Book Review: Ashes to Ashes (Burn for Burn#3) by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

10662433Ashes to Ashes (Burn for Burn#3) by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: September 16, 2014

Pages: 387 (Hardcover)

good good

New Year’s Eve ended with a bang and Mary, Kat and Lillia may not be prepared for what is to come.

After Rennie’s death, Kat and Lillia try to put the pieces together of what happened to her. They both blame themselves. If Lillia hadn’t left with Reeve… If Kat had only stayed with Rennie… Things could have been different. Now they will never be the same.
Only Mary knows the truth about that night. About what she is. She also knows the truth about Lillia and Reeve falling in love, about Reeve being happy when all he deserves is misery, just like the misery he caused her. Now their childish attempts at revenge are a thing of the past and Mary is out for blood. Will she leave anything in her wake or will all that remain be ashes?

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinionAshes to Ashes, the final novel in the revenge driven Burn for Burn series has final come to an end. And boy, is it a crazy ride. With the girls still reeling from the events that took place in the second book, Fire with Fireeverything seems strange. The girls are on completely different pages with each other and it’s not a good thing. Mary has officially lost her sweet girl nature that readers saw in the first and a little of the second book and is now psycho. Lillia is still an innocent flower but without being that innocent anymore, her role in many things take a toll on her and especially her relationship with Reeve. Kat seems to be the least one that’s ready to throw in the towel and I think that’s why I love her the most. She’s funny and seems to look on the bright side and keeps fighting. While they all go through their last few months of school, they all have to really figure things out and I loved how unpredictable the story gets to keep people in the dark.

Near the beginning of the book and for the whole series it seems, is that the books start off fairly slow and then slowly pick up speed until the very end. It’s a pretty good build-up however, I don’t like how long it took me to be engrossed into the book.

This series has other consistent qualities that are shown to be good things like the short chapters. In Ashes to Ashes, the chapters are so short that it’s hard to put the book down. “One more chapter,” quickly turns into, “might as well finish the rest of the book even though it’s five am in the morning.” It also helps that the writing  is addicting and the characters are well-developed that I easily knew whose chapter I was reading without even thinking about it. Adding onto what I said about the characters, they are great. They’ve really grown up since Burn for Burn and it truly shows in their demeanour and the way the speak about things. Also, the relationship between Lillia and Reeve is so cute! I liked it in the other book but I loved it in this one! It’s all ups and downs, highs and lows and sooo unpredictable. I honestly thought that in the end, things would end up different between them but I still liked how Han and Vivian decided to go with it. Moreover, the ending! The penultimate chapter especially! It’s all freaky and messed up and awesome! There’s so much suspense, will Mary forgive Reeve? Or will she make him suffer the same way she did? I loved how everything went, especially with the girls and Reeve, the way he questions his sanity and his life. I felt how realistic everything became and I was really happy with how it all ended. It’s pretty crazy, not gonna lie.

Han and Vivian have come so far with this trilogy. The girls all started out with blinded rage and naive minds towards most things to grown ups who understand just how risky it is to get revenge instead of giving forgiveness. Some people are really shitty, end of story. However, some people are shitty because they are dealt that hand and then they try their best to change it. This is evident with Reeve especially and I think that people who didn’t like him before will start to like him now. I recommend this series to anyone who loves revenge driven plots, a bit of romance, and killer twists!

4. 5 Bad-Ass Clouds

4. 5 Bad-Ass Clouds

Book Review: Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

18285437Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: September 9, 2014

Pages: 416 (Hardcover)

good good

Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she’s not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.

So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She’s even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won’t risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty…no matter how much she wants him.

As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.
At any cost.

Now time’s running short. Sam must decide who she can trust…and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, HarperTeen for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

When I started this book, I really believed that I would hate it. I believed that the main character would be a huge brat and do a shit ton of stupid crap that would irritate me and the romance would suck on a whole new level. I trusted in my knowledge of YA books to know a crappy book when I saw one. But boy, WAS I SURPRISED! Rites of Passage is so solid. It blew my mind, guys. It really did. Like, I was surprised left and right.


The only things that I didn’t like about the book are mostly minor things now that I think about it. The romance, at the very beginning is pretty cliché and I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at it and how the author set it up. I would have also liked more information on the dares. It says that Sam never backs down from a dare, (she’s a badass, I’m telling you!) yet there’s only once or twice when a few dares are mentioned. I wanted to know what the first dare was and how it played out and how she became addicted to doing them. In addition, there are two pretty major flaws in the book and they’re related to her family. I wanted to know a lot more about Amos than what’s actually given. There aren’t very many flashbacks about how close they were and how they used to do things. They’re more Sam remembering the day he passed away and I wanted to know about her family as a whole. It’s all after Amos died no past flashbacks about the good ol’ days or when they growing up really. It’s all just lightly touched.

