Recap of Cinder by Marissa Meyer for the #TLCreadalong!

CinderWelcome to my first recap post for The Lunar Chronicles Readalong hosted by Brittany over at The Book Addict’s Guide! Seriously, whether you’re rereading or reading for the first time, you should come join us. These books are like crack, for real. I finished Cinder entirely too early and my reactions were so hard because I’m not really a rereader. Knowing everything that happens just makes the story that much more crazy the second time around, so I am way too excited to keep going! I’M TELLING YOU NOW: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS AHEAD. IF YOU HAVE NOT FINISHED CINDER AND DO NOT WANT ANYTHING SPOILED, TURN BACK NOW AND FINISH. THEN COME BACK TO ME.

My first reaction to recap: I hate Adri and Pearl so much that it makes me physically ill sometimes. I mean, yes, they are the classic Cinderella evil stepmother and stepsister, but they’re so supremely horrendous. I want them both to die in a fire. I thought it was interesting that Meyer had Cinder have only one evil stepsister since Peony was such a peach. Why couldn’t have Pearl died of that horrible disease, huh?! Well, I guess I get it, since then we’d really have no reason for Cinder wanting to find a cure.

After reading this after its original release and not picking it up again until now, I’m starting to see all of these obvious things. One of these things is that I found it crazy that Cinder (or I, for that matter) couldn’t figure out she was immune to letumosis when she didn’t get sick after hugging Peony after discovering the marks on her. I mean, duh! With as much as Cinder was all over her, if she weren’t immune, it should have manifested pretty quickly.

Prince Kai, oh boy. I’m not really one for romance and I don’t usually swoon over dudes, but I adore Prince Kai. He disguises himself to drop Nainsi off with Cinder instead of haggling for privacy with palace mechanics, which is so smart of him, since he knows he doesn’t know who to trust. Not only that, but the way he saves Cinder from Levana at the ball was amazing. Reading it the first time, I thought Kai hated Cinder, but knowing what ends up happening, I know he was saving her. Weird how that works, huh? I feel for Kai so much. He has to step up and become emperor at such a young age after losing his father. I think he handles himself so graciously considering he has to deal with Levana and her Lunar goons for most of the book.

Levana…oh goodness. So, I read Fairest, as I’m sure most of you did. And along with all of you, my skin was crawling through the entire book. After I finished it, I had to take a shower because I was so creeped out. If you haven’t read it, GET ON IT, but basically just imagine the creepiest stalker movie you’ve ever seen and multiply it by many thousands. I liked having that insight into Levana then coming back to Cinder. She is insane and there were parts where I almost felt bad for her. (Trust me, I scolded myself for that later).

Letumosis is one of the scariest parts of this book. I have a strange fear of airborne diseases, and that’s what letumosis is! I’m kind of also obsessed with researching The Black Plague, and this disease reminds me of that, too. I love how the world is set up in this book with the Commonwealth and all the other countries living in harmony after a fourth world war. The way the Commonwealth is set up, no wonder everyone is getting sick. I like to imagine that there is little to no room to move around, let alone room to get away from an airborne illness.

Iko remains one of my favorite characters in the whole series. I remember reading this the first time and seeing Iko in pieces in Cinder’s room, and crying. I was SO upset. I love thinking that Iko has a malfunction since she has such a big personality. Since I’m only spoiling Cinder right now, I won’t go much farther, just in case you haven’t finished/read Scarlet!

The Lunars absolutely fascinate me and we saw some cameos from later in the series! We see Jacin at the ball (if you haven’t read, he comes back!) and we see a guest appearance from Cress at the end! I totally forgot that we saw them in this book! I am so fascinated with the Lunars’ ability to manipulate bioelectricity. I also can’t wait to re-live Cinder rediscovering her gift as her block slowly releases it. SO MUCH TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN SCARLET OMG!!!

All in all, this book was as fantastic as I remembered, if not more! It is seriously book crack. I was trying to stick to the reading schedule, but I just COULDN’T. I was up until 4am finishing this because it is just too too good. I hope you enjoyed my crazy, ranty recap and I’ll see you guys for my themed post for Cinder and for my next recap of Scarlet! Happy reading, awesome nerds and thanks, Brittany for hosting! *smoosh*

ARC Review: A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano

Curious TaleTitle: A Curious Tale of the In-Between

Author: Lauren DeStefano

Series: Pram #1

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Release Date: September 1, 2015

Genre: Middle Grade, Paranormal

I was provided with an egalley of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects the honesty of this review.

