Dark Triumph – Robin LaFevers

10194157Title: Dark Triumph
Series:
(
His Fair Assassin, #2)
Author:
Robin LaFevers
Category: Young Adult

Goodreads

Sybella arrives at the convent’s doorstep half mad with grief and despair. Those that serve Death are only too happy to offer her refuge—but at a price. The convent views Sybella, naturally skilled in the arts of both death and seduction, as one of their most dangerous weapons. But those assassin’s skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to a life that nearly drove her mad. And while Sybella is a weapon of justice wrought by the god of Death himself, He must give her a reason to live. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for?

MY REVIEW

“Hate cannot be fought with hate. Evil cannot be conquered by darkness. Only love has the power to conquer them both.”

In the second installment of the His Fair Assassin series, we follow Sybella, mad and wild, locked in a castle with the cruel d’Albret, whom just so happens to be her father. Sybella, who we saw in Ismae’s story as a wild unruly girl, teethering on insanity. And here, we learn where the madness thrust upon Sybella was born.

Under d’Albrets cruel rule over his household, Sybella fears of being discovered as an ally of the Duchess, Anne of Brittany. She also happens to be a handmaiden of death, and can trust no one except her brother, Julian, who is sometimes hinted as her lover.

Sybella lies in wait, waiting on word from the nuns at the convent that her dear father is marked for death. Waiting, and waiting, and yet confirmation is never allowed. Sybella is angry, for she was the one who wanted to see her father’s life drained by her own hand. Instead of recieving word to execute d’Albret, she is given the task of rescuing a loyal ally of the Duchess… the Beast of Waroch. It was great to have a hero’s appeal based on loyalty and the love for his country and the Duchess instead of beauty. Beast, as you can tell by his nickname, is no handsome knight.

Together, Sybella and Beast fight alongside one another as equals and return to the palace to warn the Duchy of  d’Albret’s plans. There is very little romance, and it felt a little unattended, especially when you compare their attraction to that of Ismae and Duval in Grave Mercy.

LaFever’s does a swell job at making you want to keep turning the pages in order to find out all of Sybella’s dirty little secrets. Also, I loved the real events in this that made it seem all the more real. There really was a d’Albret and Anne.

While this didn’t live up to Grave Mercy in terms of how much I loved it, I still give it four cupcakes.

4stars

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Shadow & Bone – Leigh Bardugo

10194157Title: Shadow & Bone
Series:
(
The Grisha, #1)
Author:
Leigh Bardugo
Category: Young Adult
Rating: 5

Goodreads

 

The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance.

MY REVIEW

“I missed you every hour. And you know what the worst part was? It caught me completely by surprise. I’d catch myself just walking around to find you, not for any reason, just out of habit, because I’d seen something that I wanted to tell you about or because I wanted to hear your voice. And then I’d realize that you weren’t there anymore, and every time, every single time, it was like having the wind knocked out of me.”

Leigh Bargudo has created a very beautiful, albeit ravaged mystical world of Ravka where the Grisha (people with…supernatural abilities) serve the King and yield to the being named the Darkling.

Alina Starkov is an orphan, completely overlooked and unaware of what she is. She’s serving as a junior cartographer in the army, where her best friend Mal is serving as a soldier. As the army passes through the horrific darkness called The Shadow Fold, they are attacked by vocra, monsterous beings that make traveling through the Fold deadly. Mal is attached, and Alina unsurfaces her ability that she’s buried so far deep within herself, she never knew it existed. A sun summoner, the only of her kind, she is whisked away to the Little Palace by the Darkling to learn to hone her abilities and help him destroy the Fold.

Within moments, I was in love with the mystic, perilous world Bargudo has created, even pouring over the map of Ravka as I read the book to determine where our heroine was every moment. I devoured this book every little chance I had to sneak a moment to read. I was enticed by the Darkling, same as Alina. Even though I predicted what he would become, it didn’t stop me from loving him any less. Until he did it, then I was like:

And the relationship between Mal and Alina? Even if he wasn’t there for nearly half of the book, when they were together, you could see their connection. They were both orphaned, growing up in Kerazim, and their friendship was a natural bond that some authors have trouble showcasing it.

All in all, I can’t believe I left this unattended on my bookshelf for months. I was afraid to read it in fear of not liking it, but I am grateful it was such a good read, and once I tore through Shadow and Bone, I went and kindle’d Storm and Siege because I absolutely could not wait to go to the bookstore eventually and pick it up. Especially with that jawdropping cliffy. Definitely a 2013 favorite must-read!

