1. “Dying is easy. Anyone can throw themselves onto the pyre and rest a happy martyr. Enduring the suffering that comes with sacrifice is the real test.”
2. “A conscience is easier to swallow on an empty belly, simpler to swing with a broken wrist. The people who hate money are the ones who don’t have any. The people who hate power are the ones who are powerless”
There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends…and he’s gone.
They call it the Heist.
Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.
Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?
This is a great book. I loved everything about it! Especially Gray who is the epitome of Swoony. He’s so sweet with the way he acts with Emma and Bree. I also loved the world building, the country is properly built and so realistic! Taken had me guessing at every turn and is full of great surprises that will leave readers-
Taken is a really bad book. This week, both book reviews have been on books that start out awesome but quickly fall flat on their faces. The only difference between these two books is that this one is far worse than Kindness for Weakness because this one is predictable before getting to the halfway point. And with that, instead of actually reviewing this I’m going to list everything I hated and use gifs because I’m lazy and I can’t. I can’t review this book properly, I just don’t have it in me.
So, what’s wrong with this book? Well:
1. Characters are so boring I screamed.
Honestly, I get why Bowman made Gray such a despicable character so that readers can find some redeeming qualities and blah blah blah. But the other characters are annoying. Stiff, stupid, etc. The only one I found slightly better than the rest is Emma because she’s a bitch to Gray at the end. That’s it, all the others make me want to:
2. World Building
The town of Claysoot is actually well put together. I could easily see how the community works and comes together as one. It’s realistic and well described but then is ruined by the country it is in. That country is just a sloppily done mess that’s built far too fast.
3. The love triangle
Can it even be called that? Because I feel like it’s better to describe it as children playing house.
Before the half way mark, I knew the ending.
I’ve read a few dystopian so I would have easily let a few of these things go. Crappy world building? Okay, fine. But then nothing good happened the whole time, nothing held my attention and made me grateful that I kept reading. Which is why I hate this book. A freaking lot.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest meets Catcher in the Rye.
A fifteen-year-old boy from an abusive home desperately seeking his older brother’s love and approval starts pushing drugs for him and suffers the consequences.
I was really rooting for this one. I loved the beginning, it’s very strong and exciting. It starts with a flashback and then we learn about where it sort of began.But after awhile, James’s story starts to get boring and at many times, he feels like a brick wall, only relying on books and other people to build his character up.
There are many book references in this novel! Too many for my taste. I can deal with one or two but Kindness for Weakness has around four book references which I found too confusing to remember at times. I also dislike that the story ruins one of the best books ever–The Outsiders– I mean, you just cannot do that. I’ll let one book slide, you can tell me the ending of a Jack London book because I most likely will never read another book of his again but not The Outsiders!
Not cool, man. Not cool.
Short chapters help the books that I dislike a lot solely because I am more committed to finishing them which is the case with this one. Chapters are about three or four pages that literally fly by. Moreover, I liked that I got both sides of the story, not just the good and not just the bad. It starts at the beginning with one of the biggest mistakes in his life and how he came to realize many things about the people around him. The world building is pretty decently done, the Morton facility feels realistic and mysterious, a feeling that I think the author was trying to go for.
Kindness for Weakness starts off great and had my attention from the very beginning but it quickly went downhill and lost it. Still, maybe I just the fact that I have extremely high expectations for novels that are me-novels and I’m very picky about everything with them. Nonetheless I recommend this to anyone who enjoys novels about messed-up teenagers like I do and don’t mind all the spoilers on some great books *coughs* The Outsiders *coughs* and are not very picky about the characters either. I’m hoping that Shawn Goodman’s other novel, Something Like Hope is much better than Kindness for Weakness.
1. “I Wanna Hold Your Hand.’ First single. Fucking brilliant. Perhaps the most fucking brilliant song ever written. Because they nailed it. That’s what everyone wants. Not 24-7 hot wet sex. Not a marriage that lasts a hundred years. Not a Porsche or a blow job or a million-dollar crib. No. They wanna hold your hand. They have a feeling that they can’t hide.”
2. “Singing in the rain. I’m singing in the rain. And it’s such a fucking glorious feeling.”
3. Fuck this.
Fuck this wondering. Fuck this trying and trying. Fuck this belief that two people can become one ideal. Fuck this helplessness. Fuck this waiting for something to happen that probably won’t ever happen.
4. But I guess you don’t see the planets when you’re staring at the sun. You just get blinded.
Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.
Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.
Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often—violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.
Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.
