Book Review: Lost Lake

Lost LakeImage
Sarah Addison Allen
Fiction, Contemporary
Published: January 21st, 2014
5/5

 

                Suley, Georgia, is home to Lost Lake Cottages and not much else. Which is why it’s the perfect place for newly widowed Kate and her eccentric eight-year-old daughter Devin to heal. Kate spent one memorable childhood summer at Lost Lake, had her first almost-kiss at Lost Lake, and met a boy named Wes at Lost Lake. It was a place for dreaming.
                Kate doesn’t believe in dreams anymore, her Aunt Eby, Lost Lake’s owner, wants to sell the place and move on. Lost Lake’s magic is gone.
                As Kate discovers that time has a way of standing still at Lost Lake can she bring the cottages – and her heart – back to life? Because sometimes the things you love have a funny way of turning up again and sometimes you never even knew they were lost… until they are found.
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                I feel like I had to wait a million years to read “Lost Lake”, I had pre-ordered it but had also pre-ordered another book at the same time and they made me wait until they released the second book before they’d send me Lost Lake, which was unfair, considering they sent them separately. Not understanding why it had to be that way, but “Lost Lake” was definitely worth the wait at either rate.
                “Lost Lake” is the first book that Sarah Addison Allen had released since her diagnosis of Breast cancer in 2011, I’m happy to report that she has since beaten cancer and is currently in remission, which means that she’s (I’m assuming) happily writing again. When I heard that she was releasing a new novel I was over the moon excited and “Lost Lake” was well worth the wait.
                Sarah Addison Allen writes contemporary novels infused with magic, good food and strong family ties. “Lost Lake” has all of her staple elements and she pulls it off brilliantly. I loved hearing about the wet, humid, hot summer of Suley Georgia. I was able to imagine the whole setting without a hitch, the old dusty, faded cabins, Aunt Eby, the lakes mysteriously imaginary alligator, the hanging lanterns and I was able to even smell the delicious meals that were cooked by Lisette; a troubled young woman that Eby and her husband had met on their honeymoon in Paris.
                This book was over abundant in delightful, eccentric characters. I wish they all had their own books just so I could learn more about them. Never have I read a book with so many fulfilling, engaging, and fantastic side characters. I was enthralled with all their stories, all their backgrounds and the glimpses we were given into each of their lives.
                I loved how everyone came together in the end, and that even characters that didn’t seem like they were invested as much as others helped pull everything together and create a fantastic ending, to a fantastic novel.
                There is just something about Sarah Addison Allen’s books that resonate with me, they fill my heart full of hope and promise and we live in a world where there isn’t enough of that. Her books are perfect to curl up with and read all afternoon.
                I think if I had any issues with “Lost Lake” it would have been the length. It was really short in my opinion and I felt a little cheated. As though I wasn’t able to spend enough time at Lost Lake and I felt as though I missed out because of that. She’s never written very long novels, but Lost Lake felt shorter than all her others and part of me wonders if that’s because there was such an amazing cast of characters. I just wanted to know so much more about all of them, and spend more time with each of them.
                However, my expectations were met and exceeded and I’m already eagerly anticipating her next novels. In the mean time I am planning on re-reading some of her other novels… and I’ve re-read all of them 2-3 times.Image

Book Review: This is Not a Test

This is not a TestImage
Courtney Summers
Young Adult
Published: 2012
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
4/5

 

                It’s the end of the world…
                Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is of little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self.
                To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live.
                As the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in a startling way and soon the groups fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more, and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life – and death – inside.
                When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