It’s very rare that I read a middle grade that I love as much as I loved this book. I have a lot to say about DeStefano’s middle grade debut, so here is your synopsis from Goodreads:

Pram Bellamy is special—she can talk to ghosts. She doesn’t have too many friends amongst the living, but that’s all right. She has her books, she has her aunts, and she has her best friend, the ghostly Felix.

Then Pram meets Clarence, a boy from school who has also lost a parent and is looking for answers. Together they arrive at the door of the mysterious Lady Savant, who promises to help. But this spiritualist knows the true nature of Pram’s power, and what she has planned is more terrifying than any ghost.

1. This was my first DeStefano book, and I know this is middle grade, but wow the writing is gorgeous.

As a middle school teacher, I’m always looking for middle grade books that will challenge my students’ intellect. A lot of times, the language fails to make my students think about what they’re reading. There is a disconnect because kids who are reluctant readers need insanely clever writing and world building. This book has both. The writing was gorgeous and elevated and I can’t say enough about the beauty of the writing in this book. It’ll definitely be recommended to my middle schoolers this school year.

2. Pram is so interesting, even as a newborn child.

From the time we’re introduced to Pram (short for Pragmatic), she is different. She is born dead and brought back to life. Because of this, she has the ability to see and communicate with ghosts. She is in a constant state of in-between, hence the title of this book. She is an insanely smart little girl and she is more well read than most adults I know. She was a fantastic protagonist for this book (and series) because she constantly surprises me not only with her brains, but her curiosity and bravery.

3. When Pram goes to school, she meets Clarence who I also adore.

From the first time Pram meets Clarence, she knows they are a perfect match. Pram is forced to go to school since her aunts are deemed unfit to continue her schooling. During her first day at school, she meets Clarence by trying to sit at his desk at the back corner of the room. He graciously lets her sit there. Then, at lunch, they run into each other again when they’re finding the most secretive and secluded spot in the lunch room. For eleven years old, Pram is very clever and a pretty good judge of character. Better than I was at eleven, anyway. Clarence shows Pram that not everyone at school is cruel as she originally thought they’d be. I really liked that about this book. More about that later.

4. Felix is one of my favorite characters…and he’s dead.

Felix is Pram’s best friend. He lives at the lake next to Pram’s aunts’ 200 year old colonial. They’re constant companions. While Pram’s aunts think that she has an imaginary friend, Pram is communicating with the ghost of a little boy. He is loving, protective, charming, and a little sad. I adored this kid.

5. A lot of this book was focused on the cruelty – or lack thereof – of the living.

When Pram starts school, she is convinced that everyone will be cruel to her. Then, on her first day, she meets Clarence and she starts to see the living as tolerable, if not nice, people. Since she spends a lot of time with the dead (and the elders in her aunts’ homes), she’s kind of awkward at interacting with the living and the young living. When she meets Lady Savant, she uses her great judgment of character and doesn’t reveal much about herself. However, Lady Savant knows things about Pram that she doesn’t let on. She is the cruelest person in the book, yet Pram still ends up feeling sympathy for her. What eleven year old child possesses that kind of empathy? I adored Pram and the story and the villain and the writing…basically everything.

OVERALL: FIVE STARS!!! I can’t wait to recommend this to my students this school year. The ghosts in the book are kind and just want to talk while the living are the real monsters, which was a great way to write this story. I was enthralled the entire time and I loved everything about this book. I can’t wait to see where this story goes and what Pram does with her abilities. Go forth and preorder from your local bookstore or Amazon because you will adore this. It’ll be a fantastic beginning of fall read, especially if you hate summer as much as I (or Lauren DeStefano herself) do.

ARC Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Everything EverythingTitle: Everything, Everything

Author: Nicola Yoon

Series: None. Standalone

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: September 1, 2015

Genre: YA, Contemporary

I was provided with an egalley of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This is no way affects the candor of this review.

