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: 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: Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

15726915Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: February 25, 2014

Pages: 336 (Hardcover)

good good

Alexi Littrell hasn’t told anyone what happened to her over the summer. Ashamed and embarrassed, she hides in her closet and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does.

When Bodee Lennox, the quiet and awkward boy next door, comes to live with the Littrells, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in “the Kool-Aid Kid,” who has secrets of his own. As they lean on each other for support, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her find the courage to finally face the truth.

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

Alexi’s story is so moving and I think that everyone can relate to it. Her personality and denial about things that happened not only can be related to sexual assault victims but victims of pretty much any type of abuse. I felt for Alexi and Bodee and although their relationship at some times are…out there, I really enjoyed this.

Faking Normal actually starts off pretty boring. It took some time for me to actually get into the story and even more so the characters. Alexi and I have a bit of a ‘love hate relationship’ because although I loved her story, I didn’t really like her. I felt that she’s really stiff at times, especially when people wanted to help her. The romance itself is really typical and I didn’t like it, it’s the same broken girl meets broken boy and they heal together type of thing and it got old for me really fast. The way that Bodee knows things annoyed me more than anything. Another thing I didn’t like is how the flashbacks or story is told surrounding the rape. The same thing is told over and over again without any new information. This is one of my pet peeves–when someone tells me something over and over again with nothing new to add to it. Whenever Alexi brought up how it happened I found myself skimming it and moving on to the next thing.

Like I mentioned before, I really did like this story. It’s awkward and I wasn’t really suspecting it to turn out the way it did. The journey and her pain is so raw and relatable, I felt as if her struggles were my struggles too. For the most part, I liked most of the characters because they’re very realistic and complex. They had me guessing about their actions and emotions and I liked reading about them.

Faking Normal is quite the story. It’s not bad but it does have a few flaws and a dash of stiffness. Nonetheless, Stevens has created a lovely début and I recommend this to anyone looking for something serious to read and don’t mind the main character. I really hope that she keeps writing serious topic novels because there aren’t many of them out there that are well done or are even mediocre and I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.

3 Clouds
3 Clouds

Book Review: Me Since You by Laura Wiess

12989100Me Since You by Laura Wiess

Publisher: MTV Books

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: February 18, 2014

Pages: 368 (Paperback)

good good

Before and After. That’s how Rowan Areno sees her life now. Before: she was a normal sixteen-year-old—a little too sheltered by her police officer father and her mother. After: everything she once believed has been destroyed in the wake of a shattering tragedy, and every day is there to be survived.

If she had known, on that Friday in March when she cut school, that a random stranger’s shocking crime would have traumatic consequences, she never would have left campus. If the crime video never went viral, maybe she could have saved her mother, grandmother — and herself — from the endless replay of heartache and grief.

Finding a soul mate in Eli, a witness to the crime who is haunted by losses of his own, Rowan begins to see there is no simple, straightforward path to healing wounded hearts. Can she learn to trust, hope, and believe in happiness again?

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

opinion

Me Since You is a story about grief and regret. It’s a story that will hopefully draw a few tears, if not buckets full. It will leave you tired and drained but in a good way. Hopefully you’ll be able to connect to this piece of art just like I had. It’s such an emotional roller coaster that has a few dips and stops but is great.

Unfortunately, this novel has a hard time being realistic at moments. The times when Rowan needs Eli the most, he’s miraculously there. No one goes to prom without a ticket just because they felt like walking in the neighbourhood. Also for someone who knows grief so well, I felt like Eli handled these death a bit unrealistically. He’s so unbelievably happy whenever he’s with Rowan even after everything horrible happens and I just didn’t believe that someone can be that happy after someone they know dies.

What I did like about this book is the breathtaking decline of Rowan’s father. It’s so sad and heartbreaking and I loved every minute of it. It took many weeks and I loved that Laura Wiess doesn’t rush it nor does she pull it out of proportion especially Rowan and the way she reacts to her father’s depression.

Overall, Me Since You is such a sad story with an even sadder ending. However it’s a moving story that I really enjoyed despite its few flaws. I recommend this to just about everyone because of the fact that many people have gone through the things that both Rowan and Eli have gone through. Death touches the lives of everyone no matter how big or how small.

