War Storm – Review

War Storm – Review

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Author: Victoria Aveyard

Publisher: Harper Teen

Publication date: May 15, 2018

Pages: 662

Price: $24.99 CAD (hardcover) at Indigo Books & Music Online


Synopsis

Victory comes at a price.

Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all… starting with the crown on Maven’s head.

But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolishing everything—and everyone—in his path.

War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?

In the epic conclusion to Victoria Aveyard’s stunning series, Mare must embrace her fate and summon all her power… for all will be tested, but not all will survive.

First Sentence

“We drown in silence for a long moment.”

Review

Going to be real here, War Storm was my least favorite novel out of the series, and here’s why:

-Does not need to be 600 pages! 

I know that a lot happened in this novel, and I know that most concluding novels are a bit longer but War Storm really did not need to be this long. I thought there were many parts that were pointless and there was a lot of pondering in this book, which was weird considering I liked all the previous books for their great lack of pondering! Many scenes could of been cut shorter or cut out completely because they had nothing to do with the main storyline.

-Too much political talk

There were lots of meeting where the Scarlet Guard would decide the fate of Norta after Maven’s defeat but it was so long and confusing for me to read since I really don’t know anything about politics or war. Maybe to someone who is well informed on these topics would not find it as long and boring as I did, but this is a young adult novel and I doubt many teens are well informed on those subjects. This was another reason why I thought the book was too long, for example there was this scene where they were just fighting about the fate of the country, and one of those scenes would of been good, but there was at least five of them… after a while, it got pretty old.

-Weird endgame

At the time, I had no idea Broken Throne was going to come out, so I figured War Storm would be the last we’d ever get for this series. I knew the end would leave many things unresolved or unfinished because Aveyard just seems like the type to keep us really open for interpretation but I had no idea how far she’d actually go! I was so shook at the ending… we don’t even know if Marecal exists after all of this! Thankfully Broken Throne cleared the air for us!

I give War Storm 4 out of 5 stars!

 

 

King’s Cage – Review

King’s Cage – Review

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Author: Victoria Aveyard

Publisher: Harper Teen

Publication date: February 7th, 2017

Pages: 544

Price: $23.77 CAD (hardcover) at Indigo Books & Music Online


Synopsis

When the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

First Sentence 

“I rise to my feet when he lets me.”

Review

Honestly, pretty sure this is my favorite book out of all the series. Now, I KNOW I also said that for Glass Sword, but I forgot how awesome King’s Cage was! Beware, I might be spoiling a bit in the upcoming paragraphs.

First off, Mare and Cal’s relationship goes through a lot of turmoil in this one. Mare being taken in as a prisoner and Cal’s indecisiveness towards the crown or the people, takes a big toll on them both. It was really hard to read because compared to most YA relationships they were pretty chill and not so uptight with each other which made it so much more chill to read and way less cringy than other books. I think a lot of this goes to Victoria Aveyard’s writing style but also the fact that both of their characters are very mature and responsible compared to most YA relationships.

Mare also goes through so much in this novel, her character really takes a crash. Her prisoner status has made her more vulnerable and sensitive so the downfall of her character is really evident to anyone who reads this one. Although she has Cal, Kilorn, and her family to help her get through it. We do see so much more of the Barrows in this novel, Mare enventually goes and lives with them again and we get to really know Bree and Tramy, – and their relationship with Mare – which weren’t as developed in the first two novels.

“Those who know what it’s like in the dark will do anything to stay in the light.”
― Victoria Aveyard, King’s Cage

My favorite scene in this book would of had to have been when the Scarlet Guard went out to save Mare. The battle scenes sounded so dramatic and epic… it was awesome! The little mind game that got played on Mare and Cal to fight each other was mighty intense. There was no battle this crazy in RQ or GS!

Once again, Victoria Aveyard does an amazing job at explaining everything poetically, throughly but with no dwelling, there’s never too much detail, but there’s always enough to picture it in my head. Some novels will spend half a page describing the light of a table lamp on a ceiling… like you could of just wrote less about that lamp and I would of still been able to picture it, and you’d have saved some paper!

