jeudi 29 septembre 2016

How to Keep Rolling After a Fall - Karole Cozzo

Goodreads summary:

After a cyber bullying incident turns her life upside down, a handsome wheelchair rugby player shows a former mean girl that everyone deserves a second chance.

The party was at her house. The photos were posted to her Facebook account. That's all the evidence anyone needed to condemn Nikki Baylor for a cyberbullying incident that humiliated a classmate and nearly resulted in the girl's suicide. Now Nikki's been expelled from her old school, her friends have abandoned her, and even her own parents can't look her in the eye. With her plans for the future all but destroyed, Nikki resigns herself to being the girl everyone hates - almost as much as she hates herself. But then Nikki meets Pax, a spirited wheelchair rugby player who knows what it's like when one mistake completely shatters your life. Refusing to judge her because of her past, he shows her that everyone deserves a second chance... and everyone deserves to be loved.

My review:


WHAT AN AMAZING BOOK! I absolutely loved it.

I've had my eye on this novel for quite some time now, but I never got around to reading it. Now that I finally read it, I wish I had picked it up even earlier, because I experienced so many emotions while reading this, it was crazy.

I was expecting to really dislike the main character, Nikki, since she's done awful things, but I was perfectly able to forgive her. I'm quite a forgiving person, so it helped, but I also think that seeing her side of the story makes it a whole lot different. I could relate to her, because when you're in a group, it's hard not to follow the leaders, or simply to say no when everyone says yes. Because I could understand her point of view, I quickly got over my initial anger and I was sad to see the way everyone treated her. I really disliked Nikki's former group of friends, but since she realized what kind of people they truly were, I think that she's simply better without them, so maybe she needed something like this to realize how bad her friends were.

On the other hand, Pax is such a sweet character! I loved how forgiving he was towards Nikki from the very beginning, even though it was really sad to see that he was the only one who didn't hold Nikki's actions against her. He was a bit hard to read, but I understood him more easily after he explained himself to Nikki. I loved his positiveness and his desire to make Nikki happier, which is why she needed someone like him so badly. Their relationship isn't easily, but I loved the way it flowed and seeing them together made me happy, no matter what kind of relationship they had. They truly bring the best in each other.

I think this novel has a lot of important themes. I loved the romance aspect of it, but I think my favourite part of it was the importance of mistakes, guilt, forgiveness, love and friendship. I've never been close to a situation like the one in this novel, but I think that reading this novel has made me more open, if not to bullies, to hearing everyone's point of view. I truly believe that everyone makes mistakes and that some of them can be forgiven, and this book reinforced that idea.

I thought that the ending was a tad bit too abrupt, especially since I loved the story so much that I happily could've read a hundred more pages of it, but this seems to happen to me a lot these days. It does bring my rating down a little bit, but I guess perfection doesn't exist!

I would very highly recommend this book. It's probably one of my favourite novels that I read this year!


jeudi 22 septembre 2016

First Comes Love - Emily Giffin

Goodreads summary:

In this dazzling new novel, Emily Giffin, the #1 New York Timesbestselling author of Something Borrowed, Where We Belong, and The One & Only introduces a pair of sisters who find themselves at a crossroads.

Growing up, Josie and Meredith Garland shared a loving, if sometimes contentious relationship. Josie was impulsive, spirited, and outgoing; Meredith hardworking, thoughtful, and reserved. When tragedy strikes their family, their different responses to the event splinter their delicate bond.

Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late thirties, following very different paths. Josie, a first grade teacher, is single—and this close to swearing off dating for good. What she wants more than the right guy, however, is to become a mother—a feeling that is heightened when her ex-boyfriend’s daughter ends up in her class. Determined to have the future she’s always wanted, Josie decides to take matters into her own hands.

On the outside, Meredith is the model daughter with the perfect life. A successful attorney, she’s married to a wonderful man, and together they’re raising a beautiful four-year-old daughter. Yet lately, Meredith feels dissatisfied and restless, secretly wondering if she chose the life that was expected of her rather than the one she truly desired.

