12/30/14

The Rithmatist

Author: Brandon Sanderson 
Pages: 378 
Publisher: Tor 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles. As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students learn the magical art that he would do anything to practice. 

Then students start disappearing—kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery—one that will change Rithmatics—and their world—forever.



My Summary: Joel has had one dream for as long as he can remember: to be a Rithmatist - someone who has the power to bring chalk drawings to life and make them do his bidding. He's spent his life studying and learning everything there is to know about the world of the Rithmatists.  

But despite his expertise and vast knowledge, it's too late for Joel. All he can do now is watch the Rithmatist students train to protect the American Isles from creatures known as Wild Chalklings and wish he was one of them.

Until Rithmatist students begin disappearing from their bedrooms under suspicious circumstances. With the police baffled and all clues leading to dead ends, Joel and a kindly old professor are recruited to help figure out who is behind the attacks.  

My Thoughts: This was a thoroughly engaging novel that pulled me in right away and did not let up until I had turned the final page. Joel was a character I was instantly able to relate to, and one whom I sympathized with throughout the novel. Joel's passion for the world of the Rithmatists was infectious, and it was fun to watch his quest to study amongst them intersect with the mystery surrounding the disappearing students. 

The premise was incredibly intriguing; the idea of the chalk drawings coming to life had me wanting to read more from the second I read the summary. Needless to say, I'll be eyeing the chalkboard with a little more suspicion when school starts up again in a few weeks. 

Although it is listed under YA, I think this novel would be perfect for anyone looking for a quality middle-grade read. This was also one of the first novels that - upon finishing - I rushed to check when the sequel would be released because I couldn't wait to get back to the world of the Rithmatists. Unfortunately, fans of this series have a bit of a wait ahead - book two is set to be released in 2017. Fortunately though, Sanderson has a slew of other novels to keep me reading until then. 

Final Thoughts: I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys steampunk, historical fiction, and fantasy novels.

12/29/14

A Monster Calls

Author: Patrick Ness 
Pages: 205 
Publisher: Walker Books 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): The monster showed up after midnight. As they do. 

But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting. He's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming... 

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. 

It wants the truth.





My Summary: Conor has been having the same nightmare for months - one that shocks him awake every night, shaking and covered in sweat. So when a monster appears outside his window, Conor reacts the way anyone who has been scared out of their wits would: he calmly converses with the creature, asking what it wants from him.

Because something else has been haunting Conor, and the monster outside his window is as cuddly as a puppy in comparison.... 

My Thoughts: I did not expect to enjoy this novel this much. Oh my goodness, it was AMAZING. 

Conor was a great character. My heart went out to him as he suffered through the monster's visits and the ordeal of his mother's illness. This is the first novel I've read by Patrick Ness, and I can tell I've been missing out. His writing was lyrical and flowed beautifully - I seriously can't believe I waited so long to experience his writing first-hand (I've heard great things and own a few of his books, but they got lost in my TBR pile). 

I really enjoyed the monster's stories. I think Patrick Ness should consider writing a collection of fairy tales like those the monster tells - I know I'd devour them gladly. The entire novel read like a dark, Grimm-brothers-style fairy tale, and I loved every minute. The atmosphere was perfectly composed and the simplicity of the novel made it hit you that much harder.

This review is not doing justice to this amazing novel, so I suggest you go out and pick up a copy so you can experience it yourself.

Final Thoughts: I definitely recommend this novel to anyone looking for a refreshing, unique read. 

12/21/14

On Dublin Street

Author: Samantha Young 
Pages: 414 
Publisher: CreateSpace 
Format: Paperback 
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Jocelyn Butler has been hiding from her past for years. But all her secrets are about to be laid bare… 

Four years ago, Jocelyn left her tragic past behind in the States and started over in Scotland, burying her grief, ignoring her demons, and forging ahead without attachments. Her solitary life is working well—until she moves into a new apartment on Dublin Street where she meets a man who shakes her carefully guarded world to its core. 

Braden Carmichael is used to getting what he wants, and he’s determined to get Jocelyn into his bed. Knowing how skittish she is about entering a relationship, Braden proposes an arrangement that will satisfy their intense attraction without any strings attached. 

But after an intrigued Jocelyn accepts, she realizes that Braden won’t be satisfied with just mind-blowing passion. The stubborn Scotsman is intent on truly knowing her… down to the very soul.



My Summary: Jocelyn - Joss - Butler has seen her fair share of drama. Four years after she packed up and left America for Scotland, things are finally going the way she wants them.

Until her roommate moves away, and Joss is left to scramble to find a place to live. She finds what appears to be the perfect apartment - and the perfect roommate - on Dublin Street. But her new friend comes with an added complication: a handsome and infuriating brother that Jocelyn can't seem to get out of her head.

My Thoughts: This was the first novel of Samantha Young's that I've ever read, and it was a really enjoyable experience. Jocelyn's story was heartbreaking, and I couldn't help but root for her and Braden. The family dynamic between the Carmichaels was endearing and heartwarming, and I loved the way they pulled together when things got bad.

The story grabbed me from the first few pages and kept me interested from start to finish. 

The romance element was well done, and I definitely felt like the characters cared deeply about one another. I liked Ellie and Adam - I really hope they get their own installment in this series. 

I also really liked that we got to see Jocelyn's interactions with her therapist - I think it really helped the reader to understand where she was coming from and why she reacted the way she did, even if they were bad reactions that made her seem unlikable. Props to Samantha Young for giving us a great set of characters.

