Crazy Messy Beautiful by Carrie Arcos Review

Crazy Messy Beautiful by Carrie Arcos ReviewCrazy Messy Beautiful

Publisher: Philomel Books

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 320

Summary: When your namesake is Pablo Neruda—the greatest love poet of all time—finding “the one” should be easy. After all, sixteen-year-old aspiring artist Neruda Diaz has been in love many times before. So it’s only a matter of time before someone loves him back.

Callie could be that someone. She’s creative and edgy, and nothing like the girls Neruda typically falls for, so when a school assignment brings them together, he is pleasantly surprised to learn they have a lot in common. With his true love in reach and his artistic ambitions on track, everything is finally coming together.

But as Neruda begins to fall faster and harder than ever before, he is blindsided by the complicated nature of love—and art—in more ways than one. And when the relationships he’s looked to for guidance threaten to implode, Neruda must confront the reality that love is crazier, messier, and more beautiful than he ever realized—and riskier, too, than simply saying the words.

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Arcos delivers a unique take on love and puts an emphasis on friendship!

Highly recommend this novel if your looking for one that focuses on friendship while also discussing the complexities of love! Crazy Messy Beautiful is YA Contemporary that delivered a unique plot that had me surprised with each page!

Written through 1st Person POV, we follow Pablo Neruda who is an artist at heart. When he discovers his long-time crush Autumn (crush #8) doesn’t reciprocate his feelings, he is heartbroken.

Then in English, the entire class gets assigned a research project on a randomly chosen partner. He gets paired with Callie Leibowitz. Though both have sat at the same group table together for months, they’ve never really talked.

He had his preconceived ideas about her, however over the course of the novel they both learn much more about each other and develop an incredible friendship.

Arcos really brings the main character Pablo to life and I felt he was given such depth and I really understood his character over the course of the story.

Callie and Pablo bond over a number of different things like movies and art! They encourage each other to pursue their passions and really get to better understand each other!

Pablo learns more about Callie’s passion for makeup & makeup design and Callie learns more about Pablo’s passion for art (sketching, painting, etc.)

However conflict arises when Pablo realizes he may be falling in love with Callie. Regardless, they really get to know each other and the friendship forged between the two was truly the highlight of this novel!

Arcos also delivers the novel through a thought-provoking + at times poetic writing-style where you really get to understand these characters, especially Pablo!

The plot itself is very character-driven and overall was very unique comparing to other contemporaries I’ve read recently! It went in directions I did not see coming!

When Pablo discovers some family secrets and comes to terms with his feelings for Callie, he learns more about love and its complications over the course of this story, while also coming to terms with his perceptions and concepts of love.

Arcos focuses this novel on Pablo and his development, while making friendship and family central parts of the story!

Additionally, I loved that there were diverse Main + Side characters! (Chilean + Mexican Representation!)

There were some moments when the pacing was rather slow and I felt Pablo’s feelings for Callie came rather quickly. Additionally there were plot points that felt not only incomplete, but unnecessary (b/c they were never really expanded upon)

Overall Arcos delivers an engaging YA Contemporary that focuses on friendship and family, while also delivering a unique take on love!

EDIT/UPDATE: *Perhaps I just misread/misunderstood this line, however after finishing, this line has still stuck in my mind. This line personally just left me uneasy b/c I’m surprised the MC would just assume that to begin with!! Just to be sure, I wanted feedback from fellow reviewers.*

Background: Ezra is a pen-pal that Neruda mentions he had when a class of his assigned students to inmates to write letters back & forth, and now is acquainted with Ezra who’s now out of prison, they still talk and hang out.

Over the years I’ve teased out bits and pieces of his story. From what I can tell, he was trying to help his brother,Rafa, and ended up going with him to rob a house. I think Ezra was trying to stop him from doing it. The house was supposed to be empty, but it wasn’t.  Rafa was shot and killed and Ezra was sent to prison. He was eighteen at the time and served ten years for an armed robbery conviction. But as soon as I got to know Ezra I immediately doubted his guilt. He just didn’t seem like the typical stereotype of a Mexican guy in jail, the one you see portrayed on TV shows and movies-shaved head, arms covered in tats, maybe even one circling his neck or a teardrop close to his eye…(page 24-25)

Waiting On Wednesday I #8

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly post originally created by the book bloggers over at

BreakingTheSpines to spotlight upcoming releases!

