Saturday, May 30, 2015

From the Den: May Edition

From the Den is a feature to showcase the books that I don't post reviews for on the blog, whether I liked them or not. I read so many books that never make it onto The Fox's Hideaway, so I wanted a feature where I could tell y'all about them. :)

*****

The Kiss of Deception
This had been a reread in prep for The Heart of Betrayal (which I also read and hopefully will have a full review for, so that's why it's not on here). It was just as amazing the second time around! And I could focus better on the characters and their relationships, after knowing who was who from the start. :)

With Visions of Red
I'm not even sure what to do with this book. I actually didn't know it was a serial before starting it, so I'm kind of upset about that. But this is one serial I wouldn't mind following in installments. It was so damn good! And crazy. And just WHOA.

End of Days
I thought I was going to write a full review for this, but nah. I don't have a lot of thoughts. It was good, a satisfactory ending to one of my favorite series. But it's quite clear this wasn't meant to be a trilogy, and I'm upset it got cut off and everything got smushed into this finale. However, I did love it! I talked to Shannon about this once she finished, and she wasn't as happy, understandably so. It was fairly predictable, and a little underdeveloped (especially with the additions of more secondary characters), and the battle at the end wasn't as epic as I'd hoped it'd be. But, you know what? I can't find it in me to care about all that. I was HAPPY with the ending. I was happy I got more Penryn and Raffe banter. And I was happy it ended happily. :)

The Tenderness of Thieves
I liked this book, but it wasn't as good as I thought it'd be. I couldn't connect well with the main character at all, even though we shared some of the same background. I also disliked the romance. I wasn't much a fan of Handel, and it's quite easy to guess from the synopsis what his big secret is. But I was happy the ending took a different direction than most YA novels. Also, the parent/teen relationship, and the friendships between Jane and her girls, was fabulous to see and read about in this.

Storm Warning
I read this for the Bookish Bingo challenge, and I quite liked it! Definitely different from what I thought it'd be, but I hated the multiple POVs because I ended up not caring about three out of the five characters. The other two? I could have read a whole book about them and their romance. Speaking of, the romance was a huge disappointment. It was all underdeveloped and insta-lovey. I think that cliffhanger might have been the saving grace, because now all I want to do is read the sequel to find out who died at the end. (I have a guess, and if it's right, I WILL BE PISSED). Anyway! Lots of dramatics, lots of shifting relationships. But I still enjoyed it, to a certain extent.

*****

Hope y'all like the new feature! Like I said in the first post, this will be a monthly showcase from now on, starting in June. If I keep up with it! HAHA. Anyway, at this point in time, I'm probably leaving NY so I'll be back to the land of the internet soon enough. And I'm sure I've missed my laptop immensely and will be happy to be reunited. Checking out now. :)

Friday, May 29, 2015

From the Den: April Edition

From the Den is a feature to showcase the books that I don't post reviews for on the blog, whether I liked them or not. I read so many books that never make it onto The Fox's Hideaway, so I wanted a feature where I could tell y'all about them. :)

*****

Echo Lake
I loooove Carla Neggers' books, and this one was no exception! There is just something about this series, about these characters, and the tiny town of Knights Bridge, that makes me fall in love over and over again. This wasn't my favorite of them, but it was still SO good!

The Fill-In Boyfriend
Kasie West is one of my favorite authors, so I was excited when Kaitlin sent me her copy of this book! (Thank you, love). I really enjoyed this book, and how Gia was such a real character. One who had a lot of growing up to do, one that made mistakes but who learned from them. She had to figure out that popularity and fake friendships were not worth it, and that there is so much more to people than their appearances. I could so relate to her well! And oh, the love interest was very swoon-worthy. ;)

The Sea of Tranquility
I'd been meaning to read this book FOREVER, and I finally got around to it! It was absolutely amazing, an emotionally-engaging story that hurt my heart and healed it at the same time. I loved the characters; their messy, complicated, broken selves. I loved that this story wasn't PRETTY. It was ugly, and truly distasteful at times. But Josh and Nastya had wonderful journeys.