Final Review/Recommendation 

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King’s Cage is definitely my favorite novel out of the Red Queen series. It never had a dull moment, was full of crazy twists and was really well written for a YA novel.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who has enjoyed Red Queen and Glass Sword or to someone who’d like to pick up an intense Fantasy/Dystopian/Romance series!

“As you enter, you pray to leave. As you leave, you pray to never return.”
― Victoria Aveyard, King’s Cage
Glass Sword – Review

Glass Sword – Review

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Author: Victoria Aveyard

Publisher: Harper Teen

Publication Date: February 9, 2016

Pages: 444

Price: $17.12 CAD (Hardcover) at Indigo Books & Music Online


Synopsis 

If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

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.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

First Sentence 

“I flinch.”

Review 

Red Queen was super wild, so I originally thought that in Glass Sword, things would calm down… but JEEZ I was mistaken! Things are getting even more intense!

In this novel, Mare and Cal’s relationship reaches new heights, Cal is skeptical because Mare did betray him and his crown, but he also know that Mare is the only one who saw what truly happened to the former king. Their growing friendship and trust was really interesting to watch develop. Same as seeing for the first time who Maven truly is. He was so docile and friendly during the first novel, its so crazy to think that was all an act!

I like this book much more than I liked the first one, mainly because it goes straight to action, whereas in RQ, there was a lot of explanations and introductions, GS starts right in battle, Mare and Cal have escaped and are currently fleeing with the Scarlet Guard. As soon as you flip to the first page, you are already on the edge of your seat.

“Fire and lightning raised Maven up, and fire and lightning will bring him down.”
― Victoria Aveyard, Glass Sword

Retelling everything that I liked from this book would take me all day, but the one thing that I did not like, was the loss of one of my favorite characters… I won’t spoil, but that loss got some tears out of me. Sacrificial deaths always get the best of me like they really did not need to do that but they did it anyway…. ouf!

Final Review/Recommendation

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I think Glass Sword was even better that Red Queen, so much happened, yet it wasn’t to overwhelming. We get to see the real faces of some of the characters and we get to know new faces too! I think that this series is off to a really good start.

I’d recommend this book to someone who read and enjoyed Red Queen, obviously, and to someone who likes dystopian YA, because these books might just make it on my fav YA dystopian series!

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“If I am a sword, I am a sword made of glass, and I feel myself beginning to shatter.”
― Victoria Aveyard, Glass Sword

Red Queen – Review

Red Queen – Review

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Author: Victoria Aveyard

Publisher: Harper Teen

Publication date: February 10, 2015

Pages: 383

Price: $20.62 CAD (hardcover) at Indigo Books & Music Online


Synopsis 

This is a world divided by blood – red or silver. The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change. That is until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power. Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime. But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.

First Sentence 

“I hate First Friday.”

Review

I’m always quite hesitant when picking out a new series to read. I’m the kind of person who goes all in or not at all. So when I first heard of Red Queen I wanted to read it, but at the same time I wasn’t sure I’d want to read all the books that followed it because at the time, we had just gotten news of War Storm’s upcoming release.

I’m happy I chose to pick up this series because it was actually rather enjoyable. I immediately fell in love with Mare, Cal, Gisa, and Kilorn. They were such fun and unique characters! I got really easily attached lol.

“I’m an accident. I’m a lie. And my life depends on maintaining the illusion.”
― Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen

I also enjoyed this futuristic setting thats taken a turn for the worse sorta vibe going on because we know that the story takes place in the future but there’s not really dates or times so it remains something to ponder on. The discrimination between reds and silvers was also something I could make ties to with this day and age (colour of blood/colour of skin yanno?) and the silver abilities made things so cool! I loved how they all had a different power depending on their house! Overall, I love all the ideas in this book!

There was a couple times where I was really confused with the book, though I’m pretty sure its because I read it in French and my French is terrible. Other than that I have no complaints with this story. It was flowy and interesting and really enjoyable!