You guys know by now that I’m never really into contemporary unless it grabs me immediately. Well, this one did it! I loved this book so much. So, here’s your synopsis from Amazon:

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

1. I really, really liked Maddy.

So Maddy’s disease basically makes it so she’s trapped inside always. When she has visitors, they have to be completely decontaminated because she is allergic to everything. Instead of wallowing in pity over her illness, she loves to live her life through books (which are vacuum sealed and brand new inside of bags that are delivered to her) and her classes over Skype. She loves architecture and is able to see her tutor once a week. This really impressed me because if it were me, I would be constantly feeling sorry for myself and I would most DEFINITELY wallow in self pity. Not Maddy, though. I really liked that about her.

2. Maddy is surrounded by a great support system…and then we meet Olly.

Maddy has been attached to next door neighbors before. Then, they moved away and she was heartbroken, according to her nurse, Carla and her mother. Her mother is her doctor and is very meticulous in monitoring and taking care of her daughter. Carla is pretty awesome. Not only is she Maddy’s nurse, but she’s her best friend. When Olly and Maddy start emailing and talking about meeting, Carla goes behind Maddy’s mother’s back in order for them to spend some time together face to face. I thought that was so wonderful of her, especially since Maddy’s mother is a little bit OCD when it comes to her daughter. I mean, I don’t blame her, but there comes a time when Maddy should be able to make her own decisions about her health, especially since she is 18.

3. Olly and Maddy are so cute I could die.

Olly and Maddy spend only a few minutes at a time together, but it’s enough. They IM every night until the wee hours of the morning and there is so much tension when they’re together. Even though Olly is decontaminated every time he sees Maddy, there is still no touching. They are basically in a room, talking and getting along, without being able to even sit close enough to touch each other. I can imagine how that would be the worst kind of torture. Olly is so sweet and his intelligence is on par with Maddy’s, which makes for some delightful banter between the two of them.

4. I really liked the way this story was told.

Most of the book was told through a first person narrative, but interspersed between Maddy’s narration were charts she makes, former journal entries, and IM and email conversations between she and Olly. I thought this was really creative and added so much more to the story. I felt like Maddy was a friend telling me a story instead of a narrator in a book.

5. The ending was kind of easy to call, but it took me awhile to figure it out.

I’m not telling you much about this book because trust me when I say this will be a one day read. However, the end really made me happy then surprised me, then made me SO angry then happy again. It’s an emotional roller coaster for SURE. If you think Maddy will come into her own and make decisions for herself, you’re absolutely right, but I won’t tell you much more than that.

OVERALL: 5 STARS!! I adored this book. It was fast paced and told by a wonderful narrator. The ending came out of nowhere and I loved that, since it took me awhile to figure it out. I know this review was a little short, and a little vague, but that’s all with a purpose. I want you to read this book so desperately. This book releases on September 1, 2015 so click the link below to get your copy!

Click to Order!

ARC Review: The Uninvited by Cat Winters

The UninvitedTitle: The Uninvited

Author: Cat Winters

Series: None. Standalone.

Publisher: William Morrow

Release Date: August 11, 2015

Genre: NA, Paranormal, Historical Fiction

I received a free egalley of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects the honesty of my review.

Guys, I loved this book! This was my first adventure into and Adult novel for review, since I’m so used to Cat Winters writing YA books that I adore. But I ended up loving this as much as I love her YA! So, without further ado, here is your synopsis from Goodreads:

Twenty-five year old Ivy Rowan rises from her bed after being struck by the flu, only to discover the world has been torn apart in just a few short days.

But Ivy’s life-long gift—or curse—remains. For she sees the uninvited ones—ghosts of loved ones who appear to her, unasked, unwelcomed, for they always herald impending death. On that October evening in 1918 she sees the spirit of her grandmother, rocking in her mother’s chair. An hour later, she learns her younger brother and father have killed a young German out of retaliation for the death of Ivy’s older brother Billy in the Great War.

Horrified, she leaves home, to discover the flu has caused utter panic and the rules governing society have broken down. Ivy is drawn into this new world of jazz, passion, and freedom, where people live for the day, because they could be stricken by nightfall. But as her ‘uninvited guests’ begin to appear to her more often, she knows her life will be torn apart once more, but Ivy has no inkling of the other-worldly revelations about to unfold.

