Audiobook Review: Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Audiobook Review: Bone Gap by Laura RubyBone Gap by Laura Ruby
on March 3, 2015
Genres: Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Goodreads
4 Stars

Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That’s just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame?

Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go.

As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap—their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures—acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are.

pireviewI started out thinking Bone Gap by Laura Ruby was one thing but it ended up being a completely different thing. Completely different. At first I wasn’t sure how I felt by the turn of events but by the end of the book I was so drawn into the odd story that I honestly forgot that this wasn’t the book I thought I was starting.

Bone Gap starts off as a chilling small town mystery with Finn O’Sullivan at the helm. Finn isn’t your typical teenage boy. He has nicknames like Mooney and Space Cadet because of his dreamy personality. Finn was an easily likable character. He had his own ideals and quirks that made him stand out. There were many character that demanded your attention. Roza, in her horrifying situation. Priscilla with her fierceness.  Sean with his disbelief and broken heart. This is one of those books you could read over and over and find new depth every single time.

I mentioned before that Bone Gap wasn’t really what I was expecting it to be. I was in no way expecting fantastical elements. When these started popping up I was a bit confused but I think the story has such a good flow that the out of the blue strangeness just works.

I listened to Bone Gap on audio. It’s narrated by Dan Bittner and he does an incredible job. He manages to capture everyone’s personality in their voice. With just a slight change he could turn the story to haunting and then back again. He is an amazing talent and I look forward to listening to more audiobooks featuring  him.

This book was a thrilling treat. I was permanently on the edge of my seat. It’s an odd book about a small town with secrets. If you’re in the mood for something different pick Bone Gap by Laura Ruby up right away.

Review: Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

Review: Extraordinary Means by Robyn SchneiderExtraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider
on May 26, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads
3 Stars

From the author of The Beginning of Everything: two teens with a deadly disease fall in love on the brink of a cure.

At seventeen, overachieving Lane finds himself at Latham House, a sanatorium for teens suffering from an incurable strain of tuberculosis. Part hospital and part boarding school, Latham is a place of endless rules and confusing rituals, where it’s easier to fail breakfast than it is to flunk French.

There, Lane encounters a girl he knew years ago. Instead of the shy loner he remembers, Sadie has transformed. At Latham, she is sarcastic, fearless, and utterly compelling. Her friends, a group of eccentric troublemakers, fascinate Lane, who has never stepped out of bounds his whole life. And as he gradually becomes one of them, Sadie shows him their secrets: how to steal internet, how to sneak into town, and how to disable the med sensors they must wear at all times.

But there are consequences to having secrets, particularly at Latham House. And as Lane and Sadie begin to fall in love and their group begins to fall sicker, their insular world threatens to come crashing down. Told in alternating points of view, Extraordinary Means is a darkly funny story about doomed friendships, first love, and the rare miracle of second chances.

pireview

I’ve been excited to read this book for quite some time. The Beginning of Everything was a fabulous book that I recommended to everyone. So of course I had some high hopes for Extraordinary Means. Unfortunately I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to.

Extraordinary Means wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I had the impression that the characters had something cancer like and were being treated in a hospital. That’s not the case at all. Robyn Schneider has created a fictional form of tuberculosis that is drug resistant. I was really fascinated by this. The characters aren’t in a hospital either. They’re in a boarding school like sanatorium.

While I thought the basis for the story was great, I just couldn’t connect with the characters as much as I wanted to. Lane and Sadie’s relationship was sweet but it fell flat for me. Sadie went from secretly hating Lane to swooning over him rather quickly. I also found the characters to be unnecessarily reckless with their health and the health of others. That might just be the mom in me coming out though.

I also felt the story was pretty predictable. I guessed the ending very early on and then it just felt like I was going through the motions to finish it.

I adored The Beginning of Everything so much that I will definitely be reading any future books by Robyn Schnieder. Probably not with as much excitement and anticipation as I did with Extraordinary Means.

pialso

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
Before I Die by Jenny Downham
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee AhdiehThe Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
on May 12, 2015
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #1
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
5 Stars

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

pireviewI really didn’t know what to expect from The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. I read the blurb a long time ago and forgot most of it. So I went into it with fresh eyes and was quickly swept away in this unique new young adult novel.

The story starts fast and doesn’t really explain much back story until later. It works for this book. I was too caught up in the story to wonder about the history for the most part. I wouldn’t have minded a bit more information on Khalid’s rise to the throne, but that was a very minor issue that I can easily look over.

The elements that made The Wrath and the Dawn utterly captivating were Shahrzad, Khalid, and their romantic tension. My god was that some good tension! I’m so happy that they didn’t spend the entire book fighting against their feelings. Sure Shazi had her hangups and guilt but she didn’t dwell on it endlessly. That was so refreshing. I really couldn’t help falling right along side Shazi. Khalid is such a fabulous character. He has secrets and the weight of the world on his shoulders. It makes him such a intriguing character. Shazi is just as amazing. She’s so brave and you can’t help but love her quick wit and sharp tongue.

