5 May Releases I Can’t Wait For

May is a month when publisher go crazy. And readers even more so. So many brilliant books from brilliant series come out this month but these are 5 that I am literally drooling for.

 

 

1.)

The Forever Song (Blood of Eden, #3)

Book: The Forever Song (Blood of Eden #3)

Author/Authoress: Julie Kagawa

Why: Julie Kagawa’s a magician. Or maybe she’s a witch. Or maybe she’s part Fae. Because there is no way that she can write so many amazing series without the help of magic. I got lured into her Iron Fae series and then sucked into her Blood of Eden series. Pun intended both times. For once, we get evil, nasty blood sucking vampires. And for once we get a female MC that is the aforementioned type of vampire. And we all love it. This series is definitely one that can screw up its face and make taunting noises at  Twilight, House of Night, Vampire Academy and the Vampire Diaries. Nayh-nyah-nyah-nyah.

Release Date: May 1st 2014

Synopsis: Vengeance will be hers.
Allison Sekemoto once struggled with the question: human or monster? With the death of her love, Zeke, she has her answer.
Monster.
Allie will embrace her cold vampire side to hunt down and end Sarren, the psychopathic vampire who murdered Zeke. But the trail is bloody and long, and Sarren has left many surprises for Allie and her companions – her creator Kanin, and her blood brother, Jackal. The trail is leading straight to the one place they must protect at any cost – the last vampire-free zone on Earth, Eden. And Sarren has one final, brutal shock in store for Allie.
In a ruined world where no life is sacred and former allies can turn on you in one heartbeat, Allie will face her darkest days. And if she succeeds, her triumph will be short-lived in the face of surviving forever alone.
The final hunt is on.


2.)

Torn AwayBook: Torn Away

Author/Authoress: Jennifer Brown

Why: Jennifer’s books always make me think and cry. And cry and think. Always. All of her books ; A Thousand Words, Hate List, Perfect Escape and Bitter End, always deal with such sensitive subjects in tasteful and delicate ways. Somehow, Jennifer Brown forces you to empathize and sympathize with the main character and their plight even though you never would have considered it before. Manipulative, I guess but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Release Date:  May 6th 2014

Synopsis: Born and raised in the Midwest, Jersey Cameron knows all about tornadoes. Or so she thinks. When her town is devastated by a twister, Jersey survives — but loses her mother, her young sister, and her home. As she struggles to overcome her grief, she’s sent to live with her only surviving relatives: first her biological father, then her estranged grandparents.

In an unfamiliar place, Jersey faces a reality she’s never considered before — one in which her mother wasn’t perfect, and neither were her grandparents, but they all loved her just the same. Together, they create a new definition of family. And that’s something no tornado can touch


3.)

Little Knife (The Grisha, #2.6)Book: Little Knife ( The Grisha #2.6)

Author/Authoress: Leigh Bardugo

Why: Because Leigh Bardugo’s a genius. That’s why! She writes such compelling characters (especially male ones) and I just love how she’s able to take elements of fantasy, sci-fi, fairytales and historical fiction and mix it all up together in a darkly creative way. It’s a novella, so I don’t even know if this book counts. But her last few novellas were pretty good. Espescially The Tailor and The-Too-Clever-Fox. Both of them gave insights to other characters and opened up whole new POV’s. I’m counting on this book to tide me over until the third book, Ruin and Rising, releases.

Release Date: May 13th 2014

Synopsis: In this third Ravkan folk tale from Leigh Bardugo, a beautiful girl finds that what her father wants for her and what she wants for herself are two different things. 


 

4.) The Lovely and the Lost (The Dispossessed, #2)

Book: The Lovely and the Lost (The Disposessed #2)

Author/Authoress: Page Morgan

 

Why: This is second book in this series. Surprisingly enough, I loved this series (or at least the first book and the short story) . It’s about gargoyles and demons and is during the Victorian era in Paris. The characters are bold and devious in their own way. I just love the relationship between…everyone. Family, friends and the romance. ‘Nuff said.

 

Release Date: May 13th 2014

 

Synopsis: Ingrid and Gabby survived the Underneath. They saved their brother, Grayson, from a future of dark servitude and exposed a plot to undermine the Alliance. But danger still lurks in the streets of Paris, and the Dispossessed, perched on the city’s bridges and rooftops, might not be able to save their human wards this time.


