Nose Graze

Review: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Life Next Door - Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Published by: Dial on June 14th 2012
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Source: Gifted
Buy the Book | Goodreads
My Rating: four-half-stars

 

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase’s family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

 

A dreamy summer read, full of characters who stay with you long after the story is over.

HUGE thanks to Michaniya for this book! I feel like My Life Next Door might have been doomed to an eternity on my wishlist if not for her!

 

The romance in this book was pretty damn close to perfect! It had a wonderful innocence to it. I’m not sure if “innocence” is quite the word I’m looking for, but it’s as close as I can get right now. It was just so sweet and had “first love” written all over it. It’s the kind of romance that makes you smile while reading and hope that it lasts forever.

And Jase.. oh, Jase. He is SUCH A SWEETHEART!! I adored his character so much. He’s just a nice guy. I freaking love nice guys! Bad boys have their place too, but in real life good guys are the ones for me so I love reading about them in books.

 

I think one of the things I love most about My Life Next Door is that Samantha and Jase never really have any big arguments. I hate it when a book has a great romance but then it’s riddled with some stupid, petty arguments just to “make things interesting” or introduce some conflict. That’s not the case in My Life Next Door. There is conflict in the book, but it’s not so much to do with the romance, and since the romance was so perfect and sweet, I was glad that it remained untouched from stupid annoying arguments!

 

And the ending! The ending (or at least the conflict that came before the ending) was both exhilarating and frustrating. I love that it got such a rise out of me. I was freaking out. I was sitting there reading and shouting crazy, insane, violent things to my boyfriend (like “OMG I want to skewer this bitch!!”).

 

I think I do wish there was a bit more closure at the very end though. I feel like things got wrapped up a little too vaguely. There were a couple of unanswered questions and it’s almost like the ending came a bit suddenly. I wasn’t ready for it!

 

But overall I think My Life Next Door was a great book! I loved the family dynamics and all the different characters. I even liked some of the ones I hated (Tim). My experience reading this book was very enjoyable and memorable; I totally recommend it! I know summer is basically over, but this is a perfect summer read!

 

The Verdict

lovedit

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Scorched

Scorched - Mari Mancusi Nose Graze — Young Adult book reviews4.5 StarsI LOVED Scorched! Most of all, I adored the story. That's what rocked this book. I mean, dragons? DRAGONS!! YES! DRAGONS! There were just so many elements that appealed to me. The dragons (duh), the idea of a "chosen one", the time travel, the apocalypse, the goal to save the world.. all of it! It's the recipe for an awesome fantasy book.Another thing I adored about Scorched was how the author wove fantasy and science fiction together. On the one hand, we have dragons and "The Nether" (a place where dead and unborn dragons live.. almost like a virtual reality world). That's fantasy. But we also have time travel and cool gadgets from the future. I thought the combination was really unique, and I loved reading a dragon book that actually takes place in present day (rather than in a pure medieval-ish fantasy world).There were only two things I didn't like about Scorched. First, I didn't like the "almost-romance". Trinity has "moments" with both Connor and Caleb. She never starts dating either of them, but she randomly kisses both of them (sometimes on more than one occasion). So they weren't dating, it wasn't truly a romance, but she had intense "moments" with both of them... and I didn't like it. I think because it just felt so out of sync with the story and completely unnecessary. Also, she kissed them both like hours after meeting them. At first I thought it was an annoying insta-love-y triangle, but neither relationship ever developed, so it turned out okay, but it still felt unnecessary and awkward.And on a similar note, I kept getting Connor and Caleb mixed up. I was okay with them at the beginning, but as the story went on their roles and behaviours blurred, and I forgot which one was which lol. I blame the fact that their personalities were so similar, they're twins, and they both have names that start with "C".Secondly, I wish there were more dragons! The first half of the book was before the egg even hatched, and then in the second half we only got bits and pieces of actual dragons. I absolutely LOVED the scenes with dragons, but that's why I wish there were more of them! I kind of wanted actual dragon riding, dragon wars, and things like that. But since the dragon only just hatches in Scorched, we don't really get any of that (we get stories about that, but it doesn't actually happen).But, I'm pretty sure that Scorched is a series (at least I hope so, based on that ending), and I'm really looking forward to reading the next book! I foresee epic dragon training sessions, dragon flying, dragon wars, and ALL THINGS DRAGONS! Bring it on, Mari, I'm so ready!The Verdict:

