Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books of 2016



Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Book Reviews

Review: Missing You

MissingYouTitle: Missing You
Author: Meg Cabot
Series: 1-800-WHERE-R-YOU, #5
Genre: New Adult – Paranormal
Publication Information: HarperTempest, 2006
Age Recommendation: High School

Ever since a walk home on a particularly stormy day, Jessica Mastriani has had an ability like no other. She became known worldwide as Lightning Girl a psychic who could find the location of anyone, dead or alive. Jess finally had no choice but to embrace her newfound talent, and ended up lending her skills to the U.S. government. 

But her work for them has taken a terrible toll, and Jess resurfaces months later a shadow of her former self, her powers gone, Lightning Girl no more. Her only hope is starting over in a new place, a big city where nobody knows her. It’s only when Rob Wilkins unexpectedly shows up on her doorstep that she’s forced to face her past. Rob, all the way from back home, needs her help. But how can Jess, her powers gone, find anyone, let alone the sister of a man she once loved . . . when she can’t even find herself? 

(Summary from Goodreads)

I was OBSESSED with this series in high school, so I have no idea why it took me so long to get to this one. It was a quick and nostalgic read, a nice ending to the series. I loved spending a couple hours with all of these characters again, and seeing where they’re going now that they’re all out of high school.

My favorite part was watching Jess trying to decide what to do with her life now that she has a choice. Before she got her powers, her life was pretty dictated to her by her parents (cough cough MOM), and then after that, when she used her powers, she got so sucked into using them to find people, she never really got the chance to consider what she wanted to do with her life. I feel like that feeling of figuring things out now that it’s all on you is what the new adult genre is about, and I feel like this book was a good example of that.

Also, DOUGLAS ❤ I feel like we never really got a chance to know him very well in the earlier books since he spent so much time shut away from the world, and he’s really come out of his shell in this one. He might’ve actually been my favorite character in this book.

And, of course, where would any book in this series be without Rob? It was a little bit like the first book, where they’re trying to come to terms with their feelings for each other, although now there’s a more mature aspect of their romance – as in, major life decisions to be made as opposed to it having the high school romance feel of the other books. I feel like things were left in a good place for them, in the end.

This was a good, satisfying conclusion, I thought.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Book Reviews

Review: Faking It

Faking ItTitle: Faking It
Author: Cora Carmack
Series: Losing It, #2
Genre: New Adult – Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: 2013
Age Recommendation: Adult

Mackenzie “Max” Miller has a problem. Her parents have arrived in town for a surprise visit, and if they see her dyed hair, tattoos, and piercings, they just might disown her. Even worse, they’re expecting to meet a nice, wholesome boyfriend, not a guy named Mace who has a neck tattoo and plays in a band. All her lies are about to come crashing down around her, but then she meets Cade.

Cade moved to Philadelphia to act and to leave his problems behind in Texas. So far though, he’s kept the problems and had very little opportunity to take the stage. When Max approaches him in a coffee shop with a crazy request to pretend to be her boyfriend, he agrees to play the part. But when Cade plays the role a little too well, they’re forced to keep the ruse going. And the more they fake the relationship, the more real it begins to feel.

(Summary from Goodreads)

Faking It was a really addictive book, despite the fact that it wasn’t as lighthearted as Losing It. Max and Cade were both interesting narrators, not to mention their chemistry. Those two things, combined with the fact that it was a super quick read, kept me turning pages.

Unlike Losing ItFaking It shows us both sides of the story, which I loved since there are a lot of things going on on both sides that I was glad I got to see since it helped understand both characters’ motivations. On the one hand, we have Cade, still broken up over being rejected by Bliss and wondering if his life is going to go anywhere. On the other hand, we have Max, rebelling against her parents yet afraid of being disowned for her rebellious ways, as well as dealing with a lot of demons. I feel like both characters were well-developed and complex, and I felt for both of them. Also, watching them interact was a lot of fun – they had a lot of chemistry and I had to keep turning pages to see if they would end up together because I was rooting for them.

One aspect that was interesting was how much darker Faking It was than Losing It. There are a lot of heavy things Max is dealing with, and they color a lot of the story, especially later on in the book. I was taken aback by it initially, but once I got over the initial shock I didn’t mind it at all. I also feel like it explained a lot about Max and made me feel for her that much more.

If you’re looking for a quick read with interesting characters you wouldn’t think would belong together, and don’t mind a little bit heavier subject matter, definitely pick up Faking It.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Book Reviews

Review: Just One Year

Just One Year (Just One Day, #2)Just One Year by Gayle Forman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Actual Rating: 4.5/5

After that ending to Just One Day, I spent a lot of time agonizing over what was going to happen. I’d had a feeling Willem wasn’t a bad guy, but I still wanted to read his side of the story and find out for sure. And, sure enough, in Just One Year we found out there was a lot more to him than initially appeared, and I ended up liking him a lot more than I did in Just One Day.

Over the course of Just One Year, we find out why Willem is a nomadic womanizer. We learn about his relationship with his family, and how that has shaped who he is. As the book progresses, we also get to see Willem’s realization that he’s missing something, what that something is, and his journey toward finding it. Watching him try to form new relationships with his family was one of the most satisfying parts of the book.

