sexta-feira, 15 de maio de 2015

The Fill-In Boyfriend - Kasie West

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
Published on May 5, 2015 by HarperTeen

When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she decides to do the unthinkable…convince the cute guy waiting to pick up his sister to pretend to be her boyfriend for the night. The task is simple: two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

The problem is that days after prom, she can't stop thinking about her fill-in boyfriend. But can Gia turn her fake boyfriend into a real one without exposing her lie and possibly destroying her friendships and her newfound relationship?

Smartly observed and wonderfully romantic, Kasie West's talent shines in this tale of one girl's unexpected quest to find love…and possibly herself.
This is my second Kasie West book and I'm each time more sure that there is no wrong when choosing a book by this author, as with "On the Fence" (one of my favorite contemporary reads, for like ever) this one brought me much joy and happy moments, a funny banter but it also made me ugly sob at points and my heart hurt in ways that I didn't think it was possible.

Gia is not a girl that opens up about problems, to anybody, not even her closest friends, all of that comes from her family ways of always showing a model of perfection and having to be put together 100% of the time but the funny thing is that she didn't realized this had an impact on her until Fill-In Bradley shows up on her life and messes everything - with a crush she can't have because it would be way to complicated, a sister that probably hates Gia and a family that seems to be the completely opposed of hers.

Because of that the romance has a very big role and I definitely can't complain about this. Having to act as fake boyfriend-girlfriend, Gia and Fill-In Bradley, started their relationship the other way around first with physical contact and them getting to know each other - and it was so much FUN! Every single touch they had made me so static and I would giggle like a mad person over it, like a total normal person of course. And their talks were so great too, they had such a great banter together and I found myself laughing out loud so many times with their interactions. 

One other big part of the reason why Gia changed was her interactions with Bec, Fill-In Bradley sister, Bec probably hates Gia when they first interact (and with good reason) and because of that Gia starts to really think about the way she has been acting and how her friends are. It was really great to see Gia's character arc, is pretty easy to get caught up on a group of friends when you know them since forever and don't question it but it's natural that you will grow out of some of it at some point. 

I would have liked to have a few things better handled on the ending. Like how did Gia's relationship with her old friends stayed? I mean where they ever really friends? Because it didn't seemed so, also I would have liked to get to know more about Jules, she seemed like such a amazing and messed up character. Gia's family too, I think that her relationship with Drew was handled on a good way on the ending but I would have liked a more honest talk between Gia and her parents to see how things were going to go from now on with them.

Overall I loved this book fiercely, Gia was an amazing character and it was a pleasure to see her grow so much - I would recommend this book to everyone that likes flawed main characters working their way through a better self and, of course, fans of the fake dating trope.

quarta-feira, 13 de maio de 2015

Making Pretty - Corey Ann Haydu

Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu 
Published on May 12, 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books
[This book was given to me by the Publisher but this on no way affected my opinion.]

Montana and her sister, Arizona, are named after the mountainous states their mother left them for. But Montana is a New York City girl through and through, and as the city heats up, she’s stepping into the most intense summer of her life.

With Arizona wrapped up in her college world and their father distracted by yet another divorce, Montana’s been immersing herself in an intoxicating new friendship with a girl from her acting class. Karissa is bold, imperfectly beautiful, and unafraid of being vulnerable. She’s everything Montana would like to become. But the friendship with Karissa is driving a wedge between Montana and her sister, and the more of her own secrets Karissa reveals, the more Montana has to wonder if Karissa’s someone she can really trust.

In the midst of her uncertainty, Montana finds a heady distraction in Bernardo. He’s serious and spontaneous, and he looks at Montana in the way she wants to be seen. For the first time, Montana understands how you can become both lost and found in somebody else. But when that love becomes everything, where does it leave the rest of her imperfect life?
At first I was totally gonna past this book, the tittle and the cover (yes, I judge books by their cover whatever who never) sounded like not my kind of contemporary, but them the early reviews started to pop up and it was so much positive buzz saying things about this that totally sounded like it could be a me book that I had to check it out. And this is probably one of my favorite things about reviewers or even people that just put a small opinion about the book - putting books on the radar that otherwise would have passed by without notice or making me give another shot about books that I had already discarded as not for me or not interested.

