Book Review- Dreamology

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Dreamology by Lucy Keating
Published by HarperTeen on April 12, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fantasy
Pages: 336
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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?

This book made me SO MAD. It was infuriating to the point where it became an almost hate-read. Honestly I don’t even know where to start with this one. UGH.

Okay, firstly, the characters were awful. Alice was SUCH an idiot. I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and shake her and tell her to stop being so stupid. I mean honestly, how is it possible to have that little common sense? My gosh.

And Max. UGHHHHHH. He was so annoying. I honestly hated him as a character. I hated his relationship with Alice. I hated everything about him. Actually, I really didn’t like any of the characters. They all were so unrealistic and annoying and infuriating.

Phew. Okay. So secondly, can we just talk about how UNREALISTIC the whole situation with the dream-doctor guy is? I don’t know if this counts as spoilers or not (it probably does, so if you haven’t read this and don’t want to know some of the goings-on in the middle of the book, you might want to skip ahead), but seriously the whole dream/experimenting thing is illegal in like 10 different ways. Both Max and Alice are under 18, but still the doctor guy is like “oh yeah just come in and don’t tell your parents and we’ll experiment on you guys.” WHAT THE HELL. THIS IS SO STUPID. AND THEN NOTHING EVEN HAPPENS TO THE DOCTOR BECAUSE OF IT? HE SHOULD BE IN PRISON AND UNLICENCED. And then, not only does nothing happen because of that, but he gets in trouble for PARROT TRADE?!?!?!?!? WTF. UGHGHGHGHHGHGGHHGHGGH

Thirdly, I HATE THE RELATIONSHIPS IN THIS BOOK. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. OF THEM.
Honestly I am just so mad at this book. And the whole reason for Max and Alice being in each other’s dreams was idiotic. What an anti-climax.

I just had so many problems with this book. So. Many. Problems.

I can’t even. Ugh.

I am going to give Dreamology one out of five hearts.

Book Review- Hunting Prince Dracula

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Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco
Expected publication by Little, Brown on September 19th, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Horror, Romance
Pages: 448
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Amazon

Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine…and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.

But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.

Stalking Jack the Ripper was one of my favorite books, so when I was able to get my hands on a copy of Hunting Prince Dracula (through a trade) I was over the moon!

Hunting Prince Dracula was every bit as dark, spooky, haunting, and swoon worthy as promised. Audrey Rose and Thomas travel to Romaina, only to find there is a murderer on the loose, and the dead bodies are drained of blood.

I loved this book, but not quite as much as I liked the first one. There were some things throughout the book that put me a little off (nothing major or worth mentioning, but still, every once in a while I would pause and go like “what? why would you put that in there? That does absolutely nothing for the plot/characters/novel at all”). But I was able to get past that pretty easily, and it didn’t really bother me that much.

As in Stalking Jack the Ripper, I picked out the killer the first time they were introduced. Literally the second that character met Audrey Rose I said to myself “and there’s the killer.” I only doubted that thought once in the book (which was some pretty good plotting on Maniscalco’s part), but in the end I turned out to be right.

I would definitely recommend this series to anyone who likes spooky, thrilling, mysterious, or gothic/dark books. These are amazing!! I honestly can not wait for the next book to come out (and this one to come out so more people can read it!), and I’m going to spend every second from now until the title is announced trying to guess just what legend Wadsworth and Cresswell are going to be chasing next.

ALSO THE SWOONS GUYS. SO MANY SWOONS I DIED.

I am going to give Hunting Prince Dracula four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- P.S. I Like You

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P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Published by Point on July 26th, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 330
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While spacing out in chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters—sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only, who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…

This book was straight up adorable.

I’m usually not one for contemporary novels (so I keep saying…) but when I read the synopsis for this one, I couldn’t resist. It just sounded so cute. And it was…

I was really worried when I first started reading this book. The story wasn’t new or surprising or original. I knew who Lily’s “secret” pen pal was within the first five pages, and pretty much guessed the entirety of the plot. So yeah, I was scared that this book was going to be one cliché fluff piece that would leave me even more reluctant to pick up contemporary novels than I already am.

But honestly this book surprised me, even if I was right about what happened. Everything was just adorable. I fell in love with Lily and Cade. They just seem honest and real, and the character development is SO GOOD.

While this may not be my favorite book in the world, how much I enjoyed it was definitely a surprise to me, and I really want to read some more books from Kasie West (and hopefully find one with a bit more of an original and less predictable plot).

I would recommend this to anyone who loves YA contemporaries, and anyone who is not-so-big on them, but is looking for a good place to start.