“The truth is what I make it. I could set this world on fire and call it rain.”
― Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen

But I must address the GIANT plot twist at the end of the book because OMG that BETRAYAL! I was so shocked and was totally not expecting anything like that! I was pissed but a the same time I could not WAIT to pick up the sequel.

Final Review/Recommendation 

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I really enjoyed Red Queen. I’m happy to have started this series and I am going to follow through with the rest of the books from the series! I’d recommend this novel to anyone who enjoyed The Hunger Games or would like to pick up a new and fun dystopian series!

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“Anyone can betray anyone.”
― Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen

 

Summer Bird Blue – Review

Summer Bird Blue – Review

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Author: Akemi Dawn Bowman

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Publication Date: September 11th, 2018

Pages: 375

Price: $25.99 CAD (hardcover) at Indigo Books & Music Online 


Synopsis

Rumi Seto spends a lot of time worrying she doesn’t have the answers to everything. What to eat, where to go, whom to love. But there is one thing she is absolutely sure of—she wants to spend the rest of her life writing music with her younger sister, Lea.

Then Lea dies in a car accident, and her mother sends her away to live with her aunt in Hawaii while she deals with her own grief. Now thousands of miles from home, Rumi struggles to navigate the loss of her sister, being abandoned by her mother, and the absence of music in her life. With the help of the “boys next door”—a teenage surfer named Kai, who smiles too much and doesn’t take anything seriously, and an eighty-year-old named George Watanabe, who succumbed to his own grief years ago—Rumi attempts to find her way back to her music, to write the song she and Lea never had the chance to finish.

First Sentence 

“Summer.”

Review 

Yikes. I picked up this book at my local public library because I wanted some stupid summer themed books to read during my road trips and in my hammock, and Summer Bird Blue seemed like the perfect choice, but it was actually much different than I anticipated.

This book had absolutely zero plot. Nothing. Nada. I have no idea what the actual point of this story was other than the fact that Rumi is grieving her sisters death and is going to live with her aunt in Hawaii. Like other than that she’s just sitting around on the island for most of the days grieving her sister, which was really boring to read.

The idea of the book was good, not man YA books really hit you with a close loss like Summer Bird Blue, but the book is just repetitive and annoying. Like we GET that life without Lea is going to be terrible and is going to be hard but repeating it in different ways in every chapter? It gets rough after a while!

There was also the fact that there were so many characters with no actual importance to the story at all and were only people for Rumi to say her sob story to. Like the hairdresser at the salon or all of Kai’s friends, did not accomplish or contribute anything, yet we head so much from them. Another example would be the drama between Kai and his borderline abusive dad who wants him to join the military. Kai gets into big fights with him about it and Rumi talks to him about it and they make it all a big deal like “wow Kai is going to defy his dad! Thats so good! Be your own person!” but then he proceeds to willingly join the military at the end of the novel…. so what was the point of any of that dialogue?

The ending was pretty loosely closed too, we never hear of Kai’s friends again, we have no idea if Rumi has figured out her orientation yet, she has a big moment with Kai and then it takes her about three weeks before she can talk to him again, their goodbye was terrible, we don’t really know what happened to Mr. Watanabe or his family, Rumi just decides one day to forgive her mom after going off through the whole novel that she’s the most terrible person on the planet, and when her mom shows up she just goes back home like its all no biggie and she hasn’t been throwing fits whenever her aunt brought up her mother before! I thought it was just this super quick slope to the ending when it took her 300 pages to get used to Hawaii and its almost as if the author ran out of time or something and had to end the story then and there because it left alot of unfinished and confusing stuff in its wake…

Maybe its because I’ve never actually had to deal with grief before, but this story seemed overly immature and agonizingly long! I try to be polite and respect stories like this because grief is something that many people must deal with, but I just feel like it was wrongly portrayed in this book. Rumi also changes the way she feels all the time. One second she likes Kai, the next she doesn’t, one second she’s coming to terms with her sisters death and the next she digs herself this big hole and tells herself that she will never be able to live normally without her sister. Very confusing.

