Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May Wrap-Up

Mud Vein- Tarryn Fisher
The Winner's Kiss- Marie Rutkoski
The Rose and the Dagger- Renee Ahdieh
Outcast Volume 1- Robert Kirkman
Big Magic- Elizabeth Gilbert
The Last Star- Rick Yancey
History Is All You Left Me- Adam Silvera
A Torch Against the Night- Sabaa Tahir

Oh May, you came and went like lightening... There one second, gone the next, and with a bang. As you can probably tell I didn't read a whole lot this month. There's two reasons for this- first, I was in a massive larger than life reading slump.  It took me almost two weeks to finish a book that was under 400 pages because I was in such a funk. Second we went to Chicago for BEA and Bookcon. Those two events took a week away from me. I thought I was going to be pretty bummed out by the number of books I read this month, but honestly I'm not. I'm still on track as far as my Goodreads challenge goes, and BEA/Bookcon was totally worth it. It was amazing and think it might be what got me out of my funk. Getting to meet so many authors and snagging so many ARCs put me in the best kind of mood. There is also a positive side about knowing (or choosing) not to read so many books in a month, and that's you tend to be more selective in what you read. This usually leads to more of a quality verses quantity result

My top picks for the month of May are *drum roll please*- Mud Vein, The Winner's Kiss, The Last Star, and History Is All You Left MeMud Vein was like nothing I've ever read before. I don't even know where I would categorize it. It's like non romance-romance-thriller-and everything but the kitchen sink. It's not a book that will be for everyone, but that just adds to why I liked it so much. If you're a fan of books by Gillian Flynn Mud Vein might just be for you. The Winner's Kiss is the third and final book in The Winner's Trilogy. I had such high hopes for this politically driven series, and it didn't let me down. This series was just stunning from start to finish. The Last Star is another final book in a series, but the 5th Wave trilogy. I have been waiting over a year for this to come out! I seriously think I was touched by an angel, because I managed to get an early copy of this book too! It was a-freaking-mazing. It was everything I wanted from a finale and more. We also got to meet Mr. Rick Yancey this month as well, and it was also worth the wait. Lastly is History Is All You Left Me. This book might not be coming out till 2017, but it will more than likely be on my favorites for this year. This was an amazing second book for Adam Silvera.This book broke my heart! Even if you're not a fan of contemporary you'll still love this.

My fails this month are- Big Magic and A Torch Against the Night. Big Magic was not what I thought it was. I was thinking it was just a non fiction book, but turns out it was more of a motivational book. After figuring this out I still tried to go forth with it. I was listening to it on audio book and once I got to the half way mark I knew I couldn't go any further. A torch Against the Night is the second book in The Ember in the Ashes series. I was really looking forward to this, especially with how much hype is surrounding it. I was very disappointed in this. It for sure suffers from second book syndrome.

That's it for May.


Saturday, May 28, 2016

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

History Is All You Left Me follows Griffin, a guy who is suffering the loss of his ex-boyfriend Theo, who just died in a drowning accident. On top of grieving the death of Theo, is he also struggling with his OCD getting out of hand, pushing away the other member of their 'squad", Wade, and finally meeting Jackson. The boy who stole Theo away from him. HIAYLM follows events from both present and "history" weaving together and leading up to the moment of Theo's death and Griffins life now.

"I mean it: Promise me." "I promise you: I'll never die."

Griffin is broken when this story starts out. He feels he's barley living and that no one understands what he's is really going through. He isn't sleeping, is barely eating, and isn't going to school. He can't stop thinking of Theo and his history. Things seems like they can only get worse when he has to meet Jackson. At first Griffin wants nothing to do with him. Things change once he starts thinking Jackson might be the only one who truly gets what going on, and figured them getting along is what would have made Theo happy. Griffin, though depressed, was still a really likeable character. I enjoyed his sense of humor, his OCD quirks, and how real his character felt. His thoughts were very authentic and made connecting with him effortless. Theo, though actually never alive in this book, felt it. He is so adorable and I could see why both guys fell for him. Jackson was sweet, kind, and brought a depth into the story that I wasn't expecting. My favorite person however was Wade. Something about his personality drew me in. Loved his humor, loyalty, laid back manor, and really just everything about him. I found myself anticipating the moments when he would show up.

