Frayed by Kara Terzis | Book Review

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Frayed by Kara Terzis.

My copy: Sourcebooks Fire (Sourcebooks), June 2016. Egalley (review copy), 304 pages.

Source: I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Sourcebooks!

Disclaimer: While I do know the author through the world of blogging, my online relationship with Kara does not in any way affect my review. This is my honest and completely unbiased opinion.

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Synopsis:

Dear Kesley,
My therapist tells me I should write you a letter. Like flushing all my thoughts and feelings out of my system and onto paper. I tell her it’s a stupid idea.
But here I am, writing a letter to a dead girl. Where do I start? Where did our story begin? From the moment you were born…or died?
I’ll start with the moment I found out the truth about you. Your lies and my pain. Because it always begins and ends with you.
And that end began when Rafe Lawrence came back to town…

Ava Hale will do anything to find her sister’s killer…although she’ll wish she hadn’t. Because the harder Ava looks, the more secrets she uncovers about Kesley, and the more she begins to think that the girl she called sister was a liar. A sneak. A stranger.

And Kesley’s murderer could be much closer than she thought…

A debut novel from Wattpad award-winner Kara Terzis, Frayed is a psychological whodunit that will keep you guessing!


SPOILER FREE PART OF THE REVIEW:

If you want to be completely surprised by this book, don’t read any reviews because so many people give away a giant twist without actually spoiling anything. (I’m looking at you Cait @ Paper Fury, and your Goodreads review!) That being said, it’s a great small-town murder mystery that I couldn’t put down. The ending is also insane. Frayed does have its flaws, however: the characters especially come off as cliche sometimes and it’s not the most original plot, but I really liked it and do recommend checking it out if you want a suspenseful thriller with a very light romance. The focus is 98% on the mystery of “who dunnit?” and for that I was so grateful.

So like, stop reading this right now and go read Frayed, because I’m going to go into mild spoilers below. Goodbyeeee!

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Dreamology by Lucy Keating | Book Review

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Dreamology by Lucy Keating.

My copy: HarperTeen (Harper Collins Publishers), April 2016. Hardcover, 322 pages.

Source: Library.

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Synopsis:

Vibrantly offbeat and utterly original, Lucy Keating’s debut novel combines the unconventional romance of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind with the sweetness and heart of Jenny Han.

For as long as Alice can remember, she has dreamed of Max. Together, they have traveled the world and fallen deliriously, hopelessly in love. Max is the boy of her dreams—and only her dreams. Because he doesn’t exist.

But when Alice walks into class on her first day at a new school, there he is. Real Max is nothing like Dream Max. He’s stubborn and complicated. And he has a whole life Alice isn’t a part of. Getting to know each other in reality isn’t as perfect as Alice always hoped.

Alarmingly, when their dreams start to bleed into their waking hours, the pair realize that they might have to put an end to a lifetime of dreaming about each other. But when you fall in love in your dreams, can reality ever be enough?


Thoughts on Dreamology:

  • First–THAT COVER. Is beautiful. So simple, but so striking and whimsical.
  • Dreamology was not the story I thought it would be, but I was still pleasantly surprised. I didn’t think Alice and Max would work together so soon; I actually wanted more angst and mystery, to be completely honest. Ha!
  • I was in a bit of a reading rut, so the first half of the book didn’t really stick with me. Then I read the last half in about two days and was considerably more impressed and actually enjoyed it. I did skim a bit, but I was feeling more invested in the story finally.
  • This was so fluffy. I wasn’t expecting so much fluffy, but I was okay with that in the end. Sometimes I need a break from all the dark high fantasy I read, right?
  • Dreams are hella fascinating, especially the science regarding them. Sadly, the book doesn’t really dive deep into the science and psychology of dreaming; it went the light and fluffy and dreamy route.
  • This book is all about dreams, and how dreams and reality became one and the same for Alice and Max. The chapters that were strictly Alice’s dreams I will admit I skimmed and skipped sometimes. If you’ve been around the blog for a while, you know very well that I just don’t like reading dreams and flashbacks in novels. So the fact that this book, which is entirely about dreaming, didn’t snag me with the actual dream sequences says a lot.
  • Um, the resolution to the dreaming was a bit too easy. And not very well explained, either. It felt very rushed and tacked-on–and mimicked the endings of so many other books. Too many.
  • In fiction, hilarious and hyper supporting characters like Oliver are absolutely wonderful; they often steal the spotlight. In real life, Oliver would be the biggest idiot around and I honestly wouldn’t want to hang out with him all the time because he would be exhausting.
  • Everyone got their happily ever after or the closure they needed in the end, EVERYONE. A bit too perfect, but cute nonetheless.