The world in The Wrath and the Dawn is another extraordinary element to the story. I’m not really familiar with Arabian Nights, but I feel like Renee Ahdieh created something beautiful with this book. The world is so lush and I can’t wait to find out more!

Obviously I loved it. I think you probably will too. The Wrath and the Dawn is definitely the most compelling book I’ve read in awhile. I’m so happy it’s the start of a new series because I need more!

pialso

The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Review & Giveaway: The Summer After You and Me by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

Review & Giveaway: The Summer After You and Me by Jennifer Salvato DoktorskiThe Summer After You and Me by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
on May 1, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
4 Stars

Will it be a summer of fresh starts or second chances?

For Lucy, the Jersey Shore isn’t just the perfect summer escape, it’s home. As a local girl, she knows not to get attached to the tourists. They breeze in during Memorial Day weekend, crowding her costal town and stealing moonlit kisses, only to pack up their beach umbrellas and empty promises on Labor Day. Still, she can’t help but crush on charming Connor Malloy. His family spends every summer next door, and she longs for their friendship to turn into something deeper.

Then Superstorm Sandy sweeps up the coast, bringing Lucy and Connor together for a few intense hours. Except nothing is the same in the wake of the storm, and Lucy is left to pick up the pieces of her broken heart and her broken home. Time may heal all wounds, but with Memorial Day approaching and Connor returning, Lucy’s summer is sure to be filled with fireworks.

pireview

The Summer After You and Me takes place in post hurricane Sandy New Jersey. There’s a lot of rebuilding and starting over going on for the residents of Seaside, but Lucy’s story revolves around her heartache over a boy she thought she had.

We meet Lucy at a very rough patch in her life. That’s probably an understatement. She’s having some major boy problems and then something happens that causes some major friend problems as well. I really liked Lucy. She didn’t always make the wisest choices but she was always an honest and refreshing voice. Her friends and brother were infuriating though. In a good way, I guess, because I had to keep reading to find out how the issues were going to get fixed.

The romance between Lucy and Conner was great! Conner was such a good guy under that bad boy mask. I loved how patient and understanding he was with Lucy (and her friends and family). He was without a doubt my favorite part of the story.

The Summer After You and Me gives us a unique perspective into the aftermath of a natural disaster. There’s a scene where Lucy goes back to her island home for the first time after the storm that I could relate to so well. We lived through the April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak and waking up the morning after the tornadoes to see all the unimaginable destruction was exactly how Jennifer Salvato Doktorski wrote it. Even though it isn’t an easy topic, I enjoyed reading about something I could relate to so well.

The Summer After You and Me would be the perfect addition to your beach bag this summer. It has everything you could ask for in a summer read!

pialso
How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Famous Last Words by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
Sean Griswold’s Head by Lindsey Leavitt

About the Author:

Jennifer Salvato Doktorski is the author of two YA novels and is a freelance nonfiction writer. Her first paid writing gig was at The North Jersey Herald & News, where she wrote obituaries and began her lifelong love of news and coffee. She lives in New Jersey with her family.

An Excerpt:

Connor opened the gorgeous double doors, each with half-moon stained-glass windows on the top, and motioned me inside. “After you.”

The house had that distinct yet hard-to-describe smell of a beach home that had been closed up for a while. I walked to the center of the high-ceilinged foyer and immediately pic­tured pine garland and twinkling white lights wrapped around the sweeping banister.

“Wow. I’d love to spend Christmas here,” I said and immedi­ately regretted being so sappy.

Connor smiled. “You could fit a twelve-foot tree in this hallway.”

I admit, over the years I’ve had my share of Connor-centric fantasies. However the image of him watching his children pad down the stairs on Christmas morning had never been one of them…until that very second. I liked thinking about Connor that way.

“Come on. You’ve got to see the master bedroom.”

The wholesome image of a Malloy family Christmas van­ished. Aha, I thought. That was the Connor I knew.

“Uh-uh,” I said. “The widow’s walk. I want to go there first.”

“Race you,” he said and took off running.

He beat me up the two flights and was waiting for me in the third-floor hallway toward the back of the house. Off the hallway was an art studio, with a drafting table and a bookcase. There was also a telescope standing near the window.

“Follow me.” He crossed the studio and unlocked the dead­bolt to the narrow door leading outside.

“You’ve already been up there?”

“First thing I did when I got here,” Connor said.

“Not the master bedroom?”

“Nah, that’s the first thing I wanted to do when you got here.”

