Something Strange and Deadly

Oh! Hello there! Long time no see! I’m really happy to be blogging again and I’m sipping some green tea and smiling because I just really forgot how much I enjoy blogging! So any-hoo, tonight I’m going to review a book that I read last year and just recently finished re-reading. Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard was SUCH a good read that I just couldn’t resist writing a review about it.

Now I hope by now everyone knows that I am throughly obsessed with zombie stories, and by obsessed I mean if it has any sort of walking dead I’ll give it a try. I will read any zombie story ranging from gross to extremely disgusting. Luckily for the readers with delicate sensibilities, this book didn’t have anything TOO gory! The book is set in Victorian Philadelphia which was another thing that I really enjoyed about the story. Dennard’s combination of these two elements ultimately made this book irresistible to me, and I had to pick it up.

The protagonist of Something Strange and Deadly was Eleanor Fitt, who definitely didn’t fit the typical mold of a “proper” lady. Eleanor’s father dies after his business fails and the Fitt family finds themselves with a bit of a money issue. Eleanor’s brother Eli, leaves to travel the world, and the book begins with Eleanor anxiously waiting his arrival back in Philadelphia. Unfortunately for her, fate has other plans as she is mysteriously handed a telegraph from her brother by a zombie…yup a real grotesque creature in its own right. Soon after Eleanor enlists the help of the Spirit Hunters, a trio that was called to town as soon as the dead began walking. With the help of these three, Eleanor quickly begins to find out exactly who she is and what she wants.

I think that Eleanor is easily one of the best protagonists I’ve read in young adult fiction today. She was smart, fiercely independent, and just plain fabulous. I liked Eleanor because she wasn’t what someone during that time would consider perfect or extraordinarily beautiful, which made her more relatable. Although many women at that time were expected to be complacent and lady-like, Eleanor really began to speak her mind as the book went on and I really liked that as readers we were able to see her growth. By the end of the book I was completely girl-crushing on Eleanor because of the strength and poise she exhibited throughout her trials.

I can always appreciate a good cover!

I can always appreciate a good cover!

I absolutely adored Daniel as a love interest, mostly because he wasn’t misogynistic or overbearing. He didn’t treat Eleanor like a porcelain doll except for when he was worried about her safety (and this was more because Eleanor was not used to fighting or being in dangerous situations, not necessarily because she was a female). He eventually gave up trying to protect her and let her do what she wanted/needed to do, which was a nice departure from the usual trope of love interests.The other Spirit Hunters were equally as kick-butt and overall Dennard did a great job with character development. Joseph and Ji (the other two spirit hunters) were great supporting characters that really fostered Eleanor’s growth.

The plot of the book was so mouth watering to me – I just absolutely loved it! I thought that Dennard did a really good job creating a mysterious, romantic, action-y novel without making either of those elements over the top. As the book went on I found myself really wondering exactly what was happening and who was behind everything because the mystery was so complex and well written. I liked that the book had some mystical elements that didn’t feel over the top and crazy. I liked that the zombies weren’t your typical run-of-the-mill zombies that are all too common today. The pacing of the novel really worked for me as well, as Dennard brings us right into the action and doesn’t let us up for air until the end. There were no superfluous parts and the writing was tight. On the plot level, I definitely think that this book was extremely strong.

If you like a strong female protagonist, a mouth-watering love interest, and some zombie action I would DEFINITELY recommend this book. Even if zombies aren’t typically your cup of tea, this book had a lot of other very interesting elements and a strong plot, so don’t be intimidated by the subject matter too much. Until next time, lovely readers!

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The Infernal Devices Trilogy

Ok so at one point I will try to review all three books separately because they all had their good and bad points for me (mostly because I’m morally opposed to love triangles of any sort). Now, I read the first book in this series after I had finished all the books out in The Mortal Instruments series, which at the time I think there were three or four out. I was and still am a huge fan of Cassandra Clare so when I realized she had written a spin off series for TMI (I feel so trendy for abbreviating like all the other fangirls) I decided it would definitely be worth a read – and I certainly was not disappointed. I finished this series last Tuesday a bumbling, crying mess. After it was over I could not stop thinking about it and the ending is still haunting me.

