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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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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Mini Reviews #6 – Mini Mini Reviews

Mini Reviews #6 – Mini Mini ReviewsThe Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren
Published by Harry N. Abrams
on April 4th 2017
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Amazon, Goodreads

Last summer, Lucy’s and Ben’s lives changed in an instant. One moment, they were shyly flirting on a lake raft, finally about to admit their feelings to each other after years of yearning. In the next, Trixie—Lucy’s best friend and Ben’s sister—was gone, her heart giving out during a routine swim. And just like that, the idyllic world they knew turned upside down, and the would-be couple drifted apart, swallowed up by their grief. Now it’s a year later in their small lake town, and as the anniversary of Trixie’s death looms, Lucy and Ben’s undeniable connection pulls them back together. They can’t change what happened the day they lost Trixie, but the summer might finally bring them closer to healing—and to each other.

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.

I have mixed feelings on The Last Thing You Said. I’m not really sure what it is. Honestly I loved some parts of it. I loved the part where both Lucy and Ben were dealing with their grief in vastly different ways. I loved the setting of the beach. I loved Lucy’s friend. But there was also a lot I was confused by. Honestly I hated how Ben treated Lucy and how Lucy let him treat her. I hated a lot of the things that Lucy did. I do admit the grief of Ben and Lucy and how much they missed Trixie was done really well. That was the one part of the story I felt and understood. But everything else was sadly just not for me.

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Mini Reviews #6 – Mini Mini ReviewsBy Your Side by Kasie West
Published by Harper Teen
on January 31st 2017
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon, Goodreads

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

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

This book. Oh this book. The more I am away from my read of it the more I realize just how much I didn’t really like it. This was strange for me because I have never not loved a Kasie West book. But By Your Side just didn’t do it for me. It had all the ingredients, library [check]; trapped [check]; opposites attract [check]; cute boy [check, check, check] but all of those ingredients just didn’t pan out. The library was 100% not used to its best ability and because of that I felt duped into the book we did end up getting. It was like once Dax and Autumn got out of the library I was reading a whole new book, and it was a book I never saw coming. In the end I just didn’t feel like I got what I signed up for and I was left disappointed.

 

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Mini Reviews #6 – Mini Mini ReviewsThe One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
Published by Penguin Teen
on May 2nd 2017
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Amazon, Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. She lives under the careful watch of her parents, in a town she is familiar with, among people who are equally familiar with her story. She has not been able to recall any part of her past since she was ten, when the tumor that was removed from her brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend's boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. She lives under the careful watch of her parents, in a town she is familiar with, among people who are equally familiar with her story. She has not been able to recall any part of her past since she was ten, when the tumor that was removed from her brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend's boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this singular memory pierces Flora's fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake and their shared kiss are responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step in reclaiming her life.

With little more than the tattoo "be brave" inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is, how old, where she lives, and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to the land of the midnight sun--Svalbard, Norway. There she is determined to find Drake, and to explore the romantic possibilities and hopeful future that their reunion promises her. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must "be brave" if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.

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.

I’m not gonna lie, I struggled with this book. I didn’t struggle because it wasn’t good but I struggled because I was frustrated. And I felt terrible about being frustrated by it because I could only imagine what Flora was actually going through. But the truth is I had a hard time because this book was super repetitive. And believe me, I understand why it was, but it just kind of pulled me out of the story because I felt like I was reading the same page over and over. Really though, Flora had an incredible journey finding out how brave and strong she truly was and there was one part that I didn’t see coming until much later into the book. When all is said and done though, this book just wasn’t right for me. I do feel like it would have been a fun movie.

 

 

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