Earthbound – Aprilynne Pike

16101072Title: Earthbound
Series:
(
Earthbound, #1)
Author:
Aprilynne Pike
Category: Young Adult
Rating: 3

Goodreads

Tavia Michaels is the sole survivor of the plane crash that killed her parents. When she starts to see strange visions of a boy she’s never spoken with in real life, she begins to suspect that there’s much about her past that she isn’t being told.

Tavia immediately searches for answers, desperate to determine why she feels so drawn to a boy she hardly knows. But when Tavia discovers that the aunt and uncle who took her in after her parents’ death may have actually been responsible for the plane crash that killed them–and that she may have been the true intended victim–she flees for the safety of Camden, Maine, where the boy she sees in her visions instructs her to go.

Now, Tavia is on the run with no one to trust. No one, that is, except for her best friend and longtime crush, Benson.

Tavia feels torn between the boy who mysteriously comes to her at night and the boy who has been by her side every step of the way. But what Tavia doesn’t know is that the world is literally falling apart and that to save it she will have to unite with the boy in her visions. Only problem? To do so would mean rejecting Benson’s love. And that’s the one thing Tavia Michaels swore she’d never do.

MY REVIEW

When I first heard of Earthbound, my reaction was something like this: “A girl who can create matter?! SIGN ME UP!” In hopes that it had some of cool pseudo-science that the late show Fringe had left behind, I quickly added this to my TBR list.

The beginning sucked me in with the suspense. Tavia is the only survivor of a plane crash that killed her parents along with countless other passengers. She shouldn’t have survived. Tavia is sent to her aunt and uncle whom she barely knows in order to get away from the media and their obsession with the sole survivor of a horrific plane crash. Tavia’s trying to work through things, both physically and mentally after this tragic accident shifted her entire world. Until she starts seeing things. People that aren’t there. Soon after meeting the mysterious otherworldly Quinn, Tavia begins to develop strange abilities and make things appear and disappear out of thin air.

As Tavia delves into her past and trying to find out her connection to Quinn and her newfound abilities, Tavia learns the deadly truth about what really happened on the plane, and her “aunt and uncles” possible involvement with it.

With the help of her crush, Benson, the two run off to Camden, Maine, where Tavia thinks Quinn may be waiting for her.

What could’ve been a great novel felt short and lacking to me. A majority of this novel is spent with Tavia going back and forth, “Oh Benson, I love him. But ugh, Quinn, I love him too. I love both of them. Hey, Benson, come back here, I love you!” Tavia keeps going back and forth of her feelings for her crush Benson and Quinn who she has these complicated feelings for despite talking to him twice, and even that wasn’t real.

If Pike had spent more time on the plot and actually fleshing it out rather than flesh out a boring love triangle, this book could’ve been amazing and epic. The summary was so interesting, and the concept was fun and original. The execution, however, not so much. Three stars, because the last few pages picked up and interested me, especially after getting rid of some annoying characters for the time being.

 

Incarnate – Jodi Matthews

15745753Title: Incarnate
Series:
(Newsoul, #1)
Author:
Jodi Matthews
Category:
Young Adult
Rating: 3

Goodreads

NEWSOUL
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

NOSOUL
Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

HEART
Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

 

MY REVIEW

“Im not going to waste time being angry about things I cant control. If I only have one life, I should make the most of it.”

Ana is a newsoul, the first born in five thousand years. And since the day of birth, she has been both hated and feared. Other souls have been reincarnated over and over for the last five-thousand years, and Ana’s appearence and the disappearence of Ciana instills fear into many that she may be the beginning of the end.

Raised by a bitter mother who believed she was a “nosoul”, incapable of true emotion or feeling, Ana sets out on her eighteenth birthday for a journey in self discovery. She wishes to travel to Range and implore the library for any explanation there may be as to why she was born and replaced Ciana. Along her path to self-discovery, she meets Sam, who shows her that she isn’t the nosoul her mother claimed her to be, but a newsoul. Tensions rise when dragons attack, and everyone knows that one attack will lead to others. Many blame this sudden attack on Ana’s arrival in Range.