5.)

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6)

 

Book: City of Heavenly Fire ( The Mortal Instruments #6)

Author/Authoress: Cassandra Clare

 

Why: The Mortal Instruments and I got off to a rocky start but somehow I got ensnared into this strange but beautiful world of shadowhunters. This is the last book in the series and I’ll be sorry for it all to end. I’ll miss Clary, Isabella, Simon, Luke and Sebastian. And Jace too…maybe. Lucky me, I still haven’t  read the Clockwork series. So, at least I’ll have that to look forward to.

 

Release Date: May 27th 2014

 

Synopsis: Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. As their society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in the world can defeat him — must they journey to another world to find the chance? Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world changed in the sixth and last installment of the Mortal Instruments series!

 


Which books are you looking forward to?

 

Hate List: A Book Review

People hate. That’s our reality.

Book: Hate List

Author/Authoress: Jennifer Brown

Hate List

Cover: 4/5

It’s different. But I like it. I don’t usually go for covers that have so few shades in them (black grey and one colour- blue) but for some reason I like this cover. I think it may have to do with the fact that the cover is the kind of art the main character Valarie would appreciate. It’s the kind of art that she would draw herself. The cover represents confusion, grief and just a little bit of depression. All three of which are in the book

Plot:5/5

“You may not have pulled the trigger, but you helped cause the tragedy.”

Five months ago, Valerie Leftman’s boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.

Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.

The plot is amazing. I’m serious. I have never read anything like this. Maybe part of the reason this book is so good is because of the narrator. Jennifer chose a girl who was close to the shooter and partially responsible (in everyone’s eyes) for the shooting. Not only does this book focus on the tragedy, but it also focuses on the aftermath. After all,  who could be a more compelling narrator than the girl who dated the shooter and inspired him to start the shooting but was completely horrified by the shooting and willing to sacrifice herself to stop it? This book is powerful and thought-provoking. How exactly is guilt doled out and who deserves it? It also deals with major issues like suicidal tendencies, forgiveness and bullying.

Characters:4/5

This book had a really strong set of characters. The setting jumps back and forth between the actual shooting, pre-shooting and the aftermath. Valerie was a good narrator who was able to really bring out the character of her parents, ex and friends through flashbacks. Her guilt is the most overpowering emotion in the novel. Her trust in herself is shaken and she wonders how she didn’t see it coming.

The relationship between Valeries’s parents is strained and their relationship with Valerie is also somewhat strained. Her father, who was kind of an absentee after the divorce, becomes even more distant after the shooting. He blames her for starting the shooting and in the process not only ending several lives but ruining his.

“We drove on in silence, Dad shaking his head in disgust every few minutes. I stared at him, wondering how it was we got to this place. How the same man who held his infant daughter and kissed her tiny face could one day be so determined to shut her out of his life, out of his heart. How, even when she reacyhed out to him in distress – Please, Dad, come get me, come save me – all he could do was accuse her. How that same daughter could look at him and feel nothing but contempt and blame and resentment, because that’s all that radiated off of him for so many years and it had become contagious.”

Yeah, not a nice guy at all. Her mother on the other hand blames herself. A part of her keeps wondering if it was partially her fault that Valerie got involved in the shooting and with Nick at all. She constantly worries for Valeries mental health, fearing suicidal tendencies. And you can tell how much her mom’s opinion counts for Valerie by her reaction when she realises that her mother is no longer only tries to protect her from being hurt by the outside world, but also to protect the outside world from being hurt by Valerie. The psychiatrist is the most important adult character in this book. He gives Valerie the courage to move on past her guilt and start living her life. Throughout the book he’s supportive and offers little tokens of advice. Her crazy, whimsical, eccentric art teacher plays a similar role in the book and teaches Valerie to express her emotions.

The high school students in this book are immensely complex too. There’s Jessica, the ex-bully who’ life Valerie saved. She makes a conscious effort to reach out to Valerie throughout the book. I think she’s the only one in the entire novel who doesn’t blame Valerie for the shooting at all.  At one point in the book she wonders if she had tried being nicer to Nick, would the whole chain reaction of events leading to the tragedy have been stopped?

