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!

BBS (Bad Blogger Syndrome)

Hi guys! I know that I haven’t updated this blog since like world war 2 but I’ve been super busy this year with school! I really enjoy blogging and reviewing books but I just haven’t had enough time lately to be writing the kinds of reviews that I want to write. Now I know that this sounds like one of those “I am SOOOOOO busy” pretentious posts but I can honestly promise you that my life has been full of new opportunities and things. I wish that I could say I would try to get a review a week up, like I have been in the past couple of posts, but to be honest it would probably be a lie. I appreciate every single view from the people that don’t mind my excessive use of commas and my over enthusiasm for swoony boys! I hope to update this blog more often because i really do love sharing my opinion about books and weeding out the bad ones!

So to keep you satisfied, I have composed a list of my 10 favorite books that I’ve read recently:

1. Alice in Zombieland (because you know I’m a fool for zombies)

2. The DUFF (because who doesn’t like a sassy and sarcastic protagonist?)

3. Warm Bodies (although not really young adult fiction, it was a great read)

4. Ruby Red/Sapphire Blue (two thirds of a trilogy that takes place in England; this satisfies my British book quota even though the author’s German)

5. Something Strange and Deadly (also involving zombies because lets be real, a girl just can’t get enough of the walking dead sometimes)

6. Secret Letters (intelligent protagonist and swoony assistant detective? sign me up)

7. Unspoken (honestly this book was a weird one – not my favorite yet I found myself silently anticipating the sequel)

8. Second Chance Summer (mostly because it was reminiscent of The Last Song and also everyone likes a summer romance in the middle of winter so…)

9. A Midsummer’s Nightmare (although I read this a while back it is still so worthy of being on my condensed list of favorites)

10. Prom and Prejudice (honestly this is a cheesy, corny, easy book but I love its simplicity and also I’m a fool for Pride and Prejudice remakes – although the original takes the cake)

Hopefully you will read and enjoy this vast array of Young Adult Fiction books! Each and every single one had things that made them irresistible to me – hopefully I will be able to review each one in full at a later date! Happy reading lovely viewers!

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!

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.

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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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