Review Rewind: Parallel – Lauren Miller

In a little under 4 weeks one of my favorite authors, Lauren Miller, has a new book coming out. It’s been over 3 years since she released a new book and I have been excited for it ever since (spoiler alert: It was AMAZING). Since it has been a long time since we had a fantastic Miller book to gush about I’m taking the opportunity to share some fun Lauren Miller posts about her first two books, which I LOVED, Parallel and Free to Fall.

These next three days I am devouting to Parallel and July 26, 27 and 28 will be devouted to Free to Fall. There will also be giveaways at the end of each week for each of the books. Make sure you stop by and see why I love these books so much and hear from some other readers as well.

Sometimes you just love a book so much you feel the need to repost the review and that is what is happening here. I first read Parallel in March of 2013 and it was originally reviewed on my blog on May 2013. Since then I have read the book 2 more times and I’m still in love with it. These are my original thoughts on the book and truth…the all hold strong.

In my recent read I did discover a quote that I think describes the book perfectly:

Your path will change. Your destiny doesn’t.

Now, here’s my review.

Review Rewind: Parallel – Lauren MillerParallel by Lauren Miller
Published by HarperTeen
Published: May 14th 2013
Buy on Amazon
Add to Goodreads
five-stars

Your plan changes. Your destiny doesn't.

Abby Barnes had a plan. The Plan. She'd go to Northwestern, major in journalism, and land a job at a national newspaper, all before she turned twenty-two. But one tiny choice—taking a drama class her senior year of high school—changed all that. Now, on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Abby is stuck on a Hollywood movie set, miles from where she wants to be, wishing she could rewind her life. The next morning, she's in a dorm room at Yale, with no memory of how she got there. Overnight, it's as if her past has been rewritten.

With the help of Caitlin, her science-savvy BFF, Abby discovers that this new reality is the result of a cosmic collision of parallel universes that has Abby living an alternate version of her life. And not only that: Abby's life changes every time her parallel self makes a new choice. Meanwhile, her parallel is living out Abby's senior year of high school and falling for someone Abby's never even met.

As she struggles to navigate her ever-shifting existence, Abby must let go of the Plan and learn to focus on the present, without losing sight of who she is, the boy who might just be her soul mate, and the destiny that's finally within reach.


I kept hearing how amazing this book was so when a friend got an advanced copy and sent it to me I was siked! Jumping in I didn’t really know what to expect. Was it paranormal? Was it a contemporary? Would it be too much science and universe talk? The more I read the more I realized that it didn’t matter what category it fell into. It didn’t matter if there was science talk and if the concept seemed out there on the surface. All that mattered was how fantastic this book was and how it got me thinking. You see I have always been a fan of what I call ‘The Sliding Doors Effect'(after the movie which this book reminded me of) where one small choice/decision/incident can completely alter the life you live. That by taking a taxi two feet instead of walking in the rain can change how things play out. One small thing that you don’t even realize has happened can make a huge effect on everything, and Miller played that effect to perfection, hitting on everything I have ever thought about it. My thoughts are going to be hard to get down on paper as I don’t want to give anything away in regards to the story, but I will try.

Parallel is the story of Abby, a girl with a plan. She has known exactly what she was supposed to do her whole life. She was going to be a journalist after graduating from Northwestern and get a job at a huge newspaper. It was her plan, her calling, her goal. And then drama class happened and suddenly Abby was living in LA filming a movie and missing out on everything she dreamed. Resigned to her new life, but not necessarily happy about it, Abby celebrates the eve of her 18th birthday with her cast mates, but the next morning she wakes up in a Yale dorm with a completely different life like her past had been rewritten and she doesn’t remember anything. Stuck in this new life with memories of her old life, Abby has to navigate the constant changes and surprises and learn that sometimes life gets in the way of plans.

Did I mention that this book was fantastic? I mean really really really fantastic. Miller wrote this book in a pretty genius way that kept the story fresh and interesting. Knowing the background of Abby’s life and seeing the small changes that lead to her parallel life and everything different about it was done amazingly well. As you got further into the book and Abby started to remember more of her “life” it was easier as a reader to see the moment that changed things and created the situations Abby found herself it. With every turn of the page I felt like I was reading a new kind of book and I liked that.

I found Abby to be such a likable character as was her friend Caitlin. Watching them both navigate through the confusion that was Abby’s life was truly a joy given the fact that Abby had no idea what was going to happen to her on any given day. And watching as Josh, who I totally swooned over, was folded into the story was awesome. For a character that played such a minor role in the book, he was huge to the story, but in a way that you don’t really understand until you are a good chunk into the book. His presence and lack of, is one of the most important parts of the story and I loved how Miller dealt with that. It wasn’t in your face but on the surface and it worked for this story.

