Reviews-A-Plenty

Hi folks, so I’ve been keeping up with my creative goal to read a book a week! Thought I’d better catch you up on the wonderful things I’ve been reading.

caravalCaraval by Stephanie Garber | Scarlett’s grandmother has told her and her sister Tella stories about Caraval since they were young– an audience-participation game that is like a magical carnival. Scarlett has always longed to go, but getting tickets now— less than two weeks before her marriage to a mysterious count she has never met– is not the ideal timing. At Caraval, Tella goes missing, and the game revolves around the sisters. Julian, the young sailor who brought the girls to Caraval, is shrouded in mystery too, and Scarlett can’t tell who is friend or foe, or whether the game is really just a game.

It’s intense, has gorgeous imagery, and keeps you guessing the entire time. I am happy to say that I did not figure the ending out ahead of time!! This is a must read, folks.

cursed-childHarry Potter & the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany | I think I went into this screenplay with reasonable expectations. I waited quite a while to read it because I knew that it was not going to be like “the 8th Harry Potter book,” as some stores touted. First, it’s a screenplay, not a novel; I knew I couldn’t expect the same thing. Because I went into it with realistic expectations, I loved it!

The story picks up about nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts took place; Harry’s youngest son Albus is headed to Hogwarts for the first time, and it is hard living in your father’s shadow, especially when your father is Harry Potter. Albus isn’t like his dad, and they butt heads, which leads Albus and his friend Scorpius Malfoy (Draco’s son!) on an adventure that gets worse and worse and worse … until it all comes together in J.K. Rowling fashion. I loved getting to revisit the characters. The important thing, I think, is not to treat it as the 8th book but as what it is: the script for a play that takes you back to the wizarding world for one more adventure.

poem-she-didnt-writeThe Poem She Didn’t Write and Other Poems by Olena Kalytiak Davis | This one was staggering. I absolutely adored it. It was like e.e. cummings had become a female spoken word artist. The rhythms were impossible to miss, even without hearing them, and I was exposed to a new vocabulary. I thought it the poem topics were really brave, and there were quite a few that she approached from such a stunningly unique perspective. The title poem, in particular, was mind-blowing. I will be purchasing her other books.

chinoiserieChinoiserie by Karen Rigby | This was the 2011 winner of the Sawtooth Poetry Award– and well deserved. Beautiful writing, rich imagery, the poems took me to other places, something I always love. I was happy to let this collection sink into my bones.

Review: Dreamology by Lucy Keating

dreamologyAlice has dreamed of Max for as long as she can remember– in her dreams, they are happy and in love, going on the kind of crazy adventures that can only happen in dreams.

When Alice moves to Boston, though, Max is in her psychology class at her new school! Except this Max seems detached … and he has a girlfriend.

I really enjoyed this one! There were some really great lines, and I especially loved the character of Oliver, one of Alice’s new friends. I loved the dream sequences, and it was fun to tweet with Lucy Keating while I read it too. An interesting concept, though the conflict at the end confused me a little bit. All in all, an enjoyable, light read!

 

Review: Mara Dyer Trilogy by Michelle Hodkin

mara dyer

This is actually going to be less of a review and more of an introduction, so that I can steer away from spoilers.

First of all, those covers! Gorgeous.

The Mara Dyer trilogy is about a girl who survives the collapse of an abandoned asylum she was exploring with her best friend, her boyfriend, and her boyfriend’s sister. Shortly after the collapse, her family moves to Florida to start over … only things are getting super weird. Enter Noah Shaw, this cocky British schoolboy who knows he is gorgeous, and things really start to get interesting.

Thrillers aren’t really my thing. But I loved this series.

Mara is a badass. The dialogue is hilarious. The intrigue is intense. And Noah Shaw is … well … Noah Shaw.

“You’re supposed to say, ‘All I want is your happiness. I’ll do whatever it takes, even if it means being without you.'”
“Sorry,” Noah said. “I’m just not that big of a person.”