Final Thoughts: I recommend this novel (and this series) to anyone who enjoys new adult romance.

12/19/14

Texts from Jane Eyre

Author: Mallory Ortberg 
Pages: 240 
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Mallory Ortberg, the co-creator of the cult-favorite website The Toast, presents this whimsical collection of hysterical text conversations from your favorite literary characters. Everyone knows that if Scarlett O’Hara had an unlimited text-and-data plan, she’d constantly try to tempt Ashley away from Melanie with suggestive messages. If Mr. Rochester could text Jane Eyre, his ardent missives would obviously be in all-caps. And Daisy Buchanan would not only text while driving, she’d text you to pick her up after she totaled her car. Based on the popular web-feature, Texts from Jane Eyre is a witty, irreverent mashup that brings the characters from your favorite books into the twenty-first century.



I'm going to keep this short and sweet: this book was fifty shades of hilarious. I don't think I've laughed that loudly and obnoxiously while reading a book in years - and I'm talking ugly laughs that make people think there are dying cats nearby. And if you're someone who loves literature and laughing, then you should get yourself a copy of Texts from Jane Eyre as soon as humanly possible. 

Slammed

Author: Colleen Hoover 
Pages: 321 
Publisher: Simon & Schuster 
Format: Paperback 
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Layken's father died suddenly, leaving her to gather every ounce of strength to be a pillar for her family, in order to prevent their world from falling apart. Now her life is taking another unexpected turn... 

Layken's mother gets a job which leads to an unwanted move across the country. However, a new home means new neighbours... and Layken's new neighbour is the very attractive Will Cooper. 

Will has an intriguing passion for slam poetry, and a matching passion for life. The two feel an irresistible attraction but are rocked to the core when a shocking revelation brings their romance to a screeching halt. Layken and Will must find a way to fight the forces that threaten to tear them apart...or learn to live without each other.



My Summary: Layken has not had an easy year. First her father died, and then her mother suddenly announced that they were moving to Michigan, leaving behind the house Layken grew up in. Still, she forced herself to be strong through it all and never complained, knowing how important it was to her mother and little brother to be able to move on.

But a chance encounter with a neighbour helps Layken to see that she might actually like Michigan - especially if it means getting to spend more time with Will Cooper....

My Thoughts: I'd been seeing so much buzz about this one all over my social media, so I knew I had to give it a try. Slammed was one of those incredibly addictive novels that you can't put down for more than a few minutes, even if it isn't perfect. Despite a few flaws I found Slammed to be an incredibly fun read, and I felt myself rooting for the characters the whole way through.

Will and Layken were endearing. I loved them together, even though I'm not usually a big fan of insta-love.  

The plot moved along smoothly and the writing was easy to follow. I also really enjoyed the poetry aspect of the novel - as a fan of slam poetry, it was refreshing to read a book where it was woven into the plot. 

Final Thoughts: I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys edgier contemporary YA and romance.

12/17/14

My True Love Gave to Me

Pages: 320 
Publisher: St. Martin's Press 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me ...This beautiful collection features twelve gorgeously romantic stories set during the festive period, by some of the most talented and exciting YA authors writing today. The stories are filled with the magic of first love and the magic of the holidays.







This was a heartwarming read that I think anyone would enjoy - even those who have never read anything from the contributing authors before (which, let's be honest, you probably have). I tend to shy away from short stories because I feel like I don't get to know the characters as well as I'd like, but these stories never left me wanting more. Every one left me with a smile on my face and that cuddly feeling you get from watching tacky TV movies about the holidays. I loved every minute, and I think anyone who enjoys staying in and reading while it snows will find the perfect holiday companion in this anthology.


12/5/14

The Replacement

Author: Brenna Yovanoff 
Pages: 343 
Publisher: Razorbill 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads):Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world. 

Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs.



My Summary: Mackie is not your average teen. Sure, he goes to school and plays guitar and hangs out with friends, but Mackie spends every moment of every day making sure nobody guesses his secret: he's not human.

Now, struggling to survive, Mackie discovers where exactly he came from and what happened to the baby he replaced. The world of the Replacements is drawing him in, but Mackie wants nothing to do with them.

Until they threaten to take his sister, and he discovers that his friend's little sister may still be alive somewhere.... 

My Thoughts: This was a great read, although I wish I had read it around Halloween! 

Mackie was a very well-developed character. I loved that he was so easy to relate to - especially his feelings of not quite belonging anywhere. And Tate was such a badass character! I really liked the way she refused to give in and refused to give up on her sister.

The town of Gentry itself almost felt like a character. I really liked the way that we got to see the crossover between the "underground" and the normal side of town. I loved the creepy atmosphere of the book itself, as well as the haunting descriptions of "The House of Mayhem". 

Brenna Yovanoff's writing was - as usual - brilliant. The subtle way she weaved in the legends of the Changelings and the moral questions of sacrifice and what it means to be human added so many layers to the story and had me turning pages well into the night.

Final Thoughts: I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys paranormal YA and urban fantasy, 

12/2/14

40 Things I Want to Tell You

Author: Alice Kuipers 
Pages: 286 
Publisher: HarperTrophy 
Format: Paperback 
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Amy (a.k.a. Bird) seems to have the perfect life: loving parents, a hot boyfriend, the best friend ever. She even writes an online advice column, full of Top Tips, to help other teens take control of their lives. But after a new guy shows up at school, Bird can’t seem to follow her own wisdom. 