This week I will be spotlighting…

Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. DaoForest Of A Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao (Rise Of The Empress #1)

Publisher: Philomel Books

Release Date: October 10, 2017

Summary: Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

Set in an East Asian-inspired fantasy world filled with both breathtaking pain and beauty, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns possesses all the hallmarks of masterful fantasy: dazzling magic, heartbreaking romance, and a world that hangs in the balance.

The summary alone had me automatically add this book to my Fall TBR! + The cover is fantastic!!

+ I don’t have a whole lot of knowledge of East-Asian folklore, so through Dao’s novel I’m also beyond excited to read more about it through a fantasy setting! ❤

YA Fantasy is easily one of my new favorite genres and I’m always on the look-out for new and fascinating stories! + I’m always happy to read/support diverse books! ❤ ❤

+ From what I’ve read/heard online this is supposed to also be an Evil Queen retelling, which sounds so cool!

Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns isn’t set to come out till October, but I seriously cannot wait! It sounds beyond amazing!

Are you planning to read Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns? 

Lets Discuss In The Comments Below! 🙂

 

March 2016 Book Releases I’m Looking Forward To!

In Order By Date, Here Are The Books I’m Looking Forward To This Month!

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Publisher: Katherine Tegen Release Date: March 1

1.Burning Glass By Kathryn Purdie (Burning Glass #1)

Summary: Sonya was born with the rare gift to feel what those around her feel—both physically and emotionally—a gift she’s kept hidden from the empire for seventeen long years. After a reckless mistake wipes out all the other girls with similar abilities, Sonya is hauled off to the palace and forced to serve the emperor as his sovereign Auraseer.

Tasked with sensing the intentions of would-be assassins, Sonya is under constant pressure to protect the emperor. But Sonya’s power is untamed and reckless, and she can’t always decipher when other people’s impulses end and her own begin. In a palace full of warring emotions and looming darkness, Sonya fears that the biggest danger to the empire may be herself.

As she struggles to wrangle her abilities, Sonya seeks refuge in her tenuous alliances with the charming-yet-volatile Emperor Valko and his idealistic younger brother, Anton, the crown prince. But when threats of revolution pit the two brothers against each other, Sonya must choose which brother to trust—and which to betray.

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Publisher: Grand Central Publishing Release Date: March 1

2.Dear Emma By Katie Heaney 

Summary: Harriet, the author of her college newspaper’s pseudonymous student advice column “Dear Emma,” is great at telling others what to do, dispensing wisdom for the lovelorn and lonely on her Midwestern campus. Somehow, though, she can’t take her own advice, especially after Keith, the guy she’s dating, blows her off completely. When Harriet discovers that Keith has started seeing the beautiful and intimidating Remy, she wants to hate her. But she can’t help warming to Remy, who soon writes to “Dear Emma” asking for romantic advice.

Now Harriet has the perfect opportunity to take revenge on the person who broke her heart. But as she begins to doubt her own motivations and presumably faultless guidance, she’s forced to question how much she really knows about love, friendship and well-meaning advice.

 

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Publisher: Katherine Tegen Release Date: March 1

3. A Study In Charlotte By Brittany Cavallaro

(Charlotte Holmes #1)

Summary:  The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.

From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

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Publisher: Viking Books For Young Readers                    Release Date: March 8

4.Rebel Of The Sands By Alwyn Hamilton (Rebel Of The Sands #1) 

Full Rebel Of The Sands ARC Review

Summary: She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there’s nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can’t wait to escape from.

Destined to wind up “wed or dead,” Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she’d gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan’s army, with a fugitive who’s wanted for treason. And she’d never have predicted she’d fall in love with him…or that he’d help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.

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Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers      Release Date: March 8

5. Iron To Iron By Ryan Graudin (Wolf By Wolf #1.5)

Summary: Once upon a different time, there was a boy who raced through a kingdom of death.

Sixteen-year-old Luka Löwe has one goal in mind: Win the 1955 Axis Tour and become the first Double Cross victor. If he can accomplish that, maybe his father will finally see him as a worthy son. He’s completed the grueling trek from Germania to Tokyo before, but this time is different. Luka never expected to meet Adele Wolfe, another racer posing as her twin brother and with a singular dream—to live life on her own terms.

When Luka and Adele form an alliance, an unlikely bond forms, and even possibly love. But only one person can win the Axis Tour… Can everything Luka and Adele built together survive the race?

