August Monthly Recap

~*~On The Blog~*~

I am moving into my dorm room tomorrow! I am finally going to be back in NYC having the time of my life and I am just so excited! Back to going to Broadway shows and trying insanely yummy new dishes from hole-in-the-wall restaurants and just enjoying life in my favorite place in the world with my best friends. <3 But, on an unrelated note, this month has actually been really great review wise. A ton of awesome books, if you ask me. While BROKEN HEARTS was super disappointing to me and DANGEROUS BOYS wasn't what I wanted it to be, I hope many future reading months are on the same level as this one because look at all those 4+ star reviews!

Books Reviewed:
Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine - 4.25 stars 
Isla and the Happily Ever After - 4 stars
False Future by Dan Krokos - 4 stars
Zac & Mia by A.J. Betts - 4 stars
A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall - 4 stars
Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas - 3.5 stars
Broken Hearts, Fences, and other Things to Mend by Katie Finn - DNF, 0 stars

Books Reviewed on Tynga's Reviews:
  • I have left Tynga's Reviews after two years to help focus my time on my new internship at Bloomsbury in the Fall! While the ladies and Jon will be missed, I know that this was the right thing for me to do for both my focus and future. You guys have done so much for me, thank you for everything! <3
The Broadway Review:
  • I introduced this new feature here if you want to check it out! This feature is dependent upon audience interest, so please comment on any of the reviews if you still want me to keep it! 
  • I wasn't able to attend any shows this month, but rest assured that will change within the next 2 weeks.
  • No giveaways currently. I did have several this month, but they're all finished at this point. I've already got 3 planned for September, so stay tuned!
Discussion Posts:
  • This isn't really a discussion post, but I recorded my thoughts in regards to my first ever internship at a literary agency on my blog as a personal journal-like entry. You can find that here!
Guest Posts and Bonus Content: 
  • None this month, unfortunately. There was so much going on this month to prepare for school in addition to an impromptu vacation.

~*~What I've Been Watching~*~

Broadway Shows:
  • I didn't see any Broadway shows this month, but I  have plans for September where that will all change!
  • Big Brother Season 16 is well under way and I have to say that I am at the point where I am significantly underwhelmed. It'll be hard for me to watch anymore episodes past tonight's episode at school and I just don't care anymore. While I like Derrick and want him to win because he's playing the best game, his minions suck. Frankie is absolutely disgusting, I hate Christine, and Cody is nice to look at but he's a huge floater that's all talk and no play. Caleb isn't as bad as he was when Amber was in the house, but I still don't love him or anything. Victoria is nice to watch, but she's a huge floater too, though she doesn't deserve to be treated the way she's treated by some HGs. Nicole is the only one I am genuinely rooting for now that Donny is gone (he freaking deserved the win over anyone else) and things aren't looking so great for her. I hope this double eviction rocks the house this week because if it doesn't then I officially will stop watching this season. At least last season was entertaining, racism aside. 
  • So You Think You Can Dance is almost done and I've caught episodes when I can. I want Ricky to win...and if not him then Zach...and if not him then Valerie. It's been a very entertaining season though. Not much else to say since I'm not super invested.
  • Orange Is The New Black is absolutely amazing! I binged every episode in the course of a week and I can't stop talking about it or thinking about it. Season three needs to be here already! The wait is probably going to be insane! Ugh, I am so obsessed guys. So obsessed. AND THAT ENDING?! If you like this show e-mail me so that we can discuss.
  • Bachelor in Paradise is really stupid. My sister watches this show so I watch it alongside her and seriously, gag me. So many of these people are delusional and annoying and I actually hate AshLee just as much as I hate Frankie. There is an equivalent! That girl, ugh, that girl. She reminds me of some ex friends of mine that are very nice on the outside by super conniving on the inside. People like them are not worth ANYONE's time and she needs a reality check, stat. (So does Graham because I love him and he deserves someone better).
  • Guardians of the Galaxy was everything I wanted it to be and more. I literally laughed so hard I cried. Oh...and also...I am Groot. Basically, if you haven't seen this movie already, go make plans to do so immediately. I really hope there will be a sequel!
  • My best friend happens to be gay and he watched the movie GBF on Netflix and decided he simply had to re-watch it with me because this was our friendship in movie form. Holy crap, guys. I died from laughing so hard. Watch this movie! And especially watch it with a gay best friend if you have one. Apparently GBF's are the new trend now ;) This movie is sarcastic and hilarious and on Netflix for anyone who has it!
  • Spice World is back on Netflix. Obviously not the best movie masterpiece, but it's got the Spice World and it was my childhood obsession at one point. 
  • I have to admit that I re-watched (and teared up many times) watching Aladdin this month. This was one of my favorite childhood movies ever and Genie was always my favorite character. RIP Robin Williams, your amazing talents and ability to make anyone laugh will be missed.
Do you have a monthly recap or thoughts on anything I'm reading/reviewing/watching? Share your thoughts below! Every comment is greatly appreciated! <3

Mini Review: A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

Publication Date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 272 (ARC)
Source: BEA 2014
The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.  But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship.

Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together....
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

This book was written for all the readers who like to ship couples. Because not only are Gabe and Lea an awesome ship, but all fourteen characters in this book ship them and openly admit to shipping them at one point or another. This is a ship worth shipping, guys, and it's a book meant for us crazy fangirl shippers. Seriously...if you haven't figured it out yet...I ship them.

When I first heard about this book, I was simultaneously intrigued and very worried. A book told from fourteen perspectives is no easy feat. It would either work really well or end very badly. While some people seem to love the book because of this unique writing style, some people have also believed that such a thing makes the book very polarizing. I happened to love the perspectives. It was very easy to remember who everyone was because they all have such different personalities. Also, the bench and the squirrel were absolutely hilarious. If benches and squirrels had thoughts that could be heard, I'd imagine Hall hit the nail on the head with them. Whether it's the writing professor that likes to create romantic story-lines between her students, an obsessive Starbucks barista, or a relative, these characters all have one thing in common: they want Gabe and Lea together.

To put it simply, this book can be summed up in one word: adorable. I could seriously imagine little hearts flying around my head as I read my ARC. This book is just that cute. It makes me believe in this silly little thing called fate because these two were definitely fated. They're just so perfectly adorable and nerdy that they belong to nobody else but each other. There's nothing amazing about either of them. They're super ordinary and unique which is what makes them so great. It's not hard to relate to them.

Hall's debut novel has me curious about what else she produces. I couldn't even write a full-length review because I can't get my thoughts into words. While most of the book has been great, I had a few issues with Hillary and the slight slut-shaming that occurred with her. With that aside, the romance is cute because it's not all that dirty (very surprising these days). I would recommend this to any reader who likes a fluffy read because this is truly the ultimate pick-me-up.

Warning: There is some underage drinking and the occasional swear word in this book.

4 stars


FTC Disclaimer: I received no compensation of any kind in exchange for my honest review.

What's Going On?

Hey everyone!

If you haven't noticed, the blog has been relatively inactive this week. I've actually been on a rather impromptu vacation with my family in the mountains. See, we've been going to this resort in Vermont ever since I was six years old because we have a timeshare there. The kids that I met there so many years ago, 13 years ago to be exact, are my extended family. We've spent many a night around bonfires until 4am stargazing and enjoying ourselves and nature. Frankly, Jersey just doesn't have nature and stars, you know?

Because of this, I wasn't really able to post. While I got some reading done, the Internet wasn't my priority in this surprise bout of relaxation time to be one with nature etc etc. I didn't even get a chance to announce I was on vacation because it came upon me so suddenly. I move into my new dorm on Monday, but I am scheduling a few posts for ya'll, I promise!

So, to replace the insanity that is my life currently, I want to ask what's going on with all of you? Anyone heading off to college like me? What are you currently reading? I always need some new library reads ;)

Sorry for the crazy week!

Top Ten Books I Really Want To Read But Don't Own Yet

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

Sorry for the lack of prettiness, but I'm enjoying my vacation in the mountains!

1. City of A Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster- After seeing the ARC Party and hearing them describe this one because the companion sounds absolutely awesome, I can't wait to read it!

2. Finding It by Cora Carmack- The only Carmack book I haven't read yet because I don't conveniently own it.

3. The Giver by Lois Lowry- I'll read it this year, I promise!

4. The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham- As a Marshmallow, I simply have to read this book.

5. Foreplay by Sophie Jordan - The new adult lover in me is vair vair curious!

6. Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen- I've heard so many good things!

7. The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling- Is this one I really need to explain?

8. 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen- Mostly seeing Blythe talk about this one on Twitter and the love/hate relationship most readers have with it makes me want to read this.

9. In The Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce- I LOVED Alanna, so I've got to continue eventually!

10. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes- The hype around this one is ridiculous, but well deserved.

Stacking the Shelves #79

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

I watched my first ARC Party in a while and there were some titles listed that I was super excited to read. While I had a few downloaded, I grabbed these pretties as well!

Edelweiss (Thank you Harper!)
Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly
Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little
Empire of Shadows by Miriam Forster
Geek Girl by Holly Smale
A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

What did YOU add to your shelves?

My First Ever Internship at a Literary Agency

I spent this summer at my very first internship at a literary agency. I just completed this internship last Thursday. As someone who aspires to one day work in this industry, I plan to explore all aspects of it. This was my very first step in doing so. Because of my young age internship-wise, it's not that easy to get into a publishing house. Most houses prefer juniors/seniors, you see. So I decided to begin by exploring the agent aspect of the industry the summer entering my sophomore year. Holy crap, I am now beginning my sophomore year of college!

