Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sisters' Fate, by Jessica Spotswood

(5/5 stars)

A fever ravages New London, but with the Brotherhood sending suspected witches straight to the gallows, the Sisters are powerless against the disease. They can’t help without revealing their powers—as Cate learns when a potent display of magic turns her into the most wanted witch in all of New England. 

To make matters worse, Cate has been erased from the memory of her beloved Finn. While she’s torn between protecting him from further attacks and encouraging him to fall for her all over again, she’s certain she can never forgive Maura’s betrayal. And now that Tess’s visions have taken a deadly turn, the prophecy that one Cahill sister will murder another looms ever closer to its fulfillment.

This conclusion to Born Wicked and Star Cursed was everything I wanted it to be and then some. Days later, and I'm still not emotionally over it. I want to take a quick second here and thank Jessica Spotswood for such an amazing trilogy. Not only did she write a beautifully heart wrenching book, but did you know that she's also awesome on Twitter? She does a lot of interacting with fans and is super sweet so go follow her. Now, back to the book.

What I liked: Girl power to the max! There is so much rebellion and ignoring of the gender boundaries, and these girls can do anything. I love it. The Brotherhood (our antagonists) are deliciously evil, but I loved seeing that there were some good ones in the midst of it all. Which brings me to our group of rebels. Cate has my heart forever and ever as you all know, as does Finn (don't even get me started on my love for him because it does not end), but I want to give honorable mention to Alistair Merriweather. He starts out as an absolute tool, but totally redeems himself by the end of it. And there's something about him being a truth crusading journalist that adds to my liking of him. Plus, I totally want him and Rilla to end up together (short story epilogue or something like that pretty please?!). Rilla. My hopes that we would get more Rilla in this book were answered. She's my favorite character in the series. There's just something about her, how she speaks her mind and is stubborn and everything.

Now for the plot. Gosh, that plot. Talk about a roller coaster of emotions. I was laughing, and swooning, and crying... and more crying especially at the end. All my questions were answered, and everything flowed so naturally. I was heartbroken at the end, but also a bit happy? Like, I couldn't see it ending any other way.

What I didn't like: Nothing. I liked everything.

I wish I could go on for days about this book. Unfortunately, there aren't enough words to do it justice. So that just means that you have to get yourself to a bookstore and buy it (or start from the beginning) as soon as humanly possible. On your mark, get set, go!

-Annie

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar

(4/5 stars)

He can grant her wishes, but only she can save his life.

Margo McKenna has a plan for just about everything, from landing the lead in her high school play to getting into a good college. So when she finds herself in possession of a genie's ring and the chance to make three wishes, she doesn't know what to do. Why should she put her life into someone else's hands?

But Oliver is more than just a genie -- he's also a sophomore at Margo's high school, and he's on the run from a murderer. As he and Margo grow closer, she discovers that it will take more than three wishes to save him.

A whole lot more.

So I've been meaning to read this book since January when it was recommended to me by my friend Rachel. To be completely honest, I wasn't expecting to love it, like it sure, but I didn't know if I could get behind a book about falling in love with a genie. Genies were supposed to be blue and provide comic relief and whatnot (yes, I've watched a lot of Aladdin). But Lindsay Ribar proved my stereotypes wrong and showed me that genies could be...um, sexy. 

What I liked: The authorial voice was flawless. Margo was so relatable with her sass and pop culture references. I felt like I was able to connect to her better because she spoke so realistically. Like, I want to be her best friend and jam out to musical soundtracks together. I also loved her reactions to Oliver. She didn't exactly go with the flow when secrets came out that she wasn't too happy about--she had spunk and spoke her mind, and when she needed her distance, she took it. I also love Oliver, he's adorable and now that I've read this book, I love genie books! He has his hobbies (which sometimes you don't get to see in romantic leads in YA) and gosh, that backstory brings tears to my eyes. 

What I didn't like: There were a lot of loose ties at the end that I wanted to see mended. And I'm sure they'll show up in the sequel (in fact, I'm almost willing to put money on it), but I wanted that instant gratification of knowing what happened to certain characters--namely Naomi and Vicky (I have a soft spot for Vicky, I really do). 

Genie books are cool. They're awesome. They're kickass. Now, if somebody finds a magical ring attached to an attractive genie, feel free to send it my way!

-Annie

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After, by Stephanie Perkins

(5/5 stars, but I want to give it more...)
Happy Release Day, Isla!

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and √Čtienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

Sweet baby Jesus, this book. So, I found this book at a bookstore (that will not be named because I don't want to get them in trouble or anything) four days before its release date and my life was instantly changed. Okay, fine, I'm being overdramatic. But I still can't stop raving about this wonderful book.

What I liked: I'm a super big fan of Isla. In fact, I think she's the Stephanie Perkins character that I find myself relating to the most. And that's really saying something (you all know my love for Anna and the French Kiss). Maybe I'm at that point in my life where I feel like Isla; always asking the questions Who am I? Where am I going? What do I want to do? Or maybe it's that we're the same height (strangely enough, I have a fondness for short characters). I loved watching her work out the answers to those questions--and not that she had everything figured out by the end, that's not real life. Her insecurities weren't overdone, she was raw in her emotions and concerns. I loved loved loved Josh. I liked him in Anna, but I feel in love with him in this one. His relationship with Isla is so precious and I was giggling from happiness quite a lot. Ask my cousin, she had to watch this scene go down. 

The book felt so artsy--obviously--and indie in a cool way that made it enjoyable. The fact that we got to go back to SOAP and France was magical. It's the perfect backdrop for a beautiful love story. As always, the Anna, √Čtienne, Lola, and Cricket cameos were everything I wanted. There's especially a super cute scene between Anna and √Čtienne that might or might not have made me tear up. Just kidding, it definitely made me tear up. 

What I didn't like: I literally can't think of anything that I didn't like in this book. Wow. That doesn't happen often. Maybe once my thoughts settle a bit, I'll think of something, but probably not. 

Here's what I learned: Stephanie Perkins is a genius and her books are perfect. I laughed, I cried, I smiled as bright as the City of Lights itself. 

-Annie

Thursday, August 7, 2014

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

(4.5/5 stars)

It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. 

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help. 

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

A timeless love story, THESE BROKEN STARS sets into motion a sweeping science fiction series of companion novels. The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

This. This is the Sci-Fi book that I've been searching for for so long. 

What I liked: Let's start with the cover, shall we? This might be one of my favorite covers of all time. It's beautiful, regal, and perfectly captures the book. The premise is so Titanic-esque that my heart couldn't handle it. But add in the fact that it was Titanic-esque in space and that alone makes my heart stop. Dead. Perfect. I loved Lilac and Tarver- they had such different voices (something that's hard with two separate point of views) and had a nice spunk and attitude that made reading enjoyable. You root for these two to survive and be together. And did I mention the character acs because Hallelujah there was some amazing character development. That brings me to the romance. The relationship between Tarver and Lilac is so incredibly genuine. It's not immediate and its not circumstantial, but it feels like real love. The sci-fi aspects were exactly what I wanted. Abandoned planet, check. Hallucinations and weird alien-like creatures, check. Exploration of the crashed spaceship and dead bodies and whispers, check, check, check. 

What I didn't like: Now I have to start by saying that I don't read a lot of sci-fi. I'm still in the beginning stages of it, and what I do pick up tends to be dystopian which has its own set of rules. That being said, there were times when the story went a bit over my head and I found myself kind of confused. Nothing ridiculous where I couldn't follow the story, but it did pull me out of the moment.