When it came to HIAYLM's plot I knew two things: it would read to a T like a true contemporary and that it would be a massive heart-breaker... I was 100% correct too. There were lighter moments in the story, like the condom buying scene which has me in stitches... then there were these heavier scenes like one that came towards the end of the book that came out of nowhere! It had me balling my eyes out! I was at work reading and had to avoid eye contact with my co-workers because it was so bad and I didn't want them to know I was sobbing.

Adam Silvera gives me hope that one day I will fully love contemporary books. He is also giving such a fresh, new, and important voice for literature. HIAYLM gave me everything I wanted and then some. This novel might be coming out in 2017, but will more than likely make it on to my 2016 favorites. If you haven't added this book to you TBR do it now.

Laughs were had, tears were shed, and Adam delivered.

10/10 stars

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Last Star by Rick Yancey

"We’re here, then we’re gone, and that was true before they came. That’s always been true. The Others didn’t invent death; they just perfected it. Gave death a face to put back in our face, because they knew that was the only way to crush us. It won’t end on any continent or ocean, no mountain or plain, jungle or desert. It will end where it began, where it had been from the beginning, on the battlefield of the last beating human heart."- Goodreads
The Final book in The 5th Wave Series

This ladies and gentlemen, is how you end a series. I'm freaking speechless.

I have a feeling a lot of people are going to be left feeling this way. This review is going to be hard to write... and seeing as it is the last in a trilogy I'm going to keep it spoiler free.. Going to warn you now, if you don't remember a lot from the first two books please take the time to go back and re-read them! You'll need the information you might have lost. The Last Star is everything I wanted out of a final book and then some. I got so many of the answers I was looking for. The mystery surrounding the 5th Wave is finally revealed.

"If they don't need bodies, they don't need a planet. and if they don't need a planet, why did they come for ours?"

The Last Star brings back all the characters you know and love. Giving everything we've been missing over the last year. Since this series is so character driven I was waiting on pin and needles to see how the finale would bring their development. We get a lot more Sammy in this book. Cassie's sweet, loveable, lost in a world of madness brother. We get to really see how being forced to grow up so young really shapes a person and their thoughts. Ringer is still this powerhouse. Still this tough egg that no one can see crack. Now that she's been enhanced she really gets to see what's on the line. That the world isn't just about her. I might have loved her in the first two books, but this one shows there is still so much of her we've never seen. Don't worry though she's still the expressionless genius she was before, but now she's fighting for more than just herself.

"I'm coming, you son of a bitch. You wanted to create a human without humanity. Now you're going to get one."

Then we have Evan Walker, the alien everyone loves to hate. All the mystery and guessing about him finally comes forth, perfectly groomed nails and all. He is still so sexy, forward, and so clear. He was my favorite character in the first two books (though he might have taken a step back in the last) everything about this book reminded me why I love him so much. We figured out why he is human, but not. Why he has been so torn, and now what he must do about it. There are some very yummy scenes with him that I've been dying for so that didn't hurt either. Now on to the last two characters, these were the two I was most worried about. Zombie and Cassie. Zombie and his charming smile doesn't disappoint in this series. This book made him. He is the glue that holds everything together. He is the kind of person the end of the world needs. He gives all his heart in this book. He becomes more than this ex jock girl crush he was before the attacks. And Lastly Cassie. Cassiopeia, the sassy, snarky, silver tongued, last human in humanity. She is everything I want out of my female protagonist. Her characters is so realistic. Her thoughts and actions mirror real life. I was scared with the weight of everything this book was going to bring that we weren't going to get the classic Cassie we were begging for, but we did. She still brings all her witty commentary...

"Whipped cream in a can. Those cinnamon rolls Mom made every Sunday morning. McDonald's French fries. Bacon. No, bacon was still a possibility. I would just have to find a hog, slaughter it, butcher it, cure the meat, then fry it up. Thinking about the bacon- the potential of bacon- gives me hope. Not all is lost if bacon isn't."

But she also brings so many emotions and heartache. She by far has the greatest character development in this series. She has come light years from the girl scared in her tent. From the girl who thought she was the last girl on earth. She is a fighter and will stop at nothing to take back the world. She continues to give everything she has in this final book. There is so much more I want to gush about these characters, but I refuse to go any further with them because of spoilers.