I've decided to just record my general thoughts, a sum of my summer of laughs and learning here on my blog. Since this is my diary and my journey to one day, hopefully, landing a job in the industry that I hold so dear to my heart, I figured there's no better place to do this.

Let me tell you, agents are more important than you could ever imagine. They work 24/7 and my respect for these individuals is through the roof. It takes a certain kind of person to be an agent and work around the clock, constantly on the hunt for new talent while they balance editors and new writers. They're sort of like the middle-men that is often overlooked in the crazy process that is publishing a book. These people don't get half the credit they deserve!

To put it simply, I learned a lot this summer. Nothing I can really describe in a step by step process because you must experience it yourself in order to truly grasp everything. So, really, I can just tell you about my summer...

I learned about the query process and how insane it is. I read over 400 queries this summer! Take a minute to absorb that number. On top of that, I also read and reported on over 5 finished manuscripts and 4 audiobooks. Sometimes a good hashtag is all you need to explain your thoughts and other times you just have to stare at your computer screen screaming "what?!" inside your head for a few seconds. Just do it, people won't judge you for it. Seriously. It happens a lot.

I learned about line edits and the fact that editors aren't the only one who give authors editorial notes. I learned about that random filing day and how important it really is. I learned about auctions and appealing to editors before going to auction. I realized that auctions can be really entertaining if between two publishing enemies that somehow figure out who they're up against. I learned about good writing and watched my taste evolve throughout the entire summer.

Those cons that us bloggers love to go to? I learned how important they are for agents. Not only do they promote their authors alongside the publishers, editors, and publicists, but they also have to go to panels hosted by editors and prospective authors to figure out who to pitch to and if there are any pitches presented to them worth considering.

I learned that romance readers often have Freudian slips of the mind and the entire office will burst into laughter because of this. The best way to diffuse a situation and share a laugh with everyone within ear shot.

Foreign editions of books are always so interesting. The covers are either super exquisite or really strange. Also, the rough translation of their titles can often put a smile on your face.

I learned that books bring people together though I already knew this but never had such a concrete example to share. While I adore the three other interns I worked with for the entire summer--Maura, Kathleen, and Josh--I can honestly say that we all have extremely different personalities and interests outside of books yet clicked immediately from the start. Clearly, the intern table is the place to be. Plus, the interns and I learned that I alone attract the weirdos, and now I've got solid proof and people that'll back me up.

I learned that a really badly written sex scene can be your downfall. I don't want a biology lesson! Also, vikings can be surprisingly sexy. But really though.

I also learned that I DO NOT have a future in coming up with book titles. Seriously, I had to do this once with the other interns and it's safe to say we all sucked. The title that the agency ended up going with wasn't even in the realm of our long list of ideas or buzz words and, trust me, that's a good thing.

Anyone and everyone can bond over homemade goodies while we all secretly wish we could make cupcakes from scratch the way Kathleen can. We also want our boss's sense of style when we're out of college. This woman...she knows how to dress!

But most of all, I learned that you can have fun in this industry. While a position as an agent may not be for me, this industry definitely is. I've found my niche, that's for sure!

I cannot wait to see what else the future holds for me. With a new internship starting this Fall, I know I'll be in for a wild ride. I owe a lot to my literary agency experience. I made some amazing new friends and genuinely had a blast at a job. While I know my future is looking bright and will be full of new publishing endeavors, I will never forget this summer.

Review: Zac & Mia by A.J. Betts

Publication Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Reading Level: Young Adult, 14+
Pages: 304 (ARC)
Source: Gifted from Montana
The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this tough and tender young adult novel that's a lot about love (and a little about cancer).

Winner of the 2012 Australian Text Prize

"When I was little I believed in Jesus and Santa, spontaneous combustion, and the Loch Ness monster. Now I believe in science, statistics, and antibiotics." So says seventeen-year-old Zac Meier during a long, grueling leukemia treatment in Perth, Australia. A loud blast of Lady Gaga alerts him to the presence of Mia, the angry, not-at-all-stoic cancer patient in the room next door. Once released, the two near-strangers can't forget each other, even as they desperately try to resume normal lives. The story of their mysterious connection drives this unflinchingly tough, tender novel told in two voices.

~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

Before I begin, I want to note something. It's become apparent to me that many readers consider this book to be a The Fault In Our Stars rip-off. It is not. The only comparison between the two of the books is that both of the female and male leads have some kind of cancer. Betts's story is one of friendship and loving onself and not romance, and it's told in an entirely different way than John Green's beloved novel because of the author's experience as a teacher in cancer hospitals.