1. True to form, Cat Winters gives us historical fiction with a dash of the creepy.

This story is set in 1918 during the outbreak of the Spanish Influenza of World War I. So of course there is a lot of illness, paranoia, and paranormal happening in Ivy’s town. Fresh from a fever of her own and the knowledge of the death of one of her brothers, Ivy is ready to no longer be a shut in. After her father and brother murder a German man in town, Ivy can’t handle being in the same house and she strikes out on her own. While in town, she gets news of the APL spying on civilians and of a widow who is looking for a boarder. Ever since Ivy was young, she was able to see Uninvited Guests (which is what she and her mother call the spirits they see before someone they love dies). So, mixed in with this small town’s illness, death, and paranoia are some ghosties. As I said, true to form for Cat Winters. I am NOT complaining.

2. Ivy annoyed me for most of this book.

I know, I know, she’s a 25 year old spinster just striking out on her own, but hear me out. Ivy is constantly taking other peoples’ actions on to her own shoulders and feeling guilty for things she can’t control. As someone who used to do that, I saw a bit of my former self in her, which is probably why I was so annoyed. At one point, I even told Goodreads how much she was annoying me with all of her guilt. Just stop it already!

3. The love story in this book developed a little quickly for my taste, but it totally fit.

Ivy ends up visiting the brother of the man who was murdered by her own father and brother. She does anything and everything she can to assuage her guilt. Daniel is the brother left behind. The two brothers were both from Germany and Ivy’s father blamed THEM for the death of his son. There is one scene where Ivy asks what she can do and he tells her to go to bed with him. Her response? Okay. At first I was kind of taken aback by this because of what I had found out about Ivy to that point. But then I got to thinking: a lot of people must have behaved that way during any war. They never knew what was coming next, whether they would live or die, or if they’d get sick. It made a lot of sense the more I thought about it, and their story was too cute.

4. I’m not giving you any spoilers, so this point will be short and sweet:

Nothing is what it seems. If you have read either of Cat Winters’s other books – which, if you haven’t, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! – you should come to expect this. That’s all I’m sayin.

5. Cat Winters’s writing is some of the most beautiful I’ve ever encountered in a book, ever.

I don’t know what it is about Winters’s writing, but it just takes me away. It engrosses me so much in her books that I usually forget where I am when I’m reading them. Not many authors can do this for me, but Winters is one of my favorites. I felt like I was feeling everything Ivy was. The way she describes things is so beautiful and magical. She is hands down one of my favorite authors and I will forever read anything she produces. You go, girl!

OVERALL: 4 stars! I really really enjoyed this book. I’ve been reading YA so long that I kind of had a hard time with the pace of this book, but it was phenomenal as I’ve come to expect from the QUEEN, Cat Winters. This book releases on August 11, so get thee to your local bookstore and get this IMMEDIATELY!

ARC Review: The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle

The Accident SeasonTitle: The Accident Season

Author: Moira Fowley-Doyle

Genre: YA, Paranormal

Series: None. Standalone

Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books

Release Date: August 18, 2015

Source: Egalley from the publisher through Netgalley

I received a free egalley of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my review.

Alright, this one was a little iffy for me. Here’s your synopsis from Amazon:

Every October Cara and her family become inexplicably and unavoidably accident-prone. Some years it’s bad, like the season when her father died, and some years it’s just a lot of cuts and scrapes. This accident season–when Cara, her ex-stepbrother, Sam, and her best friend, Bea, are 17–is going to be a bad one. But not for the reasons they think.

Cara is about to learn that not all the scars left by the accident season are physical: There’s a long-hidden family secret underneath the bumps and bruises. This is the year Cara will finally fall desperately in love, when she’ll start discovering the painful truth about the adults in her life, and when she’ll uncover the dark origins of the accident season–whether she’s ready or not.

1. This book started out really strong for me, until the paranormal stuff kicked in.

I really enjoyed the first half of this book. I loved the characters and the friendships and Cara’s mom. It was all great, until you got to the point where they find the ghost house. There is a slight paranormal vibe through the whole book (the accident season in general, plus everyone thinking Cara’s best friend Bea is a witch) but it just got weird when that happened. A lot of it seemed out of place and that it was just thrown in to make it more…interesting? I don’t know. It just didn’t feel right for me.

