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!

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1…2…3…YA READY?!

Okay, so as we all know, I have been a very neglectful blogger lately. I’M SORRY. Summer makes me lazy thus my erratic posting. However, I am going to make it up to all of my faithful readers (do I even have those?) by posting five reviews in honor of the last week of summer. That’s right, I said it, FIVE REVIEWS. I feel like if I post this post I am obligated thus I cannot not do it. I have already decided what books I am going to review but I’ll surprise you guys!

So on the opposite side of the spectrum, I have really been thinking a lot about my reviews and if I go too easy/hard on certain books. I really have been thinking about what criterion a book has to meet in order for it to be “good” in my standards. When I am starring books on Goodreads (I can’t review EVERYTHING I read or else we’d be here for days) I sometimes ponder certain books a lot and sometimes I end up going back to them and changing their rating. So in order to help you all understand what my process is, I have decided to devise a short list (and by short I mean like really really short).

1. What is the book supposed to be? Obviously in YA we don’t have a lot of deep, hard hitting stories that really reach into your core and change something within you. On Goodreads there is a list called “The Greatest Books of All Time” and it honestly sickens me that Twilight is at the top of the list. As I scrolled down the list I saw classics such as To Kill a Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn and honestly I can tell you that the majority of books on that list were classics. THERE IS A REASON THEY ARE CLASSICS! You can’t compare Twilight to a classic because there is LITERALLY NOTHING TO COMPARE! So what I am trying to get at is that you have to look at a book for what it is supposed to be. If it is supposed to be a cheesy-chick-lit YA book, don’t compare it to Jane Austen, compare it to others of it’s kind! So when a book gets a really good review from me, that means that I think it is good for what it is supposed to be, not in comparison to heavy duty reading!

2. How did I like the characters? Are they all relate-able? I think that the most important element of a book is the characters for sure. If I don’t even like the characters, how am I supposed to be interested in the novel? For a character to be interesting to me, I have to connect with them on multiple levels meaning that even if I have never been in their situation, I have to be able to understand why they make choices that they make. The secondary characters, to me, are just as important if not more important that the main ones. When a protagonist has a good supporting group, it makes me so much more interested and invested in them. Awesome examples of great protagonists and supporting characters can be found in Sarah Dessen novels, don’t ask me how she does it – SHE’S THE QUEEN.

3. Timing is EVERYTHING. If a book moves too fast, I absolutely cannot STAND it. However, if a book moves too slow, it can hurt it as well. A book that I’ve read recently that had pacing problems (it went WAY too fast) was Girl Possessed by Réussie Miliardario. I didn’t like the protagonist to start with but the plot was interesting enough for me to continue reading. However, what killed it was the pacing – TOO FAST. I can’t think of an example of a book that moved slow enough to kill it for me because slowness doesn’t bother me as much. At the end of the day the author must set the pace of the book correctly in order for me to not become uninterested/bored.

These are the three main things that really decide if I like a book or not, the most important being number one of course! YA is a genre filled with amazing books and then some not-so-amazing books, so in order for me to find the best ones, of course I’m going to stumble on a few bad apples and a few good ones. There will always be the unremarkable ones, the great ones, and the terrible ones, so I have to do my best to find the ones worth reading.

On a lighter note, tomorrow begins the “Five Days of Reviews” for you, and the “FIve Days of I-actually-have-to-do-stuff” for me. Until tomorrow lovely readers!

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!

The Carrier of the Mark (Carrier Series #1)

While the cover might look neat, don’t let it fool you! It may as well have white hands holding out a blue apple!

In my last post, I went on a short rant about how much I hate when authors emulate Twilight in their writing, whether it be consciously or subconsciously. This book pretty much does exactly that. I cannot express to you my regret over paying $9.99 for this on my Nook. I SERIOUSLY CANNOT. This was probably one of the worst Twilight copies I have EVER read. EVERRRR! Basically it’s Edward and Bella all over again, but a lot worse. Even Bella (as much as I despise her) had some king of redeeming qualities *eye twitch*. Megan Rosenberg (our protagonist) is the equivalent to Bella in this story. Insecure, naive, and totally dependent on her love interest. Megan moves to Ireland after her dad (AKA Charlie) gets a job there. She meets a group of friends and on the first day of school, a guy named Adam DeRis pays attention to her (OMG YAY! -.-). After that she can’t get him out of her head, surprised? Me either. They eventually start dating thanks to a set of circumstances eerily similar to Twilight‘s (seriously are you surprised?). I won’t even bother to try and explain the supernatural circumstances that bring them together because they were: a. ridiculous and horribly explained and b. they weren’t really that important compared to the LURVE happening in the book

The plot was totally unoriginal. UNORIGINAL I TELL YOU. Yes, the paranormal aspect may be a bit different (no vampires/werewolves as far as I know) but it honestly was exactly like Twilight in every other aspect. Basically the course of the book is Megan seeing Adam, staring at him and obsessing over him constantly, him saving her multiple times, and finally them getting together (SHOCKER!). Honestly there wasn’t much more to the plot than that, just an underdeveloped conflict thrown in at the very end of the book.

