Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Books New to My TBR

A weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

1.) The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss - Add to Goodreads
I'm about finish The Wise Man's Fear and I really enjoyed this series. This is a novella about one of my favorite characters in the series, the mysterious Auri. I really need to read to satiate my desire before Doors of Stone comes out.

2.) Beastly Bones by William Ritter - Add to Goodreads
So this is sort of cheating because I've had this one on my list for awhile now but I just got approved for an ARC on Netgalley so it was added to the actual TBR and not the wishlist.

3.) Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch - Add to Goodreads
I just finished Snow Like Ashes and really liked it. For my tortured relationship with first books that's pretty good. I'm excited to keep going with the series. I see Sara is going to be at BEA so I'm hoping there will be ARCs.

4.) Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett - Add to Goodreads
I usually hate the comparisons but "Romeo and Juliet meets Children of the Corn" has me intrigued. Unrequited love in a creepy town with murderous children has me sold.

5.) The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkowski - Add to Goodreads
I finished The Winner's Curse a few days ago and it gutted me! I really need this book. I need to find out what happens to Kestrel and Arin. *holds back feels*

6.) Powerless by Tera Lynne Childs and Tracy Deebs - Add to Goodreads
This sounds a little bit like Steelheart but I'm such a sucker for books with superpower magical systems and the idea of good and evil that this book explores. I got an ARC on Netgalley and I'm so excited to read it!

7.) Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica - Add to Goodreads
I really enjoyed Mary Kubica's debut The Good Girl, it was a great thriller.  I'm excited to get my hands on another one of her books, it sounds just as engaging and mysterious.

8.) Velvet Undercover by Teri Brown - Add to Goodreads
Seriously, this book sounds absolutely amazing! It's about a female spy during World War I. Yes, this is a total me book. I need it!

9.) Simon vs. The Homo Sapien Agenda by Becky Albertalli - Add to Goodreads
Everyone has been raving about this book lately, maybe because it comes out next week. I am just getting more into contemporary novels and this one sounds really good. It sounds like it has the kind of humor and coming-of-age I enjoy.

10.) First and Then by Emma Mills - Add to Goodreads
Another contemporary novel. The cover for this came out recently and it sounds like a really interesting read. I've seen some of Emma's YouTube videos and her humor is what I like to see in my contemp so I'm excited.

11.) Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman - Add to Goodreads
Historical Fantasy about Alexander the Great. Yes... please. I'm expecting this to be dark and gory with lots of political intrigue and death, which is the kind of fantasy I enjoy.

12.) Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith - Add to Goodreads
This one's been on my list for awhile too but the cover just came out and it is confusing and beautiful. The book too sounds amazing with a crazy fantasy world and political intrigue. I loved Sekret and I need more of Lindsay's books

What about you? What books are new to your TBR list? Are there any I mentioned that you have read or want to read? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Book Review: The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkowski

Title: The Winner's Crime
Series: The Winner's Trilogy
Author: Marie Rutkowski
Published: March 3, 2015 by Macmillan
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Book two of the dazzling Winner's Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love. 

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret. 

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them

*** Warning: This is a sequel and it may contain spoilers for book one. If you haven't read The Winner's Curse, do that and then come back. ***

Yeah, I get it. I get why everyone loves this book, love this series. It's fabulous. I thoroughly enjoyed The Winner's Curse. It had a fantastic world, great character, and a captivating plot. The Winner's Crime was an incredible sequel. The world was bigger, the characters were better developed, and the plot was so engrossing.

In The Winner's Crime, Kestrel has to live with the consequences of the deal she made in the previous book. She's not doing a very good job at that, and for a lot of the book it feels like she's all alone. I could definitely empathize with her. But in true Kestrel fashion she never makes it so that I pity her. She begins plotting and scheming. But the great thing about the scheme here is that it's more of a long con, if you will. You know that the wheels are turning and that she is up to something but you don't really know what it is until the very end. There wasn't as much action in this one but that's okay. Despite a lack of thrilling action, it was never dull, because there was still tons of mystery. I felt like The Winner's Crime was full of subtle clues to foreshadowing and the characters were frequently eluding to the fact that they had something up their sleeve. It was so full of veiled threats and like Kestrel, it caused the wheels to turn in my head too. Plus it gave the book this amazingly mysterious atmosphere and tone. In the end everything built to a huge pay off and along the way there tons of interesting moments.