Overall, I had mixed feelings about Incarnate. There are many aspects I found creative, such as the world building and how Ana is the first soul born in five milennia. The narrative flowed well, and Ana is a fighter, but there were things I had a difficult time accepting. If these thousands of humans have been reincarnated and remember everything from their previous lives, why haven’t in five milennia have they came up with ways to dominate over the dragon and sylph that attack them so frequently? Even Sam has died thirty times by dragons, but no one has developped much of a defense system?

Not to mention, I often worried about the romance between Sam and Ana. No, not the fact he’s technically five thousand years old to her meagar eighteen years of existence. He’s been reborn over and over, and many have stated that he had lovers in the past, even Ciana, whom Ana replaced. It made me wonder if he only loved Ana because she’s the first new thing thats ever happened to him in several lifetimes. I won’t even go into the fact that reincarnation isn’t gender specific and Sam has been a woman in several lifetimes and everything is all wibbly wobbly.

Most of the book is spent on the romance building between Sam and Ana, rather than her trying to find things out. And the end was lackluster, as if that was the big reveal? That’s it? It feels like Jodi freaked out about her ending and had no great idea as to Ana’s background so she made it as simple as possible and leaves us with a boring resolution.

I grant this three stars for the world building and the beautiful cover. But honestly, it didn’t make me feel anything at all, really. I’m not sure if that’s worse than raving mad and hating it, because at least then I feel something toward it. It’s okay. I won’t be screaming in joy to read the sequel nor will I be ripping my hair out raving stark mad about how much it annoyed me.

The 5th Wave – Rick Yancey

15745753Title: The 5th Wave
Series:
(The 5th Wave, #1)
Author:
Rick Yancey
Category:
Young Adult
Rating: 5

Goodreads

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

MY REVIEW

“But if I’m it, the last of my kind, the last page of human history, like hell I’m going to let the story end this way. I may be the last one, but I am the one still standing. I am the one turning to face the faceless hunter in the woods on an abandoned highway. I am the one not running but facing. Because if I am the last one, then I am humanity. And if this is humanity’s last war, then I am the battlefield.”

Do you like alien invasions? What about intense action and mild romance? Or maybe you like apocalyptic novels? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions (or all of them), then this is the book for you! Told in multiple pov’s ranging from protagonist Cassie to a broken soldier nicknamed Zombie, this story is compelling from each.

1st wave: Goodbye cell phones, cars, planes, television and electricit.
2nd wave: Adios coastal cities that are now underwater.
3rd wave: Sayonara to a hefty percent of whats left of the world’s population. Birds are spreading a horrific, epidemic disease.
4th wave: Trust no one. How do you rid the Earth of humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.
5th wave: Well… Read to find out?

Cassie Sullivan believes she very well may be the last person on Earth. She hasn’t seen another human being since her first kill of a gutted, dying soldier in a corner store outside of what was once civilization.

Unbeknownst to Cassie, she’s being hunted, stalked, by someone she called a Silencer. Silencer’s are those that were once as human as you or, well, you, (don’t stare at my third eye and tentacles, please), who were invaded by a silent intruder in the womb. A Trojan Horse, if you will. This Silencer has been waiting to pick off Cassie for a long time, hoping that her human survival instincts compel her to seek out other survivors.

Elsewhere, we have Zombie, whom once was just a teenage boy that harbored guilt that he left his baby sister to die. Now, he’s a soldier, training to eradicate the infected on the eve of the 5th Wave.

Other mentionables are Sammy, Cassie’s younger brother, who was taken, and sweet farmboy, Evan Walker, who nurses Cassie back to health and may be hiding a deadly secret.

The characters are so real and flawed, trying to survive and willing themselves to find something to live for, and none of them are willing to lay down and let the aliens win. Do yourself a favor and buy a copy or check this out at the local library! It’s even being optioned for a movie!

Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell

15745753Title: Eleanor & Park
Series:
Standalone
Author:
Rainbow Rowell
Category:
Young Adult
Rating: 5

Goodreads

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

MY REVIEW

“Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”

1986. The Space Shuttle Columbia is launched. Voyager 2 makes its first encounter with Uranus. Eleanor, an overweight redhead steps onto a school bus and sits next to Park Sheridan.

Park is a half Korean boy who lives a fairly nice life, with two loving parents and doesn’t know what its like to go to bed hungry or share his bedroom. Eleanor Douglas shares her room with her three brothers and younger sister, living in a highly dysfunctional family in a small, run down home with no bathroom door.

