Review: Easy by Tammara Webber

Easy Tammara WebberEasy

Author: Tammara Webber
Berkley Trade
Release Date: November 6, 2012
Pages: 310
Source: Library
Rating: 5 out of 5

When Jacqueline follows her longtime boyfriend to the college of his choice, the last thing she expects is a breakup two months into sophomore year. After two weeks in shock, she wakes up to her new reality: she’s single, attending a state university instead of a music conservatory, ignored by her former circle of friends, and failing a class for the first time in her life.

Leaving a party alone, Jacqueline is assaulted by her ex’s frat brother. Rescued by a stranger who seems to be in the right place at the right time, she wants nothing more than to forget the attack and that night – but her savior, Lucas, sits on the back row of her econ class, sketching in a notebook and staring at her. Her friends nominate him to be the perfect rebound.

When her attacker turns stalker, Jacqueline has a choice: crumple in defeat or learn to fight back. Lucas remains protective, but he’s hiding secrets of his own. Suddenly appearances are everything, and knowing who to trust is anything but easy. – GoodRead

I went through this little phase at the beginning of 2013 where I read NA after NA after NA. Eventually, I got so bored with New Adult that I took a couple of months off of them, until now. Easy by Tammara Webber is a completely refreshing read, and whether it be because of my timing or not, I fell hard for this story.

I’m sure if I read Easy during that New Adult obsession phase, this book still would have stood out to me. Why? Because even though the plot is a bit typical (bad boy/good girl, dark past, etc.) in that eye-rolling way in this particular genre, Webber sprinkles in disparate elements here and there that really differentiates this one from all of the other stories. She does this so well that the classic NA storyline is slight and unimportant. Another minor factor that is insignificant to my feelings for this book (but notable) is the predictability of the story. I’m not going to mention what specifically is predictable– in case of spoilers– but it isn’t annoying. Again, Webber has the ability to keep the readers flipping pages.

The strong point in Easy has to be the diverse cast of characters. Our main character Jacqueline doesn’t necessarily start off as a weak character in the beginning, but she does grow significantly by the end. I loved watching her develop and learn from mistakes, as well as become a stronger woman. The love interest, Lucas, is to die for. Yes, I fell for the bad boy. But he’s not just a bad boy, he’s also protective, caring, artistic, and smart. I couldn’t have asked for a better love interest. Aside from the main characters, the side ones really contribute to the story in a great way as well. For example, Jacqueline’s best friend Erin and her enthusiasm, Jacqueline’s econ buddy Benji and his hilarity, and even Dr. Heller and his caring manner. Webber creates characters that are exquisitely real and palpable, for which I adored every single one.

Some other things that are greatly admirable in this novel are things like the romance, writing style, and “issue”. The romance is a slow one, and a heated one at that. In every scene where Jacqueline and Lucas were together, I couldn’t help but swoon and fan myself. I loved every minute of it! Webber’s writing style isn’t jaw-droppingly amazing, but I found it to be very suiting for this story (for some reason). As for the “issue”, the way the characters deal with it is respectable and helpful to readers.

If it isn’t obvious enough, Easy was a successful New Adult read for me. This story has some minor kinks, but I refutably overlooked them because of the endearingly realistic characters, the swoon-worthy romance, adequate writing style, and the twists in the plot. I can honestly say that Easy stands out in the New Adult genre. I’ll definitely be picking up Tammara Webbers old and upcoming books!


Review: The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

The Beginning of Everything Robyn SchneiderThe Beginning of Everything

Author: Robyn Schneider
Katherine Tegen
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Pages: 330
Source: Edelweiss/HarperCollins
Rating: 5 out of 5

Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?

Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings. – GoodRead

I don’t even know where to start with The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider. This book left me in awe, and it’s one of those books where, after you finish reading it, you kind of collapse on your bed and just sit there to think for a little bit. I know I did. It starts off great, and ends on an even more uplifting note. There are too many amazing things to say about The Beginning of Everything.

For example, the first thing that catches the reader’s attention is Schneider’s writing style. It’s smart, expressive, and hilarious. It works really well with this novel in particular, and it reminds me of John Green’s witty writing style (which I love!). Secondly, this book is told from a male’s perspective, and I must give Robyn a round of applause for doing such a great job. Schneider does this so particularly well in fact, I forgot that this book is written by a female author.

