Living for the Books

Living for the Books

A book review blog dedicated to giving honest reviews on YA books.

3 Stars
Review: The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead
The Fiery Heart - Richelle Mead

The Fiery Heart is almost entirely centered around Sydney and Adrian's relationship. So if you're someone that prefers less romance and more plot then this book probably won't be for you. I know it's important to show that their relationship has grown and that Sydney is ready to take it further than she thought she would, but sometimes it just got to be too much. They were constantly in a state of romantic bliss and that's nice for a little while, but an entire book of that just isn't for me. 

The other characters are practically nonexistent for most of the book. Sydney and Adrian aren't the only two characters I like from this series, so I would have liked to see more of Jill and the others. There was an appearance from Rose and Dmitri, but that was also short because obviously this series isn't about them.

The ending was by far the best part because finally something happens to really move the plot forward. It isn't a surprise what happens to Sydney because it is pretty obvious that the author set everything up for this exact ending, but that didn't take too much away from the ending for me.

In the end, I would have liked more action and just a little less romance from this book, but I still enjoyed it.

2 Stars
Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
Ruin and Rising - Leigh Bardugo

There are many readers out that there that absolutely adore this series and I guess I must have missed something because throughout the entire series I had this feeling of it's good, but I've read better.

The part that kept me reading was the unique setting and the Darkling. To be completely honest, I hardly cared about the other characters. The quest for the amplifiers was also something that kept me hooked. I remember be completely bored for most of the first book until they were hunting the stag, mostly because I found Alina and her friends unappealing.

The main problem with this book is how the ending was handled. There are numerous hints that the Darkling isn't beyond redemption and that maybe, just maybe Alina can save him, however in this book very little good can be seen in the Darkling. He also hardly ever makes an appearance in the book, it was mostly Alina and her friends traveling around with little reminders that the big bad Darkling is still out there. It made the ending less satisfying and would have probably bothered me a lot more if I had enjoyed the rest of the series more than I did.

Not only was the ending for the Darkling unsatisfying, but all the character development for Alina throughout the entire series is more or less thrown out the window. She goes from an orphan to a powerful Grisha to back where she started.

Nikolai is pretty much the best character in this book and the only one that I actually cared about, but like the Darkling, he doesn't have many lines and is hardly ever present. Originally I shipped Alina and Nikolai, but I realized that she hardly deserves him, especially if she's constantly pining over Mal.

If this series had ended differently, it could have been fantastic. I think even some huge fans of this series will be majorly disappointed, especially if they liked the Darkling.

5 Stars
Review: Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater
Sinner - Maggie Stiefvater

This is the closure I've been waiting for since I read Forever back in 2011. I very clearly remember thinking that I needed there to be some sort of happier ending for Cole and Isabel and now I finally have it.

I absolutely loved returning to this world and I didn't realize how much I missed this series until I started this book. I adored Cole and at first I wasn't sure about Isabel, but as the story progressed I loved both of the characters because they were so real. It's very clear that Cole and Isabel belong together, but also a little difficult to explain why. They have both been through so much together and it's hard to imagine them not ending up together.

Both Isabel and Cole have messed up lives, but together somehow they're so good for each other. I found myself smiling and laughing at all the cute moments and I was also genuinely upset when something happened between them. There is never a dull moment in the book and I really enjoyed how it is from both Cole and Isabel's point of view.

Isabel is a girl that doesn't take shit from anyone. She's cold to everyone, even if she likes the person. Isabel is also incredibly real with real life problems that many people could be dealing with. Had she stayed an ice queen, I probably wouldn't like her as much as I do, but her character went through major changes by the end of the book and she ended up being more likeable.

Cole is by far my favorite character from this series because he's funny and can be quite charming when he isn't being an arrogant asshole. He also went through some dramatic changes throughout the series and I love that even though his life has been difficult, he's still willing to keep going.

I know I've said this before, but Maggie Stiefvater is definitely one of my all time favorite authors. She never fails to deliver believable characters and an intriguing storyline to go with them. I can't wait to read more of her books and I'm so excited for the next book in the Raven Cycle series.