While these two may live within walking distance of another, they come from different words. From the moment Eleanor stepped on the school bus for the first time, she was already an outsider, with her flaming red hair and odd thrift store clothes. When no one offers her a seat, Park angrily tells her to sit down next to him, and proceeds to ignore her for the duration of the trip. For days and weeks, the two ignores each’s existence despite sitting six inches from one another to and fro. One day, Park catches her reading his comics over his shoulder, and begins to lend her his comics. They bond over music, with Park making mixtapes for Eleanor to listen to. Eventually, they even begin holding hands on the bus.

That’s whats so great about this novel – there isn’t some insta-love between the characters that you find in your typical high school romance novels. These flawed characters are very much opposites and over time, develop an reluctant friendship that eventually leads to love. And even then, everything is not all lovey-dovey and cutesy, and the two fight and argue a lot and kiss and makeup, just like almost any other teenage couple.

Overall, I liked this, even if it didn’t have more plot than two teenagers falling in love despite all their differences and the world trying to keep them apart. If you’re looking for a realistic romance of high school and first love, look no further.

Spirit Walk – Richie Tankersley Cusick

16000235Author: Richie Tankersley Cusick

Rating: 4/5

Purchase from

Amazon | Barnes & Noble |

Book Depository | Books A Million

SYNOPSIS

Something haunts Miranda Barnes.  It’s in the distant pleading voice that wakes her from sleep, the lingering smell of roses, and the shadows that seem to follow her everywhere. Miranda begins to understand that she has a special gift for communicating with spirits of the dead.  But this “gift” feels more like a curse, and Miranda has no one to confide in.  When Etienne, the mysterious boy from her class, offers to help, Miranda is initially skeptical, but can’t help feeling drawn to him. As paranormal activity escalates, passion  grows, and soon Miranda is caught up in both romance…and tragedy.

MY REVIEW. BEWARE, POSSIBLE SPOILERS.

After a hurricane demolishes her home, Miranda Barnes and her mother pack up whats left of their life and move to St. Yvette, Louisiana to live with Miranda’s grandfather and aunt. Miranda has never met her grandfather, even after days of living in the same vicinity as him. So when Miranda’s new group of friends question how its like to live with the Town Crazy, Miranda is thrust into a world filled with ghosts and spirits. Like her supposed crazy grandpa, Miranda is able to communicate with ghosts and spirits that need her help to move on.

It doesn’t help that there’s many spirits in St. Yvette, home to a vicious battle during the Civil War, where hundreds of spirits are at unrest. While worming on a school project, Miranda and her group of misfits team up to help some of these lost souls, particularly a soldier, Nathan, a soldier that was tortured and murdered during the Civil War, and his love, the actress Ellena Rose, who was a spy spilling Confederate secrets.

I really loved Cusick’s The Unseen series, because those were so chilling and we’re just as in the dark as the characters. Spirit Walk, however, lacks the suspense and the luster of The Unseen. A lot of it is slow, and much of the first book was just working on the school project Spirit Walk where Miranda and her friends put together a history of death and mayhem that has happened in buildings around town, and have a sort of ghost walk. If you’ve ever been to towns like Savannah, Georgia, these are fun little experiences to learn about the history of an old city.

In the second book of this two-parter tome, we find a whole new adventure with Miranda and her friends, especially Etienne. I usually don’t care much for minor characters, usually just one or two at most, but I loved all of Miranda’s friends. The typical Southern Belle, Ashley, whose voice is described as melted honey. Roo, the snarky goth chick whose entirely different from Ashley, but the two step-sisters are thicker than maple syrup. Parker, Ashley’s boyfriend and sarcastic rich boy. Gage, cute and shy, and his cousin Etienne, the drool worthy boy every YA book seems to have.

While it didn’t have the same zest as other books by Cusick, it had spirit all on it’s own.

The Lost Girl – Sangu Mandanna

13062488

Author: Sangu Mandanna

Rating: 5/5

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Books A Million

SYNOPSIS

Eva’s life is not her own. She is a creation, an abomination – an echo. Made by the Weavers as a copy of someone else, she is expected to replace a girl named Amarra, her ‘other’, if she ever died. Eva studies what Amarra does, what she eats, what it’s like to kiss her boyfriend, Ray. So when Amarra is killed in a car crash, Eva should be ready.

