Book Review – Take the Key and Lock Her Up by Ally Carter

Take the Key and Lock Her Up (Embassy Row #3)

Author: Ally Carter

Publication: December 27th, 2016

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Format: Kindle Edtion, 336 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller, Mental Health

Read: April 2017

Ally CarterGoodreads

 

Synopsis
The princess is dead. Long live the princess.
Centuries ago, the royal family of Adria was killed…or so everyone thought.
Now Grace Blakely knows the truth: There was one survivor, and that survivor’s blood runs through her veins. This simple fact could cause a revolution—which is why some people will stop at nothing to keep it from coming to light.
There is only one way for Grace to save herself, save her family, and save the boy she loves. She must outmaneuver her foes, cut through the web of lies that has surrounded her for years, and go back to the source of all her troubles, despite the risk.
If she wins, she will inherit a throne.
And if she loses, she will inherit the fate of all the dead princesses who came before her.

Critically

Plot – 3.5 out of 5 stars
Sadly, I’m still disappointed. The plot of this book is full of mystery and suspense. There’s action, it’s dramatic, full of death and violence. But it was still kind of boring. Honestly, I just think this series tries too hard to be intense and it doesn’t pull it off as well as it thinks it does. This book was not as entertaining as I wanted and the ending wasn’t that surprising.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
Part of me feels like I should complain more about the writing style considering that most of my issues with this series comes down to execution but I just can’t help flying through these books. The writing is set a medium place but it’s simple and easy to read. It’s a bit intense, kind of emotional but unfortunately, those things didn’t really translate well. It was confusing sometimes and it could get repetitive.

Characters – 3.5 out of 5 stars
This is definitely my least favorite part of this series which is so sad because I’ve really loved this author’s characters in the past. I just wasn’t feeling the main character and the side characters barely show up enough throughout the story to be considered a part of it.
Grace gets on my nerves. I tried, I swear I really tried to understand where she’s coming from but she’s just really dramatic and pessimistic to the point where reading from her point of view was draining for me. She’s reckless and angry and she gets pulled into crappy situations because she’s just not clearheaded at all. She’s depressed, worried and just totally and completely frustrating for me.
There’s not enough page time for the side characters. From the friendships, to the romance, even to the familial relationships portrayed in this book, they all just show up when they’re needed and there’s never any actual development to back up everything the dialogue is trying to say. I don’t know the side characters well at all and it’s another one of the things that made this series disappointing overall.

Emotionally

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Book Review – See How They Run by Ally Carter

See How They Run (Embassy Row #2)

Author: Ally Carter

Publication: December 22nd, 2015

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Format: Kindle Edtion, 336 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller, Mental Health

Read: February 2017

Ally CarterGoodreads

 

Synopsis
Digging up lost secrets is always dangerous.
For the past three years, Grace Blakely has been desperate to find out the truth about her mother’s murder. She thought it would bring her peace. She thought it would lead her to answers. She thought she could put the past to rest.
But the truth has only made her a target.
And the past?
The only way to put the past to rest is for Grace to kill it once and for all.
On Embassy Row, power can make you a victor or a victim; love can turn you into a fool or a fugitive; and family can lead you forward or bury you deep. Trust is a luxury. Death is a very real threat. And a girl like Grace must be very careful about which secrets she brings to light.

Critically

Plot – 3.5 out of 5 stars
This book was very similar to the first one. It had mystery, suspense, drama and violence. There’s a lot of dark themes and twists and turns throughout the whole story. I loved learning more about the history of the world in this book and I think it was more entertaining than the first book. When I first finished this, I thought I’d liked it more but thinking on it, it was pretty much the same as the first book in regards to the plot.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
I really like this author’s writing style. It’s simple and easy to read. The medium pace feels kind of weird with everything that happens and some things can get confusing enough for me to need to re-read passages sometimes. It was descriptive and detailed, but still had a lot of repetitive elements within the narrative.

Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
I’m still not the biggest fan of this cast of characters. The main character is still hard for me to connect to and while there’s more side character page time, I still don’t think they have enough interaction within the story overall.
Grace is kind of melodramatic to me. She’s an unreliable narrator and has had a lot of emotional and physical trauma before and during this series. I feel for her and all but sometimes it’s just a little bit too much. I don’t connect with her because she isolates herself from other people and the book is basically her internal paranoid monologue. I try to be conscious of her mental health and what that entails for her but it kind of took away from what I could’ve enjoyed of the story. She’s angry, confused, depressed and kind of rude to the people around her. Her character is still frustrating but getting better slowly.
Like I said above, there’s definitely much more interaction between the side characters and the main character but not enough for my liking. There’s also no character development for the side characters themselves. I feel like they’re just kind of there to help Grace out and I haven’t learned anything new about them from the first book to this one and that’s really disappointing.

Emotionally

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Book Review – All Fall Down by Ally Carter

All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1)

Author: Ally Carter

Publication: January 20th, 2015

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Format: Kindle Edtion, 325 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller, Mental Health

Read: November 2016

Ally CarterGoodreads

 

Synopsis
Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:
1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.
As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her — so there’s no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door, who is keeping his eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands.
Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can’t control Grace — no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn’t stop it, Grace isn’t the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

Critically

Plot – 3.5 out of 5 stars
The plot of this book was really mysterious and intense. It was really slow and sometimes it was kind of boring to be honest. The setting was really unique and there were lots of twists and turns throughout the story. I feel like this whole book was just set up for something bigger to come. There were a lot of positives but I just didn’t end up enjoying it as much as this author’s other books.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
It’s very simple and easy to read. This particular book has a slow to medium pace but also really intense writing style. It got kind of confusing at times since it had the tendency to get repetitive a lot. Some of the narrative felt light and kind of young for YA, but at the same time, it was really emotional too.

Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
I think this is the part that I enjoyed the least in the book. I have a lot of issues with the main character and the side characters and their development and it’s really disappointing since the characters have always been my favorite part of these author’s series.
Grace is one of the most unreliable narrators that I’ve ever come across in YA. She’s very paranoid and angry. She’s dealt with a lot of trauma and mental health issues in the last three years. She’s suffering from a lot of emotional wounds and she pushes people away because of that. She can be kind of rude and she really frustrated me because I felt like she purposely dragged her feet through what could’ve been really great and supportive relationships around her.
I was really disappointed with the side characters. There was a really big cast involved in this book but I felt like they weren’t fleshed out enough. They were only there like 10% of the time and they wasn’t enough interaction between them and the side characters. They should’ve been instrumental for Grace, but they didn’t even spend that much time together on page.

Emotionally

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ARC Review – How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

How to Make a Wish

Author: Ashley Herring Blake

Publication: May 2nd, 2017

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Format: e-ARC, 336 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance

Read: May 2017

Ashley Herring BlakeGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from HMH Books for Young Readers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Synopsis
All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn’t have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.
Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace’s mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
This is a really great coming of age story about grief and family. A few of the themes involved were friendship, sexuality, love, acceptance and letting go. I probably would’ve read it in one sitting if I’d had a physical copy of this book because while it’s super emotional and powerful, it’s so easy to get lost in.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
The writing style of this book is definitely one of its selling points. It’s powerful and emotional and intense. It’s poetic and raw. There’s a few instances of explicit content but it was so tastefully done that it flowed easily through the story. The narrative was just so honest and real, it was so great to read.

Characters – 5 out of 5 stars
The characters of this book are just so amazing. There’s nothing I love more than a character driven story and this is exactly what the kind of book that does it extremely well. All the characters are complex and complicated, they’re all dealing with so many different things and I loved seeing their individual growth.
Grace is such a strong character. She’s had to deal with so many things because of her mom that most people don’t have to that it’s made her kind of closed off. She’s tired of having to pick up the pieces after her Mom. She feels very self-conscious and vulnerable. I connected a lot with her and the responsibilities she felt she had toward her Mom.
The side characters in this series are stellar. They each have their own role within the story, but they don’t feel like they’re there just for that. Each one is complex and real. They’re relationships with each other felt so honest. I can’t stop saying the word real because I just felt like I had the privilege to sneak a peek into the lives of such amazing individuals and there’s nothing better than to find a book that gives you that.