As the anniversary of their tragedy looms and painful secrets from the past begin to surface, Josie and Meredith must not only confront the issues that divide them, but also come to terms with their own choices. In their journey toward understanding and forgiveness, both sisters discover they need each other more than they knew . . . and that in the recipe for true happiness, love always comes first.

Emotionally honest and utterly enthralling, First Comes Love is a story about family, friendship, and the courage to follow your own heart—wherever that may lead.

My review:


I've been a fan of Emily Giffin's ever since I read Something Borrowed - which I know is a controversial novel - so I was very excited to read her most recent novel, since I must say that I haven't read that many books from her. I might not be part of the targeted audience for this particular novel (and I wasn't either for Something Borrowed, especially since I read it when I was about 14), but it still interested me, so when I finally got my hands on it, I couldn't resist picking it up. I wasn't disappointed, even though it's much different from what I was expecting.

I liked how the book starts with the tragedy that strikes the family, the older brother's death. Even though the rest of the story takes place fifteen years later, this particular event is truly what started this story, so I feel like it's important for the readers to know about it from the very beginning. Since I'm about the girls' age at the moment of the tragedy right now, I could imagine what it would be like to lose a sibling so suddenly and it made it easier for me to relate to them. I loved how different Josie and Meredith's reactions to grief are, because it reminds me a little bit of how different my sister and I are and that made the story even more realistic to me. Also, as someone who hasn't lost that many people yet (touch wood), it's always a bit difficult for me to imagine losing a close one, so even though it's a bit painful to read about, grief is something that has always interested me.

The main characters are incredibly well developped and they keep becoming more and more interesting. I'm not sure which one of the sisters is my favourite, because I really like the both of them, even though they can be exasperating sometimes. Seeing their relationship evolve is really interesting because at first they keep arguing and it's kind of a love/hate relationship, but as the story progresses, it becomes more about love than anything else. It was really touching to see and it felt even better than a regular rom-com.

As for the actual relationships, I think they're quite realistic, but since I have absolutely no experience in this field, I could be completely wrong. I liked seeing the start of a relationship as well as the struggles of another one, since the contrast between the both of them is impressive. Meredith's honesty and her desire to find what's best for her is inspiring, because most people don't have that much courage.

Overall, I found this story to be a very pleasant read. It's not necessarily an easy book, but I had a nice time reading it. I'd recommend it!


mardi 13 septembre 2016

Salt to the Sea - Ruta Sepetys

Goodreads summary:

Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.

As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.

Yet not all promises can be kept.

Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope.

My review:



Ruta Sepetys did it again: she managed to write a punching novel that made me experience all kinds of emotions, and it was done in a beautiful way. I am now officially convinced that she's one of my favourite authors.

Since I didn't know much about this particular novel before reading it, I wasn't expecting it to be written in multiple narrators. If I had known that it would be that way, I might have dreaded it, not knowing if it would be well done or not. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised, especially when I discovered the variety of narrators, who all offer a different point of view on the same story. From the beginning, I loved Florian, Joana and Emilia - not so much Alfred, but that was to be expected. I couldn't decide who was my favourite, because they all seem so real and complex that I liked them even more after reading every single one of their chapters. Florian is brave, strong and clever, even though all he wants is to be left alone to let that facade fall away. Seeing him through different point of views, I started noticing his kindness, his protectiveness and his will to live and to forget about the war that's going on. Joana is strong and lives to help others, but every second brings her closer to a breakdown, because she wishes she could see her family and feel safe and home again. She's an inspiring character, with all her hopes and her determination. Emilia really touched my heart. Her life hasn't been easy, not only because she's a Polish. Her self-defense reactions are heartbreaking, and we get to see more and more of them as the story progresses. I still can't believe everything that happened to her, even though I know she'd only one of the hundreds and hundreds of people who suffered from such a hard life.