But fifteen years of studying never prepared her for this.

Now she must abandon everything she’s ever known – the guardians who raised her, the boy she’s forbidden to love – to move to India and convince the world that Amarra is still alive.

MY REVIEW. BEWARE, POSSIBLE SPOILERS.

Honestly, I have never heard of this book before I saw it in an Amazon recommendations and wanted it on a whim. I’m not even sure what I was expecting from this, but it ended up being more than I could’ve hoped. It is hard to believe that not many have read this, for it is amazing, especially for fans of Frankenstein. Even if there is little to no horror within these pages, it is a wonderful tale that makes you think.

The story revolves around an echo, a clone of you will, of a girl named Amarra. If anything were to ever happen to Amarra, the echo will be ready to take her place. Sure, Eva may look like Amarra, knows everything about her and is created of Amarra, but she is not Amarra.
She is herself. She is Eva. And she is real.

But Eva’s life isn’t her own. She can’t do anything her other doesn’t do and she has to do everything that her other wants to.

Echoes are illegial, especially in India where Amarra lives. People called hunters take it upon themselves to capture and kill echos, for most of the world believes these are abominations made by their creators, the Weavers, who play God and give life to bone and dust.

When Amarra dies in a car crash, Eva must take her place. She must fight to do what she wants to retain the life that is hers while doing her duty and giving hope to Amarra’s family that she is Amarra. A chain of events occurs when Amarra’s boyfriend figures out that Amarra died in that wreck, and it is Eva who takes her place. Eva is assaulted and beaten up, nearly murdered, and so on.

There’s many parallels to Frankenstein. The Weavers are the unloving creators, trying to play God by creating living beings from death. The echoes are stitched up and given life, like Frankenstein. But these echoes, especially Eva, are human. They live, they breathe, they have their own thoughts. They are real, despite made to be someones copy.

I loved that we see a rare side of fiction. It’s hard to imagine that the monster isn’t always some supernatural hell-bent creature or obvious evil villain. Sometimes, we are the monsters.

We stop looking for monsters under the bed when we realize they’re inside of us.- -Jordyn Berner

Once Eva is outed as an echo, even sweet Ray and Amarra’s friends turn against her and try to have her hurt, and even killed. It’s different to imagine good people doing evil, hateful things. I felt that Eva was more human than most of them.

Overall, I give this book five stars. I stayed up nearly all night reading and found it hard to put down until I finished it. Definitely a must-read for fans of light romance, Sci-Fi, and dystopian.

Beautiful Disaster – Jamie McGuire

11505797Author: Jamie McGuire

Rating: 2.5/5

Purchase from

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Books A Million

SYNOPSIS

Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby wants—and needs—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.

MY REVIEW. BEWARE, POSSIBLE SPOILERS.

First off, let me apologize profusely. I have been in such a reading slump lately and haven’t wished to read and therefore, haven’t updated in a bit. Sorry about that.

This story ended up being a disaster, and there was nothing beautiful about it.

Let’s start from the beginning.

Abby Abernathy is a compulsive liar who claims to have a million and one cardigans in her closet but I have only seen mention of one. Travis is this tattooed sweaty beast who beats up a guy and gets blood all over Abby’s cardigan.

Sounds like your typical fairytale, right?

The novel begins with Abby having been dragged by her best friend America to some sort of college fight club, where she witnesses this man-beast covered in tats beat his component to a pulp, splattering her one and only cardigan with blood. I honestly liked the first half, it was a different set up than most novels when it comes to introducing characters to what would later be the love interest.

This book could’ve been nice-ish if it had ended around the 170 page mark, but alas, we must delve into the ugly second half, where Travis is a grade-A douchenugget.

How attracted to a guy do you have to be to ignore the fact that while you’re sleeping in his bed (in the most innocent sense, Abs lost a bet), and love interest gets pissed at you and goes and gets drunk and makes you listen as he bangs two girls in the living room half the night before crawling into bed with you? I just did a whole body shudder, and not the good kind.

Maaaaaaaybe you can ignore that, because you aren’t together… but theeeen while you’re making out with a sweet, possible boyfriend in his car, Travis comes and nearly rips off the door in his Hulk Smash, and every. single. time. you so much as mention possible boyfriend, he gets super pissy and stuff.

And after the bet is over, the night before Abby goes back to her dorm, they have sex. She gives up her virginity in hopes that he will forget about her….