Now let me preface this mini-rant by saying that this series had one of the worst love triangles I have ever encountered. Now when I say “worst” I do not mean in terms of badly written-ness or annoying protagonist-ness, I mean that this is a love triangle that ripped my heart in two. I (of course) had a certain person I was rooting for but I still could not help but adore the other boy. I’m trying to not spoil too much or taint this rant with my opinion of who Tessa (the protagonist) should’ve chosen, so excuse my vagueness.

The books all had such amazing story lines (despite the love triangle) that I can’t even begin to explain each one. All three books had great action sequences and lots of mysteries and once you finish the first one I promise you that you’ll be hooked. Clare has such a good method of weaving in different events for each character into an overarching arc so even when I found myself unhappy with the main arc of the story I could always find solace in the smaller arcs. She also has such a great way of writing characters – she almost writes in such a way that every single character in the series has enough material to be a main character. Some of my favorite supporting characters were Magnus (OF COURSE!), Sophie, Cecily, and Charlotte. It is almost baffling to me how some authors can create such intricate worlds but it is clear that Clare has managed to do that with the Shadowhunter world and it is a world that I will continue to visit as long as she continues to write it.

On the first cover we see WIll, the second Jem, and the third Tessa.

On the first cover we see WIll, the second Jem, and the third Tessa.

Now, Clare ended the series with what I suppose satisfied many readers but I honestly could not deal with the ending. Had I not read the epilogue I might have been content – but I did read the epilogue and I found myself kind of upset. Whenever I think back to the book Clockwork Princess I want to vomit because it literally gave me soooooo much anxiety. After I finished the book I had a sudden yearning for the TMI series with the monogamous relationship between Clary and Jace.

I suppose it is a sign that Clare is an absolutely fabulous writer because she produced such an emotional response in me, but as of right now I am still an emotional wreck. I try to convince myself to be happy with the ending, but I’m not. And let me add that I am not unhappy because of Clare writing it that way – she is the author and is the only person that ultimately knows what happens at the end of her own story – but I suppose I am just unhappy because I found the book’s ending to be very melancholy.

Despite my own mixed feelings about the end of the trilogy, I seriously recommend that anyone who has not yet read this series READ IT!!! Clare is an absolutely amazing storyteller and her ability to weave so many different story lines into one is not something any author can duplicate. If you are already a fan of the TMI series, I highly recommend you give The Infernal Devices trilogy a try because as I re-read the TMI series I found SOOO many cool connections between both series’ and I understood a lot of things a lot better.

So overall, I hope to review all three books separately as this was not really a review but just me word-vomiting (is that a verb?) my thoughts on an absolutely amazing trilogy’s end. Read these books and I promise that you won’t regret it – even with my painful over thinking of the ending I can’t bring myself to regret picking up these books. I mostly posted this because I honestly had so many thoughts and no one will listen to me drone on and on!

Thanks for reading!

Heist Society

Okay so I know this review is technically two days late but a girl’s gotta take a break at some point! For my last review for the five days of reviews, I have decided to review a book that I love written by an author who is INCREDIBLY gifted. Ally Carter is the author of not only the Heist Society series, but also the Gallagher Girls series. If you have read my previous review of Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, you know how much I love Mrs. Carter’s writing, and this book is no exception. Heist Society is a wonderfully written combination of action, romance, and thievery.

Heist Society begins with our protagonist, Katerina Bishop (or Kat), getting kicked out of a very fancy, very expensive boarding school. The only thing wrong with this is that Kat did not perpetrate the actions she was accused of, and if she had perpetrated those actions – she wouldn’t have been caught. Kat comes from a family of thieves and although she tried to leave the family business, it turns out that the family isn’t quite ready to let her go. After being picked up by W.W. Hale the fifth, she discovers that in her absence, things haven’t been going as smoothly. And when Kat figures out a very, very dangerous man thinks her father has stolen his paintings, Kat has to prove will go to any lengths to prove her father’s innocence. Even if that means that leaving the family business is a thing of the past.

