Love, Lucy by April Lindner ARC Review

Friday, 27 February 2015 0 comments
Love, Lucy by April Lindner
Publication: January 27, 2015, by Poppy
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher/The NOVL Newsletter

While backpacking through Florence, Italy, during the summer before she heads off to college, Lucy Sommersworth finds herself falling in love with the culture, the architecture, the food...and Jesse Palladino, a handsome street musician. After a whirlwind romance, Lucy returns home, determined to move on from her "vacation flirtation." But just because summer is over doesn't mean Lucy and Jesse are over, too. 
In this coming-of-age romance, April Lindner perfectly captures the highs and lows of a summer love that might just be meant to last beyond the season.

When I finished reading this book, my majestic warm-hearted side of me thought, "What a gorgeous damn read." April Lindner was, and still is one of my favourite authors, with each of her stellar novels ending up with a perfect 5 star rating. I'm obsessed and totally innocent, what else can I say? Love, Lucy is probably one of the few best reads that I've picked up this year and there's no doubt that it will end up on my end-of-the-year best book final list. It shattered me, threw me into the wall of happiness, and I can't help but still feel giggly and contoured in the romance.

"The world would turn, the bus would move, and twenty-four hours later she would be on a train speeding away from him, but at least they had this moment."
After my tragic goodbye to Stephanie Perkins' Anna and the French Kiss trilogy back in the summer, I swore to myself that I'd never find a getaway-travel European-romance novel that good ever again. To be honest, I think I've just discovered a rival, and a competitor at this point of time, and I simply need more; April Lindner hasn't written anything new for a long time! When you look at all of the events and plot twists, this is real life. Love doesn't come that easily to everyone and it takes time to form, but it can also happen in an one-night stand, where Lindner sculpted all of the realism to absolute perfection and nothing less.

This all began with Lucy going on a backpacking trip with her mother's friend's daughter, Charlene, who's currently a junior in the college that Lucy herself with be going to in just a week to major in business, which she absolutely is not excited for, as her father forced her to forget about her acting dreams by bribing her on the European trip. Once she gets to her second-last stop, Florence, Italy, she falls in love with the city and its history, and as well with Jesse, an American who's living his life in Italy with his best friend. Her life is everything she has been waiting for, but remembering that it won't last is stumping her. But anything is possible, no?

"When it arrived, the sunset—orange with streaks of red—was so beautiful it made her heart ache. She found herself longing for someone, anyone, to watch it with."
 The city was absolutely gorgeous. I fell in love with the descriptions, and I want to go to ITALY ASAP. I want to go to all of the tourist attractions and sightings and fall in love the same way as Lucy did. With all of the issues contained here and seeing that life isn't all perfect with romance as movies are, this was perfect.

From beginning to end, this was all strengths. EVERYTHING WAS PERFECT. THE ROMANCE KILLED ME AND MADE ME SCREAM AND FANGIRL AND DIE. I LOVE JESSE AND I LOVED SHANE AND ALL OF THE CHARACTERS. *breathes heavily* I don't have enough, I'll never have enough. 

Love, Lucy was a book that you can take on a road trip, or read on a snowy day. It really doesn't matter when or why, because I know that you'll enjoy it—everyone will enjoy it. The plot was hot and perfect, and the characters changed my life forever. April Lindner is a fabulous author, and I'm so glad to have had read this in one sitting, where all of the feelings and addictions were there. You won't regret this at all, go and devour to the highest standards!

*A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much!*

Hit by Delilah S. Dawson Review

Thursday, 26 February 2015 0 comments
Hit, by Delilah S. Dawson
Published On: April 14, 2015, by Simon Pulse
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Dystopia, Romance, Mystery/Murder/Thriller
Pages: 336
Format: ARC

The good news is that the USA is finally out of debt. The bad news is that we were bought out by Valor National Bank, and debtors are the new big game, thanks to a tricky little clause hidden deep in the fine print of a credit card application. Now, after a swift and silent takeover that leaves 9-1-1 calls going through to Valor voicemail, they’re unleashing a wave of anarchy across the country.
Patsy didn’t have much of a choice. When the suits showed up at her house threatening to kill her mother then and there for outstanding debt unless Patsy agreed to be an indentured assassin, what was she supposed to do? Let her own mother die?
Patsy is forced to take on a five-day mission to complete a hit list of ten names. Each name on Patsy's list has only three choices: pay the debt on the spot, agree to work as a bounty hunter, or die. And Patsy has to kill them personally, or else her mom takes a bullet of her own.
Since yarn bombing is the only rebellion in Patsy's past, she’s horrified and overwhelmed, especially as she realizes that most of the ten people on her list aren't strangers. Things get even more complicated when a moment of mercy lands her with a sidekick: a hot rich kid named Wyatt whose brother is the last name on Patsy's list. The two share an intense chemistry even as every tick of the clock draws them closer to an impossible choice.
Delilah S. Dawson offers an absorbing, frightening glimpse at a reality just steps away from ours—a taut, suspenseful thriller that absolutely mesmerizes from start to finish.