But I think the character who walks away with the prize for the most complex character is Nick. Everyone is surprised when he turns up at school with a gun in hand. No one ever thought he was violent. But one day he snaps and takes the list that he and his girlfriend of people they hated. And he tries shooting everyone on it.

The violent persona we keep hearing about juxtaposes with Valerie’s memorise of Nick. She makes an effort to differentiate between the violent, shooter Nick and her Nick. Her Nick is the kind of guy who purposely lost to let her win, was obsessed with death and even more obsessed with Shakespeare. She wonders where the two started to blend. At the end she and Nick’s best friend conclude that they didn’t know when he decided to shoot up the school because Nick himself never knew.

Ending:3/5

Yeah, I’ve come up with a new section to put in my reviews. Over here I’ll tell you what I think about the ending and I’ll give you fair warning if there’s a cliffhanger. So, since this is not a series obviously there is no cliffhanger. That being said I feel that everything wraps up too perfectly at the end. The parents of the victims forgive her, most of the students forgive her, her friends forgive her and she forgives herself. And she decides to take a trip. Everything feels a little…overdone. Like this is the kind of story that you can say The End for.

 

Plotholes:5/5

Like always, Jennifer Brown can takes ensitive subjects like domestic violence, mental disabilities and terrorism amongst youth and present it tastefully without insulting anyone. There’s a strong anti-bullying sentiment in this novel (just like in most of her books). Thought provoking and profound, Hate List is the kind of book who’s message you cannot hate.

Overall Rating:5/5

Okay, it was actually a 4.75 but I decided to round it up. Why? Because this book is awesome and awful at the same time. This book made me cry a lot. I mean A LOT. The ugly I-can’t-stop-and-why-did-this-have-to-happen variety.  That’s what I mean by awful. But at the same time it was awesome too. I mean if it wrenched that many tears out of me, it means I seriously did have to care about the characters and the events taking place in the book.  This book is an intensely emotional and profound read. It is definitely one book that every middle schooler, high schooler and adult needs to read. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it has replaced Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell as my favourite contemporary YA.

This Is What Happy Looks Like: A Book Review

Book: This Is What Happy Looks Like

Author/Authoress: Jennifer Brown

“From: EONeill22@hotmail.com
Sent: Saturday, June 8, 2013 1:18 PM
To: GDL824@yahoo.com
Subject: what happy looks like
Sunrises over the harbor. Ice cream on a hot day. The sound of the waves down the street. The way my dog curls up next to me on the couch. Evening strolls. Great movies. Thunderstorms. A good cheeseburger. Fridays. Saturdays. Wednesdays, even. Sticking your toes in the water. Pajama pants. Flip-flops. Swimming. Poetry. The absence of smiley faces in an e-mail.

What does it look like to you?”  

This Is What Happy Looks Like

Cover: 5/5

I love the tiny boat which is probably similar to the one Ellie and Graham sailed in during Ellie’s ‘mission’ to find her father. I love the sun rising in the background which represents a happy time in their relationship but most of all I love the fact that the characters are silhouetted for their privacy- a major issue in this book. Another plus point needs to be given for the title. This Is What Happy Looks Like is not only a cute title but a fitting one too. Five on five for the cover.

Characters: 2/5

The characters in this book were not particularly strong which is peculiar for a young adult contemporary book.

Ellie is a normal small town girl who just so happens to be the illegitimate daughter of a famous politician. This is why she is constantly freaked out by paparazzi. She’s an aspiring writer, enjoys long walks on the beach and eating ice cream. I won’t criticize Jennifer’s writing style- it’s great, definitely the show not tell variety, but Ellie is such a cookie-cutter character. Quite honestly, she’s a cliché. There’s nothing really quirky or cool about her. Not her hair (which is a brownish red), her hobbies (mentioned above), her clothes (t-shirts, skirts and rubber flip flops) or her dreams. Maybe the ordinariness is part of her charm for some, but for me her normality was just boring.

Graham Larkin is kind of cliché too to be honest. He’s a bit of a stalker and goes into long tangents about why his fame is so annoying. But other than that, I did like him as a character. He was definitely more quirky than Ellie was (it’s funny how much I like character quirks)- He has a pet pig and  obsessed with finding a ‘whoopi pie’. I think this was part of what contributed to his sweet, lovable characteristic traits. When you look at all these details, do you really think that he’s the kind of guy to punch camera people? No, me neither. I was kind of annoyed when he started to go out of character; I liked him sweet and cute, dammit!

One thing I really, really, really disliked about this book was the absence of support characters. In the beginning of the book we are introduced to Quinn, a super short, super cute character who is the main character’s best friend and I thought she looked promising. My hopes were dashed, however, when she suddenly stopped being friendly with Ellie and just dropped off the radar. Olivia, Graham’s co-star had the potential to be either a great character or a bad character but Jennifer Brown doesn’t use her at all. She’s not a character at all!

The parents in this book are not that great either. Sure, Ellie’s mom is nice and protective but even then she doesn’t make much of an appearance. We get a huge backstory about Graham’s parents. About how they don’t really support him in his acting career, how his home life is a bit strained, how he moved away and is kind of glad they don’t visit, etc. But it all dissolves with a banal, trite phone call at the end.

Plot:4/5

If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O’Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds.

Then Graham finds out that Ellie’s Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media’s spotlight at all costs?

I dived into this book fully expecting a cutesy, fun, breezy read with cliché, cutesy, fun, breezy characters and a cliché, cutesy, fun,breezy plotline and that’s what I got more or less. This book doesn’t get any points for morality or profoundness. In fact it inclines slightly to the horribly cheesy. But the dialogue in this book is beautiful. It’s what you could expect from teenagers. Natural, light and beautiful in it’s simplicity.

“I’m not sure I’m quite finished saying hello yet.”

and

“Salutations,” he said, and she smiled.
“Good morning.”
“Yeah,” he said. “It really is.”  

and

“I never said I was good,” he told her, taking the pen. “Just that I liked doing it.”
“That’s the best kind of good.”   

See what I mean?

Romance: 2/5

It wasn’t insta-love. Or at least that’s what I tried telling myself. They had written e-mails to each other for almost three months, right? But, no matter how I tried to think about it, I couldn’t forget the fact that this story effectively takes place over the huge (sarcasm) span of five days. Definitely enough time to build a strong, stable romance. Yep, definitely.

I was so not on board with the whole damsel in distress thing either. I kind of wanted to jump ship when he made a bet (in her favour) for a thousand bucks so that she could use the money to go to a poetry course at Harvard. Feminism, anyone?

Plotholes: 2/5

No one accidentally pen pals a stranger who ends up being a movie star. But it’s just a book and this is excusable too anyone who’s just looking for a fun, easy, light read. I honestly didn’t have too much problem with this part. After all, if I can read books about vampires and witches without complaining that they’re unrealistic, I can do the same for this one.

The worst part of this book was the fact that as soon as problems reared their ugly head, they were smoothened over miraculously with very little effort on either of the character’s parts. Got caught and recognized by paparazzi as the illegitimate child of a famous politician? No problem, that’s only a tiny footnote in the article which exclaims boldly that you’re Graham Larkin’s girlfriend. Seeing your parents became rarer and rarer after you became a movie star and worrying that it’s your fault? It’s not because they disapprove of your career, it’s because the flashing lights of Hollywood are too much for them. Punched a cameraman? Oh it’s okay, your director says you need to look tougher for your role in your next movie. I kid you not, these were actual problems and solutions in the book ‘This Is What Happy Looks Like’. Though some things in life really do come together at the last minute with virtually no effort, most things do not. And this is not just unrealistic, it’s an unhealthy message too. You can not solve your problems by waiting, doing nothing and hoping for the best.

Overall recommendation: 2.5/5

I’m not even sure why I liked this book. I read this book within the week so it may be recent book syndrome. After all the character’s were boring, the romance was unrealistic and the plot was kind of cliché. But there’s other things about this book too. The sweet emails that were sent back and forth, the quest for ‘whoopi pies’ and the quick, natural banter all brought a smile to my face. I wouldn’t recommend buying this book but if you ever get a chance to borrow it, please do.