In the end, Dreamology was a light, easy read. There’s nothing particularly standout-ish about it, but I do recommend it and will remember it fondly if it ever comes up again. ♦


Have you read Dreamology?
If you haven’t, would you be interested to?
What’s a book about dreams you’ve read?
Comment below letting me know!

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Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes | Book Review

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Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes. Queen of Hearts, #1.

My copy: HarperTeen (Harper Collins Publishers), May 3rd, 2016. ARC (review copy), 306 pages.

Source: Courtesy of the freebie ARC shelf at my local bookstore.

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Synopsis:

As Princess of Wonderland Palace and the future Queen of Hearts, Dinah’s days are an endless monotony of tea, tarts, and a stream of vicious humiliations at the hands of her father, the King of Hearts. The only highlight of her days is visiting Wardley, her childhood best friend, the future Knave of Hearts — and the love of her life.

When an enchanting stranger arrives at the Palace, Dinah watches as everything she’s ever wanted threatens to crumble. As her coronation date approaches, a series of suspicious and bloody events suggests that something sinister stirs in the whimsical halls of Wonderland. It’s up to Dinah to unravel the mysteries that lurk both inside and under the Palace before she loses her own head to a clever and faceless foe.

Part epic fantasy, part twisted fairy tale, this dazzling saga will have readers shivering as Dinahs furious nature sweeps Wonderland up in the maelstrom of her wrath.

Familiar characters such as Cheshire, the White Rabbit, and the Mad Hatter make their appearance, enchanting readers with this new, dark take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.


Thoughts on Queen of Hearts:

  • Well. This was disappointing.
  • The writing felt very juvenile, and there were scenes that were obviously not juvenile in the slightest. (Um, pretending to “do it” in a coat closet? Probably not something for middle grade readers.)
  • Where was the plot. Where was it. Hellooooo, plot? Where aaaaaaare yoooooou? O_O Nothing happened until the middle-ish, then a great one thing happened (gasp! Torture! Graphic things! Aiiee!), and then it went back to nothing happening. I really expected a thicker plot — this effing Wonderland! You can literally do ANYTHING — but there wasn’t much here.
  • Speaking of it being Wonderland, I was expecting some of its famous characters to pop up. I expected lots of magic and bizarre things, but, sadly, none of that appeared. No Cheshire Cat, no White Rabbit, no Caterpillar, at least not in the colorful way you might expect. Just bratty Dinah, who I shall rant about in the next paragraph.
  • I really didn’t care for/like any of the characters. Everyone felt so bland. Dinah, though, Princess of Hearts, oh boy. She was kind of a b*tch. And not a sympathetic b*tch. There are some characters that act badly but you understand where they’re coming from, or at least their motivations somewhat justify their actions. I like these morally gray characters; they’re layered and feel real. I may or may not like them, but at least they’re not two-dimensional. Well, this does not describe Dinah. She was mean, rude, whiny, pushy, hypocritical, and rash. (She literally goes and does something insanely dangerous because of a “bad feeling.” Agh.) And then she was ALL OVER her best friend and (of course) love interest, when he was clear he wasn’t into her the same way. (Couldn’t remember his name for the life of me, so I had to go look: Wardley.) Gah. I couldn’t stand Dinah.
  • While reading Queen of Hearts, I didn’t hate it. But now that I’ve had some time to think about it and actually get my thoughts in order, I strongly disliked it. As my first Wonderland retelling (though it feels more like a prequel), this was disappointing. ♦


Have you read Queen of Hearts?
If you haven’t, would you be interested to?
What’s a Wonderland retelling you recommend?
(I know of Splintered, so gimme something else!)
Comment below letting me know!

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The Crown by Kiera Cass | Book Review

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The Crown by Kiera Cass. The Selection, #5.