I thought it was just more flirty banter, but Connor’s flushed cheeks looked as warm as my body felt. He stared at me for a beat too long and my throat constricted. I was suddenly aware that I’d left the house with slept-on hair and no mascara. The look on Connor’s face told me he hadn’t noticed. His eyes never left mine.

Finally he said, “Come on, Luce. I’ll follow you.” The space was tight when I passed in front of him, and the closeness of his body gave me the shivers. I opened the door and stepped outside onto a small patio. I walked toward the wrought-iron spiral staircase that lead to the widow’s walk on the roof and placed my hand on the railing. My knees felt shaky as I began the climb, but I never looked back.

Buy Links:

Amazon | Apple | BAM | B&N | Chapters | Indiebound

The Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. MaasA Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
on May 5, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Goodreads
2 Stars

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

pireview

So, I feel like the only person who didn’t LOVE this book. I really wanted to. I adore Beauty and the Beast retellings. I’ve read and loved quite a few of them. But A Court of Thorns and Roses was not one of them.

My biggest issue with the book was that it felt agonizingly slow. So, so slow and repetitive. The first 200 pages seemed to be Feyre planning and thinking about escaping. It seemed like not much else happened. It was an effort for me to pick up the book and read it.

I did enjoy the chemistry between Tamlin and Feyre. This is a New Adult novel so it’s heavier on the sexual tension. I did feel like Feyre went from hating Tamlin and wanting to escape to wanting in his pants pretty fast. That might have been the only thing that happened quickly in the whole book.

I’m certainly the minority here. So many readers have loved A Court of Thorns and Roses already, but it wasn’t for me. I have no interest in continuing the series.

Review: Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby

Review: Things We Know by Heart by Jessi KirbyThings We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby
on April 21, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads
5 Stars

When Quinn Sullivan meets the recipient of her boyfriend’s donated heart, the two form an unexpected connection.

After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now-unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent’s heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have peace once and for all.

Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas—a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn’t want to give in to it—especially since he has no idea how they’re connected—but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost…and all that remains at stake.

pireviewTo be completely honest I didn’t think Things We Know by Heart sounded like something I would love. The topic just didn’t speak to me. I’ve loved Jessi Kirby’s other books so I thought I would give this one a shot too. I’m so, so thrilled that I did, because it was a fantastic, heart wrenching read.

I was pulled in so quickly by this book. The story starts over a year after Quinn’s boyfriend was tragically killed. Quinn’s grief felt incredibly realistic, but I never found it depressing. Probably because Colton quickly enters her life and he brought such light and happiness to the story (and to Quinn). Their feelings for each other blossom slowly. I was right there with Quinn feeling her guilt and hope. It was so easy to relate to everything she was feeling.

Things We Know by Heart kind of revolves on a lie…or a really big secret. It could have been easy to dislike Quinn because of the secret, or hold it against her, but Jessi Kirby handles her character so well. While Quinn got herself in such a tough situation, I couldn’t help but root for her and Colton’s happiness.

I guess you can tell that I really loved Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby. I’ll never question reading one of her books again. Definitely add this to your summer reads list or beach bag. It’s perfect for it!

Review: Three Day Summer by Sarvenaz Tash

Review: Three Day Summer by Sarvenaz TashThree Day Summer by Sarvenaz Tash
on May 19, 2015
Genres: Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads
4 Stars

Michael is unsure about most things. Go to college? Enlist in the military? Break up with his girlfriend? All big question marks. He is living for the moment and all he wants is a few days at the biggest concert of the summer.

Cora lives in the town hosting the music festival. She’s volunteering in the medical tent. She’s like that, always the good girl. But there is something in the air at this concert and suddenly Cora finds herself wanting to push her own boundaries.

When Michael and Cora meet, sparks fly, hearts race, and all the things songs are written about come true. And all the while, three days of the most epic summer await them…

pireview

I’ve always had a fascination with the 60’s and 70’s. I have often thought I was born in the wrong decade. So when I heard about Three Day Summer by Savenaz Tash it felt like a dream come true. A YA that takes place at Woodstock? I had to read it right away. I’m so very happy to say that it did not disappoint.

Three Day Summer is told from alternating perspectives and I loved that. Cora and Michael are so very different. It was great getting to see the festival through each of their eyes. I felt like their relationship happened realistically. It was sweet watching it unfold. I really enjoyed their chemistry.

A big part of my 60’s love is the music. It was just better then. I was a little worried that the music would just be skimmed over in the book. I didn’t want it to be just a backdrop, and it wasn’t. Michael’s love for music shines on every page and that makes it a huge part of the story. The music, artists, and the feelings it inspires are talked about so much that it feels like you are there with Cora and Michael. That was an incredible feeling.

Three Day Summer is a short, well paced read. It’s prefect for summer and music lovers. This is such a fun debut. I’m looking forward to reading more by Sarvanaz Tash and I recommend you read this one.

pialso

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith