Happy New Year!! and the Best Books of 2016

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2016 was definitely a wild ride.

If you asked my a year ago where I thought I would be now, there is no way I would have guessed it would have ended up like this. In the past year I have graduated from my old school and started a wonderful new school in Massachusetts. I started this blog, and have had a great time writing reviews, interviewing amazing authors, and meeting lots of friends in the blogiverse. I also met my goal of reading 60 books this year (just barely), most of which I enjoyed very much.

There have been some low points to the year, but luckily there were only a few, and nothing I couldn’t work past. I think what surprised me the most this year was the sheer amount of influential celebrities that passed away. Most recently Carrie Fischer passed, which really made me sad. I grew up loving Princess Leia, and always wanted my hair done in “Leia buns”. As I grew up, I learned from Carrie as a person. She was so open and honest about her struggles, and it was inspiring to see such a strong woman stand up for who she is and not take crap from anyone. When she reprised her role as Leia in the seventh Star Wars, she proved again that it is possible for a girl to be a princess and a general; they are not mutually exclusive.

As for my favorite books released in 2016, there were quite a few. However, for the sake of this list, I’m going to give my top 3.

  1. Beyond the Rising Tide by Sarah Beardjjj

This book really brought out the romantic in me. It was beautifully written and had me captivated from the first word until long after the last. The ideas behind the book were original, which is hard to do considering the sheer amounts of books written about the afterlife (believe me, I went through a phase). And like all good books, Beyond the Rising Tide had a surprising yet satisfying ending. Do I want more? YES. PLEASE. Should everyone read this? Is that even a question? YES!! Go get a copy now and don’t forget the tissues.

2. The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti 25546710

This book was suspenseful, thoughtful, easy to read, captivating, and just plain amazing. There is no getting around the fact that Chelsea Sedoti is kind of a genius. This book completely emerged me in its world, and kept me guessing at all the theory’s Hawthorne came up with about Lizzie’s death. The characters in The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett are diverse and unlike any I had encountered before, yet they seemed so perfectly in place. If you are looking for a good book to read on vacation, or on any given weekend, don’t look any further. This is your book.

3. Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh23924355

Folk-lore, small towns, hot mysterious guys, witchcraft, and secrets. What more can you possibly want from a book? Fear the Drowning Deep was a magical experience. It mixed together ancient language and beliefs with enough mystery, supernatural encounters, and hotness (looking at you Fynn) to keep me from putting the book down until I had finished the last page. Bridey was an extremely real character, bringing the book together and making it feel like real life rather than a story. Looking for a good supernatural, historical, or amazing book to read? Fear The Drowning deep is for you (read: everyone)!!

 

And there you have it! What were your favorite releases/reads of 2016? How was your year? Let me know in the comments!!

Book Review- The Last Star

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The Last Star by Rick Yancey
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers on May 24 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Pages: 338
Goodreads
Amazon

The enemy is Other. The enemy is us.

They’re down here, they’re up there, they’re nowhere. They want the Earth, they want us to have it. They came to wipe us out, they came to save us.

But beneath these riddles lies one truth: Cassie has been betrayed. So has Ringer. Zombie. Nugget. And all 7.5 billion people who used to live on our planet. Betrayed first by the Others, and now by ourselves.

In these last days, Earth’s remaining survivors will need to decide what’s more important: saving themselves…or saving what makes us human.

After two incredible first books, I feel like The Last Star fell a little short. The characters were still awesome, and I was rooting for them 100%, but by the third book the trilogy lost its steam.

A lot of the plot points in this book felt like they were taken from books 1 and 2, reimagined, and thrown back in. It just felt repetitive. When a big decision came up, the outcome was too predictable. The characters didn’t grow and change, they just did the same things over and over again. Not that their decisions didn’t make sense (because they did), but I just wish that there were some more original situations that the characters needed to adapt to rather than having the same dilemmas over and over again.

I also found the alien’s motives more than a little confusing. Looking back, I’m still not exactly sure why they came to earth and what they were trying to accomplish. It felt like the reasons didn’t fit with the plot, and it just seemed strange. Also the way the plot was revealed seemed very unrealistic.

I was hoping that at least the end of the book would have a big bang, but I was let down. The end was predictable, and felt like it was trying too hard. The book didn’t feel resolved. It felt like I was left in some strange limbo version of the book, and there should have been another hundred pages to tie up the plot.

I don’t regret reading The Last Star, especially because I enjoyed The Fifth Wave and The Infinite Sea so much. However, I do wish that it was more original. I am going to give The Last Star three out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥

 

Book Review- Three Dark Crowns

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Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Published September 20 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Adventure
Pages: 416
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Goodreads

Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.