Right from the first chapter I knew I would finish this book and look out for other books of this author, because seriously the writing is so good - it's kind of a stream of thoughts but not really, I don't know how to explain but it was really raw and it was incredible easy to get into Montana's head and feel all her emotions without a filter. Montana's character was a curious thing for me, she reminded me a lot of me with 17, specially her impulsiveness when trying to escape her problems, so I think that if I had read this one earlier on my life it would have been a favorite, now that I'm older I could see the motives for her actions and understand her emotions but also I could look from a distance angle and analyze it better.

I really liked the way the relationships were written on this book, this was probably my favorite part of the story - Haydu has a way of picturing just how messy and complicated a close relationship can be (no matter if it's with family, friends or lovers), how it doesn't matter how much you love someone and try to make it work sometimes it's impossible not to hurt each other, I especially loved the relationship between Montana, Arizona and their father, it showed in such a honest way how people can mess up with each other but also that this doesn't mean that there is any less love between them. The romance was pictured really great, I think, it was realistic to a first love their intensity and need to be always together and how hard it was to picture a day when that love wasn't going to make sense.

One of the things that bothered me was Karissa's character, she clearly has serious mental issues and it was addressed (kind of, I don't know people took Montana serious?) but at the same time it was never really dealt with, I know the focus wasn't Karissa's story so it didn't bothered me all that much. What did bothered me was the ending, it was a huge open ending, like seriously it was so big that it could lead to another book without any problem and I didn't enjoyed it, I usually don't have problems with open endings but I did had with this one - the main reason is the fact that nothing really seemed resolved, Montana's life is pretty fucked up on this summer and her relationship with her dad, best friend, sister, Karissa, Natasha and Bernardo are all a mess, so I was expecting that at the end we would come to a resolution of this summer you know but yeah no. And I could have dealt with that, because life is messy and blablabla but Montana is basically running away from all her problems at the ending and is acting like everything will be okay with that and this bothered me a lot.

Overall I enjoyed this book a lot, it was a crazy ride definitely, it made me laugh and make me heart hurt at times too and made me wish to be in love again (but only the first months of being in love, without the messy parts of later). I recommended it to everyone that loves a good contemporary story about growing up and first loves and summer on New York.

Ps.: this one has a lot of underage drinking and smoking and stuff so if you don't like that on your books I would recommend passing this one.

segunda-feira, 11 de maio de 2015

Love and Other Foreign Words - Erin McCahan

Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan
Published on May 1, 2014 by Dial

Perfect for fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell, Love and Other Foreign Words is equal parts comedy and coming of age--a whip-smart, big-hearted, laugh-out-loud love story about sisters, friends, and what it means to love at all.

Can anyone be truly herself--or truly in love--in a language that's not her own?

Sixteen-year-old Josie lives her life in translation. She speaks High School, College, Friends, Boyfriends, Break-ups, and even the language of Beautiful Girls. But none of these is her native tongue--the only people who speak that are her best friend Stu and her sister Kate. So when Kate gets engaged to an epically insufferable guy, how can Josie see it as anything but the mistake of a lifetime? Kate is determined to bend Josie to her will for the wedding; Josie is determined to break Kate and her fiancé up. As battles are waged over secrets and semantics, Josie is forced to examine her feelings for the boyfriend who says he loves her, the sister she loves but doesn't always like, and the best friend who hasn't said a word--at least not in a language Josie understands.
The only thing that made "Love and Other Foreign Words" not be a total "OH MY GOD, I LOVE IT SO MUCH" read for me was the pacing at the start and the time frame that this story includes, both were connected. I don't remember exactly how much time it passes during this book but I do remember that is more than a year, this unusual on contemporary novel and for me, even when talking about fantasy/dystopian books they usually only include a week or month of someones life and events. And this made some of the events of the beginning of the story unnecessary, like some of it could have been cut out to make the pace quicker or made room for others parts of the story (like the actual ship). But still, with my problems with the pace, this was a great book that I devoured on one day and a half.

