Summer of Supernovas

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My most recent read is Summer of Supernovas by Darcy Woods. I received this book as an ARC back in May only a couple of days before its release, so I never actually got around to reading and reviewing it before it was released. This book was still sitting on my shelf, and I wanted a light summer read that would allow me to further procrastinate my reading that I need to get done for school (which I need to read 3 books and write 5 essays for before the end of summer… ha).

This book deals with the main character, Wilamena (called Wil or Mena)  Carlisle (which her name is absolutely beautiful, wow), and her journey of following her heart or a belief system that she has relied on for her whole life. The book starts out by introducing Wilamena’s obsession with astrology, and her love interest, Grant Walker. Soon, though, it becomes evident to the reader that Wil is going to have a complicated relationship with Grant when she meets Seth Walker, Grant’s brother, who is supposedly her perfect astrological pair. Throughout the course of the book, the reader follows Wil’s journey as she realizes that her heart is more important than astrology.

This book was cute and fluffy, but there are still a couple of things that bugged me. Wil’s obsession with astrology is actually just annoying, which disappointed me. I was hoping for a rather geeky main character who educates the reader on astrology. The only thing I ever even noticed about her obsession was how she ‘was always looking to the heavens.’ The other thing that bothered me about this book was the love triangle. I realize that the love triangle was there to help develop Wil’s character, but honestly, I wish the triangle would be more creative. It is clear the whole book that she will end up with (SPOILER)? Grant Walker. Love triangles are so overused in YA these days I can only really tolerate them when there is a unique aspect to them, or if the main character is really badass and can easily live without her boys.

There were honestly no noteworthy quotes to put down. In most of my reviews I add some quotes, but in all honesty, I didn’t mark any while reading because none really grabbed my attention.

There were some positive things to this book. I feel like I was just a little old for this book, maybe? I like romance books with more depth in them is really what I’m trying to say. I’m only 17, but I would recommend this book to younger kids rather than to people my age. This book had a couple of nice characters. While Wil and Grant were both really stereotypical to  YA novels, I really enjoyed Irina. She always added some light humor to the book.

Unfortunately, this book put me into a reading slump. I was hoping to read this in a day or two, and it took me two weeks when I honestly have a lot of books I would rather be reading. This book will definitely not stick with me in the future because it did not really set itself apart from some other books I’ve read. In all honesty, I just finished the book and don’t really even remember any specific parts that I enjoyed.

I realize that this review is slowly getting more and more negative, and I would like to clarify that this book was not bad, it really was just not my cup of tea. Darcy Woods has a nice writing style that flowed really well. Overall, I would still give this book 3/5 stars. I can’t really bring myself to give it any less than that since it is such a sweet and innocent read.

Love Always,

Chelsea

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The Season

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My most recent read was another ARC called The Season by Jonah Lisa Dyer and Stephen Dyer. In all honesty, I really did not want to read this book. From the description, it seemed like a book that was targeted towards middle schoolers. The blurb on the back says it’s about a girl who loves soccer and is forced into being a debutante by her mother and absolutely hates it. I was expecting this book to have an annoying narrator who tried a little too hard to be different, but this book honestly ended up surprising me.

This book is about the main character, Megan McKnight, is a very spirited character. She has a lot of sass and is very selfish, which is her struggle throughout the story. Over the course of the story, she learns to tame her tongue and realize that the lifestyle of a debutante might not be the worst thing to ever happen to her. She is a very easy character to relate to and I found myself often agreeing with her on her worldview and how she viewed the society around her. Megan’s character came as a surprise for me and ended up being a well rounded character who experiences a satisfactory amount of character development for the reader. Even many of the minor characters were great. The spunky French stylist who dresses like a hippie and does not shave? Yeah, sign me up for that.

The chapter titles honestly made me laugh a few times. The novel features the following chapter titles:

  • In Which Megan Discovers That Tea Can Be a Full-Contact Sport
  • In  Which Megan Puts Away Serious Groceries
  • In Which Megan Rues Her Decision to Mix Pills and Booze
  • In Which Megan Questions Her Judgement

Honestly, the list could go on and on.

