Review: Replica – Lauren Oliver

Review: Replica – Lauren OliverReplica by Lauren Oliver
Series: Replica #1
Published by HarperCollins
Published: October 4th 2016
Buy on Amazon
Add to Goodreads
three-half-stars

Gemma has been in and out of hospitals since she was born. 'A sickly child', her lonely life to date has revolved around her home, school and one best friend, Alice. But when she discovers her father's connection to the top secret Haven research facility, currently hitting the headlines and under siege by religious fanatics, Gemma decides to leave the sanctuary she's always known to find the institute and determine what is going on there and why her father's name seems inextricably linked to it.

Amidst the frenzy outside the institute's walls, Lyra - or number 24 as she is known as at Haven - and a fellow experimental subject known only as 72, manage to escape. Encountering a world they never knew existed outside the walls of their secluded upbringing , they meet Gemma and, as they try to understand Haven's purpose together, they uncover some earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls forever...

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

As a massive Lauren Oliver fan I was really excited to see she had a new book coming out. Delirium will forever be one of my favorite books and Vanishing Girls still blows me away. So when I heard about Replica and its unique concept I was immediately sold. Two books in one with different ways of reading an option? Yes please! And in the end…I really enjoyed the story. I didn’t love it as much as I did past Oliver books but I was enthralled and captivated by Lyra and Gemma’s stories.

When started Replica I had two options reading; I could read alternate chapters of each girl’s story or I could read one girl and then the other. I started reading alt chapters but made it 3 before changing my mind. Instead I read Lyra and then Gemma. I can’t really say how you decide to read it will change your reading experience but I can tell you that the way I read it I liked Gemma more than Lyra.

Lyra – 3.5 stars
Lyra was an interesting character to get into. Truthfully I had some trouble with her story. I felt like there were parts missing and I couldn’t really get to know her. I mean I liked her enough, but she was hard to get into and to really sympathize with. I don’t know if this was because of her not having much human interaction or what, but she was a big struggle for me, especially her bluntness. I also wanted more background. Instead the book just jumped into it. In the end though I did find her interesting and I want to know exactly where her story will lead and how everything that happened to her will affect her in the future.

Gemma – 4 stars
Gemma on the other hand I immediately liked. I liked her story and the sort of mystery that she found herself involved in. Basically I found Gemma to be more likable and her story more interesting. There was something just so basically real about her and I couldn’t help but root for her to be the brave, beautiful girl she was. Her story unfolding really was interesting and 100% kept me invested.

Together I loved how these two girls’ stories intersected and how they entwined. They made for an interesting story when combined and all the pieces were put together. I may not have loved it as much as Delirium and other Oliver books, but I am interested in knowing more and maybe rereading it with alternating chapters instead of reading one girl and then the other.

Continue Reading

Review: Come Back to Me – Mila Gray

Review: Come Back to Me – Mila GrayCome Back to Me by Mila Gray
Published by Simon Pulse
Published: December 8th 2015
Buy on Amazon
Add to Goodreads
four-stars

In this heart-wrenching tale of love and loss, a young Marine and his best friend’s sister plunge into a forbidden love affair while he’s home on leave.

When a Marine Chaplain knocks on her door, Jessa’s heart breaks—someone she loves is dead. Killed in action, but is it Riley or Kit? Her brother or her boyfriend…

Three months earlier, Marine Kit Ryan finds himself back home on leave and dangerously drawn to his best friend Riley’s sister, Jessa—the one girl he can’t have. Exhausted from fighting his feelings, Kit finally gives in, and Jessa isn’t strong enough to resist diving headfirst into a passionate relationship.

But what was just supposed to be a summer romance develops into something far greater than either of them expected. Jessa’s finally found the man of her dreams and Kit’s finally discovered there’s someone he’d sacrifice everything for.

When it’s time for Kit to redeploy, neither one is ready to say goodbye. Jessa vows to wait for him and Kit promises to come home to her. No matter what.

But as Jessa stands waiting for the Marine Chaplain to break her heart, she can’t help but feel that Kit has broken his promise…
Riley or Kit? Kit or Riley? Her brother or her boyfriend? Who’s coming home to her?