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Where the Stars Still Shine

Where the Stars Still Shine - Trish Doller Nose Graze — Young Adult book reviews2.5 StarsI feel like such a black sheep among my blogging friends. So many people I know LOVED Where the Stars Still Shine but I didn't. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it.I have a lot of issues with the book, but I think the biggest one is Callie and my lack of sympathy for her. We learn a lot about how Callie was sexually abused as a child and mostly ignored by her mother. Naturally, that has caused Callie to have a few problems of her own. But, when that happens in books, usually the author makes me sympathize with the character. That way, when the character acts weird/bitchy/annoying, I feel for her and I have thoughts like, "It's not her fault; she can't help it" etc. That way I don't hate the character for being weird or bitchy, instead I feel bad because I know that something awful caused her to be that way. This wasn't the case for me in Where the Stars Still Shine.I almost don't even know how to explain it properly... obviously we were given enough facts to realize that Callie was abused and her mother ignored her, but the author never really connected that to Callie's annoying and bitchy behaviour. So although I knew factually that her behaviour was likely a result of what happened to her, I never felt that emotionally because it wasn't reinforced in the story. All the pieces were there, but the author didn't really weave them together to create a "cause and effect" type thing.So Callie would run out and assume that all guys want sex and thus try to have sex with them to make them happy. Now logically, I should look at that behaviour and think, "Oh, poor Callie, she doesn't know any better because she was sexually abused and her mom acted like that, so it's learned behaviour." But I didn't feel that way. The author didn't help me feel that way. Instead, I rolled my eyes because Callie was being annoying and spreading her legs for anyone because "that's what guys want". Then, Callie would act like a total bitch to her friend/cousin, who is super nice to her. My brain is telling me I'm supposed to forgive Callie because she's never had any friends before and doesn't know how a friend is supposed to act, and maybe it's learned behaviour from her mom. But instead, I'm looking at Callie acting like a total bitch and I'm just hating her for it.And in general, I felt like Callie's problems with abuse went unresolved. She never really dealt with what happened to her or worked past it. She did end up telling two people about it, but I felt like they just had a quick chat and it was over. She never actually took time to work through her problems, and she certainly never told her dad about it (who I was hoping she would tell). Normally in books about abuse, the character goes through A LOT of "working through issues", might even go to therapy, and just spends a ton of time dealing with it. I don't feel like Callie did that.Also, I hated how Callie put up with her mom. Her mom was HORRIBLE. She took advantage of Callie, she stole from her, she put her in horrible positions, and gave her a pretty crap life. And yet Callie kept letting her in and kept giving her chances, and it kind of pissed me off. I wanted her to turn her mom over to the cops and be done with her.Then there was the romance... The whole reason I requested Where the Stars Still Shine was because I thought there was no romance in it, but instead, there IS a romance and it kind of dominates the book. There is nothing in the synopsis about romance. Normally, I love and ONLY want romance books. But, I was in the mood for a change of pace and requested Where the Stars Still Shine because I thought it had no romance and I was in the mood for a great family/friendship/finding yourself story. And while there were bits and pieces of that in it, I felt like the romance ended up taking over the whole book. I'm not sure if that was intentional, but the romance is what stood out to me the most. For me, that ended up working against the story because I didn't want romance in it. So that's kind of my fault for not wanting it at the time.Despite all my complaints, I didn't hate this book. There were a few things I enjoyed, like Callie's family (her father/stepmother/stepbrothers/extended family), Callie's friend/cousin Kat who was the nicest girl EVER, and the snorkeling scene. The whole town of Tarpon Springs and the Greek culture was presented wonderfully! I loved that aspect of the book. I felt like the whole idea of making Callie Greek was an excellent and unique touch. It definitely made the story more interesting!But my problems with Callie in particular just killed my enjoyment of the book. I kept reading about all my friends crying while reading Where the Stars Still Shine but I didn't shed a tear. I never even got sad. My biggest problem was that I didn't sympathize with Callie at all. I'm pretty confident that if I had been able to sympathize with her, I would have enjoyed the book a lot more.

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The Burning Sky

The Burning Sky - Nose Graze — Young Adult book reviewsI liked The Burning Sky but it didn't wow me like I hoped it would. Before starting it, I read tons of reviews that raved about this book. People compared it to Harry Potter and went on and on about how fabulous it was. Don't get me wrong, I don't think The Burning Sky was a bad book by any means, I just didn't love it.I did really like the magic elements of The Burning Sky. There are varying levels of elemental mages, which are categorized according to how many different elements they can control. Iolanthe is like "the chosen one". She has the potential to be a "great" elemental mage, control all the elements, and "save the world" (or kill the Bane). I really liked the aspect of controlling the elements, especially fire and lightning!I think my first problem with the book was the characters; I never loved any of them. I just lacked that connection with them. I don't think either of them were annoying, I just didn't get invested in their fates or relationships. And I think this problem got even worse when a small romance developed between Iolanthe and Titus. I didn't sense any chemistry between them and a few scenes were a bit weird... Like at one point, we learn that Titus customized his Crucible (kind of like a virtual reality) scenario so that Sleeping Beauty looked like Iolanthe. And he "programmed" her to say stuff like "I missed you! Kiss me again!" I just found it a bit weird and awkward how he had a little fantasy world with a fake Iolanthe in it who worshipped him. O_OI also felt a general lack of intensity throughout all of The Burning Sky. I never felt like things were heating up or getting intense. The book never made me feel excitement, nervousness, or anticipation. Although parts of the plot were interesting, they just weren't delivered in a very exciting or suspenseful way.The Burning Sky was also loaded with paradoxes. Titus's mother was a seer so she had visions of the future, which she recorded in her diary. I know there are tons of paradox issues with seeing the future in general (it happens all the times in movies/books), but they really stood out to me in The Burning Sky. For example, Titus's mother had this one vision of a woman writing something in the margin of a book. She kept seeing the vision over and over again, until she finally realized that the woman was her. Then, years later, Titus's mother found herself looking at that same book, so remembering the vision, she wrote that same note in the margin of the book. But, then, she only actually wrote that note because she already saw herself do it in the vision. If she hadn't seen the vision, she never would have written it because she didn't have that knowledge. So where did the knowledge of what to write come from? MIND.FUCKED.I know I'm doing a lot of complaining, but again, The Burning Sky wasn't a bad book. It has a good villain (or two), an interesting story, and some great world building (mostly). I loved the wyverns, the spells, the non-magic school, and the whole idea of the Crucible was pretty cool. I felt those things were extremely well developed, and in general there were a lot of really interesting ideas woven into this magical world. But on the other hand, there were a lot of things that just weren't explained. (We learn next to nothing about the Bane, or how the magical world works with the non-magic one, etc.)Ultimately the book just never completely won me over; I always felt a bit.. indifferent. I wasn't attached to the characters and the plot lacked a certain degree of suspense and excitement. As a result, it took me several days to finish it just because I was never that hooked on it. And when I have no problem putting a book down for long periods of time, that's an immediate a sign that I'm not loving it. Also, the end... very anti-climactic.I think that if it weren't for my mild indifference, I would have enjoyed the book a lot more. So if fantasy is really your thing, then I'd encourage you to give The Burning Sky a chance!