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Publisher: Candlewick Press Release Date: March 8

6.Hour Of The Bees By Lindsay Eager

Summary: What does it mean to be fully alive? Magic blends with reality in a stunning coming-of-age novel about a girl, a grandfather, wanderlust, and reclaiming your roots.

Things are only impossible if you stop to think about them. . . .

While her friends are spending their summers having pool parties and sleepovers, twelve-year-old Carolina — Carol — is spending hers in the middle of the New Mexico desert, helping her parents move the grandfather she’s never met into a home for people with dementia. At first, Carol avoids prickly Grandpa Serge. But as the summer wears on and the heat bears down, Carol finds herself drawn to him, fascinated by the crazy stories he tells her about a healing tree, a green-glass lake, and the bees that will bring back the rain and end a hundred years of drought. As the thin line between magic and reality starts to blur, Carol must decide for herself what is possible — and what it means to be true to her roots.

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Publisher: Philomel Books  Release Date: March 15

7. The First Time She Drowned By Kerry Kletter

Summary: The beautiful struggle of a girl desperate for the one relationship that has caused her the most pain

Cassie O’Malley has spent the past two and a half years in a mental institution—dumped there by her mother, against her will. Now, at 18, Cassie emancipates herself, determined to start over. She attends college, forms new friendships, and even attempts to start fresh with her mother. But before long, their unhealthy relationship threatens to pull Cassie under once again. As Cassie struggles to reclaim her life, childhood memories persist and confuse, and Cassie must consider whose version of history is real, and more important, whose life she must save.

 

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Publisher: Dutton Books For Y.R.  Release Date: March 15

8.Exit, Pursued By A Bear By E.K. Johnston

Summary:  Veronica Mars meets William Shakespeare in E.K. Johnston’s latest brave and unforgettable heroine.

Hermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading team, and in tiny Palermo Heights, this doesn’t mean what you think it means. At PHHS, the cheerleaders don’t cheer for the sports teams; they are the sports team—the pride and joy of a tiny town. The team’s summer training camp is Hermione’s last and marks the beginning of the end of…she’s not sure what. She does know this season could make her a legend. But during a camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black.

In every class, there’s a star cheerleader and pariah pregnant girl. They’re never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she’s always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The assault wasn’t the beginning of Hermione Winter’s story and she’s not going to let it be the end. She won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale.

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Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux (BYR) Release Date: March 29

9. The Winners Kiss By Marie Rutkoski (The Winners Curse #3)

Summary: War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the empire as his enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she did for him.

At least, that’s what he thinks.

In the frozen north, Kestrel is a prisoner in a brutal work camp. As she searches desperately for a way to escape, she wishes Arin could know what she sacrificed for him. She wishes she could make the empire pay for what they’ve done to her.

But no one gets what they want just by wishing.

As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover that the world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and they are caught in between. With so much to lose, can anybody really win?

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Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Y.R. Release Date: March 29

10. The Great American Whatever By Tim Federle

Summary:  Quinn Roberts is a sixteen-year-old smart aleck and Hollywood hopeful whose only worry used to be writing convincing dialogue for the movies he made with his sister Annabeth. Of course, that was all before—before Quinn stopped going to school, before his mom started sleeping on the sofa…and before Annabeth was killed in a car accident.

Enter Geoff, Quinn’s best friend who insists it’s time that Quinn came out—at least from hibernation. One haircut later, Geoff drags Quinn to his first college party, where instead of nursing his pain, he meets a guy—a hot one—and falls hard. What follows is an upside-down week in which Quinn begins imagining his future as a screenplay that might actually have a happily-ever-after ending—if, that is, he can finally step back into the starring role of his own life story.

February 2016 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 6

Between-shades-of-gray1.Between Shades Of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades Of Gray Full Review

Publisher: Philomel Books

Release Date: March 22, 2011

Pages: 344

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: This was my first Ruta Sepetys novel and it was amazing! While heartbreaking, this story focused on another side to WW2 not usually explored. I really felt for each character and their struggles during the war. The pacing was a little slow at times, so that’s why I took away a star.

9781481432696_3be562. Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

Blackhearts Full Review

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: February 9, 2016

Pages: 384

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: By the end, I felt I really knew each and every character. Anne and Teach slowly develop a relationship and through the writing, I really felt I was transported to that time period. With each chapter, I really saw their relationship develop and grow! Definitely a wonderful debut novel!

