The Astonishing Color of After: review

color

, 480 pages
Published March 20th 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
The writing in this debut novel was just exquisite. This could easily be one of the best book I have read this year.
This story follows Leigh, as she navigates through life with he father and best friend, Axel, after the suicide of her mother. After, she travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents. Not long after, her father leaves her to unravel the mystery surrounding her family history all while learning her own heritage.
Leigh is an artist and sees the world and everything in it as a color. She also begins to see a strange bird that she believes is her mother trying to communicate with her. As the story progresses, things begin to happen that make you question whether it is real or not. There were times when I feared that Leigh was getting sick (her mother suffered from depression and was the main reason for her suicide).
The message was clear to me, that sometimes there isn’t a reason why someone commits suicide other than succumbing to a hash and unforgiving disease and when Leigh keeps seeing the bird, I felt as though it was saying that her mother was finally free. And that is so heartbreaking.
Basically my heart was put into a vice and squeezed until it stopped beating. Other than the immense sadness I felt reading this book, there was also joy as Leigh traverses the path to love and finding out who she really is. Oh and the food. I was constantly hungry reading this book. I am still really glad I did.

 

Love, and Other Train Wrecks

love

 

 

368 pages
Published January 2nd 2018 by Katherine Tegen Books
If you’re looking for a cute read, this one is for you.
This book is told by the POV of both Noah and Ammy, two teens stuck on a train, both emotionally wracked with their own woes. Adventure and love ensues. Duh.
Here are the things I liked:
Duel POV- I have developed a love for this.
The backstories
The love of books (though the Hunger Games hate was a tab irritating)
The character arcs
The twist that even I didn’t call!
Things I didn’t like:
Ammy-she came off very snobby from the start. I didn’t feel as though she developed as much as Noah did. There was room to grow and she just didn’t.
Basically, if you’re looking for a quick, fun read, this one is for you. I read almost all of it in one night and I admit, I swooned a little for Noah and all of his imperfections.

Risen: Review

risen

 

300 pages
Expected publication: March 27th 2018 by Entangled: Teen
Huge thanks to Netgalley and Entangled Teen for the e-arc for this book.
It has been a long time since I have read a vampire novel and just as long since I read one as original as this one. It was compared to Twilight which, (gasp!) I loved (you wanna fight about it?) so here we go…
We start the story with Charlie, who live with her aunt in a remote cabin the woods in Illinois. When her aunt is kidnapped, she teams up with a vampire named Sebastian, who may not be what he seems…other than a vampire of course. He wants to know about his past life and Charlie seems to be the key to him remembering and likewise, he is the key to saving her aunt from her kidnappers.
The first thing that drew me in was that in this novel there are three types of vampires, Corpus, Mentis and Anima, each with their own unique powers and…lifestyle choices. The second thing that kept me reading was the sassy attitude of Charlie. Even though she finds out vampires exist in her world, she still doesn’t take any crap from them. The third thing was the vampire hunter, Opal, who turns out to be a key friend in Charlie’s life.
The writing was breezy and easy to read making it a rather quick read (I finished in 3 1/2 hours total).
You can see the influence of other novels in the plot, but it didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would and some of the dialogue was cheesy, but I wasn’t even mad, though. This book was a quick enough read that I didn’t lose interest so basically if you’re looking for something supernatural with a little cheeseball effect, this is the one for you and I am pretty sure there’s going to be another with how it ended and I am also not mad about that.

Summer of Salt: review

salt

 

272 pages
Expected publication: June 5th 2018 by HarperTeen
Thank you to Edelweiss for the e-galley of this book!
I admit, when I began to read this, I thought I would either DNF it or come back to it at a later date. I am so glad I kept reading because I knew this was magical realism and magical realism is my recent bag. I just had to finish it.
This is the story of two sisters living on a small island in the summer before they both leave for college. Georgie doesn’t have magical powers like her sister, who can float above the ground which she thinks is lame, but is secretly envious. They help their mother run an Inn, where tourists come every year to get a look at a bird they call Annabelle. Basically, this island is the place you want to go out and find and live forever.
Here are a few things I absolutely loved:
Georgie. She is unapologetic and loves her family so much that it makes me want to hug her. She’s also a lesbian with the cutest crush on a tourist who comes along to the inn with her older brother to bird watch.
The family dynamic. Not only with immediate family, but with her friends and residents of the island.
All the diversity. Like I said, Georgie is gay and there’s hint of her friend being asexual. I just love it
The magic. It’s not the in your face kind, but more of the, Imma-just-stand-here-and-make-sure-everything-is-cool kind.
Here are the things I had trouble with:
The end of the book gets pretty intense, which I wasn’t expecting so if you need a trigger warning, this is it. It was a serious WOW moment.
That’s it. This book was perfection.
If you want a book filled with bada$@ women and magic and mystery, this is your bag. It reminded me a lot of The Scorpio Races where I just wanted to wrap myself in a blanket and sip tea and dream of an island filled with love and magic. This is one of the best I have read this year and it’s only March. I’m pretty sure it will cement its spot nonetheless.

