Book Review: True Letters from a Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan

24485772True Letters from a Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: June 7, 2016

Pages: 336 (Hardcover)

good good

If you asked anyone in his small Vermont town, they’d tell you the facts: James Liddell, star athlete, decent student and sort-of boyfriend to cute, peppy Theresa, is a happy, funny, carefree guy.

But whenever James sits down at his desk to write, he tells a different story. As he fills his drawers with letters to the people in his world–letters he never intends to send–he spills the truth: he’s trying hard, but he just isn’t into Theresa. It’s a boy who lingers in his thoughts.

He feels trapped by his parents, his teammates, and the lies they’ve helped him tell, and he has no idea how to escape. Is he destined to live a life of fiction?

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

I’m really glad this got to be one of my first summer reads. It’s fairly light yet a solid novel. With great characters and a steady plot, Kenneth Logan delivers a lovely coming of age story. Although I didn’t absolutely love James, the secondary characters are the ones who really had me. Derek, Hawken, Topher, and the parents. They kept me lightly on my toes by not being the predictable supporting characters that I assumed they would be and I really enjoyed that.

Despite the high rating I’m giving it, there are some flaws. One of them being the intense info-dumping in the very beginning. During the first chapter, readers are handed an essay long description on characters that have yet been introduced. A prime example of this is with Theresa, where James explains their long history and feelings. This could have been easily handled with showing us the friction of their relationship rather than telling us because I started to quickly lose interest. The book, for that matter, is mostly telling rather than showing like from the letters and how James writes them to how he speaks and thinks of his friends. Instead of being put in his shoes, understanding his pain and struggle, I just felt as if I was reading a very personal, extremely distant essay (sorry for the contradiction but it’s the only way I could really explain it. Like a cold ‘I love you’). The whole book is surrounded by the letters and how they make him feel and transform him as a person but I felt this part of the novel was poorly executed because I couldn’t connect with it as I was being told about it instead of showed it. More is written about the letter than what is actually in them. Which is really sad as the letters are his way of expressing himself.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed True Letter from a Fictional Life. it’s straightforward plot wise, it contains plenty of twists, and holds some sad truths about the world we live in. I’m glad Logan made the characters different, especially with Derek because of course there are more issues outside of the LGBT community and just even shining a small light on those issues like race and religion is always appreciated. Moreover, I still liked the idea of writing letters, as a strong believer in this approach to dealing with anger (I’ve been writing letters to people since I was in grade two, I swear) I could connect with where James was coming from. looking past all of the telling and lengthy explanations, the writing itself is quite smooth. It’s easy to lose yourself in the story and keep on reading until everything gets resolved.

You should read this. It’s not a heavy book, definitely finish it within a day, no more than a week. The writing style although not unique, has a one-of-a-kind approach to a popular topic and I loved reading about it. There’s more to this novel than what one read will tell you.

4 Dreamy Clouds

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Book Review: In the After (In the After#1) by Demitria Lunetta

12157407In the After (In the After#1) by Demitria Lunetta

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Dystopian and Young Adult

Release Date: June 25, 2013

Pages: 455 (Hardcover)

good good

They hear the most silent of footsteps.

They are faster than anything you’ve ever seen.
And They won’t stop chasing you…until you are dead.

Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape—and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive—and avoid Them at all costs.

After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby—and much more.

opinion

In the After is your typical dystopian read. There’s the corrupt government, the almost destroyed world, and then the survivors trying to take down the government/fight. However, with that being said, I actually enjoyed this book. Lunetta brings in a refreshing look and style to the things by forcing a love interest down until the very end and focusing as much time and effort into the main goal: survival. I had a lot of fun reading this action-packed story and can’t wait for the next one.

Unfortunately, there are a few mishaps along the way. There’s a lot of information given during despite it being really important, I felt that it could have been placed in a better place rather than shoved in the beginning. Also, the whole aliens thing is predictable, I knew right from the start and I would have loved it if Lunetta could have add more mystery to this part of the book.

Still, the setting and mood is perfectly described for the Before part of the book. The relationship between Baby and Amy is great, it’s complex and realistic and I loved reading about how protective Amy is of her. Adding onto this, the characters are well-developed, especially Baby because of how different and strange she is. From day one, she knew the rules and obediently followed them. That still boggles my mind! Parts with the present and past and the memories had my full attention because they’re so unique and different.

I’m not exactly sure what I was getting into when I first picked this one up. I was praying that it wouldn’t be a typical Dystopian read. And albeit it is, it’s so much more than that also, it’s a refreshing look at Dystopian which I never knew could happen because they all seem to be about the same thing. Nonetheless, I recommend this read to everyone because it’s different and it’s action-packed and suspenseful.