   *Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much!*

This book was like one of those 911 calls that this book's world couldn't take—breathtaking, heart-pounding, and certainly life changing. Coming from being my first Delilah S. Dawson book, I’m all but disappointed and this is definitely going to make it onto my top 10 favourite books that were released in 2015. 

I feel so mega-fortunate to have been given a copy of this way early before the real release date. I was captivated from the first second, and I really need to go and read Servants of the Storm as soon as possible. I’m still left so breathless and speechless. Gear with me here, as I blow through my fangirlized review.

Hit really did hit me hard, right in the heart. Dawson has truly brought a new subject of dystopia into the world. Right from the first “victim,” I thought of this sort of like a mix of The Purge, one of those crazy thriller movies that really scared the beep out of me. It’s very difficult to find those touching dystopias out there, as the world is mostly revolved to read those rebellion-testing types of books. Not that I have a problem with those, it just seems like the world is getting too hooked on Divergent and Matched. This was like a breath of fresh air, and YOU ALL NEED TO PICK THIS BOOK UP AS SOON AS YOU CAN. I feel so blessed to have gotten this out of Edelweiss early, haha.

As you read this, you’ll be thinking about how such a powerful and moving story can come out of a simple idea. The plot was so magnificent and moving, and I was unable to do anything else except reading. I felt like I was there, right in the book. Be ready to become Sherlock Holmes, as theories will be smashing into your head every page, people!

For something that was 336 pages, it felt like there was all of the depth in the world and for a standalone (which I’m surely hoping it’s 100% not), so much was happening all the time. There really wasn’t a page that passed where there wasn’t some sort of event that changed the storyline. And everything all began when we met the most kickass protagonist, Patsy Klein. In the beginning, her role with the whole bank (Valor) and the government was unclear, but the author got us knowing right away. 

She’s basically a bounty hunter for the government. She’s living alone with her mother who is depressed, once was in the hospital, and is keeping many secrets from her—including one that gets Patsy this “job” and she’s forced to or else her and her mother are killed. Yeah, there’s no more “America.” Valor is now owning everything and everyone, and they seem to think that they can do whatever the hell they’d like to. Patsy is now an assassin, and she’s assigned to go after 10 people—people who haven’t paid their debts to Valor. Patsy has to go up to each and every one of them, one by one, and give them three choices: pay the debt in cash on the spot, get killed, or become an assassin. It’s basically as simple as that, but once Patsy begins, she’s not sure if she’s able to handle 10 deaths, if possible. She has five days to get all 10 to make their decision, and as she meets the “victims,” she finds that there’s something about them that’s familiar. Of course, the Valor has done their homeowrk and knows everything about Patsy and her family. And then, she falls in love so easily. What else is there to take a stand against her and winning?

Patsy Klein is probably my most favourite protagonist, ever. 

EVER, PEOPLE. Now, you’re probably thinking I’m crazy, but I’m so fucking obsessed with this book. After reading, it’s all I can think about and I feel forced to write a super long review to get all of my thoughts together. Patsy was the most kickass and badass character to have hit my shelves. At the same time, she’s sweet and caring and independent, and she doesn’t let people change her way of thinking, no matter what they have for her. She’s willing to risk and sacrifice herself to make people in her life happy. God, she’s also a genius, by the way. Who’d plan that whole ending out so well as she did? Albert Einstein has competition from the looks of it.

Shh… Don’t tell anyone, but—I’d sure love to be a bounty hunter if I had her smarts and ways, hehe. I HAVE A WOMAN CRUSH ON PATSY! *apologizes to the bookgods for my behaviour*

Old men were afraid of her, every single victim that she had got the shivers when she pointed that gun up at them. I SQUEAL WHEN SHE DOES HER ACTION SCENES. And really——she doesn’t need a man to cover her up and help her. Wyatt must have been so proud when she’d just walk out of those crappy homes like a boss with a dead body lying on the floor.

From the other reviews I’ve read on Goodreads, people have noted that they don’t seem to understand why Wyatt trusted Patsy so easily. It’s complicated. But I guess that every book needs a little impossible in it, and their true love and realism just fit together like peanut butter and jelly. For me, their love wasn’t something to question or think hard about. It just happened, slowly, and they had such a bond and friendship that it was meant to be. AND THEN THAT ENDING?

The ending wasn’t really happy… It was agonizing, but obvious. I didn’t even think that it would happen, and that was the greatest ending to such a heart-pounding read. The best thing was that the characters were happy (I’m totally am not going to spoil this at all) and there were no complaints throughout the whole book whatsoever. 