Final Review/Recommendation 

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Nope. The whole point of this book was for her to finish the song she began to write with her sister before she died, Summer Bird Blue, but the song she writes seemed like it had nothing to do with any of the words she chose. I heard lots of amazing things on this book, but for some reason it just isn’t for me! I really tried to love it but I thought it drifted and dwelled on so many things and I just was not having it with this one. Writing a novel so bold like this one though is something to be reckoned with! I’ve also never read a book with a seemingly asexual character so pros to that!

I’d recommend this book to someone who wants a dramatic and coming of age story about grief, identity, and change!

Wintergirls – Review

Wintergirls – Review

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Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers

Publication date: March 19, 2009

Pages: 278

Price: $22.50 CAD (Hardcover) at Indigo Books & Music Online


Synopsis

“Dead girl walking,” the boys say in the halls.
“Tell us your secret,” the girls whisper, one toilet to another.
I am that girl.
I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.
I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame. 
Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit. – Goodreads

First Sentence 

“So she tells me, the words dribbling out with the cranberry muffin crumbs, commas dunked in her coffee.”

Review

I think my favorite type of books are books that actually mean something. Not just an a random love story or end-of-the-world dystopia, a book that reflects on life from a different angle than the one everyone else seems to perceive. A novel with words that can change the way you see and think. Wintergirls, is not like any novel I have read in a long time, Laurie Halse Anderson continues to astonish me with her inquisitive and remorseful writing.

“This girl shivers and crawls under the covers with all her clothes on and falls into an overdue library book, a faerie story with rats and marrow and burning curses. The sentences build a fence around her, a Times Roman 10-point barricade, to keep the thorny voices in her head from getting too close.”
― Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls

I read this book in one day and it was so… calming? The way Anderson writes makes me feel so calm and I read this on a drizzly rainy day and everything around me was so quiet and the book was so calming…. that day was so great omg. Anyway! In case you haven’t all ready caught on, Lia is struggling with an eating disorder and her friend, Cassie, who’d also been struggling with an eating disorder killed herself so now Lia must struggle and grieve on her own.

This novel was brutally insightful and thought provoking for me. Although I am not presented with the same exact issues as Lia, I know what it’s like to be in doubt of yourself and how hard it can be to be content with oneself. I feel like many people also struggle with self image issues so Lia’s story can find common ground with many of its readers.

The writing is beautiful. Once again, Laurie Halse Anderson has a special way with words like no other YA author I have read. I love the metaphors and descriptions and the comparisons that are somehow so accurate. I’m no author, so I really have no way to describe it but her writing is just so heartfelt and serene. She knows how to write some good books!

“Another page turns on the calendar, April now, not March.
………
I am spinning the silk threads of my story, weaving the fabric of my world…I spun out of control. Eating was hard. Breathing was hard. Living was hardest.
I wanted to swallow the bitter seeds of forgetfulness…Somehow, I dragged myself out of the dark and asked for help.
I spin and weave and knit my words and visions until a life starts to take shape.
There is no magic cure, no making it all go away forever. There are only small steps upward; an easier day, an unexpected laugh, a mirror that doesn’t matter anymore.
I am thawing.”
― Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls

All in all, Wintergirls is a work of excellence. The plot was smooth and was not boring or too eventful and I found myself getting really invested in the characters. I also got a little teary eyed at the end of this one so you know it had to be good if its worth some tears!

“I believe that you’ve created a metaphorical universe in which you can express your darkest fears. In one aspect, yes, I believe in ghosts, but we create them. We haunt ourselves, and sometimes we do such a good job, we lose track of reality.”
― Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls

Final Review/Recommendation 

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I give Wintergirls five out of five stars. Not only does this novel show you how secretive and quietly some people struggle, but it also shows to those who are or have been going through a rough time, that there’s a light at the other end of the tunnel, and they will overcome the rough times. I’d recommend this novel to anyone who wants a brutal story to read, to someone who would not be triggered by Lia’s issues, or to someone who has read Speak or Shout since Shout will make much more sense after reading this one and Speak is confrontational about mental illness such as Wintergirls, which makes for them both to be riveting and outspoken yet distinguishingly important reads.

