The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

12813630Title: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Author: Holly Black
Series: N/A
Format: Paperback
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Summary

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself. (Source)


Review
Plot: This story takes place in a world where vampires exist, but it feels more than a zombie outbreak than a Twilight style love story. They are locked up in closed off towns where it is difficult to enter and almost impossible to leave. Tana ends up being forced to go into a Coldtown, and struggling to survive. There is romance between her and another male, but it is not the center of attention. It is an interesting spin on the traditional vampire novel, but not completely original.
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Characters: Tana.. she’s a little annoying. Every time she does something, I’m actually shocked she doesn’t die instantly. To be fair, she isn’t supposed to be anything but an average girl. But she consistently makes dumb choices and just generally annoys me. Unfortunately, that’s how I felt about most of the characters in this book. They were all either annoying or forgettable and I didn’t really care what happened to anyone in the end.
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Cover: The cover kind of reminded me of Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampire series. Not sure why because they are very different, but the theme just felt similar. The plot of the books were also quite similar, but I enjoyed Rachel Caine’s more.
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Closing Thoughts: For me, this was just a very average book. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t great. It was a pretty quick read, but I didn’t really care what happened at the end. It was a fairly long book, but I felt like nothing really happened. It was an interesting concept, but I didn’t really like where she went with it. I’m a little dissapointed because I’ve heard such good things about Holly Black. But between this and The Darkest Part of the Forest, I’m not all that impressed.
Where to find Holly Black:

Sweet Daydreams,

Brooke

 

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Gemina

29236299Title: Gemina
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files #2
Format: Audiobook
Release Date: October 18, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Summary

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope. (Source)


Review
Plot: This story takes place immediately after/simultaneously with the events of Illuminae. While Ezra and Kady are dealing with the BeiTech on their two ships, Nik and Hanna are battling them as well. The big difference is that Nik and Hanna have no idea what is going on or why they are being invaded in the first place. The plot is similar to the plot of Illuminae: escape. Except there is no killer AI and no virus spreading among the ship. You might think this makes their escape easier, but it really is no less challenging. This time, there are aliens spreading and a team of BeiTech who only care about covering their tracks.
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Characters: I was worried I wouldn’t like the characters in this story as much, just because of how much I loved Ezra and Kady. At first, I wasn’t a fan of Hanna and Nik, but they quickly began to grow on me.
Hanna – she is kind of like the princess of the ship. Her father is the station captain and she gets everything she wants. She isn’t the ditzy space princess you might be thinking of, but she does come off as bossy and controlling. To be honest, she kind of reminds me of Kady. I like Kady more than I like Hanna, but they are both really strong female roles who don’t take no for an answer.
Nik – he is the cliche bad boy of the story. His family is a notorious crime family aboard the ship and he is shown taking part in many illegal activities throughout the story. He didn’t seem like he was similar to Ezra, except for being charming and heroic. I liked Nik, although again not as much as Ezra.
I think my biggest problem was I was spending the whole time comparing the two casts of characters. Overall, I liked the characters more in the first book, but you’ll really love the people in Gemina as well.
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Cover: Just like with the first book, I read this as an audiobook. The books themselves are gorgeous inside and out, though, so I am planning on buying the series in hardcover form as soon as I can afford it. I love the color change and it really seems to fit with the theme of this book better. I can’t wait for Obsidio to come out so I can see them all lined up together.
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Closing Thoughts: I had a little trouble getting into this book at first. I was so excited, but I tend to have a hard time switching narrators. I become so attached to the people, especially in a book like this one. But once I started getting into it, I began to love the story and the characters just as much as Illuminae. If I had to compare the two, I would say the first is still my favorite. Illuminae is one of my top books of all time. But Gemina is a very close second and will not disappoint. Again, I highly recommend listening to it as an audiobook because of how spectacular the audio is for this series. But based on how beautiful the physical books are as well, I would say you couldn’t go wrong either way.
Where to find Amie Kaufman:
Where to find Jay Kristoff:

Sweet Daydreams,

Brooke

 

New Year 2018

Gold glitter Happy New Year 2017 background. Happy new year glit

I cannot believe it is 2018 already! As I get older, it feels like the years go faster and faster. This last year was crazy and I wasn’t able to write on this blog as much as I wanted to. However, I have some fun things planned for this coming year. I will turn 21, graduate college, and who knows what else?