Yes, he’s a little over the top sometimes. (Okay, a lot over the top.) But those over-the-top things are a-ok with me when said in a British accent. I listened to the audio versions of this series, which was narrated by Christy Romano (you know her as Ren Stevens and the voice of Kim Possible), and while a lot of people took issue with her attempt at a male British accent, I was okay with it.

I like that the books were intriguing but not wholly scary. I’m not big into freaking myself out. If you like books that will keep you guessing, dive headfirst into this series.

Review: Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

bone gapThere’s been a lot of buzz about Bone Gap by Laura Ruby, and so I finally purchased the book and read it. It was great.

Bone Gap is the name of the small town where the O’Sullivan boys live on their own, their father dead and their mother having run off. Sean is the big, strong, brilliant one, and Finn is the “spacey” but beautiful one. Roza is the lovely Polish girl who appeared out of nowhere and disappeared from their lives just as fast. The story is mostly told from Finn’s and Roza’s perspectives.

What’s missing from that description is Petey. Priscilla “Petey” is the beekeeper girl that Finn falls for, and she’s my absolute favorite part of this novel, maybe for reasons I can’t quite explain. I’ll try anyway.

Petey is unusual. She’s not traditionally beautiful. She’s brave and feisty and strong and weak. I love her for all those reasons, and so does Finn, and it’s adorable.

Roza is incredible. Total badass Polish heroine.

Sean is strong and broken. I loved him. He frustrated me too.

Finn is lovely, precious, amazing, boyish in the best way. I want to put him in my pocket.

Bone Gap is classified as magical realism. It may or may not surprise you that I loved the realism and could have done without the magical element, though it seems that it works for most readers.

Read this. You will love it.

Jackie’s Book Boyfriends (2015)

Silas Hart of Truest | I mean, come on. He was literally created to be my dream boy if I were seventeen years old. He has to be #1!

“I had all these plans—but you ruined them all. You destroyed my old plans and became my new plan.”

“I feel like if I was lost, you would know where to find me.”

yes oprah

Sean Kendrick of The Scorpio Races | Strong, silent type? Yes. I love you, Sean.

“I say, ‘I will not be your weakness, Sean Kendrick.’
Now he looks at me. He says, very softly, ‘It’s late for that, Puck.’”

hell to the yeah

Will Trombal of Saving Francesca and The Piper’s Son | Will, oh my love. My heart. My sweet nerd.

“Come here,” she says.
“No, you come here.”
“I said it first.”
“Rock paper scissors.”
“No. Because you’ll do nerdy calculations and work out what I chose the last six times and then you’ll win.”
Will pushes away from the table and his hand snakes out and he pulls her toward him and Tom figures that Will was always going to go to her first.

rapunzel swoon

Khalid Ibn Al-Rashid of The Wrath and the Dawn | He’s gorgeous, soft-spoken, and lethal with his shamshir. (I didn’t know weaponry could turn me on so much … maybe it’s just the mastery of it. :-))

“What are you doing to me, you plague of a girl?” he whispered.

“If I’m a plague, then you should keep your distance, unless you plan on being destroyed.” The weapons still in her grasp, she shoved against his chest.

“No.” His hands dropped to her waist. “Destroy me.”

hot damn

Jonah Griggs of Jellicoe Road | A tough-as-nails cadet with a heart of gold? His tough love is perfect for Taylor.

“He stops and looks at me. ‘I’m here because of you. You’re my priority. Your happiness, in some fucked way, is tuned in to mine. Get that through your thick skull. Would I like it any other way? Hell, yes, but I don’t think that will be happening in my lifetime.”

whoa

Augustus Waters of The Fault in Our Stars | Augustus inspired me to write YA in the first place, did you know that? I love him and his metaphors.

“Oh, I wouldn’t mind, Hazel Grace. It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you.”

awww

Honorable mentions: Richard Campbell Gansey III, Theodore Finch, Tim Mason, Beck Van Buren. And Finnikin and Froi. All the Marchetta boys, basically.

How about you?