Kat was such an enjoyable character to read about. She had a good head on her shoulders and was very confident in her abilities. She knew how to take control of a situation and made very smart decisions throughout the book. Although when it came to teenage things she was a bit oblivious, it was refreshing to see a character that was no where near boy crazy. W.W. Hale the fifth, or simply Hale, was definitely a character to swoon over. From his charming, debonair looks to his subtle sweet side, Hale definitely goes down in the “Boys in YA Who I am in Love With” book. Again, Mrs. Carter’s pacing on the romance was perfect – it was there but acted upon very sparsely. No insta-love to be found. The rest of the crew were entertaining as well, each with their own quirks and talents. The crew reminded me a lot of James Patterson’s Maximum Ride group except I liked Kat’s crew WAAAAAY better.

Although the story was very interesting and the characters were fabulous, I wasn’t quite sure if Mrs. Carter would be able to combine those two elements with an awesome storyline to make another fabulous novel. However, Mrs. Carter did a a really (and by really I mean really really) good job with the story line of this novel. Although planning a con takes a while, the book never got boring or felt too slow, it only added to the suspense of the book. The first time I read this book I didn’t quite get what had happened within the con and how they managed to pull it off, so I ended up rereading the book and the second time I understood WAY better. There was many small things that added up to the bigger picture, kind of like when you watch a movie and they flash you certain images that don’t make sense at that point but later on they come together and you are like “OHHHH”.

Overall, this book is well worth the read. At first I wasn’t really excited to read this book and I was not in any rush to pick it up from Barnes and Noble (pre-Nook days). I thought that there was no way this series could live up to the wonderful Gallagher Girls series, however I was really wrong. This book is a totally separate entity from Gallagher and it definitely is just as interesting. Both have girl-power-kick-butt protagonists and awesome premises, so read both series and love both! If you are looking for a fun summer read, or just a fun read in general, I definitely recommend this for you. If you are looking for a good book, I will recommend this one as well!

So now that my five days of reviews are over, I am not going to be posting everyday. Although I love reviewing books and reading them, school is starting up again and I do not know how frequently I will be reviewing books. Now that I am receiving ARCs I think that this little blog is about to get a lot more interesting! Thanks for reading and I promise to post at least once a week! Until next time lovely readers!

Obsidian (Lux Series #1)

Review number four will basically consist of me fangirl-ing over how obsessed I am with this series. I ADORE IT SO MUCH. Witty, spunky protagonist? Check. Hunky, brooding love interest? Check. Cute, energetic best friend? Check. I’m also going to add that Katy is a book reviewer, and as her own blog. SHE IS SO AWESOME! As if I needed another reason to be obsessed with this book. This book is so cool and I especially love it because it is an indie book that has had a lot of success. This author has really impressed me in that she made aliens attractive and cool, not slimy, green, and gross like I always imagine them.

The novel begins with our protagonist, Katy, moving to a town in the middle-of-nowhere, West Virginia right before her senior year begins. After she is almost settled in, she decides to go buy supplies to fix the garden outside her new home. As she is on her way out, her mother encourages her to make friends with the neighbors so she goes to the house across the street to ask for directions to the hardware store. When a smokin’ hot shirtless guy opens the door, she is stunned into silence until he opens his mouth. Katy does not understand why her new neighbor is so hostile towards her but brushes it off. As the story moves along and weird things begin happening whenever she is around Dee and Daemon, Katy begins to suspect that things aren’t so boring in West Virginia after all.

I ABSOLUTELY ADORED KAT AS A PROTAGONIST. I wrote that statement in all caps because I wanted to emphasize how obsessed with her I am. She was so feisty, flirty, witty, and quirky. The fact that she was a blogger who adored books was icing on the cake for me. I liked the fact that although Katy was very new to the situation, she wasn’t naive or dumb about anything. She understood that she was a risk to both Dee and Daemon’s safety and behaved accordingly (but not in a “omg you’re so much more important than me” Bella Swan way). Daemon was definitely SAH-WOON worthy and I really liked him a lot. A lot as in: If you were real I would marry you or stalk you. He was cocky but charming and trust me, that’s not easy to do so kudos to Mrs. Armentrout. Dee was really lovable and fun as well! The relationship between Dee and Daemon was interesting and it made me want to pick up Shadows the prequel to Obsidian. Overall, the characters were great and I liked them a lot.