What I loved about this book is that it's about Zac and Mia. Yes, both characters have cancer and at its core it is a cancer story, but this is a story about two teens learning to be comfortable with themselves and also learning to love themselves. It's about two unlikely friends who meet in the most unconventional of ways and lead very strange lives. It focuses on them and the way they think, not their ailments. This is the story of Zac and the story of Mia, not the story of their designated cancers. And their cute little quirks make you almost immediately fall in love with them. However, this story takes the hard approach to showcasing their cancer. It is brutally honest with it's portrayal of recovery experiences and ailments, so I wouldn't recommend reading it if you have a loved one with cancer (I am very sorry if you do) or if the topic of cancer makes you uncomfortable.

Zac is one of those characters that is hard not to fall in love with. I loved him from the very beginning. His sense of humor is incredibly dry and that appeals to me in any character or real life friend. While he hasn't been dealt the best deck of cards, he takes what he's been given and runs with it. He doesn't appreciate special treatment and even when his cancer is winning, he puts others before himself. He's the type of person that lives life and he is very easy to love.

In contrast, there's Mia. She's stubborn and rebellious and doesn't always see much sense. This makes her incredibly frustrating. You pity her more than you support her for a good portion of the book. It is Mia alone, in my opinion, that makes this book so polarizing. While it's easy to love Zac and watch his character arc, it's not easy to warm up to Mia and her character arc is much more subtle and slow-going. I think that this was done purposefully to show how different people can approach such a life changing thing as cancer. While I enjoyed Mia because of her struggle, I know several readers did not. Just give her a chance. She's incredibly selfish and self-centered, but it's because she was raised by a young mother, thus making her very naive despite her preferred adult-like activities. She seems to be the thing that makes this book amazing or bad in certain reader's eyes, so if you don't give her a chance you may not have a positive reading experience. Because I warmed up to her so quickly, her character growth was all the more powerful to me and her and Zac will definitely stay in my mind for quite a while.

American readers will enjoy this book because of its very distinct Australian vibe. I like the Australianisms. They make me smile and giggle because of the difference in language. It doesn't feel like an American book and I think that's part of the allure for readers. While it takes us some place incredibly new in the form of a cancer ward, it also takes us throughout Australia. For readers who enjoy traveling and learning about other cultures, this book is definitely a good choice.

Lastly, there's the ending. This book ends with a spell of hope. I don't want to ruin it for you, but I know readers who both loved and disliked the ending because, yes, it is open. Though, despite its openness, it's rather closed, too. Our characters have ended one of many journeys in their lives and a new one is about to be open. So while this book is firmly and completely finished, Zac and Mia's story is not.

Very powerful and moving, this is a book that I devoured in a single day. It is perfect for readers looking for an emotional and powerful story of friendship and understanding oneself. These characters will leave a lasting impression in my mind, and I'm thankful for having had the chance to read their story.

4 stars


Top Ten Books People Have Been Telling Me I MUST Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and Bookish.

This list was actually pretty easy to make...Surprisingly. In no particular order:

1. If I Stay by Gayle Forman- Tabitha has been forcing this on me. I hope she's happy to know that I am trying to read it as we speak.

2. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta- Really any of her books for that matter. Jessie temporarily ignores me whenever she's reminded that I haven't read any of her books.

3. Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi- I really enjoyed BOOMERANG so this book is getting bumped on my TBR!

4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling- Remember the whole I can't finish my favorite series ever because I'm emotionally unprepared to say goodbye thing? Yeah...

5. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson- This will change soon! I promise!

6. The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner- Shae will not rest until I read this. Until the entire world reads this, really.

7. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan- So I tried reading INVISIBILITY by him and Andrea Cremer and I hated it. It's sort of turned me off from both authors, but I'll overcome it eventually. Too many people keep yelling at me to read this one, so...

8. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen- Really any Sarah Dessen book. I just worry okay?! I'm surprised Rachel is still my friend after me admitting that I haven't read any of her books.

9. Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan- I gifted this to Shae for Christmas and I now never hear the end of it. The girl is the ultimate book pusher.

10. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff- I will read it soon! I promise! I can't even peg a single person for forcing this one on me. you have any books to force onto me? lol

Review: False Future by Dan Krokos

Series: False Memory #3
Publication Date: August 19, 2014
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 308 (Hardcover)
Source: From Publisher For Review
True Earth has returned during a massive snowstorm in Manhattan-and this time they have an army. Rhys, Noble, Sophia, and Peter know they don't stand a chance against the enemy without Miranda. And once they revive her, she's horrified to find her world in flames.

The enemy occupation is brutal, but the director promises to release her hold on the city if Mr. East is turned in, and Miranda and her team are determined to find him. With her grief over the losses she has suffered fueling her spirit, Miranda knows that this time the sacrifices have to be worth it.