Monstrous Beauty
This book was GORGEOUS. The intertwining of the past and the present was fabulous, even if it lost me a few times. And the mystery was cleverly unfolded. I didn't have a strong connection with the characters, but I liked them a lot. The only problem I had with this, though, was the ending. What was that? I'm so confused!

Babes in Boyland
Uuuuugh, I hate nonfiction SO much! It's so boring to me, and I'm not even sure I totally understood this story. Also, I dislike memoirs because there is no plot and no point to the book (at least, with this one, that's how it felt). It was just a bunch of diary entries strung together until it ended.

*****

And, finally, tomorrow's From the Den is May!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

From the Den: March Edition

From the Den is a feature to showcase the books that I don't post reviews for on the blog, whether I liked them or not. I read so much many books that never make it onto The Fox's Hideaway, so I wanted a feature where I could tell y'all about them. :)


*****

The Wrath and the Dawn
One of my FAVORITE reads of this year so far! Gorgeous, enchanting. It was richly detailed and developed. I loved Shazi; she was such a badass heroine. Also, I SHIP HER AND KHALID SO HARD LIKE TARIQ WHO? I'm already dying for the sequel.

A Darker Shade of Magic
This was my first Victoria Schwab book and it WILL NOT be the last! This book was omg so freaking good! It took me a little bit to get into the story, but once I was immersed, I was hooked. And oh my, I loved the characters so much; shippy feels all over the place. WHERE IS MY SEQUEL.

Confess
Let me tell you, the latest CoHo book was NOT a disappointment! It was very emotional, and the I really liked the two main characters and their story. And the artwork was PHENOMENAL. Added such a unique richness to the story! Beautiful.

Throne of Glass
Buddy read with my favorites, Val and Shannon. I quite liked this book! It wasn't the best book ever, and I'm not head-over-heels in looooove with it. But I can't wait to continue the series! Also, Celaena is so fucking badass. Love it. 

Cold Iron
I picked this up by chance when it was a kindle daily deal, and I ended up really loving it! I love Faerie stories, especially ones entwined with mythology. Really loved these characters, and the romance was hot and steamy!

*****

I read a bit more in March than any of the months, I think. But I did read a few for April too, and that will be up tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

From the Den: February Edition

From the Den is a feature to showcase the books that I don't post reviews for on the blog, whether I liked them or not. I read so much many books that never make it onto The Fox's Hideaway, so I wanted a feature where I could tell y'all about them. :)


*****


Legend
Originally, I had planned on binge-reading this series, but I only got through book one. Not that it wasn't good, because it was. But I haven't been too into dystopian lately. However, I really liked the characters, and the story-line, so I can't wait to see where it all goes! I plan on finishing this series during the summer.

An Ember in the Ashes
This novel is BRILLIANT. Gritty, gut-wrenching, harsh. This world is not one that I would ever want to live in, or be a part of. Two characters, who come from different backgrounds, collide in pursuits of their own agendas. It is pretty character-driven, and I loved both Elias and Laia. I was a little iffy on the romance, and wish it'd been handled a little differently. But I loved this story-line, and I am SO EXCITED THERE WILL BE A SEQUEL!!!

*****

Okay, so I didn't read much more than what I put out here on the blog in February, but that was a slooooow month for me. Don't worry, I made it up in March. :P And that edition will be up tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

From the Den: January Edition

Welcome to From the Den, a brand-new feature here on The Fox's Hideaway! What is it about, you ask? Good question. So, I read. A LOT. I read more than what I show on the blog. Way, WAY more. And most of the time, I only post about those books on Goodreads, so if we're not friends, you'll never see all of what I'm reading. And I don't like that! I also always wondered why people bothered showing their DNFs, and the books they weren't going to review. But I get it now. Even if I don't review books fully, or I DNF, I still want to tell people about them! I still want to show them on my blog, in some way, even if it's just a monthly round-up post. And that is where From the Den was born, a feature to showcase the books that I don't post reviews for on the blog, whether I liked them or not. :) This will *hopefully* be a monthly feature from here on out, but I want to start from January. So, for the entire week of BEA, I'm going to catch y'all up on the books I've read since 2015 started that never made it onto The Fox's Hideaway!