While I said that I was surprised by this story, it also really confused me. Like, a lot. And I’m not talking about the type of confusing that ends up coming full circle and offering the reader a revelation into some deeper philosophical meaning. I’m talking about how this book confused me by totally misleading me. The front cover is honestly an awful choice for this book. It is something that would appear in a children’s book section, which is where you would think this book would belong since it was published by Viking Children’s Books.  Then, as you start reading, you realize that this book contains alcohol and sex, which is perfectly fine in a Young Adult book. But going into this book expecting the audience to generally be 6th grade girls allows for the reader to be in for a surprise. The publisher for this book could have definitely done a better job making it clearer who the targeted audience is.

This book reminded me a lot of The Selection by Kierra Cass and going into this book, I honestly thought that the author, Jonah Lisa Dyer, was trying to make a cheap knockoff version of this series. While they are similar, The Season definitely holds its ground to make a distinction from The Selection. The book is advertised as a Pride and Prejudice retelling, and as far as I can tell, they kept fairly true to their word. But, alas, I have not actually read (or even watched the movie (I’m horrible I know)) Pride and Prejudice so I am not the best person to be judging whether or not this book keeps true to its word.

There were a couple of things I was disappointed by in this book. First of all, the ending felt really rushed to me. I won’t actually give away any spoilers, but I am honestly still wanting to know how it worked out for Megan. It was an abrupt turn in the story. It was a good turn in the story, don’t get me wrong, but it was abrupt and I wish I knew more about how it worked out for her.

Overall, I would give this book 3.5/5 stars. The book could honestly still use one more draft before it is released to make it a 4 star book for me. In the end, though, I could potentially recommend this book to people (as long as they can put up with Texan pride). It will not be a particularly memorable book for me, but it is definitely a fresh start in Jonah and Stephen Dyer’s writing career.

Love Always,

Chelsea

Gatsby Syndrome

My most recent read has been another ARC, which I found much better than the last ARC I read. Plus I’m in a really good mood because I’m listening to the Hamilton soundtrack while writing this review so who knows, that might have something to do with it. This book is called Gatsby Syndrome by Dymond Moore. She approached me on my tumblr and asked me to read her book and give an honest review in return.

This book follows the story of Lavender in a futuristic London that is living in the aftermath of storms that has ruined the world as we know it. Lavender has big dreams of being a scientist that helps the mutant animals that have formed as a result of the storms, but she can only achieve this if she lives with the rich. The rich live quite literally above everyone else, they live in the clouds and in a city that is held up by hot air balloons. One day Lavender has an opportunity go to a party with the rich, which she accepts. The party takes a nasty turn, though, and Lavender finds herself thrown into a nightmare that has her fighting for her life.

This book surprised me. I did not expect to enjoy it very much, especially because in the beginning it seemed like a recycled plot that I had read in previous novels. Dymond wove a unique world throughout the story, though. I definitely think this novel has potential, but I think it still needs a little work. I found many grammatical errors and awkward sentences that disrupted the flow of the story. The characters were not very relatable. I found them a bit dull and predicable.

There were a couple of plot twists in this book that I was surprised by. I am not going to go into details in order to prevent spoilers, but I’m sure most readers will also be surprised by the twists the story takes.

Some of the writing was amateur. There were specific instances, such as when Lavender reveals who she loves, or when characters were sustaining injuries, that I found awkward. These were the moments when I remembered that I was reading a book and could not relate to the character.

This story is admirable for many reasons, though. It is one of those rare books that has POC and LGBTQ representation. It is always refreshing to read a book where neither feels forced.

One major thing that I was frustrated with with this book is it all felt very rushed. The book is 150 pages long, and I felt like there was so much more I could’ve gotten out of it if things had been explained in more detail. When I felt like I was finally getting into a certain plot line or character, the story switched way too quickly to something else.

Overall, I enjoyed this story and will give it 3/5 stars. The ending of the story made me so very happy and gave me all the feels. It was a great ending to the story and I do not think readers will regret reading this story. Like I said, I think there are some places that could’ve been improved before publishing, but the overall story is definitely something I’m glad I read.