At the beginning of last year, I came up with some goals for myself. I wanted to go over those goals, see what I accomplished, and build off of those goals for this year.

Goals

 

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Reading

Recap: Last year I made it a goal to read at least 24 books throughout the year. I wanted to try and read 2 books a month (which ended up being 5 books at a time and then nothing for a while). As a student, it’s hard to keep up with reading because of all the school reading I have. However, I actually managed to go above and beyond my goal of 24. This is the goal I am most proud of accomplishing. I have only grown as a reader in this past year and I am excited to grow even more in 2018.

New Challenge: This year I have challenged myself to read 52 books, which is about a book a week. This is more than double my previous goal, but I really want to challenge myself this next year. I also graduate this coming spring, so hopefully I’ll have a little extra time this summer (*she says hopefully*).

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Writing

Recap: My goal was originally to try and have something written every week. Me and my boyfriend were going to swap writings weekly to motivate each other. I definitely made a point of writing more, and I have a lot that I am proud of. Unfortunately, we didn’t really keep up that goal more than a month or two. There were a few times I picked up writing, but I definitely need to try a little harder this next year.

New Challenge: My new challenge for 2018 is kind of the same as last year. I want to write more. This could mean a lot of different things, but I have a lot of stories in the works which makes me feel more confident. I want to write at least once a day, but it’s more realistic to say I will try and write once a week or even a month. As long as I don’t let the writing stop, I’d be happy with myself.

superthumbBlogging

Recap: Last year I was really hoping to grow this blog more. If anything, I made it worse this last year. I was so busy, I wasn’t able to keep up with the weekly releases and the reviews were far and few in between. I lost the spark I had and felt like my writing was boring. This made it hard for me to find the motivation to write. I would say this is the goal I lacked the most in.

New Challenge: The challenge for this year is to change up my blog into something new and exciting! I am planning on opening up an Etsy shop in the near future (I’ll keep you posted) and have been working on that all break. I also hope to come up with some new and original content for this blog to get more people interested in hearing what I have to say. Overall, I am planning on some big things this year.

Last year, I wasn’t able to accomplish everything I wanted to. I could rattle off excuses about being in school, but what it really comes down to is that I just wasn’t putting these goals as a priority. In 2018, I am putting these bookish goals up there with my academic goals and really going for it.

I challenge you all to do the same for yourselves. Read a crazy amount of books you never thought possible. Read a novel completely out of your genre just to try it out. Write a book! Learn to write poetry. Start a blog. Branch out and try new things. Put these as a priority in your life because they are just as important as things like school or work. If it makes you happy, really put it first. Happy New Year everyone!

Sweet Daydreams,

Brooke

Heartless

18584855Title: Heartless
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: N/A
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: November 8, 2016
Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy

Summary

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.


Review
Plot: When I picked up this book, I was actually under the impression that this was a retelling of Alice in Wonderland. However, after getting into it, I realized that it was actually the story of how the Queen of Hearts got to where she was. What I loved about it is that it was entirely unique and nothing I had heard before. In her previous books, Meyer was putting a new spin on an old story. In this book, it is completely new and original. Catherine has always wanted to open her own bakery. Not to mention, she’s amazing at baking. She uses magic (I think) in her own baking to make it even more unique and desirable. But unfortunately that isn’t what everyone wants for her and her dreams are pushed to the side. Instead, she must try and impress the King in order to win his affection. Throughout all this struggle about her life, she meets Jest. She falls into a whirlwind romance with him and he starts to show her parts of the world she never knew before. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but it is a given that this story does not end happily. In order for her to become the evil Queen of Hearts we know, tragedy must befall her.

Characters:
Catherine – I really liked her character! Meyer is really good at creating full and captivating characters that I can’t get enough of. Catherine is strong and sure of herself. She knows she’s a good baker and she knows she is capable of much more than being a trophy wife. But time and time again she is put down until she can’t take it anymore. Even though it isn’t a good progression, I think we see a lot of character development in her. At the end, you feel so bad for her, you kind of understand why she turns out the way she does.

Cover:
As with all her other novels, I am completely enthralled with the cover. It is beautiful and elegant and I just love to hold it in my hands. Not to mention, the actual hardcover itself has art of it’s own. 