Emotionally

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ARC Review – Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

Noteworthy

Author: Riley Redgate

Publication: May 2nd, 2017

Publisher: Amulet Books

Format: e-ARC, 336 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+

Read: April 2017

Riley RedgateGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from Abrams Kids and Amulet Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Synopsis
It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight.
Then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped … revered … all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

Critically

Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
The plot of this book was really fun and cute though it also dealt with the heavier themes of like like gender identity, friendship, family and sexuality. It’s a coming of age story with secrets and some violence. However, I wish the ending matched the beginning, meaning I wish the themes involved would’ve come full circle in a different way and that the ending didn’t feel like such a cop out I guess.

Writing Style – 3 out of 5 stars
The writing style is pretty easy to read, however, there were really long chapters which made it feel like it was dragging by. It’s detailed and descriptive and quite funny and entertaining as well. I really loved the music side of the story, even though it wasn’t really a big focal point like I expected. I was a bit disappointed with the way some of the themes were explored and was hoping they would have more page time.

Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
I’m a little sad to say that I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I was hoping to. There wasn’t anything that I particularly disliked about any of them, I have started to think that maybe this author’s writing style isn’t for me. There’s just something about it that doesn’t really allow me to get lost into the story completely like I like to.
Jordan is kind of a frustrating character but it makes sense. She’s confused and a little lost. She wants to feel like she belongs in this fancy performing arts school she’s a part of but she isn’t really finding her place within it. She’s kind of quiet and feels discouraged with her dreams. She struggles with the decision she makes and feels very guilty. She’s torn and angry. She doubts herself a lot and feels a lot of pressure. She’s dealing with all these different things going on in her life but I wish that all this coming of age and self-discovery would’ve included more honesty and  personal responsibility.
There’s a lot of side characters and they’re all such complex individuals with different stories and lives and their relationships are all so complicated and intricate. There’s a lot of diversity in this book which was so amazing to read because that’s one of the biggest positives of this story, how real they feel as a group, as people that reside in this school. I wish there would’ve been more page time for developing friendships, you see glimpses here and there but a lot of the book was just Jordan’s thoughts and feelings. I would’ve liked to have seen more page time of the friendships that developed since the story started and the ones that were already established before.

Emotionally

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Book Review – Maid of Deception by Jennifer McGowan

Maid of Deception (Maids of Honor #2)

Author: Jennifer McGowan

Publication: August 26th, 2014

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Format: Kindle Edtion, 432 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Espionage

Read: April 2017

Jennifer McGowanGoodreads

 

Synopsis
Beatrice Knowles is a Maid of Honor, one of Queen Elizabeth I’s secret protectors. Known for her uncanny ability to manipulate men’s hearts, Beatrice has proven herself to be a valuable asset in the Queen’s court—or so she thinks. It has been three weeks since the Maids thwarted a plot to overthrow the Queen, and Beatrice is preparing to wed her betrothed, Lord Cavanaugh. However, her plans come to a crashing halt as rumors of a brewing Scottish rebellion spread among the court.
Beatrice’s new assignment is to infiltrate the visiting Scottish delegation using her subtle arts in persuasion. The mission seems simple enough, until the Queen pairs Beatrice with the worst of the lot—Alasdair MacLeod. Beatrice cannot help but think that the Queen is purposefully setting her up for failure. But Alasdair could be the key to unlocking the truth about the rebellion…and her heart. Caught in a web of ever-more-twisting lies, Beatrice must rise up among the Maids of Honor and prove what she’s known all along: in a court filled with deception and danger, love may be the deadliest weapon of all.