51791fac06ad83b1f20c93afe76b15dbe0df3b813.Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen #2)

Glass Sword Full Review

Publisher: Harper Teen

Release Date: February 9, 2016

Pages: 448

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

(Still in between 4/4.5)

Overall Thoughts: Glass Sword definitely had a different tone to it than RQ. Maven’s transition to a villain really made this book a blast to read! He is now my fave. character in the series! My issues were mostly with plot direction and world building! But this was definitely a solid sequel! I do plan to continue the series!

2 Salt To The Sea4. Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Salt To The Sea Full Review

Publisher: Philomel Books

Release Date: February 2, 2016

Pages: 400

My Rating:Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: Told through multiple, short, POV’s we follow 4 people as they plan to board the Wilhelm Gustloff! The writing style truly creates such emotion and depth within each character! Similar to Between Shades Of Gray, this novel focuses on war from a different angle. This novel was absolutely brilliant! Highly recommend ❤

1 Unhooked5.Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell

Unhooked Full Review

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: February 2, 2016

Pages: 342

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Starhalf star--Book Blog

Overall Thoughts: This was a dark and immersive retelling of Peter Pan. The tone/atmosphere was definitely present all through out the story. The characters and plot were wonderfully developed. However, I did feel the ending was quite rushed!

Earths-End-Cover-Only6.Earth’s End by Elise Kova (Air Awakens #3)

Earth’s End Full Review

Publisher: Silver Wing Press

Release Date: February 11, 2016

Pages: 350

My Rating:Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: A great continuation to an amazing series! Character development is huge in this story. The end will definitely leave you wanting to get your hands on Book 4 right away!

What Books Did You Read This Month? 🙂

Let Me Know In The Comments Below!

February 2016 Book Releases I’m Looking Forward To!

In order by date, here are the books I’m excited to get to this month!

1 Unhooked
Publisher: Simon Pulse Release Date: Feb. 2

1.Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell

Summary: For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home—all because her mother believes that monsters are hunting them. Now these delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. The only saving grace is her best friend, Olivia, who’s coming with them for the summer.

But when Gwen and Olivia are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and taken to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey, Gwen realizes her mom might have been sane all along.

The world Gwen finds herself in is called Neverland, yet it’s nothing like the stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through her fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the roguish young pirate who promises to keep her safe.

With time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But will she be able to save Neverland without losing herself?

2 Salt To The Sea
Publisher: Philomel Books Release Date: Feb. 2

2.Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Salt To The Sea Full Review

Summary: In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are  Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer toward safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

 

 

3 Revenge And The Wild
Publisher: Balzer+Bray Release Date: Feb. 2

3.Revenge And The Wild by Michelle Modesto

Summary: The two-bit town of Rogue City is a lawless place, full of dark magic and saloon brawls, monsters and six-shooters. But it’s perfect for seventeen-year-old Westie, the notorious adopted daughter of local inventor Nigel Butler.

Westie was only a child when she lost her arm and her family to cannibals on the wagon trail. Nine years later, Westie may seem fearsome with her foul-mouthed tough exterior and the powerful mechanical arm built for her by Nigel, but the memory of her past still haunts her. She’s determined to make the killers pay for their crimes—and there’s nothing to stop her except her own reckless ways.

But Westie’s search ceases when a wealthy family comes to town looking to invest in Nigel’s latest invention, a machine that can harvest magic from gold—which Rogue City desperately needs as the magic wards that surround the city start to fail. There’s only one problem: the investors look exactly like the family who murdered Westie’s kin. With the help of Nigel’s handsome but scarred young assistant, Alistair, Westie sets out to prove their guilt. But if she’s not careful, her desire for revenge could cost her the family she has now.

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Publisher: HarperTeen Release Date: Feb. 9

4.Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen #2)

Glass Sword Full Review

Summary: Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

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Publisher: Simon Pulse Release Date: Feb. 9

5.Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

Blackhearts Full Review

Summary: Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.

Edward “Teach” Drummond, son of one of Bristol’s richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There’s just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following her parents’ deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she’s stuck in England?

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.

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Publisher: Greenwillow Books Release Date: Feb. 16

6.The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig (TGFE #1)

Summary: It was the kind of August day that hinted at monsoons, and the year was 1774, though not for very much longer.