2. I was really intrigued by the accident season.

So every October, Cara’s family – her, her sister Alice, her mom Melanie, and her ex-stepbrother Sam – suffer accidents. They range from cuts in the kitchen to near drownings. When accident seasons are really bad, someone in their family dies. The accident season has claimed Cara and Alice’s dad, their uncle, and their grandfather. It’s been a superstition in their family for as long as Cara can remember. I had to keep turning pages to see how this would all be explained to me. That is honestly the first thing that sucked me in and it was kind of weird when it was all explained. Actually, now that I’m thinking more about it, it wasn’t really explained. There are “dark origins” that the synopsis talks about, but those only happen for parts of their lives – not their entire lives. Is it paranormal? Is it psychosis? Is it repression? I honestly still don’t know.

3. I really liked the friendship aspect of this book.

Cara admits in the first part of the book that she has a group of close friends that consists of Bea and Sam. She likes it this way. She grew up with Sam and Bea has been her best friend for most of her life. Bea is a little quirky. She reads tarot cards and everyone thinks she is a witch. I mean, come on, that sounds like an awesomely interesting best friend. Anyway, the three of them share this unbreakable bond that really got to my feels. Granted, it didn’t get to me enough so that I felt much for them, but I liked seeing the way they changed through this story.

4. I feel like I’ve been extremely negative so far, so let’s go for a positive here.

I rated this book high. I know it doesn’t seem like it from reading my last two points, but I honestly enjoyed this. I finished it in less than 24 hours and I liked the story so much that it sucked me in. The characters – while under developed – are extremely interesting and likable. The story is interesting because who has a month of accidents to look forward to every year? I just had to get to the end to see what was going on. And don’t even get me started on Elsie (I don’t want to spoil this for you) which was probably the biggest secret in the story!

OVERALL: 3.5 stars! This was lacking in a lot of areas for me but for the most part, this was a quick and entertaining read! I didn’t need to think too much and I really enjoyed how fast paced this all was. If you feel like giving this a try (which I think you should) click the link below to pre-order! This comes out on August 18, 2015!

Click to Pre-Order!

Backlist Mini Review: Armada by Ernest Cline

ArmadaI have needed to stew over this book for a couple of days. So much happened! If you want more detailed information about the publisher, release date, etc go visit the book’s Amazon page here. This book was amazing and got FIVE STARS from me, so here are five short reasons why I adored this.

1. The nerdiness. I love it.

If you read Cline’s other masterpiece, Ready Player One, you already know that he writes with ton of pop culture references. This was absolutely no different. While I enjoyed RPO more than I did this book, it was still right up my alley!

2. Zack Lightman is awesome.

Our main character is Zack and he is a video game nerd. He is raised by his mother (his father died when he was very young) and he has anger issues. I love books with heroes who are not perfect and this was something I loved about Zack.

3. The romance is minimal and believable.

I usually don’t like romance, especially in books where there is already so much going on. However, the relationship between Zack and Lex is so cute. It kind of happens pretty quickly, but it’s not like love at first sight, which I can’t stand. They’re trying to save the world, so of course they’re looking for companionship!

4. The supporting cast of characters is vast, but the ones we see a lot of are fantastic.

There are a BIG amount of characters to keep track of, but every single one of them serves a purpose. Not once did I feel like a character was just thrown in randomly to stir stuff up. I love when every character you meet has a purpose. The people Zack plays with online are even featured in the book and you come to love them as much as he does.

5. The message is perfect.

I can’t tell you much about this point to avoid spoilers, but the ending was great! I loved the entire message of the book. When you everything is revealed and solved, you realize that the whole book had been preparing you for that message. This sounds so vague, I’m sorry, but I’m not spoiling this for you because you need to READ IT NOW.

Backlist Mini-Review: Zodiac by Romina Russell

ZodiacI’ve decided to start doing mini reviews on backlisted books! Full reviews take a lot out of me, but I feel like I should give some backlisted books some love. Therefore, I won’t be giving you the slew of information I usually give you on reviews. If you want a synopsis, series, publishing information, etc go to the book’s Amazon listing here. I gave this book a whopping four stars, so I’m going to tell you three reasons I LOVED this book and one reason why I didn’t. Ready?

1. Let’s start with the negative, shall we? Two words: LOVE. TRIANGLE.

I hate love triangles so much that it physically hurts me sometimes. Just know, there is a love triangle and it made me mad because one of the dudes really could have just been a friend and close adviser, but instead, Rho ruined it. Poo on love triangles.