The characters are the real gem in this story, especially the change they all go through. My favorite development is with the main character Ezra. Previously a star tennis player and part of the popular crowd, he feels like he no longer belongs after a tragic accident he experiences. However, he reunites with old friends and meets new ones, and he unknowingly searches to find himself. I found this to be an inspirational adventure. Along the way, he meets Cassidy, an enigmatic girl who speaks by poetry and riddles. I personally didn’t like how their romance ended, but it’s one of those cases where it HAD to happen and it makes sense the way it did. As the characters in The Beginning of Everything learn and grow in the story, the reader isn’t able to help but go along for the ride and feel the character’s sentiments just as if they were their own.

Lastly, the overall message and feeling for this book plays a huge factor in my enjoyment for this novel. I’m not going to say what the specific moral of the story is, but the general affect is a positive one, pleasing and optimistic. The ending is a bit open-ended in a way, however it’s just enough that you know Ezra will go the right path in his life. The conclusion is inexplicably and undoubtedly tender, inspirational, and satisfying.

*takes deep breath* The Beginning of Everything is an insightful novel that John Green fans won’t want to miss. With an intelligent writing style, real to-the-bone characters, and an outstanding overall conclusion, I highly recommend this beautiful story.

AND AND AND, Cassidy specifically recites this line to Ezra that I’m just in love with:



Guest Review: The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner

The Summer of Letting Go Gae PolisnerThe Summer of Letting Go

Author: Gae Polisner
Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: March 18, 2014
Pages: 272
Source: Edelweiss/Netgalley/Algonquin Young Readers
Rating: 4 out of 5

Just when everything seems to be going wrong, hope and love can appear in the most unexpected places.

Summer has begun, the beach beckons and Francesca Schnell is going nowhere. Four years ago, Francesca’s little brother, Simon, drowned, and Francesca is the one who should have been watching. Now Francesca is about to turn sixteen, but guilt keeps her stuck in the past. Meanwhile, her best friend, Lisette, is moving on most recently with the boy Francesca wants but can’t have. At loose ends, Francesca trails her father, who may be having an affair, to the local country club. There she meets four-year-old Frankie Sky, a little boy who bears an almost eerie resemblance to Simon, and Francesca begins to wonder if it’s possible Frankie could be his reincarnation. Knowing Frankie leads Francesca to places she thought she’d never dare to go and it begins to seem possible to forgive herself, grow up, and even fall in love, whether or not she solves the riddle of Frankie Sky. – GoodRead

The Summer of Letting Go is a younger YA novel, but it had the ability to break my heart and mend it back together all at the same time. Powerful, unique, and overall breathtaking, The Summer of Letting Go is a must-read for readers who love tender stories.

Essentially, the best part about The Summer of Letting Go is the relationship between Francesca and Frankie. As a little background: Francesca’s 4 year-old brother Simon drowned two years ago at the beach on her watch, and she is riddled with guilt until she meets 4 year-old Frankie, who resembles Simon in the uttermost similar way. She ends up babysitting him for the duration of the summer, and their relationship grows strongly from there. I am astonished by the bond between this teenage girl and toddler boy– it’s so genuine and heartwarming. Frankie’s innocence and Francesca’s care for him squeezed my heart and tugged at my heartstrings most definitely.

Furthermore, Francesca’s growth in character also plays a significant role in the story. Starting out as someone who wasn’t willing to let go of her guilt, Frankie helped in allowing her to accept her brother’s death and move on. I also was intrigued by the reincarnation aspect of the story, and the mystery behind it.

The only minor complaint I have for The Summer of Letting Go is the romance. I have a love-hate relationship with the romance in this story because while I understand that it is there to make it seem more realistic for a real teenage girl’s life, I think it pulled the attention away from the main part of the story, Frankie & Francesca. Romance plays a huge role in a teenager’s life, but I don’t think it was necessary in the story at all.

All in all, The Summer of Letting Go is a heartwarming story that will induce readers to think about responsibility, life, and how to live it. Although the romance detracted from the main relationship in the story, I still highly recommend this story if you’re in for some tears of grief, joy, and everything in between.

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Review: Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

Uninvited Sophie JordanUninvited

Author: Sophie Jordan
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Pages: 384
Source: Edelweiss/HarperCollins
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report in bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s chilling new novel about a teenage girl who is ostracized when her genetic test proves she’s destined to become a murderer.