“We held hands when we walked down the gingerbread path into the forest, blood dripping from our fingers. We danced with witches and kissed monsters. We turned us into wintergirls, when she tried to leave, I pulled her back into the snow because I was afraid to be alone.”
― Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls

Let me know what you thought of Laurie Halse Anderson’s works! I’d love to hear what you think!

-Emma 🙂

A History of Notable Shadowhunters & Denizens of Downworld – Review

A History of Notable Shadowhunters & Denizens of Downworld – Review

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Author: Cassandra Clare

Illustrator: Cassandra Jean

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s UK

Publication date: November 1, 2016

Pages: 208

Price $20.00 USD (Hardcover) at Topatoco


Synopsis 

A very special anthology that’s a must for all fans of the Shadowhunter novels!

Featuring characters from Cassandra Clare’s international best-selling novels from the Shadowhunters world including The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices and The Dark Artifices, this anthology showcases beautifully illustrated portraits from Cassandra Jean – creator of The Shadowhunter Tarot – alongside never-before-known details from Cassandra Clare about all your favourite characters.

Review

Ah, Shadowhunters. The only YA out there that really matters…. Just kidding! But If you have been here before you must know that I am quite the fan of Cassandra Clare!

For once, this Cassandra Clare review will be very short! There isn’t much to say about this book because it actually is not a story at all but rather a sort of picture book with descriptions and secret facts about all of the characters in the Shadowhunter World. I never actually considered to buy this book, but that was before I saw all of the beautiful character artwork Cassandra Jean made for the book. Now I’m not really an arty girl but boy o boy do I love flowers and this book is full of them! A flower for each character! All the flowers had different meanings too and the flowers in some way reflected the characters personality! How neat!

While I was looking at pre-ordering Queen of Air and Darkness back in November, I had some money on amazon that I hadn’t spent and after adding QoAaD to my cart I still had ten bucks left. I couldn’t think of any other books I wanted that were just ten bucks but then I say this book being sold second hand for nine dollars. It was quite the steal, if I do say so myself, and I feel like quite the bargain hunter, even months later.

I use A History of Notable Shadowhunters & Denizens of Downworld as a prop behind some of my Shadowhunter-related reviews and its real handy for when I pick up another SH novel and I forget some characters, in a way, its sort of like a character dictionary!

Here are some photos of mine that have included A History of Notable Shadowhunters & Denizens of Downworld!

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Final Review/Recommendation 

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Super cute and super handy!  Not only does it give me info on all of my favorite characters but it also includes snazzy artwork and is a perfect prop. Like any other Cassandra Clare book, 5 out of 5 stars. A perfect gift for a SH fan or collector! I obviously recommend this book to someone who has read and enjoyed some or all of the Shadowhunter novels because it wouldn’t really make any sense to someone who hasn’t read the book lol.

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Have a good day!

-Emma 🙂

Shout – Review

Shout – Review

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Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group

Publication date: March 12th 2019

Pages: 304

Price: $19.18 CAD (Hardcover) at Indigo Books & Music Online 


Synopsis

A searing poetic memoir and call to action from the bestselling and award-winning author of Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson!
Bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson is known for the unflinching way she writes about, and advocates for, survivors of sexual assault. Now, inspired by her fans and enraged by how little in our culture has changed since her groundbreaking novel Speak was first published twenty years ago, she has written a poetry memoir that is as vulnerable as it is rallying, as timely as it is timeless. In free verse, Anderson shares reflections, rants, and calls to action woven between deeply personal stories from her life that she’s never written about before. Searing and soul-searching, this important memoir is a denouncement of our society’s failures and a love letter to all the people with the courage to say #metoo and #timesup, whether aloud, online, or only in their own hearts. Shout speaks truth to power in a loud, clear voice– and once you hear it, it is impossible to ignore. -Goodreads

First Sentence

“Finding my courage to speak up twenty-five years after I was raped, writing Speak, and talking with countless survivors of sexual violence made me who I am today.”