The fact that this is an alien story really intrigued me. I haven’t really seen a lot of alien stories in YA so I felt pretty new to the concept of Aliens in YA. I honestly don’t know if this book should be considered sic-fi or not…hmmm. I loved the way the aliens were explained by the author and the fact that they weren’t the run-of-the-mill nasty gross aliens that want to kill everyone. Maybe I’m just really naive about aliens, I don’t watch/read a lot of sic-fi sorry! Although the story only takes place in one town, it didn’t feel like the scope was too small for me which has been a problem in other books. I really found myself intrigued by Katy’s story and by the end of the book I was absolutely DYING for more (lucky for the people who haven’t read it yet, Onyx the sequel is out now). Let it be noted that there was no insta-love in this book *throws a small celebration*.

To be honest with you, when I picked this book up I really didn’t know what to expect. I mean come on, aliens in a small town sounds SO Roswell haha. This book was an awesome surprise and I’m so glad that I picked it up. I can’t remember how much I bought it for on my Nook but I know that it was under $5, and I would like to tell you that I would’ve gladly payed the usual $9.99 for this book over some other more expensive books I’ve bought! This book has love, action, and a bit of mystery so if you’re looking for a cheap, fun read you should definitely pick it up!

Shadeland

The cover is pretty interesting!

For my third review of five, I have decided to review an indie book that I got for free on Smashwords. Now if any of you have been on Smashwords looking for a good free book, you know that it’s pretty much a gamble. I really wasn’t expecting much from this book and I was actually pretty surprised to find myself getting interested in this book. Although there were a couple of parts that were a bit slow, the book was a surprisingly refreshing and interesting read.

The book starts one years after the massive “coming out” of the Eidolon (there are many different species) as we are introduced to our protagonist Liv and her best friend Luke. Liv has known about the eidolon for a while because Luke told her his secret a while back. After the “coming out” there were waves of protests and riots, but things are relatively calm present day. The biggest challenge that the Eidolon face is the discrimination and disgust that come from certain humans. After a girl that Luke dropped off the previous night is murdered, Luke is deemed a suspect in her murder and imprisoned (mostly because he is not human). As Liv tries to solve the mystery and help prove Luke’s innocence, she meets a hunky bounty hunter named Jared and finds herself on a surprising adventure.

The characters of this book were a little more than decent. I liked Liv just fine, but I wasn’t totally enamored with her like I would have been with an awesome protagonist. I like the fact that she stood up against Jared, Luke, and anyone else who tried to tell her what to do. I liked the fact that she really didn’t talk unless she had something important to add, and I also enjoyed the fact that when she voiced an opinion/thought/comment, she expected everyone to listen and not to brush her off. Liv and Luke’s relationship was a little weird, but cute! They really understood each other well and I liked the way they interacted. Jared was not totally sah-woon worthy, but he was a pretty good love interest. Although at times he was a little sexist, it wasn’t overbearing or pig-like. There is potential for a love triangle but as of right now it seems pretty straightforward.

I really liked the idea of this book. I liked the fact that the “coming out” was still pretty recent and that we got to see the world as it was going through this adjustment period. One thing that I didn’t really like was that this book occurred over such a short period of time so we didn’t really see as much growth and development with the characters. Another thing that bothered me was the scope of the book, as they pretty much just stayed in one area and didn’t travel beyond – I would’ve liked to see how another area interacted with the Eidolon. Although I liked the premise of this book, I believe there were some parts of it that could’ve been improved upon.

I don’t know if this book is available for free on Smashwords still, but if it is, I do think that it is worth the time. If this book had cost money, I think that it would be a different story. While it is not a bad book by any means, I don’t know if I would spend more than maybe $3 on it. If you like paranormals and are looking for a quick read, this might be a good book for you. If you are looking for something with a little more substance, I would check out another book. Now on another topic: THIS IS DAY THREE AND THE FIVE DAYS ARE ALMOST UP!!!! *does happy dance*. I hope that you all have been checking out my reviews because let me tell ya, these things are stressing me out. Until tomorrow guys!

I Am Number Four

So for the first of my five reviews this week, I have decided to do a book that is narrated from a male POV. I am also reviewing this book because the third book in the series (The Rise of Nine) comes out tomorrow (YAY!). This book was definitely a book that I could get into, but I’m not going to lie – I picked it up after seeing the commercial for the movie (Alex Pettyfer SAH-WOON). Needless to say – the book was a thousand times better than the movie (aren’t they all?). It was really nice reading a book from a male’s POV because in YA today, it is predominately female narrators. All in all, this book is definitely worth reading.

