Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Top Ten Most Memorable Secondary Characters

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the fab ladies at The Broke and the Bookish!

Top Ten Secondary Characters
(They almost stole the show!)
The Obvious
1. Isaac from The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
He made me bawl and love just as hard as Hazel and August. That eulogy...

2. Kenji from the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi
Oh, you know why.

3. Roar from the Under the Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi
Again, you know.

4. Harley from Across the Universe by Beth Revis

5. Joe Fontaine from The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
He toes the line of secondary/main love interest, but I wanted to include him. Because, saxaphone and wine.

The Best Friend We Want
6. Finny from The Theory of Everything by Kari Luna
Major, MAJOR Finny love from me.

7. Grover from the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
Funny and true.

8. Will from From What I Remember by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas
Independent and real, he's a fantastic friend.

9. Iko from Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Who doesn't want an Iko?!

There's No Other Way to Explain It
10. Every secondary character in Something Like Normal by Trish Doller
Because they all break my heart and make me believe in friendship, support and challenge all at once. Even the ones I wanted to punch.

Honorable Mention
Best Use of Secondary Characters To Enhance A Plot
Leo/Poet from Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
because his poetry makes it all the better.

Which secondary characters were most memorable to you?
Leave your link and I'll hop by!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Review: Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick & Suzanne Young (ARC)

Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick & Suzanne Young
Simon Pulse, 304 pages
Expected US Release Date: August 27, 2013
Format/Source: ARC via Around the World Tours - thank you!
Challenges: SARC 2013

Caroline is at a crossroads. Her grandmother is sick, maybe dying. Like the rest of her family, Caroline's been at Gram's bedside since her stroke. With the pressure building, all Caroline wants to do is escape--both her family and the reality of Gram's failing health. So when Caroline's best friend offers to take her to a party one fateful Friday night, she must choose: stay by Gram's side, or go to the party and live her life.

The consequence of this one decision will split Caroline's fate into two separate paths--and she's about to live them both.

Friendships are tested and family drama hits an all-new high as Caroline attempts to rebuild old relationships, and even make a few new ones. If she stays, her longtime crush, Joel, might finally notice her, but if she goes, Chris, the charming college boy, might prove to be everything she's ever wanted.

Though there are two distinct ways for her fate to unfold, there is only one happy ending...
------------------------Goodreads summary

Notable Quote
"...I can love you and be pissed at the same time. They're not mutually exclusive." 
Right before I started reading Just Like Fate, a friend told me she heard a lot of people saying this was their favourite book of the year. The pressure! Would I like it? Now I was expecting to love it, do you know how often that ruins great books for me?!

Well, ruining be damned because I understand completely how Just Like Fate could be at the top of many lists. It may not be at the top of mine, but it's definitely up there. It is everything I love, with just a little twist: contemporary, fate, destinies, dual narratives (kinda), swoon-worthy boys, drama and heartache, with some snippy, witty lines that made me laugh.

I have to first address that the writing in this was stellar - if I didn't already know it was two people writing this book, I never would have guessed it. At no point at all did I think the voices changed, there weren't any places where I felt the flow was broken or that something didn't match. Cat and Suzanne must have worked flawlessly together, because that's what the writing was.

Just Like Fate reminded me a lot of Pivot Point (sans the science fiction element, of course) (read my review here!), simply because it's the choice regarding family that effects the two outcomes. And I like how the choice really was a big one, with major changes. At the same time, Just Like Fate also reminded me a lot of Relativity by Cristina Bishara (my review will be posted in a few weeks, but you can read it here if you'd like) in that it's also about how one tiny change can alter a lifetime; and how some things are just destined to come true, regardless how we get there. Which is a point I love, because that's my own personal belief: I truly believe there are situations and/or people that we are individually meant to go through or know.