Review

Laurie Halse Anderson has been one of my favorite authors for quite some time now. I first landed upon Speak, at a used book sale and I’ve read it twice since. Her writing give me chills and delineates hurt and redemption all at once. Her stories are meticulously crafted, fictional, yet underlined with so much truth. Since reading Speak, I have read Wintergirls, which is another blog post on it’s own, and Catalyst, all very powerful stories that have changed my perception of the world. I believe I first heard of Shout in January… not sure, but I just by the title that I was going to read this when it hit the shelves.

Speak has gotten lots of attention, being one of the most notoriously known YA novels published in the end of the twentieth century. A very controversial novel, read throughout schools but also one of the most banned/challenged for the decade after its release all the while racking multiple literary awards.

“the only thing that helped me breathe was opening a book”

Shout is another strong work of Anderson, except its no longer Melinda’s story. It’s Laurie Halse Anderson’s story through poetry. She explains her books, her story, her childhood, her lived injustice, others stories, through the form of poetry. Now, I am no master poetry reader, I like to read poetry from time to time, but it is not a frequent thing. Although, Shout is generally aiming for younger readers, I mean I found it in the YA section at Chapters and not the poetry section completely across the store. Being focused on younger readers somehow made me much more confortable reading this… I don’t know, I sometimes think that I’m not understanding the poetry I’m reading like I should but if Shout is for younger readers I should get it right?

I bought this book in April and I read it on that same day in April. Once again Anderson’s writing is so powerful! I was hooked! Hearing her stories and stories from other victims really opened up my mind to the atrocities and the injustice that so many women, and men, have to go through, and how it stays with you forever. I loved this book. I loved hearing others voices and how Laurie Halse Anderson wrote Speak and Wintergirls, but Shout was not a book for me. I read it and enjoyed it, but I’m happy to know that there are books as good as this one out there for people who really need it. For those who have gone through what Laurie or so many others have gone through and feel like they don’t have a voice. Such powerful words splayed on these sheets… I hope they help someone else shout too!

“too many grown-ups tell kids to follow their dreams
like that’s going to get them somewhere
Auntie Laurie says follow your nightmares instead
cuz when you figure out what’s eating you alive
you can slay it”
― Laurie Halse Anderson, Shout

Final Review/Recommendation

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I give Shout four out of five stars because it was a super awesome read BUT personally I thought some of the poems where hard to understand. Maybe it was because I’ve never been in a similar situation. I also think that maybe writing poems was great but including a short story here and there might have been cool. But again, this book does touch some very challenging and personal subjects so detailing the scenarios more throughly might make it uncomfortable for some readers or the writer. This is just my opinion though! I am not really one to critique a book like this one because I in no way understand the agony and discomfort the author had to endure throughout those years and just the fact that she was brave enough to get up and speak about it through her books shows more power than anything I could ever do. What I’m saying is that Laurie Halse Anderson is a super powerful woman and we need more strong people like her in our world!

“This note about anatomy
from me to you
is for the remembering that
after you speak
after you shout
your open mouth
will breathe in the light
for which you’ve hungered
and your backbone will unfurl,
until you can again dance to the beat
of your steadfast heart.”
― Laurie Halse Anderson, Shout

I think everyone should give Shout a try. Even if you are not a victim, knowing what others have gone through can help you to help those and to understand those who need someone there for them. It is also a very truthful and bold read that makes you reflect on our society and bring awareness to these sorts of situations that sadly happen everyday. If you have read any of Laurie Halse Andersen’s other books and enjoyed them, I also suggest you pick up Shout because she explains the inspiration behind her other stories and characters and what stories they are loosely based off of. I thought, as a person who has read her other books before, that this was really cool to see the provenance of her novels.

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“Shame, turned inside out, is rage.”
― Laurie Halse Anderson, Shout

Let me know what you thought of Shout, Speak, Wintergirls, or my review! Have a great week!

-Emma 😉

Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls – Review

Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls – Review

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Author: Lynn Weingarten 

Publisher: Simon Pulse 

Publication date: July 7, 2015

Pages: 320

Price: $19.99 CAD (Hardcover) at Indigo Books & Music Online


Synopsis

They say Delia burned herself to death in her stepfather’s shed. They say it was suicide.