The story revolves around Number Four, better known as John Smith, when he arrives in the small town of Paradise, Ohio. John and his guardian, Henri, are not exactly what you call a normal family. You see, they are both from a distant planet that was destroyed years ago by a race called the Mogadorians. Nine children and their assigned guardians were sent to Earth and the Mogadorians followed them in order to kill them all. Each of the nine children will receive special legacies (or powers) to help them fight against the Mogadorians. When they leave, a spell is cast on the Nine so that they can only be killed in numerical order. When the book starts out, John (known as Daniel in Florida) has three scars signifying the deaths of those before him. He and Henri leave Florida for Ohio and along with their new life, they face many other complications.

The characters in this book were really well written, and interesting. John (Number Four) was a great protagonist – he was witty, interesting, strong, and curious. At the beginning of the book John was very naive, but there was definitely some character growth by the end of the book. I liked the fact that as he was discovering more about his past, the reader got to discover more along with him. The love interest, Sarah, was cute and I liked her a lot. However, the female character that really caught my eye was Number Six. Man oh man was she a badass! She was a perfect embodiment of a strong female – totally awesome. She was very intelligent and powerful and she knew it! The other supporting characters were awesome as well, and honorable mention being Henri – that guy rocked!

The plot of this book was obviously something we don’t see a lot of in YA today. Alien stories are really hard for me to get into – I always think they sound ridiculous. This book, however, was totally interesting, and not over-the-top like other alien books. The story line was very intricate and along with John, I was learning a lot about his planet and his powers as well. By the end of the book there are some unfinished story lines but they continue into The Power of Six and are explored more there. This book had the right balance of action, romance, humor, and sadness, and that is what made it such an amazing story.

Over all, I highly recommend this book. It is an interesting read and a fun one at that. What I really liked about it was that although the first book centered on Number Four, the second book included not only him and his point of view, but others of the nine and their POVs. This series has amazing potential and although the movie adaptation wasn’t done the best, it still kept central story lines and was interesting to watch as well. If you watched the movie and liked it, pick up the book and you’ll LOVE it. If you haven’t done either, pick up the book and watch the movie! You really won’t regret spending time on this series. You are also just in time to get the second and third books of the series if you start reading now! Happy reading lovely readers, I’ll see you tomorrow with review #2 of my five days of review!

The Tomb

AHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I am so frustrated with WordPress right now because I just wrote a whole review and it erased everything. EVERYTHING I TELL YOU. Sigh, I suppose this is my life. I will try to replicate my first post as accurately as possible. SIGH.

The Tomb by Dave Ferraro is a prequel to the “Hunters of the Dark” series, however I read it before I read the series. I came across this book though a series of odd events. Just kidding. Basically what happened was that on Goodreads I joined a group called We ♥ YA Books and they offer ARRs (no idea what that acronym stands for btw) so when I was given the opportunity to read and review this book I took it. I was not paid to review this, I was just given a copy electronically in exchange for an honest review. Honest review commencing in 3…2…1… So this book was definitely far from my favorite books, like WAY FAR. I can’t say it was horrible read or that it was poorly written, but it just wasn’t a book for me.

The novel follows Rachel, and 18 year old fresh out of high school, and her adventures on an architectural dig on an island off the coast of Australia. She is a bit insecure about her position on the dig because she has much less experience and is younger (by a few years) than the others on the dig. It also doesn’t help that she acquired the position on the dig through her father’s pull with the head of the expedition. The  island is (according to locals) cursed because many architectural teams had gone in that past and a had supposedly gone missing. The crew decides to ignore this (obviously) and go to the island anyways. However, when strange things begin happening, the team starts believing that the locals may have been on to something.