2. I usually don’t dig science fiction, but I loved this.

My biggest gripe about sci-fi is that it doesn’t stick to its own rules. This book does though and it was SO FANTASTIC. Space travel scares the crap out of me. Multiple universes, traveling through space, it all freaks me out, but this was so well done. Yay!

3. The technology in this book is fantastic.

Not only did I understand the technology (being someone who really has a hard time with advanced technology) but it seemed like something that we would potentially have in the future, which I found to be amaaaaazing.

4. I’m not really into astrology, but I have friends who are, and I loved that aspect of this book.

You may think that this whole book is based on astrology – and it’s not. It’s kind of like your basic faction book (i.e. The Hunger Games) but with astrological signs THAT HAVE THEIR OWN PLANETS. I’m not going to go into detail about how it’s all laid out, but just know, I really liked how this was done.

Go check out this book. I can’t believe a sci-fi book got me like this, but I’m definitely not complaining! There is a sequel on the way and you can guarantee I’ll be fangirling over that one, too!

An Open Letter to My #OTSPSecretSister

First of all, I have three special ladies to thank.

1. Brittany from The Book Addicts Guide

2. Alyssa from Books Take You Places

3. Amy from Tripping Over Books

Without you awesome ladies, I never would have stumbled upon #OTSPSecretSister or the absolute joy it has brought my overly stressed life over the past few months. For doing all of this, for the love of books and our awesome bookish community, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Now to my own secret sister.

Dear #OTSPSecretSister,

As of today, June 27th, I still don’t know who you are. I feel I am too stupid to follow your very clever clues. Usually I hate secrets. I hate surprises, especially when I know they’re coming. This whole experience has changed my mind. I know a lot of people tried to take advantage of our wonderful hosts and this phenomenal program by just wanting STUFF. You and I both know that it is so much more than the stuff. It’s about paying attention and thinking about a person you’ve never met. Then, getting to know them through emails and Twitter and secretly stalking their every move online. While to some people, that sounds creepy, to us, it’s love.

It astounds me how someone I have never met (not to mention, someone whose identity I have yet to find out) gets me so completely. It’s like you have ESP and know exactly when I need a pick me up. I remember I had one really bad day right when I started teaching. I got my mail after work that day, and you had written me this beautiful message that lifted me up so much that I was determined to make the next day a better day. You’ve been doing this exactly when I’ve needed it for the past six months. I cannot even describe how much you and your kind words mean to me and how absolutely joyous I get whenever anything from you comes in the mail – letter or otherwise.

I can see how Alyssa, Amy, and Brittany are wary about who they choose to be a part of this. It is difficult to pick and choose since some people who basically just want stuff would take advantage. While the stuff you’ve sent me is amazing, it’s the thought behind it that takes my breath away every time I get a special delivery from you. Most people in my real life don’t know my tastes as well as you or GET me as much as you and for that, you have a lifelong friend out of me. I really and truly adore you.

I hope soon that I get to know your identity, because this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Thank you for lifting me up when I’m down, wishing me well with my health, and being an all around incredible person. You’ve meant so much to me the past 6 months and I kind of always find my mind drifting to the possibilities of who you might be. Soon, though, I’ll know!

But, until then, know that I love you and I cherish the bond that we have. You’re a beautiful person and I hope you end up reading this. However, these words don’t even convey the gratitude and joy and love I have towards you!

You’re wonderful.

And I love you.

Love,

Andi

The Boys of Summer with Andi from Just a Broke Bookworm

Thank you, Nicole, for getting me out of the box for this! So much fun swooning over Oliver!

The BookBandit Blog

BoysOfSummer

Hello Readers!

Today is a very special day here on The BookBandit Blog. It’s the first official post in my The Boys of Summer feature! And I’m super excited because today’s post is from Andi from Just A Broke Bookworm.

Andi and I became friends via Twitter, and not only is her blog a must read, but she, herself is awesome! Make sure you check her out!

***

Oliver: The Boy Who Made Me Swoon Too Hard
From Robin Benway’s Emmy and Oliver.

I am not the type of girl to swoon. In fact, it’s very rare that I feel so strongly connected to a book boy to swoon. So when Nicole offered me a spot on this feature, it took me a long time to think of a boy I thought swoon-worth enough. I wracked my brain to think of a boy who made me feel any feels…

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ARC Review: The Leveller by Julia Durango

The LevellerTitle: The Leveller

Author: Julia Durango

Series: The Leveller #1

Release Date: June 23, 2015

Publisher: HarperTeen

Source: E-Galley from Edelweiss

I was provided with a free e-galley of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss. This in no way affects the honesty of my review.