Closing Thoughts:
 Maybe I’m biased because I love Marissa Meyer, but she’s done it again! She’s written an amazing story I ate right up. I wouldn’t say I liked it as much as I love the Lunar Chronicles, but it’s really hard to compare the two. As a one off, it was perfect. I got the right amount of everything I needed. It was funny, emotional, and just incredibly well written. I high recommend this to anyone – especially those who are a fan of Meyer’s other works. 
Where to find Marissa Meyer:

Sweet Daydreams,

Brooke

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

25110515Title: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Author: Jesse Andrews
Series: N/A
Format: Paperback
Release Date: April 21, 2015
Genre(s): YA, Contemporary 

Summary

It is a universally acknowledged truth that high school sucks. But on the first day of his senior year, Greg Gaines thinks he’s figured it out. The answer to the basic existential question: How is it possible to exist in a place that sucks so bad? His strategy: remain at the periphery at all times. Keep an insanely low profile. Make mediocre films with the one person who is even sort of his friend, Earl.
This plan works for exactly eight hours. Then Greg’s mom forces him to become friends with a girl who has cancer. This brings about the destruction of Greg’s entire life.
Fiercely funny, honest, heart-breaking—this is an unforgettable novel from a bright talent, now also a film that critics are calling “a touchstone for its generation” and “an instant classic.” (Source)


Review
Plot: This book’s plot isn’t completely new if you’ve read a lot of the contemporary fiction that is popular right now. This book is about a boy named Greg who is forced to spend time with Rachel, a girl who is sick with cancer. This book is meant to be more “realistic” and is riddled with sarcasm and humor. It was weird because I often didn’t know how I was supposed to feel while I read this. One moment, Greg was cracking jokes and the next something horrible would be said. I think the author was trying to make this book really relatable, but it just came off kind of weird to me.  The plot was almost exactly like Fault In Our Stars (or any of those illness fiction novels).
Characters: Unfortunately, another flaw of this book was the characters. Greg was really unlikable to me. Like I said above, I think the author was trying to make him honest and realistic. But he just kind of came off as an asshole a lot of the time. He was funny, and I laughed a good amount of times. But overall, I didn’t really care about the characters. I thought Earl was funnier than Greg, but still wasn’t my favorite. Even though I felt bad for Rachel, I found myself not really caring what happened to her in the end. Maybe it was because I guessed she was probably going to die (not a spoiler, just my guess from page one), but I just never got invested in her character.
Cover: I picked up the book with this cover, rather than the newer, more popular one. I honestly like the simplicity of this cover better. It kind of reminds me of Stargirl (anyone else read that as a kid?)
Closing Thoughts: This book is decent, but forgettable. Among all the other books about sick kids (Fault In Our Stars, Everything Everything, etc.) this one doesn’t stand out any more than the others. I picked it up because I thought the movie looked cute and I was a fan of some of the actors. I also heard a lot of positive reviews about this book. I’m not saying it’s a bad book, it’s just not very unique. It’s something I honestly forgot I had read until I went to write this review.
Where to find Jesse Andrews:

Sweet Daydreams,

Brooke

 

Owlcrate Unboxing

“OwlCrate was created to share the joy of reading with the world. We believe in the importance of literature, and the magic of the written word. Stories help to expand our minds, expose us to new experiences, and show us that we’re not alone. But we also know that reading can often feel like a solitary activity, and we wanted a way to bring book nerds together. ” (OwlCrate).

Card

Hello everyone! It’s almost summer! School is almost over! The days are getting warmer! What better way to celebrate that then to do an unboxing from Owlcrate with the theme of “Sailors, Ships, and Seas.” For a little background, Owlcrate is service – similar to LootCrate – that ships out a package every month filled with book related items. I used to be subscribed to this monthly, but unfortunately I cannot afford it anymore. Luckily for me, this past Memorial Day, they put the past boxes on sale and I was able to buy this one!

Washi Tape

The first thing I pulled out was the mermaid washi tape. I’m not going to lie, this is one of my favorite things in this box. I am a huge fan of mermaids and so I’m super excited to decorate my new room next year with this. It’s so simple and probably not something everyone loves, but I thought it was so cute.

 

 

 

Towel

The second thing was this towel. This actually surprised me because I’m so used to knickknacks and other smaller things (like the tape). But this is a really cute hand towel and something I would want in my actual kitchen! It says it is washing machine safe too, so we’ll see how this holds up.

 

Notepads

The next thing was simple, but cute. In a previous box, I had gotten a little To-Do List from boygirlparty.com and I love it. I still use it daily and especially during finals. So even though this is simple, I think it is very cute and something I will likely use a lot.

