I found myself not being able to let go of my kindle for one minute on New Year’s Eve since I just needed to finish this book. If that doesn’t give you a hint of how incredibly addicting this book is than I’m afraid nothing will. The Law of Moses will not be an easy read for some. It’s truth, beauty and heartbreak all rolled into one.

The Law of Moses is best described as being split into two parts, a before and after in a sort of sense. The before is when both Georgia and Moses are teenagers. The after takes place after a significant time jump and Georgia and Moses are now full grown adults. Moses, as an adult makes his living as a famous painter. But he’s plagued, tormented, when it comes to his work. Georgia works on her family’s Ranch, providing help to her parents support groups and training horses.

Amy Harmon takes her time exploring Georgia and Moses’ relationship in the beginning part of the novel while only hinting at some of the things to come later on. These hints can be a bit confusing and irritating until you reach part two, when certain things begin to come together and make sense. Amy Harmon’s tactful exploration of Georgia and Moses’ relationship set a firm foundation for the two when things started really happening in the second part of the book. While I don’t think the romance ever overtook the story it was a nice change to see a strong romantic relationship between two characters and still have a full fledged plot that grows and evolves the deeper into the story you go.

Even though the beautiful and haunting prologue suggests that this one is primarily a love story, The of Law Of Moses’ themes are incredibly strong and powerful. The act of being grateful for everything you have in your life and accepting who you are at any given moment. The idea of not being able to run away from yourself and facing who you are head on. Moses Wright was a truly fascinating character to showcase these themes with.

In many ways I feel The Law of Moses was his story, although having Georgia’s point of view might suggest otherwise. While I know this one is primarily described as a love story I’m just going to take a chance here and say that it’s so much more than a simple love story. In a genre that’s still considered relatively new, The Law of Moses isn’t particularly shy of standing out.

One Past Midnight: Review

Release Date: July 22nd 2014
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury*ARC from publisher*
Series: Standalone
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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For as long as she can remember, Sabine has lived two lives. Every 24 hours she Shifts to her ′other′ life – a life where she is exactly the same, but absolutely everything else is different: different family, different friends, different social expectations. In one life she has a sister, in the other she does not. In one life she′s a straight-A student with the perfect boyfriend, in the other she′s considered a reckless delinquent. Nothing about her situation has ever changed, until the day when she discovers a glitch: the arm she breaks in one life is perfectly fine in the other.With this new knowledge, Sabine begins a series of increasingly risky experiments which bring her dangerously close to the life she′s always wanted… But just what – and who – is she really risking?

The reason I stayed up all night and hurried to finish this one with my flashlight in hand and under the covers at 3 am wasn’t because of the epic fantasy this one was or complexity of the plot. The reason One Past Midnight enraptured me from the start was because of it’s romance. There I said it. I could not put this one down because it had a really sweet and slow building romance. I was a complete goner from page one.

Backtracking a little bit and to not seem too romance crazy there were a few other things I completely adored about One Past Midnight. In particularly it’s focus on family and to be more specific Sabine’s love for her younger sister in one of her lives. She see’s herself as the caretaker for her younger sister and thinks of her sister’s well being primarily throughout the entire book. In Sabine’s other life she has two older brother’s she isn’t all too close with but their relationship progressed at a natural pace at a time of crisis in the end.

Sabine’s two lives were also very distinct. I loved how different they were from one another. From her group of friends, to her home life and even the way she acted. She very much wanted both worlds to exist separately and didn’t like the idea of anything overlapping. While not all the characters in One Past Midnight were truly likable (I don’t think they were ever meant to be) Sabine and romantic interest, Ethan both proved lovable.

The romance in One Past Midnight does became the main focus in the book early on but I didn’t mind it all too much (since it was what got me hooked on the story) and it seemed like a natural step for the story to take. While I enjoyed the romance throughout the book I didn’t expect to be hit with a major case of THE FEELS at the end. But oh boy did I ever.