*****

Shadow and Bone
This had been a reread in preparation for a binge of the series, and I loved it just as much the second time around! Leigh Bardugo's writing is so gorgeous and lush, the details splendid. I've always liked Alina and her strength, and her relationship with Mal. And of course, I adored The Darkling. 

Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma: The American Portraits Series
I had to read this for my Women's History college class, and I quite liked it! I usually hate nonfiction, but I found this more accurate portrayal of the real Pocahontas fascinating.

The Sky is Everywhere
I love books that deal with tragedies, grief, and the process of healing. And I really enjoyed this one! I thought I would be head-over-heels in love with it, but that was not the case, sadly. I had a hard time connecting with the main character, and the story, in the beginning. I kept putting it down and starting it back up, never quite sure if I wanted to go through with it. But I am SO glad I did! Lennie is definitely a complex character, and hard to like at times. But she was grieving. She was trying to process her sister's death. I found her to be a lot relatable, and I was so happy when she made the choice to move on. And the poetry? My favorite parts of this book. I saved so many of the poems because they were just absolutely beautiful and heartbreaking and sad and lovely. <3

The Art of Lainey
I'd been wanting to read this one ever since I heard of it, and I'm so glad I could FINALLY make it happen! Guys, if you haven't met Micah yet, YOU NEED TO. He's a walking, talking contradiction I fell in love with the moment he stepped onto the pages. I love him, and how he loved Lainey. Lainey is definitely a character that had a lot of growing to do, and that's okay! She wasn't perfect. She focused more on who she was friends with and what she looked like than about what was inside a person. She cared a lot about popularity, and you know what, I could relate to that so well. To that need to fit in and be liked by everyone. And her growth as a character was so wonderful to see. Also, her friendship with Becca is a pure joy to see in a YA book! It was wonderful.

*****

So, that's it! Check back tomorrow for the February edition. :)

Monday, May 25, 2015

Get Rec'd: The Book Thief

I created this feature back in March, and I'm so excited to be continuing it! So if you missed that first post, I'll sum it up for you: Get Rec'd is basically where YOU MAKE me read a book, but you'll never know when it happens or if I'll ever post about it. It's all so very mysterious. ;)

And this Get Rec'd is brought to you by Val (The Innocent Smiley). I, for one, cannot wait to see her reaction to this. She's been telling me to read this one for MONTHS, and I finally got around to it. So, what book would that be? See below! :)

I. I don't even know what I just read. I don't know what to think. I don't what to do or how to feel about this book. It was, in one word, phenomenal. And let me tell you why.

A UNIQUE NARRATOR

I was so NOT expecting the book to be narrated this way, to be told in the voice of a person who was watching everything happen from the behind the scenes, who could tell you things that you would have missed had it been recounted by the characters themselves. But you know what? It was unique, and I loved it. The narrative was a mix of gruesome horror, dry humor, exploration of the human race, and how it can be both beautiful and ugly. The writing was a little wordy at times, very flowery and purple prose. But I didn't mind it so much, even when I didn't totally understand a few scenes or quotes in the book. 

A HUMBLE BOOK THIEF

Liesel is an astounding character, one who brought so much light and joy to the people whose lives she touched. She toed the line between childhood innocence and heartbreaking reality as she grew up in a place that wouldn't stay untouched by war. She had a level of maturity one wouldn't expect with a girl her age, but Liesel was forever learning. Always listening, always asking questions, always wanting to know why. Curious, headstrong, almost fearless. She was never satisfied until she knew the answers, until she heard everything. She was a bright-eyed child who was so very intelligent for her age (I had been expecting her to be a teenager at the start, but she was only ten). She had such an innocent quality to her, even in the midst of the horror, even in the face of the cruelest of humanity. But she never let that jade her, and she continued to be brave and to do the right thing, even when it hurt her. She went through a lot in this book, and witnessed both the ugly and the beautiful, and never let any of it define her.