But June doesn’t believe it.

June and Delia used to be closer than anything. Best friends in that way that comes before everyone else—before guys, before family. It was like being in love, but more. They had a billion secrets, tying them together like thin silk cords.

But one night a year ago, everything changed. June, Delia, and June’s boyfriend, Ryan, were just having a little fun. Their good time got out of hand. And in the cold blue light of morning, June knew only this—things would never be the same again.

Now Delia is dead. June is certain she was murdered. And she owes it to her to find out the truth…which is far more complicated than she ever could have imagined.

– Goodreads

First Sentence

“I’d forgotten what it was like to be that alone.”

Review 

This book was really peculiar. I was interested in reading this novel because I saw a bunch of people reading it on Goodreads and thought “Why not?” A couple of weeks later I landed upon it at my library. As said in the synopsis, this novel is about a girl named Delia who decided to take her own life. But her former best friend, June, thinks someone actually murdered her and used suicide as a cover-up. I really like mystery and murder novels so this one sounded really interesting to me!

“The messed-up thing is how so many people think your body is their business, especially if you’re a girl.”
― Lynn Weingarten, Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls

Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls is a very well written novel, although it felt like it lacked a bit of detail. Some pieces did not really add up in the story and I have so many unanswered questions. I loved how thrilling the first half of the novel was but in the second half, thinks got weird and I’m not exactly sure I fully understood. Let’s say, I had to make a lot of deductions on that second half and you might have to too if you decide to read Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls.

Although, Delia’s character was probably what was the trickiest. I can usually relate to any character somehow, but there were no connections with me and Delia. I did not understand her motives. She is extremely possessive and compulsive. Did she like June? I think she did but they never did anything about it and she has not even seen June in so long! Also, who the heck are half of these people? Where did they get a cabin? How did they get so much money? This book was interesting, sure, but it was in no way realistic at all. Stealing bodies, giant sums of money, secret cabins, body-guard friends? Aren’t these teens supposed to be studying for their chemistry test or something? There was also the scene where they killed Delia’s step-father which was really uncomfortable and awkward for me to read because yeah, I know her step-dad was a brat but there is viable proof that Delia is in fact a pathological liar. She exaggerated many situations and told June a bunch of stuff that was lies! I don’t know, I think June was clueless to how messed up Delia is and how obsessed Delia is with June. (Even though they haven’t hung out in like a year?) Overall, this book was a pretty good read except for all the things I just pointed out because they were nagging at me and made me like this novel a little less. This is not one of my favorite novels but it did keep me entertained for the four hour drive to my grandparents house!

“Finding a best friend is like finding a true love: when you meet yours, you just know.”
― Lynn Weingarten, Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls

Final Review|Recommendation

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I give Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls two out of five stars because the main idea of the novel was genuinely interesting but I did not really enjoy the approach the author took it and how it sorta just drifted of after a couple of chapters. The inaccuracy was also really bugging me. I just don’t understand why you’d write a contemporary novel if you are going to stretch it so much like, ya might as well tell us that Delia’s actually a fairy and call this book an urban fantasy!

I’d recommend this novel to someone who likes some murder mystery, has a good sense of deduction and would not mind a stretch in the novels realism. (I know this bothers me, especially in contemporary novels like this one!)

“The world is only as fair as you make it.”
― Lynn Weingarten, Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls

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I really liked the burnt matches in this cover though, it makes sense with the story and looks cool!

Let me know what you thought of this book or my review!

Have a great day!