Packed with suspense and deception, Dan Krokos brings Miranda's journey to a mind-bending conclusion as she risks losing everything in the fight for her future.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

After the insane ending that is book two, I was very worried about this conclusion. I had a hunch about what would happen, but one never knows with the craziness that is this bookish multiverse. However, I'm super happy to report that I'm beyond satisfied with this ending. It's just as crazy and twisted as the previous two books. It literally rips your heart out, stitches it back together, then stomps on it, yet somehow manages to leave you with a little bit of hope. Loaded with death, doom, and destruction, the final installment in the False Memory trilogy was a strong way to end one of the first sci-fi series I have ever finished.

The best thing about this book is the plot. Krokos is ruthless with his characters and I think it takes guts for an author to be that way. He tortures them just like he tortures the readers and he leads us on this insane journey full of twists and turns. Seriously, even the last ten pages had some shocking developments that had me sitting there freaking out because he threw another wrench into our hearts. Gah, this man knows how to keep you on your toes until the very last page. That's one thing I loved about this series. Its fast pacing makes it a quick read and a series that can easily be binged because while Krokos delights in ripping our hearts out, there's gotta be some type of redemption to follow.

His characterization is spot on, too. Every character in this, even the secondary characters, are distinct. They are not like anyone else in the story and they hold their own against the leads and the other secondary characters who temporarily take the spotlight. It endears you to so many of them, which makes certain circumstances all the more heartbreaking or meaningful. Yeah, there's a lot of death in this one if you haven't caught the hint yet. But that's okay because Krokos manages to pull it off and make it seem believable and necessary.

However, this book was not perfect. I had two issues with it. While the ultimate climax as a whole was huge, there's a certain life-altering part of it that just seemed...well...very anti-climatic in the grand scheme of things. Tapping away on a super computer of sorts just seems out of place when the fate of the world rests on your shoulders. Also, I was left with a ton of questions. The ending seemed a little rushed, partially because there were so many new developments in the last pages, but also because it didn't really give us all the answers we needed about the present day and True Earth. I want to know more because not all of my questions were answered. The ending as a whole was satisfactory, but there are a few plot lines that weren't properly tied up that are going to haunt me for a while. I almost wish there was an epilogue, and when I call for an epilogue you know there's something up. I typically hate epilogues!

All in all, this book was the type of ending that this series deserves. I stand by my original assertation about how this series is really good for new sci-fi readers who want a complicated world, a quick read, and plot twists galore. I'm very curious to see what Krokos produces next. While I'm sad to see this series go, I can honestly say that the ending did not disappoint.

4 stars


FTC Disclaimer: I received no compensation of any kind in exchange for an honest review.

Stacking the Shelves #78

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

This is a bit of an awesome haul since it spans two weeks! I was so busy last week I couldn't get mine up on time!

Won (Thank you, Jessica Spotswood!)
Sisters Fate by Jessica Spotswood

Traded (Thanks Stephanie!)
Losing It by Cora Carmack
Three by Kristin Simmons

Gifted from Internship and Fellow Interns (Thank you Liza, Sarah, Adrienne, and Maura!)
One Plus One by JoJo Moyes
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence
Blitzing Emily by Julie Brannagh
Lick by Kylie Scott
Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

Isla & The Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

I NEEDED a hardback of The Bitter Kingdom to add to my shelves and who could resist Isla? Lick is supposed to be SUPER HOT! My internship was clearing out their shelves and they let me grab a few pretties as well as gifting a few they recently read and enjoyed on my last day. Cora Carmack is life and well... Kristin Simmons and Jessica Spotswood have brought me two of my favorite series. MUST FINISH! I mean...there's also a book in there about love and football, so that freaking rocks too.

This post isn't as pretty as I like my STS posts to be, but I am reading a good book and can't tear myself away from it to care right now. lol

Review: Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

Publication Date: August 14, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Reading Level: Young Adult, 14+
Pages: 336 (Kindle eARC)
Source: From Author For Review
Three teens venture into the abandoned Monroe estate one night; hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding; the other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder?
Chloe is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece together the story of how they got there-a story of jealousy, twisted passion, and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful of faces…
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

I was so excited to receive this book for review, but I have to admit that I am slightly disappointed in this tale. While overall enjoyable and thrilling, it wasn't as good as I wanted it to be. With that in mind, I still really enjoyed this tale, but not as badly as I wanted to.

We begin this book at the end. There are two brothers and our main character, Chloe, inside an empty house. Somehow, a fire is started. One brother ends up burning inside the house while the other is dragged out unconscious with a nearly fatal stab wound to his stomach. Chloe is the only conscious survivor and it's incredibly clear that she is lying about one part of the story or another. Which brother has the potential to live and which one dies? Furthermore, why did this event even happen and what, exactly, is Chloe's role in the end? Of course you have to read the book to find out!