And then she takes off in the middle of the night because she can’t handle her sheer lack of brain cells. Of course, now Travis is obsessed in love with her. And what do guys do when they’re in love? Be all cutesy and stuff by throwing stereos and basically trashing his apartment before nearly punching the lights out of his cousin/housemate.

Ladies…


THIS. IS. NOT. OKAY.

And then Abby being so totes in love breaks up with the sweet nice guy to date this abusive neanderthal, and lets him go around punching people for bad-mouthing her or touching her and chastises him, but we know that isn’t going to work.

SO THEN, Travis turns into a really creepy stalker after Abby turns down his marriage proposal. If you love someone, you chain their ass to the radiator in the basement buy them flowers. Okay, so he didn’t chain her stupid butt to the radiator. It was actually the sink.

Kidding! He didn’t do that.. but I totally would have not been surprised if he had.

Travis was alright in the first half of the book, and he turned into a level five creep factor. Hasn’t Mark Wahlberg and Reese taught anyone a lesson with their 1996 film, Fear?

And Abby is not totally blameless. She’s kind of an idiot, getting together with Travis and leaving him over and over again with reasoning like “I love him, but… -insert extremely stupid reason-” when it should be, “He scares the absolute eff out of me and I fear for my safety.”

I hated her the most, because she put herself into a lot of these situations by:

  • Dating Parker and then sleeping in Travis’s bed for a month with the excuse being “a bet”
  • Encouraging Travis to beat shit out of guy in cafeteria. “Show him some manners,” and he beats a guy silly.

excreta, excreta…

Honestly, it scares the hell out of me that this book is praised, among others like Hopeless (Colleen Hoover) where a guy ignores your wishes and basically does whatever he wants. I feel like all the NA stuff I’ve read is chock full of these violent relationships that people love it and consider it romantic. I’m sure all the news stories where boyfriend murders girlfriend, those couples started out cute and sweet and then it turned into this book.

Travis even tells Abby that he’d end up in prison if he heard she slept with someone else. WARNING BELLS, heeelloooo. Why is it okay – because Travis is hot and “loves” her? 

Anddd then, they go get married at like 19 in Vegas, and he gets a tat with her name on it, whatever, but she gets one permanently and forever marking herself as “Mrs Maddox”, a wife and not an independent person.

These guys win the most dysfunctional couple award!

On another note, I can see why that butterfly on the cover is trapped in the jar, just like Abby and Travis are trapped with each other.

Lola and the Boy Next Door – Stephanie Perkins

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Author: Stephanie Perkins

Rating: 4/5

Purchase from

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Books A Million

SYNOPSIS

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion…she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit–more sparkly, more fun, more wild–the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket–a gifted inventor–steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

MY REVIEW. BEWARE, POSSIBLE SPOILERS.

Stephanie Perkins made a fan out of me with her debut novel, Anna and the French Kiss, which was amazing and one of my top reads for this year. However, Lola and the Boy Next Door falls short.

I liked Lola in the beginning, all colorful and quirky with her costumes and wigs and her love for organic food. However, she soon became whiny and moaned and groaned about Cricket, and I expected a big falling out between them, but she carried these hurt feelings and resentment for like two years because a boy rejected her. Not to mention, she had all these feelings when she already had a boyfriend. She led Cricket around, knowing how he felt about her now, for a majority of the book because she didn’t want to break up with her jerk boyfriend.

Cricket… I didn’t much care for him at first, but he grows on you. Of course, not in the same way Etienne grows on you. Plus, who names their kid after a bug? I live in the South where you’d imagine stuff like that happens, but I’ve never heard of such a weird name. Cricket, however, turned out exactly like you’d expect him… the boy next door.

The story itself, for me anyway, was just too drawn out in many places and could have been shorter in places. I found myself getting bored and scanning the page, which becomes a nasty habit when I’m bored.

I’m glad I powered to the ending, even though this is basically the same plot as Anna, this time being Lola has a significant other. Like most YA girls in romance novels, Lola realizes what a dunce she was being and unlike YA novels, instead of crying and whatnot, she tries to earn Cricket. I like that instead of the perfect male specimen and the average girl that most YA features, both of the characters are oddballs – Lola with her costumes, Cricket with his cogs and gadgets.

All in all, it was a decent read, and makes me want to read the third in the series.

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