The Armored Saint: review

armored saint

February 20th 2018 by Tor Books

 

 

Once in a while a book comes along that reminds you that good things come in small packages. At a surprising 200 pages, this book not only defied my expectations, but blew me away.

 

I haven’t, in a long time, read a book so short but so full of action and history and heartbreak and just….everything neatly packaged up in this gorgeous cover. This tale focuses on Heloise, a sixteen-year-old girl, who is none too impressed with the oppressive world around her. The Order, who seeks out to rid the world of wizards, seems to do more evil than the thing they hunt and none of this gets by our protagonist.

 

What I absolutely loved:

1. Heloise and all of her raw honest glory. She is fearless when she needs to be and loyal to the ones she loves. She is confused by her own budding sexuality and fairly certain that married life is not for her. At sixteen, she knows what she wants for herself and she isn’t afraid to show it.

2. The world building. This is my first time reading anything by Myke Cole so I went in with blind faith. It rewarded me handsomely. Though some aspects were familiar, they were not unpleasant and those things that were fresh, really worked for me.

What I found a bit jarring:

1. The length. I seriously wanted more and felt as though the ending was a bit rushed.

2. Heloise’s voice seemed to go in and out of being too young or too old for her age.

This is to be part of a series, a trilogy I hear. I began to question if maybe Myke wrote the book with too high of a word count and was forced to split the stories, thus why this book is a mere 200 pages. Don’t get me wrong, I flew through it and mostly loved every moment, but I am anxious to see where this goes. I cannot wait for the next one.

 

The Exact Opposite of Okay: Review

ojay

 

335 pages
Published March 8th 2018 by Electric Monkey

“Because the way the world treats teenage girls – as sluts, as objects, as bitches – is not okay. It’s the exact opposite of okay.”

First off, I finished this book a mere fifty-two seconds ago, but I have a feeling it’s going to be one of those that will stick with me for a few days and no book I pick up thus after (I’m not sure I’m using “thus” in the right context) will not equal out to how fantastically awesome this book was.
Like Moxie and Nowhere Girls, this book rears up its head against the double standards that are male and female sexual behavior. Let’s be real here. This stuff has been going on since you and me were in high school, but for some reason we weren’t “woke” (I hate that word. I’m going to say “awake”) enough to see how problematic it was. Looking back, there were some things I had seen and heard that were portrayed in this very book.
So, meet Izzy. She has the voice of a person I want to be best friends with. Someone I can wee in my pants with and overeat peanut butter cups with. She is the epitome of a witty, sarcastic and honest person making light of tragic events by laughing about it. She does what she wants and doesn’t apologize for it. Basically, the best friend in my head.
We’re reading her story through her blog posts where she tells us all about her love for screenwriting, her sassy grandmother and her best friends, Ajita and Danny. After spending a care free night at a party, where she sleeps with two boys from school, her personal life is suddenly blasted online. Now, back in my day where I walked eighteen miles to school barefoot carrying military grade style backpacks, there was no such thing as social media and terms like “slut-shaming” and “revenge porn” were not the norm. Unfortunately, the world we live in nowadays is a tad bit more…how do I say…not…so…private and Izzy’s gets to experience that first hand.
If I had a box of these books, I’d just go around and shove them in people’s faces and tell them to read it and read it to their daughters and sheesh, read it to their sons. Talk about this stuff. Let them know that bullying is wrong, that slut shaming is wrong, that your entitlement is bull doodie and treat women with respect. It is up to us as parents and grandparents and brothers and sisters to teach our youth. Feminist, non-feminist, whatever. We don’t need labels. We just need to respect each other and build each other up and as women it is important to band together against injustice. (I’m going to pull a Mean Girls). Girls, stop calling each other sluts and bitches and start standing up beside each other. We need nasty women. Be nasty.
I gave this book 5 big nasty stars because it was perfect and even though I already read a copy on my Kindle, I am going to go out and buy the book at my earliest convenience. Maybe right now,once I get through the longest review I have eve written. I’m not even sure this all makes sense since my fingers are flying across the keyboard as if at a bad pot brownie.
I digress.
I am glad books like this exist

Snow and Rose: Review

snowandose

 