Pete is the consummate bad boy. He’s everything Bird is not: wild, unambitious and more than a little dangerous. Although she knows he’s trouble, Bird can’t stay away. And the more drawn she is to Pete, the more cracks are revealed in her relationship with Griffin, her doting boyfriend. Meanwhile, her parents’ marriage is also fracturing, possibly for good. 

Bird is way out of her comfort zone. All it takes is one mistake, one momentary loss of control, for her entire future to be blown away ....



My Summary: Amy Finch - known as Bird to her family and friends - has everything under control. 

She's a straight-A student, has a perfect boyfriend, perfect parents, and she knows how to take control of her life. Amy knows how to fix things, and she loves it: she runs a website where teens can go to get tips about how to take control of tricky situations.

But Amy feels herself losing control, and even though she keeps giving out advice on how to take control, she can't seem to follow any of it. How is this self-professed control-freak going to be able to fix everything after what she's done? 

My Thoughts: I was enchanted by the cover. I saw it a few years ago and knew I had to get my hands on a copy eventually. Luckily, my local bookstore was having a bit of a sale and I snagged one of the last ones. 

Kuiper's writing was absolutely captivating. I remember reading Life on the Refrigerator Door all in one sitting and crying my eyes out, so I expected nothing less from 40 Things. Bird was a very well-written character - I felt her stress and the way that everything began to overwhelm her. She made a few bad decisions but you could really understand what led her to make them, so it wasn't as frustrating as you would think. 

I loved the advice column element, and the way that Amy opened up to her readers.

One thing that I feel like I need to clarify is the genre: this book is not a romance novel, although the description on the back may lead you to think so. This is a novel about finding the courage to do what's good for you when there are people all around you trying to force you to follow the path they chose for you. 

This was not a very happy book, but one that wraps itself around your heart and doesn't let go.   

Final Thoughts: I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys contemporary lit as well as realistic fiction.

11/27/14

Compulsion

Author: Martina Boone 
Pages: 448 
Publisher: Simon Pulse 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead--a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions. 

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn't what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.



My Summary: Barrie Watson has been living under her mother's thumb for her entire life. She didn't go to parties, didn't have many friends, and the only places she went while living in San Francisco where within walking distance of her home. Barrie was living in a prison, and her mother was the only one with the keys.

Then Barrie's mother dies unexpectedly, leaving her with an ailing family friend. With nowhere left to turn, Barrie finds herself going back to the place her mother escaped all those years ago: Watson Island. She moves in with her aunt, comforting herself with the knowledge that she'll be off to art school in a year and it won't matter where she lives.

But all is not as it seems on the island, and with the help of her "gift", Barrie is determined to discover all the secrets of the plantations and end the feud between the three founding families of Watson Island.  

My Thoughts: I had no idea what I was in for when I picked up Compulsion

I'm a huge fan of Gothic literature, and knowing that it was a YA got me all the more excited. I picked it up and started in the same day, and only looked up again a few hours later when I was finished. There's something about Martina Boone's writing and the way Barrie comes across that had me glued to the pages. 

I loved the Gothic atmosphere of the novel. And I also really liked the way Barrie and Eight's "gifts" added another layer to the story - especially to the romance element. I liked the way Boone wove together the more modern story line with the legend of the Fire Carrier. 

Barrie and Eight were also really likable characters - I'm not ashamed to admit I have a bit of a soft spot for Eight. And my heart broke for Mark (side note: why do bad things always happen to the best characters?).

Compulsion was compelling and impossible to put down, and I can't wait to get my hands on the next installment in this series. 

Final Thoughts: I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys Gothic literature, paranormal YA, and fantasy. Fans of The Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan should definitely check it out!

11/23/14

The Sea of Tranquility

Author: Katja Millay
Pages: 434
Publisher: Atria
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Full of rage and without a purpose, former pianist Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone discovering her past and to make the boy who took everything from her pay. 

All 17 year-old Josh Bennett wants is to build furniture and be left alone, and everyone allows it because it’s easier to pretend he doesn’t exist. When your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space. 

Everyone except Nastya, a hot mess of a girl who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. The more he gets to know her, the more of a mystery she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he may ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding or if he even wants to.



My Summary: Nastya and Josh are not the kind of people that have happy lives. Josh has lost every single person in his life in just a few short years; anyone who knows Josh knows that death follows him like a shadow. 

Nastya is a mystery. Nobody knows much about Nastya but this: she doesn't talk, and she dresses like every day is Halloween. Josh and Nastya have absolutely nothing in common, but life keeps throwing them together. 

As they get closer, they discover that maybe they aren't as broken as they thought. And maybe broken is okay when there's someone out there who can put you back together. 

My Thoughts: This book was like a punch to the gut. 

And I loved every second of it.

I picked this book up after seeing a few people add it to their TBR on my Goodreads feed, and I am so glad I did. This is a stunning novel about love and loss and what healing really means. 

I loved the characters. Josh and Nastya were so fleshed out, and every interaction between them was a joy to read. They were very real and very flawed and incredibly relatable and impossible to like but impossible to hate, too. I was up late into the night reading because I absolutely refused to put this book down without knowing what happened to Josh and Nastya and the rest of my favourite characters. This is not really a happy book, but it is one full of hope. This is a book about starting over and figuring out how to move forward and letting yourself get close to someone.

The romance element was perfectly done. The writing was flawless. The story was slow-building and perfect in every way. Basically, I am in love with this book and I don't know how to talk more about it without giving anything away or resorting to unintelligible shrieks. I wish I could go back and read this book again for the first time - that's how good it is. 

Final ThoughtsThe Sea of Tranquility is my favourite YA novel of the year. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys contemporary YA and is looking for a story that really sticks with you. 