4 Stars
Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver
Panic - Lauren Oliver

I'm familiar with Lauren Oliver's style of writing and I admit to being a huge fan of Before I Fall and a fan of the Delirium series so I already knew that her writing is beautiful and I had high hopes for Panic.

The characters are the main reason that this book was so good. They're realistic and as a teenager myself I really connected with some of their concerns. Heather, one of the main characters, shows tremendous character development throughout the book. She starts off as a heartbroken girl that doesn't believe that she's lovable, so she joins Panic on a whim after her boyfriend breaks up with her. She grew up with a mother that drank too much and to her she doesn't seem to have a future outside of Carp.

The one character that didn't work for me was Dodge. In my opinion, he comes off as sort of creepy. He's hell bent on revenge, so he plays Panic with the hope that he somehow fix what happened in the past. I get why he wants to do what he does, but at the same time I thought he was scary. He's also had a major crush on Nat and he royally messes that up with her by saying some things that would have been best kept to himself. I kind of understand his reasons for everything that he does, but I can't bring myself to like him.

I really liked the idea of Panic. In some reviews I noticed that people were saying that it wasn't realistic, but I never thought that. I don't know if that's because there's an elimination game at my school that's played by the seniors for money, so the idea of a game like Panic wasn't all that foreign (of course the game at my school isn't nearly as intense as Panic). It was interesting to see each of the characters' motives for playing the game.

I really liked the romance, especially when I wasn't sure what was going on with Bishop. Bishop is by far my favorite character from this book and I loved all the scenes with him and Heather because it was easy to tell that there is history between them and that they care about each other even though they don't admit it until much later in the book.

I'm really looking forward to reading more books by Lauren Oliver in the future.

4 Stars
Review: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
The Winner's Curse - Marie Rutkoski

I've seen multiple glowing reviews for this book so I knew I had to at least try it. I'm always a bit wary of books that the majority of people like because there's been quite a few times that my expectations were too high, so I didn't end up liking the book, but I actually enjoyed this book.

The highlight of this book was definitely Kestrel. Lately I've been wanting to read a book with a main character that isn't the best fighter in the world and doesn't know how to kill people multiple ways with their bare hand (not that there's anything wrong with those heroines) but I also don't want a character that can't do anything. Kestrel is like the perfect blend of those things. She's the general's daughter, but her skills lie in strategy not combat. Her fighting skills don't even compare to her tactical skills. The best scene of the book is her duel with Irex. She is aware that there is no way for her to win by fighting him, so instead she develops a plan that doesn't rely on her combat skills.

For the most part, the world building is good. I would have liked to know more about the other territories that the empire has conquered because up until the end I assumed that they only had the peninsula, but according to Kestrel their territory has grown too big to protect from the barbarians. I was also a little confused by the time period. They aren't technologically advanced but I don't think that quite makes it historical so for now I'll just say it's fantasy.

The one part of the book that didn't work for me was the romance. It's a huge part of the book and in the beginning Kestrel and Arin's relationship did not work for me. It seems to almost come from no where, but at the same time it was really obvious that the author was setting the book up for Kestrel and Arin's relationship. I ended up liking the relationship more by the end because it developed and there were good reasons for the strain on their relationship.

The ending makes me want the second book like right now. Hopefully the next book will be as good as this one.

3 Stars
Review: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
City of Heavenly Fire  - Cassandra Clare

Finally, this prolonged series comes to an end and while I wish I could say that I'll really miss the characters, I probably won't.  To be completely honest, I used to adore this series back when I first read it about four years ago, but I feel like it no longer has the same appeal as it once did. I'm pretty sure I only picked this book up out of habit

The biggest issue I had with this book was that the characters focus on the wrong things. The world is basically coming to an end and instead of caring about that, most of the characters seemed concerned with their love lives. Thank goodness there was no Clary and Jace drama, I don't think I could ever take more of that. Instead they're mostly happy for the book, even when they're hunting down Sebastian in the demon realms. They were kinda of sappy, but so were all the other characters. At least the characters were still sarcastic and more than once I laughed at the dialogue between the characters.