A TOUCHING FRIENDSHIP

How much do I love Rudy? THERE IS NO MEASURE! The relationship between he and Liesel was one of my favorite parts of this book. There was something so beautiful about their childhood innocence and dialogue, the way they became each other's best friends. How they bonded through name-calling, stealing, and being braver than many of the other kids their age. They had such a genuinely real friendship that could have become so much more, had it been given the time to mature. Gah. It's so hard to say much more without giving anything away, so I'll just leave it be. Content to stay in a bubble myself. It hurts too much to remember otherwise.

A MAN NAMED HANS

Hans was Liesel's foster father, a man who became the most important person in her life. He would hold her after her nightmares, soothe away her fears, and indulge her dreams. He taught her how to read; he opened the gate through which Liesel found her passion: words. They developed such a deep, important bond with each other. I loved how, through Hans, Liesel grew into a strong female who didn't forsake someone who needed help. She was not a Nazi, not someone who hated the Jews. In fact, she was disgusted by concentration camps and the parades, something Hans shared also. He was stupidly kind but couldn't stand by and just watch. He had to take action. He had to prove that people, that humanity, was still good. Hans was one of my favorite characters, for everything he did, and for everything he was.

A RICHLY DEVELOPED TALE

This book is massive, but understandable given how much there was to tell. Not just about Liesel, and Hans, and Rudy, and Rosa (her foster mother, who was hilarious and callous but who loved her family so), but about the people whose lives intersected with theirs. Like I said above, because it was narrated in such a way, we were able to see so much, not just about the immediate characters. And none of this felt random, and it didn't take away from the overall story-line. Because everything was important, everything was needed. This book was so richly detailed, the characters so fully developed with big personalities (even some of the unimportant ones). It was about more than just a book thief. It showed the dark and light of humanity. It questioned how something can be ugly and beautiful at the same time. And it all circled back to one young girl who developed a penchant for stealing books.

This book is life-changing, soul-crushing, and utterly remarkable. I don't know what more to say here, because I'm kind of still stuck in a story that I think everyone should read. It's just that good, that amazing. A book that'll stick with me for awhile, and one that is truly something to read.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Review of The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly

Title: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly
Author: Stephanie Oakes
Publisher: Dial/Penguin
Release Date: June 9th, 2015!
*physical ARC kindly provided by Penguin*

From Goodreads...
With a harrowing poetic voice, this contemporary page-turner is perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, Julie Berry's All The Truth That's in Me, and the works of Ellen Hopkins.

The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust.

And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it's clear that Minnow knows something—but she's not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is a hard-hitting and hopeful story about the dangers of blind faith—and the power of having faith in oneself.


My Review!
I've been wanting to read this book ever since I heard of it! It sounded so good, and I loved that it was a contemporary retelling of a not-so-familiar Grimm fairytale, The Handless Maiden. Going into this one, I had absolutely NO idea what to expect! That made The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly a truly engrossing page-turner that surprised me at almost every turn.

This story is told in the perspective of Minnow, a seventeen year old brought up in a religious cult that she wants freedom from. I loved her voice! It was easy to fall into the story, to be swept away in the past and present, the unfolding of the events that led Minnow to juvenile detention. I was not expecting this novel to be as dark as it was! What happened to Minnow in that community is unspeakable and unbearably hard on her. It fills her every thoughts, even when she tries so hard to forget it. She was a strong character who let love and curiosity spill from her mind until she wanted just a taste of that freedom and life. It was a spark that lit deep within and opened her up to endless possibilities, even when she struggled with childhood ideals and notions that contradicted them. "The power of having faith in oneself" in the synopsis describes Minnow's situation perfectly.  


This was truly a contemporary, a character-driven novel. It was very much about Minnow, her old life and her new one, and the people who appeared in each. Minnow had amazing character growth, and everyone else played a hand in it (no pun intended). She struggles with her feelings for her parents, the boy she was not allowed to be with, and the girls at her new home in juvie. All play a part in Minnow's development, especially the FBI detective who wants her story. Her sanity is in question, and so are her tales of what happened at the camp. But Minnow will not give in so easily, and it will be ever hard to guess if her words are lies or the truth.


Throughout the novel, the plot revolves around the mystery surrounding how Minnow lost her hands and if she actually murdered the leader of the cult. It sounds kind of boring, given that there wasn't much action. But I never grew bored with it. I was completely hooked on the story and constantly sifting through the pieces of past and present to gain the full picture. The plot was filled with introspection, a girl who was transplanted into a life she didn't understand and who was trying to figure out her new place in the world, with a little bit of romance thrown in for good measure. 