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Good (Too Good, #1)

Good (Too Good, #1) - S. Walden Nose Graze — Young Adult book reviewsI knew that Good was going to be an iffy, controversial book. It's about a student-teacher relationship, and that's a tough thing to pull off successfully. In order for me to go along with it, I'd have to totally and completely get involved and invested in the relationship; they'd have to convince me that it's something truly worth having. Unfortunately I don't think I was totally convinced.I understand how some people could fall for the relationship in Good, I just wasn't able to click with it. I never really fell for Mark. It's not so much that I thought their relationship was wrong (although there were a few moments that were iffy), it's just that I never personally fell for him. I wasn't attracted to him as a reader, and that kind of messed with my whole enjoyment of the book, since the entire thing is built on the romance.And on top of that, towards the end of the book there is a lot of arguing. Cadence becomes a ridiculously needy, jealous girlfriend. This made me have more problems with the relationship, because it actually made Cadence appear more like an immature, whiny 18-year-old, rather than a more mature one. Cadence would accuse Mark of liking another woman if he so much as looked at one."Do you like her?" Mr. Connelly looked at me flatly. "Don't be ridiculous." "Well, you seem to like her ass," I said. "Huh?" "I watched you look at her ass when she walked out of here." Jealousy. Such an unattractive quality. I was bleeding it, and I knew i looked ugly.At least she knew how ridiculous she was being... And there were several instances of this. It slowly drove me a bit crazy!Good was one of the most awkward books I've ever read. Think like Losing It by Cora Carmack—tons of weird, embarrassing, and/or awkward moments.. but intensified. The reason was because Cadence is really, really naïve (mostly sexually). That prompted many... weird scenes. Some of them were hilariously awkward, to the point where I was giggling and sharing them all with my boyfriend so we could have a laugh together. But some were just plain strange."Okay. I'm going to take off your underwear and then probably just look at you for a little while because I've never seen a dick in real life. As you know. [..] And I'm not going to try to act like I know what I'm doing, all right? I don't know how to touch it. I have a rudimentary understanding of what it does and how it works, but I'm sure I have a lot more to learn. [..] And I don't know how I feel about putting my mouth on it quite yet, but that's mostly because I don't know how to blow a guy, so I'm just going to see how I feel after I take your underwear off." "I understand." "And I don't want you to scare me with it. Like, forcing my face on it or rubbing me all over my body with it. I don't think that's gonna do it for me. Mark massaged his forehead. "I won't rub my dick all over you, Cadence." I took a deep breath. "Okay. Are you ready?" "Umm... I'm gonna be honest with you right now." "Okay." "This conversation we just had? Yeah... not really sexually stimulating. So, um, now I'm kind of flaccid."Probably one of the most hilarious, awkward, and weird scenes I've EVER read. I'm not even sure what to make of it...I reached out my hand, letting it hover over his penis. It twitched. "Oh my God, Mark! It moved!"Additionally, there are a lot of religious undertones in Good. I'm just not a big fan of reading about religion and although this wasn't the most annoying thing about the book, it was still there. There were tons of comments about "Living in sin" and stuff like that. But it was actually the inconsistencies that bugged me. Check out this quote from after she finds out Mark is not a Christian (but Cadence is):I thought I should leave. Everything I learned in youth group taught me never to date a nonbeliever. It was a top rule as a Christian. I didn't remember a rule against having an affair with a teacher, but the non-Christian thing was a definite no-no.What isn't apparent in this quote is that Cadence is perfectly fine with having sex with Mark. Premarital sex. And yet, she suddenly considers leaving him because he's not a Christian? She'll have premarital sex with a Christian, but not with a non-Christian? That just makes zero sense to me...Now all that being said, there were some parts of the book that I enjoyed. I thought Avery was an awesome character. I actually wish she was in the book more often, because she pretty much rocked! She's the kind of girl with no filter; she just says whatever is on her mind, no matter how vulgar or weird it is.Ultimately, I think Good can be a good book if the romance pulls you in and convinces you that it's awesome. Unfortunately I just never liked Mark that much. I didn't hate him, I just felt like he was a little... off. I never particularly liked him. Later on, we get to know another guy (in high school) named Jacob, and I actually liked him a lot more!Although Good had a couple weird and awkward moments, I don't necessarily think it was a bad book, it just didn't quite work for me!