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               This is not a test reads more like a contemporary novel than zombie fiction. You never really find yourself too worried about the threat of the zombie hordes outside of the school, your concern really lies within the confines of the school. You learn really quickly how fast what you believed in can fall when your life is at risk and your survival is at stake. What you’re capable of, is truly unknown until you’re faced with the unknown.
                Sloane Price is a deeply wounded character. She is probably one of the most damaged and broken characters I’ve ever read in a young adult novel. She’s just so sad and you feel her despair pouring out of the pages, bleeding form chapter to chapter and even when she’s happy or seems better you can’t actually be sure.
                This is not a Test calls this into question, “What do you do when you survive something when you never wanted to exist at all?” This is an extremely fascinating character study. Who could imagine surviving the zombie apocalypse and not because you’ve been trying to but because fate seems to want to keep you around for a little bit longer.  Sloane actually went out of her way many times throughout the novel to succumb to the zombie plague and each time she is saved or it plain does not work out.      
                All of the characters are great, they all have unique voices and each give something valuable to the plot. None of them are who they seem to be, and I’m sure none of them are who they thought they were either.
                For such a small novel it is action packed, it’s not dull and everything rushes by quickly. It isn’t in a bad way, but in a good way because you get down to the nitty gritty and you don’t have to wade through useless fluff/filler.  
                This is Not a Test also has one of the most intense endings that I’ve ever read in a young adult stand-alone novel! It almost felt incomplete because the ending was rather left up to interpretation. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who ‘writes off’ young adult fiction and to those who enjoy it. I guarantee you’d be happily surprised by the quality and depth of this story.

               

               

Book Review: Gone Girl

Gone GirlImage
Gillian Flynn
Contemporary Mystery
Published: 2012
Publisher: Crown
4/5

            On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, Nick and Amy Dunne celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary. The presents are being wrapped and the reservations have been made when suddenly Nick’s clever and beautiful wife suddenly disappears from their rented mansion on the Mississippi River.
            Husband-of-the-year Nick hasn’t done himself any favors whilst daydreaming about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary have revealed that the alpha-girl perfectionist could have been put anyone dangerously on the edge.
            Under mounting pressure from the police and the media – as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents – the town golden boy parades and endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is definitely oddly evasive, and he’s bitter – but is he really a killer?
            As the cops closing in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister Margo at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is if Nick didn’t do it then where is his beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?
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            This book has more curves than a roller coaster, you think you know what is going on and then bam! You’ve found a whole new story line. Definitely one of the best books I’ve read in this genre for a very long time. 
            Gone girl was a great read, easy to follow and exceedingly clever. The characters are very twisted however and I can honestly say I didn’t like a single one of them. They were all bitter, stuck on themselves and every single one of them needed to take a good long look at themselves in a mirror and revaluate what it means to be a human. That being said, the characters were twisted enough to suck you in and the story was crazy enough to keep you hooked ‘til the very last page.
            I had never read anything by Gillian Flynn before and I was quite nervous about all the hype surrounding her novels. Often times things that have been really hyped fall flat for me so it was a great pleasure to discover that she did not fail in delivering a great story for me. I’m looking forward to reading more of her work in the future and have high hopes that all her stories will be as great as this one.
            A must read for people who enjoy mysteries, surprises and stories with lots of twisty turns.
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Top 10: TBR

Today I am going to share with you the top 10 books that I’ve had on my TBR for the longest amount of time. I am really hoping that I’m going to get around to finishing my amazingly massive amount of TBR books this year! Wish me luck!! I’m definitely going to need it!

1. The Luxe – Anna Godbersen Image
Beautiful Sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland rule Manhattan’s social scene, or so it appears. When the girls discover their status among New York City’s elite is far from secure, suddenly everyone from backstabbing socialite Penelope Hayes, to the debonair bachelor Henry Schoonmaker, to the spiteful maid Lina Broud threatens Elizabeth’s and Diana’s golden futures.
With the fate of the Hollands resting on her shoulders, Elizabeth must choose between family duty and true love but when her carriage overturns near the East River, the girl whose glittering life lit up the city’s gossip pages is swallowed by the rough current. As all of New York grieves, some begin to wonder whether life at the top proved too much for this ethereal beauty, or if, perhaps, someone wanted to see Manhattan’s most celebrated daughter disappear…
In a world of luxury and deception, where appearance matters above everything and break the social code means running the risk of being ostracized forever, five teenagers lead dangerously scandalous lives. This thrilling trip to the age of innocence is anything but innocent.

 

2. The Last Romanov – Dora Levy MossanenImage
She was an orphan, ushered into the royal palace on the prayers of her majesty. Yet, decades later, her time spent in the embrace of the Romanovs haunts her still. Is she responsible for those murderous events that changed everything?
If only she could find the heir, maybe than she could put back together the broken pieces of her own past – and maybe she could hold on to the love that she has found.
Bursting into life with the rich and glorious marvels of Imperial Russia, The Last Romanov is a magical tale of second chances and royal blood.