I am going to give P.S. I Like You four out of five hearts!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- A Week of Mondays

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A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux on August 2nd, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 464
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Sixteen-year-old Ellison Sparks is having a serious case of the Mondays. She gets a ticket for running a red light, she manages to take the world’s worst school picture, she bombs softball try-outs and her class election speech (note to self: never trust a cheerleader when she swears there are no nuts in her bake-sale banana bread), and to top it all off, Tristan, her gorgeous rocker boyfriend suddenly dumps her. For no good reason!

As far as Mondays go, it doesn’t get much worse than this. And Ellie is positive that if she could just do it all over again, she would get it right. So when she wakes up the next morning to find she’s reliving the exact same day, she knows what she has to do: stop her boyfriend from breaking up with her. But it seems no matter how many do-overs she gets or how hard Ellie tries to repair her relationship, Tristan always seems bent set on ending it. Will Ellie ever figure out how to fix this broken day? Or will she be stuck in this nightmare of a Monday forever?

I’m honestly a little confused about my feelings for this book. On one hand, it was a cute YA romance (or at least trying to be). On the other it was confusing. And on the other (can we pretend I have three hands for a minute?) it was just another cliché trying-too-hard contemporary YA romance.

Okay so what really confused me about this book is how Ellie is reliving Monday? I get that she made a wish in her head as she was going to sleep… but how that wish got granted was never really explained, and it was just CONFUSING. I don’t get it. Hear me out: if you don’t know what caused the repeating day, then you don’t know what stops it. So who/what decided when she fixed everything? Like I said: confusing.

I also had a problem with Ellie. She was SUCH AND INFURIATING CHARACTER. She did go through some good development in the last two Mondays, but for the majority of the novel she was whiny and full of self-pity and always like “why is my life so terrible/why does nothing ever go my way?” Also, she was entirely self-absorbed except when it came to her rock-star boyfriend. Like I get that her character was made this way because it was essential to the novel’s plot yada yada, but the way it was pulled off just got under my skin a little. Not too much… but just enough.

The plot/ending of this novel was pretty easy to guess. I don’t really mind that, but I was kind of hoping that there would be a curve ball thrown in there somewhere. Oh well.
I also wish that the side characters, like Ellie’s little sister and parents, were given a bit more character development. They felt a bit flat. Also her boyfriend felt kind of flat, except for one scene near the end… but that was like 3 pages (barely) out of a 400+ page novel where he is one of the most talked about topics (okay, THE MOST talked about topic).

Anyway… would I recommend this book? Ehh, it’s not at the top of my list. Although if someone were looking for a YA contemporary romance version of Groundhog day, then yeah sure. This book is for you. Knock yourself out!

I am going to give A Week of Mondays two out of five hearts.

♥ ♥

Book Review- A Midsummer’s Nightmare

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A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody Keplinger
Published by Poppy on June 5th, 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 291
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Whitley Johnson’s dream summer with her divorcé dad has turned into a nightmare. She’s just met his new fiancée and her kids. The fiancée’s son? Whitley’s one-night stand from graduation night. Just freakin’ great.

Worse, she totally doesn’t fit in with her dad’s perfect new country-club family. So Whitley acts out. She parties. Hard. So hard she doesn’t even notice the good things right under her nose: a sweet little future stepsister who is just about the only person she’s ever liked, a best friend (even though Whitley swears she doesn’t “do” friends), and a smoking-hot guy who isn’t her stepbrother…at least, not yet. It will take all three of them to help Whitley get through her anger and begin to put the pieces of her family together.

This book was amazing. Seriously. Kody Keplinger surprises me again and again, every time I pick up another one of her books.

A Midsummer’s Nightmare, like many of Keplinger’s books, is set in Hamilton. I have mixed feelings about authors using the same set over and over again, but I actually like it in this case, and I loved being able to see some of the characters from The Duff have a part in this book.

Whitley was an amazing MC. Yeah, she had her slew of issues: from drinking too much to not seeing things from other people’s point of view to overreacting. But at the same time, these character flaws were addressed in the book, and gave way to some top-notch character development. I seriously love the journey that Whitley goes through in this book. It is powerful and heartbreaking. I cried on multiple occasions.

Nathan, Whitley’s hook-up/father’s-fiancé’s-son, is adorable. I love him. He is sweet and caring and, well, perfect for Whitley. I really love all of the main characters in this book. Harrison is an awesome best friend, and Bailey is a sweet and naïve and adorable preteen/soon-to-be-half-sister.

Whitley’s parents have a lot of issues. I don’t want to talk to much about them, because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I think the way they are handled in this book are really powerful and moving. The fiancé, on the other hand, is kind of amazing and I love her (and I forgot her name… wowwww).