The characters in this book really didn’t do it for me. I didn’t connect to them on any level and most of them really annoyed me. Rachel felt very one-dimensional and I did not connect with her at any point during the novel. Her nativity and indecision really irritated me at points and she felt very bland. If I had to chose the character that I liked the most, it would be Cyrena. I felt that out of all the depth-less characters, she was most likable because she was carefree, independent, smart, and fun. However, saying that she was my favorite character really doesn’t mean much because she is FAR from my favorite characters of all time (i.e.: Cammie, Bex, Tris, Kat, Hazel, ect). I really don’t feel like any other characters are worth wasting time on.

One aspect of the book that I really didn’t like was the romance aspect. I thought nothing could be more irritating than a love triangle, however, Mr. Ferraro proved me wrong. The one thing that irritates me more than a love triangle is a…LOVE SQUARE! We all know how I get about love triangles and how they annoy me, blah blah blah, but that really isn’t why I don’t like this book. I have read books that had love triangles that I really liked, so I know that I wasn’t biased in this aspect. I just felt like the romance was like a last minute thing tacked on to appeal to the female teenage demographic – it almost felt like just an afterthought. And that’s OKAY, but my problem was that the book wasn’t meant to be a romance, so how can you have three love interests and a romantic subplot going if the book isn’t really a romance book. You CAN have a book without romance (I know I know, it’s practically unheard of) but you CANNOT have a book with a shoddy love triangle that it doesn’t fully explore. If the author had wanted to put in a small romance between Rachel and someone, that would’ve been okay! My problem is that he tried to do a romance with three guys at once and it wasn’t fully explored/explained/necessary.

While the plot of the book wasn’t exactly new, it didn’t feel like it was something that has been overdone in YA, so I was fine with it. It did seem to drag on at parts and I got kind of bored while reading it, which I’m guessing is not supposed to happen in a Mystery/Adventure novel. By the middle of the book I was ready for it to be over. It’s not that the book was badly written (I’ll delve more in to this in a sec) but there was just something about it that I just didn’t like. I felt like it had too small a scope of both space and time – by that I mean that it took place on an island (with barely any different settings) with the same (boring) characters over a short amount of time. I didn’t like that the characters were so isolated from the world (I know the fact that it took place on an island should’ve been a red flag but still). On a higher note, the mystery aspect of the book intrigued me. While it wasn’t that hard to figure out what was going on, I liked that the author kept me guessing who could be trusted and what was going to happen.

All in all, this definitely was not my favorite book by FAR. However, I did not know if it was because I didn’t like the concept of the novel or the writing of the novel or both, so I decided to read the book that The Tomb was a prequel to – Her Dark Destiny. I read that book and I liked it LOADS better than The Tomb and I am actually planning to read the second and third books in the series. So while I do recommend the Hunters of the Dark series, I don’t really thing it is imperative to read The Tomb although they are relatively cheap if you are into the island-mystery kind of thing. I will also mention that the book did have a couple of editing errors, but that is to be expected as it is an indie read published through Smashwords.

 

The less than appealing (gasp I’m b*tchy) cover of The Tomb.

Want me to review a specific book? Leave a comment below or email me at youngadultbookmuncher@gmail.com!

Shatter Me

This book definitely surprised me a lot. I mean the premise was pretty original, and the main character seemed pretty likable but being my cautious self, I thought “There has to be something that ruins it!” (See what Twi-copies have done to me??) But as I read on, I can say I was pleasantly surprised.

The book focuses on a 17 year old girl named Juliette. Juliette has been locked in an asylum for almost a year, and yet she seems totally sane to us readers. One gets the impression that she is dangerous, and yet we have no idea what she can do. Mysteriously and randomly, Juliette is given a cellmate. A male cellmate named Adam. So of course we expect some type of insta-love to strike, but Juliette ain’t that kinda’ gal. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that he can’t touch her. Hmmmmm.

The characters in this book were intriguing and fun to read about. Juliette kind of got on my nerves sometimes with her low self worth and all, but I understood because the author slowly feeds us bits of her past that help us make sense of why she is the way she is. Adam was cool, not the male lead that made me SAH-WOON or anything, but he was a good lead for the situation. Warner was very intriguing and I’d be interested to learn more about him in future books. As for the secondary characters, they were all pretty well-rounded and seemed pretty supplemented.

