Dante’s Girl

I AM BACK WITH A VENGEANCE. Just kidding, but I will be posting a review tonight for a book that I read recently. I received an advanced reader copy a couple of weeks ago and I am happy to report that the book was entertaining and cute. Dante’s Girl was a very quick read (I think I finished in 4 hours) but the whole way through it was enjoyable and just plain fun. One thing that I adored about this book was that it brought fantasies that so many young girls (myself included) imagine, to life.

The book begins as Reece, our protagonist, is traveling to London to visit her father for the summer, as she has been doing ever since her parents divorced. In a scene right out of a movie, Reece meets Dante, a charming handsome guy with an accent. An accent guys – swoon! After bumping into Dante (quite literally) Reece goes on her merry way to catch her flight. After she gets on the plane, something (I won’t spoil) happens and she and Dante (who was also on her flight) are forced to get off the plane. Dante takes her along with some guys in suits (huh?) and they board a private plane headed for Caberra. A country in which Dante happens to be a “prince” (AKA Prime Minister’s son). And thus, Reece’s summer kicks off with a bang.

Reece was a great protagonist, I absolutely adored her. Her voice was so appropriate for a teenage girl and it never felt whiny or annoying. She was hilarious – I loved reading the story from her point of view because she was so funny and positive. Although at times her confidence wavered and she said stupid things, she was no Bella Swan (AKA she didn’t annoy me and wasn’t self deprecating). Dante was a pretty good love interest (nowhere near as interesting/funny as Reece was). I liked that he was chivalrous without being annoying and “manly” about the whole thing. Some of the decisions he made were really dumb but hey that’s teenage guys for ya! The supporting characters weren’t fantastic but they did what they were there to do – add juiciness to the story. Mia was the fun, archetypal “best friend” character and I enjoyed her, but she wasn’t anything to write home about.

The plot of the story was very predictable. However, I didn’t really mind because that’s how books of this type/genre are supposed to be. This book wasn’t meant to be a shocking build up kinda thing, but rather just a love story with some kind of plot twist and climax. If you are looking for something that will really get your mind going and make you think, this book really isn’t something I’d recommend. If you are looking for a fast, fun read, however, this book would be totally appropriate. The ending of the book felt a little rushed and was definitely a very “fairy tale” ending, but I didn’t really mind it too much. The fairy-tale ending didn’t bother me mostly because for a story like this, you can’t expect some bleak, dark ending. It’s pretty predictable that the ending wouldn’t be too dreary.

Overall, this novel was just a fun and fast read. Although it really wasn’t a book to write home about, I liked it and didn’t regret reading it at all. This book is definitely one for younger girls but it works for older ones as well. This is a really big fluff read but if you are looking for a book to get your spirits up – this will definitely work.

 

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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!

Withering Tights

So for review number two I’ve decided to go in a different direction than my usual action/adventure/paranormal/crazy stuff. I have decided to review a book that has *gasp* no vampires, werewolves, aliens, ect. However what it does have an abundance of is (SAH-WOON) hunky boys! Now as you all may know by now, I am NOT a fan of love triangles/squares/pentagons, WHATEVER. However, this book is a completely different story. If you all have read the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series, this one is by the same author so you know what to expect. After reading and loving Georgia, I didn’t know if I would be able to relate to Tallulah as well. However, Mrs. Rennison pleasantly surprised me with another batch of lovable characters, laugh-out-loud moments, and boys to swoon over.

Our story begins as our protagonist, Tallulah (Lullah) Casey travels to Dother Hall performing arts college. When she arrives, however, she finds that shobiz isn’t all it’s cut out to be. With her wacky lovable friends by her side, the literal boys-next-door, and the-weird-family-she-is-staying-with by her side, she attempts to conquer Dother Hall’s biggest challenge – getting into the actual school and not just the summer program. 

The characters in this novel were completely hilarious. I absolutely adored them all, especially Tallulah. Tallulah was sosososososososo funny; she had me dying laughing with her descriptions and thoughts of people. The way she viewed the world was very distinct and wacky – just like she was. I loved the fact that she never took herself too seriously and she actually embraced her funky-ness. She was pretty dramatic at points but not in an annoying way, more in like a naive-cute way. She had TONS of love interests, but she didn’t handle them in annoying ways like most YA protagonists would’ve. Her an Georgia were very alike in the way that they handled boys, meaning that they didn’t become obnoxious about their problems. I absolutely adored Tallulah’s group of friends because they shared her wacky-ness while also each having their own distinct qualities that made them rememberable. The aforementioned boys-next-door were actual boys-next-door as they went to the college that was next to Dother Hall. I loved the fact that they liked the girls even though they were pretty kooky. GOD I could go on forever about how much I loved each individual character but I won’t because that’d be boring.

The plot of the book was (expectedly) pretty unserious and quirky. With books like these, there really isn’t as much substance as in other genres of fiction. This book is definitely one of the best of it’s kind, as it is funny, cute, and enjoyable. There wasn’t a point within this book that I was bored. Mrs. Rennison has really captured the essence of the perfect chick-lit book in this novel, and I completely enjoyed every minute of it.

Overall, if you’re looking for a fun and quick read, I would definitely recommend this for you. I know if I say funny one more time you’ll probably kill me, but that seriously is the word to describe this book. It is laugh out loud, grab your stomach, funny. Another feat that the book has is a short dictionary of terms that Tallulah and her friends use that may be confusing to us Americans (the author is British). If you have read the Georgia Nicolson books and you thought these books couldn’t live up to that legacy, I beg you to give these books a try because they are every bit as good as Georgia’s if not more (SORRY)! Until tomorrow’s review, good night lovely readers!

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!

Our Fault in the Stars

Let me start by saying that I read this book one night from about 2:00 AM to 5:00 AM and I am quite sure that it was one of the most amazing books I have ever read. This book was more than I could’ve ever hoped for it to have been. I am a person that empathizes with every character I read about to the point where I really do become depressed if I read books that are heartbreaking, and that is why I was very hesitant to pick up this book. However, I am so so so glad that I did.

The story follows Hazel, a 16 year old girl who was diagnosed with cancer when she was 13. Hazel is literally a living miracle as she was expected to pass away but ended up living due to a medicine that stopped the tumors from growing in her lungs. Through a teen cancer support group she meets Augustus Waters and her life is changed forever. This may sound like a story about how cancer has affected a girl, but in reality it was a story about a girl who just happened to have cancer, and that dear readers is the beauty behind this story.

The characters in this book were absolutely amazing. Hazel was an absolutely wonderful protagonist. Although she was living with tumors in her lungs and having to roll around an oxygen tank, she was so surprisingly…normal. She was smart, funny, sassy, and independent – everything that I look for in a female protagonist. Hazel never felt sorry for herself or for others; she was honest. Her sense of humor was so similar to my own i.e.: sarcastic with a side of snarky. She felt very authentic throughout the whole book. Augustus Waters may not fit my normal definition of SAHWOON, but he was definitely swoon-worthy. He was…how do I put it…odd. He was always himself around others and around Hazel, his poetic and energetic self. He shared her sense of humor and had some definite similarities, but he felt different..so alive. Both him and Hazel felt very old for their respective ages, which is totally understandable considering the fact that they have had to deal with sooooo much more than other people their age. The other characters in the book were enjoyable as well so kudos to Mr. Green for creating a cast of characters that rounded out the story quite well.

The plot of the book felt very thought out and was definitely not cliche at all. We always hear stories of people with cancer and how it ruins their life, ect. and not to bash on them or anything (because let’s face it, cancer is horrible and it does ruin lives), but this book really transcended that stereotype. Going into this book, I thought it wasn’t going to be happy and to be quite honest I expected a sob story about a girl who was sick. This book totally surprised me in that it was not a “feel sorry for me” story, it was a “these are the cards I was dealt and I’ll live with it” story. I felt grief and loss but also love, tenderness, and happiness.