I know I just compared Just Like Fate to a lot of different books; that's not to say this book isn't unique on it's own or can stand alone - because it definitely can! Like I said, it's a lot of things we've seen before, a lot of my beloved elements...but all with a twist. I love that it's still a contemporary novel, even though we're living out two lives. I love that it's the style of dual narratives, even though it's more like two narrations. There are subtle changes that take you by surprise, and big huge ones that knock you off your feet. I absolutely loved the characters, even though I found a few of them to be pretty predictable.  I especially liked how the end is entirely ambiguous and yet completely definitive at the same time -- that is skill and cleverness all wrapped into one!

Something I also loved is how much is handled in this book. So much family drama, friendships gone strained, relationships gone super-steamy and/or super-wrong, even Caroline's own journey of mourning and running and bad habits. It seems like a lot, but it all works together so seamlessly you really grow attached to everyone and everything. 

And last, but definitely not least...Chris. One of the boys Caroline could end up with. Oh, my heart. I loved him in both situations, and I love that he's a little bit different in both but at the core the very same adorable boy with a soulful strum in his guitar and a nice arrogant humor that mixes so well with his admiration for Caroline. I love him, and I want him. Just like how much I love this book and want you to like it as well -- except for Chris, because he's mine.

5 stars

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Review: Wait For You by J. Lynn (ARC)

Wait For You by J. Lynn (Jennifer L. Armentrout)
Harper Collins, 336 pages
Expected US Release Date: September 3, 2013
Format/Source: ARC, via Around the World Tours
- thank you!
Challenges: SARC 2013, New Adult Challenge

Some things are worth waiting for…

Traveling thousands of miles from home to enter college is the only way nineteen-year-old Avery Morgansten can escape what happened at the Halloween party five years ago—an event that forever changed her life. All she needs to do is make it to her classes on time, make sure the bracelet on her left wrist stays in place, not draw any attention to herself, and maybe—please God—make a few friends, because surely that would be a nice change of pace. The one thing she didn’t need and never planned on was capturing the attention of the one guy who could shatter the precarious future she’s building for herself.

Some things are worth experiencing…

Cameron Hamilton is six feet and three inches of swoon-worthy hotness, complete with a pair of striking blue eyes and a remarkable ability to make her want things she believed were irrevocably stolen from her. She knows she needs to stay away from him, but Cam is freaking everywhere, with his charm, his witty banter, and that damn dimple that’s just so… so lickable. Getting involved with him is dangerous, but when ignoring the simmering tension that sparks whenever they are around each other becomes impossible, he brings out a side of her she never knew existed.

Some things should never be kept quiet…

But when Avery starts receiving threatening emails and phone calls forcing her to face a past she wants silenced, she’s has no other choice but to acknowledge that someone is refusing to allow her to let go of that night when everything changed. When the devastating truth comes out, will she resurface this time with one less scar? And can Cam be there to help her or will he be dragged down with her?

And some things are worth fighting for…
-------------------------------------Goodreads summary

Notable Quote
Two bright spots appeared in her cheeks as she tossed her blonde hair back. “What? I’m not asahamed to admit that random things remind me of Harry Potter.”
“That guy over there reminds me of Snape,” Cam said, jerking his chin to the table behind us. “So I understand.”
I’ve never read any books by Jennifer L. Armentrout (or J. Lynn, as she’s writing a few now), but I’ve certainly heard about them. The words “hot”, “sexy”,  and “HOT!” are usually in there. So now that I’ve read something by her?

Damn, yo. That girl can write some hot, sexy pages. Woo! *fans self*

Truth be told, I’m not entirely blown away, but I can damn sure appreciate what that woman can do with words. Her narrative somehow makes it sweet and sexy all at once, where I want to cuddle with the words as much as I want to rip Cam’s clothing off.  This is very much a New Adult, and a new adult novel done quite well.

The part that I’m not blown away with though is the story itself – it’s pretty typical. I know what’s going to happen. Just reading the summary will pretty much tell you all there is to know, and it never surprises you from there. Sometimes that’s good – and this novel does the typical well! – but it’s also a little…meh. Sometimes I’d like just a line or something that makes me go “Oh, didn’t see that coming!” Unfortunately, that never happened with Wait For You.