The characters are where I’m really going to dig my teeth into right now. Megan was, quite possibly, one of the most horrible protagonists I have ever had the displeasure of reading about. She was totally dependent on her dad, boyfriend, and friends throughout the course of the story – never once did she branch out by herself and actually not be dependent on someone else. Even Bella was better than that, which is SAD dear readers, it is SAD. Megan was just a totally unappealing character to read about, not only because of her lack of independence, but because of her low self esteem and selfishness. Adam DeRis is just like Edward but less appealing. He has the whole “I don’t want to be with you to protect you” syndrome as well – as if he is actually that unselfish! If you’re going to try and emulate Twilight at least give us a good male lead, not some half-ass effort at broodiness and cockiness. Adam also had two siblings eerily similar to Alice and Rosalie, albeit in a flash of “originality” the author made our Rosalie into a male. We also have our Carlisle AKA Fionn who of course, Adam takes Megan to meet the day after they kiss.

Honestly, I don’t even want to write more about this book because that’s how awful it was. The only reason I decided to review it was because I wanted to save some people from wasting money on this crud. It is absolute rubbish I tell you (creatively using british slang to avoid cussing!). If you want to read a worse version of Twilight then by all means, go ahead and read this!!! If you aren’t in the mood for a totally unoriginal plot, unlikeable characters, and a boring remake – DONT READ THIS BOOK! DONT EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER (well you get it) EVER READ IT! I would not even recommend this to someone I hate, that’s how bad it is!

 

Want me to review a book? Email me at youngadultbookmuncher@gmail.com or comment this post!

Oh the Woes of Insta-Love and Love Triangles!

I haven’t written any reviews in a while and the main reason why is that I really haven’t read a book that just made me go “WOW THAT’S AMAZING!” and I’ve been a bit uninspired. Of course if you’ve seen my twitter you know that I recently read the second book in the Bloodlines Series by Rachelle Mead and the fifth book in the Shadowhunters series by Cassandra Claire, but I just really haven’t had the energy to write a review they deserve. So today instead of reviewing a book I am going to go on a rant about the two biggest things I hate in Young Adult Fiction today. The first is the curse of insta-love, and the second is the horrific love triangle! Get ready for years of pent up emotions to be released in this post!

Insta-love (noun) – an instant passion that occurs over the course of a couple days; the terms “I am in love with ____” or “I love you” are commonly used after a matter of days/weeks (sometimes hours)

Insta-love is the probably the number one technique seen in YA Fiction today. Yupp that’s right. Pretty much every novel you pick up off the YA shelf will have some variation of this virus. The genre it is used most in? Definitely any kind of paranormal romance. I have pretty much read every variation of the Twilight insta-love ever created. EVER CREATED I TELL YOU. First we have our protagonist, usually an insecure female girl who has just encountered a major change in her life (i.e.: a big move, family member(s) died, etc) . Enter hunky, mysterious male lead with a bit of an anger problem and protection complex. Usually the male is unfriendly at first, scared of what he feels (BLECH!). They (against all odds of course) fall in love and face the evil together and then we have happily ever after. All over a course of months or days depending on how much lovin’ our characters are feeling. They of course get that little happy period where they can express their love before the imminent danger descends upon them. All is well until the sequel (AKA LOVE TRIANGLE). What some of these authors fail to understand is that we have already read 500 pages of this in Twilight – trust me when I say Stephanie Meyer covered the subject throughly; we don’t need more cut copies of it! Twilight is probably (dare I say) the best Twilight out there, we don’t need a billion different copies with different names and scenarios, we got it the first time!

