Paper Towns by John Green

Paper Towns by John Green“What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.”

Quentin Jacobsen has been in love with his next door neighbor Margo Roth Spiegelman forever. They used to play together as children but when they both got older and went to middle school and then high school, Margo became part of the popular crowd and Quentin became part of the nerdy crowd. When Margo suddenly shows up at his window one night, a few weeks before the end of senior year, asking him to help her play a series of pranks, he follows her with very little hesitation. After spending the night driving all over Orlando with Margo, Quentin expects the next day at school to be very different. What he didn’t expect was Margo to disappear, and to become even more of a mystery to him than she already was.

As I’m sure most of you know, I am a huge fan of John Green. I absolutely loved The Fault in Our Stars, Looking for Alaska, and Will Grayson, Will Grayson, so I had no doubt I would love this one. While I will say it was definitely not my favorite of his books, it was still an excellent one.

I feel like I really understood what this book was trying to say. Quentin has built up Margo in his mind as this person who is almost more than a person. He has her up on such a pedestal that he can’t imagine her ever making a mistake or doing something that would upset him. He sees her in his mind as such a perfect girl that he doesn’t realize that maybe she is actually not perfect at all, and is just waiting for someone to realize that. This book is really about learning to see people for who they are, rather than who you want or imagine them to be. I think this is definitely something that a lot of us are guilty of–we get upset with people when they don’t fulfill the expectations we have of them, when really we need to understand that we are all different and can’t live up to the same standards as everyone else. Quentin is guilty of this throughout the book not just with Margo but with his other friends as well. He gets upset when everyone isn’t as obsessed with finding Margo as he is, or when people are more excited about other things, and throughout the book he finally learns that you have to accept people for who they really are and not who you want them to be.

I honestly didn’t really like Margo though. I understand that she had a lot of her own issues and that people were ignoring what was really going on with her, but at the same time she is extremely self centered. She disappears and all of the people who care about her, including her 11 year old sister, are left hurt and scared, wondering if she is even alive. Quentin invests so much time into figuring out what happened to her, and at some points it seemed like it wasn’t even worth what he was going through. He did learn a lot about himself and his friends along the way, and he was able to become more confident as well.

Overall, Paper Towns was a great coming of age novel. I highly recommend any of John Green’s books!

Paper Towns was released on October 16, 2008.

The Queen’s Choice by Cayla Kluver

The Queen's Choice by Cayla KluverAnya, a Faerie of Chrior, is the niece of the Queen of the Faerie Kingdom. When the Queen tells her that she is dying and that Anya must take her place as Queen, Anya is overwhelmed to say the least. She has no desire to rule, but instead likes to spend her time traveling to and from the human world. However, if Anya doesn’t rule, then the crown will fall to her cousin Illumina, a Faerie who is extremely prejudiced against humans and who will ruin the relationship the Faeries have with the humans. The only option Anya has is to go out into the human world in search of the Queen’s son Zabriel, who ran away two years ago. Anya believes that if she can convince him to come home then the pressure to rule Chrior will be off of her.

I was really excited to read this book. It has a gorgeous cover and the story just sounded so different and interesting. And while I did like the story, I found it hard to get through. This book was over 500 pages. While I’ve read many books longer than that, this was a LONG 500 pages. There were many times throughout the book where I felt the story dragging, and I think probably 100-150 pages could’ve been cut from this book and it would’ve made the pacing better. I really had to push myself to get through this once I hit the halfway mark, and while I will say it did pick up a lot towards the end, it took awhile to get there.

I oscillated between liking and disliking Anya. At first she seems pretty selfish–she wants to go off and find her cousin so that he can rule instead of her. First of all, her aunt obviously though she was the best for the job so maybe she could have at least given it a chance instead of running off. Second, her cousin obviously ran away for a reason, and does she even stop to realize that maybe bringing him back will just make him miserable all over again? No, she is only thinking about her needs and how she has to give up her freedom when she becomes Queen. Also, she has this boyfriend Daric in the Faerie realm who is just supposed to sit around and wait for her to have her fun out in the human world? That’s kind of unfair. But aside from all of this, I will definitely say that she grew a lot throughout the book and became more selfless and understanding of other people.