This isn’t a bad book. It truly isn’t, I really enjoyed reading about the Histories and the world they stay in. The problem is that The Archived didn’t really bring any emotions out of me. The funny parts didn’t make me laugh (couldn’t even crack a smile), the sad parts didn’t pull at my heart, nor did the story feel as intense as I wish it did. I just felt really… apathetic towards everything in this. And this, unfortunately was its downfall for me.
There are many things in the book that I found quite predictable and not in a fun way. One of those things being the love triangle/love interests. From the very page he entered the picture, I knew who and what he was without a doubt in my mind. Another thing that I disliked is the Archive itself because only Librarians are allowed to read Histories which shouldn’t be the case if it’s called The Archive. The ending is so disappointing, nothing feels exciting enough to get me ready to read the sequel except for Wes and his swoony-ness.
Wes is the best character in this book, flat-out! Not only is he absolutely loveable but he’s also always full of new tricks and helps Mac forget about all of her problems. Um, can I have a Wes of my own, please? There’s a lot of action going on in The Archived Mac is forced to fight Histories and send them back. While I was expecting her to fight one or two Histories with precise details, I was overly excited when Victoria Schwab told me about five Histories going wild. And the writing is so beautiful and smooth it’s like butter. I could read Schwab’s novels for the writing and boys alone because they are that well done.
The Archived has an okay world building and an okay love interest but it also has a kick ass heroine and some great Histories that have the tendency to go insane. So I have to recommend this to zombie lovers because that’s what I see the Histories as. And anyone looking for a swoon worthy character as well as beautiful writing. I have no hesitation believing that the second novel in this series, Unbound (I think?) is going to surpass this one.
Chemo, radiation, a zillion surgeries, watching my mom age twenty years in twenty months: if that’s part of the Big Dude’s plan, then it’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? Somebody Up There Hates You.
SUTHY has landed me here in this hospice, where we—that’s me and Sylvie—are the only people under 30 in the whole place, sweartogod. But I’m not dead yet. I still need to keep things interesting. Sylvie, too. I mean, we’re kids, hospice-hostages or not. We freak out visitors; I get my uncle to sneak me out for one insane Halloween night. Stuff like that. And Sylvie wants to make things even more interesting. That girl’s got big plans.
Only Sylvie’s father is so nuclear-blasted by what’s happened to his little girl, he glows orange, I swear. That’s one scary man, and he’s not real fond of me. So we got a major family feud going on, right here in hospice. DO NOT CROSS line running down the middle of the hall, me on one side, her on the other. It’s crazy.
In the middle of all of this, really, there’s just me and Sylvie, a guy and a girl. And we want to live, in our way, by our own rules, in whatever time we’ve got. We will pack in some living before we go, trust me.
First of all, I would like to thank the Publisher, Algonquin 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.
I think I knew I was going to dislike Richard from the beginning because he always repeats himself by saying, “see” or, “okay?” or “right”. It took all my strength not to jump into the book and punch him in the face. Hollis Seamon could have made this a killer book with such a sad and serious topic but instead she failed to do so. I was left underwhelmed and very upset with all the characters. And not in a good way.
Writing a realistic contemporary novel there has to be a realistic relationship between the main character and most likely the love interest. Unfortunately, the romance in Somebody Up There Hates You feels more like a fairytale than something that could happen in real life. Richard and Sylvie are already ‘together’ when the novel starts with little hints and snippets of how they met but not a full explanation of how they became so close and became a couple. There isn’t much if any character building either. All of the characters feel extremely stiff and are boring and I couldn’t connect to any of them. Another thing that I really disliked about this novel is the fact that everything is all over the place. The relationship between Richard and Sylvie, Richard’s life, all of it. Instead of reading one story I felt like I was reading ten different ones that randomly popped up out of nowhere. During many parts of the book I was left confused and uncertain about what I was reading.
One thing I did like about the book though, is the relationship between Richard and Edward. It is so cute because they depend on each other so much, whether they know it or not. I also liked Edward because he reminds Richard a lot that everyone has problems and that he’s not the only one going through a shitty time which I think everyone needs to be reminded from time to time.
Somebody Up There Hates You isn’t actually a story about a teen with cancer and how he fights through it. It’s more of a story about two teens going through a crappy time and having sex before they die. That’s about it. I recommend this only to people looking for a light read. Don’t let the summary fool you, it’s not heart-wrenching nor is it moving.
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: Get Up and Dance! Who doesn’t love dancing? Even if it’s bad dancing, sometimes you just feel under a spell when a certain song comes on and it takes hold of you. Well, this song will do just that! With such an upbeat sound and fun guitar riffs and blues-like vocals that will at least have you bobbing your head.
LA based Indie-pop duo WE ARE TWIN is the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist and producer Nicolas Balachandran and singer/songwriter Gabi Christine. As the story goes, the two met at a songwriting session in 2009 and instantly clicked – songwriting synergy at first sight, you might say.