Sixteen-year-old Nix Song is a time-traveller. She, her father and their crew of time refugees travel the world aboard The Temptation, a glorious pirate ship stuffed with treasures both typical and mythical. Old maps allow Nix and her father to navigate not just to distant lands, but distant times – although a map will only take you somewhere once. And Nix’s father is only interested in one time, and one place: Honolulu 1868. A time before Nix was born, and her mother was alive. Something that puts Nix’s existence rather dangerously in question…

Nix has grown used to her father’s obsession, but only because she’s convinced it can’t work. But then a map falls into her father’s lap that changes everything. And when Nix refuses to help, her father threatens to maroon Kashmir, her only friend (and perhaps, only love) in a time where Nix will never be able to find him. And if Nix has learned one thing, it’s that losing the person you love is a torment that no one can withstand. Nix must work out what she wants, who she is, and where she really belongs before time runs out on her forever.

What Feb. Book Releases are you looking forward to?

Let me know in the comments below 🙂

Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys

2 Salt To The SeaPublisher: Philomel Books

Release Date: February 2, 2016

Pages: 400

Summary: Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.

As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.

Yet not all promises can be kept.

Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope.

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

My Thoughts:

Another amazing novel from Ruta!

I read Between Shades Of Gray by her earlier this month and really enjoyed it! After reading this novel however, I would have to say this one is my favorite.

Told in multiple POV, this novel follows Joana, Florian, Emilia, and Alfred and their journey as they try to escape from German forces. What made the overall story easy to get into was the fact that each chapter was 3-5 pages max!

Each character had their own secrets and pasts, but through each POV we learn more about the war from different angles and how it has impacted them!

What I loved about this book was the writing style. It was so beautiful and you really feel immersed into this time period.

Out of all the POVs, my favorites were Florian and Joana’s!

The relationship that develops between them was wonderfully done and you can see they really care about helping each other and the other refugees that are part of their group.

The plot was wonderfully developed.

The characters are trying to leave East Prussia, while avoiding the German forces, while harboring secrets of their own.

Emilia was pregnant w/ a child, Florian was harboring a piece of Nazi art, and Emilia was guilty of leaving her cousin behind.

The characters reveal secrets as the story progresses, but are shared at the perfect moment and really paints an overall picture of the war in Europe during this time

While at some points the pacing was a little slow, the quick chapters definitely help the story move along.

If you are looking for another YA-Historical Fiction to add to your list, I highly recommend this one!

Between Shades Of Gray by Ruta Sepetys Review

Between-shades-of-grayBetween Shades Of Gray

Publisher: Philomel Books

Release Date: March 22, 2011

Pages: 344

Summary: Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously–and at great risk–documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives.

My Rating:

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

My Thoughts: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

This novel was heart-breaking, terrifying, but absolutely brilliant!

Ruta’s lyrical writing style captured the emotions one wold feel during this time perfectly.

With her writing style, I could really see the relationships and emotion she built with each page of this story.

Similar to Paper Wishes, this novel focused on another side of WW2 that I don’t think I’ve read much about! Which is good, because diverse stories such as this one, teach us about experiences/events that open our eyes to knowledge that we would have never known!

In terms of plot it was very sad, but Lina was a brave and strong main character all throughout.

Forced to work in a camp, she comes to learn more about what is happening to her country and grows even more. Trying to find her father, she writes letters to him, with the hope that she will see her father again.

The characters were all wonderfully developed! Lina’s mother, Jonas, Andrius, even Kretzsky, who was awful in the beginning, we see changes and helps the other survivors when they get relocated.

I did take away a star b/c at some points the story’s pace was a little slow..

Overall this book while very sad, reminds us about the other sides of history that shouldn’t be forgotten!

If you’ve read this book/are planning to let me know in the comments below! 🙂

 

 

August 2015 Wrap Up

# of books read: 8

831. Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal by G.Willow Wilson

Publisher: Marvel– Released October 30, 2014

Pages: 120

My Rating:Full Star Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Summary: Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she’s suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she’s comin’ for you, Jersey!

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

Overall Thoughts: I flew through this volume. It was fast-paced and fun to read. What made this comic even more great was how diverse it was. Pakistani Muslim-American Heroine?? Yes!!! With our MC Kamala, she just wants to fit in, but her parents being true to their Pakistani and Muslim heritage, don’t want her to lose touch with her roots. Her transformation from herself into Ms.Marvel, in my opinion, was a metaphor for her getting a chance to “fit in.” By the end, a villain by the name “The Inventor” gets introduced and I can’t wait to see how he ties into the plot of this amazing graphic novel series!

