There’s no other book like it: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater [Review]

15743650The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #1
First published in September 2012 by Scholastic Press
Tags: Young AdultFantasy

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | B&N 

Source: Purchased

Rating:  photo five stars_zpsr2o5iiuv.png

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.


Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.


His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.


But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.


For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.


From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the
Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

I’ve gushed about this book a lot on this blog already, but it deserves a proper review as well so I’ll try to do this coherently. 

I’ve always been skeptical to this series, despite knowing how many people love it. First off, the covers look cheesy and the synopsis on the back of the book is even cheesier. The tagline needs to go. Combined, it all makes the book sound like your regular, dramatic YA romance. “Female character can’t kiss her true love or he will die.” Yawn. Well, THAT’S NOT EVEN WHAT THIS BOOK IS ABOUT. Even the synopsis from Goodreads focuses mostly on that, and it doesn’t do the book justice at all. At most, the true love’s death kiss is more on an overarching mystery that always looms in the background. Who is Blue’s true love? Is it actually Gansey? We’ve already seen he will (probably??) die, as Blue saw him as a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve, but how will he die? Why? 

Before reading the book I thought Blue was like Juliette in Shatter Me, that there was something physical about her that made her kiss lethal, but it’s not like that. Thank god. It’s not a power/curse she has. I think this is important to point out, because it’s way less cheesy this way. 

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Emotionally Captivating: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick [REVIEW]

18774013Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
First published by in January 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Tags: Young Adult, Contemporary

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | B&N 

Source: Library

Rating:  photo five stars_zpsr2o5iiuv.png

Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol.

But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate, Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school’s class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.


In this riveting look at a day in the life of a disturbed teenage boy, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.

 

You ever feel like you’re sending out a light but no one sees it?

First off, the name Leonard Peacock is amazing. Second, this book is amazing. I’ve wanted to read it ever since the first time I read the synopsis, and when I found it at the library I just had to bring it home.

I inhaled it in one sitting. Wow. This is exactly the kind of book I love to read. As someone who loves to read about dark, twisted, and dangerous people, especially teens, this was perfect for me. Poor, poor Leonard. Someone give him a hug and a good psychiatrist. The way he so desperately wanted to be saved broke my heart.

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Books that mess with your head: Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas [REVIEW]

17623143Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas
First published by Simon Pulse in July 2013
Pages: 388

Tags:
Young Adult, Contemporary, Crime, Thriller
Buy: Amazon | Book DepositoryB&N
 
Rating:  photo five stars_zpsr2o5iiuv.png

Elise is dead.
And someone must pay.

Anna, her boyfriend Tate, best friend Elise and a group of close friends set off on a debaucherous Spring Break trip to Aruba. But paradise soon turns into a living nightmare when Elise is brutally murdered.


Soon Anna finds herself trapped in a foreign country and fighting for her freedom. As she awaits the judge’s decree, it becomes clear that everyone is questioning her innocence. To the rest of the world, Anna isn’t just guilty, but dangerous. As the court case unfolds the truth is about to come out, and it’s more shocking than you could ever imagine…

“Do you love me?”
“You know I do.”
“How much?”
“Miles and Miles.”

WHODUNIT???

This is that kind of book. And it’s so good and so deliciously twisted. The trial seems real, the characters believable, and it will keep you turning pages until you find out if Anna will be freed and who actually killed Elise. 

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For the nerds & geeks: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline [REVIEW]

20603758Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Published by Random House in August 2011
Pages: 374

Genres:
Young AdultDystopia, Science Fiction
Source: Purchased
Buy: Amazon | Book DepositoryB&N
 
Rating:  photo five stars_zpsr2o5iiuv.png

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

There is a chance you will really love this book if you A) love video games B) consider yourself a misunderstood nerd/geek or C) love 80s pop culture & games. Even if you don’t do or like any of these things you will probably still enjoy this book, because it’s awesome. I know I got very few of the 80s references, being a 90s child, but that didn’t bother me. (Though when I got to the Pac-Man part I was like AHA! I KNOW PAC-MAN. 10 POINTS FOR GRYFFINDOR)

If you’ve ever played Second Life, the OASIS is kind of like that. Just way more immersive and real. It’s kind of like Second Life + Oculus Rift + a suit that makes you actually feel things inside the virtual reality + a smell tower that makes you smell the virtual reality. Oh, and + Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory where Halliday is Willy Wonka and the OASIS is the chocolate factory.