My favorite part of the story has to be Josie relationship with her family, but specialty with her sister Kate. Josie and Kate have been best friends since always and Kate is one of the few people on earth with whom Josie doesn't need to translate herself and vice versa, so it's obviously that Josie will not react okay when someone - Kate's fiancé -  tries to change this dynamic. I think that everyone that loved "To All the Boys I've Loved Before" by Jenny Han will also love the sister relationship in this one, is at times messy and complicated but it's also the one thing that you can count on everyday of your life, on the bad and on the good, and it was a great source of growing for Josie since she hates changes so much.

One other big factor on this book is love on the romantic sense. Josie doesn't understand why Kate changed so much because of one person, one person that for Josie isn't even good enough for Kate, so of course the only possible way of Josie dealing with that is by researching and trying to find an answer of what is love. On this quest of sorts Josie will grow a lot and get to know herself and her feelings even more than she expected, this part of the story really touched me because Josie, as a genius and thinking differently from everyone around her, didn't really expected to find what love is but I do think that she ended up understanding a lot more about human emotions and how much different faces love can have (just like her translation for other words on different groups) but that it will also never stop being something new and different.

Now about Josie's romance I was kind of disappointed, not disappointed but more like I wanted more scenes on the SHIP - because there was a super sweet ship. So yeah, anyway Josie falls in love a couple of times during the book and I get why she needed to have these experiences so she could be ready for THE SHIP and to start to understand her feelings and everything, also it was fun in a kind of masochist way to see all that was right in front of Josie and she never seeing it (and having the confirmation that I wasn't the only one on this ship).

Other things that I enjoyed about this were Josie herself, she was an amazing narrator, hilarious (because she thought and perspective the world around her on such different ways, kind of on the way that Sheldon, from The Big Bang Theory was but more functional) and touching (I cried on a lot of passages), she is definitely one of the most memorable characters that I read so far on my lifetime. Also really loved the way that Josie, despite being a genius, isn't bullied, have friends (both on her college as well as on high school), isn't described as ugly on any part or anything close to it and is part of a sportive active after school.

In case you didn't noticed yet I really liked this book, it was an super fun read but also touching, so I recommended it to you if you like humourous books or contemporary reads or memorable characters or novels that are very character driven or all of the above or basically just read this book, I'm pretty sure you will enjoy it.

sábado, 9 de maio de 2015

The Holders - Julianna Scott

The Holders by Julianna Scott
Series: Holders #1
Published on March 5, 2013 by Strange Chemistry
17-year-old Becca spent her whole life protecting her brother from, well, everything. The abandonment of their father, the so called 'experts' who insist that voices in his head are unnatural and must be dealt with, and the constant threat of being taken away to some hospital and studied like an animal. When two representatives appear claiming to have the answers to Ryland's perceived problem, Becca doesn't buy it for one second. That is until they seem to know things about Ryland and about Becca and Ryland's family, that forces Becca to concede that there may be more to these people than meets the eye. Though still highly skeptical, Becca agrees to do what's best for Ryland.

What they find at St. Brigid's is a world beyond their imagination. Little by little they piece together the information of their family's heritage, their estranged Father, and the legend of the Holder race that decrees Ryland is the one they've been waiting for. However, they are all--especially Becca--in for a surprise that will change what they thought they knew about themselves and their kind.

She meets Alex, a Holder who is fiercely loyal to their race, and for some reason, Becca and Ryland. There's an attraction between Becca and Alex that can't be denied, but her true nature seems destined to keep them apart. However, certain destinies may not be as clear cut as everyone has always believed them to be.

Becca is lost, but found at the same time. Can she bring herself to leave Ryland now that he's settled and can clearly see his future? Will she be able to put the the feelings she has for Alex aside and head back to the US? And can Becca and Ryland ever forgive their father for what he's done?
Okay, so sometimes I watch series or read books out of order that is supposed to be (like with "Chuck" that I started by the last season and worked my way till the first one) I did that with this series, I read "The Seers" back when it was released and only now got back to read the first one. Despite this not having compromised my enjoyment of the second book it did had it's effect on my reading experience with this one.