 

 

 

 

Pin

There isn’t much to say about this little guy. He’s the Owlcrate mascot dressed up in a pirate’s costume. And it’s a pin. Cute!

 

 

 

 

 

Necklace

So this is the back (my mistake) and the front is down below. This necklace is so cute! I know not this isn’t for everyone, especially if you’re really not one to wear nerdy/bookish things on you. But I think its a really cute compass necklace. I’m wearing it right now even!

 

 

 

Book

“There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I’ve gotten what I came for.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.” (Source)

Add-Ons
Along with the book, it came with a little temporary tattoo, signed bookplate, and a note from the author (which I think comes in every box). Something about this just really ties in the box as a whole. It adds something more personal from the author and I love it.
Everything
Overall, this box was totally worth it. To be honest, I think if you can afford Owlcrate, it is totally worth it. Even though its a little bit much, you’re getting a bran new book along with a bunch of other cute things. I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed with a box from them. On top of that, the people running the company are the nicest people ever. It just is a really nice, wholesome, awesome company. It’s a really nice present to others (or to yourself). Every time I would get one in the mail, it would make my day. So overall, I’m very happy with this box!
Where to Find Them:
Sweet Daydreams,

Brooke

Splintered

12558285Title: Splintered
Author: A. G. Howard
Series: Splintered #1
Format: Paperback
Release Date:  February 18, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Summary

This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers–precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now. When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.


Review

Plot:
This story is about a girl named Alyssa who is a descendant of Alice (from Alice in Wonderland). This tells the story about how Alice left Wonderland and was cursed. All the women in her family start to go mad after a certain age. However, we start to realize that maybe she’s not going mad, and that Wonderland is still with them. Alyssa is forced to return to Wonderland along with her best friend Jeb and her childhood friend Morpheus. The plot is somewhat similar to Alice in Wonderland, but not quite the same at all. It’s weird and interesting and you can’t really tell where the plot is going the entire time.

Characters:
Alyssa- I thought Alyssa was an alright female lead. She was pretty strong, but the angsty teen was definitely played up. She just screamed “emo rebel girl.” I understand where a lot of the turmoil comes from, with her mom being in an insane asylum and whatnot. But it just seems a little much at times. I also felt like it was very out of character for her to be pining away for guys. The writer made her out to be a strong independent female character, but kept having her fall back to the guys in her life.
Jeb- I genuinely did not like him. There was definitely a love triangle in this book, so I’m not sure if Jeb was a fan favorite. But I can tell you that I did not like him. He was just so controlling the entire time. Telling Alyssa was to think and how to feel. And he kept hitting on her and force his way in, all while he had a girlfriend – who by the way bullied Alyssa. So Jeb just didn’t really seem like a good friend or boyfriend at all.
Morpheus- I will say that he was a better option than Jeb. If I had to pick one, I probably would pick him. But he also just bosses Alyssa around and pretends like they have this “connection.” Although to be completely honest, teenage Brooke probably would have loved him.

Cover:
The cover is one of the things that first drew me in. I actually had no idea that this book was about Alice in Wonderland because the cover doesn’t really scream it. Bugs, leaves, and the title Splintered doesn’t really seem like the traditional Alice in Wonderland I know and love. But I thought it looked like a good young adult cover nonetheless. I like it on it’s own, but not so much for the book.

Closing Thoughts:
Apparently, I’m getting pickier when it comes to books. Either that or I’m just on a bad streak. This book wasn’t terrible, and it definitely picked up in the middle. But I was just so annoyed with the characters that it was hard to care what happened. I think characters aside, this book was really interesting. There was a lot of weird Wonderland stuff going on and it was overall a fun read. But it was missing something. Then, to make things worse, I read Marissa Meyer’s new book Heartless right afterwards. That right there is a good spin on Alice in Wonderland (which I will be reviewing on here later). So all in all, I’d say skip this one. There are even more books in this series, and I’m not planning on continuing.

Where to find A. G. Howard:

Sweet Daydreams,

Brooke

We Are Okay

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSwlk50FdAFSkjvMR1RT6xCoiVXfDATv9OB7zqUL528hdhFwDIsrQ
First things first, Happy Pride Month from me to you! I love seeing a lot of LGBTQ positive books all over my feed for this month. This next book I just read today and I wanted to review it now because it seems perfectly timed. It is not a huge LGBTQ book (as in that is not the main point of this book) but I thought it was really sweet and real.
28243032Title: We Are Okay
Author: Nina LaCour
Series: N/A
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: Febuary 14, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ

Summary

You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…

Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.