Chloe was an interesting character because in one sense she is totally relatable and she is totally unrelatable in another sense. She just graduated high school in a small town that she's lived in her entire life. Her father left her family to raise a kid with a new woman and her mother has withdrawn from life and succumbed to depression because of it. She works late nights at the diner to save up some money until she leaves for college in Connecticut. After all, Chloe was always the one that would get out of Dodge. I can totally relate to this because, like Chloe, I'm from a small town that I worked tirelessly to get out of. However, because of her mother's depression she has to take a gap year and work more to support her failing household and pretty much take care of her own mother. She begins to resent her and slowly changes from the nice girl we meet in the beginning of the story to something else entirely.

This change is triggered by events following her meeting Ethan one day in the diner. We slowly see a darker side of Chloe emerge and it's almost as if it was always stirring beneath the surface but she needed something to ignite the flames inside her and allow the sociopath within her to surface. Well, that's what Ethan inadvertently triggered, and, obviously, this part of Chloe is not as relatable. Heck, I hated this part of Chloe. I can honestly say that the Chloe at the end of this book was not the Chloe I liked in the beginning. I know we are meant to not like her, but the fact that I didn't outright love any specific character in this story hurt my reading experience a little. I enjoyed many characters, I just didn't love any.

I was fascinated by Ethan and Oliver, though. These two are the sun and the moon, water and fire. One heals while the other kills. They're complete opposites and it's evident from the very beginning. One is selfless and loves with his entire being while the other is a maniacal genius that is evil inside and out from the day he was born--a truly well written sociopath that sent shivers down my spine from the very beginning. I found him to be fascinating, but at the same time after hearing the things he did I was mad at his parents for not doing something about it. It's not as if they weren't aware of many of his actions.

That's the other thing about this book, the families are both far from perfect. Chloe's mother is a little on the weak side. I know it would suck to have a husband leave you for a younger woman he got pregnant, but she literally became a mess that couldn't see daylight and was entirely non-functioning. She gave up being a mother because her husband was her life and I didn't like that. I liked the complexity of Ethan and Oliver's family because there's obviously a lot of creepy things going on behind the scenes--their mother is a lot smarter than she lets on--but I still don't always agree with their decisions.

In the end, this mystery is just easier to piece together than DANGEROUS GIRLS. I know these two aren't companion novels, but it's the same general style of storytelling and because I loved DANGEROUS GIRLS so much, I was expecting the same thrill from this novel. While super dark and twisted and, at times, even more disturbing than book one, I didn't have to wait until the very end to figure out what happened in that empty house before the fire started. And that's the one thing that really upsets me in regards to this novel.

With all of that in mind, I am definitely a black sheep in regards to this one. Most people absolutely adored it and, don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed it too. But I think my expectations were so high that this book took a harder fall in my mind than it deserved. Abigail Haas (really Abby McDonald) has cemented her spot in the thriller young adult genre. I will always read what she writes under this pen name because I don't think anyone can compare to her twistedness. I love the dark places she takes us, even if a bit unsettling, and I am serious when I say you have to pick up both DANGEROUS GIRLS and DANGEROUS BOYS.

I can't wait to see what Haas writes next. Who wants to be in the mind of a male sociopath? I know I do!

3.5 stars


FTC Disclaimer: I received no compensation of any kind in exchange for my honest review.

Ten Books I Will (Most Likely) Never Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by the Broke and Bookish.

So I am changing this week's topic slightly because there are 10 books out there that I don't plan on ever reading. But, as a voracious reader, I can never say never. It's possible that one of you out there may be so genius that you convince me to read one of these books, but if I get to choose right now...I probably won't be picking any of these up anytime soon.

Also, I saw GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY last night so this post is really hastily thrown together and not as pretty as usual. Sorry, guys!

1. Insurgent by Veronica Roth - I got 75 pages into this one and put it down with the intent to pick it up later because the writing bored me immensely...

2. Allegient by Veronica Roth - ...and then I got the ending of ALLEGIANT spoiled for me at 2am one night and decided it was not worth picking up either at the moment.

3. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake - I know everyone likes this book and I totally respect them for it, but I am the biggest wuss and I can't handle horror, so I have no plans on picking this one up. I will stick with ANTIGODDESS since I happen to love that one.

4. The Nightshade Trilogy by Andrea Cremer - I had interest in this, but then I heard immense uproar about the ending and now I am slightly hesitant. Okay...really hesitant to invest myself in this new series.

5. The City of Indra by Kendall Jennier, Kylie Jennifer, and ghost writer - Yeah, this just sounds bad...Thanks for taking one for the team, whoever read this one!

6. Forever Too Far by Abbi Glines - I really enjoyed her VINCENT BROTHERS duology, but I read the first two books in her Rosemary Beach series and they were among the most frustrating books I ever read. I read both of those because they were handed to me for free, but I will not put myself through this torture anymore!

7. Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genivieve Tucholke - Biggest wuss in the world *points to self* and scary books *points to book* do not mix well. While I hear good things, I'm not willing to give up my precious sleep at the very moment.

