I received this book for free from Publisher, Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

REVIEW: scythe, by neal shustermanScythe by Neal Shusterman
Series: Arc of a Scythe #1
Published by Simon & Schuster, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Simon and Schuster on November 22nd, 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Death & Dying, Dystopian, Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 448
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher, Simon and Schuster
Amazon // The Book Depository
Goodreads

Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

THIS BOOK IS PHENOMENAL.

when i received this title in the mail – having known nothing about the story or read anything by the author – i wasn’t sure if i’d like it. i sworn off dystopian novels after reading one too many but this one sounded so interesting. so i decided to read the first page and i knew, right off the bat, i would love this novel.

i love everything about this book – the writing, the plot, the characters, everything. my love for this book came in quiet waves. i started off being really intrigued, but that soon became something more. the plot began to build (love all the twists and turns it all has – nothing i was expecting!) and soon enough i was flipping through pages and rooting for characters and screaming at situations. i also love how there was a romance in the story, but it was very slow-burn and wasn’t the main point of the storyline. it was so small that i almost thought there was no romance at all! but the chemistry builds and it becomes more obvious as the story progresses.

the main reason why i love this novel is due to its recurring themes. i find it hard to see meaning/a purpose in some dystopian novels aside from an entertaining story, but SCYTHE was different. when you’re forced to kill people as your job (or you’re learning to kill people), your humanity becomes questionable. when you live in a world where there is no pain and your life is immortal, you see how detached we can become. nothing is at risk. is that really a perfect world? it made me really think about what it means to be alive and what it means to be human. it made me question the meaning of life and death.

the one thing i will say is it was a bit hard to reaaaaaaally connect with characters at first because the book is written in an omniscient POV. the story would jump around from person to person, making it easy for me to stop reading and do something in my daily life. also because of this, i didn’t feel the need to continuously read. BUT, this is my first time reading a book with this type of writing and it didn’t bother me too much. the writing itself was beautiful and i often found myself wanting to annotate.

all in all, this book is amazing. i wasn’t expecting much from it and now it’s one of my favorite reads of 2016. not only is the story well thought out, but i also gained a lot of perspective on what it means to be alive. and that, i think, is something really special.

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Cover
Overall: 4.6

thanks for the trouble review

I received this book for free from Publisher, Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

REVIEW: thanks for the trouble, by tommy wallachThanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallach
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on February 23rd 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Death & Dying, Depression & Mental Illness, Fiction, Friendship, General, Love & Romance, Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher, Simon and Schuster
Amazon // The Book Depository
Goodreads

“I’ve got some questions for you. Was this story written about me?”

I shrugged.

“Yes or no?”

I shrugged again, finally earning a little scowl, which somehow made the girl even more pretty. It brought a bloom to her pale cheeks and made sharp shelves of her cheekbones.

“It’s very rude not to answer simple questions,” she said.

I gestured for my journal, but she still wouldn’t give it to me. So I took out my pen and wrote I can’t on my palm.

Then, in tiny letters below it, I finished the thought: Now don’t you feel like a jerk?

Parker Santé hasn’t spoken a word in five years. While his classmates plan for bright futures, he skips school to hang out in hotels, killing time by watching the guests. But when he meets a silver-haired girl named Zelda Toth, a girl who claims to be quite a bit older than she looks, he’ll discover there just might be a few things left worth living for.

thanks for the trouble

THANKS FOR THE TROUBLE is light-heartedly intellectual.

i began THANKS FOR THE TROUBLE knowing little to nothing about the plot, nor did i read any other reviews. all i knew was that it had a nice cover, was fairly short, and was recently released. i think it’s better to go into this book knowing nothing, aside from the facts that 1) this book talks about people with disabilities, 2) and suicide/depression, and 3) it’s a strange contemporary-fantasy hybrid thing. BUT, that’s not reaaaaaally what the story is about; those are just triggers you should be aware of. this book talks about those things fairly lightly and i didn’t feel suffocated or weighed down by these topics.

the storyline wasn’t the main aspect of the novel; the whole book felt a bit like a series of blog post recaps, following the main character’s journey. however, this isn’t your normal character-driven book. it felt like i was living and breathing and experiencing everything through parker, our narrator. it’s also a little weird since parker isn’t always the narrator. there were chapters that were simply short stories, entirely unrelated to our main plot (but still somehow related). these were written in third-person POV but it still felt like parker was reading/telling to story to me. there’d also be chapters written in second-person POV and it still felt as if i were parker/with parker. (everything else was written in first-person.) in this way, i had a very strong connection to the narrator; he was part of the pages and i was following along with him, and in that sense, i was a part of him.

“Where there is no fear, there is no bravery.” (245)

the voice in the writing style is very prominent. do you ever read a book and know right from the first chapter that you’ll love the book? that’s how TFTT was for me because the writing speaks off the pages. this is probably why i connected with parker so well; it actually felt like he was talking to me. but the style was really unique because there were paragraphs that were so chill and there were paragraphs that were so thought provoking and metaphorical. it was enjoyable and relaxing to read, but it also made me THINK. i want to reread it, overanalyze these paragraphs and pages, fill the margins with notes, and THINK.