A Midsummer’s Nightmare is one of those magical books that are pushed forward by both the plot and the characters… and both are really good. I seriously can’t tell you how hard that is to find. Just everything about this book makes me want to read it again and again (oh if only I had the time!!).

I would 100% recommend this to YA contemp lovers, and people (like me) who tend to stay away from YA contemporary romance. This is one of the great ones guys. Also, if you have every read anything by Jenn Bennett, the writing styles are similar. So, if you love Bennett, you will love Keplinger.

I am going to give A Midsummer’s Nightmare five out of five hearts!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 

Book Review- Caraval

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Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Published by Flatiron Books on January 31st, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 407
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Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Caraval was SUPPPPER hyped up. Like I saw (see?) it EVERYWHERE. No one can get enough of it. So of course, when I saw it at the library, I was like “well, checking it out won’t hurt.” And yeah, it didn’t hurt. It just didn’t bring me the amazing story that I thought I would find.

I had a number of issues with this book. Firstly was Scarlet. She just annoyed me to no end. She was whiny and acted like everything she did was Such. A. Big. Deal…. Like girl, get over yourself. I’m sorry. Also, I get that she loves her sister. Like believe me, I get it. But she just went on and on and on about it. Every other sentence was like “Oh my dear Donatella, oh how I love her so, but here are all the issues I have with her…. but still she is so dear to me.” HONEY, WE GOT IT THE FIRST TIME. Just chill.

Donatella, on the other hand, is probably the most selfish person out there. She loves Scarlet, and wants to save her from marrying this Count that she hasn’t met yet, but still, there are better ways to go about it, even with a father as terrible as theirs. I really just couldn’t get on board with Scarlet or Donatella or their relationship or anything about them really.

Julian, on the other hand, was maybe the only character I really liked. He was witty and fun and pushed Scarlet to be almost-bearable. I really liked the character development that he went through, and that he did what he thought was right, even if it could get him in trouble.

As for the whole Caraval aspect of the book (cause, ya know, that IS what the book is about), it really just didn’t appeal to me. Yeah, I liked the whole “It’s a game” thing. I thought that was awesome. But everything else was kind of weird. The whole magical aspect of the game was a little hard to get a grasp on. Basically magic isn’t real, but some of it is? I’m still not really sure. The whole thing was just kind of confusing.

I was really hoping for an amazing ending to this book. Something that would tie everything together and make sense of all the confusion. But I didn’t exactly get that. I just got more confused. And then irritated by the Scarlet and Donatella relationship.
The Epilogue was honestly the best part of this book. It threw a new twist on the whole book and honestly saved the whole thing. Will I read the second book? Probably, but only because of the epilogue.

Okay, so I know it seems like I hated this book. I didn’t. It was entertaining, and I don’t regret reading it. I just happened to have quite a few problems with the book. But really guys, it wasn’t terrible.

I would recommend this book to people who love fantasy and adventure. It wouldn’t be my top rec, but hopefully (obviously) other people enjoy this book a whole lot more than I did. Maybe this book was just too over-hyped, and my expectations ruined the story. Maybe Caraval just isn’t for me.

I am going to give Caraval three out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- #famous

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#famous by Jilly Gagnon
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on February 14, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 384
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In this modern-day love story, Girl likes Boy, Girl takes photo of Boy and posts it online, Boy becomes accidentally insta-famous. And what starts out as an innocent joke spirals into a whirlwind adventure that could change both their lives—and their hearts—forever. But are fame and love worth the price?

This book really didn’t do much for me. Yeah, it was cute and I wanted Rachel and Kyle to get together, but at the same time I really didn’t care that much. I was like “oh, okay this is happening. Wonderful. Have a good life.”

Honestly the whole time I was reading this book I was thinking “Alex from Target” (remember him?). The story didn’t feel all that original, the characters were kind of flat, and it felt like there was a lot of drama thrown in just to fill space. Half of the stuff that happened was just unnecessary and didn’t add anything to the story.

A lot of stuff in this book also just felt forced. I didn’t really love any of the characters. They were boring. The story was predictable. Everything was just kind of “eh.”

If you follow my reviews, you probably know that I am not the biggest contemporary fan. I decided to pick up this book because the premise sounded cute, and because I’ve been having some luck with the last few contemps I read. But sadly this one just did not do it for me.

If you are into YA contemporary romance, maybe this book is for you. Maybe you’ll have more fun with it than I did. The story was definitely cute, and there was nothing “wrong” with it… it just really wasn’t for me.

I am going to give #famous two out of five hearts.

♥ ♥