The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly was a compelling story about one girl's struggles and triumphs. It was gritty and dark and, at times, a brutal account of the community mind of a cult.



RATING:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Dragons and Birds: The Girl at Midnight Review

Title: The Girl at Midnight (The Girl at Midnight, #1)
Author: Melissa Grey
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: April 28th, 2015!
*eARC kindly provided by Random House Children's via NetGalley*

From Goodreads...
Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she's ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she's fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it's time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, though if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it's how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.

But some jobs aren't as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.


My Review!
I devoured The Girl at Midnight. I use this term a lot, but it's never quite fit a book until this one. I read most of this in one entire afternoon. I didn't want to stop. The writing was gorgeous, and I loved that this was told in 3rd person. Everything flowed together, and it was easy to connect with all of the characters. There are so many characters in this book. So many who play important roles, others that are underdeveloped but still make an impression (it's a series, so we'll definitely know them better later on). They are all complex, complicated, and bring something different to the story. 

There is Echo, orphaned human who was exposed to the supernatural at an early age. The Ala took her under her wing when she was a child, scrounging for scraps and living in the library. Someone who has never belonged anywhere since she was born, but who longs to be part of the Avicens, to be one of them. She's part of both their world and the human one, but she doesn't truly belong to either. I loved Echo's character. I loved her sass, her strength. I loved that she wasn’t perfect. She was fighting an inner battle constantly, especially concerning her feelings for a certain guy, and also dealing with a sense of loneliness and rejection from the Avicen. 


And then we have Caius, the Dragon Prince. A character who, at first glance, seems to be this ruthless leader, someone who would do whatever it takes to help his people (no matter the cost). But he is so much more than his title and past. He’s got hope, a blinding faith in a quest that could be his undoing. He wants to end the wars between the Avicen and the Drakharin. He wants peace. Caius was a multifaceted character, one who tries so hard to do better, to be better. But he’s also fighting against the need to hate the enemy. He’s more open-minded than his sister and people, but it’s hard to give up what you’ve been taught your whole life.


Another character (secondary) I loved was Doriaaaaaan. I'm convinced Dorian is a pirate. He's an excellent swordsman, he has an affinity for water, and he's a captain. And, the dude even has an eyepatch. PIRATE, I'm tellin' ya. Also, he is just so adorable, I love him so much. His character is harder to like, though, because of his beliefs and a certain situation that happened in the book (I am not condoning ANYTHING, okay). But he had such growth, and his character was so complex. I love multifaceted characters, because I find them believable and real. He made mistakes, but he owned up to them. His whole world had been turned upside down, and he was forced to face a lot of truths. Both inside and out. More secondary characters, such as Jasper, Ivy, and Tanith all had major roles in the story. Tanith, especially, was a great villain-type. 


I was shipping all of the relationships in this book. I've never shipped an OT3 (threesomes, baby) before in a book, but there's a first time for everything. THAT is how much I liked the idea of every single romance in this book. Speaking of romances, they were all so very interesting. The way Dorian stared at Caius was interesting, the way Jasper lingered too long on Dorian was interesting, the quick aversion of gazes between Caius and Echo were interesting, the subtle sexual banter and flirting was interesting. (Yes, I am being sarcastic and playing on the constant use of the word in the story). It wasn't an annoyance though, because the author took great care to show the characters' sexualities without making it into a huge deal. Sometimes I am kind of clueless as to how the characters in books appear on the sexuality spectrum, so that was extremely nice and it also made me have so many shippy feels that I ended up loving all of the hints of romances.


But what I especially appreciated aside from the romance, were the relationships between the women in the story. Echo and the Ala. Echo and Ivy. These bonds were not sacrificed for love, like it is in way too many YA books. Echo had no one, but with these two women, she found a place to belong. She found love and respect and companionship. She found people who had her back through everything. They were important to her, and her to them. It was wonderful to see.