I have this huge scientific theory about what was the meaning behind this whole book, by the way: 

So the government took over the world, eventually. But there were rebels, just as Wyatt and Patsy became to be, but they were the good kind. They probably joined that group that Patsy found out about when she was at Adelaine’s house, and probably contacted Patsy’s mother later if things got okay and all was calm.

Okay, it wasn’t that scientific, but I do hope that happiness occurred. We can all hope, right? 

One of the best things about this book was the fact that there was such a tight connection between the main protagonists, Wyatt and Patsy. They didn’t feel like they had to kill in order to survive—mainly Patsy in this situation, but they did it for others. And nothing was intense and it wasn’t one of those heavy romances where it all focused on that. The meaning behind this book was so far in the lines, so you’ll probably be sitting there after trying to figure it all out. 

We really need a sequel HERE, people. If it’s a standalone, then the ending was really cliffhang-y, but I don’t mind—since this book was so amazing. Delilah S. Dawson is going to impress every single one of you, just wait. I still can’t enough, and this is totally listed as 2015’s best dystopias; I know it’ll be.

From PATSY (THE MOST KICKASS PROTAGONIST EVER) TO HOT WYATT, TO THE GORGEOUS STORY AND ADDICTING PLOT, to the romance and the meaning, there’s no complaints here, not even a 0.0000001% chance of any. Hit was calm, sweet, and pounding to the heart, banging to the head, and most of all, memorable to a crazy reader. I NEED MORE, I really don’t know how life is going to go on without this.

Starry Night by Isabel Gillies Review

Wednesday, 25 February 2015 2 comments
Starry Night, by Isabel Gillies
Publication: September 2, 2014, by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Rating: ½

Sometimes one night can change everything. On this particular night, Wren and her three best friends are attending a black-tie party at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to celebrate the opening of a major exhibit curated by her father. An enormous wind blasts through the city, making everyone feel that something unexpected and perhaps wonderful will happen. And for Wren, that something wonderful is Nolan. With his root-beer-brown Michelangelo eyes, Nolan changes the way Wren’s heart beats. In Isabel Gillies's Starry Night, suddenly everything is different. Nothing makes sense except for this boy. What happens to your life when everything changes, even your heart? How much do you give up? How much do you keep?

Books that make your heart feel guilty of wanting more and that fluttering feeling with cuteness come and go. No for real—they simply just come once in a while, and never seem to go. Starry Night left me with a glitter-filled mind, where I was wishing for a romance so artistic that van Gogh would've given a huge approval for. Gillies did this so amazingly that I kept searching for more in a gorgeous majestic sunshine painting.

After reading, I feel like everything in my life now relates to art. Yeah, there's always many cheesy books where the protagonist is an artist or has those huge dreams, but this one worked. The best thing was that this wasn't picture perfect and it showed that it isn't that easy to find that kind of relationship, yet it isn't impossible because things work out to be that way a ton of times, especially after looking at the ending, which left me shocked and shredded into pieces.

"I don't think you fall in love for the first time until something—or someone—feels dangerous. I don't mean dangerous like going to jail, I guess I mean just different, really different."
You can say that the protagonist here, Wren, is clueless in life and love. But the best thing is that she's searching for it. It wasn't cheesy where she wasn't expecting the love and it suddenly just came to her, it was meant to be at the right moment where her and Nolan were both expecting the same kind of thing from each other. The way they meet was unexpected and everyone was shipping them so hard, including the family members. It was all perfect.

I guess compared to the really low ratings, I kept a total positive attitude towards this. In the end, I liked it much more than I expected, and sure there were some mishaps and weak things going on with the plot from the beginning towards the end of the middle, I can definitely recommend it. When I started reading, I was hoping for the best as I saw the low ratings where everyone was giving this a 2 star. The rating on Goodreads is 2.96 for goodness sake's! Why? I guess I can't really figure that out too well since I did like it by the end.

The plot of this was one of the problems. The beginning to middle was weak, as I had trouble getting interested in what was going on. The writing seemed weak and dull and I lost control of what I was trying to get from the message. But thankfully, Nolan and Wren's power stayed with me. Their romance was gorgeous, and I never had enough. THEY'RE SO CUTE AND THEN UGH ISABEL GILLIES KILLED ME. I'm not going to note what's going to happen, though it did shock me to the bones and I'm still left shaking.