For Willem, there was also a tension between wanting something and being afraid of having it that was interesting to see play out, especially since this is a feeling I think a lot of people can relate to. This was my favorite aspect of Willem, because it made him so normal and easy to relate to, dispelling the mystery that surrounds him in Just One Day. Also, if I’m being really honest, there’s a part of me that can relate to that part of Willem, which I think is part of the reason I ended up liking him so much.

I think the only aspect in which the book fell flat for me was in the setting – it just didn’t come to life quite as much for me as it did in Just One Day. I think this might’ve been because Willem had other things on his mind during his travels, whereas for Allyson, everything was new and different for her.

Just One Year was a fantastic companion to Just One Year, with the combination of self-discovery and romance I loved about the first book.

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Currently Listening To: Justin Timberlake – “TKO”
Currently Reading: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Book Reviews

Review: Heirs of War

Heirs of War (Heirs of War, #1)Heirs of War by Mara Valderran

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Note: This review is based on an ARC I received from the author. I also read part of an earlier version of the manuscript. Neither of these swayed my review.

One of the things I was most excited about with Heirs of War is the fact that all five of the main characters are women, which is always something I love to find in epic fantasy novels like this. I also love how even though we see all five of their points of view, it’s never confusing, and each character has her own personality. They were all fully fleshed out, instead of just being token female fantasy characters.

I also liked how the world the girls find themselves in comes to life, with a hint of political tensions under the surface that I hope explode in the next book. It might feel sometimes like there’s not much happening, but that’s because we’re getting immersed in the world – there’s so much going on under the surface, and we’re discovering it through the eyes of the main characters. With such a central role, I could sense that everything was just building to something and I can’t wait to find out what happens!

The only thing I wanted to see more of was a little more activeness from the characters. Sometimes it felt like they were letting things happen, as opposed to making things happen. Like I said, though, I got the sense we were being set up for some big things to happen in the next book, so I’m sure there will be more making things happen soon.

There were some really interesting things going on in Heirs of War, and I’m sure they’re only going to get more interesting from here. I can’t wait for the next book!

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Currently Listening To: Lorde – “Tennis Court”
Currently Reading: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Book Reviews

Review: Easy

EasyEasy by Tammara Webber

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Initially I was put off a little by the summary of the book, because saying he watched her is something that could be taken the wrong way. I for one was like, “Is he stalking her or something?” I’m glad the overwhelmingly positive reviews from my friends convinced me to give it a try, because it’s totally not like that at all. In fact, Easy is one of my favorite reads of 2013 so far.

Easy was a deceptively quick and easy read. I read it in a matter of hours, and there is a forbidden romance at the heart of the story. But there’s more to it than that; it’s also a story about the main character, Jacqueline, becoming empowered and realizing what happened to her wasn’t her fault. As much as I loved the romance (i.e. Lucas), the empowerment angle was my favorite aspect of the book. In addition to coming to realize that being nearly raped wasn’t her fault, Jacqueline also moves on from her ex-boyfriend, Kennedy, and watching her realize she deserves better than having him walk all over her was excellent.

I also wanted to bring up Jacqueline’s best friend, Erin. Erin was easily one of my favorite characters because of how supportive of Jacqueline she was. She immediately believed Jacqueline’s story, stood by her no matter what everyone else was saying, and it was she who suggested they take self-defense lessons. Erin was quite possibly the most important character in the book.

Lucas was probably one of my favorite love interests ever thanks primarily to his obvious respect for Jacqueline. He, too, was incredibly supportive of Jacqueline and plays a crucial role in her journey toward empowerment. He had the whole brooding and dark past thing going for him, but he came alive on the page enough that it didn’t feel cliched at all.

Easy was an easy read (har har) with themes that give it a little more substance than I expected in a romance novel. Highly recommend.

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Book Reviews, YA Book Club

YA Book Club: Just One Day

Book Club Button

Today is a glorious day, for after far too long it is time for another installment in YA Book Club, hosted by Tracey Neithercott. This month’s selection was Just One Day by Gayle Forman. (Book cover links to Goodreads page.)

12842115I absolutely adored Just One Day, to the point where I stayed up until one in the morning to finish it – which is a feat I rarely accomplish anymore because I’m a Premature Old Person. Initially I read it in bits and pieces at work during lunch, but I realized quickly that bits and pieces wasn’t going to do Forman’s descriptions of England and Paris justice – she did such a great job creating settings that really came to life and made me so jealous of Allyson/Lulu’s adventures (and not just because she was running around with a cute Dutch boy, but that sure didn’t hurt).

It took a little while to get into what I felt was the meat of the story, but I didn’t mind because I was so busy enjoying the settings. But what I loved the most about this book was Allyson’s discovery of Lulu, her fearless alter-ego, during her one day in Paris with Willem, followed by the following year in which she struggled to find Lulu again – and realize that Lulu and Allyson are actually the same person. I think what struck me most was how honest Allyson’s struggles were – her struggle to figure out what she wants now that she has the power to decide is something a lot of us could probably relate to at that age, and I feel like this perfectly captures what the whole New Adult thing is about.

For me, the romance wasn’t nearly as important to the book as Allyson’s self-discovery, but I still loved it. I loved how Willem brought out the more fearless side of Allyson, and I spent the entire second part of the book rooting for them…although I can’t really go into it too much more because spoilers. Suffice to say, I can’t wait to read Willem’s side of the story.

Have you read Just One Day? Go join the discussion at Tracey’s blog!