Backlog Review: Ignite Me – Tahereh Mafi

When I was looking at some reviews I wrote a while ago and never posted I realized I never posted my review of Ignite Me. I think I forgot about it because at the time I felt like I had a very unpopular opinion on the series ender. Since then I feel like more people felt this way than I originally thought. However since I had it done I might as well post it. So here you go, my review of Ignite Me which I wrote years ago!

Backlog Review: Ignite Me – Tahereh MafiIgnite Me by Tahereh Mafi
Series: Shatter Me #3
Published by HarperCollins
on February 4th 2014
Amazon, Goodreads

The heart-stopping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, which Ransom Riggs, bestselling author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, called “a thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love.”

With Omega Point destroyed, Juliette doesn’t know if the rebels, her friends, or even Adam are alive. But that won’t keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. The same person who saved her life. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world . . . but that’s not all he wants with her.

The Shatter Me series is perfect for fans who crave action-packed young adult novels with tantalizing romance like Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Legend by Marie Lu. Tahereh Mafi has created a captivating and original story that combines the best of dystopian and paranormal, and was praised by Publishers Weekly as “a gripping read from an author who’s not afraid to take risks.” Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and satisfying end.

Welcome to the newest edition of unpopular opinion time. Because I seem to have a mostly unpopular opinion for Ignite Me. After reading it for three days and feeling anger, annoyance and frustration, I finally finished and now I’m just sad and disappointed. I will freely admit that I am team Adam. I never hid my lack of love for Warner in this series. But my lack of like for this series ender has nothing to do with what went on with Warner in this book. It has to do with my feelings of other things that happened that I just couldn’t get past.

Ignite Me is the final book in Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series, a series about Juliette, a girl that can kill someone with just her touch. When we first met Juliette in Shatter Me she was an emotional mess. But as Juliette started to learn more and more about her powers and made friends and got herself involved in a love triangle with Adam and Warner, Juliette started to become a threat that needed to be stopped. With Warner’s father Anderson after her and wanting her dead Juliette finally decides it is time to take on The Reestablishment. But she going to need help and finds it in a place she ever expected, from a person she thought she knew but apparently didn’t. She needs Warner. And is he ever full of surprises.

And I guess to be honest that was my first problem with this book. STOP READING IF YOU DON’T WANT ANY SPOILERS!!!

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When the book started off I was immediately bombarded with all these ‘truths’ about Warner. But honestly I didn’t feel like they were truths. I felt like I was duped. Like I was reading a new book completely separate from what I had read in the series. The ‘changes’ in Warner didn’t seem natural. They just didn’t flow right and seemed to be made out of convince rather than story progression. They didn’t leave me loving Warner any more than I did. Actually I lost respect for him because now he was a phony rather than a villain. And it didn’t stop with Warner for me. Everyone seemed to have a personality transplant. Adam, Kenji, Warner…it all seemed so forced.

What I did appreciate was the character of Juliette. From start to finish in the series she was the main focus and her growth was the highlight and the reason I didn’t rate this lower. For me she was the one character that stayed true to herself. The changes in her were the kind of changes I like to see in a character. She grew up a lot from book to book and was no longer afraid of who she was. At times she got on my nerves because she was strong yet couldn’t say what she was feeling, but who isn’t like that in the real world. By far she was the bright spot for me. Was it farfetched that she could stage a revolution? Definitely. But it’s the kind of farfetched I liked. It was her reactions to Adam that I hated and her reactions to Warner that bugged me.

I know with me being a self-proclaimed Warner hater and Adam lover that it seems like I’m whining based off what goes down in Ignite Me. But truthfully that isn’t what this is about. That part of the story was minor for me. It was the changes that happened that I felt took away from the other books, of the characters and their character. I understand what Mafi was trying to do, but it just didn’t work for me personally. I still love the first two books, but sadly Ignite Me just wasn’t the book for me.