With a gorgeous romance and characters, I have to say that Isabel Gillies has done a job well done with writing a novel that artists will see the deepness in. I can't stop thinking about it and I'm so excited to see more from the author. NREN FOREVER! #SHIP

Top Ten Tuesday #30: Favourite Book Heroines

Tuesday, 24 February 2015 6 comments

-Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by Broke and Bookish,
which features bookish lists with your opinions to share with readers.-

Top Favourite Book Heroines

1. Rose Hathaway, Vampire Academy

2. Tessa Gray, The Infernal Devices

3. Celaena Sardothien, Throne of Glass

4. America Singer, The Selection

5. Juliette Ferrars, Shatter Me

6. Clary Fray, The Mortal Instruments

7. Clara Gardner, Unearthly

8. Kelsey Hayes, The Tiger Saga

9. Ember Hill, Talon

10. Del, Dissonance

Well, you already know why I love these gorgeous ladies...

Who are your favourite bookish heroines?

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart Review

Monday, 23 February 2015 0 comments
We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart
Publication: May 13, 2014, by Delacorte Press
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 227
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Rating:  ½

A beautiful and distinguished family.A private island.A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.A revolution. An accident. A secret.Lies upon lies.True love.The truth. We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 

E. Lockhart is really one of my favourite authors. I've been reading her books for the longest time, starting off with The Boyfriend List back when I was younger. I can somewhat say that her books have been with me from the start, and this is a huge change, jumping from contemporary-chick lit to something kind of like Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas. This was impressive and a great change to the genre that I've been dealing with recently.

As a perfect summer or midseason winter-blues romance, this can definitely be classified as a pure young-adult psychological thriller. From time to time while reading, I found that its type and genre kept switching to keep it looking "innocent" from time to time. If you read this at the beach and finish it, beware that a fear of the people sitting next to you will form. Not such a typical summer read, huh? The concept was manipulative to the mind, but it kept me thinking from time to time and the poetic written format was the most 'special' part of it all.

"I felt the love rush from me to Gat and from Gat to me. We were warm and shivering, and young and ancient, and alive. I was thinking, It's true. We already love each other. We already do."
As Oscar Wilde once said, "No man is rich enough to buy back his past," and that quote goes with this book more than anything. The Liars, the friends—they're all filthy rich and are used to luxury and to all of the best in the world. Once you open the hardcover edition of the book, you will spot a family tree showing the inheritances of everyone. DAMN, THEY'RE ALL RELATED AND GET TO LIVE ON THAT GORGEOUS ISLAND DURING THE SUMMER. *cries* Okay, so that may seem like your annual perfect vacation that you have in mind, but you may not want to live with the actual people on the island.

You may think that these characters have the perfect posh life, but their personalities sure aren't. You see, our Liars here are: Cadence, Mirren, Gat and Johnny. These people each have their own secrets but somehow they're and have always been together? That's the question that kept floating in my mind but I guess in order to read this book you'll have to deal with the questions of the unnecessary weirdo friendship here. They're spoiled brats and each of them got on my nerves in their own little-posh-way. 

With a mix of different genres and writing styles (poetic to regular narrative-format) I see this as something new and different introduced to the YA fiction world. With about half a year after its first printing, this has won the hearts of many of my bloggy friends and of course, many starred reviews and awards—including the 2014 Goodreads Choice Awards. I don't know about you, but that totally must mean something. Though, I didn't see it as that amazing compared to the opinions and expressions faced by other reviewers that I personally know. What did they seem to have seen differently than I, in a positive way?

The characters. Basing this off of my past experiences, I can tell you that Lockhart has a heart of gold when forming relatable characters. In her 'Ruby Oliver' series, I found her protagonist, Ruby, to explain the thoughts of every teenager out there someway. Ruby was relatable and I adored her to death, still remembering her quirky ways 5 years later. But these guys?—I sure won't remember them, even in a few weeks' time. 

I can't really explain who was the main character and who wasn't, as Lockhart paid special attention to each of the Liars. But Cadence is the one who's story was the problem. I mean, when we find out what actually happened, you can tell that it has to do with someone on the island and that there's a meaning behind all of this. Add cliffhangers and plot twists and you've got this book. 

"We should not let family fall apart. We should not accept an evil we can change. We would stand up against it, would we not? Yes. We should. We would be heroes, even."
Deep? Deep. Coming of age? Coming of age. Unexpectedly we got a flash of realism around and around, but Lockhart didn't take it to that undeniably crazy point that most authors with psychological fiction do with. The ending of this was something that you can easily stress over with and wonder if it happens in reality. The plot did need improvement as this was just a healing story where Cadence was trying to figure out what happened and who she is in, though it's the book you'll spend an evening with and have a 50/50 chance to become captured with and into. Detectives won't even be able to solve this stuff.

Spend an evening reading this because it's not too easy to set aside, let having to get your mind to focus on something else for awhile. E. Lockhart did a splendid job with her newest comeback, bringing us into a huge mystery/thriller, with friendship and questions that will still haunt your mind today. Throw in some unrelated characters and a messy plot, and this is the total outcome you get—a mystery that you'd see on the news, indeed.