I got a little off course (trust me there was a lot more on that subject than what was written) but now we shall focus on the insta-love. The reason I mentioned Twilight was because that is pretty much the mother of all insta-love scenarios. Edward and Bella meet and BOOM a couple weeks later they are declaring themselves in “love”. I cannot express to you, dear reader, how much I absolutely hate this. Whatever happened to love being something special that didn’t just occur overnight? Has anyone ever read any Jane Austin? The greatest romantic novels ever written didn’t just have the characters fall in love overnight. It used to be a gradual, sacred process that took us readers on a wild ride on an emotional roller coaster. To me, insta-love just makes everything so much more boring. I love to wait and yearn for the characters to even acknowledge that there is some sort of attraction between them, and yet in almost every book I pick up there is a few chapters of this and then BOOM insta-love claims another victim. Romances that span several books are the best kind to me, not this “I’m so in love with him/her” after a couple chapters stuff. I think the main reason that we see this over and over and over again is because in the world we live in, instant gratification is what everyone wants, heck I even want it sometimes. But books are where things should be different, where things should be sacred and not just another contribution to the fads of our time.

Now…On to my next rant: LOVE TRIANGLES!

love triangle (noun) – a scenario in which person A is “in love” with person B and person C at the same time; often causes a rift in a relationship which began before the third person was introduced; person A has to make a “life changing” choice between their two loves at the end

In previous posts I have mentioned how much I hate the dreaded love triangle, and I have finally decided to release all my frustrations in this lovely little rant. Where do I even begin? Well again I will bring your attention to Twilight which was one of the first love triangles I read that really really angered me. Bella was probably one of my least favorite protagonists ever (especially when Kirstin Stewart played her in the movie), and the love triangle just added fuel to my fire of hatred. What I just could not understand in any way, shape, or form was why Bella was even questioning her love for Edward. Wasn’t this the same guy that had her ready to give everything up for him? The one that was “too perfect” to be with her? And yet when he was in love with her she couldn’t make up her mind between him and Jacob, the younger annoying guy? As you can see I was clearly team Edward in this scenario, but that’s just it! I want to be able to love every character for who they are, not have to pick a side. Why should we have “team edward” or “team jacob” why can’t we all just be “team Bella don’t get killed even though you’re annoying”?

I don’t know why authors feel the need to add love triangles. Is it to spice it up or something? Because let me tell you most of those books are pretty spicy already with vampires, ghosts, werewolves, etc. trying to kill the protagonist. In fluffy chick-lit books it may be necessary, but not so much in paranormal/dystopian romances. Why can’t the protagonist just be in love with one freaking guy in the book? Is that too much to ask? Why do we have to go through the motions of pretending that the main character is going to end up with someone else that is not their “first love”? It is totally unnecessary and overused and I am sick of it, SICK OF IT I TELL YOU!

These lists may have some spoilers so beware!

Examples of books with suitable love triangles and/or no insta-love are:

  1. The Mortal Instruments Series – while Clary does have a bit of a love triangle in the beginning books, it is not the main focus of the book and it is resolved very well hence me still being able to read the series without being annoyed
  2. The Gallagher Girls Series – the love between our protagonist and Zach that started in book 2 really doesn’t happen overnight (amazing right) but it actually spans many books which makes it a lot more enjoyable and exciting read; also no love triangle and love actually isn’t the main focus of the book which is refreshing
  3. Bloodlines Series – while there are only two books in the series and I can’t really judge at this point, the author seems to be taking it in a good direction; the love definitely doesn’t happen overnight and there is no love triangle in the foreseeable future (thank goodness!)
  4. The Georgia Nicholson Series – there are so many love interests in this book that I could barely keep count, however the series is refreshing and honestly Georgia isn’t annoying about her love problems but is actually comedic about the whole thing; the series is pretty long so we get to see Georgia grow and learn while also watching her fall in love…over and over and well…over again
  5. Dead Is Series – while the love does happen in the first book, it is still refreshing in each book and doesn’t feel overly mushy; it is not the focus of the books and while the beginnings of a love triangle do appear, our protagonist doesn’t fall for it (you go girl!)
  6. Heist Society Series – another Ally Carter masterpiece with a fiercely independent protagonist and a cute (non-insta) love story; again can’t really tell you about love triangles yet because only two books have been released
  7. Harry Potter Series – one of the most beloved series of all time, and yet do we see a love triangle or insta-love? NO WE DON’T! you can be successful without one YA Authors, trust me JK Rowling did it beautifully, take notes?