When Davy Hamilton’s tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn’t feel any different, but genes don’t lie. One day she will kill someone.

Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he’s not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.

The first in a two-book series, Uninvited tackles intriguing questions about free will, identity, and human nature. Steeped in New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s trademark mix of gripping action and breathless romance, this suspenseful tale is perfect for fans of James Patterson, Michelle Hodkin, and Lisa McMann. – GoodRead

Wow, I totally did not expect to like Uninvited as much as I did! The concept of the killer DNA gene was intriguing to me, but I wasn’t dying to pick this one up. But once I started reading, I couldn’t stop! Uninvited has it all, from the fast-paced plot, addicting writing style, and swoon-worthy romance.

The most prominent aspect of this novel has to be, of course, the idea that people in the future are carriers of the killer gene in their DNA, and are “marked” as dangerous. Sophie Jordan executes this idea spectacularly and I was fully convinced of the fear and anxiety that the society feels for these carriers. Before each chapter, there are little segments of information providing the government’s ideas about the future of the carriers, presenting to readers what is to come in the chapter. This snippets were informational but no overwhelming in any way, which I appreciated.

Character and romance-wise, I thought Jordan did an outstanding job with the characters’ voices and the creation of these real, humane characters that I couldn’t help but FEEL for. Davy, the main character, starts out as this perfect girl who everyone at school yearns to be. Readers might come across this as annoying and superficial, but I think Jordan made a choice in doing so to contrast her life from before, to what it is after. In my eyes, Davy is a strong girl, and doesn’t deserve to be this monster, a carrier. Yet, she pushes through and aspires to maintain her humanity and conceal it from the government at the same time. Later on in the story, readers meet the potential love interest, and MAN. Jordan does what an author rarely ever does: she creates a sexual-tension romance that occurs during the entire story, and doesn’t let the romantic couple kiss until the last 10%. Yes, you heard me right. To me, this really shows that the romance is genuine and real, developing over time. I swooned hard for this guy: strong, tough, mysterious, and yes, a bad-boy. It all sounds cliché now, but I honestly can’t tell you what else made me swoon for him. He’s just that remarkable.

Finally, the plot-pacing is exciting throughout the entire story. Uninvited is undeniably a page-flipper. Jordan’s mix of world-building and characters all add up to well-constructed plot, inducing the readers to find out more. I have to admit that the second half of the story is similar to a typical dystopian story, but nevertheless, it’s still riveting. The ending is satisfying, but leaves the reader wanting more.

In short, Uninvited is a heart-racing dystopian/thriller/sci-fi that I thoroughly devoured. The perfect blend of a fascinating concept, endearing characters, a hot romance, and a gripping plot, Uninvited is not a story you’ll want to miss. I’ll certainly be counting down the days to the sequel!


Review: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Open Road Summer Emery Lord Open Road Summer

Author: Emery Lord
Publisher: Walker Children’s
Release Date: April 15, 2014
Pages: 352
Source: Netgalley/Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books
Rating: 5 out of 5

After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own.

Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence.

This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking.

A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes. – GoodRead

I don’t even know if I can convey my love and emotions forOpen Road Summer. This book is the DEFINITION of summer! It’s only spring right now but it has seriously gotten me so pumped for the summer, the heat, and the freetime to be with my friends. The overall mood is lighthearted and generally fantastic. AND THAT ROMANCE. Whew, readers will definitely want to pick this one up for sure!

I was only a few pages in when I knew I would love this book. It wasn’t the characters that did it for me from the start– it was Emery Lord’s writing itself! Lord’s writing is full of metaphors and is surely flowy and easily readable. Sure it’s a fluffy summer book, but let’s not forget about those song lyrics! That’s some real talent there. 😉 Not only was Lord’s writing style gorgeous, but it also set me in the right mood almost instantly every time a new scene began. Lord’s way with words is always accurate; I can tell she is skilled in that she is able to choose exactly the right words to convey a certain mood in the moment.

Furthermore, the plot for Open Road Summer was so incredibly fun! It’s similar to a road trip, but unique in that it’s blended with multiple concerts, a best friend, and a bit of a darker tone. I really did love the celebrity aspect and I felt like I was on tour with Dee Montgomery herself. Things were a little predictable, but it didn’t bother me one bit.