A friend had mentioned Come Back to Me as something that might interest me. After doing so research I agreed. The description is totally a me book. I am 100% a sucker for the girl falling for her brother’s best friend. It is one of my favorite troupes as it can cause so much tension but when it is right it is right. I was also really intrigued by the military aspect as that adds something else to the story since being enlisted is a huge commitment. Basically I had really high hopes for Come Back to Me, and Mila Gray delivered.

Come Back to Me is about Jessa and Kit, two people that have grown-up in each other’s orbit. Kit has been friends with Jessa’s brother for a long time and Jessa has been crushing on him ever since. But they have managed to not cross that line. That is until Kit is home on leave from the military for the month and they can no longer deny that attraction. Soon the two are in a whirlwind romance even knowing it will all end as soon as Kit has to go back. Jessa plans to wait for him until the unthinkable happens and everyone involved has to figure out what is important and just want they could stand to lose.

I have to say that the romance was very quickly paced. I figured it would be because of Jessa and Kit’s history and the month time table, but some of it went a little too fast for me as I love a good slow burn when you can feel the chemistry. That aside I loved how Come Back to Me was one of those books that started in the middle and then worked back to the beginning so you kind of knew what was going to happen without much of it being given away. That was pretty genius.

I liked the setting of this story a lot. For the beginning you get the typical home life kind of set up. Dates, lounging at home, the inside of apartments. And in the second half you get the war and military part which I am always fascinated by when reading. Gray did a good job of setting this up and showing the different lives Kit and Jessa were living and how that effected their mid space and lives.

Honestly I liked Kit a little more than Jessa. I don’t know if Jessa felt young or what it was but there was something lacking from her that I found in Kit. He had an air of experience to him that made him the more enjoyable of the two. Jessa made some bad decisions, as did Kit, but I understood Kit’s more over Jessa. With that said, I loved the two of them together better than apart. They had a great chemistry that felt organic. I did not like Jessa’s dad at all. He was probably the part that bugged me most about the whole book.

I really enjoyed Come Back to Me. It was a quick read and was interesting and kept my attention the whole time. I should have listened to my gut and not read the epilogue but I’m just pretending I didn’t. All in all this was a great book about love and friendship and responsibility and making the right choices and guilt. I look forward to reading the companion.

*I read the UK version of this book.

 

Continue Reading

Review: Everything, Everything – Nicola Yoon

Review: Everything, Everything – Nicola YoonEverything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Published: September 1st 2015
Buy on Amazon
Add to Goodreads
five-stars

This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Review

I was super excited for this debut book by Nicola Yoon. I mean first would you look at that cover??? BEAUTIFUL! And I know, it is shallow to want to read a book based on the cover, but that is honestly what pulled me in. And then I read what the book was about and I was hooked. Can’t go outside? That is a life I can’t imagine. And then I read the book. Holy awesome batman. I was blown completely away. Not just by the writing, which was perfect, but the why the story was told. It was fantastic.

Everything, Everything is about Madeline, a girl that has been stuck inside her house for over a decade thanks to a disease that leave her allergic to the world. With her mother and her nurse Carla as her only real contact Madeline is always the girl on the inside looking out. That is until new neighbors move in. Soon Madeline is finding herself obsessed with Olly, the son next door. She watches his every move and then one day he notices and the start up a friendship that is about to change Madeline’s world forever.

action

I was intrigued from the start by this story. The writing, the plot, the pacing, everything just worked and it worked really really well. I loved how the story unfolded through a variety of different styles. From pictures to emails to text messages to dialog. It all worked and made the story even more beautiful than it was. Honestly I was so wrapped up in all of that I didn’t see something coming that I normally would have which made the book even better for me.

backdrop

This is a tough on because the book is mostly in one single house. Actually in the long run that worked really well because much like Madeline it was easy to feel trapped in a place and not have the ability to see something else, to have a new setting, a new background. Seeing how Madeline had to watch Olly from her window or computer screen and not be a part of his life just added to the story.