Still, I loved it. I loved almost everything about this Rites of Passage. If I read this book on a school day, I truly believe that I would have read it while I was in class. That’s how addicted I was to this book. The romance that once annoyed me had me squealing. legit SQUEALING (I almost never do this!). The characters are very unique and surprising with their originality and strengths. I believed them all and when their true sides came out I was pretty shocked and happy but also a  little angry. Same especially is a very realistic character that I easily rooted for because she’s so strong when many of us would have broken and gave in to the countless demands that are being shoved at us from every angle. I was soooo tense that last few chapters. I didn’t know what was going to happen which rarely happens in books and that’s why I love it even more. I was so in the dark about it all.

I need more books like this, ones that will leave me wanting more and completely boosting my faith in YA books again. Rites of Passage is that kind of book that makes you want to fight to equality and become a badass. The writing is beyond addicting which really helped in the beginning when I was skeptical about so many things. I recommend this to everyone to read! READ THIS BOOK! YOU WILL LOVE IT!!!!!

4 Dreamy Clouds

4 Dreamy Clouds

Book Review: 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith

20493997100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: September 2, 2014

Pages: 288 (Hardcover)

good good

Finn Easton sees the world through miles instead of minutes. It’s how he makes sense of the world, and how he tries to convince himself that he’s a real boy and not just a character in his father’s bestselling cult-classic book. Finn has two things going for him: his best friend, the possibly-insane-but-definitely-excellent Cade Hernandez, and Julia Bishop, the first girl he’s ever loved.

Then Julia moves away, and Finn is heartbroken. Feeling restless and trapped in the book, Finn embarks on a road trip with Cade to visit their college of choice in Oklahoma. When an unexpected accident happens and the boys become unlikely heroes, they take an eye-opening detour away from everything they thought they had planned—and learn how to write their own destiny.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinionOkay, despite the fact that the summary makes this book seem like a huge cliché, it’s really awkward and cute. 100 Sideways Miles starts off stiff and ends sweetly with a funny twist. Andrew Smith has a unique way of creating awkward main characters in a way that makes everyone connect with them as well as root for them to get over whatever obstacle is in their way. Finn is a great character. I know that a lot of people dislike him because he acts like an asshole and blames it on his black outs but not being able to control your body, especially for a teenager who’s still trying to figure out their life, would make almost everyone pissed off after blacking out. Moving on, I did love this story even though it’s not as amazing as Winger, it’s still an awesome read.

With any type of book, I can’t stand when there’s a ton of info-dumping that happens throughout the book. It starts from the very beginning about really random or boring things that haven’t even been brought up in a realistic way yet. In the beginning, it’s more like the history of Cade and Finn, really. I also had a problem with Julia. I would have liked to have been able to know more about her and her past. She doesn’t seem as real to me as she could have been.

Nonetheless, 100 Sideways Miles is great. Finn is very unique especially with his heterochromatic eyes and relatable. Like I said before, most people would be pissed off put in Finn’s position. Cade is another great character who seems to always be horny but is pretty humorous. It’s all of the characters. They are, for the most part, relatable and interesting with their mini adventures to Aberdeen Lake and the university that are both well described and still meaningful yet still light enough to cause some humour.

100 Sideways Miles is relatable book that I think a lot of people would like despite its few flaws. It’s a light read but it’s interesting, making people realize that a lot of authors use real people in their books and sometimes they like it, but sometimes they don’t. Plus, the ending is pretty creepy and ends the book with a fun twist which is always good!

3.5 Interesting Clouds

3.5 Interesting Clouds

Book Review: Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson

22605745Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: September 2, 2014

Pages: 432 (Hardcover)

good good

Step on a crack, break your mother’s back,

Touch another person’s skin, and Dad’s gone for good . . .

Caddie has a history of magical thinking—of playing games in her head to cope with her surroundings—but it’s never been this bad before.

When her parents split up, Don’t touch becomes Caddie’s mantra. Maybe if she keeps from touching another person’s skin, Dad will come home. She knows it doesn’t make sense, but her games have never been logical. Soon, despite Alabama’s humidity, she’s covering every inch of her skin and wearing evening gloves to school.

And that’s where things get tricky. Even though Caddie’s the new girl, it’s hard to pass off her compulsions as artistic quirks. Friends notice things. Her drama class is all about interacting with her scene partners, especially Peter, who’s auditioning for the role of Hamlet. Caddie desperately wants to play Ophelia, but if she does, she’ll have to touch Peter . . . and kiss him. Part of Caddie would love nothing more than to kiss Peter—but the other part isn’t sure she’s brave enough to let herself fall.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, HarperTeen for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinionFor many people, touching others or being touched really freaks them out. Even for myself, there are times that I cringe whenever a friend comes in to give me a hug which isn’t as severe as what Caddie has however, it does make her easy to relate to. Rachel M. Wilson’s début is quite touching, (no pun intended) and obsessive disorder that has gone too far and a friend who is intent on proving that it’s not everything. Don’t Touch is a lovely story that I really liked with characters that are hilarious and kept my entertained.