I really liked the world building in this book and I think that was the only good thing about the length–it allowed Kluver to really show us a lot of the human world. I still would have liked to see more of Chrior though; the book starts off there but Anya quickly leaves and I would say about 90% of the book is spent in the human world after that. The Faerie world seemed really interesting and I’m hoping in future books we get to see more of it.

This book definitely had a great adventure and wasn’t just a fantasy book. There was a lot about political unrest both in the Faerie and human world, and the book had a lot of twists and turns. The ending was not something I expected at all and definitely left a big cliffhanger.

Overall, The Queen’s Choice was an exciting story that dragged slightly because of the length. However, the ending was a big twist and will definitely leave you excited for the next book.

The Queen’s Choice will be released on January 28, 2014.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you all had a good one! 2014 is going to be a very special year for me, and it will no doubt affect things here on the blog so I figured I’d give you all a heads up. My hubby and I are expecting our first baby this year! We are very excited and already can’t wait to meet him/her! The baby is due at the end of July, so once the little one is here I will almost definitely be slowing down a bit with both reading and reviewing. I’m going to try to read as much as I can before then so I can devote my time to the baby, but for the first few months or so after the baby gets here things will probably be very slow on the blog.

As such, with all of the changes happening in my life right now, I am currently no longer accepting review requests. I have wayyy too many books sitting on my shelves/Nook that I haven’t yet read and I really need to make a dent in those. Plus, with the baby coming I don’t want to make any obligations that I can’t fulfill.

Thanks so much for your understanding! I’m looking forward to an exciting new year!

Favorite Books of 2013

There were so many fantastic books released this year so it was really hard for me to narrow it down to just ten books like I really loved. Since it would have been even harder for me to distinguish the best of the ten, I have simply put my list this year in alphabetical order:

Allegiant by Veronica RothAllegiant by Veronica Roth

I know there was a lot of controversy surrounding this book–some people gave it one star on Goodreads, others gave it five–but overall I really loved the way the series was concluded. There were so many people that hated the ending but I think that it made sense for it to end the way it did. I also liked that in this book we were able to get more into Tobias’s mind and I think it helped me to understand his character a lot better.

 

 

 

 

 

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra ClareClockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

I’ve been a huge fan of the Shadowhunter world since I first read City of Bones a few years ago, and I was so excited that Clare’s prequel trilogy was just as good if not better than The Mortal Instruments series. I admit that I was nervous about how this trilogy would end, but I am so glad that it ended the way it did. I honestly think that this is Clare’s best book yet, and I’m excited to read all of the new series she has in the works already.

 

 

 

 

 

17167166Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

I didn’t know if this book could be as good as Throne of Glass, but Maas did an excellent job with this one. It was even better than the first book, filled with so many twists and turns that I had to keep turning pages. The ending was not something I expected either, so I eagerly await the next book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dare You To by Katie McGarryDare You To by Katie McGarry

I will probably read anything that Katie McGarry writes because so far every book I’ve read by her has been great. Dare You To has been my favorite of her books so far. I loved Beth’s attitude and the way that Ryan was able to finally make her trust again. This was a great love story that I highly recommend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dream Thieves by Maggie StiefvaterThe Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

THIS BOOK! I absolutely loved The Raven Boys and the sequel was just as good. The writing in this book was beautiful and the story got even better. I love this series and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Elite by Kiera CassThe Elite by Kiera Cass

This is another series that I absolutely love. While I will admit, some of America’s back and forth between Aspen and Maxon did annoy me a little, I still could not put this book down. I have no idea how it is all going to end but I can’t wait to find out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fangirl by Rainbow RowellFangirl by Rainbow Rowell

This was such a cute story! It really brought me back to my own fangirl days of Harry Potter fanfiction. This was a really great story about family and adjusting to college life, and definitely a must read!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Madman's Daughter by Megan SheperdThe Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

This book both fascinated me and scared me. It was super creepy at times but the scientist in me loved it. The ending almost made me scream until I realized that there is a sequel planned. Definitely not something I would recommend reading alone at night, but a must read for sure!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Requiem by Lauren OliverRequiem by Lauren Oliver

This was another book I was nervous about, because the ending of the previous book was definitely not expected. I wasn’t sure how Oliver would wrap this all up, but I think she did a good job. It wasn’t your typical ending but I liked how it was slightly open ended. Overall, a great conclusion to the series.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scarlet by Marissa MeyerScarlet by Marissa Meyer