The Museum of Intangible Things

Author: Wendy Wunder 
Pages: 304 
Publisher: Razorbill 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Hannah and Zoe haven’t had much in their lives, but they've always had each other. So when Zoe tells Hannah she needs to get out of their down-and-out New Jersey town, they pile into Hannah’s beat-up old Le Mans and head west, putting everything—their deadbeat parents, their disappointing love lives, their inevitable enrollment at community college—behind them. 

As they chase storms and make new friends, Zoe tells Hannah she wants more for her. She wants her to live bigger, dream grander, aim higher. And so Zoe begins teaching Hannah all about life’s intangible things, concepts sadly missing from her existence—things like audacity, insouciance, karma, and even happiness.



My Summary: Zoe and Hannah have been best friends since third grade. They've seen each other's ups, downs, and shared every moment together. Hannah dreams of attending a college where her high IQ will be good for something, and Zoe wants to attend fashion design school in New York. Both girls know that there is absolutely no chance of either of them making it out of their backwards hick town, but as long as they have each other they know it won't be all bad.

But as Zoe begins to lose touch with reality and Hannah's last shot at even community college is dashed, the girls decide that all there's left to do is get as far away from their old lives as possible. So they pack a few bags and drive off in Hannah's car with only one destination in mind: away.

Along the way, Zoe schools Hannah on all things intangible; love, dreams, fun, and learning when to let go. 

My Thoughts: This was a quick read for me - four hours give or take - but it was a lot of emotion packed into a short amount of time. Zoe and Hannah have the kind of bond that only forms after knowing each other your entire lives, and it was a lot of fun getting to watch them experience life outside of their small town. It may have some elements of romance (Hannah's relationship with Danny) but I found that the strongest love in this novel was the love between Zoe and Hannah. 

The writing was very well done, but I found it a little difficult to connect to the characters at some points. All in all though, a very solid read that I would recommend to those who like contemporary YA.

Final Thoughts: Check out The Museum of Intangible Things if you're looking for a contemporary romance and enjoy reading about road trips. Fans of Amy & Roger's Epic Detour and Two-Way Street will definitely enjoy this novel.

11/18/14

Words and Their Meanings

Author: Kate Bassett 
Pages: 354 
Publisher: Flux 
Format: Paperback 
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Anna O’Mally doesn’t believe in the five stages of grief. Her way of dealing with death equates to daily bouts of coffin yoga and fake-tattooing Patti Smith quotes onto her arms. Once a talented writer, Anna no longer believes words matter, until shocking discoveries– in the form of origami cranes– force her to redefine family and love. 

As Anna goes in search of the truth, she discovers that while every story, every human being, has a last line, it might still be possible to find the words for a new beginning.






My Summary: Anna was once a talented writer with a bright future ahead of her. With dozens of awards and publications under her belt, it once seemed like Anna was all set to pursue her dream career as an author.

But that was before: before Joe died, taking with him everything good Anna had ever seen in the world and leaving behind secrets that suggested she barely knew him. With everything crumbling around her, Anna shuts down completely.

After almost a year of this, her parents present her with an ultimatum: either she tries to move past Joe's death and reclaim her life, or they're ship her off to some Bible camp in the middle of nowhere. But moving forward is tough - especially when you're the reason someone you loved is dead in the first place .... 

My Thoughts: This novel was one of those rare contemporary reads that won't let you read it all in one go. There was so much emotion jam-packed into this book that I found myself unable to read more than fifty or so pages in one sitting. I think part of the beauty of the writing is that although Anna is pretending to be numb to the world (and to the reader), the reader can feel her emotions and her struggle to keep from breaking down completely. 

I loved the characters. Anna herself wasn't my favourite, although she was a great MC. Nat was probably my favourite of the bunch, but Mateo was a close runner-up. 

The writing flows in a way that I can't even attempt to describe. The closest thing I can think to compare it to is music. Every other line struck a chord. If you're a writer who has ever suffered a loss that affected your writing, Anna's thoughts will read like a diary entry. For me, it was the way the words all just fit.

Final Thoughts: This was a powerful novel about love and grief and learning to let go. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys edgier contemporary literature and is not afraid of a good cry. 

The Retribution of Mara Dyer

Author: Michelle Hodkin 
Pages: 470 
Publisher: Simon & Schuster 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads):

Mara Dyer wants to believe there's more to the lies she’s been told. 
There is. 

She doesn’t stop to think about where her quest for the truth might lead. 
She should. 

She never had to imagine how far she would go for vengeance. 
She will now.







Oh my goodness. Fans of this series need to get their hands on a copy of this last installment as soon as possible. Those who haven't read this series need to A) rethink their life choices, and B) get themselves all three books, because you WILL want to binge-read the entire trilogy as fast as humanly possible. After taking my advice and securing the trilogy for yourself, take a moment to feel the pain of all those who had to wait years between installments. 

I can't say much about this one without giving anything away, so I'll keep it brief: this novel jerked me around like nobody's business. The plot twisted and turned and yet it all fit together so well. Michelle Hodkin is an amazing writer, and I will forever be thankful to her for this amazing trilogy.

A Thousand Pieces of You

Author: Claudia Gray 
Pages: 368 
Publisher: Harper Teen 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.



My Summary: Marguerite has seen impossible things. Her parents have bent the laws of time and space to their will, building a machine that will allow inter-dimensional travel.

But that's nothing new. Marguerite grew up knowing the extent of her parents' genius. What she didn't know was what it would cost their family.