Although Don’t Touch is a great debut, it does have a few flaws for instance, the romance. I really hated just how big of a role it plays in the book because for half the book, it’s the reason why the plot keeps moving. I wanted Caddie to get out of her comfort zone not because she has a crush but because she misses and needs her best friend. Another problem that I had with Caddie is how much she rushes through talking about her dad. I get that talking about someone who has hurt you is very hard, but the only way for a reader to completely understand the pain is by telling us a few stories about it, about the past and the memories that were shared, yet I never got the chance to experience this because it’s rarely showed.

Anyway, I really could connect with Caddie on most things, she’s realistic and her story is quite touching, something a I think most kids want when their parents split up. The way and process that Caddie uses to play the role of Ophelia as well as to get through life is amazing and beautifully done in a way that’s pretty moving. Moreover, I liked her group of friends because they are so funny.

Don’t Touch is a story about a girl with an illness. Believe me, I know how much of an overused story idea this is but Wilson takes a different approach that make it this book refreshing. I didn’t feel too annoyed with it. I recommend this to anyone who likes this story idea or is interested in books about plays.

3.5 Interesting Clouds

3.5 Interesting Clouds

Book Review: Rumble by Ellen Hopkins

17460553Rumble by Ellen Hopkins

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: August 26, 2014

Pages: 560 (Hardcover)

good good

“There is no God, no benevolent ruler of the earth, no omnipotent grand poobah of countless universes. Because if there was…my little brother would still be fishing or playing basketball instead of fertilizing cemetery vegetation.”

Matthew Turner doesn’t have faith in anything.

Not in family—his is a shambles after his younger brother was bullied into suicide. Not in so-called friends who turn their backs when things get tough. Not in some all-powerful creator who lets too much bad stuff happen. And certainly not in some “It Gets Better” psychobabble.

No matter what his girlfriend Hayden says about faith and forgiveness, there’s no way Matt’s letting go of blame. He’s decided to “live large and go out with a huge bang,” and whatever happens, happens. But when a horrific event plunges Matt into a dark, silent place, he hears a rumble…a rumble that wakes him up, calling everything he’s ever disbelieved into question.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Margaret K. McElderry Books for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinionEllen Hopkins is honestly, one of my favourite authors and whenever she comes out with a new book I get so fucking excited. And believe me, I was extremely excited for Rumble despite the religion aspect of it because I knew that Hopkins would deliver it in a way that would make sense and not feel like something was being shoved down my throat. However, what I wasn’t expecting was the complete lack of intensity and emotion that all of her other novels held. For most of it I was bored out of my mind skimming the pages full of Matt’s relationship with Hayden.

Matt is so whiny. Compared to Four from Allegiant, he’s better but not by much. All that seems to take up his time is Hayden and how touch and go it is. If she doesn’t want to hang out with him he gets mad. If she doesn’t kiss him back as passionately as he wants her to, he gets mad. If she makes a new friend or goes to her church group, he gets mad. If she doesn’t text, he gets mad. Pretty much Matt gets mad at just about everything that Hayden does and then complains about it and then rushes to say, “I’m sorry. I love you. You’re amazing.” After the first few times I let it go. Around page 300 I had enough of this bullshit. I wanted there to be more mention on Luke and the relationship they had together. From what is mentioned about him is great, well described and heartfelt but it’s not enough to actually make me believe it as much as I wanted to. Another thing that I disliked is the way Matt’s thoughts start to change in the end. It happens at the very end and I was so mad about this. If the event happened sooner in the book, it would have been perfect, Matt would be able to experience something that isn’t anger and belief that there is no God. I wished it happened sooner.

Nonetheless, whenever Matt is not complaining about Hayden, there are a few good things going on. Like I mentioned before, the parts about Luke and his struggle as well as Matt’s struggles with it are fairly well done. I also liked the religion part of the book because it’s well down without feeling like I was being drowned in it. I also liked Matt as a character whenever he’s not fuming over Hayden. He’s well-developed otherwise, with strong traits and a troubling past. I enjoyed reading his story (and his story alone) because it’s quite relatable. Everyone experiences regret and I liked how Hopkins did this.