I love how each of these books is a retelling of a different fairy tale. This one is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, yet we still get glimpses of what is going on with Cinder. Scarlet is such a great character, and I loved the way her story intertwined with Cinder’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obviously this was a fantastic year for YA! What were your favorite books from 2013? What are you excited to read in 2014?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Little Piece of My Heart by Tracey Martin

Another Little Piece of My Heart by Tracey MartinClaire comes from a very wealthy family and it is expected that she will be just like her mother and sister–into fashion, shopping, and attending all sorts of events. However, she wants nothing to do with this lifestyle and instead is really into music. In high school, she meets Jared, an extremely talented guitarist and songwriter, and he teaches her to play guitar and they begin to write songs together. When they start dating and Claire brings him home to meet her family, her parents are not at all impressed. They want Claire to be dating a boy destined to go to an Ivy League school, not a boy from the local public school who has no intention of going to college. When Claire’s mother is diagnosed with terminal cancer, she begs Claire to break up with Jared. Since Claire wants to please her dying mother, she does exactly this. What she didn’t expect was that Jared would move to New York, get a record deal, and win a Grammy for the songs he wrote that basically bash his ex-girlfriend.

I really liked this one! It is actually a retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, which I haven’t read but definitely need to. Claire’s parents are the cliche snobby rich parents who are disappointed in their daughter for not being exactly like them, and they immediately think the only reason she is with Jared is to rebel against them. They don’t realize how much she actually cares about him, or how hard it was for her to end their relationship. I appreciated that Claire loved her mother enough to give up Jared for her, but at the same time it was really unfair of her mother to even put her in that situation.

So Jared goes off to New York and basically pulls a Taylor Swift on Claire, which is totally not cool. Instead of listening to her or trying to figure out the real reason behind the breakup, he runs away. They were definitely both at fault–Claire for not explaining what was really going on, and Jared for not listening. And instead of answering her phone calls, Jared writes a bunch of songs about how horrible his ex-girlfriend was and they end up being chart toppers. Right away, I didn’t like Jared because he seemed like a jerk after all of this, but he definitely grew on me throughout the book.

Claire ends up having to spend the summer working at the beach while her family vacations there. When Jared turns up, staying with his friend who is Claire’s cousin’s best friend, the two are thrown together again after everything that happened between them. The two have this whole back and forth thing, going from hating each other to obviously still not being over each other and back again. I really liked Claire’s personality, and the way she would take little jabs at Jared that only he would understand. She definitely doesn’t let him back into her life easily, which is totally understandable.

Overall, Another Little Piece of My Heart was a cute love story that I definitely enjoyed. The ending was a bit lacking, because it ended pretty abruptly and I would’ve liked to have seen more of what happened after.

Another Little Piece of My Heart was released on December 1, 2013.

The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

The Fiery Heart by Richelle MeadWARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD FOR PREVIOUS BOOKS IN THE SERIES

Sydney has finally made her decision and has chosen to be with Adrian despite the risk to them both. She has been part of The Alchemists for her entire life, and they absolutely forbid any kind of relationship with Moroi. However, once Sydney realized that the life of an Alchemist may not necessarily be what she wants, she decided to be with Adrian in secret. This is only made harder for her when her sister Zoe shows up, determined to prove what a good Alchemist she can be and pretty much attaching herself to Sydney’s side. Sydney starts to lead a double life–one in which she is the perfect Alchemist, and the other in which she is in love with a vampire.

I was so excited to read this book because the ending of The Indigo Spell was such a shocker. Finally, Sydney admits to her feelings for Adrian and they decide to be together and then Zoe shows up! And then when I heard that this book would also feature Adrian’s point of view I couldn’t wait to read it–he’s been one of my favorite characters since Vampire Academy.

I’ll admit the book started off a bit slow for me, but it definitely picked up towards the middle. I was worried that once Adrian and Sydney were together things would get dull, but Mead did a great job of making sure that didn’t happen. They had plenty of things going on that caused conflict, so it was very hard for their relationship to get boring. They constantly have to hide what is really going on, even from their closest friends, which made it very difficult for them both.