Love Always,

Chelsea

Mirror in the Sky

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A couple of weeks ago, I won a raffle with 8 ARC’s! These were the first ARC’s I had ever received and of course I was very excited. I decided to try and read and review each book before they were actually published in order to force myself to write more reviews and to maybe allow the books to gain a bit of publicity  before they were released. The first of these books that I read was Mirror in the Sky by Aditi Khorana.

Mirror in the Sky is about a teenager, Tara Krishnan, who goes to school with a bunch of wealthy kids, and often expresses her hardships as the only POC in her school. The recent discovery of another planet, called Terra Nova, leads everyone in this book to become thrilled since it is evident that there is life on Terra Nova. The synapsis and the front cover (which I think is beautiful!) make it clear that this book is going to be a sci-fi novel about a mirror planet, but going into this book, any reader should be made aware that they will be gravely disappointed if they wanted to book to be about this mirror planet. This book is more like a bad version of Mean Girls, focusing mainly on Tara’s pitiful journey of trying to become part of the popular crowd, and every couple of chapters briefly mentioning Terra Nova.

As a high school student who just finished her junior year of high school, I can easily say that the author has a very distorted view of what high school is like. Aditi makes it seem like every person in high school only wants to be popular. There is nothing else to life unless you are popular. Oh, and if you are popular, you will probably hate yourself anyways! The way Aditi treated the age of the characters seemed to come from the perspective of an adult who keeps blaming everything on the millennials at your annual family gathering. There was absolutely no depth the characters, and were definitely not relatable to the reader.

I’m the type of person who does not write in her books. If I find something really important, I put a sticky note on the page. This was the first book that I actually felt the need to tab my book, and I was not keeping track of the good things in this book. 20 pages into the book, and I was already tabbing away. Here are a few examples of things that just made me cringe as the book went along:

“Oh my God, and they’re like trying`to track down that lady in the picture.”

“I heard she’s already come forward but they’re like, interrogating her or something?”

“That’s like, so stupid.”

That is actual dialogue in this book, and unfortunately, most of the dialogue in the book is written in a similar fashion.

-“‘…and Alexa… well, you know Alexa.’ This was almost always how Alexa’s eating disorder was referred to, but everyone in the group knew about it.”

-“I looked at my mother now, grateful that I had inherited her slim dancers’ build. Briery was hard enough as it was- I couldn’t imagine going through four years of it like Moira Edwards, the “big girl” in our class who spent all her lunches in the library, reading.”

-“‘Don’t turn into Alexa on us,’ Veronica commented when she saw my half-eaten sandwich.”

Aditi does not know how to handle serious issues, such as eating disorders. Anorexia is constantly treated as a joke in this novel, and people who are overweight are frowned upon. This is not a good trend in novels. This is a novel directed towards people my age, and considering how many people I know that struggle with body image and eating disorders, this is not something to be joked about or referred to lightheartedly. This is not how teens treat their peers struggling with body image, and it should most definitely not be written about like this.

There were a few good things in this book. While I saw the endings “plot twist” from a mile away, it was creative and a good way to end the book. The existential comments in the last couple pages of the book were very well written. Aditi Khorana definitely has potential in her writing, but she should try writing for people her age rather than a young adult novel. It seems to me she does not quite have a grip on her characters and their feelings, mainly due to a misunderstanding about teens today.

Overall, I give this book 2/5 stars. It has an easy flow to the story, and I was able to read it very quickly, as I do for most YA books. I would not recommend this book to others, especially since the synapsis is very misguiding about the direction of the book. If you are looking for a book filled with cheesy teenage angst, though, then knock yourself out.

Love Always,

Chelsea

 

The Great Gatsby

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Here it is, the point where a hopelessly overwhelmed 16 year old decides it’s a great idea to try and write a review on classic literature. I’m hoping to get back to writing regular reviews, but unfortunately, I am extremely busy.

I read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald originally in March of this year. At the time I was in a huge reading slump and really did not enjoy it at all. I read it again in August for school because we were writing an essay on it and I did not want to only have a bad picture of it in my head. Reading it again was one of the best decisions I have made because I learned to appreciate it a lot more and to have a better understanding of the symbolism and characters featured in this classic work of literature.

