Posts Categorized: YA

Book Review – Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer

April 2, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2015, YA 0 Comments

Book Review – Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa MeyerCress by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3
Published by Feiwel & Friends on February 4th 2014
Pages: 560
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Fairy-Tales/Retellings, Sci-fi
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Also by this author: Cinder, Scarlet, Fairest

three-half-stars

The third book in Marissa Meyer’s New York Times/USA Today-bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, inspired by Rapunzel.

In this third book in Marissa Meyer's bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and prevent her army from invading Earth.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl trapped on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s being forced to work for Queen Levana, and she’s just received orders to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is splintered. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price than she’d ever expected. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai, especially the cyborg mechanic. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

The Lunar Chronicles series

Glitches (The Lunar Chronicles, #0.5)  {Online Free Read}
The Little Android (The Lunar Chronicles, #0.6) {Online Free Read}
Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer {PurchaseMy Review}
The Queen’s Army (The Lunar Chronicles #1.5) by Marissa Meyer {Online Free Read}
Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer {PurchaseMy Review}

Picking up where Scarlet left off, we return to Cinder, Captain Thorne, Scarlet, Wolf, and Iko all attempting to culminate a plan to stop Queen Levana before she marries Emperor Kai. Cress, imprisoned by Queen Levana on a satellite orbiting Earth, is an expert hacker and when she’s given orders to track down Cinder she does it with ease. Instead of turning this information over, she decides to help the group anyway she can. After a botched rescue attempt lands Cress and Thorne in the African desert and the rest of the group scattered, everyone has to survive long enough to find each other once again. The clock is quickly ticking down to the wedding that will give Queen Levana control of the universe unless Cinder can successfully stop her.

Scarlet shared page-time between Cinder and Scarlet’s storylines but with Cress we have even more storylines to follow not only with the addition of Cress as a character but because the group has been scattered. I really, really loved Cress’ storyline and how much it delved into her backstory and everything about her family and how she got to where she is was wonderfully done. There were some rather slow moments when Cress and Throne were plodding through the African desert that was a bit hard to get through but it helped us learn more about Cress and even a little it more about Thorne that really helped you to appreciate their characters even more. Scarlet wasn’t present as much as I would have liked but Meyer pushed her to the limit putting her on a nail-biting path that I believe will lead to her having a major role in the final installment, Winter.

This series continues to impress. I love the intricacies of the political system and the details of the ongoing strife, the evolution of the plague that lurks dangerously in the background and the fact that while these manage to be authentic and impressive you can still identify the well-known fairy tales these are built around. This penultimate installment will leave you waiting with bated breath for Winter, Meyer’s twist on the story of Snow White, the conclusion to this thrilling series.

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Early Review – 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

March 28, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015, YA 1 Comment

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

Early Review – 99 Days by Katie Cotugno99 Days by Katie Cotugno
Published by Balzer + Bray on April 21st 2015
Pages: 384
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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Also by this author: How to Love

three-stars

Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything—how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done.

Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”

Day 12: Gabe got me to come to this party, and I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.

‘Patrick was my person, my other half. I never felt stuck or cut off or like there was other stuff I’d rather be doing, never felt like there was anyplace else I’d rather be.
At least, not until the moment it did.’

Molly Barlow has only 99 days before she can leave for college and those days can’t go by fast enough for her. Molly and Patrick were childhood friends turned first loves when they drifted apart just long enough for her to fall into the arms of Gabe, Patrick’s brother. This subsequently caused Julia, their sister and Molly’s best friend, to end their friendship completely. She also seems to be intent on making those 99 days some of the worst for her.

‘It’ll make a great story someday. She said that, she told me what was going to happen, so really there’s no earthly reason to still be so baffled after all this time that I told her the worst, most secret, most important thing in my life – and she wrote a best-selling book about it.’

The truth behind the indiscretion between Molly and Gabe had managed to stay hidden until her mother, an author, decided to take the story her daughter confided in her and use it as the inspiration for her new novel. But that’s all in the past, however, no one seems to have forgotten it in the year she’s been gone. The only one that actually seems happy to see her again is Gabe and slowly but surely she develops a relationship with the other brother. But forgetting about what her and Patrick once shared doesn’t seem to be as simple as she’d like.