Review
Plot: I went into this book having no idea what it was about. I saw the cover and thought it looked beautiful so I just impulse bought it. What I learned was it was about a girl named Marin who was alone and in a dorm room for winter break. For three days her old best friend (who she hasn’t talked to for months) is coming to visit. This book doesn’t really have a straightforward plot. It takes place in those three days, but it also takes place in the past. We get to see Marin and Mabel’s friendship grow and how it all fell apart. It is heartbreaking but in a very simple way. 

Characters:
Marin – While I couldn’t relate to the tragedy she was going through, I definitely related to her way of grieving. You don’t really understand why Marin is so distraught at the beginning, but you know that she is not coping well. She wants to curl up and be alone, but yet she doesn’t like being lonely. She pushes everyone away even though it hurts herself and others. I could see some people finding her angsty or dramatic, but I thought her reactions were all very perfect.
Mabel – At first, I didn’t like her. I thought she wasn’t being sympathetic enough with her snide comments. “You’re good at disappearing” she says numerous times with anger. But as the story goes on, I start to understand the situation a little more and I can understand how hurt and upset she must have been. The fact that she flew out there to be with someone who was ignoring her showed how much she cared about the friendship. In the end, I fell in love with Mabel and I wish I could be her friend, too.

Cover:
This cover is exactly what brought me in. It kind of reminded me of the Lost at Sea cover or something similar. Even though the book was small and I had no idea if it was something I would like, I just couldn’t help but buy it. It felt so nice holding in my hand. I love the art style and the color theme. Overall, just a very pretty cover. 

Closing Thoughts:
I read this book in a total of two hours. I went out on the grass in the sun and just read. I have a hard time finding the time (or motivation) to read now that I’m in college. Another thing Marin and I have in common. But this book made me miss reading again. It was so simple, short, and yet beautifully written. Some of the chapters are only a page, which hit harder than the rest. The relationship between Marin and Mabel is sweet and complicated. I wasn’t expecting it at all and I think I loved that even more. It wasn’t an overtly LGBTQ book, but it was just enough that it felt even more realistic. LaCour didn’t use it as a niche or cliche thing, but as a real look into a young budding romance. I could relate to a lot in this story, while also learning a lot about grief. Not only do I enjoy the story, but I think LaCour is an excellent writer. Definitely pick this book up if you get the chance. It’s short and sweet – perfect for the reader with not enough time on their hands. 

Where to find John Corey Whaley:

Sweet Daydreams,

Brooke

Highly Illogical Behavior

26109391Title: Highly Illogical Behavior
Author: John Corey Whaley
Series: N/A
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: May 10, 2016
Genres: Young adult, LGBTQ, Mental illness, Contemporary

Summary

Sixteen-year-old Solomon is agoraphobic. He hasn’t left the house in three years, which is fine by him.

Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college (she’s being realistic). But is ambition alone enough to get her in?

Enter Lisa.

Determined to “fix” Sol, Lisa steps into his world, along with her charming boyfriend, Clark, and soon the three form an unexpected bond. But, as Lisa learns more about Sol and he and Clark grow closer and closer, the walls they’ve built around themselves start to collapse and their friendships threaten to do the same.


Review
Plot: This books is mainly a “coming of age” story about Solomon. ‘Sol’ struggles with his mental health and is extremely agoraphobic. This isn’t where teenagers like to stay in their rooms. This is a boy who has a panic attack at the thought of walking out the front door. But in spite of this, he actually isn’t that upset about it. He likes the little world he lives in, for better or worse. Then in comes Lisa. She hears about Sol and decides to make him her little project as a psychology student. This honestly really bothered me.  The fact that she takes this human and turns him into a good story for college just doesn’t sit well with me. Maybe if she had talked to him about it and made sure it was alright. Or even just his parents or another adult or SOMETHING. But she basically just decides “hey, here’s a good opportunity for some real life psychology experience” and goes for it. As someone studying psychology, this really bothered me. But that aside, it opens up the door and Sol slowly learns more about himself and starts thinking about the world outside of his house. Aside from my issues with Lisa, I thought that this was a really well written book about mental illness. You really learn to love Sol and want him to heal. I thought it was endearing and it definitely made me cry. 