“Staying the same is a kind of death.” (186)

THANKS FOR THE TROUBLE is very special. i don’t think there will ever be a book out there even remotely similar to the plot or characters or writing or anything. yes, there will probably be parallels (magical girl comes in and sweeps boy off his feet), but that’s kinda where the similarities will end because this book is VERY STRANGE. but because of that, i liked it! the pacing was good; the characters were quirky; the themes were strong; the ending and overall impression left me feeling complete. i love this novel, and positive reviews always frustrate me because that’s all i can say. I REALLY LIKE THIS BOOK. it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s certainly what i need.

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Cover
Overall: 4.5

review - lady midnight

I received this book for free from Publisher, Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

REVIEW + DISCUSSION: lady midnight, by cassandra clareLady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
Series: The Dark Artifices #1
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on March 8th 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Family, Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Fiction, Friendship, Love & Romance, Romance, Siblings, Young Adult
Pages: 720
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher, Simon and Schuster
Amazon // The Book Depository
Goodreads

The Shadowhunters of Los Angeles star in the first novel in Cassandra Clare’s newest series, The Dark Artifices, a sequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series. Lady Midnight is a Shadowhunters novel.

It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.

Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…

Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?

Glitz, glamours, and Shadowhunters abound in this heartrending opening to Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series.

note: all quotations are taken from the uncorrected proof and may differ from the finished copy. they’re subject to change.

saying LADY MIDNGHT is an emotional rollercoaster ride is an understatement.

i’m shell-shocked by cassandra clare’s improvement in writing, world building, character development, EVERYTHING. especially since i just finished rereading her first two novels, it’s so obviously clear as to how much she’s grown as an author. she keeps getting better and better. her ability to create more depth in the shadow world never fazes to amaze me. i personally don’t find the writing to be very special, but THE WORLD is so incredible. we see characters we know from TMI and TID (which made me SO GIDDY) and now THEY’RE the side characters. more secrets about their government unravel, more family relationships explained, and MORE ANGST. it’s also nice because it’s written in a way that doesn’t require you to read the companion series.

“Everyone is more than one thing… We are more than single actions we undertake, whether they be good or evil.” (pg. 565, ARC)

my favorite part of LADY MIDNIGHT is not the intricately thought out plot – which is very intricate and very well thoughout out – but the depth of our cast. i remember reading THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS and finding everyone a bit flat or “too perfect.” clary and jace (from TMI) were both born to be legends and, to me, they were cutouts of The Chosen One. our main characters in LM, emma and julian, aren’t naturally “special” but work to where they’re at. i could easily connect with them because they’re just regular people shadowhunters, who are trying to make the most out of what’s thrown at them. and it’s not only our two leads who i adore; EVERYONE is incredibly fleshed out and unique. clare made it so easy for me to connect with all of them, which led me to feel ALL THE FEELZ. i also love how there are many diverse characters and aspects, but they weren’t the main focus; it’s there and it’s important but it’s not flung in your face.

the plot has such a nice balance between action, romance, suspense, and magic. although the book is the size of a monster, there weren’t many parts that felt dragged or unnecessary (a few, but not many). one of the conflicts the story follows is family centered, which i LOVE because i feel like there’s more to YA than romance and monsters; LADY MIDNIGHT has all three! *sly grin* but yes, this book has a perfect mix of everything.

“The choices we make, make us.” (pg. 608, ARC)

if you couldn’t tell from my paragraphs of gushing, I LOVE THIS NOVEL. i usually try to be very picky and critical with my books, but i honestly couldn’t find anything i truly disliked. it made me fall in love with the world and characters and everything about everything. (it also made me feel like i was being stabbed in the heart a few million times, but i suppose i’m a bit masochistic.)

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Cover
Overall: 4.8

spoiler-filled discussion beginning. PLEASE do not continue reading unless you want to be severely spoiled. and let me tell you, YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED. GO READ THIS BOOK!


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review-since you've been gone

REVIEW: since you’ve been gone, by morgan matsonSince You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Published by Simon and Schuster on May 6th 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Social Issues, Friendship, Love & Romance
Pages: 449
Source: Purchased
Amazon // The Book Depository
Goodreads

It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?Kiss a stranger? Um... Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane's list. Who knows what she’ll find?Go skinny-dipping? Wait...what?

in a well-ordered universe, everyone would read this book.

since you've been gone acai

where do i begin to explain the gloriousness of morgan matson’s masterpiece? somewhere between the interesting plot, quirky characters, and beautiful relationships, i transported to, wherever emily was – somewhere four hours away from south carolina – and began experiencing things through emily’s eyes. i heard too many amazing things before beginning this novel and my expectations were surely met. it had a bit of a slow start, but after twenty or so pages, i was completely hooked; i couldn’t put the book down; i couldn’t stop thinking about it.