As for the plot of this book... God it had me worried. I'm not going to lie, it's a bit slow at first. It is very Rick Yancey like. It starts out slow, then has you completely baffled about what is going on and who will end up where, it'll twist your mind till it can't take anymore, then hit you dead on with a mind blowing surprise. This is a book that will make you work for the answers you've been seeking, and the battle is worth it. The Last Star just kept peeling back all these layers and everything comes together. This book perfectly ties every book together. It takes pieces from The 5th Wave, and sections of The Infinite Sea and molds them into The Last Star. Most of my time was spent scream WTF is going on... but the ending, Lord the ending. It is everything I wanted. The first three section might have been slower, but they are just setting the table for the last two. There's action, fighting, depth, loss, and love all beautifully crafted in less than 400 pages.

Rick Yancey has no problems taking bold stroke and this book proves it. He had me laughing, crying, on the edge of my seat, then crying all over again. He has proven that a final book in a series doesn't have to be perfectly neat that they can be messy. That they can be all the things you hate and love mushed together to make this crazy cluster F of a read. I had so many theories about how this would end, and they were all wrong and they were all right. Every little detail down to the title was perfectly woven together to make this masterpiece of a series complete.

An out of this world ending to my favorite alien trilogy.

10/10 Stars

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole

When Rune’s family moves from Norway to Georgia, Rune never expected to love his time there. When he meets the quirky, talented, and shy girl that lives next-door things start to look up for him. Poppy knew the second she met Rune they were going to be best friends and didn’t hold back letting him know. Over the next few years the two spent every moment together. The two do everything together and as they grow so does their relationship. The two go from best friends to boyfriend and girlfriend. 

“Live hard, love harder. Chase dreams, seek adventures … capture moments. Live beautifully.”

Sadly, Rune and his family knew that there stay in Georgia wouldn’t be permanent and that they would have to eventually have to return to Norway for a period of time. When his family gets word that they have to return Rune and Poppy decide that even with the distance that they will find a way to work. At first this works out well until one-day Poppy just disappears. Two years later Rune and his family are returning to Georgia and to the house that is still beside Poppy’s the girl he hasn’t spoken to since… Only when Rune returns he isn’t the same sweet boy that Poppy loved. Rune has turned into a bad apple. Smoking, staying out late, and going to parties.
I heard from every review that this book was a for sure tear-jerker and that the end of the book was going to wreck me… Well here’s what I have to say about that. This book did in fact make me tear up, but it wasn’t the ending, it was the beginning. I did enjoy reading Poppy and Rune’s story once they were older and he returned, but I honestly I preferred reading about their young age more. I loved getting to see these two grow up and how adorable they were as kids. There stolen moments and precious moments really got to me. I loved everything leading up to the night Rune leaves.
“because sometimes all we get are moments. There are no do-overs; whatever happens in a moment defines life—perhaps it is life.”  
Once Rune returns, at first, I really enjoyed it. I liked hearing about awkward Poppy and the new bad boy Rune. However, as things progressed and the two start to spend time together again, I found myself getting a little bored. At first things are heated because we are so drawn to know why Poppy all of a sudden vanished. That theme just keeps getting repeated over and over again. The other bad part is that I figured out kind of early on what the big reveal is. It could really only be one of two things… So you’ll probably figure it out too. So with everything being repetitive and the reveal not being that big for me I started to get a little sick of this book. Found myself rushing to the end, not to find out what happened, but to just get the book over with.
Rune and Poppy are also pretty generic YA book characters. She even plays the cello… Something we’ve seen several times before… I mean seriously how many people do you know that play the cello?!?! Rune, in my opinion, is the stronger character between the two. He feels more authentic than Poppy. Neither of them really gave me what I was hoping to get out of them. Also the fact that not only did the story repeat, I felt like their relationship in general repeated. By the end of the story I knew where everything was headed right down to events playing out how they did.

I didn’t hate A Thousand Boy Kisses but I didn’t love it either. I think this would be a great intro to YA, but those of you who are a little more seasoned with it might not find it as interesting.

6/10 Stars

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher

"When reclusive novelist Senna Richards wakes up on her thirty-third birthday, everything has changed. Caged behind an electrical fence, locked in a house in the middle of the snow, Senna is left to decode the clues to find out why she was taken. If she wants her freedom, she has to take a close look at her past. But, her past has a heartbeat..." -Goodreads

“You'll feel me in the fall backwards."