After her father is killed and his killer escapes into the next dimension, Marguerite can only see one possible course of action: follow him.

And then end him.

But is Paul really the one responsible for her father's death, or could there be someone else at fault? And is she willing to risk Paul's life to find out? 

My Thoughts: I'd seen so much about this one all over Goodreads that I knew I had to check it out eventually, and I'm so glad I did. It had me in its grip from start to finish.

A Thousand Pieces of You was a roller coaster ride of a novel. Marguerite was extremely easy to relate to, and the atmosphere of the novel hooked me from the very first page. Marguerite's artistic spirit and the lavish imagery of the descriptions painted a vivid picture of her world in my mind. The writing flowed beautifully and never lagged, making it feel like I'd only been reading for a few minutes when hours had passed.

This novel managed to encompass a few genres, but it never once felt like it was too much of one thing. The mystery, romance, and sci-fi elements were all blended perfectly, combining to form a story that never felt like a chore to read.

And I mean, come on. Look at that cover!

Final Thoughts: I definitely recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys sci-fi, and anyone looking for a refreshing romance. It was without a doubt one of my favourites of this year so far. 

11/5/14

Mortal Heart

Author: Robin LaFevers 
Pages: 464 
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 
Format: Hardcover (ARC) 
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own. 

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn't mean she has...







Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. 

My Summary: Annith has been training for years to become an assassin for St. Mortain but has still not received her call to serve. Her friends have come and gone, leaving her all alone in the halls of the convent. 

After overhearing a conversation she is shocked to discover that all her training has been for nothing - she is to become a Seeress, destined to spend her entire life inside the walls of the convent. Refusing to give up the future she wanted for herself, Annith decides to flee the convent and sets out to complete the work of St. Mortain. 

My Thoughts: I adored the first two books in this series, so I was eagerly awaiting the release of Mortal Heart. Robin LaFevers does not disappoint - Mortal Heart was everything I'd hoped for and more. Annith was an amazing character, and the return of some old favourites had me smiling throughout. 

As per usual, the writing was beautifully done. LaFevers definitely knows how to bend words to her will. I loved the twists and turns of the plot - it kept me hooked and reading well into the night. The romance element was very well done as well and had me hoping they'd get their happily ever after. I also LOVED the way everything pulled together in the end (and I'm being purposely vague so as to avoid spoilers, but if you've read it you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about).

Final Thoughts: I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, and I recommend the series to anyone looking for a fresh, unique read with some badass female characters.

11/4/14

We Were Liars

Author: E. Lockheart 
Pages: 227 
Publisher: Delacorte Press 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)

A beautiful and distinguished family. 
A private island. 
A brilliant, damaged girl; 
A passionate, political boy. 
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive. 
A revolution. An accident. A secret. 
Lies upon lies. 
True love. 
The truth.







My Summary: Cady is the first born grandchild - the heir to the throne - in a family where money is everything and secrets lay just beneath the cracked marble surface. Every summer, Cady and her extended family congregate on a private island owned by their grandfather. Every summer, Cady spends the warm months lazing around with her cousins Mirren and Johnny, and Johnny's best friend Gat. Life is perfect in every way, because they are Sinclairs and they are beautiful and it was meant to be that way for them.

Then, in the middle of their fifteenth summer on the island, Cady hits her head hard. She wakes up in the hospital with no memory of the days leading up to the accident, or what could have led her to the beach that night. It is decided that because of her splitting migraines - a repercussion of the fall - she won't be returning to the island next summer. Maybe not ever. 

The next year - her seventeenth summer - Cady is determined to return to the place where it all began, and to figure out the truth behind her accident. Her mother and aunts seem to be hiding a lot more than their drinking and financial issues, and with nothing left to lose, Cady knows she has to get to the bottom of things. 

But what if the truth is better left unsaid? 

My Thoughts: My initial reaction after finishing this novel included a lot of colourful swearing and some staring at the ceiling trying to work it all out in my head. E. Lockheart takes you on an incredible ride with We Were Liars - I was so immersed in Cady's world that it was hard to come up for air. 

I loved the writing. I haven't read anything of E. Lockheart's since The Boyfriend List, but I'll definitely be picking up more of her novels as soon as I can. The mixture of contemporary writing and almost-prose really added to the  atmosphere of the novel. The mystery element was wonderfully done, and I loved every minute of it.

The plot was slow to develop in the best way possible, and I couldn't help but get some Shutter Island / And Then There Were None vibes. I think fans of those novels will really enjoy this standalone from E. Lockheart.

Final Thoughts: I recommend this novel to anyone looking for a great contemporary YA mystery with a twist.

The Bane Chronicles

Author: Clare, Johnson, Brennan
Pages: 528
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Format: Paperback (ARC) 
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): A collection of short stories by Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, and Sarah Rees Brennan. Includes Vampires, Scones and Edmund Herondale; The Rise and Fall of the Hotel Dumort; Saving Raphael Santiago, What To Buy The Shadowhunter Who Has Everything (And Who You’re Not Officially Dating Anyway) and more.











Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

My Summary: If you've ever wondered about Magnus Bane, then this is the book for you. Written by three of the funniest women in YA, this collection of short stories chronicles the colourful life of Magnus Bane before the Shadowhunters.

My Thoughts: I don't think I've ever laughed as hard as I did while reading this amazing collection of hilarious short stories. Since the very beginning of my obsession with Cassandra Clare's Shadowhunters, Magnus Bane has been one of my favourite characters. I was always a little frustrated about the lack of back-story we're given about Magnus, so the second I heard these stories were going to be released, I was giddy. 