characters

Hands down, Madeline and Olly are what made Everything, Everything well…everything. There was such an ease to the two of them. Like they just fit and they never really even questioned why this was. They belonged in each other’s lives and it was as simple as that. They were also both going through things, hard things, and it was nice that they had each other to lean on. I also really loved Carla the nurse. She was a great adult figure in this book that helped keep Madeline young. And I felt really bad for Madeline’s mother. As a whole this cast of character was perfect.

final

In the end Everything, Everything was simply, amazingly gorgeous. It was one of those books that is pretty quiet in terms of story, but it is supposed to be. It keeps you interested with its beauty and narrative. And the characters keep making you want to know more, to be friends with these people, to find out more about them. I truthfully can’t do this book justice with my words. I’ve tried and it isn’t worth it. All I can tell you is that you need to read it. You will not be disappointed. That I can promise you.

 

Continue Reading

Review: Vanishing Girls – Lauren Oliver

Review: Vanishing Girls – Lauren OliverVanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
Published by HarperCollins
Published: March 10th 2015
Buy on Amazon
Add to Goodreads
five-stars

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara's beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it's too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

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

thoughts1

I first fell in love with Lauren Oliver’s writing when I read Delirium years back. There was something special about the way she wrote the world and the characters. She pulled me right in and I have never looked back. So when I went to one of her signings in early 2014 and she told us about Vanishing Girls it was a no brainer. I mean as soon as it was available I pre-ordered it. One of the best decisions I have ever made. Vanishing Girls was absolutely fantastic. And right up there with my Delirium love if not a tiny bit above it. Oliver outdid herself with this one.

Vanishing Girls is about sisters Nicole and Dara. Although nothing alike, Dara is super popular with a ton of friends while Nick likes to keep to herself with her best friend Parker, the two girls have always been pretty much joined at the hip. Then there is an accident and their relationship is shattered. Nick wants things to go back to the way they were before but she can’t get Dara to talk to her. And when Dara goes missing along with a 9 year old little girl Nick is determined to figure out what happened and get her sister back no matter the cost.

It’s hard to say what I loved about Vanishing Girls so much. I honestly found the book to be pure genius. It took me by surprise but at the same time it was filled with everything I expect from a Lauren Oliver book. It was fantastic. Oliver 100% nailed it. The plot was there, the characters were there, and the writing was there. Everything just worked for me and gave me a story that stuck and hit me in just the right places. My heart ached for these sisters, this family, all of the people involved. Everything just hurt for them and much like Nick I wasn’t sure how to fix the hurt.

The other thing I really enjoyed was the way the story was told. Chapters were told from either Nick or Dara’s POV from the past or from the now. Some were told in diary format from Dara’s point of view and I think that really added to the story. It gave us some light into Dara’s head space before the accident and what kind of things she was keeping from people and what she was feeling. I think that added a lot to the story in the end. It gave an excellent point of reference for when everything is said and done and adds a small mystery to the story which I love in a good book.

I can’t say enough how much I loved Vanishing Girls and think everyone should read it. It kept me interested from the beginning to the end and I loved how everything unfolded and connected. Oliver outdid herself with this one. The plot was pretty epic and the whole story just worked for me. Pick this one up. I’m so happy I have.

otherbooks
beforedeliriumpandemonium
requiem
Panic_HC_JKT_des4.indd

reread5

Continue Reading

Blog Tour: The Orphan Queen – Jodi Meadows (GIVEAWAY)

orphan

Blog Tour: The Orphan Queen – Jodi Meadows (GIVEAWAY)The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
Series: The Orphan Queen #1
Published by Harper Teen
Published: March 10th 2015
Buy on Amazon
Add to Goodreads
four-half-stars

Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.

Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.

Fantasy books are a new addition to my reading repertoire. It was never something I thought I would be interested in. I mean I dabbled and enjoyed some and hated others, but the fantasy book reading never clicked. That is until I read the right book and then the next right book and then the next right book. Basically, I became a fantasy reading fangirl looking for the next perfect book. The Orphan Queen, fit right in. So freaking good guys!

