Monday, 30 March 2015

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Note: this is the UK cover (I wish the UK used the same one as the US - the US one is beautiful).

I'll Give You the Sun
by Jandy Nelson


Summary: Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.
Jandy Nelson's first book, The Sky is Everywhere, is one of my all time favourite books and I've been looking forward to reading her next book since before it even had a title so I pretty much had sky high expectations for this book. Because of that, it was kind of disappointing but at the same time it wasn't?

Trying to review it without the comparisons is difficult. Probably because reading it without the comparisons was difficult... It was an excellent book in general, but the problem I had was that it didn't quite measure up to her first book even though it should have because it had all the same elements that made me love The Sky is Everywhere.

The writing was distinctive and beautiful. Jandy Nelson writes in a way that demands her words be noticed, and I noticed and they'll stick with me -- the book was riddled with little pieces of paper to mark pages with quotes I liked. I'm still haunted by quotes from her first book and this one will probably be no different.

And the characters...the characters were flawed and interesting and I adored them all, and their relationships were complex and beautiful. I think they were my favourite thing about the book.

I think maybe the story was where the problems were for me. On one hand, it was a great story and I loved it. But two of the big twists was predictable pretty soon after one of the characters was introduced but we had to wait ages for it to happen in the book. And for some reason, it was easy for me to put the book down and not go back to for days (even weeks at one point) -- I loved it, but it lacked that quality that makes me not want to put the book down (until the last third of the book, it hooked me when I got to that point).

See what I mean about it being difficult to review without comparisons? This review isn't really accurately conveying just how much I loved the book because my disappointment hinged purely on my expectations, it wasn't a problem with the book itself.

I genuinely think Jandy Nelson is one of the best authors of YA books out there, and I will read any book she writes and would go into it knowing nothing about it except that she's the author because that's all I need to know -- this book confirmed that for me.

It was fantastic. Did I love it as much as her first book? No. But I did love it--really, really love it--and I'd rate it 5 stars out of 5.

Later

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Weekly Wrap Up (32)

On the Blog:


Lanna:
Even though I've not been posting much I have actually been reading more these past few weeks, it's just that I can't review post reviews for all of them for three reasons:

1) Some are ARC's that need to be reviewed closer to their release dates
2) Some I've been saving to group together in one post (more on that below)
3) and one of them was a free e-book that I read without realising who the author was but now that I do know, I will not be reviewing it (author is a bully who has done some dodgy sneaky stuff, so not only do I not want to promote someone like that but it wouldn't feel safe to review honestly either).

So...yeah. Been reading, you should see the reviews up over the next few months. Now, onto the new books.

Book haul

For review:


Girl at War by Sara Novic (netgalley) - I started this one late last night and will try to finish it tonight. It's about a girl who was living in Yugoslavia when the civil war broke out - I wanted to read it as soon as I found that out, because I've been looking for more books about that for years.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass - This is the 150th anniversary edition and it's lovely (picture doesn't do it justice -- the white bit is matte, the picture is pretty foil). I'm aiming to review it next week? We'll see.

Bought:


These are the Penguin Little Black Classics (numbers: 1, 18, 24, 44, and 77). There's 80 of them (released for the 80th anniversary of Penguin Books, 80p each), I got these five to start with. They're adorable. These are the ones I'm saving to do a post on.


The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
To the Lighthouse and The Waves by Virginia Woolf

Because every so often I go through a phase of "MUST READ ALL THE CLASSICS!!!" and these were the ones that sparked my interest this time. I need to read these this year and not do my usual thing with classics where I have every intention of reading them but just keep putting it off.

And I think that's all?

Later.

Julie:                                                                                                                                                         

Book Haul
 
It's been...a while since I've done one of these. I'm definitely going to miss books, but hopefully not too many? I'm also not going to link/explain them because...it's a lot.

The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Jessie's Girl by Miranda Kenneally
Loop by Karen Akins
The Tragic Age by Stephen Metcalf
The Book of Speculation by Erica Swyler
How to Say I Love You Out Loud by Karole Cozzo
Second Position by Katherine Locke
Double Exposure by Bridget Birdsall
Pandemic by Yvonne Ventresca
When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill
Two of Hearts by Christina Lee
The Highlander Takes a Bride by Lynsay Sands
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Fairest by Marissa Meyer
The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson
Revenge, Ice Cream, and Other Things Best Served Cold by Katie Finn

I think that covers most of them that aren't school related, if not all of them.