Honestly I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed this debut novel by Lauren Miller. It touched on everything I love about a good story and kept you thinking the whole time. So much can change the outcome of your life but lead you right where you belong even if it is the last place you expect. Just because that butterfly flaps its wings in New York doesn’t mean the rain will never stop in China. You just might have to take the long way to get there. I can say without a doubt Lauren Miller has just become one of those authors that “if she writes it, I’m buying it”. Thanks Ms. Miller for awesomeness

Side note:
I’m not a usual book trailer kind of girl. But I watched the official trailer for Parallel and it is awesome! Just thought I would share it with all of you too.

 

Continue Reading

Mini Reviews #6 – Mini Mini Reviews

Mini Reviews #6 – Mini Mini ReviewsThe Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren
Published by Harry N. Abrams
Published: April 4th 2017
Buy on Amazon
Add to Goodreads
two-half-stars

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 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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mini Reviews #6 – Mini Mini ReviewsBy Your Side by Kasie West
Published by Harper Teen
Published: January 31st 2017
Buy on Amazon
Add to Goodreads
two-stars

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 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.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mini Reviews #6 – Mini Mini ReviewsThe One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
Published by Penguin Teen
Published: May 2nd 2017
Buy on Amazon
Add to Goodreads
three-stars

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 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.

 

 

Continue Reading

Review: The Black Key – Amy Ewing

Review: The Black Key – Amy EwingThe Black Key by Amy Ewing
Series: The Lone City #3
Published by HarperTeen
Published: October 4th 2016
Buy on Amazon
Add to Goodreads
four-stars

For too long, Violet and the people of the outer circles of the Lone City have lived in service to the royalty of the Jewel. But now the secret society known as the Black Key is preparing to seize power.

And while Violet knows she is at the center of this rebellion, she has a more personal stake in it—her sister, Hazel, has been taken by the Duchess of the Lake. Now, after fighting so hard to escape the Jewel, Violet must do everything in her power to return to save not only Hazel, but the future of the Lone City.

I started on the journey of The Lone City (The Jewel, The White Rose, and The Black Key) in 2014 not really knowing what to expect. I had just gone on a binge read of The Selection series and I needed more book crack. To be honest I picked up The Jewel because of the cover. I’m not going to lie. It had a pretty dress and I just finished a series that had pretty dress covers. Thankfully it 100% worked because I fell in love with the story and the characters and the unexpected twists that lead to The White Rose and once again being sucked in. And luckily, The Black Key followed suite. I didn’t love it as much as books 1 and 2, but it really was a satisfying ending for a series I was very immersed in.

I can’t really say too much without giving away some of the plot twists of the other two books so this part is going to be very very vague. What I can tell you is that I loved the changes and the growth that happened for Violet. In the beginning she was so naïve about life and the world surrounding her. She was sheltered and unsure about everything. But by the end she was so strong and self-assured. She still made mistakes and didn’t always do what was the best thing, but she did do what she thought was the best at the time of the decision. She really grew up as the trilogy progressed and that was by far the best part of the series as a whole. I also loved how she was willing to be a leader. She took a ragtag group of people and made something out of them. It was very reminiscent of the final season on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and it really worked in this story.

The other thing I liked was the gender switch that took place a lot through this series. Instead of a woman acting as the role of “escort” it was actually the role of men to play that part, to be the (for lack of a better word) whore. That was actually refreshing. And it was refreshing to see Violet, the woman, be the one telling Ash, her companion, that he couldn’t do something so that he would be safe. That doesn’t happen a lot in books. Stereotypical gender roles are almost always followed so I love that Ewing went a different route.

Basically, I can’t believe this series is over. It has been 2 years that I have been wrapped up in this world that Amy Ewing created and now it is over. I’m half sad and half satisfied, but really I just want more Ash and Violet in my life. Okay and all the other fantastic characters, and Amy’s writing. I don’t think that is too much to ask. Pick up this series if you’re looking for something entertaining to read.

Reviews: The Jewel || The White Rose

Continue Reading

Blog Tour: The Black Key – Amy Ewing (Top 10 + Giveaway)

bk

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Amy Ewing’s final book in the The Lone City trilogy, The Black Key. I have been a fan of this series (and Amy) since the beginning so I am very happy to take part in this tour and share one of Amy’s top 10 lists.

I had given Amy 3 options to pick from and I must admit I’m happy she went with the one she did!

Amy’s Top 10 Favorite Fictional Boys!

Because fictional boys are the best.

bk110. Legolas from The Lord of the Rings. Yes, Aragorn is also sexy as hell, but I always loved Legolas. Maybe because he’s sensitive and can commune with nature. Maybe because of his badass bow and arrow skills and his amazing hair.

9. Tim Riggins from Friday Night Lights. He’s a classic bad boy with a heart of gold and the way he looks at Lyla Garrity makes me weak in the knees.