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Maybe One Day

Maybe One Day - Melissa Kantor Nose Graze — Young Adult book reviewsI almost didn't read Maybe One Day, and oh my god that would have been a massive mistake! I think my problem was that I like romance books, and this is not a romance; it's about friendship. Those kinds of books usually don't get me as excited as romances. Then I just woke up one day a few weeks later and was like, "Wait a minute.. this book sounds good!" So I downloaded it and read it. THANK GOODNESS FOR WEIRDLY IMPULSIVE THOUGHTS!!!Maybe One Day has one of those best friend relationships that I'm always jealous of. The best friend you do everything with, the one you call about anything and everything, the one you share dreams with, the one who you visit so often that their house is your second home.. I want one of those friendships! I was so incredibly envious of Olivia and Zoe. Usually I don't get this obsessed over friendships (I save that for the romances!) but man, this one totally pulled me in! I wanted it for myself!As I'm sure you can imagine, Maybe One Day is a definite tear-jerker. That's something you should expect from the synopsis alone, and it definitely pulls though. Towards the end it was a little awkward for me because I was reading in Starbucks but I felt like I wanted to start bawling so I kept trying to blink back tears, to the point where I was blinking so much that I could barely read! *BLINK BLINK BLINK* I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry *BLINK BLINK BLINK*There are some things you worry about. And then there are some things you don't worry about. You don't worry about them because they're too awful to contemplate worrying about.Even though a lot of Maybe One Day is just living day to day without tons of drama/excitement/twists/turns, I was never bored. In the context of the story, I really enjoyed the day-to-day set up of it. I think it worked really well for an illness, because that's definitely something you have to keep dealing with, and it keeps affecting you.There is a tiny bit of a romance in Maybe One Day (as noted in the synopsis) but it's definitely not a focus. It's a side plot, and I'm really glad for that, because the friendship is what dominates this story and that's how it should be!This book left me with so much to think about. There are a lot of messages about death, afterlife, God, dreams, and futures (or lack thereof). I think it touched on a really strong and emotional topic but without being cheesy or lame (especially about the afterlife parts). Seeing a teenager having to think about those things literally crushed my soul! Maybe One Day will leave you a broken, sobbing mess."We're not going to be dancers, but one day our lives are going to be amazing, Zoe. Totally amazing."I don't know about you guys, but sometimes I love a good cry book. Maybe One Day is an excellent cry book, but it's also so much more than that! It will emotionally own you and I promise it will haunt your thoughts for weeks to come!"Life is Long." "Not always," I reminded her.

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False Sight (False Novel)

False Sight (False Novel, A) - Dan Krokos Nose Graze — Young Adult book reviews2.5 StarsAlthough False Sight and I didn't start or end on the best note, I really like the direction the series has taken. At the beginning, I just wasn't that into the story. I don't even have a real reason, it was just an inexplicable lack of interest. Then, around the 45% mark, things picked up a bit!I'm hesitant to discuss what exactly happened around the 45% mark because it might be spoilery, so I'll put it in spoiler tags and you can decide for yourself if you want to read it. I'm not giving away anything from the ending, just talking about something that gets revealed at the half-way point.False Sight introduces us to a whole element: parallel universes. I honestly didn't expect this AT ALL, and it was kind of a cool surprise! Apparently the "originals" are from another world called "True Earth" and they're trying to prevent the other universes from getting too advanced. I ADORE books with parallel universes so this was such an awesome element to the story. It finally piqued my interest and really got me invested in what was going on!However, as time went on, I had two other problems with the book:First, Miranda began to really annoy me with her whole "I'm going to do absolutely everything myself" attitude. She wouldn't include her friends on what was going on and she insisted on doing everything herself. I hate this kind of attitude. I just don't like it when people refuse to accept help or acknowledge that other people can be useful. It's that annoying "But I need to protect everyone and take all the risks myself" mentality.And secondly, my interest started to wane again towards the end. To be fair, I don't think it was entirely False Sight's fault. For a lot of the book, my heart wasn't entirely in it, mainly because I really felt like reading a different book (not necessarily because False Sight was bad). So I kept thinking about that other book I wanted to read, but I was still reading False Sight, but only half heartedly.Overall, I don't think that False Sight was a bad book by any means. I don't think it was as good as False Memory, but I think most of my lack of enthusiasm for False Sight was due to me reading it at the wrong time when I wasn't entirely in the mood for it.If you read and loved False Memory then I do highly recommend that you continue with False Sight. Just don't make the same mistake I did and make sure you're really in the mood for it first!

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The Beginning of After

The Beginning of After - Jennifer Castle Nose Graze — Young Adult book reviewsThe Beginning of After started out pretty strong for me. I immediately liked Laurel's character. She had a fun personality and a unique voice. But as the book went on, I realized that things I expected to happen would never happen, and the book fizzled out as a result.As expected, The Beginning of After is freaking devastating. A teenager loses her entire family in one, single, freak accident. This was one of those things that I could not stop thinking about. It's so sad and it makes you think about all the "what if's".I've found that letting something stay broken for a little while helps me understand it.Page 332One of my favourite parts of The Beginning of After had to do with animals. Laurel gets involved at a veterinary office and I loved reading about the animals! And even better, she starts taking care of David's dog and the dog is what helps bridge the gap between Laurel and David. When the dog was with David, Laurel would write letters to David but since she was too shy or nervous to talk to David directly, she'd actually write the letters to the dog. Then when the dog was staying with Laurel, vice versa. It was soooo cute!!But as I said, this book certainly wasn't perfect, and as it went on, more things started to bother me.I think the biggest problem with The Beginning of After was Laurel and David's relationship. I kept expecting something to happen there but nothing ever did. The synopsis doesn't lie when it says, "David [..] swoops in and out of Laurel's life." It was a bit like whiplash. One minute David is there, he and Laurel kiss, there's something clearly between them, then he disappears for weeks or even months. Then he comes back and it happens all over again. It was like he'd show up out of nowhere, throw her a bone, then disappear, then come back and throw her another bone. But ultimately, nothing ever happened between Laurel and David. They were so in and out of each others' lives that I don't even know what to call their relationship.. they weren't dating.. they were sort of friends.. but that's just it: sort of friends.Also, I was bummed that we got very little closure with the accident. We know that Laurel's family died in a car accident, but no one knows exactly what happened. There's speculation that it was David's dad's fault because his blood alcohol level was "borderline"... but then there's speculation that there was another car involved. But it's not clear if it was really David's dad's fault, or if his BAC had nothing to do with it and it was totally another driver's fault. I was upset that we never got this question answered. It nagged at me for the whole book and I kept hanging on, thinking that surely we'd get closure at the end... but we never did.On another note, The Beginning of After has some of the most painful, atrocious "text speak" I've ever seen. One of my pet peeves is text speak in books. Are there no characters in books that can type on a phone normally? But these in particular seriously made me cringe; they're some of the worst I've seen in YA:k, jst tel me whr d scret headquarters rI find it hliarious (yet painful) that she could write out the word HEADQUARTERS but had to pointlessly abbreviate all the small words.sry i mizd u at d dance, hope ur okcity 2mrw? goin sir craZ alrdy.Although annoyances popped up towards the end, I mostly did enjoy The Beginning of After. It wasn't the most interesting or intense book plot-wise, but some inexplicable factor pulled me in and made me want to keep reading. I'm mostly just disappointed that Laurel and David didn't have a stronger/more interesting relationship.