I loved getting Adrian’s perspective in this one. He is such a complex character and I feel like getting his point of view made it easier to understand him a bit more, especially where spirit is concerned. He always comes off as a drunk, but after he stopped drinking in this book it was obvious that the spirit really affects him and numbing himself to it is the only way for him to feel better. Adrian grew a lot in this book, both because of Sydney and because he was able to finally have some confidence in himself.

The ending to this book was even crazier than the last! I definitely did not see it coming, and I don’t know how I will be able to wait for the next book.

Overall, The Fiery Heart was a great addition to the Bloodlines series. There was a lot of character growth and an ending that will definitely change things for both Sydney and Adrian. I can’t wait to read what happens next!

The Fiery Heart was released on November 19, 2013 and is the fourth book in the Bloodlines series. The fifth book, Silver Shadows is set to be released on July 29, 2014.

Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

Heartbeat by Elizabeth ScottEmma’s mother is brain dead and her body is being kept alive by machines because she is pregnant. Emma doesn’t agree with her stepfather’s decision to keep her mother alive so that the doctors can deliver the baby in a few months, and she is unable to move on and accept the fact that her mother is dead when she has to stare at her lying in bed day after day. When she meets Caleb Harrison, a notorious bad boy who is always in and out of trouble, she is surprised that she is able to connect with someone so different from her. What she finds is that Caleb is not just the bad boy he seems to be, and he may be someone that can help her get through her grief.

This book presented such a difficult situation and one that I cannot imagine having to cope with. It’s terrible enough that Emma has to lose her mother at such a young age, but to not even be able to properly deal with her grief is even worse. Part of her still hopes that her mother will wake up even though the doctors say she is brain dead, and it is even harder to accept the fact that she is truly gone when she is still technically alive. Emma even somewhat hates the baby because she blames it for her mother’s death.

I can’t imagine what kind of choice I would make if I were placed in that situation. It is hard to be mad at Emma’s stepfather for wanting to save the baby, but it also is kind of messed up that Emma’s mother is just being kept alive so that the baby can develop. It’s a very tough issue, and I can completely understand why Emma reacted the way she did–hating her stepfather and the unborn baby. When she meets Caleb, who has his own family issues, the two of them are able to help each other through their problems. They are two of the least likely people to ever get together, but their issues help them to connect and understand each other, which leads to a really great relationship.

Overall, Heartbeat was a beautiful novel about a very controversial issue. Scott did a great job of handling this issue and created a really incredible story.

Heartbeat will be released on January 28, 2014.

Defy by Sara B. Larson

Defy by Sara B. LarsonAlexa Hollen is a girl who is forced to disguise herself as a boy in the king’s army after she and her twin brother are orphaned. In Antion, girls who are orphaned are forced to go to the breeding houses, and to avoid this Alexa must cut off her hair and call herself Alex. She has been trained to fight so she easily passes off as a boy and quickly rises through the ranks to become part of the prince’s personal guard. However, when a sorcerer comes to abduct the prince, Alexa is unable to stop him and she and her fellow guard Rylan get abducted as well. When her secret is revealed, it seems that the prince and Rylan may have secrets of their own, and Alexa has to deal with two men vying for her affections along with trying to protect the kingdom.

This was such a great start to this series! Alexa is my favorite type of heroine–brave, fierce, and able to beat a grown man in sword fighting. She becomes the best fighter in the army even though she has suffered so many hardships, and she proves that just girls can fight just as well as boys can. Alexa poses as a boy in order to avoid the breeding house, which was so horrible to read about. Orphan girls are taken into the breeding house where they are basically raped by men in the army and forced to bear children. Those children are then forced to fight in the army if they are boys, and if they are girls they are forced right back into the breeding house. Alexa was fortunate enough to have her fighting skills and her brother’s quick thinking to cut off her hair, but there are so many poor girls who didn’t have that chance and suffer daily in the breeding house.

I enjoyed the love triangle in this book because it wasn’t the only focus of the story and it was obvious pretty early on who Alexa really loved. Both Prince Damian and Rylan admit to having feelings for her once her cover is blown, and this poor girl who has never been allowed to think like a girl is suddenly thrown into a love triangle. I think Alexa’s reaction was very real, and any girl in that situation would definitely be overwhelmed.