First time I listened to this song, I was dancing. I couldn’t help myself! I just love the poppy beat and the smooth lyrics that seep into my body everytime I listen to this!
My favourite part is:
You got me on a hook, from the moment you said baby
If I faint from overheating, call the Marshall Mr. Davy
I’m running out of breath, I feel it in my head
I can’t go without you boy
Let’s hit the road to live!
If you would be my hero, then I would be your girl
You could have me anytime you want, even in the morning sun
Citizen are a pop/punk band from Michigan that formed a few years ago. Since then, the band has released at least three EPs-Split, Young States, and Vanity as well as one album: Youth. Band members are: Mat Kerekes (Vocals), Nick Hamm (Guitar), Ryland Oehlers (Guitar), Eric Hamm (Bass), and Cray Wilson (Drums).
What can I say about Citizen that hasn’t already been said? Nothing. So I’m just going to say all the things that have already been said about these band. They’re great and have a lot of potential. In fact, I’m shocked this is their debut album. A band with this much experience and talent usually have about two or three albums already out. Although the band has been coming out with a ton of EPs Youth is a bit different in the aspect of a more summer-like sound.
Citizen has created an amazing album, they really have. And like I said before, it’s a little different but not enough to allow me to love it as much as I want to. There’s growth for sure but there isn’t enough growth from a band that has been releasing as many EPs as they have.
Many of the songs have great guitar riffs especially in How Does It Feel? Where there’s the constant clashing of symbols and the guitar build up that brings back the vocals. Another thing I love about this album is the overlapping vocals. I’m very picky about this, most songs don’t pull it off well and I tend to get confused and uncertain of which vocals I should listen to but in The Summer, Sick and Impatient, and The Night I Drove Alone Mat Kerekes proves his strengths by weaving his voice together and in such a way that if the overlapping vocals weren’t part of the song it would insult it. Cray Wilson does an impressive job on drums by adding such intensity that helps ad build up to every song and brings out a softer sound when it’s necessary. Okay, now for bass and the noticeable parts it has throughout every song. I love duets especially between guitars and basses and Youth doesn’t fail to provide that for me.
Overall, Youth is just that. It’s a youthful album that has great pacing and special, meaningful lyrics behind every song that is a great beginning and ending for summer. My favourite songs off of Youth are: Roam the Room, The Summer, Sleep, Sick and Impatient and Your Head Got Misplaced. I recommend anyone who is a fan of Bran New and/or looking for something new to listen to before the summer comes to a sad end.
Songs On The Album (Click on the title to listen to the song!)
Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids. He’s living in Opportunity Hall, the dorm for troublemakers, and rooming with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he’s madly in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little boy.
With the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean manages to survive life’s complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what’s important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.
“I found out something about words. There are plenty of words I can put on paper, words I can see with my eyes and scribble with my hand, that I never had the guts to say with my mouth.”
Since this year has started, I’ve only cried over two books. Winger by Andrew Smith is one of them. I’m not sure if it’s Ryan Dean’s moving, realistic voice that had me hooked, or if it was the way I could easily relate to the character and connect with them on such an intense level that made it so hard for me to accept that the book has ended. I felt for every character, even the assholes who I think I would have killed.
Winger has very short chapters which makes it almost impossible to put it down. Something is always happening with this book that makes readers either cry, laugh, or both. Throughout the novel Ryan Dean and have their moments especially with the teacher, I loved reading about Mrs. Singer and all of her crazy spells that she casts on Ryan Dean. But believe it or not, the protagonist was not my favourite character nor is he the reason for all my heartbreak and sobbing. That awards belongs to his best friend, Joey who, from the second he came into the story stole my heart and soul. Every obstacle he’s faced with I was right there willing to jump into the novel and kill anyone who threatened him. Andrew Smith has written a beautiful story about some of the shit that teenagers go through that they truly shouldn’t. Over words. Over labels that should absolutely nothing but of course, mean everything to some people. I fell in love with this book from the very beginning and even now, while I write this review, I am still crying over the ending.
What. A. Fucking. Ending.
With that being said, I’m not going to spoil it for you. It may shock you, this ending but it also may not but it did bring out emotions from my toughest critic friends and their hate for reading. I recommend everyone to read this book and hopefully fall in love with this as much as I have. It’s beautiful. It’s moving. It’s relaxed and tense at just the right moments. It’s books like this that keep me steadily reading YA novels with messages so great and moving that just thinking about them is bringing the tears back *cries for five more minutes*. Which is why Winger by Andrew Smith will always stay in my heart and be one of my favourite books from now on.