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The Liberator: The Collector 2 (Dante Walker)

The Liberator - Victoria Scott Nose Graze — Young Adult book reviews3.5 StarsI have to admit, I was a little nervous going into The Liberator. The synopsis hints at a possible love triangle and I was dreading the thought of The Liberator suffering from "second book love triangle/relationship problems" syndrome. Luckily, that is so not the case! I am beyond delighted to report that The Liberator has absolutely no love triangles!Aspen turns out to be a kick ass character. If anything, her relationship with Dante is a brother/sister kind of thing. At first, I wasn't totally sure I liked Aspen. She was kind of one of those "Daddy sucks so I'm going to rebel and party and do drugs" kind of girls.. and it sort of annoyed me. She just looked for trouble to drown out her problems. But as the book went on, Aspen really grew and changed and turned into a pretty awesome character! She loses some of her "trying to be a rebel" attitude, but she's also an insanely kick-ass fighter. That girl's got moves!I do have to say, I don't think The Liberator is very plot-based (at least not until the last quarter of the book). There are long periods where it feels like not much is happening, but I think this is due to the fact that The Liberator is really about Dante's character development. It's about him trying to adjust to life as a liberator and overcoming his past. That's not necessarily a bad thing, just pointing it out. I quite enjoyed watching Dante struggle with himself and his new position!I do have two gripes though:#1 - Charlie was ANNOYING at the beginning. She suddenly does a lot of partying and hanging out with sketchy people and isn't all that forthcoming with Dante. I was kind of pissed at her. I thought she was acting stupid. Turns out there was a reason for this, but I thought it was kind of a lame reason.#2 - The ending. Although I kind of like how it set up for book 3, I thought the ending made so much of The Liberator feel pointless. The book was all about protecting Charlie's soul, then getting her soul back once Dante realized he didn't have it. So he plans this big trip into Hell to get Charlie's soul back and brings Aspen along with him. So after this big intense journey into Hell, Dante gets the soul and has to leave Aspen behind in exchange. Then, it turns out, Dante didn't get Charlie's soul at all.. he got his own soul. So that big huge journey and all that "protecting Charlie's soul" stuff was for nothing. And on top of that, he left behind one of the most important people, according to some prophecy. I just hate it in books when a character goes through a ton of trouble or on some big epic quest, then it all ends up being kind of pointless. And I'm sure that Dante having his soul inside him will count for something in book 3, but I still felt like it was a bit of a let down.Although I didn't love The Liberator quite as much as The Collector (which I gave 4.5 stars), I still really enjoyed the book! Although there were some slow moments plot-wise, it was full of some great character development for Dante, and I loved Aspen's kick-ass-ness! Turns out, that girl pretty much rocks.

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Fractured (Guards of the Shadowlands, Book Two)

Fractured - Sarah Fine Nose Graze — Young Adult book reviews2.5 StarsI'm sad to say that Fractured has so many typical elements of a second book in a series. The plot isn't that fast moving, I found myself very unsure of where it was headed, and there were problems with the once awesome romance. In Fractured it's all about patrolling the area for Mazikin, but it feels like they just patrol day after day without any results. That makes the plot feel quite slow at times. And, most frustratingly, there are relationship problems.One of the reasons why I fell in love with Sanctum so much was because of the romance, but it barely existed in Fractured. Lela and Malachi take some "time apart" so for most of the book their relationship is awkward and tense, since they're not really "together". He starts hanging out with another girl and Lela starts hanging out with another guy, and there's a bit of jealousy there... it was just disappointing. Throwing an unnecessary wrench into the romance is so typical in second books and I was a little heartbroken to see it happen in Fractured.There were some interesting new characters in Fractured and the ending was pretty crazy/intense/unexpected, but it wasn't really enough for me to be able to say I loved (or even really liked) the book. Fractured wasn't horrible, I just felt very little for it. Sanctum made me feel ALL THE FEELS, but I felt like there were very little feels in Fractured. Even when devastating things happened, I didn't feel them. I was kind of indifferent the entire time.So overall I'm pretty bummed. Part of me is honestly wondering if my lack of love for this book is because I wasn't that in the mood for a supernatural/demon/paranormal book.. but at the same time, I think I can pretty objectively say that there were a lot of unenjoyable elements in the book that are so common in disappointing second books (particularly the problem with the romance). But Fractured did end on an interesting note and I am really curious to see how the third book plays out!