Mud Vein is one of those books that when you're done and you put it down the first thing that you think is "what the hell did I just read?", and that's a good thing. I'm going to rate this book, but I have no idea at the same time if the rating will be fitting... I just don't know. I can see why someone would rate this a one and why someone would rate this a ten.

Mud Vein follows Senna, a recluse writer and Isaac, her ex. The two wake up locked away in a cabin in the woods. Neither of them remember how they got there, where they are, or why they are there. Despite their best efforts the two can't seem to escape. Senna is one of the most complex female protagonist I've ever read. She is a broken women. A sad women. Seeing everything as grey and empty. Senna is a female I think so many women can relate to, but again you might not be able to explain why. I personally felt this magnetic pull towards her. I constantly found myself wanting to know more about her. Senna's character was one of such little words, yet one that didn't need to speak all the time. It had me floored. Isaac, wow, he was a perfect male lead. I loved everything about him. I liked his light, his attitude, the way he was a nurturer, and how he was completely Senna's opposite. He is a leading male that I could spend so much time on gushing about. He is funny, sexy, charming, but someone that I feel (sadly) I can't go too in depth with. These two were day and night and their romance is gripping.

“You’ve been silent your whole life. You were silent when we met, silent when you suffered. Silent when life kept hitting you. I was like that too, a little. But not like you. You are a stillness. And I tried to move you. It didn’t work. But that doesn’t mean you didn’t move me. I heard everything you didn’t say. I heard it so loudly that I couldn’t shut it off. Your silence, Senna, I hear it so loudly.”

The two of them will also drive you mad! Tarryn has it so that she reveals their traits in such a peppered way that you'll be thirsty to know more. I was so frustrated by them that at around the 20% mark of this book I almost threw in the towel and DNF'd it. However, my goodreads friends told me to push through and just make it to the end. The uphill battle was worth it. I don't know how you're able to full understand a character, but feel at the same time you don't know them at all. That's how Tarryn makes you feel the whole time. Any flaws in the plot is repaired by these two characters. That and the romance. The romance in this book was so bizarre and amazing.

The plot of Mud Vein is all over the place. It's a romantic thriller and reads to a T like one. There is always something happening even in its more "calm" moments. The whole book is bang after bang, twist after twist. It's timeline bounces around often, and at first this made reading a bit confusing. That might have been what was so off putting at first. The fact that things took a while to click just made pulling through this book a little rocky... Then again I also won't say that things ever full click. It's in present time, past tense, and even at one point in time is from some else's point of view. Those chapters, the Nick ones, were my favorite. They are flawless!!! I could read an entire book from his POV. The plot, though "messy", still manages to somehow be put together and it's twist is a complete blindside. I did not in any way, shape, or form see it coming... Don't get me wrong, you know it's coming, and you've been waiting 200 pages for it but good God... My brain short circuited for a minute and I forgot how to breathe.

It's really genius... With that being said, there is also something missing about the ending. At first thought I didn't like it, but now having time to think about it I actually like how things are left off.

Mud Vein will pull you in, tear you apart, make you miss something you didn't know existed, and then... leave you wanting more. Mud Vein is a flawed book, and that is exactly what makes it so wonderful. It's scattered, muddy, and oh so dark. The best part of this book is that it is so, SO quotable. So many lines from this story had me in tears and those powerful beautiful lines are what gives this book an extra kick.

“He kissed me with color, with drumbeat, and a surgeon’s precision. He kissed me with who he was, the sum of his life—and it was all encompassing. I wondered what I kissed him with since I was only broken parts.”  

Tarryn Fisher will make you realize that you don't have to be the sun, that you can be the rain... and that's okay.

10!?/10 Stars

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

This is Rainbow Rowell's new tiny book, rocking just around 100 pages. Even though it is one of her shortest, it's also the highest I've ever rated one of her books. This makes me terribly sad because I wish it would have been longer.

Elena loves Star Wars, so when the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens is set to release soon she knows she's going to camp out days in advance to get the full experience. When she arrives to wait in line days early she didn't expect to be one of only three people waiting in line. Elena is stuck in line with Gabe, the boy who takes some time warming up, and Troy, a line waiting veteran and a man who isn't ashamed of his game. Kindred Spirits follows Elena's time waiting in line all leading up to the movies premiere.