Books Read
 
On the other hand, I haven't been reading much lately - or, I guess not finishing much. I have quite a bit of school reading this semester and I'll get enough of the way into the titles to talk about them, run out of time before my class, then the class passes and I stop, even the YA ones, because there's no reason to continue. I'm hoping to work on that in the next two weeks when I'm finally on spring break (it starts late this week and goes into next week. I don't get 2 whole weeks off).

She Tempts the Duke by Lorraine Heath
Loop by Karen Akins
The Highlander Takes a Bride by Lynsay Sands
Written in the Stars in Aisha Saeed
Beautiful Secret by Christina Lauren
All the Rage by Courtney Summers
Holes by Lois Sachar

And that's all that I have 100% finished in the past month. And then...

Upcoming Reads/Currently Reading

Oi...this list.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
The Book of Speculation by Erica Swyler
Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Deadly Design by Debra Dockter

I'm most of the way through Book of Speculation and Aristotle & Dante, so I shouldn't have an issue finishing at least one of those. I'm also 1/4 of the way through Simon, which is helpful, and Eleanor & Park is a reread for my class tomorrow night. I'm probably not going to make it all the way through, but at least this time, it is a reread and I know what happens anyway. So, I'm only *really* trying to read one book this week, because the three I'm already most of the way through probably add up to the equivalent of one book and E&P I've read.

I have a goal of reading a book a week over my break this semester. We'll see how that goes. 

Odds and Ends

It's been an extremely busy/exhausting few weeks here! I got a rather nasty cold, I was smack in the middle of midterms, and as of this past week, I'm trying to get in extra work because I'll be out for 3 days because of spring break. In fact, on Friday, I went from class to a linguistics lecture to my apartment for a quick lunch, to my internship, to dinner, to working an event for McNally Jackson. But I think that's the end of the worst of the crazy busy! I have one exam (where we get a cheat sheet and have the questions already) and I have one oral exam (3 straight minutes of Spanish with no notes!), but then I'm free for a week and a half! And then final crunch time/finishing study abroad applications/planning the next year of my life commence. Also, moving out of my apartment and BEA. That's all coming up too. I'm trying to pretend it's all imaginary. Why must everything happen at once, though?

How's everyone else doing?

--Julie

Monday, 23 March 2015

Made for You by Melissa Marr

Made for You
by Melissa Marr


Summary: Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital to discover an attempt has been made on her life. But who in her sleepy town could have hit her with their car? And why? Before she can consider the question, she finds that she's awoken with a strange new skill: the ability to foresee people's deaths when they touch her.

While she is recovering from the hit-and-run, Nate, an old friend, reappears, and the two must traverse their rocky past as they figure out how to use Eva's power to keep her friends - and themselves – alive. But the killer is obsessed and will stop at nothing to get to Eva…
So I had this problem with books by Melissa Marr in the past, where I liked them but always felt like I wanted something more from them than what I got... I had written off her books as being good but just not my cup of tea. But this book, it sounded too good not to try and I'm so glad I did because it thoroughly proved my previous judgements wrong.

Basically, I loved it. Really loved it. Would-now-read-any-book-she-writes kind of loved it.

It was kind of like someone threw The Body Finder into a blender with an E. Lockhart book (big compliment coming from me) and it was awesome.

One of my favourite things about it is that it's one of those paranormal books that has a more gritty contemporary feel to it so the paranormal stuff feels more convincing and grounded in reality (which makes a nice change from the ones that require massive suspension of disbelief).

And the murder plot line was great too--the killers chapters made me so angry and creeped out (a good thing) and even though I had my suspicions about who it was, it still kept me guessing and looking for clues right up until it was confirmed.

The characters in the book were awesome too. The friendships were flawed, but I liked that--it was realistic. And I really, really loved the female relationships in the book...Eva never really got catty or blamed female characters for things that a lot of girls would have, and I loved that and the way she looked out for her female friends (all of her friends really, but particularly the girls). I really liked her best friend, Grace, for that same reason.

I even enjoyed the alternating POV's, which is generally something I don't like much in a book, but it was done really well here.

That's all I can say really without giving spoilers. It had me hooked right from the start and I'd rate it 4.5 stars out of 5.

Later.

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