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Frigid

Frigid - J Lynn Nose Graze — Young Adult book reviewsI'm giving this book 2 stars, and honestly, one of them is a pity star. But let me explain that...Frigid and I got off on the wrong foot and we just couldn't get back on track. I honestly don't think it was a 1 star book the entire time, but the problem was just that I walked into it hating Kyler and I couldn't get over it.Here's a lovely quote from Kyler when he's at a bar/club, basically letting a girl ride him:Sometimes I had no idea how I ended up in situations like this. Okay. That was a bald-faced lie. What was between my legs was how I ended up in situations like this.Yes, when in doubt, just blame your penis. Kyler is a huge man whore, taking home a different woman every single night. And his answer for why he does that? It was more or less, "It's not my fault, it's my penis's." It's like he's saying he just can't help it because he has a penis. Boo hoo. Poor freaking you.But here comes the better part... Kyler is sitting there with this woman practically riding him, when he glances over at the bar and sees Sydney... talking to a guy. His response to this?Syd really shouldn't be at the bar by herself. Being with Paul didn't count. She needed someone to look out for her, to keep an eye on things.And Kyler then proceeded to run over there and yank her away from Paul, because heaven forbid that she speak to a man! And I hated his "Sydney is so helpless and needs looking after" attitude. This kind of thing normally doesn't catch my attention. I've read books where it didn't bother me at all, but other reviewers mentioned it. But in this book, it really stood out. As the book went on, I got so sick of Kyler treating Sydney like a child... then I got even more sick of it when I started thinking that maybe she deserved to be treated that way.Another awesome example: Sydney is getting out of his car when he runs over her, lifts her down from the car himself, and says:"You'll hurt yourself."Because she's totally incapable of getting out of a car..And despite all that, we're just supposed to accept that Sydney loves him. We're never really told why she loves him, even though for years he's made her cry and blown her off so he could screw other women. We're never shown why he's secretly awesome in spite of all of that. We're just supposed to accept it.But as I said, eventually I wondered if she did actually deserve to be treated like a child who can't handle herself. After a while, I began to notice that Sydney cries (or wants to cry) A LOT!I wanted to cry—to sit down in the snow and cry.I wanted to cry. Like a fat, angry baby who wanted to be fed level of crying."Don't cry, baby." [..] That only made her cry harder.I'd cried then. I was about to cry again.I prayed to God I didn't start crying like a freak in the restaurant.I wanted to cry, to scream, to rage, and to shove my head under the pillow.I wanted to cry again, like a baby, because that was the confirmation of all that he'd said.Put all that together with the way she handled herself sometimes.. and she just came across as extremely... weak. She was a weak character. She just sat around and moped and cried and secretly crushed on a man whore.And the last point I'll bring up: Frigid is one of those books that makes me hate dual point of view. Sometimes I love dual point of view, but in times like this, I hate it. The problem was that we read from Sydney's point of view and learn that she's been "in love with" Kyler for years. Then we read from Kyler's point of view and realize that he also kind of "loves" Sydney. But neither of them say anything. It's so annoying to know that both characters "love" each other but see both of them do NOTHING about it or misread the other person's signals. I just end up sitting there yelling at both characters to grow some balls and say/do something about it!Plus, there were so many clichés. Let's sum them up:* A guy who sleeps around.* A good girl who doesn't like to party.* Girl secretly loves guy but thinks he'd never like her because she's not a hot piece of ass.* Guy secretly loves girl but thinks she'd never like him because he's not good enough for her.* They both deny their feelings.* But slowly they grow closer together.* The rest of the clichés are spoilers.... * The girl finally realizes he does love her!* Cue sex scene.* At the end, the girl has a moment of doubt and fears that all he actually wanted was sex.* Cue dramatic, big argument.* Both characters realize they were being stupid.* Kiss and make up.Overall, I'm massively disappointed. It's sad that I can love one J. Lynn book so much (Wait for You) and hate another one. By the end of the book, I was skimming like a mad woman. I just wanted to be done!!But the reason I'm giving this book 2 stars instead of 1 is because I honestly think my biggest problem with the book was that I got off on the wrong foot with it. I'm not sure I ever really gave it a chance after I decided that Kyler was a dick. Even when he did some nice, possibly redeeming things at the end, I still wasn't okay with it... because earlier he was a dick. So, yes Frigid, you get a pity star. How about that?

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Faking It (Losing It, #2)

Faking It (Losing It, #2) - Cora Carmack Nose Graze — Young Adult book reviewsThe thing I liked most about Faking It was how it focused on the idea that 'opposites attract'. Max and Cade are total opposites. Cade is the perfect "Golden Boy" who impresses parents and is very put together. He's calm, sweet, never gets mad, and never does anything outrageous. Max is tattooed, dances at a bar, has tons of issues, and can be pretty emotional and dramatic. They're not the couple you'd put together and think, "They're perfect for each other!!" But in a way, the fact that they are so different is what made them perfect for each other.. O_OJust like Losing It, Faking It was hilarious!! I freaking loved the awkward moments. Just the idea of asking someone to be your fake boyfriend is hilarious. Then when Max's parents invited said fake boyfriend over for Christmas... lol. It was just so funny to see that one lie spiral so far out of control!"My name is Cade Winston—MFA student, volunteer, mom-hugger, and your boyfriend for the next twenty-four hours. It's nice to meet you."And another thing I thought was great was how Cora Carmack really made Cade stand out in Faking It. In Losing It I honestly thought Cade was a little... lame. It just made me sad how he was obsessed with Bliss and kept clinging onto her.. but I loved watching him come out of his shell in Faking It. He became a much more interesting character than he was in Losing It.The one thing that annoyed me in Faking It was Max. I liked her a lot of the time, but sometimes she really pissed me off. I hate it when the "damaged" girl in books has this attitude that's like: "I'm not good for him! I'm poison. I'll just break his heart. So before I break his heart I'm just going to leave him... he'll get over me anyway." Grow up and put an end to the pity party!!! Seriously! It drives me freaking nuts. I hate those stupid speeches and Max had a couple of them. >_

