Spring Bullet Reviews

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Hello everyone, and happy spring! I have been meaning to do this post for a really long time now, and I am finally getting around to it. It is a compilation of mini reviews (aka bullet reviews, because BULLET POINTS) of several books that I have read in the past few months. Hopefully you can find even more books to add to your TBR or discover a new opinion on something you have already read.

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Replica by Lauren Oliver

  • First, I loved the uniqueness of the two-in-one thing. It really made for a fun reading experience! (I did get tired of flipping it over after a while though)
  • I chose to read it in alternating chapters from Gemma and Lyra’s points of view, though I have heard the stories can be read in any order or combination of alternating views.
  • I really enjoyed the characters! They were all individual and contributed something unique to the story.
  • Things were constantly happening! I was never bored at any point in the book. There was always something going on that kept the story moving forward.
  • Also, Lauren Oliver’s writing is generally just really great, and it makes the stories even better!
  • There were tons of plot twists and unexpected surprises. (That’s one reason I would suggest reading it in alternating chapters, because they go at the same pace, and reading one may spoil the other perspective for you.)
  • The whole concept was great, with the mysterious Haven Institute and its ties to each character.
  • Overall, a really great, captivating read! Here is the excerpt if you are interested!

 

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Nemesis by Brendan Reichs

  • I am a really big fan of Brendan and Kathy Reichs’ Virals series, so I was eager to read this one.
  • I maybe had my expectations a little too high, but I still enjoyed the book.
  • It had a lot of twists and turns that I did NOT see coming. There was one especially big one (in my opinion), but I will not say any more than that…
  • I did not really seem to connect with the characters all that much. Min just seemed very distant and unrelatable, Tack was more like the underappreciated childhood friend, and Noah would change his views constantly.
  • THAT SAID, I still liked all of them, I just was not as connected as I would like to be. However, Ethan and Sarah just got on my nerves. I know they are supposed to be like the “bad guys,” but I just didn’t enjoy their presence at all.
  • I sometimes would get confused about whose point of view I was reading (Min or Noah), and I would have liked to see more of a difference in their styles.
  • As I mentioned earlier, there are a ton of different things going on and many, many twists and turns. It had an interesting plot that kept me waiting to see what was coming next.
  • I mentioned a lot of negative aspects, but I really did like the story! It was not similar to anything I have read, and it was enjoyable!
  • Check out the description!

 

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The Selection by Kiera Cass

  • This has been on my TBR forever, and I finally decided to pick it up.
  • I’m super glad that I did, because this book is really light, fun, and creative.
  • First, I was surprised by the element of dystopian. I did not know that their world was based upon a caste system and interesting history, fully equipped with rebels and battle scenes.
  • The romance was blended nicely with the dystopian, and it made for a unique combination.
  • I really liked all of the characters! They were all really fun and enjoyable. Especially May, America’s younger sister. She always made me happy!
  • America starts out with this really great, loving, kind boyfriend named Aspen. WELL let’s just say The Selection happens and Aspen is not quite so great anymore.
  • Enter the wonderful Prince Maxon!
  • He is so adorable! Like, he’s very intelligent and prince-like, but he’s also funny and provides a fresh perspective for America.
  • I enjoyed their relationship and America’s relationship with the other girls in the Selection.
  • Overall, I’m glad that I started this series, and I hope the rest is just as amazing! It’s such a fun, likable read!
  • Here’s the blurb!
  • I have also finished The Elite and The One as of right now, and I have the next two ready to go!

 

Have you read any of these books? If so, did you enjoy them? Do you ever have the need for a book that is just a simple, fun read?

Review: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

The Sun is Also a StarThe Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: November 1, 2016

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

I was a huge fan of Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything (which is being made into a movie, by the way) and I was super excited to read this one. I’ll admit, I had pretty high expectations, but the book did not disappoint! It is full of cute romance and random facts and tidbits. I also love the cover. The colors are super pretty together, and it’s got a string art type feel, which my artsy side adores.

Characters

Natasha and Daniel are both lovable, genuine characters. Natasha’s family is from Jamaica, and she moved to America when she was young. Daniel’s family is Korean, but he was born in the United States. Natasha and her family are being deported, and her efforts to reverse this deportation have more of an effect on her life than she could have imagined. Daniel is on his way to an interview that could determine his whole college education. And BOOM! Paths cross. Lives change.

I enjoyed watching Natasha and Daniel fall for each other despite the fact that it was basically impossible. Natasha was leaving and Daniel had his whole life planned out. Not only that, but they met and fell in love in less than 24 hours (which is kind of crazy and impossible within itself). HOWEVER, if we look past that minor detail, the story is adorable! They are so darn cute together, and I spent the whole book begging for them to end up happily ever after.

Aside from the wonderful romance, both Natasha and Daniel are so very real. They show what it is like to be an immigrant in America and that where you come from does not define you. Daniel’s parents want him to follow a specific path, but he longs to follow his own dreams. Natasha has taken it upon herself to right her father’s wrongs in order to continue living in America. Both of them want to forge ahead and make their own paths, which I believe makes them so relatable.