Three Dark Crowns was everything that was promised: a dark and twisty story about three sisters who are destined to fight to the death for the crown. Although, the Queens aren’t exactly what they are supposed to be. Arsinoe and Katherine struggle with their powers while Mirabella excels, only Mirabella dreads the thought of hurting her sisters.

The world that Blake has created is very unique. The sisters live on an island that they cannot escape; held captive by the power of the goddess. There is much magic on the island and many have a gift, but on the mainland there is no magic except for “low magic” (which is pretty gruesome, as you find out when you read the book). The powers on the island come in a few different forms, such as poisoner, naturalist, and elemental. Each have their own abilities.
The story was full of twists and turns. It was impossible to guess what was going to happen next. There were a few slow bits, but for the most part I could not put the book down! The end especially threw me over the edge. The world was turned upside down and on its side and put in a salad spinner for a while and when it came out everything was different. Book ends. Boom. I’m honestly still trying to process.

I probably don’t need to say that I can’t wait for the sequel (One Dark Throne), but I’m gonna say it anyway: I CAN NOT WAIT! I am going to give Three Dark Crowns four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- The Infinite Sea

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The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey
Published by Putnam Juvenile September 16 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Pages: 320
Amazon
Goodreads

How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

The Infinite Sea was a rush. It was high action from start to finish, and I could not put it down for the life of me. There were unseeable twists and turns, as well as those moments where you wish you could yell at the charater and tell them something they don’t know, but of course it’s a book so they can’t hear you.
There are two “books” in The Infinite Sea. The first book follows Cassie, Evan, Zombie, and the recruits (minus Ringer becuase she goes off on a mission). The second book follows Ringer, which I didn’t think I’d like, but I ended up loving more than I can possibly tell you. And the ending of that section tore my heart out. I mean, just when you think there are no good people left, one comes and rips out your heartstrings.
Rick Yancey has a way of building intricate backstories into the book that is absolutly beautiful. It builds this connection between you and a character, like you have known them your whole life. They seem like real people rather than characters written in the pages of a book.
If you like sci-fi and/or dystopia, this series is definately a series you need to read. And like I said in my review of The 5th Wave, if you are someone that wants to try a dystopia series, this is a great one to start with.
I am going to give The Infinite Sea five out of five stars! I can’t wait to see what happens in The Last Star!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- The 5th Wave

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The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Published by  G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers on May 7 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dytopia
Pages: 457
Amazon
Goodreads

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother-or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

 

The 5th Wave was not your average end of the world story. Quite honestly I wasn’t sure how to feel going in. I had seen the movie (which I liked for the most part), but dystopian trilogies do get kind of *ahem* repetitive after a while. But boy oh boy was this a breath of fresh air.

First of all, I just want to thank Rick Yancey for not making romance a large subplot. THANK YOU. Was there romance? Yeah, sure there was some. But for once an author has been able to write an amazing book about teenagers trying to survive an apoctoliptic world without having all the groping and yearning and overall gaggyness (is that even a word?) that so many other books seem to have. Instead, there is the issue of trust, and the currency of promises.

Another thing that I love about this book is how relateable the characters are. They have their breakdowns and crises and somehow find a way to move past them. BUT IT ALL FEELS SO REAL. I couldn’t put the book down for fear something would happen while I was away. And honestly that is how all books should make you feel.

I would definately recommend this book to anyone who loves dystopian and/or sci-fi. And also to anyone who is looking for a good book to get them into the genres. I am going to give The 5th Wave five out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Reivew- The Great Gatsby

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The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Published by Scribner on April 10 1925
Genres: Classics, literature
Pages:
180
Goodreads
Amazon

THE GREAT GATSBY, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

The Great Gatsby was a wild ride. It was full of lies and deception from every character, yet there was something about the story that was sincere and beautiful. Fitzgerald manipulates the English language like no other, and I found myself peeling back layer after layer of meaning.

The characters were so lifelike it felt as if they were not characters at all, but real people that lived spectacular lives. But somehow at the same time they too outrageous to believe. There is too much dimension to comprehend with one sitting.

The Great Gatsby is definitely not the kind of book you can curl up with on a rainy afternoon and read. It is the kind of book that you read chapter by chapter, pausing after each one and trying to wrap your brain around what just happened. It’s the kind of book you want to read with a friend or group of people, just because there is no way one person can uncover the hidden messages in the pages by themselves.

I think everyone should read The Great Gatsby at some point in their lives, just because it is something that makes you ponder the true nature of society. I am going to give The Great Gatsby four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