8. St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss. Not only is St. Clair funny and smart with a sexy accent, but he is shorter than Anna. As a tall girl, this made me so happy.

bk27. Bucky Barnes (the Winter Soldier). Is it wrong that I like totally tortured guys with a dark past?

6. Khalid from the Wrath and the Dawn. See explanation for #7…

5. Dr. Reid from Criminal Minds. First of all, yes, I admit it, I love Criminal Minds. Call it a weird guilty pleasure. And I find a super genius nerd with an eidetic memory and long crazy hair to be extremely sexy.

bk34. Edward Cullen from Twilight. I know there are a lot of haters out there, but Edward Cullen made me swoon and I’m standing by that.

3. Stefan Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries. I feel like I’m in the minority on this one, but I don’t care. Stefan Forever. Also he’s who I (physically) based Ash on.

2. Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games. Peeta is sweet and sensitive and could make me bagels in the morning. I never understood the attraction to Gale when there was Peeta. True story: being single in New York can be hard, so sometimes I take out my battered copy of The Hunger Games and just read the Peeta parts. Peeta makes everything better.

bk41. Jon Snow from Game of Thrones. I feel he requires no explanation. Just…Jon Snow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Blog Tour: The Black Key – Amy Ewing (Top 10 + Giveaway)The Black Key by Amy Ewing
Series: The Lone City #3
Published by HarperTeen
Published: October 4th 2016
Buy on Amazon
Add to Goodreads

For too long, Violet and the people of the outer circles of the Lone City have lived in service to the royalty of the Jewel. But now the secret society known as the Black Key is preparing to seize power.

And while Violet knows she is at the center of this rebellion, she has a more personal stake in it—her sister, Hazel, has been taken by the Duchess of the Lake. Now, after fighting so hard to escape the Jewel, Violet must do everything in her power to return to save not only Hazel, but the future of the Lone City.

Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksGoodreads

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

About Amy Ewing

Amy Ewing earned her MFA in Writing for Children at The New School and received her BFA at New York University. The Jewel started off as a thesis project and became her debut novel. She lives in New York City. You can visit Amy online at www.amyewingbooks.com or on Twitter @AmyEwingBooks.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tour Schedule

Week One:
9/26/2016- The Cover Contessa– Interview
9/27/2016- Once Upon a Twilight– Excerpt
9/28/2016- Take Me Away To A Great Read– Guest Post
9/29/2016- Andi’s ABCs– 10’s Post
9/30/2016- A Dream Within A Dream– Interview

Week Two:
10/3/2016- Lisa Loves Literature Excerpt
10/4/2016- Literary Meanderings– Guest Post
10/5/2016- Fantasy Book Critic– 10’s Post
10/6/2016- Two Chicks on Books– Interview
10/7/2016- Curling Up With A Good Book– Excerpt

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Giveaway Details:
1 winner will receive a signed finished copy of THE JEWEL & THE WHITE ROSE. US Only.

Save

Save
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other Books: The Jewel || The White Rose

Continue Reading

Review: The Crown – Kiera Cass

Review: The Crown – Kiera CassThe Crown by Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #5
Published by HarperTeen
Published: May 3rd 2016
Buy on Amazon
Add to Goodreads
three-stars

When Eadlyn became the first princess of Illéa to hold her own Selection, she didn’t think she would fall in love with any of her thirty-five suitors. She spent the first few weeks of the competition counting down the days until she could send them all home. But as events at the palace force Eadlyn even further into the spotlight, she realizes that she might not be content remaining alone.

Eadlyn still isn’t sure she’ll find the fairytale ending her parents did twenty years ago. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and soon Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more impossible—and more important—than she ever imagined.

I don’t really know how to review this one. I guess The Crown was bittersweet for me. I’m not quiet about the fact that I call The Selection series my book crack. The first three books basically destroyed me and my sanity and I loved them even when I hated them. I was addicted and still kind of am. Then came The Heir which added to the addiction a tad, but it wasn’t as strong as the first three. And finally came The Crown, the end of my addiction. I was excited to still be in the world with this characters and sad to let go at the same time. Sadly though I thought the last book of the series was the most disappointing and I’m now left wondering if I should have let it go at The One.

My problem with The Crown was I wasn’t as emotionally invested in Eadlyn and her suitors as I was in Maxon and America’s journey. I enjoyed her and some of her companions but that love and addiction wasn’t there and I think that just mad me sad in the end. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the book and finding out how it would all go down, but I just ended up liking it and not being over the moon in love. I did have any crazy emotional reactions to anything Eady did which just disappointed me.

All in all I did really love the series. Is it for everyone? Definitely not. But it is a reading experience I will never forget. I was captivated by these characters and the world. But I also know when enough is enough and it’s time to say goodbye to them and wish them well.

Continue Reading