Critically

Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
This story is full of historical court drama, mystery and espionage. The main character is the master of secrets and being able to use them to her advantage so there’s a lot of political and social action going on. However, it was a bit slow and sometimes it felt boring. It wasn’t as entertaining as the first book and that was disappointing.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
This book was really easy to read and the writing style was detailed and descriptive. It was quite simple but sometimes it felt too modern for the time period it was set in. The narrator was honestly kind of annoying. She spent a lot of time blind to things or in denial and her voice was really dry.

Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
I was a little disappointed with the characterization in this book. I was really looking forward to reading from another Maid of Honor’s point of view but I didn’t connect with her the same way. It just made the book less entertaining and lacked the charm of the first one.
Beatrice was really annoying. I don’t like saying that she was. She’s made her whole life on the fact that she can lie her ass off and lying is one of my deal breakers so I kind of knew we weren’t going to get along that well. She’s oblivious to a lot of things around here even though she’s supposed to be the most observant of them all. She’s really manipulative and has a haughty attitude so not that big of a fan.
On the other hand, I loved the side characters! I’m glad I got to have the other Maids of Honor around even though not as much as I was hoping to. And the new characters that were introduced as well as looked into more were amazing. I just felt like everyone around Beatrice outshined her and I almost wanted a different POV to be the center in this book.

Emotionally

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ARC Review – Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman

Girl Out of Water

Author: Laura Silverman

Publication: May 2nd, 2017

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Format: e-ARC, 320 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance

Read: February 2017

Laura SilvermanGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Synopsis
Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.
Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves
.

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
This book just feels like a warm hug to my heart. It was just so beautiful. It’s all about loss, friendship, family and abandonment. It’s a coming of age novel focused on what it means to accept change and learning to understand that life isn’t stagnant. I was entertaining through the whole thing specially since I was buddy reading with my best friend, Fadwa @ Word Wonders.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
The writing style in this book was really simple and easy to read. It was descriptive and detailed and emotional, there were a lot of powerful scenes within the novel. It was funny and entertaining. It was addicting with a steady paced and it made the story feel real and honest.

Characters – 4.5 out of 5 stars
The characters in this book are so amazing guys! They feel so genuine and honest and just like real people. It was so easy to get lost into their lives and to feel like I was living it through them while reading.
Anise kind of annoyed me haha. She is a very passionate and determined person. She was very kind and open. However, she’s very competitive and she kind of stubborned herself into mind sets that tended to hinder her more than help her. She’s really torn and also vulnerable in this book. My favorite part of her was the way she interacted with her family and the people she loved. She was so sweet and understanding that it made those relationships so heartwarming.
I lovedddd her love interest. I think he was incredibly charming and sweet and funny. He’s so smart and adventurous and I think he pulled out a part of Anise that she didn’t realize she had. He challenged in her healthy way. There were so many amazing side characters in this series but I don’t think the majority of them had enough page time. I would’ve loved to see more from Anise’s friends from home because they seemed like they had such great friendships but it wasn’t actually on page that much.

Emotionally

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Book Review – Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater

Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #4)

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Publication: July 1st, 2014

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Format: Hardcover, 357 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal

Read: April 2017

Maggie StiefvaterGoodreads

 

 

Synopsis
found.
Cole St. Clair has come to California for one reason: to get Isabel Culpeper back. She fled from his damaged, drained life, and damaged and drained it even more. He doesn’t just want her. He needs her.
lost.
Isabel is trying to build herself a life in Los Angeles. It’s not really working. She can play the game as well as all the other fakes…but what’s the point? What is there to win?
sinner.
Cole and Isabel share a past that never seemed to have a future. They have the power to save each other and the power to tear each other apart. The only thing for certain is that they cannot let go.

Critically

Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
The plot of this book is really slow and it’s really dramatic. It got really boring sometimes and the story felt like it stretched out too long. I liked the setting since it was a change of pace from the rest of the series but the narrative was full of angst and I’m not a big fan of that. Also, I feel like for how big the problem felt to the characters, the resolution went by too quickly.

Writing Style – 3 out of 5 stars
I’m feeling kind of meh towards the writing in this entire series. It’s descriptive and detailed which is good but it’s really slow paced. This book is told in dual point of view but both of the voices sound really similar to each other, something that’s not easy to see in the original trilogy. In general, the writing is poetic but super dramatic as well.

Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
I haven’t had the best connection with the characters in this series and now that half the original cast is gone and there’s new characters in this book that we don’t really have a lot of space to get to know, I’m even more like meh towards this cast of characters.
Cole is really intense and kind of depressed. His narration was really emotional. He’s confused about a lot of things but also determined to create the life he wants for himself. However, he’s still a bit lost and not sure how to deal with everything that’s going on around him.
Isabel is the other point of view in this book but honestly, her narrative wasn’t that much different than Cole’s. She’s very angry inside but also working hard to ignore the affects the world has on her. She’s kind of cold and stoic though all of that is just hiding her vulnerability and her emotional side. I don’t think their relationship is the most healthy honestly.
I feel like there were too many new side characters and none of them had enough page time to really get to know sufficiently. It just made the story like depth and realness.

Emotionally

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Series Review – The Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver, Linger and Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1, #2 and #3)

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Publication: August 1st 2009, July 13th 2010 and July 12th 2011

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Format: Kindle Edition 402 pages, Kindle Edition 369 pages and Kindle Edition 405 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal

Read: December 2016, January 2017 and April 2017

Maggie StiefvaterGoodreads

Shiver

Synopsis
From a dazzlingly talented young writer, a haunting and original supernatural romance in the vein of TWILIGHT.

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf–her wolf–is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human–or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

Critically

Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
This is a re-read for me so I wasn’t expecting to be surprised by anything and I was right. The plot was kind of slow, sometimes confusing and sometimes boring. It’s a good pace and easy to get through, but it had insta love. However, I really liked the kind of werewolf lore the author decided to go with, I think it’s a really interesting concept that I can’t wait to see explored more.

Writing Style – 3.5 out of 5 stars
In general, the writing is really descriptive and detailed. However, it’s really slow paced so I felt like it dragged as I was reading and made it hard to keep my interest. It’s lyrical and poetic and there’s also in my opinion some great dialogue.

Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
I don’t really know how I feel about these characters. They’re all kind of strange in their own peculiar ways and the story helps by creating a very peculiar atmosphere.
Grace is the protagonist in this book and she’s kind of stoic. She’s really independent and has had to basically raise herself since her parents tend to leave her alone a lot. She’s a little bit obsessed with the wolves outside her backyard which starts this entire adventure and she’s determined to understand everything that’s going on. I found her to be kind but also she’s kind of a stickler for stuff haha.
There’s various other side characters involved in the story, including the male love interest and while I generally enjoyed them, I feel like all the characters to have a bit more complexity. They all seem a little bit cardboard, as in that they have a singular personality and this is the kind of person that they are within the story and there’s not much room to grow beyond that.

Linger

Synopsis
The astonishing #1 New York Times bestseller. In Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

Critically

Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
Again this book is really slow. The romance is the main focus in the entire series but in the first two books specially which can be annoying for some people. There’s a lot more information of the werewolves which I really appreciate and I think it was really well thought out. This one was full of angst and it kind of got on my nerves.

Writing Style – 3.5 out of 5 stars
Again, descriptive and detailed. Super slow paced though it’s very poetic and lyrical and easy to read. This one in particular had several points of views which was okay, but they never really felt distinct between one another. The narrative dragged a bit while reading but it was really emotional so I liked that.

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
I enjoyed the characters much more in this one. Part of the reason is because it’s a second book so we get more page time with them but also because there are more points of views so I can see into the minds of those characters that I was more detached from.
Grace is still pretty stoic, I’ve accepted that it’s just her personality. She’s much more emotional in this one though. She’s defiant of her parents and the way they treat her and independent and itching to spread her wings and do something for herself. She’s a little bit reckless, a lot scared but just as kind as she was in the first book. She’s kind of winning me over.
Sam is pretty much exactly the same way I thought he was in the first book, maybe a little more sad in this one. He’s lost, vulnerable and scared with everything that’s going on in his life. He’s still very earnest and I can’t even explain what I mean by that but that’s the kind of vibe he gives.
There’s more side characters in this one as well but they’re definitely getting more development than they did in the first book. They’re a little bit too crazy and too dramatic for my taste but I understand what they’re doing within the story.