This story was a complete train wreck to watch unfold. It’s one of those that you can’t in all honesty say you ‘enjoyed’ but the story still possessed a strong emotional resonance. And while Molly’s actions may not have been right, the brothers were just as much at fault yet it was Molly that took the full brunt of the blame and ostracizing. As a reader we have to watch Molly continue to recreate past wrongs, all the while knowing that not a single bit of good is going to come of it all. But as far as love triangles go, it was quite possibly one of the most realistic I’ve ever read. Forgetting your first love is never easy and becoming involved in their lives again can lead to some sticky situations. Even with Molly developing feelings for Gabe, seeing Patrick together with another girl caused a multitude of confusing emotions that she struggled to understand. Faced with a situation like that, her actions are almost understandable, but it still made it no less difficult a read.

Katie Cotugno continues to impress with her stories that push the envelope and while How to Love is still my favorite, there’s no denying that 99 Days is a smart, complex tale about emotions and the havoc they can wreak.

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Early Review – The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

March 13, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015, YA 5 Comments

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

Early Review – The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren SumaThe Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
Published by Algonquin Young Readers on March 24th 2015
Pages: 336
Genres: Ghosties, Magical Realism
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Also by this author: Imaginary Girls

four-half-stars

“Ori’s dead because of what happened out behind the theater, in the tunnel made out of trees. She’s dead because she got sent to that place upstate, locked up with those monsters. And she got sent there because of me.”

The Walls Around Us is a ghostly story of suspense told in two voices--one still living and one long dead. On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement. On the inside, within the walls of a girls’ juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom. Tying these two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries.

We hear Amber’s story and Violet’s, and through them Orianna’s, first from one angle, then from another, until gradually we begin to get the whole picture--which is not necessarily the one that either Amber or Violet wants us to see.

Nova Ren Suma tells a supernatural tale of guilt and innocence, and what happens when one is mistaken for the other.

‘She was coming. She was the next thing to come, after the locks. Once she was here, everything would go wrong. Of that I felt certain.’

Amber is an inmate at Aurora Hills Secure Juvenile Detention Center who hasn’t seen freedom since the age of thirteen when she was arrested for murder. One night, much like all the rest, something changed though and all the doors of the prison were open and the girls that resided there briefly tasted a freedom that they never thought they’d witness again. Violet is a successful ballet dancer headed to New York City to attend Juilliard. Her story involves her best friend Ori and how after one life altering afternoon, Ori was taken away to Aurora Hills Secure Juvenile Detention Center. Violet, Amber, and Ori are all linked together, intricately, with isolated secrets just waiting to be revealed.

The Walls Around Us is told in alternating points of view by two unreliable narrators: Amber and Violet. Amber is a convicted murderer yet her story of how she got to where she convinces us to see past straight black and white and to the gray that exists in-between. The amount of time she’s spent behind bars has caused her to lose her individuality, taking comfort in seeing herself as a piece of the consolidated unit of girls that share her fate. Violet is a pretentious prima donna; the narcissistic rich girl. Rather than feeling upset over the loss of her best friend three years past she only sees her flawed history with Ori as something that may pose as a deterrent on the road to her pristine future. The voices are vastly different and easy to keep separate, however, the stories of both girls seem they couldn’t possibly fit together. Keeping the facts straight as well as the intersecting timelines that occur can be trying, but the payoff is incredible. This is only my second Nova Ren Suma story and I must say that her stories are something remarkable. She writes characters with such conviction that you quickly lose yourself in classifications of ‘fiction’.