842. Last Year’s Mistake by Gina Ciocca

Publisher: Simon Pulse–Released June 9, 2015

Pages: 320

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Starhalf star--Book Blog

Summary: Is there anything that electric chemistry can’t overcome? The past may be gone, but love has a way of holding on in this romantic debut novel told in alternating Before and After chapters.

The summer before freshman year, Kelsey and David became inseparable best friends—until the night a misunderstanding turned Kelsey into the school joke and everything around her crumbled, including her friendship with David. So when Kelsey’s parents decide to move away, she can’t wait to start over and leave the past behind. But David’s not quite ready to be left.

Now it’s senior year and Kelsey has a new group of friends, genuine popularity, and a hot boyfriend. Her life is perfect. That is, until David’s family moves to town. Old feelings bubble to the surface and threaten to destroy Kelsey’s second chance at happiness. The more time she spends with David, the more she realizes she never let him go. And maybe she never wants to…

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

Overall Thoughts: This was such a great contemporary. Going into this book, I did not know it was going to be told in alternating POV’s (Past & Present), but with that addition, it helped me to better understand Kelsey and David and why their relationship/friendship had issues. Though I did love this book, what I didn’t like was how Kelsey & David didn’t have much communication in regards to their problems. It would have been easily fixed if they had just talked to each other. I also did not like Violet’s character. Her attitude in the book is what ruined the story for me. However, by the end, Kelsey&David fix their relationship and that happy ending saved the book for me!

853. Skyscraping by Cordelia Jensen

Publisher: Philomel Books–Released June 2, 2015

Pages: 352

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Summary: A heartrending, bold novel in verse about family, identity, and forgiveness

Mira is just beginning her senior year of high school when she discovers her father with his male lover. Her world–and everything she thought she knew about her family–is shattered instantly. Unable to comprehend the lies, betrayal, and secrets that–unbeknownst to Mira–have come to define and keep intact her family’s existence, Mira distances herself from her sister and closest friends as a means of coping. But her father’s sexual orientation isn’t all he’s kept hidden. A shocking health scare brings to light his battle with HIV. As Mira struggles to make sense of the many fractures in her family’s fabric and redefine her wavering sense of self, she must find a way to reconnect with her dad–while there is still time.

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

My Thoughts: This book was an absolute gem. Going into this book, I did not know it was going to be written in verse. With that, it added so much to the story and worked extremely well for the plot. I must also mention the writing style. It was so beautiful, each chapter had a unique style to it, and I had honestly never read a book like that before. With this topic, of course there would be sad moments, but there are many happy moments as well.  It is fast-paced but is filled with so much emotion and tackles many topics in a raw and realistic way, such as family dynamics, GLBT, and HIV. I could not find much reviews on this book from other blogs etc., and I feel it is extremely underrated, so if you have not read this book please do. You will not regret it!

864. My Life with the Walter Boys by Ali Novak

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire–Released March 1, 2014

Pages: 358

My Rating:Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Summary: Jackie does not like surprises. Chaos is the enemy! The best way to get her successful, busy parents to notice her is to be perfect. The perfect look, the perfect grades-the perfect daughter. And then…

Surprise #1: Jackie’s family dies in a freak car accident.

Surprise #2: Jackie has to move cross-country to live with the Walters-her new guardians.

Surprise #3: The Walters have twelve sons. (Well, eleven, but Parker acts like a boy anyway)

Now Jackie must trade in her Type A personality and New York City apartment for a Colorado ranch and all the wild Walter boys who come with it. Jackie is surrounded by the enemy-loud, dirty, annoying boys who have no concept of personal space. Okay, several of the oldest guys are flat-out gorgeous. But still annoying. She’s not stuck-up or boring-no matter what they say. But proving it is another matter. How can she fit in and move on when she needs to keep her parents’ memory alive by living up to the promise of perfect?

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

Overall Thoughts: Reading about Jackie and how she would adjust to her new life, was overall very enjoyable to read. The “Walter Boys” were all unique and it was great to learn more about them as the story progressed. The reason this book has 4 stars, is due to the fact that around 1/2 way through the book, I felt Jackie’s character wasn’t acting as she normally would. She began taking risks, by ditching class and going out to parties. Though it made sense because she lost her parents/sister and felt all that sadness within herself, but to me it just felt inconsistent with who her character was. Overall it was an enjoyable book and one I am glad I took a chance to read.