If you've ever read anything by Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, or Sarah Rees Brennan, you know that every sentence any of them writes is bound to make you laugh and cry at the same time. Needless to say, I spent the entire novel in a fit of laughter. 

I'm so glad we got to see more of Magnus, and I definitely can't wait for The Dark Artifices!

Final Thoughts: I recommend this novel to fans of Cassandra Clare's The Infernal Devices trilogy and The Mortal Instruments series. 

11/3/14

Shouldn't You Be in School?

Author: Lemony Snicket 
Pages: 336 
Publisher: Egmont 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)Do you smell smoke? 

Young apprentice Lemony Snicket is investigating a case of arson but soon finds himself enveloped in the ever-increasing mystery that haunts the town of Stain'd-by-the-Sea. Who is setting the fires? What secrets are hidden in the Department of Education? Why are so many schoolchildren in danger? Is it all the work of the notorious villain Hangfire? How could you even ask that? What kind of education have you had? 


Maybe you should be in school? 




Lemony Snicket never fails to impress. Within the span of a few minutes - less than three pages in - I was hooked. I didn't put the book down until I'd finished a few hours later, and I can't wait to re-read it. 

Lemony Snicket is one of those rare authors whose writing will never stop captivating me. It's been more than ten years since I read my first Lemony Snicket novel (The Bad Beginning) and I'm happy to report that these books followed me all through grade school, high school, and now university. Readers of all ages will be pulled into Lemony's world, and they'll never look back.

I recommend this series - as well as Lemony Snicket's other series - to anyone looking for a great read. If you love books and mysteries and words in general, this is the series for you. 

10/19/14

The Beginning of Everything

Author: Robyn Schneider 
Pages: 335 
Publisher: Katherine Tegen 
Format: Paperback 
My Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life. 

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.  


But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?



My Summary: Ezra has always had the best of everything: a new car, expensive clothes. a huge house, a promising athletic career, and a beautiful girlfriend. Ezra had the rest of his life mapped out - all he had to do was nod and smile as everything fell into place.

Until a car careens through a stop sign and hits his car, leaving him crippled and hospitalized. Gone is his chance at ever playing tennis professionally, as well as everything that came with being the 'golden boy'. 

But when Ezra returns to school, he discovers that all is not lost. As he reconnects with old friends and figures out who he really is, Ezra can't help but be thankful for the chance to reclaim his life, and everything is almost perfect again.

Except that his girlfriend is hiding something - something huge. And it may have something to do with the night he lost everything. Can he discover what is it and salvage his relationship, or is his new love as doomed as his tennis career was?
  
My Thoughts: I had some mixed feelings about this one, although I did finish it and was interested most of the time. The writing was well done and kept me interested, but I couldn't help but feel like there were a few unnecessary cliches strewn throughout. 

Toby was my favourite character, although I wish he was a little more fleshed out. A lot of the secondary characters seemed very interesting and really added to the story. 

To me the ending felt a little bit abrupt, but I liked the message behind it. And the Gatsby parallels tied nicely into the story, but some felt a little forced. 

I liked the 'reconnecting with yourself' element - it was great to follow Ezra on his journey to figure out who he was without tennis and his popularity. I also really liked the hipster feel of Toby's group of friends.

Final Thoughts: I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys contemporary YA and is looking for a book with a male MC.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Author: Maggie Stiefvater 
Pages: 464 
Publisher: Scholastic 
Format: Paperback 
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs. 

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost. 

Friends can betray. Mothers can disappear. 
Visions can mislead. Certainties can unravel.



My Summary: Maura has been missing for almost a month, and all she left behind was a cryptic note. With no way to know her plans or reach her, Blue has been doing the only thing she can: soldiering on with her Raven Boys. 

But things have changed: they are no longer the easy-going gang of teens on a quest for a legendary treasure. Now, their success could mean the difference between life and death.

Secrets abound ...  but is it really a secret if the people you're keeping it from already know what you're hiding? 

My Thoughts: No spoilers here, guys, but you NEED to get your hands on a copy of Blue Lily, Lily Blue. That's all I'm sayin' - if you take one thing away from this review, let it be the knowledge that you need to read this book.

All our favourites are back in this third installment of my favourite YA series. There were more than a few scream-worthy moments, and a fair share of those high-tension scenes that we've come to love. Every chapter pulled me deeper, leaving me unable to put it down for even a moment. I'm proud to say I finished this book in a little over five hours and flipped back to the beginning to start again. 

It was, without a doubt, my favourite of the series so far.

As usual, each character managed to capture a little piece of my heart. My favourite of this installment was probably Blue, but Gansey was a close second. I loved every moment of their interactions, and I'll be eagerly awaiting the final installment for reasons. 

Final Thoughts: If you haven't already (which, come on, you probably have already) you need to get yourself to the nearest bookstore and pick up a copy of Blue Lily, Lily Blue

10/15/14

The Blood of Olympus

Author: Rick Riordan 
Pages: 502 
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Though the Greek and Roman crew members of the Argo II have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen—all of them—and they're stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens. She needs their blood—the blood of Olympus—in order to wake. 

The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance. Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it "might" be able to stop a war between the two camps. 

The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argo II will go east. The gods, still suffering from multiple personality disorder, are useless. How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea's army of powerful giants? As dangerous as it is to head to Athens, they have no other option. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over.



This has probably been said a million times by now, but if you haven't picked up this series you are really missing out. I adore Rick Riordan's work, and every novel he's written has made its way onto my favourites shelf. The Heroes of Olympus is definitely a series worth checking out.