A couple characters do die, but for me it wasn't that big of a deal. I didn't shed a single tear for any of the characters that died in this book, but I was practically sobbing about the mentions of characters from The Infernal Devices. The deaths didn't really serve a purpose other than to kill off a couple of characters because it didn't really seem to move the plot forward.

The villain, Sebastian, was alright I guess. I didn't like him all that much because I thought he was strange. At first he wants to kill all the Shadowhunters and then his plans change a great deal when Clary, Jace, and all the others, find him in the demon realms. His plans for Clary are disturbing and he's basically an evil mastermind, but I never got the wow he's a great villain feeling. I'm not exactly sure why, but I think it may be partially because I'm just so done with this series.

I wasn't expecting to be blown away by this book and I wasn't, but I still enjoyed it. I laughed, I cried, I rolled my eyes, I wanted to throw the book, but in the end it was a decent ending to a series that should have ended three books ago. If I hadn't given up on Shadowhunter books I might be tempted to pick up the next series because the new characters are kind of adorable, but I think for now I'm done with the Shadowhunter world.

4 Stars
Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
The Bone Season - Samantha Shannon

The Bone Season is everything I wanted and maybe even a little bit more. Ever since I was little I've always had this sort of fascination with the clairvoyant and for some reason I love books that incorporate organized crime. Add a little dystopian and that's pretty much an ideal book for me. So it's no wonder I tore through this book.

The world building is by far the best part of this book. It was extremely complex and obviously well thought out. The info dumping during the beginning of the book slowed the pace down a bit, but I hardly even noticed because I was too wrapped up in the story. The whole world is so carefully constructed and imaginative that it was easy to get lost in the story.

The Seven Seals don't come into play until the very end of the book, but through Paige's memories the reader gets to know more about the mime-lord's gang, so even though they weren't there for most of the book, I still felt attached to them. Paige, one of the Seven Seals, is more complex than I originally thought. From the moment I started reading I thought was another typical strong female character, which isn't bad, but sometimes it's nice to read about someone that isn't invincible and able to get out of every single situation with minor issues. Instead I was happily surprised that not only could she hold her own in a fight for at least a little while, but she also had plausible emotions and she wasn't invincible.

For the most part, I'm indifferent to Warden, mostly because I still don't understand his motives. I don't want him to die, but that's about as far as my feelings for him go because I don't feel like there was much to sympathize with since I don't understand why he does what he does. He's at least a couple centuries old, but I wasn't sure if he looked young or not, so the idea of him having a relationship with Paige was not the first thing on my mind. I wasn't surprised that something developed between them, but I also wasn't sure if I liked it at first because he acts and is so much older than her. A few years isn't that big of a gap, but a few centuries is just a tiny bit to big. If I ignore the age gap, I would probably like them together a lot more because from the beginning its where their relationship seemed to be going, so it wasn't like it came out of nowhere.

I will definitely be looking out for the sequel because overall the book was fantastic. Plus the next book is called The Mime Order and I would love to read more about the mime-lords and mime-queens.

*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

2.5 Stars
Review: Pawn by Aimée Carter
Pawn - Aimee Carter

Honestly, going into this book I wasn't expecting much. The blurb sounded intriguing enough for me to want to pick the book up, but the story didn't reel me in like I wanted it to. In fact, the beginning basically turned me away from the book, but I kept going anyway and ended up enjoying the ending more than the beginning.

The beginning was a little ruff, to put it mildly. Kitty is assigned to Denver, which means she will be far away from her boyfriend Benjy, so guess what she does. If you guessed goes to Denver, you are wrong. If you guessed that she decides to become a prostitute for a couple months because she thinks that's totally ok since one of her friends is a prostitute and hasn't gotten hurt yet, then congratulations you're spot on. Who actually does that? Oh right, Kitty. At first I thought that Nina would talk her out of it, but apparently Kitty is really set on being a prostitute. Another thing that really bothered me was that Benjy was mostly concerned that other people would be sleeping with Kitty and that he wouldn't be her first. She has to convince him that none of them matter with some sappy words and he doesn't really think much about her safety or that it's illegal so she could get arrested for it. It all was a little too weird for me.