3.5 Dreamy Clouds
3.5 Dreamy Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click here.

Book Review: Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

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Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: September 1, 2009

Pages: 239 (Hardcover)

good good

Zach is eighteen. He is bright and articulate. He’s also an alcoholic and in rehab instead of high school, but he doesn’t remember how he got there. He’s not sure he wants to remember. Something bad must have happened. Something really, really bad. Remembering sucks and being alive – well, what’s up with that?

opinion

Zach’s story is quite interesting, it hooked me in from the very first page and I couldn’t look away. All of his struggles and pains and monsters are quite complex and unique and are really relatable.

I hate it when authors use certain words or phrases to start a paragraph or to end one. With Last Night I Sang to the Monster, most, if not all paragraphs start with, “Look”, “I get it,” or “Fine”. And then end with “okay”. All the time, every single time and I found it to be really annoying. I also didn’t like the ending because I found it to be a little to tied up far too nicely for it to be really realistic.

All of the characters are realistic and interesting. I loved reading about all the crap that Zach has been through and his journey to remembering what happened all the months ago, it’s heartbreaking and exciting and beautiful. There isn’t a romance in this novel which actually is a good thing, adding a romance to a novel that is focused on recovering would have been far too much and would have taken away from it but I did like all of the friendships that are shown throughout. Especially between Raphael and Zach because it’s so intense and loving and they’re both very broken bt somehow help each other out in a tremendous way.

Last Night I Sang to the Monster has many messages throughout the book but one of them I really like is: Change isn’t for everyone and some people don’t want it. And you have to be okay with that. I recommend this novel to everyone because it’s the type of story that I think will open up everyone’s mind about why people do drugs and act the way that they do.

4 Dreamy Clouds
4 Fluffy Clouds

For quotes from this book, click here.

Book Review: Proxy (Proxy#1) by Alex London

16101023

Proxy (Proxy#1) by Alex London

Publisher: Philomel

Genre: Dystopian and Young Adult

Release Date: June 18, 2013

Pages: 384 (Hardcover)

good good

Knox was born into one of the City’s wealthiest families. A Patron, he has everything a boy could possibly want—the latest tech, the coolest clothes, and a Proxy to take all his punishments. When Knox breaks a vase, Syd is beaten. When Knox plays a practical joke, Syd is forced to haul rocks. And when Knox crashes a car, killing one of his friends, Syd is branded and sentenced to death.

Syd is a Proxy. His life is not his own.

Then again, neither is Knox’s. Knox and Syd have more in common than either would guess. So when Knox and Syd realize that the only way to beat the system is to save each other, they flee. Yet Knox’s father is no ordinary Patron, and Syd is no ordinary Proxy. The ensuing cross-country chase will uncover a secret society of rebels, test both boys’ resolve, and shine a blinding light onto a world of those who owe and those who pay. Some debts, it turns out, cannot be repaid.

opinion

Oh, Alex London, You had my attention from the first page, then lost it and then snatched it up again. The characters are well written and nicely developed, giving readers a protagonist they will love (Syd, I love that boy) and one to hate (Knox needs to get high-fived in the face. With a frying pan.) Unfortunately, the explanation behind the world building comes a little too late as well as the reasons for Knox being such an ass all of the time. Nonetheless, I really liked this one and can’t wait for the next.

The novel lost my attention during the middle, although it had a lot of action and suspense and just, aweness (for a lack of a better word) with Syd and Knox, I felt bored and found myself skimming the pages to get to the better parts. Syd and Egan are best friends but at many times, their relationship felt contrived to me and I couldn’t believe some of the things that Egan does in order to help Syd out. With that being said, it’s obvious that some things in this book feel too nicely done for my liking.

Syd is an awesome character, not only is he a character that I wanted to beat up all of the bad guys, I also wanted him to get the guy and have that happy ending that he so totally deserves. Even with him being the ‘chosen one’ it didn’t make too much of an annoying statement. I really liked the idea for the novel as well with and how it really uses the lesson, Everything has consequences to its advantage, London does an excellent job of portraying that. The book also doesn’t have a lot of romance in it which I loved! There was only enough that I think the author will bring it out some more in the next book but didn’t let it overtake the story. Proxy has a great ending also. I was expecting the whole thing to be predictable but then it wasn’t. The ending is really open, readers won’t be sure of anything.

Overall, quite a great read that I think a lot of people will enjoy. I recommend this to anyone who loves science fiction novels with an excellent message about life. I’m hoping that the sequel to Proxy will blow me away better than this one!

3.5 Dreamy Clouds
3.5 Dreamy Clouds