This book is adorable, funny, and very cute. Elena's character is realistic and diverse. I really enjoyed her go-getter attitude. Everything about her was likable. She is a "popular" girl in school, and her friends don't seem to understand her love for Star Wars and how it reminds her of better times. Gabe was so stinking cute! He was my favorite part of Kindred Spirits. Loved that his character was able to build so much in such a short amount of time. Troy, though he is what I would consider a secondary character, was definitely what brought the comic relief to the story.

As far as the plot went, it's what kept me from giving this a higher rating. The plot was just a little simple. I felt like there use of time wasn't used to the best of its ability. I think more oompf could have been brought to the moments of downtime. I know the story is all about just waiting in line, but just felt like there was something ultimately missing. However, I did freaking love the ending. I was reading this at work, and when I got to the last few pages I just couldn't stop laughing. That ending was perfection.

9/10 Stars

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Fictional Book Boyfriends Pt.16

What, did you think we were done doing these?? Well we aren't! It has been a little bit of time since we've posted a Dream Cast, so figure the best time to do it would be before we head out to BEA next week.

We have always loved combining our passion for books and picking out the perfect guys for them. If you haven't seen our older post click here.

 Until it's Right by Jamie Howard
Girl is given wrong phone number, ends up texting a guy from her work.

Dylan Obrien as Kyle Lawson
Like anyone would complain about texting him.

Wicked Sexy Liar by Christina Lauren
Surfer girl is content with her laid back life; until a guy who
comes into her job mixes things up.

Charlie Matthews as Luke
Just look at that hair! No way he couldn't be our Luke

The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas
World's greatest assassin trust no one... except one of her fellow

Tanner Zagarino as Sam Cortland
He has all the boyish charm we are looking for in our sweet
assassin Sam.

Off the Record by KA Linde
Female reporter starts a steamy relationship is politician.

Adam Cowie as Brady Maxwell
Clearly this man was born to wear a suit.

 Killing Sarai by J.A. Redmerski
Girl hopes after being held captive the mysterious killer she meets
will help save her.

Danny Schwarz as Victor
Bring on the mysterious gun slinging smolder.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

White Bird in a Blizzard by Laura Kasischke

When Katrina Connors' mother walks out without a trace, Kat feels nothing towards it. Why would she? Her mother is a lot to handle. Plus she's falling in love, losing the baby weight, and discovering sex. This is all fine until she starts having dreams that become to real to ignore.

This book was so much more than I thought it was going to be. I wasn’t fully prepared for how suspenseful or how beautifully written this novel would be.

Katrina Connors is sixteen when her mother walks out on the family. Leaving no trace to where she went. Oddly Katrina isn’t at all shocked. Her family has always been a little different. Her mother has always wanted more and her father is what most people would consider a push over. As time passes Kat and her father start putting back the pieces of their lives and moving on, while this occurs Kat starts having vivid dreams which start to make her question what exactly happened to her mother. Katrina is such a interesting character with amazing and poetic depth. She makes for a character worth reading. Her interactions with the side characters make for such an interesting dynamic for this book, and sets it aside from a lot of other books in it's genre. I loved that every character is built up so slowly and steadily so that by the time you get to the end of the book the characters you thought you knew so well turn out to be nothing like what your mind created. White Bird will have you questioning everyone and everything.

White Bird in a Blizzard best asset is that it starts off as a coming of age story and then eventually transitions into a mystery thriller. It has a read out and feel so much like Gone Girl that it made getting wrapped up in the plot just as easy as it did for the characters.  I would usually comment on the fact that Laura’s writing does get very detailed on every aspect, and usually I would think this is too much but with this novel it just works. The metaphors and turn of phrases she uses fit perfect into every situation, helping paint the most vivid pictures. Laura has it so that she is dropping hints left and right about what is actually going on, but still leaves you questioning every detail. Though it does take about 70% of the book to really pick up it is more than worth it for the ending you just won’t see coming. This book leaves you hanging until the very last moment with an ending that will forever have me wanting more.

9/10 Stars 

Shortly after reading this I was able to watch the movie, and it was absolutely amazing! So beautifully filmed and the acting is stunning. 100% a must see. 10/10 rating.