My copy: HarperTeen (Harper Collins Publishers), May 2016. Hardcover, 278 pages.

Source: Library.

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Read my review of The Heir, book #4, here.

Synopsis:

When Eadlyn became the first princess of Illéa to hold her own Selection, she didn’t think she would fall in love with any of her thirty-five suitors. She spent the first few weeks of the competition counting down the days until she could send them all home. But as events at the palace force Eadlyn even further into the spotlight, she realizes that she might not be content remaining alone.

Eadlyn still isn’t sure she’ll find the fairytale ending her parents did twenty years ago. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and soon Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more impossible—and more important—than she ever imagined.


Hi, yes, I’m still alive. Sorry for the lack of action on the blog, but life’s been stressful and I haven’t been reading much lately. However, I did read The Crown, so here are some quick thoughts on it:

  • Total fluff. So illogical. Doesn’t even try to be creative. But still so addictive! I read this in one sitting, as I normally do with Kiera Cass’s books.
  • I mean, it’s pretty obvious who Eadlyn’s going to choose, right? Of the Elite who are left, I actually liked all of them, but I wish Eadlyn had actually tried to get to know them all even more. Things just flew by so fast.
  • I didn’t find Eadlyn as annoying as she was in The Heir. She still wasn’t my favorite character, but at least I wasn’t rolling my eyes every ten seconds. She’s aware of her snobby, bossy ways, and at least tries to change. Girl’s got a lot of work to do, but at least she was trying to become a better person. Eadlyn wins points here.
  • America and Maxon moments are adorable. I needed more of them because they had the only real, deep relationship going on here. The romance concerning Eadlyn was just so fast and abrupt.
  • This dystopian government is just all kinds of unrealistic. Don’t think too hard about it because you will see all the ways such a system would never work.
  • The political sub-plot was just… bad. So obvious and so obviously thrown in there. It could have been actually very interesting, but any attempt at fleshing it out was not there.
  • It sounds like I have only complaints for The Crown, but I did enjoy it. The Selection series is fun and addictive, but it’s not great by any means. Still, pretty dresses and lots of cute boys and sweet kisses wrapped up in an easy and fast-to-read story works for me. ♦


Have you read The Crown?
If you haven’t, would you be interested to?
What’s a princess series you’ve read and recommend?
Comment below letting me know!

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The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge | Book Review

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The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge.

My copy: Amulet Books, April 2016. Egalley (review copy), 384 pages.

Source: I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Amulet Books!

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Synopsis:

To earn a secret so profound, I would need to tell momentous lies, and make as many people as possible believe them…

Faith Sunderly leads a double life. To most people, she is modest and well mannered—a proper young lady who knows her place. But inside, Faith is burning with questions and curiosity. She keeps sharp watch of her surroundings and, therefore, knows secrets no one suspects her of knowing—like the real reason her family fled Kent to the close-knit island of Vane. And that her father’s death was no accident.

In pursuit of revenge and justice for the father she idolizes, Faith hunts through his possessions, where she discovers a strange tree. A tree that only bears fruit when she whispers a lie to it. The fruit, in turn, delivers a hidden truth. The tree might hold the key to her father’s murder. Or, it might lure the murderer directly to Faith herself, for lies—like fires, wild and crackling—quickly take on a life of their own.


The Lie Tree has a great premise and a great protagonist, but it just wasn’t the right book for me when I was reading it; I was still in a big reading rut. Absolutely nothing of the book’s fault — my head just wasn’t in it. I’ve seen so many other people love this book that I know I just missed a lot due to reading it because I felt like I had to. Oh, the woes of being a book blogger.

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Cure for the Common Universe by Christian McKay Heidicker | Book Review

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Cure for the Common Universe by Christian McKay Heidicker.

My copy: Simon & Schuster, June 14th, 2016. Egalley (review copy), 309 pages.

Source: I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Simon & Schuster!

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Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Jaxon is being committed to video game rehab . . .

ten minutes after he met a girl. A living, breathing girl named Serena, who not only laughed at his jokes but actually kinda sorta seemed excited when she agreed to go out with him.

Jaxon’s first date. Ever.