For start I already knew what was gonna be the major plot twist and what was gonna go down because of that, so it was kind of... Not boring, but I felt like I already knew the plot of this book so at times was like unnecessary - of course that if you're a normal person and is reading them on order it will NOT be because it will basically the whole plot of the book so yeah.

What didn't had to do with me reading the second book first was the time that it took to the actual plot to get going, this book isn't exactly slow paced because since the very first scene we have things happening but is mostly world building of the Holders and their school and stuff like that so it can be really slow at times.

But what made me come back to this series was it's characters and getting to know them, since their first interactions was worthed, Becca continues to be as kick butt and no taking shit as I remembered, Alex is still one of the sweetest guys and these two together where the most sweet thing - it was really fun to see they getting to realise their feelings on this book, since I had only read about them as a couple. Becca and Ryland's relationship too was amazing, I really liked to see how much she cared about him and how important he was to her. But basically Becca and everything is really cool to read about.

I super recommend this book if you're into X-Men, people with powers in general, fantasy/urban fantasy or even paranormal (this one really reads like paranormal to me).

quinta-feira, 7 de maio de 2015

Crimson Bound - Rosamund Hodge

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
Published on May 5, 2015 by Balzer + Bray
[This book was provided to me by the Publisher but this in no way affected my opinion.]

When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.

Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?

Inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, Crimson Bound is an exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption.
Okay, so I made a huge mistake when entering this book. The first one was to listen to GR saying that this was part of the same world of Cruel Beauty but the second, and bigger one, was to actually enter this specting a Cruel Beauty 2.0 - which means mythology based novel focused mostly on an epic romance, but Crimson Bound there is much more to it and in a lot of ways is much more successful than Cruel Beauty despite not having given me that much emotions.

The first thing that Crimson Bound differs from Cruel Beauty is in it's world, this time around we spend a lot more time building this world on it's mythology and magical aspects but also on the politics of it, seeing how it works (since Rachelle works for the King), this came to me as a very high fantasy aspect and it did slowed the pace of the book - we need time to digest everything that has been happening to this world and understand how Rachelle wants to change it. For me this parts wasn't boring but if you're not a fan of slow paced books you may want to rethink reading this one.

Rachelle is another wonderful main character that Hodge managed to create. She is a bloodbound, which means she was marked by the forest and killed to survive, working for the king on killing creatures that manage to escape of the forest (which is the magical *thing* of this world) and she does that so she feels less guilty of having killed her aunt. I love the internal struggles that Hodge manages to create with all of her characters, Rachelle is torn between guilty and wanting to be good but also wanting to stay alive, and this created a multi layered character that made me care for her story.

About the romance, this is probably the weakest point of the story, I was highly anticipating a great ship but that wasn't what happened. We kind of have a love triangle, I don't know if I would call it that because it's pretty clear that Rachelle only have feelings for one of the parts, the other part is only there to cause unnecessary complication, usually I don't mind love triangles even the ones that are unnecessary but I really, really didn't enjoyed the execution of this one. On one hand we Erec, which is also a bloodbound but on the contrary of Rachelle he loves it, their relationship is made of snark remarks, lust and an obsessive love from Erec's part and I enjoyed their interactions for the most part. What really annoyed me was the main couple, Rachelle and Armand, I started out really enjoying them but they annoyed towards the end because they would kiss and swear love to each other (or close to it) and then something would happen and they would be all like "Oh my god, I thought you didn't wanted me anymore" and on repeat (I swear they "broke up" and "made out" three times during the novel, and they only get together after the halfway point so yeah).

Except for that I really did enjoyed this book, it was slightly unfair my early comparisons of this with Cruel Beauty since this is completely different and a new unique story by it's own right. Oh, also I don't really know why this is a Red Riding Hood retelling (maybe Erec is the big bad wolf?) because it was really loosely their similarities. I would recommend it to lovers of fantasy and mythology, fans of great lyrical writing and strong and layered characters.

terça-feira, 5 de maio de 2015

A Court of Thorns and Roses - Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Published on May 5, 2015 by Bloomsbury Children's

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!
ACOTAR is my fifth book by Sarah J. Maas and I already consider her one of my auto-buy/read authors that is not, for me, the same as saying that I love everything that she writes, me and her books had our highs and lows and unfortunately ACOTAR is one of the lows.