Now a list of books that have been ruined for me because of love triangles/insta-love:

  1. Twilight Series – already went on about this but in short I hated the very core of this series which was pretty much a combo of vampires, insta-love, and a love triangle
  2. The Hunger Games Series – when I first started reading these books I couldn’t put them down but when I ended up on team Gale and Katniss didn’t, well…let’s just say that’s another reason to hate love triangles
  3. The Infernal Devices Series – honestly this is one of the WORST love triangles I have ever encountered; I cannot tell what is going to happen, but I can tell you it annoys me that both boys are so darn lovable; I wish I could say Tessa and WIll will end up together and everything will be happily ever after, but at this point there’s no telling
  4. The Carrier of the Mark – one of the absolute worst Twilight copies I have ever read; the insta-love was definitely puke-worthy and I cannot even promise that I finished the book because it was so bad
  5. Struck – this book had such an exciting premise but unfortunately the insta-love was really weird and the whole book just felt rushed (I guess and upcoming apocalypse can do that do a person…heh)
  6. The Vampire Academy Series – I hated and loved the protagonist at the same time mostly due to her badass-ness and her inability to choose a guy; we all knew how it was going to end up and yet the author made us fall in love with another guy after we had just fallen in love with the first one (this gets resolved in Bloodlines so I guess it isn’t the worst case)
  7. Fallen Series – the first book was amazing but the rest were really annoying; insta-love struck and I was okay with it until the second book when things became really stupid with the introduction of a small love triangle while there was simultaneously another love triangle even though it wasn’t an outward love triangle; confusing, I know, that’s why it made me mad

Now these aren’t all the good/bad books I have read that included/didn’t include love triangle and insta-love but these are the ones I can remember at this moment. The only thing I ask is that we get some books that aren’t based on these two simple things! I hope to review some of the books on those lists that I have so graciously compiled, but until then, happy reading!

Want me to review a book? Email me at youngadultbookmuncher@gmail.com or comment this post!

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.

Want me to review a specific book? Comment or email at youngadultbookmuncher@gmail.com

Dead is the New Black (Dead Is series #1)

If you are looking for a paranormal romance-y type book that isn’t a total Twilight cut copy, Dead is the New Black (and the rest of the series) is definitely for you! We have a super spunky protagonist, the evil-but-somewhat-likeable-has-a-good-heart cheerleader, and of course the best friend/love interest! This story introduced so many elements that really make it stand apart from the paranormal romances in this day an age, because let’s face it: many of them are Twilight with a different abnormality and names. Daisy Girodano and co. add a refreshing twist to a genera that is slowly but surely loosing new material.

Our story begins with Daisy’s junior year in high school in the small (fictional) town of Nightshade. Daisy is pretty much the opposite of popular, thanks to her used-to-be best friend Samantha “The Divine” Devereaux who humiliated her in middle school. Her only friend happens to be one of the hottest guys in school, Ryan Mendez (convenient – where can I get one?). As the story progresses, we learn that Daisy comes from a family of psychics (except for her dad, who disappeared mysteriously when she was in middle school). Daisy feels like an outsider to her own family as she is the only one in the house that has not developed psychic powers. The story centers around mysterious cheerleader behavior, a missing girl, and some very spooky secrets lurking in this paranormal little town.

I absolutely loved all of the characters in this book (except Penny because she was SO annoying). Daisy was an excellent main character as she had a good head on her shoulders, and a good sense of right and wrong. She also had a healthy curiousity that made the book interesting. She was very respectful, courageous, witty, and she really stayed true to who she was throughout the course of the novel. Samantha was also a very interesting character because she had all the elements that you would expect from an antagonist in a teen novel and yet I couldn’t help but fall in love with her hard-headedness and sass. She was a character I expected to hate but she actually ended up being one of my favorites in the book. Ryan (SAH-WOON) was a good love interest for Daisy, as he wasn’t clingy or obsessive (which is SO not cute) and he went along with Daisy’s plans because he was a good friend. Daisy’s sisters (Rose and Poppy) were also likable and fun characters. All the characters in this book had a lot of depth to me and that is something that I really value in teen books these days, because honestly we really have a lot of crappy novels out there.

The plot was somewhat predictable but fun anyways! It had a few unexpected twists and turns but overall it wasn’t really that surprising to me. What I really adored about this book was the premise of a supernatural town, psychics, and mystery. I felt that the concept of this book (while not exactly totally new) was refreshing in the genre of paranormal romance! I liked the fact that there were a few subplots that presented mysteries for future books in the series. The whole book had a very original vibe and fun mood throughout and it was definitely worth the read!

If you are looking for a refreshing, fun read this summer, I definitely recommend this! It was full of mystery and romance and had good characters. The reading level was fairly easy but it didn’t feel like a pre-teen book, but rather a book for teenagers. I actually got this book from the library and devoured the series in 2 days, but I ended up buying the books again on my Nook  because they were so cute and well written and I wanted my own copies! This is definitely a lighter, fluffier, and faster read but it is worth every penny!

Want me to review a specific book? Let me know! Post a comment or email me!

youngadultbookmuncher@gmail.com

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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