 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Extras – Scott Westerfield Image
It’s a few years after Tally Youngblood took down the uglies/pretties/specails regime. Without those strict roles and rules, the world is in a complete cultural renaissance. “Tech-Heads” Flaunt their latest gadgets, “Kickers” spread gossip and trends, and “surge Monkeys” are hooked on extreme plastic surgery.
It’s all monitored on a bazillion different cameras, the world is like a gigantic game of American Idol. Whoever is getting the most buzz gets the most votes, Popularity rules…
As if being fifteen doesn’t suck enough, Aya Fuse’s rank of 451,369 is so low, she’s a total nobody. An extra… but Aya doesn’t care; she just wants to lie low with her drone, Moggle and make kick a good story for herself.
Then Aya meets a clique of girls who pull completely crazy tricks, yet are deeply secretive of it. Aya wants desperately to kick their story, to show everyone how intensely cool the Sly Girls are but doing so would proper her out of extra-land and into the world of fame, celebrity… and extreme danger… a world that she isn’t prepared for.

 

 

 


4. The Book Thief – Markus ZusakImage
It is 1939 Nazi Germany, the country is still holding it’s breath. Death has never been buisier and it will become busier still.
Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist – books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.
In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.


5. The Farm – Emily McKayImage
Life was different in the before; before vampires began devouring humans in a swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined. These days, we know what those quarantines are – holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the undead monsters, known as Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farm by turning on each other…
And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.
Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices – like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears of nowhere, offering to help…
Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world but like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race.

6. Pure – Julianna BaggottImage
Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost – how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers… to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. Now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.
There were those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked: Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Patridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss – maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotional distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it’s his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely ridged order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Patridge risks his life to leave the Dome and find her.
When Pressia meets Patridge, their worlds shatter all over again.

7. Beautiful Creatures – Kami Garcia & Margaret StohlImage
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten south, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.
Ethan Wate who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.


8.  The Secret Keeper – Kate MortonImage
During a party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the road and sees her mother speak to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy.
Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress, living in London. She returns to the family farm for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday and finds herself overwhelmed by questions she has not thought about for decades. From Pre-world WW2 England through the Blitz, to the fifties and beyond, discover the secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds – Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy – who meet by chance in wartime London and whose lives are forever entwined.
The Secret Keeper explores longings and dreams, the lengths people go to fulfill them, and the consequences they can have. It is a story of lovers, friends, dreamers, and schemers told – in Mortons signature style – against a backdrop of events that changed the world.


9. Eona – Alison GoodmanImage
Eon has been revealed as Eona, the first female Dragoneye in hundreds of years. Along with fellow rebels Ryko and Lady Dela, she is on the run from High Lord Sethon’s army. The renegades are on a quest for the black golio, stone by the drug-riddled Dillion; they must also find Kygo, the young Pearl Emperor, who needs Eona’s power and the black folio if he is to wrest back his trone from the selfstyled “emperor” Sethon. Through it all, Eona must come to terms with her new Dragoneye identity and power – and learn to bear the anguish of the ten dragons whose Dragoneyes were murdered. As they focus their power through her, she becomes a dangerous conduit for their plans…


10. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie war – Max brooksImage

The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.
Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Afria, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies dedoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War.

Recommend reads of 2013

             This year I’ve read about 113 novels and they were all from a variety of genres. I’ve personally learnt a lot about my reading style and the books that I actually do enjoy and have discovered some interesting things, but perhaps I’ll do a separate post on that later.
            So without further ado, these are the books or series I’ve read this year that I recommend highly to you. Please click on the title to learn more information about each posting ❤

1. Across the Universe Series – Beth Revis (Young adult Science Fiction)
2. Easy – Tamara Webber (New Adult Contemporary Romance)
3. Such a Rush – Jennifer Echols (Young Adult Contemporary Romance)
4. Warm Bodies – Issac Marion (Adult Zombie Fantasy)
5.  The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss (Adult Fantasy)
6. A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness (Young Adult fantasy)
7. Omens – Kelly Armstrong (Adult Paranormal)
8. Magic Knight Rayearth – Clamp (Manga)
9. Tiger Lily – Jodi Lynn Andersen (YA Fantasy)
10. The Witch’s Daughter – Paula Brackston (Adult Paranormal/fantasy/Historical)
11. The Golem and the Jinni – Helene Wecker  (Adult Historical Fantasy)
12. Ready Player One – Ernest Cline (Adult Science Fiction)
13. Pride and Prejudice –Jane Austen