The rest of the book was basically a typical dystopian. There's an evil dictator, a rebellion, and a girl from a lower ranking class that becomes part of the rebellion. I thought there would be more about the rebellion and the politics since most of the blurb talks about how she has to put an end to the rebellion that she believes in. Unfortunately, it was more about her becoming Lila and how the Hart family is twisted. I understand that it was necessary to make Daxton a dictator, otherwise there would be no story, but I thought it was a bit excessive to make him a people hunter too, like he wasn't already enough of an awful person.

The book began with Kitty already having Benjy as a boyfriend and on rare occasions this works, however this was not that occasion. Their relationship felt very forced and fake because there was no build up to it. The only thing they have going for them is that they've known each other their entire lives and Benjy tried to help her learn how to read. The main reason they didn't work for me was because Benjy was a very flat character. There was nothing about him that made me want him and Kitty together. I didn't care what happened to him and it was difficult to understand why Kitty cared. I'm pretty sure there's a love triangle (or maybe a square) and if there is I definitely like Knox better than Benjy.

Overall, Pawn wasn't horrible because it kept me reading until the very end and was fast paced. The writing was kind of elementary (I'm not really sure how to describe it) but it just lacked description beyond the size and color of things. I'm not saying that I want pages and pages of description, but just a tiny bit more would have made the book just a little better.

4.5 Stars
Review: The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa
The Forever Song - Julie Kagawa

The Forever Song was easily the book I was most looking forward to reading in 2014. From the very beginning, this series has not disappointed and even though I had a few issues with two of the characters, I still ended up loving the book.

It is very hard to chose, but the thing I liked best about this book is the detail and just the overall style of the writing. Many young adult books would gloss over the gore and horror that comes with vampires, but not this book. Kagawa isn't afraid to go into the gory details without the book being entirely about the violence and bloodshed. The descriptions of the fight scenes made me feel like I was right there with Allison.

I also love this author's version of vampires. There are so many different versions out there, some better than others, but this one is definitely one of my favorites, if not my all time favorite. I love how even though the vampires are exceptionally strong and powerful, they are still able to be weakened and don't heal immediately. The rabids and bleeders are also fantastic monsters because they are creepy and something that I haven't seen before. Sarren is also extremely creepy and insane, which just added to the overall darkness of the book. He is one of those villains that I love to hate mostly because he's so good at being a murderous psychopath.

The characters are very believable and while I had a few issues with Allison, I still ended up liking her character. In the beginning of the book, Allison is mourning a death and I understand that it is painful, but the constant repetition of why she is behaving like a monster is a little too much for my taste. Thankfully it didn't last for long because she finally realized that becoming a monster is not the path she wants to go down. There was still the issue about her priorities, but I'll get to that later.

My absolute favorite character is definitely Jackal. His sarcasm and snark are perfect editions to the book. This book isn't exactly uplifting, so Jackal provided the much needed comic relief and his character development was something that made me love him even more. He is also not afraid to tell Allison like it is and I love him for it.

Kanin is another character that I really liked, but for some reason I wasn't very upset about how his story ended, possibly because I guessed what would happen to him. Even though I figured out what would happen to Kanin about half way through the book, it didn't take away from the ending because I feel that it was the only way for his story to finish believably.

I liked Allison and Zeke's relationship before this book, but for most of the book I wanted it to be a little less about Zeke and a little more about saving the world from the psychotic vampire. Both of them needed to worry less about each other and more about the end of the world. Once that happened, I was able to enjoy the little scenes with Zeke and Allison more.

While this book is very dark, it still has a few sweet moments. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a good vampire series.

4 Stars
Review: Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor
Dreams of Gods & Monsters - Laini Taylor

I feel like every time I read one of Laini Taylor's books I come away breathless. The writing is absolutely stunning and most definitely one of the best qualities of the book. I bet if I picked up some of her writing, I would be able to tell right away that it's hers.

It would have been helpful to reread the previous books because during the beginning I was feeling a bit lost, but after a little bit of reading it all started to come back to me and if it didn't, a brief reminder was given that didn't seem stuck in there to remind the reader of something. It fit perfectly with the story because there's just so much to all the characters and everything that there's no wonder I forgot all the little details.