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TBR: Recently Added (2)

A lot of good books have been brought to my attention and like any good book nerd I have added them to my TBR. I mean let’s be honest, we all want to keep our TBR down to a minimum, but in this reading world it is almost impossible to do. I have learned to embrace it and just go with it. Here are 6 books I have recently added to my TBR from direct suggestions or tweets that I happened to catch:

TBR: Recently Added (2)The Girl with the Red Balloon (The Balloonmakers, #1) by Katherine Locke
Published by Albert Whitman Company
on September 1st 2017
Amazon, Goodreads

When sixteen-year-old Ellie Baum accidentally time-travels via red balloon to 1988 East Berlin, she’s caught up in a conspiracy of history and magic. She meets members of an underground guild in East Berlin who use balloons and magic to help people escape over the Wall—but even to the balloon makers, Ellie’s time travel is a mystery. When it becomes clear that someone is using dark magic to change history, Ellie must risk everything—including her only way home—to stop the process.

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TBR: Recently Added (2)The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
Published by Flatiron Books
on January 30th 2018
Amazon, Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: Her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set. Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

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TBR: Recently Added (2)All Rights Reserved (Word$ #1) by Gregory Scott Katsoulis
Published by Harlequin Teen
on August 29th 2017
Amazon, Goodreads

In a world where every word and gesture is copyrighted, patented or trademarked, one girl elects to remain silent rather than pay to speak, and her defiant and unexpected silence threatens to unravel the very fabric of society.

Speth Jime is anxious to deliver her Last Day speech and celebrate her transition into adulthood. The moment she turns fifteen, Speth must pay for every word she speaks ("Sorry" is a flat ten dollars and a legal admission of guilt), for every nod ($0.99/sec), for every scream ($0.99/sec) and even every gesture of affection. She's been raised to know the consequences of falling into debt, and can't begin to imagine the pain of having her eyes shocked for speaking words that she's unable to afford.

But when Speth's friend Beecher commits suicide rather than work off his family's crippling debt, she can't express her shock and dismay without breaking her Last Day contract and sending her family into Collection. Backed into a corner, Speth finds a loophole: rather than read her speechrather than say anything at allshe closes her mouth and vows never to speak again. Speth's unexpected defiance of tradition sparks a media frenzy, inspiring others to follow in her footsteps, and threatens to destroy her, her family and the entire city around them.

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TBR: Recently Added (2)Follow Me Back (Follow Me Back, #1) by A.V. Geiger
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
on June 6th 2017
Amazon, Goodreads

Tessa Hart’s world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it’s like his speaking directly to her…

Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn’t help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.

When a fellow pop star is murdered at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast—like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric’s plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world’s best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn…


Told through tweets, direct messages, and police transcripts.

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TBR: Recently Added (2)Prisoner of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
on April 4th 2017
Amazon, Goodreads

In a thrilling fantasy that’s equal parts Prison Break and Frozen, Valor attempts the impossible—breaking her sister out of prison.

When Valor is arrested, she couldn’t be happier. Demidova’s prison for criminal children is exactly where she wants to be. Valor’s sister Sasha is already serving a life sentence for stealing from the royal family and Valor is going to help her escape . . . from the inside.

Never mind that no one has escaped in three hundred years. Valor has a plan and resources most could only dream about. But she didn't count on having to outsmart both the guards and her fellow prisoners. If Valor’s plan is to succeed, she’ll need to make unlikely allies. And if the plan fails, she and Sasha could end up with fates worse than prison.

This fresh and exciting middle-grade debut effortlessly melds an unforgettable protagonist, a breathless plot, and stunning world-building—and is impossible to put down.

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TBR: Recently Added (2)Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
Published by Simon Pulse
on April 3rd 2018
Amazon, Goodreads

In this romantic dramedy from the author of Alex, Approximately, a teen girl’s way-too-ordinary life is driven off the beaten path when she’s abandoned in the wilderness with her worst adversary—the boy who broke her heart.

Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern day, Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets.

But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

What could go wrong?

With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.

And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars?

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What have you recently added to your TBR? Have you read any of these?

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Blog Tour: Review – What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

Blog Tour: Review – What to Say Next by Julie BuxbaumWhat to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum
Published by Delacorte Press
on July 11th 2017
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Amazon, Goodreads

From the New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things comes a charming and poignant story about two struggling teenagers who find an unexpected connection just when they need it most. For fans of Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Niven, and Rainbow Rowell.