What was most incredible about this book was the realistic view of juvenile delinquency and the discrepancies in the criminal justice system. The harsh reality of discrimination was never more evident when one suspect is immediately excused of guilt while the multi-racial friend is immediately accused without much question. While it would be easy to remain focused on the horrible situation of the innocent victim, I found myself focused on the atrocious sort of person that could stand back and watch a friend be accused of a crime they weren’t responsible for. It should come as no surprise that a story as haunting as this could credibly pull off shades of the supernatural as well. The line between fantasy and reality is muddied turning this story of juvenile delinquency into an eerie story of guilt and innocence. Beautifully written, completely enthralling… I can’t seem to find the words to do this one justice. It’s definitely a must-read.

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Early Review – Burning Kingdoms (The Internment Chronicles #2) by Lauren DeStefano

March 7, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015, YA 1 Comment

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

Early Review – Burning Kingdoms (The Internment Chronicles #2) by Lauren DeStefanoBurning Kingdoms by Lauren DeStefano
Series: The Internment Chronicles #2
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on March 10th 2015
Pages: 320
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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Also by this author: Wither, Perfect Ruin, The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart

two-stars

Danger descends in the second book of The Internment Chronicles, from the New York Timesbestselling author of The Chemical Garden trilogy.

After escaping Internment, Morgan and her fellow fugitives land on the ground to finally learn about the world beneath their floating island home.

The ground is a strange place where water falls from the sky as snow, and people watch moving pictures and visit speakeasies. A place where families can have as many children as they want, their dead are buried in vast gardens of bodies, and Internment is the feature of an amusement park.

It is also a land at war.

Everyone who fled Internment had their own reasons to escape their corrupt haven, but now they’re caught under the watchful eye of another king who wants to dominate his world. They may have made it to the ground, but have they dragged Internment with them?

The Internment Chronicles series

Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles #1) by Lauren DeStefano {My ReviewPurchase}
No Intention of Dying (Novella) (The Internment Chronicles #1.5) by Lauren DeStefano {Purchase}

Returning to the story of Morgan Stockhour, a resident of Internment, who has now crash landed on Earth with no feasible way of returning home. With her is her betrothed, Basil, her best friend, Pen, her brother, his wife and Celeste, the princess of Internment who was a stowaway. Shortly upon their arrival, the group learns that Earth isn’t necessarily the safe haven they had hoped for and is actually in the middle of a war that unknowingly involves Internment.

In this middle installment, we’re given a brand new environment to understand but rationalizing won’t come easy. Here on Earth, Kings rule even though it seems like the setting is sometime in the 1920s. There are speakeasies and silent movies but then out of nowhere, a mermaid is spotted. The world building is focused on much more in this installment but with all the descriptions given it’s still not fully explained.

The characters themselves and their various backgrounds are delved into more in this installment. Morgan still acts as narrator, but considering there isn’t much of a plot going on, for the most part, her narration managed to drag this story down even more. Regarding the lack of plot, the characters spend a lot of time sitting around waiting for something to happen. Inevitably, drama gets stirred up, a love triangle develops and friendships are tested. This could have all been an interesting addition to this dystopian tale, however, that would require you to have been invested in these characters from the very beginning of this trilogy and I, unfortunately, was not.

Burning Kingdoms is the second installment in The Internment Chronicles and it definitely suffers from a slower pace and lack of plot. For me, it’s been frustrating with how unsatisfying I’ve found it considering the potential behind the interesting concept. The final story may provide some satisfaction but I think I’ll be calling it quits.

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Book Review – The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

March 5, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2015, YA 4 Comments

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

Book Review – The Cure for Dreaming by Cat WintersThe Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters
Published by Harry N. Abrams on October 14th 2014
Pages: 368
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Also by this author: In the Shadow of Blackbirds, The Uninvited: A Novel, The Steep & Thorny Way

three-stars

Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl-a suffragist-in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It's 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia's father, concerned that she's headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she's able to see people's true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she's drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women. Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story, including archival photos and art from the period throughout.

‘You will see the world the way it truly is. The roles of men and women will be clearer than they have ever been before. You will know whom to avoid.’