The Drakharin and the Avicen, two races that have been enemies for centuries, are not all what they seem. Together, through their slowly developing trust and respect for each other, the characters help shatter the prejudices of their kinds. And they unleash a series of events that will (hopefully) end this war between the two races. The plot is fairly predictable, but I think it's so unique and I can't wait to see where the author takes this series!


The characters, and their relationships with each other, were definitely my favorite parts of this story. It’s as much character-driven as it is plot-driven. The Girl at Midnight was a wonderful, unique book that had me shipping everything possible and loving the story-line.



RATING:

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Dare to Dream: 5 to 1 Review

Title: 5 to 1
Author: Holly Bodger
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 12th, 2015!
*eARC kindly provided by Random House Children’s via NetGalley*

From Goodreads...
In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, India now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, making women an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of marrying off their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women who form the country of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife.

Sudasa, though, doesn't want to be a wife, and Kiran, a boy forced to compete in the test to become her husband, has other plans as well. As the tests advance, Sudasa and Kiran thwart each other at every turn until they slowly realize that they just might want the same thing.

This beautiful, unique novel is told from alternating points of view-Sudasa's in verse and Kiran's in prose-allowing readers to experience both characters' pain and their brave struggle for hope.


My Review!
5 to 1 was a brilliant, thought-provoking novel that I read in one sitting. It was such a quick read, one that packed an emotional punch in very few pages. The combination of prose and verse was EXCELLENT. I’ve never read a book like that before, other than one, but it was definitely not as well-written as this. The verse, the lyrical, the poetical, was especially impactful for me. It was wonderful.

The verse was in Sudasa’s POV, a girl who has to marry but doesn’t want to. However, it’s expected of her. It’s been expected from birth. Women are a valuable commodity in this society, because they are outnumbered by males. They are a prize, one that boys grow up knowing they need if they want a good place in society. But Sudasa wants more than this. She wants love. She wants a choice. She doesn’t want to be forced to watch boys compete for her hand in marriage. She just wants to be free of this. Sudasa is such a strong character, one that I admired so much. She’s intelligent, outspoken, different. Different from a family who still believes in this tradition. Different from a people who don’t voice their dissent. Sudasa dreams of more for herself, and so does the guy who apparently doesn’t want to marry her even though he’s in the Tests.


The prose was told in Kiran’s POV, which was a nice change of pace from Sudasa’s chapters. It never became hard to switch between the two for me. He’s hiding his true desires even as he competes in Tests that could kill him. He was as easily likable as Sudasa; he’s just a guy who has dreams and plans of his own. I loved how Kiran’s chapters gave us more insight into this society, his life, and what it’s like for a boy living in this world. Boys are taught from birth that they’ll have a chance to compete with one another for a girl. For marriage. For a better station in society. But Kiran despises this system; he despises Sudasa, before he realizes that maybe she’s just like him. That maybe she wants something different too. That maybe she doesn’t want this anymore than he does. 


This is not a romance; in fact, there is ZERO romance. And I was okay with that. Because it is so much more about the two characters and their wants, their dreams. It was about two people who had been taught a certain way their whole life but who desired something more. I loved their banter, loved that the Tests became a sort of personal challenge for them with each other. Kiran and Sudasa don’t understand each other, but their preconceived notions are quickly disputed. And through this, they find in each other an ally, a friend. Someone who understands, and someone who wants the same thing.


The ending left their relationship open; it left everything open. But I didn’t mind, because it was amazing. I loved it. I definitely could have used just a *bit* more information when it came to this new society, though we do see how it came to be from the beginning. It’s a sort of post-apocalyptic, utopian world in India. Like nothing I’ve read before. And I’ve never read a book where WOMEN were more valuable than men (which was just excellent for my feminism heart) and I was all YOU GO SUDASA WOO FEMALES ARE ALL-POWERFUL. But in all seriousness, this story-line provokes thought. Not just of what could happen, but of what society is capable of, and of what it means to be human. To be compassionate. To dream. To hope.


5 to 1 was unlike anything I’ve ever read before, and I loved it so freaking much. Everything about it. Brilliant, so brilliant.



RATING:

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

(31) Top Ten Things You Should Know About Me Before BEA

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's theme: Topic of your choice--FREEBIE! 