Sometimes a new perspective is all that is needed to make sense of the world.

KIT: I don’t know why I decide not to sit with Annie and Violet at lunch. It feels like no one here gets what I’m going through. How could they? I don’t even understand.

DAVID: In the 622 days I’ve attended Mapleview High, Kit Lowell is the first person to sit at my lunch table. I mean, I’ve never once sat with someone until now. “So your dad is dead,” I say to Kit, because this is a fact I’ve recently learned about her.

When an unlikely friendship is sparked between relatively popular Kit Lowell and socially isolated David Drucker, everyone is surprised, most of all Kit and David. Kit appreciates David’s blunt honesty—in fact, she finds it bizarrely refreshing. David welcomes Kit’s attention and her inquisitive nature. When she asks for his help figuring out the how and why of her dad’s tragic car accident, David is all in. But neither of them can predict what they’ll find. Can their friendship survive the truth?

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Admittedly it took me a long time to read What to Say Next, a book that is under 300 pages. I started it at the wrong time (right before a book I was dying for was released) and after I put it down and got sucked into other books it sat waiting. Because of this when I picked it up I struggled to get into the book. I was really sad about this because I had heard such great things. But the more I read the more I just fell in love with Julie Buxbaum’s story of Kit and David. And by the time I was done I was so sad there were no more words for me to read. To keep it simple…the book was fantastic.

What to Say Next is told from the perspectives of both David and Kit in alternating chapters. What I love about this format is that you get to see what is inside each of their heads. Sometimes this can take away from a book, but in this case I think it actually added to it. Knowing what Kit was thinking and feeling was really important. She is popular and has friends but after the feather of her father things changed and now she wants quiet and understanding. David, who is on the spectrum, is a loner. He sits alone and uses a notebook to help him determine who is well meaning and who to stay away from.  When Kit sits down with David though everything changes for both of them and soon feelings have forming and friendships are made and everything is changing.

It is hard to say at what point this story turned around for me.  According to my Goodreads updates it was around page 80. But honestly I think it was before that. There was something so endearing and magical about Kit and David’s friendship forming and blossoming. On paper Kit and David couldn’t have been more different, but from the start of the book something about their differences really just clicked. You could almost feel how they made each other whole and I loved that. I loved that this seemingly random twist of fate, the death of Kit’s dad, lead them to find their person. And I 100% believe they are each other’s person. The honesty they show one another is like nothing I have seen in a book. And to see their trust and relationship grow I was done for. Also David is 100% crush worthy.

What to Say Next is a great follow up to Buxbaum’s YA debut, Tell Me Three Things. It has heart and amazing story telling and characters you will love from the depths of your soul. I was honestly blown away by how much I ended up loving Kit and David’s story and I think you will too. I highly recommend this one for your TBR.

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About Julie Buxbaum

The author of the New York Times bestseller Tell Me Three Things, her debut young adult novel, as well as the critically acclaimed The Opposite of Love and After You. Her work has been translated into twenty-five languages. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their two young children.

 

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Backlog Review: Slammed – Colleen Hoover

Backlog Review: Slammed – Colleen HooverSlammed (Slammed, #1) by Colleen Hoover
Published by Simon & Schuster
on September 18th 2012
Format: eBook
Amazon, Goodreads

Layken's father died suddenly, leaving her to gather every ounce of strength to be a pillar for her family, in order to prevent their world from falling apart. Now her life is taking another unexpected turn...

Layken's mother gets a job which leads to an unwanted move across the country. However, a new home means new neighbours... and Layken's new neighbour is the very attractive Will Cooper.

Will has an intriguing passion for slam poetry, and a matching passion for life. The two feel an irresistible attraction but are rocked to the core when a shocking revelation brings their romance to a screeching halt. Layken and Will must find a way to fight the forces that threaten to tear them apart...or learn to live without each other.

Talk about a disappointment. I’m honestly bummed that Slammed turned out the way it did for me. When I first started it I was really into it. Loved the idea, was mildly shocked by some of the events that unfolded and really loved not only the dynamic between Layken and Will, but the family relationship between Layken, her mom and her little brother. But the further I read the more muddled I found the book becoming and the more my frustration went up. And by the end I was sadly happy I was done reading what was once so promising.