875. Ms. Marvel Vol. 2: Generation Why by G.Willow Wilson

Publisher: Marvel–Released April 7, 2015

Pages: 136

My Rating:Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Summary: Who is the Inventor, and what does he want with the all-new Ms. Marvel and all her friends? Maybe Wolverine can help! Kamala may be fan-girling out when her favorite (okay maybe Top Five) super hero shows up, but that won’t stop her from protecting her hometown. Then, Kamala crosses paths with Inhumanity for the first time–by meeting the royal dog, Lockjaw! Every girl wants a puppy, but this one may be too much of a handful, even for a super hero with embiggening powers. But why is Lockjaw really with Kamala? As Ms. Marvel discovers more about her past, the Inventor continues to threaten her future

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

Overall Thoughts: Kamala had even more character development in this issue. She began questioning whether she can be a superhero without hurting others. It was also great to see she got a companion.  A Giant Teleporting Dog! It doesn’t get much better than that! It is revealed that “The Inventor” was using kids to power up destructive robots!! A few pages later, another robot attacks Kamala at school! As the story progresses, she figures out she is “inhuman.” When she tries to fight Doyle again, she realizes other runaways don’t want to be rescued and are there by choice. She convinces them to fight with her after another encounter with “The Inventor.” After reaching his lair, Kamala see’s where all the other kids are being held. After the action-packed ending I can’t wait to read Vol. 3!

886. Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers–Released May 26, 2015

Pages: 375

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Summary: I’m the daughter of murdered parents.
I’m the friend of a dead girl.
I’m the lover of my enemy.
And I will have my revenge.

In the wake of the devastating destruction of the luxury yacht Persephone, just three souls remain to tell its story—and two of them are lying. Only Frances Mace knows the terrifying truth, and she’ll stop at nothing to avenge the murders of everyone she held dear. Even if it means taking down the boy she loves and possibly losing herself in the process.

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

My Thoughts: Overall I really enjoyed this book. I am a big fan of YA mystery/thrillers, but the reason this book gets 4 stars, is because of the pacing. With some chapters, I was reading through them quickly because it was fast paced, but a majority of the time, the other chapters felt really slow and seemed to drag on. The overall plot was fantastic and was on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. The characters too, were  written very well and were all very unique. So, though this story was great as a whole, the pacing made it rather difficult to get through.

897. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

Publisher: Bloomsbury– Released March 31, 2015

Pages: 384

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Summary: Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics, The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.

It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?

***Spoilers Ahead***

My Thoughts: Overall this was a beautiful contemporary! I was really able to relate to Paige because, she mentioned she was an introvert and at times, I can be introverted too! She also mentioned her love of reading which, of course, I can relate to as well.  It was great to read about  her growth and learning to accept Aaron’s death. And it was also great to see her finally admit her feelings to Max by the end! The pacing was great and the overall messages of this story were great too! Highly recommend this YA contemporary.

898. The Game of Love & Death by Martha Brockenbrough

Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books– Released April 28, 2015

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Summary: Antony and Cleopatra. Helen of Troy and Paris. Romeo and Juliet. And now… Henry and Flora.

For centuries Love and Death have chosen their players. They have set the rules, rolled the dice, and kept close, ready to influence, angling for supremacy. And Death has always won. Always.

Could there ever be one time, one place, one pair whose love would truly tip the balance?

Meet Flora Saudade, an African-American girl who dreams of becoming the next Amelia Earhart by day and sings in the smoky jazz clubs of Seattle by night. Meet Henry Bishop, born a few blocks and a million worlds away, a white boy with his future assured—a wealthy adoptive family in the midst of the Great Depression, a college scholarship, and all the opportunities in the world seemingly available to him.

The players have been chosen. The dice have been rolled. But when human beings make moves of their own, what happens next is anyone’s guess.

***Spoilers Ahead***

My Thoughts: This was a very unique story. I loved Henry and Flora as main characters. The author’s writing style is captivating and adds an element of mystery. The alternating chapters between Henry, Flora, and Love&Death let me understand each characters fully and understand the world through their eyes. It gets 4 stars because, I felt at times it went a little slow for me but other than that, I really loved this book and highly recommend it if you have read The Diviners by Libba Bray (both stories immerse you in an atmosphere of the early 1900’s)  or just love YA Historical Fiction.

What books did you read this month? 🙂