An interesting thing about this book was the format in which it was written. At times it felt almost like a diary and yet Juliette kept a diary and talked about it as if it wasn’t the book we were already reading. It also had words or sentences that were crossed out like this  so it gave a feel of forbidden-ness. I felt as if it gave a deeper insight into who Juliette was because we saw the thoughts she didn’t want to have, the opinions she didn’t voice, and the feelings she tried to hide. It definitely made Juliette a more three dimensional character.

The plot was original, fast paced, and dangerous but always enticing. I liked the fact that it never stood still- there really weren’t any parts of the book that I felt were too excessive or overbearing. The romance was definitely there and happening, and although there wasn’t outright sex, there were many hot and heavy scenes. I felt that the best part of the book was the end. The ending left room for a sequel but didn’t feel incomplete or dependent on another book. It definitely added a twist to the book and really surprised me.

While I came in with low expectations for this book, it really reached/exceeded my expectations and surprised me. It was well written, romantic, adventurous, and exciting and I didn’t want to put it down. If you are looking for a book that never stops moving and gets your blood pumping, this is definitely a book for you!

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy (Gallagher Girls Series #2) ***

*This is not the first book in the series so it may contain spoilers from the first; I recommend reading the first book before reading this review

Book cover for Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy

I know that this is the second book in the series and chronologically speaking I should review the first one first, but I liked this one and the rest of the books in the series so much better so I decided to skip the first book! This book series is definitely one of the best young adult series I’ve ever read and I couldn’t wait to review it but I decided to wait until I had a few reviews under my belt before beginning on this series so that I could do it justice. This is only the second book, but expect to see many more from this series and from Ally Carter on my blog.

Our story begins where the last book left off with our protagonist Cammie coming home from a classified meeting in a top secret facility. For those that did not read the first book, Cammie had a “forbidden” boyfriend during the first semester of her sophomore year, and unfortunately he had to be given memory erasing tea to wipe his knowledge of the Gallagher Academy from his mind. You see, the Gallagher Academy is not just any school, but a school for teenage female spies-in-training. Cammie, upset with the whole incident but ready to move on, promises to stay out of trouble for her second semester. Unfortunately for her, going to a school for spies isn’t exactly conducive for staying out of trouble. Something fishy is going on with her mother, the staff, and the east-wing of her school, and Cammie and her friends are going to find out what it is. This fishiness may or may not involve hot spy boys from a rival school; read to find out!

The characters in this book are probably some of the best I have ever read in YA fiction, and throughout these books I have become extremely emotionally attached to all of them (creepy I know). Cammie is such an amazing character to read about just because it is easy for girls to relate to her; she isn’t exceptionally beautiful or smart (compared to others at her school) but she is loyal, loving, witty, and just all around cute. The book is written in first person from Cammie’s POV and I loved the way that Mrs. Carter wrote it because it sounded as if it could have really come from a teenage-spy-in-training. Bex, Liz, and Macey (Cammie’s roommates) were also a delight to read about and they resonated very good with me as a reader. Zach, the infamous love interest, was totally swoon-worthy and let’s face it, that is definitely important in any YA novel geared towards girls like me. The characters all had a lot of depth and were enjoyable to follow, especially because we read about them through Cammie’s eyes.

The premise of this book is something that is very original in today’s YA fiction, which let’s face it, we just don’t see a lot of originality with some authors. A spy school for teenage girls? YES PLEASE! Although I have read a few books about teenage spies, no one seems to be able to do it as well as Ally Carter. Mrs. Carter takes something that (although unlikely) could really happen in today’s world, so it’s like non-fiction fiction. The plot really intrigued me and had me tearing through the book in a matter of hours (I wish it was longer). I have read this book probably close to 50 times (not an exaggeration) and it just never gets old to me. The plot of this book was a little cutesy compared to later books, but it was definitely a good start. As you go throughout the series, we see many more serious situations, so this was a nice gateway into those books.I feel that this book was well written with an original premise and plot, so I do really recommend it to all.

Ally Carter has a way of sucking us into a world that is full of mystery, laughs, danger, and fun. This book really is an amazing example of girl power and strong female protagonists that sometimes are lacking in the YA world today. I highly highly highly recommend this book to any teenage girl looking for a good set of books for summer, or for any time really! Cammie and Co. will have you drooling and wishing you were a teenage spy that goes to an awesome boarding school, so read this book and you won’t be disappointed.

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