The Cure for Dreaming is set during the early 1900’s in Oregon where the fight women’s suffrage is really starting to gather steam. It won’t be until August 26th, 1920 when the 19th amendment to the Constitution becomes ratified but even at this point, women are determined to speak their mind. Olivia Mead is a modern girl with hopes and dreams of one day being able to wear pantaloons in public, of going to college and getting a job and of one day being able to vote for President. Her mother had these same hopes and left her with her father when she was just four years old to follow her dreams. Not wanting to be accused of being just like her mother, Olivia has kept her thoughts and feelings to herself, for the most part. When her father determines it’s his duty to cure her of her dreaming, he hires a hypnotist, Henri Reverie, to remove any thoughts or feelings that would be considered inappropriate for a lady to possess. Instead of doing what was intended, the hypnotist opens her mind to see the world exactly how it is, showing her the true monsters around us.

“She’s only a bird in a gilded cage…”

What I loved most about Cat Winters debut novel In the Shadow of Blackbirds was the interesting fusion of historical and supernatural elements. She uses this same technique in The Cure for Dreaming, however, it didn’t seem as fitting in this situation. After being hypnotized, Olivia is able to see the true ugliness of people. The mean-spirited and nastiness within causes them to be reflected in her eyes as legit monsters with fangs and claws. Often compared to the descriptions of her favorite book Dracula, suddenly she’s seeing these monsters in real life. The constant references to Dracula made it all seem like a strange coincidence and made it seem as if it was just a product of an overactive imagination. In addition to the monsters, she also begins to witness women throughout town literally fading into existence yet there are other women, those who are in support of the women’s suffrage movement, who shine brightly with their determination to have their voices be heard. I loved the message, but the supernatural elements made the evil villains feel like a caricature and essentially lessened the true strength of it for me.

What this atmospheric story does do extraordinary well is bring the 1900’s to life with a wonderful amount of detail. Cat Winters also incorporated various black and white photographs from the period with fantastic quotes as she did in her previous novel, which I loved. What I also loved, which was a surprise to me, was the romantic element. It was crafted slowly, there was a distinct lack of insta-love and didn’t get overly focused on at all. It was incredibly sweet and touching and I loved that it was all a part of her journey of self-discovery rather than a deterrent. I may not have loved this one as much as her debut, but there’s still something incredibly intriguing about the stories that Winters decides to tell and the way in which she brings them to life.

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Book Review – Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles #1) by Lauren DeStefano

February 28, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2015, YA 1 Comment

Book Review – Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles #1) by Lauren DeStefanoPerfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano
Series: The Internment Chronicles #1
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on October 1st 2013
Pages: 356
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
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Also by this author: Wither, Burning Kingdoms, The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart

two-stars

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Chemical Garden trilogy: On the floating city of Internment, you can be anything you dream. Unless you approach the edge. Children’s Literature says “shades of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s 1984 inspire DeStefano’s sci-fi/murder mystery page-turner.”

Morgan Stockhour knows getting too close to the edge of Internment, the floating city and her home, can lead to madness. Even though her older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. There’s too much for her on Internment: her parents, best friend Pen, and her betrothed, Basil. Her life is ordinary and safe, even if she sometimes does wonder about the ground and why it’s forbidden.

Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially once she meets Judas. Betrothed to the victim, Judas is being blamed for the murder, but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart of Internment, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find—or whom she will lose.

Morgan Stockhour is a resident of Interment, an island that has been separated from Earth and now floats above it in the sky. Internment possesses the ideal conditions of a Utopian society until the shocking murder of a young girl leaves everyone feeling unsafe.

‘You have all heard the warnings about the edge. We have been told its winds are a song that will hypnotize us, and by the time we awaken from the trance, it will be too late.’

The warnings to not peer over the edge, to look down on Earth’s people, have been drilled into all residents since before anyone can remember. Those that chance this danger are known as Jumpers and Morgan’s brother Lex is counted among the few to have survived, except he is now blind. Here lies my first issue. We end up meeting another of these ‘Jumpers’, a young girl, yet she ends up with a mind that isn’t “quite right” (something sounding a lot like epilepsy). No reasoning behind the differences in their injuries is given. But you’d think an island floating in the sky would have severe winds especially near the edge and you wouldn’t be able to be anywhere close to it.