“Nothing worth doing is easy.” (pg. 159)

the characters and relationships in this novel were fantabulous. emily and frank’s interactions were natural from the start. it was as if these two were bound together by fate. emily was so awkward at the beginning; frank was distant and polite. watching these two grow together was beautiful. emily and sloane’s relationship was also lovely to witness. i didn’t expect that to be the case since i knew sloane was gone for the entire novel. however, there are flashbacks to sloane and emily together and i love their friendship. <33

“I don’t think you have to do something so big to be brave. And it’s the little things that are harder anyway.” (pg. 323)

i love how there was a soundtrack to this book. emily and frank often went running together and we would actually see their playlists! the small thing made a huge difference and really improved the ambiance of the novel. i’d be singing along and jamming out to their songs and it made me embarrassingly happy.

The Best of Since You've Been Gone from Love Without Measure on 8tracks Radio.

this was one of those strange novels that are simultaneously light and inspirational/deep. i don’t think this novel changed me as a person, but it did affect my perspective on some things. overall, i really enjoyed this book and all of the wonders it shared. i loved going on the adventures with emily and i can’t wait to read more of morgan matson’s novels!

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Cover
Overall: 4.7

– alexandra
PSIStillLoveYoubyJennyHan

reivew - psisly

REVIEW + DISCUSSION: p.s. i still love you, by jenny hanP.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
Series: To All the Boys I've Loved Before #2
Published by Simon and Schuster on May 26th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Dating & Sex, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Amazon // The Book Depository
Goodreads

Given the way love turned her heart in the New York Times bestselling To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, which SLJ called a “lovely, lighthearted romance,” it’s no surprise that Lara Jean still has letters to write.Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter. She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever. When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once? In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of makes it so amazing.

ps i still love you

i enjoyed this book more than the first, but i was still hoping for more.

if you haven’t read to all the boys i’ve loved before, please go check out that review first! this will have spoilers to the first novel!!

ugh, i wanted to love this book – i really did! but i felt it was missing that extra umph. i can’t exactly pinpoint what it was, but there were so many scenes that felt a little unfinished. in terms of writing, the pages and paragraphs usually didn’t go into detail about what was really going on. we’d follow lara jean’s trail of thoughts, but it also felt like she cut out some stuff. i’m fairly sure it was the same in the first novel, but i didn’t notice it. because everything wasn’t as descriptive, time moved very quickly. an entire day’s activities can be over within one or two pages. it bothered me a bit how the story didn’t feel very connected, and it was more like, “this happened, then that happened, then this happened, then the end.”

“Dear Peter, I miss you.”

– page 1, first sentence

a lot of people (including myself) were complaining about how lara jean acted immature for her age in the first novel, and i’m glad to say she got better. slightly better. she’s acted thirteen instead of seven, which is a huge improvement. actually, i grew to like and enjoy her childish personality. she becomes a bit more snarky and sarcastic, which adds some humor to the novel. (YAY!) although lara jean is naïve, she’s very much lara jean. i used to think she was easily influenced and changed by others, but no, she’s very much herself. in the first book, i feel like we only got a taste of how some characters were and now we truly know them.

the first half of the novel was really slow. it felt more like an extended epilogue than the start of a whole new book. if we added the first ten chapters to the end of to all the boy i’ve loved before, we could’ve finished it. but, of course, we needed a new cover, more drama, and some other stuff to make things a little more interesting.

“I suppose you can’t hold on to old things just for the sake of holding on.”

– pg. 29

what i really and truly love about this book was the amount of diversity shining through. we get to explore more into lara jean’s korean culture and family traditions, which is beautiful and rare to see in books. there’s also a minor gay character, as well as a feminist. thank you, jenny han, for adding in these tiny details that make the world of a difference!

based on the summary, i knew there was going to be a love triangle. *sigh* i really don’t like love triangles. AT ALL. this wasn’t the worst i’ve seen (echm the selection), but it wasn’t the best either. i think it’s mostly because the love triangle was almost non-existent. it was there, but it was subtle, and i didn’t think it was all THAT important. the summary made it seem like it was the sole purpose of the novel; it wasn’t. (YAY)

overall, i enjoyed the novel but i wasn’t emotionally attached to anyone or anything. the romance wasn’t particularly cute, and i felt like there were some parts that were really exaggerated. i don’t see myself rereading the whole thing, but maybe some of my favorite parts. if you really enjoyed the previous novel, i think it’s worth picking this one up. however, if you thought it was “meh” then i wouldn’t highly recommend putting this at the top of your tbr. it was certainly better, but still didn’t live up to my expectations.

UPDATE: so i went on the tumblr tag and realized my undying obsession with this duology (specifically triggered by this post and this post. SQUEEEE.). although the plot was a little meh, and the writing was a little meh, EVERYTHING ELSE WAS SO CUTE AND GOOD. i hadn’t really realized how much i love this series until i saw all the beautiful graphics and everything. so good, and so adorable. lara jean song is my aesthetic. <3333 CONCLUSION: i have a love-hate relationship with this series.

shrugs - doctor who

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Cover
Overall: 3.7

spoiler-filled discussion beginning! please do not read it unless you’ve finished the book!!


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