I have to say for the most part, I loved the characters. Let’s talk about the main character Reagan, also where the POV is told from. She’s definitely the most conflicted character here. She comes from a dark past and she’s a BAD girl, one who was involved in illegal activity. She’s that girl that boys don’t want to bring home to their parents. She’s snarky and sometimes even rude. However, I think that’s what I liked about her–HER SASS. Yes  friends, Reagan is probably one of the sassiest girls in YA, and she has a backbone. She becomes stronger throughout the novel, which is what I always look for in a novel. Aside from Reagan, I loved her best friend, the famous Dee/Lilah Montgomery as well. I totally pictured her as Taylor Swift the entire time, the similarities were most definitely there. And finally, Matt. Matt Freaking Finch. ❤ YOU GUYS. NEW FAVORITE YA BOYFRIEND. RIGHT. HERE. Yes, he deserves all caps, because he is so sweet an swoon-worthy. How?! How did Emery Lord such an amazing guy? I’m almost tempted to tell boys to read this book JUST so they know how to talk to girls. YES I WENT THERE.

All things said, I could fangirl about Open Road Summer allll day. It has rekindled my excitement for summer like no other, and overall it just gave me such happy feels. I couldn’t ask for more from a debut author; count me as a fan, Emery!


Review: More Than This by Patrick Ness

More Than This Patrick NessMore Than This

Author: Patrick Ness
Candlewick Press
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Pages: 472 pages
Source: Netgalley/Candlewick
Rating: 5 out of 5

A boy drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments. He dies.

Then he wakes, naked and bruised and thirsty, but alive.

How can this be? And what is this strange deserted place?

As he struggles to understand what is happening, the boy dares to hope. Might this not be the end? Might there be more to this life, or perhaps this afterlife?

From multi-award-winning Patrick Ness comes one of the most provocative and moving novels of our time. – GoodReads

I went into More Than This with sky-rocketing expectations. If you all know me, you know that I love Patrick Ness’s stories. More than love– as in he’s pretty much my favorite author ever. I was honest to goodness scared to death (with a hollow pit in my stomach) to pick this story up; I was that nervous. Would it disappoint me?

And the answer turned out to be a big fat no. Because a few pages in and I knew there was no way this book was going to be a letdown. In fact, after reading the last beautiful word in More Than This, I practically bawled my eyes out. Ladies and gentlemen, this is one heck of a gorgeous story. In attempt to express my (in)coherent thoughts, I’m going to list a few points:

First off, don’t read the synopsis, or try avoid all synopsis descriptions in reviews as much as possible. I went into this story not knowing much at all, and that was pretty much the best part. I didn’t have a clue what genre this book was, and trust me, that makes the experience 110% better. There’s this clawing curiosity throughout the whole book, and I found myself asking tons of question, but I was also happy that things were so mysterious.

Also, the characters in this story are just as real, raw, and relatable as they can possibly be. I fell in love with the male protagonist Seth immediately. He is confused and lost at the start, but by the end he is a strong boy who knows the world. And more importantly, how to live it.

Lastly, the overall message that is revealed in the end is absolutely uplifting and in some ways, surprising. I don’t want to say what it is (obviously), but I can say that it leaves the book on a very good note.

This review is so short, but I really am speechless by Patrick Ness’s latest work for YA readers. It’s deep, profound, and touching on a whole new level. More Than This is, without a doubt, is one of my favorite books of 2013. *clutches heart* This is a must-read!


Review: Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Where the Stars Still Shine Trish DollerWhere the Stars Still Shine

Author: Trish Doller
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Pages: 352
Source: Netgalley/Bloomsbury
Rating: 5 out of 5

Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She’s never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love–even with someone who seems an improbable choice–is more than just a possibility.

Trish Doller writes incredibly real teens, and this searing story of love, betrayal, and how not to lose your mind will resonate with readers who want their stories gritty and utterly true. – GoodReads

I remember reading Trish Doller’s debut novel last year, Something Like Normal, and really super enjoyed it. I was more than ecstatic to pick up Where the Stars Still Shine, and, after reading it, I can happily say that this made it to my 2013 favorites.

Laced with a gorgeous writing style throughout the entire novel, Where the Stars Still Shine was a vivid story with a very realistic setting in the small town in Florida. This particular setting really enhanced the story for me, and it was utter perfection.