The world-building is spent mostly on the culture of these people, rather than explaining the actual reasoning behind why an island just randomly detached from Earth and floated to a still livable position in the sky and not straight out into space. But basically, the way the society works is there’s the evil group of leaders, a King and Queen, that seek to control all aspects of the resident’s lives including arranged marriages from birth. And then it goes off on a typical tangent with the evil plot being discovered and the subsequent plan to escape/overthrow those evil doers. It was hard to get a feel for the time period this is set in. The society seemed technologically advanced yet had the feel of a medieval type era with its arranged marriages and King/Queen rulers. But you would think it’d have to be set in a distant past since one would expect the people on Earth to fly up and make contact with the ‘island people’, no?

The slow, meandering pace of the introduction was an interesting first look into this strange society and could have worked were it not for the continued slow, meandering pace even after the murder mystery aspect was introduced. Even during moments when you would expect a certain level of excitement or tension were made inexplicably dull. Unfortunately, what could have been an interesting dystopian tale turned very predictable and far from original.

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Early Review – All the Rage by Courtney Summers

February 27, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015, YA 3 Comments

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

Early Review – All the Rage by Courtney SummersAll the Rage by Courtney Summers
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on April 14th 2015
Pages: 336
Genres: Mystery, Realistic YA Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: This is Not a Test, Sadie

four-stars

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now—but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear,

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, Courtney Summers' new novel All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women in a culture that refuses to protect them.

‘…they’d think of me the way they think of me now, think of it as some kind of natural conclusion to my story, sad, maybe, deserved it, well no, of course no one does, but. That girl. You can see it. It’s written on her.’

Romy Grey lives on the “wrong side” of a small town where everybody knows everybody. She’s the girl that no one trusts, the type of girl that everybody expects to be nothing but trouble. When she’s raped at a party and accuses the sheriff’s son of the attack, she quickly loses her best friend and becomes the focus of harassment from every person in her town. Romy lives as inconspicuous as she can from that day on but when a local girl goes missing in addition to news of an attack similar to Romy’s, she realizes she can’t keep quiet anymore.

I devoured this book in a single day. I couldn’t tear my eyes away even if I wanted to. This book, guys, encompasses everything that is wrong with this society. Where a woman can accuse a man of abuse and not for a second will they believe her, simply because the man has always been considered an upstanding member of the community. Because naturally, the facade we put on for the public is completely our true selves and can immediately absolve someone of any accusations. This was a terrifyingly realistic account of the aftermath of rape, of small town mentality, the immediate stereotypes that get doled out and how truly horrid people can be to one another.

‘I rest my middle finger across my lips; red on red, the most subtle way I can tell him to fuck himself because I’m not stupid enough to say it out loud in a world that’s his fan club.’

The writing was course and raw but had a finesse to it that completely encapsulated the expected horror of the situation. The story did get a little jumbled when it switches between “Now” and “Two Weeks Before” and it was difficult at first to re-sort the sequence of events in your mind but once you realize what transpired you’ll want to go back to the beginning with a fresh, knowledgeable look at it all. Summers is unflinching in her determination to accurately represent all that’s wrong with rape culture and subsequent victim blaming and while it was a painful story to read, it’s one incapable of being forgotten.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson {Purchase}
Dare Me by Megan Abbott {Purchase}

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Release Day Feature – The Third Twin by C.J. Omololu

February 24, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015, YA 0 Comments

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

Release Day Feature – The Third Twin by C.J. OmololuThe Third Twin by C.J. Omololu
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on February 24th 2015
Pages: 336
Genres: Mystery
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads


three-stars

Identical twins. Identical DNA. Identical suspects. It’s Pretty Little Liars meets Revenge in this edge-of-your-seat thriller with a shocking twist.

When they were little, Lexi and her identical twin, Ava, made up a third sister, Alicia. If something broke? Alicia did it. Cookies got eaten? Alicia’s guilty. Alicia was always to blame for everything.