1. The Pace: the first 30% of this book were killing me, things were sort of happening and I mean we had to get a lot of world building but oh my god it took me forever to read it (seriously, it took me almost three months, I was reading a chapter and putting it down, reading other books and them coming back reading another chapter and on), some of it had to do with the writing that is really descriptive and beautiful at times but is kind of heavy and hard for me to digest at times. But what really heightened on the pace for me was the fact that we have very little happening on the plot front but a lot of character building happen and we get to my second problem which was that

2. I cared for hardly anyone: I didn't hate Feyre and Tamlim and etc. but I also didn't feel head over heels about any off them, especially Feyre, which is our main character and narrator, she never really stood out of the pages for me, she was strong and determined and all of that but I don't know, there was some spark missing from her, something that I could pin point as a characteristic only of her and not things as generic as the qualities that she did show. The other characters also suffered this, like I could tell what their motivations are to be on this war but I can't say that I know them besides that, which was a real bummer because I was expecting to at lest get to know more about Tamlim. The only character that I had a real interest on was Rhys, he was amazing and a layered character that I really hope has a bigger role on the next book.

3. The Romance: as being a Beauty and the Beast retelling is no surprise to anyone that the romance plays a big part on this story, around 30% into the story something happens and we have Tamlim and Feyre getting close and getting to know more of each other, this part of their romance really pleased me because they would just talk and stuff, Feyre attraction to him seemed a little bit too early on since his appearance wasn't exactly much human with that mask but they did took their time to act upon their feelings so I was overall okay with it. The part that I did not enjoyed was the alpha male trait of Tamlim, I know he is a Beast but still it was really not appealing to me when he would be all like "do as I say" or one scene where he was violent with her and she was all horny with it, just not my type of romance.

4. That late plot: So when we're about 70% (I think) in we finally start to see a plot on the horizon and well, it was really weird and it felt disconnected from the rest of the novel. It was like we were on a Beauty and the Beast retelling until that point and then we switched to a Alice in Wonderland retelling, I swear, I don't think I can talk about this without the spoiler tag so (but is only mildly so if you want to read anyway it won't ruin your reading experience) Okay, so Feyre is having to save her life by doing the most ridiculous tasks, like fight a giant worm, that was like way to dafuck did I just read to me, like I know it was supposed to be like live or death but it was so silly, I couldn't take it seriously also the villain was just a crazy psycho bitch, I mean she got A LOT of lucky when she got the power cause seriously.

5. That ending: I just I don't know what to do with what happened on the ending, I just... I will need to go to the spoiler tag again, bear with me (and this will be totally spoilery so don't read it if you have not read the book yet) So basically Feyre could have been turned a fae all along - I think this was the last part of the curse? That she couldn't know, but it just seemed so... Bad to me, is just like fae's are vampires now and anyone can turn into one, just like that. I guess that if I was liking the rest of it, it would have been awesome and etc. but I wasn't so was just one more thing that made me raise my eyebrows.

6. A Detail: This is just one little detail but with all the rest that bothered just added, so I will mention. So Feyre is supposed to be almost illiterate, she knows the writing of a few words but that's it and the narrative is in first person, so it bugged me that someone that have little to none knowledge of grammatical things and should have a very scarce vocabulary is so well articulate on it's thoughts and speaking. I know the book wouldn't be as beautiful or interesting being wrote on the voice of someone illiterate, but still it was an inconsistency on my view.

Overall I didn't really enjoyed this book, at all, it wasn't really my cup of tea but don't be discouraged by me there is a lot of other people that absolutely loved it. If you never read Sarah J. Maas I would suggest starting with the "Throne of Glass" series first (which I absolutely love) and them trying this one, if you already love Sarah J. Maas other works I really hope you will fall on the group that enjoyed this one.