Not only this, but the characters in this story were also incredibly lovable and heart-wrenching. If I wasn’t from the start, I became so attached to each and every character by the end that I couldn’t help but tear up a little when the story ended. Doller has that affect on you: the one where she creates such authentic characters that you sometimes question why they ended up in a fictional book, and not in reality. Callie, the deeply wounded main character, progresses slowly throughout the story, since she did not live a normal life through her growing years. I have to say that I didn’t agree with all of her decisions, but they were all understandable in her situation. While she doesn’t fully recover by the end of the story, Doller leaves the reader knowing that things do get better for her, and it’s an overall beautiful feeling.

The romance. Oh, the romance. At first, I wasn’t even sure this particular guy in the story was the love interest, but I couldn’t have asked for a better guy for Callie. The romance starts off as a pure insta-lust kind of love, but Doller really dives into the nitty-gritty of it all and it really becomes a romance that is swoon-worthy, genuinely flawed, and real. Have I mentioned that this guy is swoon-worthy? YUM.

I’m not sure if I can go any further to convince you to pick this book up, because seriously, this contemporary is magnificently written with unbelievably real characters and a die-hard romance. Where the Stars Still Shine will make your heart unfold their wings and soar– I bow down to you, Trish Doller.


Review: The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White

The Chaos of Stars Kiersten WhiteThe Chaos of Stars

Author: Kiersten White
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Pages: 288
Source: Edelweiss/HarperCollins
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Kiersten White, New York Times bestselling author of Paranormalcy, is back with The Chaos of Stars—an enchanting novel set in Egypt and San Diego that captures the magic of first love and the eternally complicated truth about family.

Isadora’s family is seriously screwed up—which comes with the territory when you’re the human daughter of the ancient Egyptian gods Isis and Osiris. Isadora is tired of living with crazy relatives who think she’s only worthy of a passing glance—so when she gets the chance to move to California with her brother, she jumps on it. But her new life comes with plenty of its own dramatic—and dangerous—complications . . . and Isadora quickly learns there’s no such thing as a clean break from family.

Blending Ally Carter’s humor and the romance of Cynthia Hand’s Unearthly, The Chaos of Stars takes readers on an unforgettable journey halfway across the world and back, and proves there’s no place like home. – GoodRead

Kiersten White is well-known for providing that fun, light-hearted quality when writing stories for teens. I knew this going into The Chaos of Stars, and I got exactly that. The Chaos of Stars is an enjoyable novel that reads a lot like a contemporary, but is infused with Egyptian mythology that makes it all the more interesting. There are some minor flaws here and there, but overall I adore this masterpiece White has crafted for her fans.

The main protagonist Isadora is easily one of my favorite aspects about this novel. From the start, the reader learns that she is extremely passionate about interior design and it really shows. I always love when a character is particularly devoted to  something, and can find a hobby that comforts them. Not only this, but Isadora is also a stubborn girl, which may come off as a negative quality, but to me it shows that she is strong and steadfast in her opinions. She also believes that her parents don’t love her, which leads to her understanding that love doesn’t exist forever. Her judgment changes in the story and seeing the light appear in her eyes was a great part in her character development.

Speaking of love, I have kind of mixed feelings about the romance, but more on the positive side. It starts off as a bit insta-love, but White proves that their lust transforms into real love by the end of the story. In fact, their love starts off as a bit of a crush, and it’s a one-sided relationship more than anything. But the romance worked for me, and I ended up really liking where their bond proceeds.

Lastly, the plot of the story is really fun and entertaining. Isadora moves from Egypt to America near the beginning of the story, and it takes off from there. She learns about cars, Coca-Cola, working at a museum, etc., and it reads very much like a contemporary. The Egyptian mythology is definitely present, though. I’m not too familiar with Egyptian mythology myself, but I think White did a good job of utilizing the gods. However, the minor complaint I have about this is that there are tiny little snippets of information at the beginning of each chapter that felt a bit like info-dumps, and I didn’t think they were all that necessary. White could have mixed the mythology lesson into the story more skillfully than that.

My final verdict: the Egyptian mythology sprinkles are a nice addition to the story, but it reads much more like a contemporary with a strong main female protagonist and an okay romance. I’m happy to say that the White’s writing style kept the story light on its feet. If you’re a fan of mythology and you’re in the mood for something quick and fun, I explicitly recommend The Chaos of Stars!