The game is all grown up now that the girls are seniors. They use Alicia as their cover to go out with boys who are hot but not exactly dating material. Boys they’d never, ever be with in real life.

Now one of the guys Alicia went out with has turned up dead, and Lexi wants to stop the game for good. As coincidences start piling up, Ava insists that if they follow the rules for being Alicia, everything will be fine. But when another boy is killed, the DNA evidence and surveillance photos point to only one suspect—Alicia. The girl who doesn’t exist.

As she runs from the cops, Lexi has to find the truth before another boy is murdered. Because either Ava is a killer . . . or Alicia is real.

‘In my mind it’s almost like there was actually a third twin with us. Even when we were kids, Alicia was fun and daring and not afraid to get into trouble now and ask for forgiveness later. “Even though she was imaginary, Alicia seemed to real then.”‘

Lexi and Ava are twin sisters and when they were younger, they both had an imaginary sister named Alicia. Problem is, they’re all grown up and still pretend like Alicia exists but they’ve just changed the rules a bit. Now the girls alternate being Alicia and they dress up and wear makeup far more scandalous than they would normally to go out on dates with boys they wouldn’t normally. It was all fun and games until one of “Alicia’s” dates turns up dead.

The Third Twin is told from the point of view of Lexi who begins to suspect her sister Ava as the mystery continues and more people keep turning up dead. The coincidences become too much and Ava quickly becomes a stranger to her. But could her twin sister, the person she is closer than anyone else in the world, truly be capable of murder? The focus on the mystery took up the majority of the novel with the character development being pushed to the back burner. Lexi and Ava were both of the snobbish, self-absorbed variety and didn’t manage to garner much interest in me especially when some of the things they would do were just so illogical. With that said, the possibilities of the mystery were what kept the pages turning for me. But mysteries rarely surprise me anymore. It’s usually one or the other: either the outcome is evident from early on or the resolution comes out of left field. Neither one is satisfying, but I would much rather be kept guessing and The Third Twin certainly did that.

The mystery surrounding Alicia became stretched at the seams and took a while to actually get anywhere while the same pattern kept repeating itself regarding more people turning up dead with ‘Alicia’ being the only culprit. While I didn’t predict the ending, once revealed it did seem like the only reasonable possibility and I really should have seen it coming. All in all, even if the ending wasn’t one you would normally see in reality, this was still a pleasurable thrill of a mystery that YA mystery fans will no doubt enjoy.

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield {PurchaseMy Review}
Fury by Shirley Marr {PurchaseMy Review}
Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas {PurchaseMy Review}

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Book Review – A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

February 13, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2015, YA 3 Comments

Book Review – A Little Something Different by Sandy HallA Little Something Different by Sandy Hall
Published by Swoon Reads on August 26th 2014
Pages: 272
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
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three-stars

Swoon Reads proudly presents its first novel—an irresistible and original romance between two college students told from 14 different viewpoints.

The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together.

Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and it seems like they are never going to work things out.

But something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. You’ll be rooting for Gabe and Lea too, in this irresistibly quirky, completely original novel, chosen by readers, writers, and publishers to be the debut title for the new Swoon Reads imprint!

Gabe and Lea are the only ones that don’t see that they belong together. A Little Something Different is interestingly told from fourteen different points of view of everyone around them, including a squirrel and a bench. Yes, you read that right. Gabe is terribly shy despite the fact that he does in fact like Lea and Lea, try as she might, she can’t seem to get through to him. Does he just not like her? Does he have a girlfriend? Is he gay? Oh, the mental drama we subject ourselves to when trying to determine if a crush likes us back.

A unique aspect of this book is the style of writing. While it wasn’t my favorite at first and the quirky few (namely the squirrel and bench) did seem rather odd, it definitely grew on me. I don’t know about you, but I’m a total people watcher, and it was pretty adorable how so many people took an interest in Gabe and Lea and their seemingly inevitable relationship. Even Victor, the moody kid in their Creative Writing class, couldn’t resist taking an interest in their shenanigans:

“…you two assholes are the most annoyingly cute thing I’ve ever seen. I’m annoyed at myself for even using the word ‘cute’. I feel sick to my stomach over using that word.”