Since the majority of people reading this review already know the summary of The Great Gatsby, I will try and make this brief. This piece of literature captures the lifestyle of the 1920’s featuring many fun parties hosted by our main character, Jay Gatsby. This story is captured through our narrator, Nick Caraway, which allows the reader to see themselves in the novel through a unique lens. The journey of the mysterious Gatsby and his fight for the love of his life will leave generations of readers fascinated by this story. Most importantly, though, the novel is not just meant to be a beautiful love story; it’s a representation of the American Dream. It shows how one can truly make a place for themselves in the world. This novel isn’t quite a pleasant ride, though, with a few dark themes underlying the main plot that a reader must be diligent in analyzing this novel for the true story. I found this book to be very clever and entertaining, leaving me infatuated with Mr. Gatsby.

This novel is considered to have beautiful writing, but quite honestly I was not a huge fan of his writing style. I can see what was pleasing about it to many of the novel’s fans, yet it just was not working for me. I also found this novel to be rich in symbolism through the variety of colors described throughout the novel and in how the readers could see themselves through both Nick and Gatsby. For example:

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter – tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther … And one fine morning —

I think this quote shows the significance of color throughout the novel. The reader themselves can determine what the colors actually mean, but it sure does provide many visuals for the reader.

I felt a haunting loneliness sometimes, and felt it in others–young clerks in the dusk, wasting the most poignant moments of night and life.

This quote is a specific example from me of why I did not like the writing style. I felt it to be strangely choppy and forced. Without a doubt, though, this has a unique writing to it, especially because of the perspective of our narrator. I think Nick is the reason why this novel is so popular today.

Overall I gave this novel 3/5 stars. I enjoyed the plot and overarching themes it had to offer, but the writing style is really what turned me off from this story. If anyone was to ask me for recommendations of classic literature, though, I would without a doubt put this novel on my list.

If you would like to buy this book, the Book Depository has the same edition featured in the picture above and for a great price here!

Love Always,

Chelsea

The Heir

Photo Credits to stardustbooks.tumblr.com

Alas! I have been waiting for this book for a very long time and it is finally here! Sadly, due to finals week and a 10 day adventure in France I had to put my book addiction briefly on hold. On the very long 9 hour flight to France I picked up this book and was not disappointed. This series is my guilty pleasure. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that since it is a cheesy distopian version of The Bachelor with mediocre writing, but for some reason I can’t seem to put it done. Well played Kierra Cass. I do not have a review published for The Selection, The Elite, nor The One, and I doubt I will ever get there. For now we will just discuss the most recent addition.

The Heir follows the selection of America and Maxon’s daughter, Princess Eadlyn. I found this novel very interesting because Eadlyn is the first princess to ever become the heir and the first princess to ever go through the selection process. So, to the angsty feminists out there, this novel is definitely for you. The overall plot was very similar to the plot of The Selection. We see the selection process with some random plot twists thrown in every once in a while. The novel even wraps up with a HUGE plot twist that I never saw coming and got me a little emotional. The main thing I did not like about this plot, though, is that I felt like Maxon and America were totally different people. I understand that they are supposed to be older and more mature, but America didn’t have the fire inside of her anymore. I miss the original characters especially because I did not like the character of Eadlyn. I found her very whiny and enjoyed the role of America much more in the previous novels. The highlight of these books, though, is definitely to fine young men in these novels. I try to avoid giving away spoilers in these reviews, but I would just like to say that I will be very angry if Eadlyn does not end up with Kile. I’m assuming there is going to be another novel based on how it ended, but I am not sure if I am going to read it. The writing is simply just mediocre and I feel that I can devote my time to better novels. Here are some examples of the writing:

I’m not sure anyone knows what they are looking for until they find it.

Wow. Thanks for the wisdom, Eadlyn Schreave. We’re all bloody inspired.

You can be brave and still be feminine. You can lead and still love flowers. Most importantly, you can be queen and still be a bride.

And here is a lovely example of the strong female role of Eadlyn. Yes, it is nice to see a feminist protagonist, but her feminist inspiration is not very inspiring.

Overall I gave this novel 3/5 stars. There were some things I definitely was not happy about while reading it, but I’m a sucker for this series in some weird way. As  my mind begs me to stop reading it, my heart refuses because I’m still drawn in by the plot.