My one minor complaint with One Past Midnight was it’s predictability. I say this is a minor complaint because it didn’t bother me all too much (maybe i’m turning into a soft heart?) since it was presented in a sort of endearing manner (even if I suspected it from the very beginning) and I completely admit to reading this one for the sweet romance.

My Breakout Authors for 2014

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Hey  guys! Today  I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite breakout authors for 2014. I decided to not keep my list restricted to only authors who’ve had debut books released this year–instead, I decided to pick some of my favourite authors I found out about this year, regardless of whether or not their first book was released this year.

Like before, these are just some of my favourite authors for 2014 and as much as I loved them and their books I’m still super curious about which authors you loved this year. So, like always, share your thoughts below!

Lily’s Breakout Authors for 2014

Krista & Becca Ritchie: I feel like I’m always singing their praises but ever since I finally picked up the Addicted series in August (and preceded to read all the books in two weeks that were out then) I’ve been in love with them. Their stories, characters and truthfulness to their writing are just some of my favourite things about them. They love comics (which is awesome), also have a soft spot for CW shows and I also just recently learned there family treats the Oscars like the Super Bowl, which is a big deal for me because I do too.

K.A Tucker: I’m extremely picky with NA (it’s ever rarely done right)  but I’ve found that one of my go to authors for it is K.A Tucker. So many NA books are simply filled with lust, sex and boring plotlines that have been done way too many times but K.A Tucker keeps surprising me. Her Ten Tiny Breathes series kept improving with each book (and I loved the characters in that one) and her other book, Burying Water was beyond incredibly. It was another book that deeply touched me emotionally this year. Plus, she lives in Canada so go her!

Alessandra Torre: Her books have sex, like lots of sex but after reluctantly picking up her book Black Lies a few months back (after so many 5 star reviews) I was hooked. It was good, really good and pretty messed up but the best kind of messed up…Either way, she’s landed a spot on my breakout list for 2014 and I can’t wait to find out what she publishes next.

Sarah J Maas: DO I NEED TO EXPLAIN? I’ve told this story about a hundred times on the blog already but i’ll say it again. I started Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight in January of this year and was hit with such a bad case of THE FEELS I ended up having a two week book hangover and was a mess for DAYS after finishing Crown of Midnight. If someone asks me to describe “sweet pain” I’m giving them Sarah J Maas’ name because she nails it.

Mary E Pearson: She wrote Kiss of Deception, how could I not include her on my list? The Kiss of Deception was such a lovely surprise for me and I loved just  how complex it was. The protagonist, Lia was fierce and a great, strong heroine. The two “romantic” interests true identities are hidden and all we know is that one is an assassin planning to murder her and the other is a prince who wants to marry her. We don’t know which is which until the very end and even then it’s a complete shocker. This book was gold and Mary E. Pearson’s writing was even better.

Karina Halle: I read Love, In English earlier this year and than read it’s sequel Love, In Spanish a few weeks back and loved it as much as it’s predecessor. I’m trying to find time to read some of Karina Halle’s other work but if her LIE series is any  indication, she’s a fabulous writer who knows how to write amazing characters and give her readers tons of FEELS.

Katja Millay: Probably one of the most bittersweet names on my list, I read The Sea of Tranquility earlier this year after my mom kept pushing it on me (yeah, I owe my mother everything because this book was beyond fab). I cried, laughed, threw stuff and than cried some more while reading this book. It was beautiful and heart breaking and I even recently convinced my friend to read it (who than hated me after because she was just as affected by it as I was). I would easily read anything Katja Millay writes, even her grocery lists.

Marie Rutkoski: I mentioned in another post that  Marie Rutkoski deserves the Oscar equivalent award for most beautiful writing and I still stand by that statement. She was a gift with words and can string together the most beautiful sentences. I’ve mentioned to her about a dozen times over Twitter just how scared I am to read my copy of The Winner’s Crime, too. She’s probably sick of me. She knows I find her writing beautiful but she also knows I think it may be the death of me (SIDENOTE: IF SARAH J MAAS DOESN’T KILL ME FIRST BECAUSE URGH!!!)