Forever

Synopsis
The thrilling conclusion to #1 bestselling Shiver trilogy from Maggie Stievater
In Maggie Stiefvater’s SHIVER, Grace and Sam found each other. In LINGER, they fought to be together. Now, in FOREVER, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.

Critically

Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
Honestly, I was hoping the plot of this book would improve over the previous two but it was very similar. There was a much bigger conflict which was interesting but then another angsty romance was added to the lineup. It got boring sometimes again and I felt like the ending was interesting but kind of sad all the same.

Writing Style – 3.5 out of 5 stars
There’s nothing much that’s different from this book to the previous one. The writing style is descriptive and detailed though slow paced. The narrative dragged a bit and kind of made it hard for me to keep engaged. However, it was still poetic and lyrical in delivery.

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
I kind of wish I could say that I ended up falling in love with these characters by the end, but that’s just not true. I like them all well enough but the whole story as well as their personalities were just too dramatic for me.
Grace changed in this book. From the end of the second book to this one, she’s quieter, much more vulnerable. She kept her defiant spirit as well as her independence. But she’s tired and that really came through.
The rest of the side characters are also much more stressed out, specially since the plot of this book is pretty intense for them. They’re all dealing with a lot of different things and it affects each of them in different ways.

Emotionally

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ARC Review – The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares

The Whole Thing Together

Author: Ann Brashares

Publication: April 25th, 2017

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Format: e-ARC, 304 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

Read: April 2017

Ann BrasharesGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from Random House Children’s and Delacorte Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Synopsis
Summer for Sasha and Ray means the sprawling old house on Long Island. Since they were children, they’ve shared almost everything—reading the same books, running down the same sandy footpaths to the beach, eating peaches from the same market, laughing around the same sun-soaked dining table. Even sleeping in the same bed, on the very same worn cotton sheets. But they’ve never met.
Sasha’s dad was once married to Ray’s mom, and together they had three daughters: Emma, the perfectionist; Mattie, the beauty; and Quinn, the favorite. But the marriage crumbled and the bitterness lingered. Now there are two new families—and neither one will give up the beach house that holds the memories, happy and sad, of summers past.
The choices we make come back to haunt us; the effect on our destinies ripples out of our control…or does it? This summer, the lives of Sasha, Ray, and their siblings intersect in ways none of them ever dreamed, in a novel about family relationships, keeping secrets, and most of all, love.

Critically

Plot – 1.5 out of 5 stars
So much disappointment guys. This book doesn’t really have a linear plot, it’s all about the drama of the family that we’re reading about, that’s it. It was slow, boring and didn’t feel like a YA book at all since two thirds of the main characters were adults. There’s girl hate, an unnecessary and kind of gross romance as well as racism and sexism. Just a mess.

Writing Style – 2 out of 5 stars
The narrative style of this book was really jarring and confusing. It’s third person omniscient with multiple point of views but no real distinction between any of the voices. It was unnecessarily flowery and it dragged. It was hard to keep every character straight and the narrative was almost impersonal, I couldn’t connect to any of the protagonists.

Characters – 2 out of 5 stars
This is the first time that I’ve ever been in a complete blank in this section when writing down my thoughts after reading. There’s no life to any of these characters and no characteristics that stands them out in my mind as complex and multidimensional individuals.
The synopsis mentions two protagonists, Ray and Sasha, but there are actually three more protagonists, their siblings: Emma, Quinn and Matty. All of them are just bland characters. They are almost cardboard cutouts and stereotypical personalities. None of them feel like real people. In fact, I can’t really say anything beyond this about them. I sat for half an hour trying to come up with specific things about their personalities that set them apart from each other but there was nothing there. It didn’t help make the book any more entertaining specially since characters are a huge part of what makes books for me.

Emotionally

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