8. The Selection by Kiera Cass - This book never interested me to begin with, but I have a thing with authors behaving badly and, at times, it's hard for me to move past that.

9. Sophie's Choice by William Styron - While I'm sure it's a respectable story, I just can't.

10. The Odyssey by Homer - Yeah, I just sort of missed the mark on these. Epic poetry doesn't sound awesome to my brain.

Don't forget to share your thoughts on my TTT list and link your own lists below!

Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Series: Anna and the French Kiss #3
Publication Date: August 14, 2014
Publisher: Dutton
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 339 (Hardcover)
Source: Pre-Ordered
From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and √Čtienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

In the end, it's very hard not to be satisfied with this ending. Heck, we've been waiting three years for it! And I think that these three years of yearning and anxiety and excitement hurt this book. I was expecting something perfect that would completely knock me off my feet. And while I loved this novel, I can't say that it was perfect.

First things first, the characterization. Josh Wasserstein is amazing. He is in love with the idea of love and is as devoted to the concept of love as he is his amazing artwork. He's just perfect. Though Etienne is number one in my heart, Josh is a very close second. I don't want to ruin anything about him for readers, but know that he is the most thoughtful and perfect love interest. He gets ahead of himself at times, but I can't imagine him being any other way. Also, he's an artist...cue my instant melting and artistic fantasies.

And then there's Isla. I struggled with Isla. I loved her thought processes because she sounded like any other girl swooning over a guy she'd secretly been in love with for three years. But, at times, I was completely detached from her. She's almost obsessive in regards to her feelings for Josh. I don't feel like I got to know her the way I did Anna and Lola. Anna had movies, Lola had clothing and an awesome family that was part of the story, and Isla was obsessed with Josh. There was nothing to set her apart. Sure, she liked adventure stories, but I almost felt like they were an afterthought coming second to Josh. Josh was this story, and Isla wasn't as unique as I wanted her to be.

I have to give props to Isla's best friend, Kurt, as well. I haven't come across many autistic characters, let alone one that is so well done and not pitied. I enjoyed him and especially his friendship with Isla. Watching them grow together and learn to deal with new aspects of their changing lives together was refreshing. Yay for friendship!

Isla and Josh's relationship starts the summer before their senior year. Though they both attend the School of America in Paris, New York City is their home. On breaks and in the summer they reside mere blocks away from each other. Doped up on medication after having her teeth ripped out, Isla sneaks out to a cafe to get some soft food where she runs into Josh and they spend a loopy (and enjoyable) night together, never to see each other again until school months later. They're being together then happens in quick succession. I understand that Isla's been obsessed/in love with him for years, but he falls really fast and really hard. It's a month of blissful making out with no drama whatsoever. I understand that this is the way young love really's either super slow because of nerves or disgustingly fast because passion is all-consuming and that's how it is for Isla and Josh. But I, as a reader, just wasn't feeling the pacing no matter how much I enjoyed them together.

Then, of course, there's the relationship drama. Face it, every relationship has it. But for Josh and Isla, it all comes full force at one time when everything as pure bliss before it. While I understand most of it was necessary, I don't think all of it was. There were certain moments that had me rolling my eyes. Instead of, I don't know, talking to Josh, Isla kept her feelings bottled up until they burst. Granted, most of their relationship issues stemmed from Isla being really insecure with her relationship with Josh, but it's hard to reconcile the really funny girl in the beginning of the story to the love-struck, insecure, slightly frustrating character that I found in the middle.

In the end, I liked how Perkins worked the romance. I like how their relationship grows (in the long run) and how Josh listens to Isla's rambles and issues. I like that they are both determined to make it work, but the progression is strange. It's the pacing and the fact that, at times, things seem jumbled together.

I also can't help but compare this Paris to Anna's Paris. I feel like this book was more of a travel guide than a book set in another country. I like to feel like I am transported there, a la Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard, and Venom by Fiona Paul. I just didn't get that spark with this one either, though this is more a travel nerd pet peeve then true fault with the story. At least I know some new sights I want to see when I study abroad next year?

The ending of this novel was perfect. I wouldn't change a thing. I squealed with genuine joy, and I was so happy with it. In truth, I was happy with this novel as a whole, but the middle was a little funky in comparison to the beginning and the very end. I often laughed, I was shocked a few times, but I set this book down with a warm feeling in my belly. What more could you ask for? I can't wait to see what Perkins produces for us next!

4 stars


DNF Review: Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn

Series: Broken Hearts & Revenge #1
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 339 (ARC)
Source: Borrowed from Friend
Summer, boys, and friendships gone sour. This new series has everything that perfect beach reads are made of!

Gemma just got dumped and is devastated. She finds herself back in the Hamptons for the summer—which puts her at risk of bumping into Hallie, her former best friend that she wronged five years earlier. Do people hold grudges that long?