While I was reading this book, I literally had to put it down for about five minutes so I could sob and curl up in a fetal position in my bedroom. I’m not talking little tears and sniffles, I’m talking gut wrenching sobs and tears the size of a small country. I never knew that this book would elicit such a response from me, but it totally did. The tears were not really tears of sadness, but rather tears of happiness and love. The story really isn’t meant to be a sad one, just one with sad circumstances. I started writing this review the morning after I read it, and it has been almost a week, but I just couldn’t find the words to describe how wonderful this book was. This review definitely did not do it the justice it deserves, but please if you have a chance, read this book. It is a story of love, loss, and laughs. For what this book was supposed to be, it was perfect.

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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Anna and the French Kiss

Can I talk about how much I ADORE this book. While often in YA Fiction, we find substance-less, shallow reads that end up making us happy, this book had something that made me want to read it over and over again. Like-able protagonist? Check. Hot guy? Check. Adventure? Check. Good supporting characters? Check. Stephanie Perkins really impressed me with this novel and I am going to stop short of shoving it down your throats until you read it!

The book begins with our main character, Anna, moving to Paris. Her dad is an author that is eerily similar to Nicholas Sparks, and once he hits the jackpot with his weepy romances, he sends his daughter off to Paris to impress his cultured friends. Now you might be thinking “Paris? How amazing!”, however Anna doesn’t quite have that same reaction. While many people her age (i.e. 17 year old high school seniors) would jump at this opportunity, Anna is less than thrilled. She was basically given no choice in the matter and that removes the allure of Paris for her. On her first night in Paris without her parents, Anna cries her eyes out until her next door neighbor, Meredith, invites Anna to her room. After being comforted, Anna leaves the room and bumps into the hunky St. Clair. And thus, our romance begins.

One thing that I adored about this book was the main character, Anna Oliphant. Anna was the kind of character that everyone can relate to. She had her imperfections (such as a gap between her two front teeth), which made me like her more. I find it a lot harder to relate to protagonists that are perfect looking. Anna also had a really cool personality: she was goofy, smart, funny, and real. I loved the way that she reacted to tense situations, and how she tried to make the best of everything. She actually had a film-reviewing blog, and I thought that was a cool quirk of hers as well.

The supporting characters were all fantastic. They all had a lot of depth and I appreciate that because sometimes authors just can’t do it. All the supporting characters were likable even though they all had some quirks and irritating qualities. I’d have to say my favorite supporting character (besides St. Clair of course!) was Rashmi. Rashmi was cynical, sarcastic, and unique and that really appealed to me. She was always very up-front about things and did not shy away from confrontation, which showed how strong she was. Anna’s friends were so easy to fall in love with and that really made the book a lot more enjoyable. When an author can make a fantastic cast of characters in a book, it increases not only the likability of the book, but it makes it feel more complete. At the end of the novel, I was attached to each and every one of these characters.

Now onto our complicated but to-die-for romance. Étienne St. Clair was definitely a swoon-worthy love interest. Not only was he smart and funny, but he was also unavailable which made the love plot even juicer. St. Clair was a character with so many different levels: on the outside you have the good looking, cocky, but nice boy; as we delve deeper into his character, we see that things haven’t always been so hunky-dory for him and yet he still manages to be a good person. His protectiveness of Anna was sweet, not stalker-y, and trust me there is a VERY thin line between the two. Although some of his actions frustrated me, I could never bring myself to dislike him if only for the fact that he was such a good friend to Anna and the others. His friendship with Anna was so cute and real, and although we root for them to become more for the majority of the novel, their friendship was very satisfying. Stephanie Perkins definitely gets points for not going for the “insta-love” option which we see so much in YA Fiction today.

The plot of the novel, while a bit predictable, was very satisfying. I found myself laughing out loud a few times and I may have shed a tear or two at some parts. There were a few unexpected twists and turns in the novel, which only made it more interesting. Although some might feel that the book was too predictable, I think that the amazing characters brought a brand new feel to it. This is definitely more on the romance-y side of YA Fiction, but don’t be discouraged; I never felt like it was one of those “girl swooning over boy for the majority of the novel” books.

All in all, I highly recommend this book to you if you are looking for a light, quick, read that you can’t put down. I wouldn’t suggest starting this book before you get to sleep on a school night, because I couldn’t put it down until I finished it at 3:00 in the morning. Happy Reading!

Remember, if you want me to review any specific book, let me know and I will be happy to help save you some time and money if it isn’t worth it!

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