 

My Favourite 2014 Favourites (Non-Debuts)

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Hey guys ,

The other day I decided to share with you my favourite 2014  debut releases that were my favourites for 2014. As much as I loved them all, 2014 was also filled with so many amazing new releases that weren't a debut YA or NA book for a certain author. So, today I thought I'd share with you some of my favourite 2014 releases that weren't a first time plunge into the world of fiction by some amazing authors.

Like last time, I'd love to hear some of your favourites for 2014 that I may have either not included in my list (there are too many books) or didn’t get a chance to read (365 days is not enough to read ALL THE BOOKS).

Lily’s 2014 Favourites (Non-debut)

Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher: Hands down, this was the book I connected with the most on an emotional level this year. I cried, big fat ugly tears and I felt so refreshed. Tarryn Fisher has a way with words and characters, and while her books are dark, they never fail to captivate me. Mud Vein was twisted and dark and the main reason it still hurts to listen to Landscape by Florence and The Machine.

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson: My first thought after finishing this book was “OHMYGOD This would make a brilliant movie” so when I learned it was optioned to be a film I started getting all ecstatic. I love family centered books and this one just perfectly described how a family changes in the face of tragedy. There was also lots of talk about art and boys and ghosts, so it had a little bit of everything for everybody.

Amour Amour by Krista and Becca Ritchie: Krista and Becca Ritchie easily became favourite authors of mine this year and this one was definitely a favourite, too. I gave a pretty long, rambly (my new word) review/explanantion of just how this book affected and how I felt like I got to know Krista and Becca more and thier love for writing through this one. If anything, this one’s just worth reading for their passion alone.

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson: This one inspired my post Best Friends Matter and was just one of my favourite contemporary reads this year. It was sweet, funny and completely heartbreaking all in one. I loved how realistic this one was and it’s main theme of friendship. There was a romance in this one (Frank was awesome and I wouldn’t mind having my own version of him) but I loved that the romance never over took the friendship theme in this book.

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E.Pearson: What didn’t i love about this book? I was so busy trying to figure out who was the murderer and who was the prince (since their identity’s are both hidden in this one and left for us to figure out until the big reveal) that I couldn’t concentrate on anything else when I wasn’t reading this book. Bonus? This one had a killer herione who I just loved from the start.

Burying Water by K.A Tucker: Burying Water was just completely different from K.A Tucker’s Ten Tiny Breathes series. It was darker and more emotional but I also managed to connect with this one on a rare, emotional level. It’s told in Jesse’s and Water’s perspectives in a before and after sense. There’s this big dark, ugly event and Jesse tells the chapters leasing up to it and Water gives us the perspective after the event. It was heartbreaking but completely beautiful and just became a favourite.

Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas: She’s a life destroyer. Sarah J Maas that is. While HEIR OF FIRE make me cry BIG FAT UGLY tears at the end like Crown of Midnight did (the feels, the feels man) I did nearly throw this book out the window about a half a dozen times. It was frustrating and sad and beautiful and I just felt so emotional exhausted after it.

Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick: Black Ice surprisingly worked for me, this year. It was the book I started and could not put down this summer. I read it in the car, at a restaurant and even in an amusement park. It was just that good. I loved the character development the MC, Britt went through in it and just  how caught up I got in the entire story.

The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin: I just had to include this one on my list. I’ve loved the Mara Dyer series since the start and waited two years for this finale. I had so many theories going in and things I needed answered (I even made time to reread the first two books in anticipation for Retribution).  I was so worried this one wasn’t going to be a winner and leave me feeling unsatisfied, like so many other series finales, but it was the exact opposite. This one blew me away and it truly wrapped things up for the series. I never ended up writing a full review for it on the blog (too many spoilers) but I did write some of my thoughts down over on goodreads!