Love games? Virtual reality? Awesome female protagonists? Krakens? THIS BOOK HAS ALL OF THESE THINGS. Here’s your synopsis from Amazon:

Nixy Bauer is used to her classmates being very, very unhappy to see her. After all, she’s a bounty hunter in a virtual-reality gaming world—and she’s frequently hired by irritated parents to pull kids out of the mazelike MEEP universe.

But when the game’s billionaire developer loses track of his own son in the MEEP, Nixy is in for the biggest challenge of her bounty-hunting career. Wyn Salvador isn’t some lazy kid looking to escape his homework: Wyn does not want to be found. And he’s left behind a suicide note. Nixy takes the job but quickly discovers that Wyn’s not hiding—he’s being held inside the game against his will. But who is holding him captive, and why?

Nixy and Wyn attempt to fight their way out of a mind game unlike any they’ve encountered, and the battle brings them closer than either could have imagined. But when the whole world is virtual, how can Nixy possibly know if her feelings are real?

1. While reminiscent of Ready Player One, this was a story all its own.

Nixy (um, okay awesome name) is a leveller. She is paid by parents to trick their kids into leaving the virtual reality called the MEEP. Since it is slightly dangerous to remove the device which puts them into the MEEP, they have to leave willingly, which is where Nixy comes in. At first, it was too similar to Ready Player One, which scared me, but I checked reviews and saw it definitely isn’t trying to step on Cline’s toes. Those reviews are correct, let me tell you. The Leveller is so unique, while still having the setting of virtual reality and featuring some hardcore gamers. This was so interesting and I was hooked from the first sentence.

2. It’s not often you see a book about video games or virtual reality where you have an awesome female protagonist who can take care of herself, thank you very much.

This book centered almost completely in the MEEP. While most everyone in the world is addicted to virtual reality, you usually only see Nixy levelling boys. Which, haha. Nixy is chosen to save the MEEP creator’s son, Wyn. It seems that he has trapped himself inside the MEEP with an apparent suicide note. None of the creator’s hardcore programmers can get through the maze to get to him, so he chooses Nixy. Of COURSE she gets through because she is AWESOME. Shouty caps, god, sorry. She doesn’t depend on dudes to do her work and has built a successful (albeit illegal) virtual reality business. There is a lot of flack for female gamers in real life. They’re seen as not good enough and a lot of male players don’t want to play with them as soon as they find out they’re female – regardless of how they play. I get really carried away with this subject, so just know how excited Nixy made me. She needs NO man!

3. The romance bothered me. It bothered me so much that I took away a star.

So Wyn is super hot, even when he’s comatose in the real world. When Nixy finds him, she gets all weak in the knees and talks about his “chocolate eyes” and his smile. I found this extremely irritating because she was so bad ass up to that point that I was kind of disappointed in her feelings towards Wyn. She really did turn into the weak kneed, quintessential “girl” trope in most YA books. Other than this, though, she continued to be brave and smart and insanely funny. This was really my only gripe.

4. You HAVE to love a book that not only builds two worlds, but follows the rules for each one.

I have a hard time suspending belief when it comes to virtual reality unless it’s done REALLY well. And this was done REALLY well. All of the rules were followed and I honestly felt like I was playing a game rather than reading a book. The gamers have to get a piercing in order to get into the MEEP. While Wyn was comatose, there were a lot of rules explained to questions I would have asked (the characters asked them, yay). And, it all made sense, which is GLORIOUS. Oh, bless you for sticking with me through all of these shouty caps, I’m just so excited. Long story short, the MEEP totally sounds like my kind of place.

OVERALL 4 STARS! I only took a star away because of the romance. It changed Nixy for a little bit and that bothered me since she is so strong and smart and independent. One of my favorite parts of this book was the gamer lingo. At one point, Nixy’s dad says something about “filthy casuals” and I almost stopped breathing I was laughing so hard. This was a quick, insanely fun read. If you love video games – honestly, if you love Ready Player One – this is a great read for you! This book releases on June 23, 2015 so make sure to click the link below to pre-order!

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