The depth of all the characters is something that I simply adore. Even the characters that aren't as important as Karou and Akiva have their own story and seem three-dimensional instead of characters set up to just move the plot forward. Laini Taylor always perfectly describes emotions so that not only did I know what the character was feeling, but I could imagine how it would feel. It makes the angels and chimaera more relatable because even though they aren't human they experience the same emotions.

I remember having an issue with Karou and Akiva's relationship in the last book (or the lack of relationship) but in this book I didn't mind the fact that they didn't kiss until more than halfway through the book because the timing was perfect when it happened. Although both Karou and Akiva never stopped thinking about one another, and sometimes the tension between those two got to be almost a little too much, I was ok with that because they are fighting a war after all.

My one complaint (and also the reason I rated it four stars not five) is that the introduction of a very key character this late in the series felt strange. There are already so many characters in the story and adding Eliza to the mix created a whole new part of the story. A little more than halfway through the book one of the conflicts is resolved and yet there is still at least two hundred more pages left. The conflict that played out in the last part of the book just didn't work for me like the rest of the book did. It seemed strange to have all this stuff about the Stelians there and having an almost immediate solution to it. It didn't fit with how everything else had been such a struggle for Karou and everyone else.

This series is one that I will remember for a long time and will probably end up recommending to anyone that will listen.

5 Stars
Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer
Cress - Marissa Meyer

I can't even begin to describe how much I enjoyed this book. It was everything I wanted and more. From the beginning of the series I was a tiny bit worried about the addition of so many different points of view, but it ended up really working for the series.

The characters are absolutely brilliant. I love how Cinder isn't brave all the time and that she has vulnerabilities and doubts but she doesn't constantly whine about them. Characters that have legitimate fears and feelings always seem more real to me and character quality is a huge factor into how much I enjoy a book. Cinder may be the best mechanic out there, but she doesn't excel at everything else quite as easily. She has to work towards being able to use her Lunar powers and I really enjoyed seeing them develop. Her sassy comments also make me love her even more. 

The new addition to the growing cast of characters is Cress. She's probably my favorite character from this series because out of all of them she seems the most realistic. Cress is awkward and naive from years of being alone on her satellite. The way she handles the situation that she's thrust into is believable, not only because she is slightly awkward around people but she also did not get much exercise in the satellite. How she looks at the world is so precious and the massive crush she has on Thorne is adorable.

I don't remember there being many interactions between Cinder and Kai in Scarlet if there were any at all, but in Cress there's definitely a little bit more. Obviously, there are much more pressing matters on both of their minds but their moment was so sweet and it fit in so perfectly. I really hope that there's more Scarlet and Wolf in the next book because I love them and there was not much going on between them once the book got started, for reasons I will not mention. As I said before Cress's crush on Thorne is the cutest thing and I loved how their relationship developed as the book went on.

My only complaint about this series is that I still find it a tad bit predictable but I've come to expect that from this series so it didn't ruin the book as much as it probably would have, if I was reading a different book or series. 

Cress is another breathtaking installment in The Lunar Chronicles. Hopefully the wait for Winter won't be too long.

2.5 Stars
Review: Unhinged by A.G. Howard
Unhinged  - A.G. Howard

Lately I haven't been having the best luck with series. I remember loving Splintered but for some reason this book just didn't live up to my expectations and I feel like I'm the only one. It was actually quite slow and a bit boring.

Even in the first book, I did not like Jeb and I think that's the main reason why I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. I wrongly assumed that since Morpheus is on the cover, the book would mainly be focused on him. Instead it was mainly about Alyssa and Jeb's relationship. To me Alyssa seems a little too obsessed with Jeb, especially by the end when their relationship is kind of rocky and to be honest I don't think there's anything special about Jeb. Their relationship is very sappy and Alyssa is overly dramatic when it comes to Jeb.

Alyssa also refuses to accept that she's a part of Wonderland, which basically causes all the problems in this book and also means that this book takes place in the human world, not Wonderland. All the character development from the first book is gone and all she cares about is Jeb. What does she do when Wonderland is seeping into the human world? She thinks about Jeb and she ignores all her problems because she thinks that since she chooses to live in the human world it doesn't concern her.