In the interest of not spoiling the last book for anyone, all I have to say about it is this: Rick Riordan does not disappoint with this last novel. It met my expectations and then surpassed them, encompassing everything I love about this genre. Percy and his friends are just as kick-ass as ever, and I'm going to miss them so much.

Final Thoughts: If I haven't convinced you by now, I'll try one last time: check out Rick Riordan's The Heroes of Olympus series. You will not be sorry you did. 

Fan Art

Author: Sarah Tregay 
Pages: 368
Publisher: Katherine Tegen 
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Senior year is almost over, and Jamie Peterson has a big problem. Not college—that’s all set. Not prom—he’ll find a date somehow. No, it’s the worst problem of all: he’s fallen for his best friend. 

As much as Jamie tries to keep it under wraps, everyone seems to know where his affections lie, and the giggling girls in art class are determined to help Jamie get together with Mason. But Jamie isn't sure if that’s what he wants—because as much as Jamie would like to come clean to Mason, what if the truth ruins everything? What if there are no more road trips, taco dinners, or movie nights? Does he dare risk a childhood friendship for romance?



My Summary: Jamie Peterson is your average high school senior - he has a few good friends, is well-liked, and has the next few years all mapped out. 

Except for the one thing he didn't foresee: Jamie fell in love with his best friend Mason. Mason, who Jamie has known for most of his life and who is probably not even into guys. Mason, who doesn't even know that Jamie is gay because Jamie has been too scared to tell him. 

Jamie knows nothing good can come out of his crush on his best friend, but you can't control your feelings... and it almost seems as if Mason may be interested in Jamie as well. Can Jamie come out to his best friend and reveal the truth about his feelings, or will a few overly-zealous "fan girls" ruin any chance they may have - not only at a relationship, but at a friendship?

My Thoughts: This was an extremely bittersweet story about setting out for new things and figuring out how to bring the good parts of your old life along for the ride. Overall, I found it to be a great feel-good read with a lot of hope.

I really enjoyed the writing style - it was upfront and easy to follow and allowed Jamie's character to shine through.

I loved that Jamie's family was not only present, but also extremely supportive. I also really liked the way that the author wrote Jamie's inner monologue - she did a great job of embodying the crippling fear of rejection Jamie was facing, and the struggle to figure out his feelings for his best friend and how he was going to deal with them. 

I also really liked the element of social justice, and the way that Jamie stood up for his and his friends' right to be represented equally in the school literary magazine - I think it's extremely important that readers see how important it is to stand up for what you believe and what you know is right. 

Final Thoughts: I definitely recommend this novel to fans of contemporary lit and romance.

9/27/14

The Things You Kiss Goodbye

Author: Leslie Connor 
Pages: 368 
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Bettina Vasilis can hardly believe it when basketball star Brady Cullen asks her out, and she just about faints when her strict father actually approves of him.

But when school starts up again, Brady changes. What happened to the sweet boy she fell in love with? Then she meets a smoldering guy in his twenties, and this “cowboy” is everything Brady is not—gentle, caring, and interested in getting to know the real Bettina.

Bettina knows that breaking up with Brady would mean giving up her freedom—and that it would be inappropriate for anything to happen between her and Cowboy. Still, she can’t help that she longs for the scent of his auto shop whenever she’s anywhere else.

When tragedy strikes, Bettina must tell her family the truth—and kiss goodbye the things she thought she knew about herself and the men in her life.



My Summary: Bettina has grown up in a strict Greek household where her father's word is law and nothing is permitted unless he says it is. Forced to give up dance and with no friends in sight, Bettina turns to her art and Brady Cullen - a boy who seems like everything she's ever wanted and more.

But a few months into the relationship, Bettina begins to notice a change. Gone is the sweet, gentle boy she fell in love with, and in his place is an impatient and abusive boy whose idea of a joke is pulling too hard on his girlfriend's braid. Caught between breaking up with Brady and sacrificing her freedom, Bettina decides to ignore his insults, jabs, and the pain. 

She finds a safe haven: a classic car restoration shop. The owner - known only to her as Cowboy - is everything Brady isn't, and Bettina quickly realizes that love doesn't have to hurt. 

My Thoughts:I seriously did not expect this novel to as dark as it did. 

When I began reading, I figured that it would be a sweet novel about struggling against strict parents in order to become yourself. I had no idea where the story was headed, but I'm very glad that I picked it up when I did. 

Bettina was a very likable character, and extremely easy to relate to. I cringed every time she mentioned her boyfriend's abusive behaviour, and reading her thoughts on the abuse she was suffering was tough. I liked that the author didn't set Brady up as this horrible, villain-like entity, choosing instead to show him as a multi-faceted character. I felt like it really helped the reader understand the ways that people can enter into abusive relationships without knowing what's in store, and the reasons that some people might have for not leaving right when the abuse begins. Leslie Connor did a great job addressing the many forms of abuse (emotional and physical, romantic and familial). 

She also did a great job of ripping my heart out and stomping on it, but that's the price you pay when you pick up a great novel. 

The writing was engaging and easy to get into. I flew through this novel in a little over three hours, refusing to stop until I found out how Bettina's story ended. It was worth every minute.

Final Thoughts: I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys edgier contemporary literature. 

I'll Give You the Sun

Author: Jandy Nelson 
Pages: 384 
Publisher: Dial 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.



My Summary: Noah and Jude have never spent more than a few moments apart. They are every stereotype you could possibly have about twins embodied: they share thoughts, dreams, and talents. Both are budding artists at the age of 13 - Noah a painter, and Jude a sculptor. But the twins know things are changing in their lives, and their art begins to take a backseat to first loves and heartbreak. 