And perhaps the moments were so interesting because the stakes were higher and the world was bigger. I loved the world that Marie Rutkowski created in The Winner's Curse. It was refreshing in it's subtlety and interesting in it's depth. That sounds weird written down but it makes so much sense in my head. Most sequels tend to take you out of where the series began and into the larger world. The Winner's Crime was no exception. It took us out of Herran and into Valoria at large. We got to visit the capital of the empire and we also got to travel to the eastern portion of the world, who is still at war with the empire. But the great thing was is that it kept to the spirit of the world in the first book. Valoria is militaristic place that puts pride and control over people. Your choices are limited and you are forced to follow what society dictates for you, especially if you are not Valorian. Here we got to see that even more. The capital is a ruthless place and we really see how and why they have become so powerful. We once a gain get to see a well-rounded look at the concept of ancient wars and their aftermaths/ It was a great wrinkle to the idea of oppression and control that began in the first book. I loved learning more about the world in this series in The Winner's Crime.

I also loved learning more about characters in this series. The Winner's Crime introduced us to some amazing new secondary characters. Kestrel's betrothed Verex was so complex and sweet his father the emperor was sinister and devious. We also got to meet the ruling family in the east, who I hope we get to see again, especially Risha the kidnapped princess who is living at Valorian court. But with this series it's all about the main characters. I've already mentioned Kestrel and her personality. Seriously, I really love her. She's such a fantastic character and the perfect MC for this series. She's not your average strong female protagonist. She's tough but in a different sort of way. She's intelligent and scheming. In this book she also shows a tremendous amount of inner strength. The more we learn about her and the more time we get to know about her, the more well-rounded and interesting she becomes.Our other main character is Arin. I loved how multi-dimensional he was in the first book and while he was still fantastic and interesting and did develop more, I do think he lacked some of the depth he had in the first book. But what didn't lack depth was their romance. I seriously ship it now! I can't quite put my finger on what was different, but I seriously just wanted to smoosh their faces together here. Maybe because it combines some of my favorite kinds of romances. It's the perfect combination of "we shouldn't be together" with a "tortured love story" and it's all a wonderful slowburn.

And once again Marie Rutkowski proved how fantastic a writer she is. The book drew me in and her writing truly captivated. Her prose was gorgeous and the changing perspectives of Kestrel and Arin crafted a complex and interesting story. The pacing was slower but I was still able to fly right through it. Everything built to an amazing climax that left me just gutted! I need the finally book in the series immediately! It's just such a fantastic and engaging YA fantasy with a mysterious plot, a fascinating world, and great characters.

I give The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkowski 9.5 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: BUY! This series keeps getting better. It is a must read for fans of YA fantasy. Or if you are a fan of YA Contemporary Romances check this book out and ease into the fantasy. It doesn't overwhelm you with the world and it's character-driven enough to appeal to a wide audience. Basically just read this book!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Book Review: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Title: Snow Like Ashes
Series: Snow Like Ashes #1
Author: Sara Raasch
Published: September 2014 by HarperCollins
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

Snow Like Ashes has been on my TBR for a long time now. I wanted to read it last fall when it was released but for some reason I never got the chance. So after finishing The Storyspinner I was whining about what I wanted to read next on Twitter and Eileen from BookCatPin gave me a book on my shelf to read and it ended up being this one. And seeing as it was one I needed to read, I took her up on that suggestion and roped her into buddy reading it with me (how's it going there friend?). After finishing the book I was really glad I took the time to read it. It's a total me be. It was a great YA fantasy read with a complex world, a thrilling plot full of political intrigue, and likable characters.

One of the cool things about Snow Like Ashes was the world that Sara Raasch created. I have followed Sara on Twitter for a long time now and I know she is a huge fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender. I am too. That series to me does fantasy totally right. From the setting, to the world building, to the magical system it is all fantastic. And I can definitely feel the influence in Sara's work but it still felt creative and interesting. I was enthralled by the world of Primoria, it's history, it's people, it's magic. Everything was so imaginative and full-bodied. Each of the kingdoms were so different. From their culture and climate to the way people looked.  And yes, there was some info-dumping but I feel like Sara did the tell style of world-building really well and that's hard to do. It definitely added to the story instead of taking away from it.

But maybe because the world-building was so tied to the plot of the story. Political intrigue in a high fantasy novel is nothing new but it is one of the reasons I love the genre. With Snow Like Ashes the different cultures and kingdoms really bread this otherness that led to all kinds of prejudices and fighting. But that also led to alliances, strategic marriages, and scheming that I love in my fantasy. The great thing about Snow Like Ashes too is that while it's the start of a new series it also had it's own unique plot with a clear resolution. There are definitely some interesting places that the next book can go but I really liked that it wrapped things up.

But that being said the fact that the plot wrapped up, led to some problematic issues with the pacing. I was prepared to say that I felt like the book reached it's climax a little too soon, but that's not entirely true. In fact I would say that there was not one large climax but a bunch of smaller ones that moved the plot along. It was a really plot-driven story but at times I felt like it moved a little too fast and had a little too much action. Snow Like Ashes is definitely a thrilling read but I would have appreciated if it had maybe slowed down a little bit. I think if it had slowed down there could have been a little more focus on the mystery and twists. Instead it just felt like it periodically dropped a bomb and then moved in to the next action sequence.

I think my favorite thing about this book was the characters. Our narrator and protagonist is Meira, she's a little bit like the heroines you see a lot in YA these days. She's tough, sassy, and often acts before she thinks. But I loved that about her. I was able to instantly connect with her and her struggle to prove herself. I also instantly like Mather, the deposed king of Winter. He was similar to Meira in that he had this great desire to prove himself. I could completely sympathize with his desire to win back his kingdom and prove to his people that he's a strong leader. And then of course there is Theron, the prince of Cordell.  I wanted him to be more of a lovable rogue and a foil for Mather but that wasn't the case. He was charming and likable but his real appeal didn't happen until later in the book. He had some great development. And of you haven't figured it out already, there is a love triangle here. And while I have a clear favorite, it seemed logical and Meira's inability to make a choice made sense (although if you ask me she totally made her choice already). But those three were just the start of the great characters. There were some tough and likable Winterians, some dubious and complex characters like Noam the King of Cordell, and sinister villains in Herod and Angra from Spring. The characters were a fantastic part of this story.

Snow Like Ashes was a great start to a fantasy series that I am excited to see develop. I'm not sure what took me so long but I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The characters were great, the world was interesting, and the plot was full of action and some complex themes.

I give Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch 9 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Borrow. If you are a fan of YA fantasies then definitely pick this one up. It's got a great world with complex characters and tons of traditional fantasy themes like including a lot of political intrigue. Despite some pacing issues I'm excited to see where things go.

Have you read Snow Like Ashes? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

ARC Review: The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

Title: The Walls Around Us
Author: Nova Ren Suma
Published: March 24, 2015 by Algonquin Books
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: “Ori’s dead because of what happened out behind the theater, in the tunnel made out of trees. She’s dead because she got sent to that place upstate, locked up with those monsters. And she got sent there because of me.” 

On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement. 

On the inside, within the walls of the Aurora Hills juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom. 

Tying their two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries . . . 

What really happened on the night Orianna stepped between Violet and her tormentors? What really happened on two strange nights at Aurora Hills? Will Amber and Violet and Orianna ever get the justice they deserve—in this life or in another one? 

In prose that sings from line to line,Nova Ren Suma tells a supernatural tale of guilt and of innocence, and of what happens when one is mistaken for the other.

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher (thanks Algonquin) via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have a long history of loving mystery novels and thrillers. From Goosebumps to Nancy Drew then on to Cozy Mysteries and so on. I am always looking for a really good YA mystery but often the ones I read fall a little flat. The Walls Around Us is the YA mystery and thriller I have been waiting for! It is complex and compelling with great settings, characters, and mystery that gets it right.

One of the things that I really liked about the book were the unique and compelling worlds of the book. We are taken through two equally cutthroat and dark settings in The Walls Around Us. First it's the world of a prison for young female juvenile delinquents. Then it's the world of ballet. With each setting we are able to completely immerse ourselves in what it was like to be a part of these worlds. We can see the jumpsuits and cells of the prison just as well as we can see point shoes and costumes of the ballet. Where the ballerinas are glitzy and glamorous with bright futures, the prisoners are disadvantaged and with nothing but hope. And despite the fact that they seem like they are two completely different worlds, the similarities are there as well. Both places have equal parts camaraderie and competitiveness. And both worlds are more than they seem. This made them the perfect location for the story of intrigue and mystery that was The Walls Around Us.

However the changing locations did sometimes get frustrating. I have a complicated relationship with multiple point of views and while I didn't particularly hate it here, I didn't always like going back and forth. Sometimes I would forget entirely what had happened in the previous section. It would move to a different place when I was becoming really invested in that story. It's not that it would leave on cliffhanger, in fact the transitions were really well done, it's just that it was kind of a confusing shift. But that may have been because I personally found the sections within the prison to be more compelling. But both were engaging places for the story and added a more well-rounded look at the plot and characters.

But it wasn't just the settings for this book that are more than they seem, the characters too were complex and interesting. The character that ties the two worlds together is Orianna or Ori. She is a ballerina who is sent to prison for committing a heinous crime. But she's not really the main character. Our two protagonists are Amber, a girl who has been in prison for a few years now and her best friend Violet, a ballerina who is getting ready to attend Juliard. And despite their differences there is some pretty interesting narrative symmetry and a lot of similarities between the characters. Neither character is particularly likable. They'll prickly, backstabbing, and rash. And yet somehow you root for them. Nova Ren Suma has done a fantastic job in making them sympathetic despite them not being very likable. Those weaknesses make them feel so real and the equal amounts of backstabbing from the secondary characters make you want them to succeed in the end. Both characters have secrets and their lack of honesty adds a lot to their characters. They're unreliable narrators, which I love. We're told right away how things end for them and Ori but we aren't told how or why. It makes them untrustworthy and not very likable but without a doubt the characters are complex and compelling.

But the most complex and compelling thing about this book was the mystery. I don't want to give too much away because you really need to read it for yourself. But just suffice to say that this is my favorite kind of mystery. I figured out the big picture parts of the twist pretty early in the book but it still worked. A lot of times what I see with mysteries, especially YA mysteries, is they try to surprise you by not giving you any clues or it feels too obvious. The Walls Around Us never felt like it was delaying the reveal and it felt unique and imaginative. It felt solvable instead of predictable. The clues were unveiled in a deliberate way that backed up my assumptions about the story. And yet there were still so many surprises. When everything was all said and done I was shocked, confused, and incredibly entertained. It was the YA mystery I have been waiting for. One that is complex and full of surprises while still being solvable. I seriously loved it.

The Walls Around Us was an incredibly enjoyable read. Nova Ren Suma has crafted a truly captivating and complex story here. It was atmospheric and pulls you in for something thrilling and unique. You're lulled into a false sense of beauty and hope just to be shocked and gutted by the ending. It builds to an exciting conclusion and with lots of mystery and excitement along the way, it was a great ride and a truly captivating read.

I give The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma 9 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. If you are a fan of mysteries and thrillers this one is not to be missed. It definitely has some crossover appeal but if you are looking for that YA mystery that will keep you guessing but still let you solve the mystery then this is the book for you. I heard it referred to somewhere as Orange is the New Black Swan (hence the gifs) which is a totally accurate comparison so if you enjoy that TV show and/or movie check this out. It's worth it!

Have you read The Walls Around Us? What did you think? If you haven't what is your favorite YA mystery, are there any like this you think I should check out? Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books from Childhood I Want to Revist

A weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish


1.) Goosebumps by R.L Stine - Add to Goodreads
Amiright 90's kids. Who wasn't all about this series. I remember getting copy after copy from the library and the Scholastic book fairs

2.) The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner- Add to Goodreads
This series made living in the woods by yourself sound not only entirely possible but almost glamorous. If I came across an abandon boxcar in the woods I would make it my home.

3.) American Girl novels by Valerie Tripp - Add to Goodreads
I bought a few of these books at a thrift shop recently and now I seriously need to reread them and feel nostalgic. They don't sell my two favorites anymore, cry with me!

4.) Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingells Wilder - Add to Goodreads
The prospect Under the Painted Sky made me think a lot about this series. How much did I love it? So much! 


5.) Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren - Add to Goodreads
Pippi was my girl! She appealed to my pre-pubescent feminist ideals. I wanted to be super strong, a pet monkey, a horse living on my porch, and a chest of pirate gold!

6.) Charlotte's Web by E.B. White - Add to Goodreads
E.B. White knows how to do classic MG. I liked Stuart Little but I loved Charlotte's Web. Am I crying right now? Maybe.

7.) Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne - Add to Goodreads
I loved Winnie the Pooh, I had a stuffed Pooh that I took everywhere for me and when I would have nightmares I'd crawl into my parents bed and my mom and I would sing the theme song.

Historical Fiction

8.) Number the Stars by Lois Lowry - Add to Goodreads
I didn't read The Giver until I was an adult but I was all about this book. I learned so much about WWII and the resistance. Plus friendship!

9.) Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes - Add to Goodreads
This was required reading in middle school but I seriously loved it. It was such an interesting novel about the American Revolution.

10.) True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi - Add to Goodreads
Oh Avi, you wrote some truly unique books and while I love The End of the Beginning,  this was one of my favorites as a kid!

11.) The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatly Snyder - Add to Goodreads
I saw someone mention this book on twitter recently and I felt so nostalgic! This book right here was probably the first Historical Fantasy I remember. Wow, it was so fascinating!  


12.) Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Peterson - Add to Goodreads
I remember writing about this book in my writing journal in elementary school and being so heart broken by the ending. SO. GOOD.

13.) Island of the Blue Dophins by Scott O'Dell - Add to Goodreads
Scott O'Dell I used to seriously love you. I read all your books. I don't remember much but I remember finding this one really interesting

14.) Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt - Add to Goodreads
In another life I worked in a middle school. My students were reading Tuck Everlasting and I remember seriously loving that book.

15,) Hatchet by Gary Paulson - Add to Goodreads
I clearly found survival stories really fascinating as a kid. Brian did some seriously outrageous things with nothing but nerve and a hatchet. I bet he would surviv the zombie apocalypse.

Yup, I couldn't just name ten. Once I started listing books it was like opening a faucet. Things just kept flowing. What are your favorite books from childhood? Did you love any of these? Leave me a comment with your thoughts

Monday, March 23, 2015

Book Review: We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

Title: We All Looked Up
Author: Tommy Wallach
Published: March 24, 2015 by Simon & Schuster
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Four high school seniors put their hopes, hearts, and humanity on the line as an asteroid hurtles toward Earth in this contemporary novel.

They always say that high school is the best time of your life.

Peter, the star basketball player at his school, is worried “they” might actually be right. Meanwhile Eliza can’t wait to escape Seattle—and her reputation—and perfect-on-paper Anita wonders if admission to Princeton is worth the price of abandoning her real dreams. Andy, for his part, doesn’t understand all the fuss about college and career—the future can wait.

Or can it? Because it turns out the future is hurtling through space with the potential to wipe out life on Earth. As these four seniors—along with the rest of the planet—wait to see what damage an asteroid will cause, they must abandon all thoughts of the future and decide how they’re going to spend what remains of the present.

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the published (Thanks Simon Teen) in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

I was really looking forward to reading We All Looked Up. I don't often see apocalyptic fiction. I'm not sure I've ever read anything that speculated the idea of what it would be like if the apocalypse was upon us. It's a unique concept and I'm always looking to try something different, especially when it comes to Contemporary novels, which I am starting to explore a lot more lately. There were some really great things about We All Looked Up, including complex characters and beautiful writing, but the plot fell a little short for me.

We All Looked Up is without a doubt a character-driven novel. Despite the fact that it is told in a first-person omnitiant narrative style we see the story from four different perspectives. What I think worked about that style is that each character had such a distinct voice. You could tell who was the focus in each chapter because of their style. Peter's were more philosophical, Eliza's were more sassy, Anita's was more intellectual, and Andy's were more effervescent. Each person's take was a little different but they were all so honest and realistic. They felt like real teenagers and that wasn't always a good thing. In fact, there were moments that they were quite unlikable but even that added to the realism of the characters.

Plus every character was incredibly well-rounded and complex. They had strengths and weaknesses, and they were really just trying to figure themselves out. Each of them had to preform a delicate balancing act between who others saw them as and who they saw themselves as. This of course come into conflict at times. Peter's not your typical jock. He's a bit of an intellectual, has a serious heart of gold, and wonders if there's more to it all. Eliza is seen as a promiscuesce and jaded artist but she's also very caring and self-conscious. To others Anita seems like a spoiled goody-goody but she doesn't have the best home life and she has dreams that don't include an Ivy League education. Andy is a slacker skateboarder but he's also really compassionate, loving, and a great friend. They could have been cliches, but they weren't. The characters Tommy created were so complex and they were one of my favorite parts of the book.

I think the hardest thing to express about this book are my feelings on the plot however. There was a lot to like but on the whole it didn't come together for me. I think there was just a general lack of cohesiveness. The beginning felt like a coming of age story. The characters were exploring who they were and who they wanted to be. Then it evolved into something more big picture, as it shifted focus to how the larger society was dealing with the impending doom. If you're like me you've probably read a dystopian novel and wondered how society could have devolved, here we see that. And just when I was starting to enjoy that aspect of the book it became more action-packed. After spending so much of the novel being character-driven, a shift to a more plot-driven format kind of took me out of the story. Then in the end it shifted back personal again and came full-circle. It did seem logical but the flow felt jarring and like there was a general lack of connection. I think I would have enjoyed it more if it had stuck to one main focus area.

But that being said I did really enjoy the writing. It was thought-provoking and deep. It was equal parts philosophical, religious, and jaded. It definitely explored some very complex concepts about life, death, friendship, love, and acceptance. It was an extremely honest and gritty betrayal of humanity and teenagers. A few moments did make me feel a little uncomfortable because they were almost too honest. The characters had to come to terms with some pretty serious circumstances throughout the novel. It made me wonder how I would respond to a similar situation. Any book that makes you think that much about yourself and society has to be a success.

Despite some things that fell a little short for me, including a plot that didn't feel completely cohesive, We All Looked Up was an enjoyable read with great characters and beautiful writing that made me think long after I had finished reading. It was a great debut.

I give We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach an 8.5 out of 10

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Borrow. I would recommend this book but I think it would appeal to a pretty specific audience. It feels like what I would call YA Literary Fiction. If you are looking for a unique read with complex characters that explores some deep philosophical themes then check this book out. It is weird and definitely unlike any other book I have read, especially for a YA contemporary, and I mean that in a good way.

Have your read We All Looked Up? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Feature Follow Friday: Inspired by Books

A weekly meme hosted by Alison Can Read & Parajunkee's View

How it Works: 

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs!

How does this work? First you visit the blogs of our illustrious hosts and leave your name on the post using using the linky tools, then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them "hi" in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!

What sets this Hop apart from others, is our Feature. Each week we will showcase a Featured Blogger, from all different genres and areas. Find out below. Just remember it is required, if you participate, to follow our Features and you must follow the hosts (Parajunkee & Alison Can Read) as a courtesy. How do you follow someone? Well, if you have a preference, state it in your #FF post. A lot of blogs are transitioning to Wordpress in which they do not have the luxury of GFC, so an RSS subscription is appreciated or if you choose an email subscription. If you don't have GFC please state in your post how you would like to be followed.

This Week's Question: 

Have you ever been inspired by a book character to do something? If so which character and what was it? - Suggested by Eternity Through Pages

This Week's Answer: 

I thought about this long and hard. Like so long I wasn't even going to do it because I didn't have an answer. I want to say no, but I really don't think that's true. I'm not sure I have ever actually gone through with anything. Travel, maybe? There must have been something, though. Right?

I think my best answer is I was inspired by Cath from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I really found a kindred spirit in Cath and I read Fangirl a few Novembers ago when I was participating in NaNoWriMo. At the same time I was struggling with finishing a book, Cath was also struggling with her writing and finding a voice. I felt inspired by Cath to keep writing and I ended up finishing the 50,000 words of that book. I didn't finish it and I haven't looked at it since but maybe I should find that inspiration again.

And what about you? What characters have inspired you? Leave me a comment of your thoughts.

And remember this is a blog hop so take a look around and if you like what you see give me a follow and leave me a comment so I can follow back. I am indifferent to the manner in which you follow so pick your poison: GFC, Bloglovin, and/or Twitter. Or Goodreads. Feel free to friend me there! I love seeing what other people are reading and checking out their comments.

Thanks for dropping by, happy FF and HAPPY READING!