The only redeeming quality of this book are the Wonderland characters. However I was not a fan of Morpheus pretending to be human and going to school with Alyssa. Was that really necessary? He can talk to Alyssa whenever he wants and he decides to attend her school. And then there's the fact that Alyssa believes that he's completely evil, but sometimes he's a good person that she finds attractive. Yes he lied to her, but it is later explained why he lied and that he's actually a good person, yet Alyssa still doesn't give him the benefit of the doubt. But Jeb could do whatever he wanted and she would still think he's this fabulous person.

I was pretty excited about learning a little bit more about Morpheus and his past. I just wish the book hadn't focused mainly on Alyssa and Jeb and that it had more Wonderland in it.

3.5 Stars
Review: Evertrue by Brodi Ashton
Evertrue  - Brodi Ashton

I was very nervous about starting this book. I had seen a few people rate it really low and call it a disappointment, so I tried not to get my hopes up that the final installment in this series would live up to my expectations. While Evertrue may not have been as enthralling as the previous two, it is still an enjoyable read.

It took awhile for the story to get going because the beginning was mainly Jack and Nikki reassuring each other that everything would be ok and that they love each other. After most of that was over, I could barely put the book down. Mainly because Cole was a huge part of the book. I wasn't a fan of what happened to him near the beginning of the book, but I still enjoyed his character. The mythology and the plot were definitely the best parts of the book but I don't want to talk too much about the plot because that would spoil the book.

I don't remember ever having a problem with Jack and Nikki's relationship, but I couldn't stand how cheesy it all was. There were numerous mentions of them having each others hearts and how they wouldn't be able to live without each other. Nikki also excessively mentioned Jack's biceps. I had to put the book down a few times when she mentioned his biceps because I couldn't take the story seriously. I get that Jack is now very muscular because of the Tunnels, but I don't need to be reminded of his biceps every time he has to do something involving his strength. In fact I could care less about Jack and his jealousy because honestly there's nothing truly likable about the character, but there's also nothing to really hate.

The one problem I had with Nikki is that her emotions change so rapidly. I never completely sure what she was actually feeling. Sometimes she would think that Cole wasn't so bad and then other times she would hate him. Sometimes she would think about sacrificing herself and then she would decide against it, over and over again. At first it wasn't so bad but it continued to happen and it just got old. Despite this problem, I still liked Nikki because she made sure that Jack didn't make her decisions for her and she cared about the people around her.

As I said before I was disappointed about what happened to Cole near the beginning of the book because it felt almost like it was just an easy way for Nikki to realize that she still liked Cole. Thankfully what happened to him wasn't permanent, otherwise I doubt the ending would have been as emotional as it was. One of the good things that did come out of it was that Cole was pretty funny, even though he wasn't trying to be.

The ending was very bittersweet and it felt like the best way to end the series because in the end it was their choices that led to it, not someone forcing another character to do it. This series had it's ups and downs, but it's still worth reading.

1.5 Stars
Review: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea - April Genevieve Tucholke

*A few possible spoilers ahead

First off have you seen that cover? Gorgeous. No wonder why I picked this book up in the first place. It also got quite a lot of love when it first came out so I had to read it. Did I read the same book as everyone else because I feel like I'm in the minority here when I say that this book and I didn't get along.

It all started when I realized that there was nothing mildly redeemable about the characters. There was no substance to any of the side characters, especially Luke and Sunshine. The main character is weird and not in the good way and to top it all off the love interest is a creep. The book was packed to the brim with instances of Violet blurting out the most random things and it almost never made sense, but none of the characters except for Luke seemed to notice that she didn't know how to hold a conversation and that she brought up irrelevant topics.

There was also absolutely no reason for Luke to be that nasty to his sister. I get it, siblings fight, but there wasn't a reason for Luke to hate on Violet. I kept waiting for some sort of childhood flashback to explain his hatred but there wasn't any. It was just there for the author's convenience and to show that the characters developed by the end. The same issue was present with Sunshine. She was written as a self-absorbed, bitchy girl but it's not like this added to the story, in fact it detracted from it because most of the time I just wanted to her go away.