It was so fortunate that this week's TTT was a freebie since, with BEA coming up, I was inspired to do a get-to-know-me list after talking with Shannon and seeing similar posts around. So, here goes! The top ten things you should know about me before we (hopefully) meet at BEA. :)


1. I am painfully shy.
You guys might not think it with the way I talk on social media (but really, remember how long it took me to actually socialize with people in this community?), but I am. Really shy. But more than that, I can be pretty closed-off. It's hard to open up to people I don't know. So if I don't offer up much about myself, it's not because I'm trying to be rude or that I'm suspicious of your character (unless you're actually a creeper). I'm just not a naturally open person.

2. I am an awkward social penguin.
I don't consider myself a funny or outgoing person, so it's kind of hard for me to start conversations. Like, I just don't know what to say! 
Example of an attempt to converse confidently: "Hi, I like your dress." "Hey, thank you!" *crickets, awkward silence* *thirty seconds later* "So, you love books?"
H E L P

3. I hate crowds.
I'm a firm believer in personal space, so knowing that I'm gonna be smushed between hundreds of people and possibly getting trampled on is, not gonna lie, a real fucking nightmare. I get pretty claustrophobic in crowds, and I'm so NOT looking forward to the stampedes and shoulder-to-shoulder packed space (if it even is like that, but I'm fairly certain it will be jammed up considerably).

4. I'm a follower.
I am not a leader. I don't take charge like a general. I'm much happier to let others figure out what to do first and lead the way. So I'll probably be clinging to Val and Shannon (#sorrynotsorry) and following them around like a lost puppy.

5. I get grumpy when I'm hungry.
This could very well happen because I'll be running around all day and not eating much, so I'm definitely loading up on some snacks for the event. Because grumpy + exhausted (which I'm sure I will be, especially if I don't sleep well) = a dangerous combination. So no need to be both.

6. I'm not very spontaneous.
I am not. I need to plan, plan, plan. I need to know clearly what I'm going to be doing and when. It's hard for me to just jump into something with no rhyme or reason. But hey, if you're up for something spontaneous, I'm game! This trip is all about facing my fears and becoming more independent and being courageous. So spontaneity? Should be no problem.

7. I laugh often, and loudly.
I do this, especially, when I'm nervoussss. And everything about socializing with everyone is making me SO nervous. I'm a little self-conscious about it, but I'm also just a really easy-going person who loves laughing with others. So I hope no one cares about my (probably) obnoxious laugh.

8. I am an (occasional) hugger.
I like hugs, at times. And it kind of depends on the person. And sometimes I feel like I have this "do not touch" sign stamped onto my forehead. But don't let that stop you from running up and tackle hugging me (which is what I'm pretty sure Val will do when we meet for the first time) because I do really love them! I just also like my space. :P

9. I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON.
It takes me awhile to wake up and actually be ready to socialize, so if we meet in the morning, it might because of THIS and not because I'm being shy. I'm like a zombie in the mornings, and it's hard to form coherent sentences. 
(The all-caps is for you, Val).

10. I LOVE meeting new people!
Despite a lot of the above, I really do love talking with new people and learning their stories. It just might take me a bit to warm up to everyone. :)

*****

So, what was YOUR topic for the Top Ten meme this week? Also, will I be seeing you at BEA? If you recognize, DON'T HESITATE TO SAY HI OKAY! :)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Review of Tessa Ever After

Title: Tessa Ever After (Caged in Winter, #2)
Author: Brighton Walsh
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: May 5th, 2015!

From Goodreads...
In this grippingly emotional New Adult novel from the author of Caged in Winter, what you want isn’t always what you need…

Jason’s been living (and loving) the rich playboy lifestyle for five years, but now his parents are pressuring him to get involved in the family business. The last thing he wants is another obligation, but when his best friend moves out of state and asks Jason to look after his sister, he can’t just say no.

Tessa had to grow up way too soon. After dealing with the aftermath of her parents’ deaths, then becoming a teenage mom, she knows the meaning of responsibility. Which is why, at twenty-two, she’s looking for so much more than a party boy. She’s looking for someone who can stand by her and her daughter…forever.