Fast forward two years and Noah and Jude are shadows of their former selves. Radiant Jude has hidden herself away, donning over-sized sweaters and skullcaps to erase any trace of her golden hair and her past. Noah has stopped drawing and is almost unrecognizable to even his twin. Could it just be time and their mother's untimely death changing them, or is it something else? And can they recover from the wounds they've inflicted on each other?  

My Thoughts: Oh man. I should've known that this novel would hit me where it hurt, but - I'm ashamed to admit this - I underestimated Jandy Nelson's power to kick my emotions into high gear. Having read and adored The Sky is Everywhere, I really shouldn't be surprised. 

The writing was perfect as expected, and I never expected to get so attached to two characters. Noah and Jude were so different, while simultaneously being so similar. Getting to know them was an incredible experience. Their story was moving, heartbreaking, and so full of that special kind of grief that has everything to do with regret and the future you thought you had being pulled out from right underneath your feet. The secondary characters were just as dynamic as Noah and Jude, and I can't imagine any better way to tell their story. 

Jandy Nelson is truly a master of all things written. I loved every second of this novel, and I can't wait for her next.  

Final Thoughts: I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys edgier contemporary literature and isn't afraid to cry gross ugly tears while reading.

Unmade

Author: Sarah Rees Brennan 
Pages: 400 
Publisher: Random House 
Format: Paperback 
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Kami has lost the boy she loves, is tied to a boy she does not, and faces an enemy more powerful than ever before. With Jared missing for months and presumed dead, Kami must rely on her new magical link with Ash for the strength to face the evil spreading through her town. 

Rob Lynburn is now the master of Sorry-in-the-Vale, and he demands a death. Kami will use every tool at her disposal to stop him. Together with Rusty, Angela, and Holly, she uncovers a secret that might be the key to saving the town. But with knowledge comes responsibility—and a painful choice. A choice that will risk not only Kami’s life, but also the lives of those she loves most.



It's so incredibly difficult to review the last novel in a series, because I'm always so paranoid that I'll give away huge plot twists or character fates. But I will continue on, if only to be able to tell myself that I at least tried to convince everyone reading this to get themselves to a bookstore ASAP and pick up all three books in Sarah Rees Brennan's The Lyburn Legacy trilogy. 

This series is everything I love about YA packed into three four-hundred page books. They're smart, funny, and full of my favourite kinds of angsty relationship drama. They will make you laugh and cry in equal volume, and you will gladly turn back to the beginning when you're done and start all over again. I've read the first two books three times each, and I already know my rereads of Unmade will number at least twice that many. It was that good. Sarah Rees Brennan's writing is an incredible mix of sarcasm, breathtaking description and imagery, and relationship dynamics that will keep your eyes glued to the page. 

There's not much else I can say without giving anything away, so please take my word for it and delve into this amazing series. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Final Thoughts: I recommend this trilogy to anyone who enjoys paranormal YA and is looking for something equal parts funny and heartbreaking. 

9/21/14

Anna

Author: Meghan Riley 
Pages: 374 
Publisher: Createspace 
Format: Paperback 
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): To the outside world, Anna appears to be an ordinary high school senior...

Anna has a lot of questions. Should she pursue her desire to leave home for college and live out her dream of becoming a physicist? Or should she stay home and help care for her family, which has struggled ever since her father died in Afghanistan? Is her crush, Steve, really interested in her, or is he only using the highly intelligent Anna to try and boost his grades in school? 

These questions, plus the ordinary trials and tribulations of high school, distract Anna from noticing some very... strange things that are beginning to happen to her. 

For as long as Anna can remember, she has had a haphazard smattering of freckles on her arm. But these freckles are starting to change, and cause a series of unnerving hallucinations and odd side effects that only Anna seems to notice. When a strange shadow man starts to haunt her nights, she decides to go on a hunt for the truth to discover, once and for all, what is happening to her. 

The hallucinations continue growing stronger, however, and each new visit by the shadow man appears to become more and more threatening. Eventually, Anna realizes that she can no longer hide from her friends and family what is happening to her. But as she shares her secret with those closest to her, Anna never imagines that her very life, and the lives of those she loves, will be put in jeopardy. 

Who, or what, is Anna?



Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. 

My Summary: Anna is just a normal high school student: she has a crush, she does well in school, loves astronomy, hates her brother's drama ... all in all, your average teenager.

Or is she? When the freckles on her arm start to change, her whole life is thrown into chaos. Her freckles - which seem to be in the exact shape of the constellation known as the Pleiades - appear to be changing and moving, causing hallucinations and waking nightmares.

Is it all in her head, or is Anna really receiving visits from a shadowy stranger at night? Could she be more connected to the stars than she thought?

My Thoughts: This novel was really not what I thought it was going to be (based on the synopsis) but it was incredibly enjoyable all the same. 

I really enjoyed the writing itself - Meghan Riley definitely knows her way around a sentence. The author's use of imagery was masterful, and I really liked the way the writing pulled you in from the start. 

Anna herself was an extremely likable character. She faces all the typical issues most teens face, but with the added bonus of a mystery surrounding the freckles on her arm and a dark figure that seems to be appearing to her. The mystery element was very well done, and I'm definitely gonna keep my eye out for books two and three of the trilogy. 

Final Thoughts: I recommend this novel to fans of contemporary YA who don't mind a litttle sci-fi and paranormal thrown into the mix. Check it out!