Rumble could have been so much better. Ellen Hopkins hasn’t been one to surround readers with too much romance before but with this one, you can smell it from a mile away. I hated this part of the book which is why I’m giving it a low rating. Despite this though, I still recommend this to people who like Ellen Hopkins and have enjoyed her previous books. Just beware of the romance and how much of the book it actually takes up.

3 Mediocre Clouds

3 Mediocre Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click here.

Song of the Week#60-Apricots Apricate (Alligators Alligate) by Summon the Octopi (The Instrumental Edition)

song of the week

This is a weekly meme that’s for the most part, the same as Song Of The Day except each week there will be a different ‘edition’ and it’s going to be updated once a week. This week’s edition is: The Instrumental! I’ve never been the biggest fan of instrumentals because I always anticipate for when they vocalists starts singing, especially when I’m not really doing anything else at the time but listening to music. But with Summon the Octopi’s slow yet steady beat and heavy bass, it’s hard not to just go with he flow and allow the instruments to just take over. It’s soothing and competitive without words so with them, I’m positive it would blow minds. Literally.

 

Listen up and submerge into the instrumental post-rock world of the Octopi. A one dude band from Berlin, Germany writing, playing and recording all instruments creating a sonic collage of buzzing abyss, delicate romance and intricate grooves that will keep you on your toes, auditorily dissecting the vast influences that acted as ingredients to this truly unique recipe.

When I got an email about this band and the music video for this song, I knew it was going to be pretty weird but I didn’t think it was going to be that weird. Full of random things like worms (gag), monkeys, jelly fish, New York in all its fineness, as well as other things, these song and video have nothing to really do with each other. But it does grow on you, maybe a little longer than the actual song will but it will (probably).

You can watch the music video here. 

Book Review: Meridian (Arclight#2) by Josin L. McQuein

17798031Meridian (Arclight#2) by Josin L. McQuein

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Genre: Dystopian and Young Adult

Release Date: May 27, 2014

Pages: 458 (Hardcover)

good good

Marina thought that she had solved all of the Arclight’s mysteries. She had found her own history—that she was one of the Fade, that she never should have been human. She knows that the Fade who surround the Arclight don’t want to be the humans’ enemies at all. She knows that the leader of those inside the Arc, Honoria Whit, never told the whole truth. But there is so much more that Marina is just discovering. There are more survivors out there. Only Marina—and her friends, all of whom have connections to the Fade they’d never known about—can lead her people to them. But there are also darker dangers, things that even the Fade fear. And Marina slowly realizes she may never have been “cured,” after all. The sequel to Arclight, Meridian is an intense, action-packed page-turner about the lines we draw between right and wrong, light and dark . . . and the way nothing is ever that black and white.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Greenwillow Books for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinionAll I can truly say about this book, is: I really hope that there will be another book and I cannot wait for it. It seems weird that I would even enjoy this series as much as I have considering all of the clichés and annoyances it has. But I just can’t get enough of it and it’s mostly because of one of the love interests. He’s actually perfect and amazing and I love him so, so, so much. But as a whole, I was pretty disappointed with this book and I’m hoping that the next one (hopefully) is done a lot better and leaves all the predictability alone.

I think that McQuein’s biggest struggle with this series apart from how predictable it is, are the character and how lacking most of them seem to be. After I finished reading Arclight, I was expecting the characters to really stand out to me since the awkwardness of being presented a new world was just about over. Yet, they stayed the same, forgettable and not at all moving in any way. The relationship between Marina and Tobin is strained. Whenever they’re together, I felt like McQuein wanted to remind readers that Rue isn’t the only guy in Marina’s life and that she cares about Tobin also (insert extremely awkward and misplaced kissing here). Another horribly done thing in the book is the dual perspective. Some authors can do it, but most can’t and although I could distinctively tell which character’s perspective I was reading from, I didn’t like how useless his voice is. I got close to no information on him or really got inside of his head.

Beside all of that, I did like Meridian. I liked the writing, same as the first one and I love how well McQuein’s attention to detail is. She soothingly puts in a ton of description into things especially the trip to the Cube which I could easily picture in my head. Like I mentioned before, Rue plays a huge part in my rating for this book. His character excels where other do not. I was rooting for him, from cover to cover and I looked forward to his sarcastic-but-not-really manner. His complete devotion to include everyone and respects decisions yet leaves no one behind pulled at my heart and this is why he’s awesome.

Meridian is not as good as it could be but I still liked some things about it. I’m giving it a pretty high rating because of Rue and how much I enjoyed him. It’s like how some people feel about The Real Housewives it’s so dumb but you just love it despite its flaws.

Still, I recommend this book to anyone who has read the first. And if you haven’t read this series yet, but trust my judgement and the fact that I usually don’t take to any love interest, read this series! Rue is too awesome and I love him.

2.5 Mess Up Clouds

2.5 Mess Up Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click here.