When a small case of mistaken identity causes everyone, including Hallie and her dreamy brother Josh, to think she’s someone else, Gemma decides to go along with it.

Gemma's plan is working (she's finding it hard to resist Josh), but she's finding herself in embarrassing situations (how could a bathing suit fall apart like that!?). Is it coincidence or is someone trying to expose her true identity? And how will Josh react if he finds out who she is?

Katie Finn hits all the right notes in this perfect beginning to a new summer series: A Broken Hearts & Revenge novel.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

I think this book was meant to be really cute, but I simply could not stand it. There's no other way to put it. I DNFed at page fifty because I simply did not like being inside the main character's head. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I was continuously frustrated by her for an unknown reason. This just made the book a laborious read for me.

Furthermore, by page fifty, I had the entire book figured out. See, our main character just got dumped and is no longer attending a trip with her boyfriend to spend the summer building homes. Because of a pre-planned family vacation without her, Gemma ends up going to the Hamptons with her father. She hasn't been back to the Hamptons since she was 11 years old. She did something very bad that summer and ruined someone's life. Of course, the first person she runs into en-route to the Hamptons is the older bother of said person whose life she ruined and then the person whose life she ruined.

Immediately after that, I ended the book. Really because a single line made me figure out the entire plot line. I then contacted a friend and asked them to confirm or deny my suspicions since they finished the book. If they said my hunch was incorrect, I would have continued. But, alas, my hunch was correct and I couldn't continue anymore. A book is no fun if you have the entire convoluted plot figured out after fifty pages. It's also a really bad sign if you have the entire plot figured out after fifty pages.

However, said person told me to skim certain parts and I was appalled. Mostly because of the huge twist with the person whose life Gemma has ruined. I saw about half of it coming, but the other half of the plot can only be described as pathetic. It is one of those moments where you sit there shaking your head because one of the characters has a little too much free time on their hands. It's the revenge story meant for much younger readers, if you ask me.

In other words...this book was not meant to me, but that's in part because I had high hopes. I couldn't find this one at all enjoyable, but alas, enjoyment is dependent on the type of reader you are. Give this one a chance if you wish, but I will not be continuing on with this series.


Top Ten Books I Would Give To Readers Who Have Never Read Fantasy

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

So...this was actually a really hard list to make. Luckily, my friend Tabitha has actually been my guinea pig for fantasy recommendations recently! haha

In no particular order...

1. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo - If you want to go all out with the swoons and addicting world-building, this is the series meant to make you love fantasy. Seriously. I have yet to meet someone I have forced this book on that hasn't liked it.

2. Shadowland by Meg Cabot - Though it's a fantasy novel because it deals with ghosts and the ability to see ghosts, Suz is a normal, sassy, hilarious girl. It's a good book for contemporary readers to transition into the genre with.

3. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers - This is a historical fiction fantasy, so it's good for readers who like historicals. A solid cross-over, you know? It's also my go-to assassins recommendation now. Though I love THRONE OF GLASS, I know it's slightly hard to get into for some readers, so this is an easier transition book in my eyes.

4. Graceling by Kristin Cashore - This book is just amazing. I don't know how else to describe it. It's got an amazing strong heroine, a perfect love interest, an awesome world, and cool fantastical abilities with some violence sprinkled here and there for good measure. What more could you ask for?

5. Cinder by Marissa Meyer - This is a solid tale for fairytale lovers. If you liked Cinderella growing up, you're going to love this sci-fi/fantasy re-imagining. It helps that Meyer is an amazing author in general, so... haha <3

6. The Archived by Victoria Schwab - A very solid read for those who like darker novels. Schwab rocks with the dark airiness of her atmospheres. I would put VICIOUS on here, but I only recommend that one to indebted fantasy readers because of just how dark it is.

7. Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout - Though one of the main character is a confident and sexy alien, this also takes place in Virginia. So it's a good cross-over because aspects of it are completely normal, but it is also a great starting fantasy because it's addicting. Damon is so hot and if you like sexy men, you'll love this book.

8. The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors - This is another fairytale retelling, but it's cuter and more lighthearted. I's THE UGLY DUCKLING! There is chocolate in this story! CHOCOLATE! <3 While it isn't perfect, it's definitely a good start. Super enjoyable and not dark, so readers will love this, too.

9. The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen - This is actually a middle-grade, though it's meant for older readers. I highly recommend this one because it's good for both boys and girls, especially younger boys. The main character is a 14 year old boy that can outwit nearly anyone who comes into his path.

10. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan - I think this is self-explanatory. Good for readers of all ages and both boys and girls alike, Camp Half Blood is bound to turn any reader into a fantasy addict.


11. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling - I really hope I don't have to explain this one.

What do you think of my TTT list this week? Don't forget to link your lists below!