In rehab, he can’t blast his way through galaxies to reach her. He can’t slash through armies to kiss her sweet lips. Instead, he has just four days to earn one million points by learning real-life skills. And he’ll do whatever it takes—lie, cheat, steal, even learn how to cross-stitch—in order to make it to his date.

If all else fails, Jaxon will have to bare his soul to the other teens in treatment, confront his mother’s absence, and maybe admit that it’s more than video games that stand in the way of a real connection.

Prepare to be cured.


Cure for the Common Universe is a really unique story about a boy who gets sent to video game rehab — only the rehab itself is set up like a video game, with points, leveling up, tournaments, and side quests. The cast of characters is extremely quirky and diverse, and all the characters do really get on your nerves — but their personal stories also make you care about them.

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Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann | Book Review

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Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann.

My copy: Greenwillow Books (Harper Collins Publishers), May 2016. ARC, 225 pages.

Source: Courtesy of the freebie ARC shelf at my local bookstore!

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Synopsis:

From the author of the acclaimed Poisoned Apples comes a novel in verse about a young woman and the aftermath of a life-altering decision. This thought-provoking and sophisticated read further confirms Christine Heppermann as an important voice in the tradition of Ellen Hopkins, Laurie Halse Anderson, and A. S. King.

Addie has always known what she was running toward. In cross-country, in life, in love. Until she and her boyfriend—her sensitive, good-guy boyfriend—are careless one night and she ends up pregnant. Addie makes the difficult choice to have an abortion. And after that—even though she knows it was the right decision for her—nothing is the same anymore. She doesn’t want anyone besides her parents and her boyfriend to know what happened; she doesn’t want to run cross-country; she can’t bring herself to be excited about anything. Until she reconnects with Juliana, a former teammate who’s going through her own dark places.

Once again, Christine Heppermann writes with an unflinching honesty and a deep sensitivity about the complexities of being a teenager, being a woman. Her free-verse poems are moving, provocative, and often full of wry humor and a sharp wit. Like Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins, Christine Heppermann is a voice to turn to for the truth of difficult subjects. Ask Me How I Got Here is a literary exploration of sexuality, religion, and self-discovery.


While I haven’t read any A.S. King, I have read Ellen Hopkins and Laurie Halse Anderson. Ask Me How I Got Here does tackle serious teen issues in verse form, much like Ellen Hopkin’s writing style and Laurie Halse Anderson’s stories, but Ask Me How I Got Here lacks the depth it should have, and that I wanted it to have.

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Reading Wrap-up: May 2016 (yup, this is SUPER-DUPER late, I know)

May and June really got away from me… Almost this entire first half of the year I haven’t felt super motivated to read or blog. In the spring I read mainly graphic novels, comics, and manga. However, now that it’s summer and life has gotten a bit less stressful lately, I’m back in full swing, ready to tackle my TBR pile again and catch up on my Goodreads challenge!

In May 2016, I managed to read 10 books, though most of them were still graphic novels, comics, and manga. June isn’t over yet, but I have read one actual novel as of writing this post! (Wow. Isn’t that incredibly impressive? i.e. Not.) For now, let’s just look at what I read in May. Here are the books, organized by rating. (Also, I’m working on reviews for a lot of these books, so hopefully, if all goes according to plan, they’ll be up on the blog within the next number of weeks.)

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Legend: The Graphic Novel by Marie Lu, adapted by Leigh Dragoon, illustrated by Kaari | Mini-Review

22571758Legend: The Graphic Novel by Marie Lu, adapted by Leigh Dragoon, illustrated by Kaari. Legend: The Graphic Novel, #1.

My copy: G.P. Putnam’s Sons BFYR (Penguin Group USA), April 2015. Paperback, 160 pages.

Source: Library.

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Synopsis:

Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a military prodigy. Born into the slums of the Republic’s Lake Sector, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives are not as sinister as they often seem. One day June’s brother is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Now, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June tries desperately to avenge her brother’s death. And the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together and the lengths their country will go to in order to keep its secrets.


Legend is my favorite dystopian series ever, so I was very excited to return to the story in graphic novel format. I really liked the artwork by Kaari and it was cool seeing the story visually. It stayed true to the book from what I recall. It also moved along so quickly! Very enjoyable. Now… are they ever going to make Legend into an actual movie?!

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