-Emma 🙂

Say You’ll Remember Me – Review

Say You’ll Remember Me – Review

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Author: Katie McGarry 

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Publication Date: January 30, 2018

Pages: 452

Price: $23.99 CAD (Hardcover) at Indigo Books & Music Online 


Synopsis

When Drix was convicted of a crime–one he didn’t commit–he thought his life was over. But opportunity came with the new Second Chance Program, the governor’s newest pet project to get delinquents off the streets, rehabilitated and back into society. Drix knows this is his chance to get his life back on track, even if it means being paraded in front of reporters for a while.
Elle knows she lives a life of privilege. As the governor’s daughter, she can open doors with her name alone. But the expectations and pressure to be someone she isn’t may be too much to handle. She wants to follow her own path, whatever that means.
When Drix and Elle meet, their connection is immediate, but so are their problems. Drix is not the type of boy Elle’s parents have in mind for her, and Elle is not the kind of girl who can understand Drix’s messy life.
But sometimes love can breach all barriers.
Fighting against a society that can’t imagine them together, Drix and Elle must push themselves–Drix to confront the truth of the robbery, and Elle to assert her independence–and each other to finally get what they deserve.  -Goodreads

First Sentence

“Everyone says you have a blank slate.”

Review

WHHHHHHHHY DO I PICK BOOKS FOR COVERS. WHHHHYYYYYY?

As you may be able to recall, this is a cover read, merely so. I saw this cover and I took out my library card. Why? Honestly, not sure. The cover is pretty, but I’ve seen better… maybe its because purple is my favorite color and these purple hues in the background where really appealing? Whatever, here’s my review.

This novel actually wasn’t half bad. But then, there was the whole unnecessary separation, surprisingly absent parents and lots and lots of teenage angst. First of all, nobody had parents, they were hookers or drug dealers or abusers or if they did have parents, like Elle, for example, they were pushing and obsessive and big perfectionists who couldn’t really care less about their kid unless it’s for a campaign. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am aware of crappy parents and I know that there are crappy parents out there. But everyone? Seriously? You are telling me that all of your neighbourhood friends, your politician’s daughter girlfriend, AND yourself all have shitty parents?! That does not seem quite realistic, man. In Say You’ll Remember Me, 99% of all the figures of authority were either stuck up, delusional alcoholics, very absent or very abusive. IDK. To me, it seemed like only the teens in this book had some common sense!

“I’m just a girl on a midway, he’s just a boy on a midway, and not everything has to end like a daydream.”
― Katie McGarry, Say You’ll Remember Me

Another thing I must say is that, when Drix found out who committed the crime he was arrested and incarcerated for. (I won’t spoil much, one of his friends knew all along who actually committed the crime and never said anything) Anyway, Drix is just like, “oh, its okay!” like nah chief this is a fake friend! Not only is the person they are protecting an absolute douche, but they also chose the douche’s side rather than yours! Un-loyal, in my opinion but I guess I can’t say much because I’m not the one who faced jail-time for a crime committed by a jackass ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ . ALSO, said jackass killed a dog so ummm, why are we being nice and protecting him if he kills animals? sicko. Put this guy in the electric chair ASAP!

Something else to consider was the strange ending to this novel. There is not much closure and I thought there was a lot of un-clarified information. Maybe it was supposed to be open for interpretation? Not sure, but usually I can tell when they want me to dwell on the ending and when they actually want to end it. I was sort of getting the latter from this one.

Although I will give it this, the characters where very well developed. It did not feel like I was reading from an outsiders perspective but rather from the perspective of a character in the story. I also always enjoy double POV’s because I love seeing situations from the eyes and minds of different people!

Final Review|Recommendation

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All in all, Say You’ll Remember Me was an appropriate book for its genre. I read this during the winter but I think it would be a fun read for the summer because its a really low-key, modest novel. I’d recommend this book to anyone who strongly enjoys contemporary novels or to someone who doesn’t mind when their novels are a little unrealistic but still very thrilling!

“Life shouldn’t revolve about being the best, and childhood definitely shouldn’t. You should have given me the room to explore who I was without the pressure of succeeding each and every single time.”
― Katie McGarry, Say You’ll Remember Me

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Sorry I haven’t been as active lately! Final exams and projects are piling up at school. Plus I just got a job at a daycare so I’m usually pretty beat by the time I come home. 🙂 Soon it will be summer though, and there will be two months of READING!

Have a great day and feel free to talk to me about this book, this review, or any other books! That’s what this blog is here for!

-Emma ♥♥♥