People in this book literally live their entire lives inside the OASIS, they even go to school and get married there. You don’t even need to get out of the house, you can go to a restaurant in the OASIS, order a pizza, and that order will transfer to a the pizza place near you in the real world and they’ll deliver to your door. Amazing. 

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Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

8490112Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Published by Little, Brown and Company in September 2011
Pages: 418

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Source:
Purchased
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble
Rating:  photo five stars_zpsr2o5iiuv.png

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

New favorite book alert!

There will be some spoilers in this review, or things that could be considered a spoiler if you like going into books mostly blind, like I do. If you want to go into it blind, please avoid my Goodreads updates just below and the list of theories. Now, proceed.
.
I had a lot of thoughts: 
dosab progress

HOW ABOUT THAT THING I TOTALLY CALLED IN THE VERY BEGINNING. FUCK. I KNEW IT. NOOOO.

my emotions gif

I need to address certain parts of my progress updates ( but this isn’t spoilery). Before going into this book, I didn’t know that it was a romance. Sure, I figured there would be some romance, it’s YA after all, but I didn’t know it was literally a romance story. Once I figured that out I didn’t mind the romance aspect at all and I actually found myself really invested in it. So don’t let that scare you if you don’t like romance, it’s not your standard at all. Because damn, it was gripping once you got into it. Also I’m sorry I shit on you, Akiva. I love you, you’re great, you just seemed a bit random to begin with. This book talks about your beauty a lot (a bit too much) but other than that you’re wonderful. 

Anyway. This is some imaginative shit. Woah. And this book is magic and fairytales and glorious, majestic creatures and I’m way too into it. Something about the writing in Daughter of Smoke and Bone  feels like magic. Cheesy, but true. This is how I want my fantasy. I’m looking at you, A Darker Shade of Magic, with your chalk dry and lifeless writing. Be ashamed. Be very ashamed. 

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Review: Vicious by V. E. Schwab

Vicious by V. E. Schwab
Published by Tor Books
on September 23rd 2013
Pages: 364
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction, Thriller
Buy: Amazon | Bookdepository
Rating:
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In this book we meet two young college roommates and best friends, Victor and Eli, who, through some pretty dramatic research, figure out how to get superpowers. All for the sake of their thesis on Extra-Ordinaries, of course. And then things go very wrong. Flashforward into the future, Victor breaks out of prison to look for Eli, his now arch nemesis, and kill him. And Eli has a terrible plot going on himself. 

THIS BOOK IS FUCKING AMAZING. Excuse my French. It’s that good though, I’m flailing over here just trying to express how much I loved it. I read this book earlier this summer and I’m still in awe. I read it in one sitting, completely hypnotized, and it went straight onto my favorites shelf after I was done. This book has been very hyped up, but for me it definitely lived up to it. 

Not only are the characters great and the plot something I haven’t read before, but Victoria Schwab’s writing style is so beautiful. I fell in love with it right away. 

“Someone could call themselves a hero and still walk around killing dozens. Someone else could be labeled a villain for trying to stop them. Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.” 

This book is about superheroes and supervillains. It’s got the whole “what makes a villain and what makes a hero” thing going on that I really like. Victor is the perfect anti-hero for me, I really liked him as a character, flaws and all. I think he might be one of my favorite fictional characters. And Eli… well. When I read the portion of this book that took place during their college years I imagined these boys kind of like I imagine a college aged Sherlock Holmes (the BBC version). So that tells you a little bit what kind of characters they are: ambitious, kind of arrogant, and dangerously brilliant but with a touch of loneliness and desperation. I loved their relationship and the complexity of it. Where are my Victor/Eli college years fanfics? Someone get on that.

“All Eli had to do was smile. All Victor had to do was lie. Both proved frighteningly effective.”

There were other great characters in this book apart from Victor and Eli and they were all fleshed out and complex. I’m going to mention Sydney especially, a young girl with a truly tragic story. It was heartbreaking to read from her perspective sometimes. And Mitch, bless him, another great character.

Even if you’re not into superheroes I really recommend you try this book. Actually I recommend it to everyone and their mother. I think my mother would like it. It’s fast paced and brilliantly written. I think some of my favorite parts were actually the scenes that described their attempts at getting superpowers, it was so creepy and dark and such a clever idea. When I read it I was actually like “yeah, that makes perfect sense.”

I think this book has great crossover appeal from the young adult genre. If you usually only read YA it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to read this.

Read this book now. Just do it.