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Writing Style

I love the small chapters in both of Yoon’s books. It makes them seem easier to read. (Sometimes books with long chapters seem to go on and on and on, even if they are really good.)  It also allows for the inclusion of several other, random points of view. At first, I was not a fan of the many “background” characters, but they grew on me. They all contribute a little something to the story, and it adds a unique aspect.

There were tons of facts and tidbits thrown in throughout the story. From things about Jamaican culture to science facts, you can gain knowledge while reading this book! Being the nerd that I am, I loved these little random bits of information. They all connected in some way to whatever was currently happening, too. The book just generally had a fun, cute vibe to it, and I really enjoyed it!

Theme

Oh, how I love great themes! And The Sun is Also a Star had a really fabulous one. To me, it focused on how people should chase their dreams no matter what and how one small thing can affect a person’s entire life. Both Daniel and Natasha are out to chase their dreams and make their lives better. I adore their passion and drive to be successful, no matter what is thrown at them.

It also stressed the power of every little thing that you do and the effect that your actions can have on others. Something that seems teeny-tiny and insignificant to you could mean the world to someone else. Natasha and Daniel’s lives come in contact with many others and they impact each and every one of those people. In their world, a single day can be powerful. I really liked watching them change and grow throughout the course of this one day.

“We are capable of big lives. A big history. Why settle? Why choose the practical thing, the mundane thing? We are born to dream and make the things we dream about.”

 Overview

I had pretty high expectations for this one, but I was not disappointed! I fell in love with the characters just as much as they fell in love with each other. Their personalities were realistic and unique. We catch a glimpse of a day in the lives of Natasha and Daniel, a day that changes their lives forever. It’s a book that keeps you wishing there were more days to read about, more cuteness to obsess over. I would highly recommend The Sun is Also a Star to anyone in need of a quick, unforgettable romance.

What did you think of the book? Do you like books that have unique themes? Are you looking forward to the Everything, Everything movie?

New Releases in March & Bullet Review

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I have compiled a list of some of the books that will be released this March. Of course this is not nearly all of them, just some that I am excited for or have heard a lot about. I hope you can find some to add to your long list of things to read!

March 7

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zenter: A boy blames himself for the deaths of three of his friends, and he helps their families get through this hard time in unique ways. It sounds devastating, but I look forward to giving it a try!

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz: This book is centered around family, friends, and the power of love. I’m super excited to read both this and Aristotle & Dante. (No, I have not read that one yet, but hopefully soon!)

Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton: The sequel to Rebel of the Sands. I have heard wonderful things about this series, and I hope to read it soon.

You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner: A book with diversity and art. It can’t get any better than that! A deaf student gets involved in a graffiti war while trying to fit in at a new school, definitely sounds interesting!

March 21

Nemesis by Brendan Reichs: I’m a huge fan of Virals, so I’m willing to give any of the Reichs’ books a try. Nemesis sounds full of secrets and mysterious happenings that require two teens to take action.

Shadow Run by AdriAnne Strickland and Michael Miller: A sci-fi story with a young, female captain and an undercover prince aboard a spaceship. Hmm… sounds like a great book for Star Wars fans!

March 28

Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves: A novel for fans of The Red Queen, a place where blood defines you. (I have not yet read Red Queen, but it’s on my shelf waiting for me!) Also, the cover is super great.

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman: A book about a girl who finds herself in the guy who’s in her favorite podcast. I heard so many good things about this one; I hope it lives up to the hype.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor: Librarians, dreams, and mysterious worlds collide in this novel. I was drawn in by the many questions in the summary, and I’m really excited for this one!

Bullet Review of Wires and Nerve

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I absolutely adore Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles, and I was super pumped to read her newest graphic novel. I have never read a graphic novel, but it did not disappoint!

  • All of the original characters were present, and you can see what happened to them after the conclusion of Winter. 
  • Iko is the main character of this series, and she has all of her quirks from the previous books
  • Levana’s lunar soldiers are still roaming earth, so Iko is working to get them back to Luna.
  • Unfortunately, it was a very fast read (I did not want it to end)
  • The pictures represent the characters and locations very well, however some were very different from what I had originally imagined them to be.
  • The plot moves quickly, but the book is fairly short.
  • I loved being back in Cinder’s world!
  • The graphic novel nature of the book adds some fun aspects; it gives the action scenes a totally different vibe than a normal book.
  • It’s Marissa Meyer OMG what’s not to like
  • Now I must wait a whole year for the next one to come out…

 

Chat with me! What March releases are you looking forward to? Have you read the Lunar Chronicles or Wires and Nerve? What do you think of them?

 

Review: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab23299512

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Release Date: July 5, 2016

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Series: Monsters of Verity, book 1

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

I picked out This Savage Song for an independent reading project for school thinking that it couldn’t be terrible. I was quite pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. I have not read any books by Victoria Schwab, so I did not really know what to expect. Her writing style is different from what I am used to, but I began to really like it and the characters.

Writing & Plot

I really enjoyed the book, however it started out a bit boring. Personally, I am not a huge fan of books written in third person, and this one was. That was probably part of why I had trouble getting in to it. Once I got used to it, though, I really started to appreciate all of the details and imagery.

The actual story itself did not pick up for a while, either. I was really confused for a while, and did not really know what was going on. There was no explanation of the types of monsters, the characters’ backgrounds, or the history of their city, Verity (unless I just missed it, which is quite possible). More solid information was given later on, but the beginning was confusing.

On a more positive note, I noticed that August would recall things that were mentioned beforehand, and the exact words would be in italics. It really felt like you could feel his thoughts and feelings, even though it was in third person. The words used were powerful and raw, exposing the characters’ emotions. I always love a book that makes you feel exactly what the characters are feeling, whether it be happy, sad, or something in between.

“Suddenly normal felt so far away. It was a cruel trick of the universe, thought August, that he felt human only after doing something monstrous. Which made him wonder if that brief glimpse of humanity was really just an illusion, an echo of the life he’d taken. An impostor sensation. Leo’s voice came to him, simple and steady. This is what you do. What you are.  Ilsa’s rose to meet it. Find the good in it.

 

Characters

The book follows two main characters, August and Kate. They meet at school, in unconventional circumstances. Kate is feared by many of the students, due to her father and many of the rumors that surround their family. August goes by another name, Freddie, so he is not recognized by anyone dangerous.

Kate is a very tough, determined character. She wants to prove herself to her father, who is ruthless and extremely powerful over the North side of Verity. I found her a little unrelatable at first, because she seemed very destructive and unwilling to follow rules. Later, though, her true motives are revealed, and she simply wants to be loved and accepted by her father. I really felt for her after that, and wanted her to find her way in the world without feeling the need to impress others.

August is a Sunai, the most mysterious of the three types of monster. There are only three Sunai, August and his brother and sister. He desperately wants to find a path that doesn’t involve being a monster and doing monsterly things. He wishes to be human and live a normal life. His father is in control of South Verity, so his brother works for the FTF, a military-like group that protects the town from the monsters.

August is an extremely lovable character; he’s cute and really relatable despite him being a monster. He has a simple goal in life: to be normal and accepted (which I thought was a prominent theme, so it will be discussed below). Of course, nearly everyone can relate to that. I was rooting for him throughout the book and wanted him to make peace with himself.

Many of the “background” characters were pleasant and had more important roles than I originally thought. Ilsa was very interesting, while Leo was tough and a bit rough around the edges (maybe in the middle too…). I enjoyed Ilsa’s unique and wise personality. She added a nice touch of feminine flair that would have been lacking otherwise. Kate was less girly, so she did not quite fit that role. Anyways, every character turned out to be vital to the story is some way, and they all brought something unique to the story.

As for relationships, there weren’t very many, which was both disappointing and refreshing. I’m a sucker for a  good romance, but it was very nice to have a book where the characters do not jump straight into a relationship. However, I do hope that something happens between Kate and August in the upcoming book(s).

Themes

I found there to be two prominent themes in This Savage Song, one of them being the power of music. Music is depicted as something that is very strong and can make people feel a certain way. August is able to use it to make normal people feel calm or far away from reality, and he can use it to disable and weaken monsters and criminals. Either way, it is a very powerful, tool that he has. It is similar in our lives, too.

As a musician myself, I know that I want to be able to pull the audience into the music that I am making and evoke certain emotions. Everyone listens to music, and we all have a favorite song. That song makes us feel a specific way, and we like whatever it may be. The music and emotions are described beautifully throughout the book, and there is no better way to connect with readers than through music.

Secondly, I found that both characters wanted to find some form of acceptance within their lives. They each wanted to be appreciated, cared for, and given a chance to break away from their stereotypes. Kate wants to impress her father and escape the rumors surrounding her family. For August, it simply means living a normal life that is far from that of a monster.

Everyone has wants to be loved, and has felt underappreciated or unimportant at some point in their life. Especially as teens, readers may feel this way. I think that we can all learn a little from this book: it is okay to be different. This message is powerful. I appreciate the things this book is trying to tell us, and Schwab has executed her plans wonderfully.

“A single, resonant note swept though the tunnel, and everything stopped. Sound vibrated through the air as he drew a second sound, and then a third, the chords fusing together as they formed. The music was like a blade, knifing through the dark.”

 

Overview

This Savage Song is beautiful and captivating. I had a very hard time putting it down. The characters were three-dimensional and realistic, while the futuristic society was described with finesse. There is SO much detail in this book, it was amazing! The ending was full of surprising twists and turns, and I shall eagerly await the next book, Our Dark Duet. (Unfortunately, it is not released until June).