Characters:
Sol- I really liked his character in this story. I thought he was a very lovable, yet sad character. I know people who struggle with very similar problems so this hit home to me. He portrays anxiety is such a real way that I loved it! He was also very aware of his issues. He wasn’t confused about his mental illness, and he knew exactly what he needed to do when problems arose. He’s also a really cute nerd and I liked that. 
Lisa- As I suggested before, I didn’t really like her. I think this was a little bit the point, was that Lisa wasn’t perfect either. She wasn’t this perfect girl curing Sol, she had her issues as well. But I just really didn’t like her throughout. She would get annoyed that Clark was spending time with “her project” and would get weirdly jealous at times.
Clark- Loved how nerdy and cute he also turned out to be. At first, I thought he was going to be this stereotypical boyfriend, but he actually was really cool and nice to Sol. He cared a lot about him in the end.

Cover:
Honestly, this is one of the best covers I’ve seen for a book. I like how he’s standing in this very black, boring room (a room in the book) and the outside is all colorful. And to me, this isn’t because the outside world is magical and better, but because it’s a lot to take in. To Sol, the world is just too much and it’s overwhelming. I felt like the cover was not only just cute, but really meaningful when looked at again. 

Closing Thoughts:
Overall, I really liked this book. It wasn’t my favorite and I wasn’t raving about it at the end. But it was cute and it told a good story. I have been really tired of the genre of “sick/dying/mentally ill teens trying to find love” and this wasn’t that. It was realistic and more about friendship than love. This is probably my favorite and more authentic mental illness work of fiction I have read. Not too dramatic, not too boring. It did take me a while to get through because the pacing felt a little strange. Not really slow, just weird. But it’s a short book and an easy read. I did cry though, so probably prepare for that if you’re a crier. 

Where to find John Corey Whaley:

Sweet Daydreams,

Brooke

Stalking Jack the Ripper

28962906Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Series:  N/A
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Genres: Historical fiction, young adult, mystery

Summary

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.


Review
Plot: Stalking Jack the Ripper is a very interesting story. It reminded me of a historical ‘criminal minds’ in the way that they were trying to understand the motive and mindset of Jack the Ripper. It follows Audrey Rose Wadsworth, who has a morbid curiosity for the dead. There isn’t really anything wrong with her curiosity except for the fact that she is a young woman in the 1800s. She is trying to solve these murders while also sneaking around from her own family. I will say the story started a bit slow for me. I was extremely excited to read this book because there were so many elements I was interested in. But it took me forever to get through the first quarter or so of the book. I’m not completely sure why, but it was just very slow. But there was a point where things just completely sped up for me. It took me about a month to read the first 50 pages and then I read the rest in about two days. The ending wasn’t a complete surprise to me, but it definitely was what I hoped was going to happen.
Characters: Audrey Rose- Her character was fantastic! Audrey Rose had such good character development throughout the story that I really admired. From the beginning of the story, she is a headstrong and brave girl. But there are times where she seems a little naive and stubborn. It’s clear that while she means well, she doesn’t always make the best decisions. But throughout the book she goes from a stubborn girl to a brave, smart girl. There is a scene where she finally tells off her father and it was so empowering.
“Those who deserve respect are given it freely. If one must demand such a thing, he’ll never truly command it. I am your daughter, not your horse, sir” (pg. 224).
That scene just completely shifted Audrey Rose’s character for me. Not only did she have a strong mindset, but she finally stood her ground. Throughout this whole book Audrey Rose grows stronger and more confident in her abilities as – not a woman – but a person. I loved it.
Cover: The cover of the book is fairly basic for a young adult book, but it did draw me in enough to pick it up. I think the London streets in the background and the font of the title is a good fit. A girl on the cover is fairly overused, but I thought that with the knife it looked nice anyways.
Closing Thoughts: This book surprised me in the best way. In the beginning it was slow and just lacking something. I was really bummed about this because it had so many elements I was interested in. But as the story progressed, it got much quicker and more intense. I had a really hard time putting this book down once I got into it. I even had one of those nights were I stayed up way too late on a school night reading this – something I haven’t done in a very long time. I think that Maniscalco wrote this book very well. At the end of her book, she talks about what exactly was fictitious and what parts were true. I thought this was incredibly interesting because I’m actually interested in Jack the Ripper himself. I think that you should all give this book a try because it definitely was a good read! 
Where to find Kerri Maniscalco:

Sweet Daydreams,

Brooke