Lastly, I would just like to say this series has beautiful covers. While I know you are not supposed to judge a book by its cover, that is the reason why I read this series in the first place. The princess on the cover is beautiful as always and the color schemes are always perfectly displayed. These books make a very nice addition to bookshelves and I have mine on display front and center.

Love Always,

Chelsea

The Lunar Chronicles

Photo credits to knittingandbooks on tumblr.
Photo credits to knittingandbooks on tumblr.

This review is going to be about the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. This series includes 4 books so far: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Fairest. Soon to be published is the 5th book, Winter (which I am SUPER excited for). This series is a futuristic retelling of classic fairytales. Not only does it play off all of your childhood emotions towards these characters, but it includes cyborgs and androids whom are both rarely seen in Young Adult literature. I had heard a lot of great things about this series and was quite looking forward to reading it!

The first book, Cinder, is a retelling of Cinderella. The first thing I immediately noticed was that the whole story was really predictable since I am very familiar with fairytales. I was a little wary of reading it since I was able to predict most things, but Meyer still managed to grab my interest. The story starts out introducing us to the main character, Cinder, who is a cyborg and hated by most people for being a cyborg. It then quickly takes a shift and introduces you to a plague and continues to introduce you to the very charming Emperor Kai who ends up pursuing Cinder. I’m going to avoid saying spoilers so I’m going to skip a lot of detail here, but Emperor Kai invites Cinder to the classic Cinderella ball. How romantic, one would think, but Meyer throws in a fascinating and well written plot twist at the ball that keeps you on the edge of your seat! Another memorable character is Iko, who is Cinder’s android with a very comedic personality. She adds the light touch of humor that is desperately needed in this novel and is my favorite character after Carswell Thorne (who is not introduced until Scarlet and is not talked about by me until Cress). Oh, and did I mention that there are also aliens? Aliens, androids, cyborgs. Quite the great science fiction mix we have here if you ask me! Plus it has a setting in Asia, which is also rather rare for YA literature. Overall I rated this first book 4/5 stars simply because Cinder was the very cliché young adult character we see in all YA literature these days.

The second book in the series, Scarlet, continues the tale left off in Cinder but now it changes to a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. Again, I found this book quite predictable too. I really had no attachment to the new characters either while reading this book and I came to really despise both Scarlet and Wolf because I found them both very whiney and annoying. More than anything, I just wanted it to go back to Cinder most of the time. It took me awhile longer to read this book than it did for Cinder and I finished it with a grudge. I graciously give this book 3/5 stars.

The third book is the wonderful retelling of Rapunzel called Cress. This is the book that really made me fall in love with the series because I really saw myself through Cress, who is a socially awkward girl (with good reason since she lives in isolation) who fangirls over the very very very charming Carswell Thorne. I have to admit that I started shipping Thorne and Cress hardcore and found myself scrolling through fanart multiple times while reading this. Cinder and Kai’s relationship also develops tremendously in this book and was done very well by Meyer. This book was a lot more enjoyable because it was not nearly as predictable as the others. Another thing I noticed was that it allowed the reader to really develop a new appreciation for nature through Cress describing Earth for the first time to Thorne. This specific quotes really stuck out to me while reading Cress:

“Maybe there isn’t such a thing as fate. Maybe it’s just the opportunities we’re given, and what we do with them. I’m beginning to think that maybe great, epic romances don’t just happen. We have to make them ourselves.”

While there are plenty of other wonderful quotes in this book, this book really spoke the reader and made them think of their own lives and not just the fictional world they are reading about. Overall, I give Cress 4.5/5 stars.

The final book in this series is Fairest, which is the story of Queen Levana, who is our classic antagonist. She is the evil Queen of Luna and Fairest is the story behind what made her the way she is. Personally, I was quite disturbed by the story and it did not have the classic Marissa Meyer touch to it as the rest of the series did, but we also must keep in mind that this book was simply a side book and isn’t vital to read for the series to progress. In the end I gave this book 3/5 stars for the great character development that is seen.

These books were a great addition to the YA genre and I recommend it to anyone who wants a good series to read that is quick, gripping, and entertaining.

Love Always,

Chelsea