The romance made me cringe. Their relationship developed unnaturally fast and I felt like I had no reason to root for them. The way River talked to Violet was very strange. If a guy started talking to me like that I would avoid that relationship at all costs. Occasionally Violet would start thinking logically about how dangerous River was, but then she would decide she didn't care because she felt in her heart that she should keep giving him chances and that he doesn't mean to kill people, even though he tells her that he does not think killing is morally wrong and that some people deserve to die. He also can't seem to stop lying and Violet is aware that everything that comes out of his mouth is a lie, yet she still chooses to believe what he says. If that's not alarming then I don't know what is.

The entire book felt like a jumble of literary and movie references that did very little to advance the plot. It also seemed like the author tried to mash too many gothic or horror story ideas into one book. The whole thing with Jack and the kids in the cemetery was very strange and it felt out of place. The villain of the story didn't even make much of an appearance until the end of the book. I saw a few people talking about how great the twist was at the end of the book, but I knew what the twist was since the mention of siblings and Texas.

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea was a major disappointment because it had so much potential, but it was executed poorly.

4 Stars
Review: Just One Year by Gayle Forman
Just One Year  - Gayle Forman

Just One Year is certainly not a book for someone looking for contemporary fluff. It may not have been as engaging as the first book, but it packs the same, if not more, emotional punch.

At first, it was slightly disappointing to read that this book did not pick up right where Just One Day left off. Instead it's Willem's year long journey to find the mysterious Lulu, who he knows next to nothing about, yet he fell in love with her that day in Paris. Surprisingly, I never had a problem with the relationship between Willem and Lulu (Allyson). My major problem with this book was that it was very difficult to get into. The beginning was slow and almost uninteresting because I wasn't emotionally invested in Willem until about halfway through the book. That's when I started to really enjoy it.

There's so much more to Willem and his past than I initially thought. I loved how both Allyson and Willem's lives were changed by just meeting each other accidentally. In a day both of them managed to start to change the other in good ways. At times it was hard to keep track of all the names of the people Willem knew, but by the end it grew easier to remember who the major players in his life were. I really enjoyed all the scenes of Willem acting, especially when he played Orlando.

The only complains that I had were that it was very slow paced and it ended rather abruptly. I believe it ends at the same place that Just One Day does, but I'm not entirely sure. Other than that, the book was very good. Gayle Forman's writing is fantastic and all of her books have the most realistic characters.

4 Stars
Review: Champion by Marie Lu
Champion: A Legend Novel - Marie Lu

It seems like so many series have been coming to an end recently. And those endings have so far been heartbreaking. If you thought the ending of Prodigy was sad, wait until you read Champion.

I will never get tired of reading about protagonists like June. She's fierce and able to hold her own in a world ravaged by a tyrannical government and war. Yet, she isn't completely fearless and that's what makes her human. Without some weakness it would be impossible to connect with her. June still fears Commander Jameson no matter how much she tries to convince herself that she doesn't and she isn't a coldblooded killer. Day is another example of a character that I love. He's strong, but he isn't invincible. In the first book, it seemed that he could do almost anything, but since Prodigy that has changed. His character development was very well done. He went from a boy that would do anything to see the Republic fall to a someone that wanted to protect the Republic.

June and Day's relationship in this book is strained after the end of Prodigy. It's clear that both of them love each other, but it took them awhile for them to get past the eight months of separation that they put themselves through. It was a little frustrating, but it wouldn't have been realistic if everything went back to the way it was before. It's also very clear that Anden is in love with June, but their relationship isn't annoying, probably because I knew exactly how June and Day feel.

The beginning of the book isn't slow, but it isn't as exciting as the rest of the book. Once the story got going, it is basically nonstop action. It was interesting to get to learn more about how the Republic's political system works and a little about the rest of the world.

Champion is for anyone looking for a thrilling conclusion to an action packed series. It's always sad to see characters go, especially after such a heartbreaking ending, but at the same time the ending was pretty satisfying.