224 pages
Published October 10th 2017 by Random House Books for Young Readers
For Middle-Grade March I selected a couple of books based on reviews, personal recs, and maybe for the covers alone. This one was for the cover alone. But this was NOT a case of good cover/bad book. Not by a long shot.
This was one of those books that you didn’t now you needed. It is a retelling of Snow White and Rose Red, two young sisters who are forced to move to a cottage in the woods after their father goes missing. As their mother grows more distant by the day, succumbing to her grief, the two venture off into the woods in search of adventure. And sometimes adventure just seems to find them. They befriend a boy who lives underground and come into contact with wolves, a bear, thieves and even a little man who seems to need rescuing over and over again.
I have no read the original Grimm tale so I am not sure how closely resembling it this book is, but I can say there was certainly magic on every page and it the anticipation of seeing the wonderful illustrations kept me up long after my bedtime. I dare to say that there was even magic in the very pages. I felt like a kid again.
Martin’s writing is both magical and breezy. This is not a long book, clocking in at just over 200 pages. The girls are well fleshed out with individual personalities. I recommend this to anyone looking for fairy tales or simply something to get you out of that book slump. I highly recommend it to anybody with kids as they will find it as beautiful as I did.

Legendary-Review

;egend

416 pages
Expected publication: May 29th 2018 by Flatiron Books

 

Thank you to Netgalley for the arc!!

 

**This review will be spoiler free.**

 

Continuing right after the events of Caraval, we find ourselves in the POV of Tella, Scarlett’s sister. We learn of a certain debt that she owes and BAM, we’re back into the world of Caraval. This time, she is after Legend himself. She needs his real name and identity and she’d do most anything to get it.

Tella is a determined character, just like her sister. She’s also more complex as we read on. She has secrets just as everybody in Caraval does.

As much as I love Stephanie’s writing, I felt as though this one lost a little bit of the magic and intrigue. What I loved about the first book was the magical feel of the game itself. This one lacked that. Though it did make up for it in a sense with some pretty smoking male characters.

WHY AM ATTRACTED TO THE OBVIOUS BAD GUY????

What I also loved how I couldn’t trust anyone, not even Scarlett herself. Not after the first book. you can’t fool me, Garber!!!

Anyhow, some things were predictable if you listened closely and some things you could guess. Even though I did, the ending was still very much surprising. Basically, like the first, this was a fun ride.

WHAT I LIKED:

Lovely writing-check
Great characters-check
Romance-double check

WHAT I DID NOT LIKE

Lack of magic
Predictability.

 

Still, A very awesome book. I cannot wait for the third.

 

The Hazel Wood: review

hazelwood

 

368 pages
Published January 30th 2018 by Flatiron Books
Disclaimer: This book was not for me and I’m about to drop some truths as to why.
Usually when there’s a ton of hype, it kind of turns me off from books and my expectations are really high at that point. Nonetheless, I do end up enjoying hyped books, so this is not true for all.
So, Alice and her mother bounced from home to home, wanderers if you will, always feeling as though something was nipping at their heels. She grew up on fairy tales-her grandmother was the author of a very rare anthology of them-and suddenly the fairy tales start coming to life when her other disappears and she enlists the help of a random boy, Ellery, to help find her.
Stay away from the Hazel Wood, her mother once said.
Yea, right.
It took 200 pages for something to happen. I’m not even lying. When the action finally did begin it was like a whirlwind and I was jarred trying to keep up.The imagery was creepy and I loved it, I just didn’t know why it was moving so fast. Well, I guess I do…because until 200 pages NOTHING HAPPENED.
I could not get connected with Alice. She wasn’t the type of protagonist I would cheer for. She’s unnecessarily mean and I guess when you read the end you kinda know why, but why make me wait?? UGH
So, the real reason why I cold not get into this book was that it reminded so, so, so much of Half World https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6289599-half-world which was the inspiration for Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. When books remind me of other books that I simply LOVED, I cannot seem to get past it and that’s a Celia thing.
Honestly, this is a case of good cover/bad book for me.

Capture: review

capture

 

207 pages
Published February 14th 2018 by Enchanted Anthologies
This is an anthology of delicious awesomeness. Just saying.
So, I may be a little bias because one of the author’s is the amazing Casia Courtier and her contribution, Bloodlust, was my favorite. That is not to say I didn’t like the others. They were all great in their won way. Great writing. Great plot. I enjoyed all of them.
Blood Lust-a lip smacking good vampire story
The Game-this oen intrigued me from the start.
Darkest Depths-MERMAIDS!
Cursed Roots-Everybody loves curses, right?
Caged Hearts-WEREWOLVES!
In closing, this has everything you want and everything you didn’t know you needed. My ony problem is that I wished they were longer 😉