The Orphan Queen is about Wilhelmina, a once princess that is now an orphan fighting for her kingdom which was taken from her by a king that is now her enemy. Devising a plan with the Ospreys, the group of people she has been with since the ‘One Night War’, Wil and her best friend, Melanie, go undercover as spies in the palace to gather information to aid in Wil getting her kingdom back. But between Melanie’s strange behavior, the leader of the Ospreys acting sketchy, and the continuing appearance of Black Knife, Wil’s fight gets harder and harder to decide what exactly she is fighting for and why.

I don’t want to lie, I struggled, in the beginning, reading this one. Fantasy books are newish to me so it sometimes takes a while for me to get into them. I’m used to contemporaries that get right into the story or dystopians that start with the action. I’ve come to learn that fantasy books are about the set up in the beginning. It is about getting you to the point that you can’t put the book down and you don’t want to. I had this trouble with Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta and I started to feel sad that The Orphan Queen was going to be like that for me. And then I hit a part of the story and I was SUCKED IN, INVESTED, NEEDED TO KNOW. What was once Finnikin of the Rock now became Finnikin meets Spider-Man and I never wanted the story to end. Jodi Meadows sucked me in with her tale and her characters and I was done for.

Wilhelmina was awesome. I mean she was royalty yet she was also a hardcore fighter. She had no fear which made her an amazing ally and a scary opponent. And with Black Knife (more on him later) by her side, almost impossible to beat. Even having been through everything she had been through she was fighting for her people and being a leader to a kingdom that was under the rule of an imposter. But she was also a teenage girl. She was still trying to figure out who and what she was. She was trying to come to terms with her magic (which was outlawed) and her undeniable attraction to Black Knife. At times she would seem so invincible but then you would see the insecurities and your heart would break. Like I said, Wilhelmina was awesome.

And Black Knife! What to say about sexy, mysterious Black Knife. He was actually hard to figure out in the beginning. He seemed like the bad guy, turning people in without reasoning, just because they used magic. But as you got to know him through his nights with Wil, you saw there was a complex guy under there. And can we talk about the attraction simmering between Wil and Black Knife? I’m still fanning myself. He is just everything! And finding out who he really is?? Oh yeah, that was fun too. 😉

For a book that started out slowish, I freaking loved it. Thinking back on it I now understand all the set up that leads to the second half of the book. The slow burn makes sense now and I can appreciate it for what it was. It set up a phenomenal story of war, fighting, love, and picking sides. It built a world that you as a reader want to see succeed and flourish. It made you feel for these characters. And it made you get to such a worked up level that you almost threw the book when you finished. (Side eyes Jodi Meadows). Pick up The Orphan Queen, and you will 100% know what I mean.

About Jodi Meadows

Jodi Meadows lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, with her husband, a Kippy*, and an alarming number of ferrets. She is a confessed book addict, and has wanted to be a writer ever since she decided against becoming an astronaut. She is the author of the INCARNATE Trilogy and the forthcoming ORPHAN QUEEN Duology (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen).

*A Kippy is a cat.

FIND IT: GOODREADS || AMAZON || BARNES & NOBLE || INDIEBOUND || BOOK DEPOSITORY

Along with my review for this tour I decided to dress Wilhelmina. Wil is a very complex character that fights for what she believes in. In the very first pages of the book you will see why I chose what I did for her to wear.

wil

Review/Fan Creations blog tour schedule

3/2 – Andi’s ABCs
3/3 – Hello, Chelly
3/4 – Book Emoji
3/5 – So Obsessed With
3/6 – Tune into Books
3/9 – Ticket to Anywhere
3/10 – Disquietus Reads
3/11 – A Backwards Story
3/12 – Writer of Wrongs
3/13 – Alexa Loves Books

giveaway

Harper Collins has graciously offering to giveaway a copy of The Orphan Queen to one of my lovely readers. This is for US mailing addresses only and will run from midnight on March 2, 2015 until March 8, 2015 at 11:59PM EST. Please fill out the rafflecopter entry below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*tour banner by Rachel at Hello, Chelly

Continue Reading
1 2 3 6