Book Review: Pushing the Limits

Pushing the LimitsImage
Katie McGarry
Young Adult Contemporary
Published: 2012
5/5

                No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth
                But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common.
                Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

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                WTHECK was my first impression when I first started reading this novel; however that impression failed to hold onto my ever loving bad boy’s soul and pushed way beyond a great book into probably one of the best books I’ve ever read in contemporary YA… EVER.
                Noah Hutchins is a boy after my own heart and reminds me terribly of a boy I dated in high school, and then when I was a little bit older and then RIGHT before I met my husband. He is dangerous and dark and knows just how to push his way into your heart to the point where you have to hold on tight because once you fall in love with him there’s a part of you that will always love him. Noah Hutchins is smoking hot, and secretly a good guy underneath all his many layers.
                I enjoyed this book considerably more than I ever thought I would enjoy this book and I’m so happy that I bought this book and then devoured it in a few hours… once again staying up WAY past my bed time (Good thing I’m an adult and the only one I have to answer is my Hubby when I’m being beyond cranky because I stayed up all night reading…good thing he thinks my obsession with books is ‘cute’) The plot is amazing you guys, I can’t even believe how She managed to tackle such a serious topics and still managed to make everything alright, give everything a smooth ending and to see Echo ‘heal’ from all the tragedy and pain she had gone through was incredible. It was a journey that I’m fairly certain I’ll be taking again someday in the future… or like right now because I really want to read it again but I have a massive TBR pile and at this point (May 15th this will obviously be go up late :P) I have not managed to read a single book I said I was going too this month (opps).
                Pushing the Limits is well worth the hype and frankly it deserves it as well! Definitely check this book out; I cannot imagine anyone being disappointed with it unless of course they’re cold hearted (Just kidding everyone’s entitled to their own opinions!)

Book Review: Such a Rush

Such a RushImage
Jennifer Echols
Young adult contemporary romance
Published: 2012
5/5 Stars

                Leah Jones has always been moved around a lot by her mom and they always somehow ended up in a rundown trailer park next to an airport. While her mom and everyone else would complain about the noise Leah found herself drawn to them and so when she’s fourteen she goes over to the airport and gets herself a job.
                Leah works hard, saving up money to get a flying lesson from Mr. Hall; she manages to get just enough to get one lesson and forges her mother’s permission on a slip in order to get the lesson. Fast forward a few years later and her life gets a whole lot more complicated after Mr. Hall dies and his twin sons Alec and Grayson take over the company.
                Such a rush is packed full of a sharp emotional charge. From the deaths of Mr. Hall and the twin’s older brother to the abuse of neglect Leah suffers from her mother and the hurt of stereo typing. Leah is a strong, independent girl who may have a few things wrong but for the most part has her head screwed on tightly and though she wants to be accepted in love she knows what she is most passionate about is flying and at times it seems she would do almost anything to be able to continue doing so.
                Her love interest is perfect for her, he’s what she needs and she is clearly who he needs. From the start of their character interaction you know that they are just meant to be and their romance is hot, heavy and fully loaded with all kinds of drama, cute scenes and deep emotion.
                I loved the airplane, the airport and the passion that most of the characters shared for flying. I loved the symbolism behind flying and what it meant to Leah and how much freedom she felt when she was in the air. I really enjoyed that each character had their own voices, they’re own sense of style and all had unique backgrounds. They really did seem quite real and sometimes it’s hard to find that in romance novels. There was just so much depth and heart to this story.
                If you`re looking to be swept of your feet with cuteness, have you heart hurt and feel like you’re friends with the characters this is a book for you; You’ll be so involved that maybe you’ll even stay up ‘til 3am like me instead of sleeping! Honestly such a great heartwarming story I loved it so much, was the perfect way to kill my reading slump ❤