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Losing It (Losing It, #1)

Losing It (Losing It, #1) - Cora Carmack Nose Graze — Young Adult book reviews4.5 StarsLosing It was one of those books that I put off reading. Everyone was reading it and raving about it, but I just wasn't that excited about it. Maybe it's because the old cover had a creepy, young looking boy on it? Or maybe the synopsis just didn't pull me in? Who knows. Sometimes I just don't get that excited about a book for some inexplicable reason. But when Losing It went on sale for like $0.99, I felt like I had run out of excuses.OMG I WAS MISSING OUT!!Just like everyone promised, Losing It was a fun, hilarious, awkward, and sweet read. The awkwardness was literally the best part. I LOVE awkward books. It makes them feel real (plus sometimes it feels good to laugh at a fictional character's funny misfortune). And, the guy she almost has sex with—Garrick—is a Brit! A Brit! I love me dem Brits."When I asked a classmate for a rubber, you call them erasers, everyone laughed so hard that I was ready to board a flight straight back to London."GarrickEvery now and then Bliss did annoy me a little bit.. Like when she just annoyingly assumed Garrick would have gotten tired of her "once the forbidden factor wore off" as if all men get sick of nice girls eventually. I just hate stereotypes like that. And when she and Garrick started dating and she was paranoid about being SOOO careful. I mean.. I get it, and it makes sense, but the emotional side of me just wanted her to say "screw it" and totally be with him. But for the most part, I thought she was pretty hilarious. She was such a control freak and it was hilarious how she tried to cover up her lies. When she ran out on Garrick before sex, her excuse was that she had to go get her cat... She doesn't have a cat... but then when she started talking to Garrick again, she realized she'd have to go buy a cat so he wouldn't catch her in that lie. So she actually bought a cat for that reason! LOL!"Let me get this straight... you didn't have a cat? Did you get a cat just so that you wouldn't have to tell me you were a virgin?"GarrickLosing It was definitely a great giggle book. All the awkward moments had me giggling, Bliss's psychoticness had me cracking up, and the sweet moments had me squealing and growing hearts in my eyes (totally possible!). And the ending... oh gosh... so sweet! I mean.. sure it moved too quickly and he was going to propose to her after like... I don't know... 3-6 months of dating? But it was one of those things where I JUST DIDN'T CARE! I was swept up in the romance and how cute they were together and I was so thrilled that they were going to get married!Immediately after I finished Losing It I bought Faking It! I just wasn't ready to stop reading Cora Carmack epic-ness! So if you're like me and if you've been putting off reading Losing It, go read it NOW! It's worth it!

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This Song Will Save Your Life

This Song Will Save Your Life - Nose Graze — Young Adult book reviewsWow! This Song Will Save Your Life was such a powerful book! I have to admit, it had so much more depth to it than I ever imagined. I mean... so many plot summaries out there say things like this:[book title] is a super amazing book about identity and friendship and the power of [noun] to bring people together!But how many times is that actually true? Usually it's a bit of an exaggeration (at least to me), and I rarely connect with the book that much. This was so not the case with This Song Will Save Your Life!. This book did make me feel. It was about identity and friendship. And music truly did bring people together in that happy tears kind of way.This Song Will Save Your Life starts off about bullying. Not just bullying, but a bit of depression, suicide, and struggling to get through high school. I really felt for Elise! It's been a long time since I really and truly connected with a character. She made me feel ALL THE FEELS! She's kind of the invisible, sometimes-bullied girl in high school. She doesn't have any friends and certainly isn't "popular". Even when she did make friends, they weren't really friends. They were the people you can sit with at lunch and have "filler" conversations with, but they weren't that awesome BFF-type friends. I totally got that!!I wasn't bullied in high school, but I had the hardest time making friends. My problem was that I was picky. I didn't just want any friend.. I wanted a friend who was like my soul sister.. someone who loved to read and loved video games, but could also still chat about boys and just whatever! I swear no one like that existed at my high school X_X And I didn't want to have "fake", "filler" friendships with people who weren't interested in the same things I was. UGH! Anyway.. I totally got where Elise was coming from. She just wanted a BFF! Is that too much to ask for? Certainly not!And I love how music was the thing that really changed Elise's life. She stumbled upon music and friends totally accidentally, but they ended up grounding her and rocking her world.There was kind of a meh half romance in This Song Will Save Your Life but it's not really prominent enough to warrant talking about it in depth. I kind of wrote it off as a bad "let's learn from this experience" romance. Lol. It was a bit of a bummer to not have a solid romance because I like having romance in everything I read, but the rest of the book was phenomenal so I'll let it slide!I definitely recommend This Song Will Save Your Life if you're into books about fitting in and just making your way through the horrors of high school! Plus.. music. Music! Any music fans will love this! It's so easy to breeze right through this book and it will keep you interested every step of the way.