4 Dreamy Clouds

4 Dreamy Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click, here.

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: Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

18812437Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: July 29, 2014

Pages: 352 (Hardcover)

good good

Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost.

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.

There’s HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.

Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila’s own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you’re looking for is to get lost along the way.

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

opinion

 

Cute and inspirational, Let’s Get Lost is the perfect summer read that’s actually about summer. I’ve never been one to indulge in unrealistic contemporary novels but when I started this one, I couldn’t help that I loved it. Road trip stories are usually fun but this one is heartwarming as well.

The book starts off a little boring. Instead of going with the flow, it’s trying too hard to be meaningful. Another problem that I had is the main character, Leila. I wanted to know more about her when she picked up the other characters. For almost the whole book, I was left in the dark about her and then when I did get information, it was too late for me to actually care.

Moving onto the things I did enjoy like the amazing description for everything. Like I can really picture everything. This goes well with the writing that’s well done despite the fact that it’s written in third  person. I found it easier to relate to the characters which I also found to be properly done and realistic. They’re unique and fun to read about. Throughout the book, I liked how Leila mentions the other characters also, making sure to connect all of their stories.

Let’s Get Lost isn’t just a book about a road trip to see the northern lights. It’s about being lost and then finding yourself. It’s a great book that I recommend that everyone to read and hopefully enjoy before the summer ends.

4 Dreamy Clouds

4 Dreamy Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click here.

Book Review: Wicked Little Secrets (Prep School Confidential#2) by Kara Taylor

wickedWicked Little Secrets (Prep School Confidential#2) by Kara Taylor

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Genre: Mystery and Young Adult

Release Date: March 16, 2014

Pages: 304 (Paperback)

good good

Anne Dowling—a fresh, original, and funny new YA heroine whose knowing, irreverent voice will remind readers of Pretty Little Liars and Private—is back for her second semester at Wheatley Prep. Although things have settled (somewhat) since her roommate Isabella’s death, Anne’s still kind of obsessed with the disappearance of Wheatley student Matthew Weaver thirty years ago, since she found a picture of him and his crewmates with the words “they killed him” scrawled on the back among Isabella’s things.


When Anne learns that her boyfriend Brent’s dad is one of the now-powerful Wheatley alumni who rowed crew with Matthew, and that the crew team continues to induct new members with a creepy-sounding ritual called “The Drop,” she knows further investigation could put her relationship with Brent in danger. Determined to discover the truth, she reaches out to Anthony, Isabella’s townie brother, who helps her delve deeper into the secrets in Wheatley’s past. Secrets someone would kill to keep hidden. As the school’s Spring Formal—and its notorious afterparty—approaches, Anne sees the perfect opportunity to do some off-campus digging into the lives of Wheatley’s VIPs in this thrilling, unputdownable read—but if she’s not careful, she’ll be the next student who never comes back.

opinion

 

The excitement and fun never seems to end in this series. Wicked Little Secrets doesn’t suffer from second book syndrome, instead it charges forward and demands readers attention. I loved reading about Anne and all of the trouble she can cause in just a few hours. It’s a thriller that isn’t all about the planning and clues, it also doesn’t have an overbearing romance. It has just the right amounts of almost everything.

That being said, there are a few things that are off. As a person with a pretty small tolerance for info-dumping I found the beginning to be a little like even dismissing the recaps for the first book. Another problem that I had is with our protagonist, Anne (I still adore her though) and her friendship with her friend Chelsea. For someone she calls her best friend, Anne never talks to Chelsea and only mentions her in passing. I wanted more from this friendship because Chelsea is part of the old Anne, the one that I’m sure many people want to know more about and I felt let down by this. Hopefully her best friend is in the last book.

Nonetheless, this book is still great. I loved the writing, it’s still as smooth as ever and the romance isn’t in your face. It’s a lot laid back than I thought, only finding cracks in the story to seep into. Although I’m team Brent, the romances with both guys are really well done. Another thing that I enjoyed about the story is the action because it isn’t boring and there’s a constant stream of it with not too much planning. The characters for the most part are great, Anne is a lot wilder and committed than ever (she punches a guy in the face to defend her friend!). The problems that I had in the first novel are pretty much gone in this one. Remy feels a lot more real, letting her past and emotions through this time. Moreover, the sarcasm is so good! It’s not constant that it feels annoying nor is it far between that it feels forced. It’s perfection.

Wicked little Secrets is pretty intense but in a more fun than dark way. The ending will keep readers at the edge of their seats and craving for the last one. I recommend this series to anyone looking for a thriller that isn’t boring and straightforward. I’m hoping that the last one is just as good.