Doesn’t mean I didn’t love reading it though. I don’t really like Avery much – and it’s not that I dislike her, I just don’t like her. Neutrality. She’s fine, but I didn’t find her particularly special or appealing. Everything about her does make sense though, and that I appreciate – she’s gone through a lot of traumas, and her parents SUCK MAJOR ASS (that’s the nicest I could really put it), and I really appreciate that her character personality follows through with her story.

My neutrality about Avery is deeeeefinitely leveled out by my love for Cameron Hamilton though – oh MAN. Sure, he’s perhaps just a little too perfect (even his backstory is just a little too perfect), but he’s just perfect so WELL. He’s cute and funny and charming and sensual and if there ever existed a man like him, I think the women of the world would die of swoonage. Can he please just pop out of thin air and call me sweetheart? Just once. That’s really all I ask.

For being a 500 page book**, I read it shockingly fast – sure that could have to do with the typeset and the spacing being large enough for my grandma to read it without glasses, but still – it’s a quick read that makes you feel several things (in your heart and…other parts). Even though I said I wasn’t blown away by it, you can bet your pretty little buttons that I’m going to read her other works now, too.

3.5 Stars
**the ARC I’ve read is 500 pages. According to the cover copy, the final form will actually be 336 pages.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill (ARC)

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
Disney Hyperion, 368 Pages
Expected US Release Date: September 3, 2013
Format/Source: ARC via Around the World Tours
- thank you!
Challenges: Stand Alone Challenge 2013

"You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was.

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.
------------------------Goodreads summary

Notable Quote
"Sometimes you have to hurt someone for the greater good."
So if you've read my blog for awhile, you know how I feel about time travel. It's one of my major turn-offs in books (and movies, and TV shows...) - I don't do it. I just have so many issues with the execution and the technicalities and semantics and just...no. It's one of my instant-nos. So why did I give All Our Yesterdays a try? Mainly, all the buzz surrounding it. I kept hearing so many great things, and I love the opening to that summary - it makes it so hard to resist! Plus there's some vaguely dystopian elements hinted at - or at least war torn, which makes it all the more intriguing. I've also got a weirdly soft spot for cyclical things. I don't know what it is, and I'm fully aware how much it undermines my time travel aversion.

And now that I've read All Our Yesterdays...I won't be clamboring for every time travel book ever made, but I can damn sure shout from the rooftops that all the hype? SO WORTH IT. Totally deserving, and potentially even more.

You know what also got me? The dual narratives (ish...well, you know if you've read it). I am a sucker for dual narratives, and both of these were freakin' fantastic. Especially once you learn how Em and Marina are tied together and how they interconnect. It was fascinating once you knew, and you started to be like "Oh no...what's that going to mean for the other?!" Each narrative was also pretty distinctive, which I always appreciate. Em is older than Marina, in both age and experience, and it was pretty easy to tell from the writing. Cristin Terrill did a great job reflecting each person's age in the writing.

The story itself is what absolutely sold me on this. No, I still don't like time travel - there will always be holes and plotlines that bother me or don't make sense - but the rest of this book is filled to the brim with action, emotion, feelings, and little lines that just make your heart jump. There's real sadness, real conflict, real complexities and layers to this story, and it made me fly through the pages trying to figure it all out as fast as I could. The relationships were riveting too, especially Marina and James friendship - it's so strong but so brittle all at the same time, and your eyes just get wider and wider the more cracks you see.

I feel like my review will get lost among the masses they demand you READ THIS ASAP, but it's true: you need to read this. 

Last thing? Kind of love that this is a stand-alone (it is, right?). Sure, there's real potential for a continuation, or at least companion novels as we explore Em's cyclical life/lives - but I kind of like knowing that this was it. There's a finality that really completed it.

5 Stars
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