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Down London Road (On Dublin Street, #2)

Down London Road (On Dublin Street, #2) - Samantha Young Nose Graze — Young Adult book reviews4.5 StarsDown London Road was sooooo good! It brought back so many great memories from reading On Dublin Street. In fact, I now find myself itching to reread On Dublin Street.Although I do think I liked On Dublin Street a bit more, Down London Road was still a solid book. It was fun, hot, kept me entertained, and I definitely let out a few insane giggles! That's always a good sign!What was great about Down London Road was that it intertwined with On Dublin Street, but it was still a completely different story. Jocelyn and Braden are still in Down London Road and have decent sized roles, so it really felt like the stories connected in a relevant way. But I loved feeling like I was in the same neighborhood and reading about the same characters. I had forgotten how much I missed them!I think Samantha Young played the romance brilliantly. When it first starts out, Johanna is dating a guy named Malcolm... and I kind of liked him. He was sweet and easy going, and I felt bad for him when Johanna started crushing on Cameron. But very slowly, Samantha pulled me away from Malcolm and got me on team Cameron. I'm still not even sure how she did it. It's like she literally broke me down. Usually when this happens with books, I sympathize with the first guy and the author never gets me to fall for the second guy. But that was SO not the case here. Samantha Young had me falling head over heels for Cam. (And thank goodness, because otherwise I think the book would have been ruined for me!)There actually weren't a ton of sexy scenes in Down London Road but the few that were there blew me away. There's this one scene in a dressing room... OH MY GOD O_O That's all I have to say about that. O_OI liked how the conflicts in Down London Road felt very realistic. So many times in romance books the main conflicts are just so... petty. They weren't petty in Down London Road. I could totally relate to them and understand where both characters were coming from.Down London Road really solidified my love for Samantha Young's books. I totally have my eye on her next one in this series, Down Jamaica Lane. I know it's going to ROCK!

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Find Me

Find Me - Romily Bernard Nose Graze — Young Adult book reviews4.5 StarsHACKING?!?! THIS IS SO AN ASHLEY BOOK!!I seek out hacking/computer/nerd/programmer books like a moth to the flame. For me, it's like a bonding session with my fellow epic computer nerds. It's awesome. And Find Me was just like that, but it also had a super cool mystery element to it!I've read a few reviews where people said they "saw the twist coming". I have to admit, I didn't. Maybe it's because I was in denial (see spoiler at the end).. but either way, I DID. NOT. SEE. IT. COMING! :| Throughout the whole book we know there's an evil douchebag predator out there preying on young girls. Or at least one young girl, and eying a second one. Although Wick didn't want to be involved, the situation has kind of been thrust into her lap so she takes it on and hunts for the psycho murderer, putting her hacking skills to good use!Find Me has so many different elements to it, and when you put them together, you truly get an awesome book! We have the hacking, an intense thriller/mystery element, and a romance. I love how they all came together to form a really different book that stands out from so many of the others I've read. And although the romance certainly wasn't the focus of the story, I thought it complimented it nicely. It wasn't too overpowering, but it was still pretty awesome. ;) There were a few hot, swoony moments in there!But above all, I like how Find Me kept me guessing and doubting. I enjoyed trying to figure everything out so much, that I found myself wishing the book would never end. I wanted to sit there longer and struggle over the pieces, trying to put them together. And some of my favourite parts were the quotes from Tessa's diary at the beginning of each chapter. They were a little morbid and creepy, but they were one of the things I tried to use to piece together who the creepy rapist guy was! I felt like I was the one solving the puzzle (and failing O_O).Now I do have a few things to say about the ending... I'm not sure I like how it ended. It turns out that her foster father, Todd, was the bad guy. This actually kind of upset me. I wanted a villain that I could really HATE and despise with all the force of my being. But when it turned out it was Todd, I was just devastated. Because before that point, he had been a really nice guy and played the "concerned parent" role really well. He acted like he enjoyed having Wick as his foster-daughter, and he always stood up for her. It made me want Wick to stop doubting her foster parents and believe that they could be good, supporting people—which they always acted like. But when it turned out Todd was the bad guy.. it's like that hope was gone. Wick was always so skeptical of her foster parents, and it's like she got to says "I told you so" to me, because in my head I was constantly yelling at her to trust them. I'm just bummed that the bad guy ended up being a character I liked. I wanted it to be one I hated (like Tessa's dad, even though he was the "too obvious to be true" choice).I will mention that as a complete nerd, I do have a tendency to severely nit-pick at computer/technology books. If I read about computer/hacking things that aren't that realistic/feasible, they scream at me. I did find one thing that irked me, but I think only finding one thing is pretty darn good. :PI've embedded Trojans in Flickr accounts, YouTube links, and now, a simple email.Embedding Trojans in e-mails is perfectly possible (and very common). But in Flickr accounts and YouTube links?? That's not happening. ONCE in a blue moon, for about 5 seconds, there might be a vulnerability on those sites.. but it's the kind of thing that happens so rarely, and when it does happen, they notice and patch it in like 2 seconds. It's certainly not something that someone could be doing frequently!But when I pointed that out to Romily (actually she saw me telling someone else about it, which was slightly embarrassing because I felt bad!) she took it like a champ! Seriously, that girl pretty much rocks.Overall, I loved this book! Find Me definitely kept me on the edge of my chair! It was a very hard book to put down, and it drew me in effortlessly! Plus the hacking stuff was AAAAWESOME!

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