A relationship between them is doomed from the start, but who says they can’t have a little fun? But as Jason gets closer to Tessa—and her daughter—fun starts to turn into something else… Something Jason’s not sure he’s ready for.


My Review!
The best friend’s sister/sister’s best friend romance trope is one of my FAVORITES. And after reading Caged in Winter, I was dying to get my hands on Tessa’s and Jason’s story. Two characters I grew to love in the few scenes they were in during CiW, ones whose happy ending I wanted to read so badly. Because they both deserved that happy ending. 

Tessa, who is so strong and selfless and hard-working, a girl who just wants to do right by her daughter. She’s worked extremely hard to become the woman she is now, and she feels like she’s failing. With Cade gone, she’s left on her own and she never realized how much he helped out. And she’s floundering, trying so hard to be the best mother she can be, putting so much pressure and expectations on herself. I loved Tessa’s strength, even when she was struggling. I loved that she kept fighting for more, for herself and her daughter. She’s her own worst enemy, and she’s better than what she thinks of herself, but she doesn’t see that. All she can see is a failure. 

But Jason doesn’t see a failure when he looks at her. He sees a woman who had to grow up too fast, one who took control of her life and made something for herself. He can’t say the same for himself. He’s been in school for five years, wasting away his time because he knows that once he graduates, he has to work for his father. And that’s not what he wants. But he won’t let himself want anything else, won’t let himself dream of possibilities. And that almost stops him from losing the best thing that’s ever happened to him. Jason could be so clueless, so narrow-minded, but he had wonderful growth like Tess. He found something worth fighting for, a dream, and two girls who made his life infinitely better.

The romance between the two of them was HOT. Their chemistry is off-the-charts. Jason is a smooth, confident dirty-talker who knows what he wants and is not afraid to go after it. He’s a total Alpha, but one who cares so deeply for Tess and one who just wants to prove himself to her. *fans self* Tessa is more cautious, a little insecure. Her past relationships have given her a less than stellar opinion on sex and romance. She wants a little more for herself, something that she struggles with because how could she think she needs more than her little girl? But she wants love. Someone to share in the load, someone who will hold her at night and play in the snow with Haley. Is it selfish? I say hell no. And Tessa didn’t realize all along that the man who was perfect for them was right there the whole time. I adored reading about them falling in love. It was a passionate, steamy affair that made the two main characters better. In each other, they found a partner, and a love that had a strong foundation built in friendship, mutual respect, and understanding.

I have to say, I’m usually not a fan of kids in books, or main characters who are parents. Not that there is anything wrong with them, not at all. And I KNOW that they are sorely underrepresented in books, especially in NA ones. I’m in this age range, and let me tell you, so many of my fellow high school graduates have kids. It’s extremely common. So I don’t know why I don’t like reading them that much, but maybe it’s because I haven’t read enough good ones (and also could probably be because I don't like kids that much in real life). Being a mom was such an integral part of Tessa’s life and her development as a character. I love how awesome she is to her Haley, how patient and understanding, and you can see how much she loves her little girl. And Haley was such a great secondary character; she’s so freaking adorable. I especially loved the scenes with Jason and her (he dressed up for a tea party for her BRB MELTING FROM SWOONS), or all three of them together. They’re the cutest damn trio.

I also loved the additions of Paige and Adam, and of course, Cade (even though he needed to mind his own damn business and let Tess live her life the way she wanted to). Paige is the greatest best friend. She’s cool, confident, and so very different from Tessa’s more quiet demeanor. I want this woman to get her own book! GET ON THAT, BRIGHTON. Also, I’ve always loved the bromance between the three guys--Adam, Cade, and Jason. I want more of that, too. (I am so demanding).

I was not expecting to write such a long review, but I had so many thoughts and feelings about this book! I loved the focus on the romance, but I also loved the focus on family and friendships. Family doesn’t just mean by blood; it can be the people you choose for yourself. And that is something that Jason comes to realize. Tess and Haley became his family, and he would do anything for his girls. That ending was PERFECT. I adored Tessa Ever After so freaking much, I almost never wanted it to end.


RATING