If you were wondering, I’m a total Victor.

So while it was all cute and fluffy fun, there were some downsides that I can’t help but mention. I did wish that Gabe and Lea’s points of view were also included in the mix because while we do get a feel for their thoughts via their friends, it would have been better to have it firsthand. Another thing is I honestly couldn’t see why everyone thought Lea and Gabe were perfect for each other, especially with all the one-sided conversations Lea had with him where he literally said nothing. This happened for MONTHS. There’s shy (and yes, I get it that he was dealing with other issues as well) but after a point, I wondered why Lea seriously even bothered. Their interactions with one another gave the story a very adolescent feel and when suddenly they’re at a party getting drunk it kind of threw me for a bit. And then there was the unnecessary lady-bashing when everyone thought Gabe liked this other girl in their Creative Writing class:

“There really is no point,” Lea says. “Even if he does like girls, he’s totally into this girl Hillary in creative writing.”
“Sounds like Hillary is a skank queen of Cockblock-ville.”

But despite Victor and I’s shared moodiness, I still found myself charmed by this simple and sweet tale. It’s definitely one to save for when you’re in need of some serious fluff.

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Review + Giveaway! The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

February 5, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Giveaways, Read in 2014, YA 10 Comments

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

Review + Giveaway! The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia HandThe Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
Published by HarperTeen on February 10th 2015
Pages: 400
Genres: Realistic YA Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
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Also by this author: Unearthly, Hallowed, Boundless

four-stars

There's death all around us.
We just don't pay attention.
Until we do.

The last time Lex was happy, it was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn't look at her like she might break down at any moment.

Now she's just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that's all she'll ever be.

As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died. But there's a secret she hasn't told anyone-a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything.

Lex's brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn't have to be real to keep you from moving on.

From New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand, The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a gorgeous and heart-wrenching story of love, loss, and letting go.

‘Time passes. That’s the rule. No matter what happens, no matter how much it might feel like everything in your life has frozen around one particular moment, time marches on.’

Lexie is an unexceptionally smart student with big dreams of going to MIT. She has a boyfriend who loves her and a group of friends she can depend on. But that was life seven weeks ago. Now? Her grades are slipping, she’s broke up with her boyfriend and she won’t talk to any of her friends. Seven weeks ago her brother killed himself. But now she’s starting to his ghost. A series of journal entries reveal the facts behind Lexie’s grief (and guilt) and the heartbreak begins anew when we are exposed to the truth of her pain.

‘I didn’t know to savor that moment on the dance floor, to understand how beautiful and rare it was, how fragile, how ephemeral, when Ty was happy. When we were all happy, and we were together, and we were safe.
I didn’t know.
I didn’t know.’

Grief comes in many forms as we all handle it in different ways. Lexie’s path of grief led her to shut everyone out and while this storyline has certainly been done before, it still managed to resonate honestly and leave a strong impression. These days, death and grief have become most common in YA novels and while it can certainly come off as a morbid fascination, the existence of these types of novels can be vital for those who don’t quite know how to handle their grief. It can serve as proof to those who have also experienced grief that they are far from alone and that there are people that can help. It’s a sad fact of life that we must all learn how to cope, heal and continue living. The Last Time We Said Goodbye is more of a cautionary tale seeing as the story is told from the surviving sister and inevitably shows the repercussions of suicide and the effects of grief but manages to still leave the reader with a facet of hope to cling to. While this is a work of fiction, the author states that she had a younger brother that killed himself which only made this all the more poignant and truly from the heart.

The Last Time We Said Goodbye is a raw and brutally honest depiction of the various sides of grief. It’s an insightful and admirable story about acceptance and forgiveness that will no doubt leave you heartsick but is an incredibly worthy read.

I was fortunate enough to receive an early copy of this book from Harper Teen and now want to share this book with one of you! To be entered to win, please use the Rafflecopter widget below.

This is open to U.S. residents only! Sorry international followers.
Giveaway ends February 19th, 2015

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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