Slammed is about Layken, an 18 year old girl from Texas that is forced to move to Michigan with her mother and brother when her dad unexpectedly dies. Michigan is about the last place Lake wants to be, that is until she meets her neighbor from across the streets, Will Cooper.  Almost immediately sparks between the two begin to fly, but when something is brought to light that they never considered in their whirlwind of a romance, everything unravels as quickly as it started. Now forced to stay away from each other Layken not only has to deal with living in a new place after the loss of her father, but with all the other things that come with adulthood. And the fact that it sometimes isn’t so easy to live with either just your heart or your head leading you.

I guess what my problem was with Slammed was that it became a victim of what I like to call ‘everything and the kitchen sick syndrome’. At the start of the book, there was a really great foundation for a story about a girl finding her way in a new place after a tragedy struck. She was dealing with the unexpected and dealing with it the way any teenager would with her feelings and with some drama. That all worked for me. I liked how Layken was and I liked how Layken and Will’s relationship came about and split apart. But sadly the book didn’t stay on that track and the more is swayed away from that the harder it became for me to like it. As more and more things started to happen to up the drama, the more the story became almost a joke and that bummed me out really bad.

The frustrating thing about Slammed is that everything was right there to make this story strong and memorable and it just never ended up coming to fruition. It ended up being annoying and muddled for me in the end and that is a major downer. What started out strong really fizzled and splattered at the end creating a story that didn’t make me want to run out and read the next in the series. There was just too much involved making it seem over the top and not a solid story about life changes and growing up. I’ll be trying Colleen Hoover again, but I’m in no rush at the moment.

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Review: Lucky in Love – Kasie West

Review: Lucky in Love – Kasie WestLucky in Love by Kasie West
Published by Scholastic
on July 25th 2017
Format: ARC
Source: Borrowed
Amazon, Goodreads

In this new contemporary from YA star Kasie West, a girl who wins the lottery learns that money can cause more problems than it solves, especially when love comes into the picture.

Maddie doesn't believe in luck. She's all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment --

She wins!

In a flash, Maddie's life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she's talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun... until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now, Maddie isn't sure who she can trust.

Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn't seem aware of Maddie's big news. And, for some reason, she doesn't want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?

With tons of humor and heart, Kasie West delivers a million-dollar tale of winning, losing, and falling in love.

Another Kasie West book? Sign me up please! That was my first reaction to hearing about Lucky in Love. I’m a Kasie West fan. There is no denying it. I have loved just about every book she has released (Pivot Point and PS I Like You are my two favorites). But the the hesitation set in. Her last book was not a favorite of mine so I was a little nervous going into Lucky in Love. I wasn’t sure if I would bet a PS I Like You gem or if I would be disappointed. I can happily say Lucky in Love was delightful and I was not let down at all.

The concept is simple when you think about it. Poor family that struggle for everything they have. They fight because money is a stressor. Girl randomly buys a lottery ticket, because she is basically forced into it, and wins. Everything changes and makes things seem better, but does money really solve all problems? But West brought her own style to the story that made anything other than simple. What Maddie went through after winning the lottery made it feel real and it was all believable. I understood why she thought money would fix everything and why she was spending it like a crazy person when she actually is a responsible person.  When you are given the opportunity to have no financial burden you are definitely going to make some bad choices. And man did Maddie ever. The only choice I think she made that was right was getting close to Seth.

I mean can we talk about Seth for a minute? Could a boy be any sweeter or adorable? He was the perfect counterpart to Maddie and all her current uncertainty. I feel like Seth, by Maddie not telling him about winning, was her grounding point. He was her reality that didn’t change and that was exactly what she needed. I loved everything about their friendship and relationship and the time they spent together. Seriously, did I mention how perfect he was??

All in all I really enjoyed Lucky in Love. There was a part at the end that wasn’t my favorite, but aside from that I found it to be a great, solid story.  I’m really happy I didn’t let me nerves get the better of me because I would have missed a really fun book. Also, I’m not sure I would ever tell anyone if I won the lottery. 😉

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