4 Dreamy Clouds

4 Dreamy Clouds

Book Review: Noggin by John Corey Whaley

18051349Noggin by John Corey Whaley

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: April 8, 2014

Pages: 342 (Hardcover)

good good

 

Listen — Travis Coates was alive once and then he wasn’t.

Now he’s alive again.

Simple as that.

The in between part is still a little fuzzy, but he can tell you that, at some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, it was reattached to some other guy’s body, and well, here he is. Despite all logic, he’s still 16 and everything and everyone around him has changed. That includes his bedroom, his parents, his best friend, and his girlfriend. Or maybe she’s not his girlfriend anymore? That’s a bit fuzzy too.

Looks like if the new Travis and the old Travis are ever going to find a way to exist together, then there are going to be a few more scars.

Oh well, you only live twice.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Atheneum 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.

opinion

Noggin is a story full of bad jokes, awkward situations, and horrible puns. And I loved every second of it. I didn’t feel like I was reading a work of fiction, instead, I felt as if I were reading a story, my story and my life of how I was brought back to life and forced to live in the present when I’m barely understanding the past. It’s weird, confusing, and such a fun ride. John Corey Whaley is an author  that I’ve been waiting for a long time and this will not be the last novel I’ve read by him.

Unfortunately, there are some downsides to this story. First of all, this whole situation is just too unbelievable and it took me some time before I could really wrap my head around it. No way did a dude get his head chopped off and then come back to life! That’s too insane. I understood that Travis is really confused about this whole concept as well yet I still would have liked it if Travis was just as curious about the scientific aspect as I was and other readers will be. It’s interesting yet not at all explained which sucked for me.

Nonetheless, I still loved this book. Noggin is full of great, complex characters that are extremely easy to like and relate to. Travis’s relationship with Kyle is so heartfelt and awkward. I could easily relate to it and the struggles that Kyle faces to understand everything that’s happening not only to him, but also to his best friend. I also liked the writing style. Holy shit, this is the writing that I have been craving for in young adult books. It’s so relaxed and casual and makes everything seem like it’s happening to the reader and just being told to the reader. I really do need more books written like this because they usually end up to be books that I really enjoy. The best part about Noggin has to be Travis’s last holiday before his surgery. It’s beautifully described and captivating. Imagine celebrating every single holiday in one day with a group of people you love most in the world? I would want that as my last day alive because it sounds absolutely amazing.

Overall, Noggin is great. Although there are a few unbelievable parts and too little information, the good certainly outshines the bad. I recommend this novel to everyone, especially if you’re looking for something light to read with a serious undertone and don’t mind a lot of jokes and puns. I envy those people who can easily make jokes out of anything, especially when they don’t take life too seriously and can make anyone smile and for me, John Corey Whaley might just be one of those people.

4 Dreamy Clouds

4 Dreamy Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click here.

Book Review: Fake ID by Lamar Giles

12787708Fake ID by Lamar Giles

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: January 21, 2014

Pages: 320 (Hardcover)

good good

Nick Pearson is hiding in plain sight…

My name isn’t really Nick Pearson.

I shouldn’t tell you where I’m from or why my family moved to Stepton, Virginia.

I shouldn’t tell you who I really am, or my hair, eye, and skin color.

And I definitely shouldn’t tell you about my friend Eli Cruz and the major conspiracy he was about to uncover when he died—right after I moved to town. About how I had to choose between solving his murder with his hot sister, Reya, and “staying low-key” like the Program has taught me. About how moving to Stepon changed my life forever.

But I’m going to.

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

Fake ID kind of just swept me off of my feet and blew me away. I was expecting a darker story and for it to be a lot slower but I got something a bit different. Lamar Giles has written a story about family, romance, and above all, trust. Which has earned him a respected place among my favourite authors.

I had a hard time connecting with some characters since their  back stories and histories are told too late in the story for me to actually care about them. I wished that more of a reaction was shown when people found out about Nick and his family instead of what I got. Everyone seems too calm about it, even Reya who I was expecting to go bat shit crazy didn’t satisfy me.

Giles jumps right into the action and never stopped entertaining me. There’s a lot of it and a romance but I loved how it takes the backseat throughout the whole novel. A really big part of the story is the witness protection program that Nick’s family is in and I thought that it’s very well done. It’s woven into he story form the beginning to the end of it.

Overall, this is a great story that I really enjoyed. I loved how race doesn’t add in a lot of the typical stereotypes. I recommend Fake ID to everyone, especially people who like mystery stories with quite a bit of action in them.

4 Dreamy Clouds

4 Dreamy Clouds