I really admired Alexa because she was so determined to carry on. She is constantly thrown into different situations that take her out of her element, but she quickly adjusts and is able to deal with it. After losing her parents and basically losing her identity, she still pushes on and tries to make the best life possible for herself. She also is fiercely loyal to the prince, even though at first she doesn’t believe he deserves her loyalty, and she is willing to throw her life down for his.

Overall, Defy was a fantastic start to a new series! Alexa was a great heroine and I can’t wait to see where the second book takes her!

Defy will be released on January 7, 2014 and is the first book in a series.

Four Seconds to Lose by K. A. Tucker

Four Seconds to Lose by K. A. TuckerCain is the owner of Penny’s Palace, a strip club in Miami. Even though he allows girls to dance with their clothes off on his stage, he simultaneously tries to save them from the lives they have been forced into. When Charlie Rourke comes into his club asking for a job however, he finds himself unable to follow his own rule of never getting involved with the staff. Charlie needs money fast so that she can run away from her past. While the thought of stripping makes her sick, she knows it is the only way to earn money quickly so that she can move on. She has no intention of getting involved with anyone, but when she meets Cain, she becomes unable to keep her distance.

This book was slightly different from the other two in the series because it is told from two different perspectives–Cain’s and Charlie’s. I think it worked really well for this story because both of them have secrets that they hide from each other but not from the reader, so we are able to understand the reason for their guardedness.

I was excited to read Cain’s story because while he has appeared in the first two books, he was very briefly in them and there always seemed like there was more to him than meets the eye. He’s not your typical club owner because he tries to protect the girls that work for him and helps them to better themselves outside of work. Charlie is also not what she seems initially–she is forced to leave her home and stepfather in Long Island after an incident and she is sent to Miami for what seemed like a period of time to lay low. However, she soon realizes that her stepfather isn’t the wonderful man she always thought he was and that she needs to run away from the only life she’s ever known.

I loved the romance between Cain and Charlie, especially because Cain made it seem so forbidden. Not only was he her boss, but she also reminded him of a girl he used to love so he tries his best to keep his distance from her. Charlie doesn’t want to get involved with anyone but she is especially wary of getting involved with Cain because she is afraid of what he will think of her if he discovers her secrets. The two try their best to stay away from each other but it proves impossible and ends up threatening both of their lives.

Overall, Four Seconds to Lose was a great third book in a series that I will definitely stick with. I love all of the characters in this series and I am excited to see who the next book will be about.

Four Seconds to Lose was released on November 4, 2013 and is the third book in the Ten Tiny Breaths series.

One Tiny Lie by K. A. Tucker

One Tiny Lie by K. A. TuckerLivie Cleary was always the smart, sensible sister and her sister Kacey was the wild one. But deep down she is desperate to make her parents proud even though they are no longer alive to witness it. She follows her father’s dream for her, going off to Princeton to pursue a career in oncology. But when her sister and her roommate drag her to a party one night, she didn’t expect to get drunk and become infatuated with the best looking guy on campus. Suddenly there is more to life than the future she had mapped out for herself, and she finds herself constantly drawn to a guy who is exactly the opposite of the man she always expected she would marry.

I really liked Livie’s story, and I think I liked it even better than Kacey’s. Livie has always seemed put together on the outside but she actually is still dealing with her parents’ death on the inside. While she has a very different way of dealing it from her sister, it still is not healthy. She is so desperate to fulfill her father’s dream of her going to medical school that she doesn’t even stop to think about what she really wants. When she meets Ashton, she realizes that the life she planned for herself may not be the life she actually wants to live.

I was really able to feel Livie’s conflict and I felt myself going back and forth with my opinion of Ashton right along with her. He comes off as a player and someone who could never get serious with someone like Livie, yet when they are alone he acts like she is the only person he cares for. Half the time he acts like a sweet, caring person and the other half he is being a jerk so, like Livie, I went back and forth between loving him and hating him. What Livie comes to discover though, is that there is more going on in his life than she realized and he may be dealing with just as many things as she is.

Overall, One Tiny Lie was a great story about a girl’s struggle to discover herself. I really loved this one and I liked the fact that Kacey and Trent still made an appearance.

One Tiny Lie was released on June 11, 2013 and is the second book in the Ten Tiny Breaths series.