I loved all the historical aspects of this story, as horrifying as some of them were. I've always loved history, particularly around WWI and WWII, so I couldn't get enough of all the details in this story. Instead of focusing on details everyone had heard of, Sepetys chose to show a dark side of history that most people haven't heard much about. I think that this is a fantastic idea, because so many atrocities happened during WWII that we have chosen to focus on a few of them instead of learning about all of them.

One thing I have to say about this story is that it's heartbreaking. I listened to its audiobook, but I often closed my eyes while I was listening to it, just to try and block out some of the awful things happening. I had to remind myself that as gruesome as some of the details were, they, along with much worse events, truly happened, so I can't just ignore them. One moment that truly made me break down was the All the Little Duckies moment towards the end, which you'll get if you've read the book. Emilia's calming song was always sad to hear about, because she usually thought about it when she was distressed, but that moment was the worst.

Overall, I thought that this novel was absolutely fantastic. It's beautifully written, it's clever, it's heartwrenching and it's raw. I absolutely recommend it, along with the rest of Ruta Sepetys's novels. She's definitely one of my favourite authors by now.

By the way, I'm sorry for the mistakes that might be in there - I wrote this on my phone since I'm on vacation, so I didn't have Wifi either.


mercredi 7 septembre 2016

P.S. I Like You - Kasie West

Goodreads summary:

Signed, sealed, delivered…

While spacing out in chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters—sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only, who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…

My review:


This is the first of Kasie West's books that disappoints me, but that doesn't mean that I didn't like it at all.

I liked the characters, although they did annoy me a little bit at some point. I did like Lily's passion for music, which is always interesting to read about. However, I feel like the book doesn't really make its characters open up to the readers. I didn't feel like the book was truly finished when I got to the last page, because I wasn't as close to the characters as I usually am by that point. I think that getting to know them more would have allowed me to understand them more, which would probably have made them a bit less annoying to me. Since I don't feel like I know the characters all that well, this novel hasn't made that much of an impression on me, unlike Kasie West's other novels.

While the plot wasn't all that original, many details about the story were. Lily's big family, her different tastes in music and the jealousy between her and her best friend make this story different from other YAs I've read, even though it wasn't enough to make it exceptional. The romance is predictable, like in most YAs, but since I didn't feel that close to the characters, it didn't make me swoon or even feel a bit giddy.

As a big fan of Kasie West's, I still recommend this novel, because it's not bad, just not enough for me. I will still buy all of her future books, because I truly believe that she's a fantastic writer.


lundi 5 septembre 2016

I Was Here - Gayle Forman

Goodreads summary:

Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.

My review:


So, so, so, so good!!

While I didn't really like If I Stay, I Was Here hit me hard. It made me experience such a wide variety of emotions that I didn't even know I could feel and I loved it.

I loved Cody, the main character. Unlike Mia, who I couldn't really relate to in If I Stay, Cody was a very relatable character for me. I could feel some of her anger, guilt and grief and it made the story much more important to me. Since I have a best friend that I can't imagine living without, having lived most of my life with her by my side, I could imagine a tiny bit of what Cody must feel after her best friend committed suicide, which sounds simply terrible. Her reactions are completely understandable to me, even if I didn't approve all of them. I liked how realistic and not totally likeable she could be, which made me like her even more.

Her friendship with Meg is also very realistic, from the beginning to the end. I could see why they became friends and why they fell apart, which is something that happens often when friends grow up. I'm already terrified to go through something like that with my own best friend, so reading about someone who grew apart from her best friend and then lost her forever scared me even more. It's easy to see why Cody would feel so guilty after Meg's suicide and why she would want to find out what pushed her to do it, but I admired her determination through her quest. Cody's relationship with Meg's parents is a part of the book that I loved, because it's heartbreaking and touching.

Finally, Ben and Cody's relationship was a rollercoaster, but I loved it. I wasn't sure if I approved of Cody's actions, but as the story progressed, I could see things falling into place.

I definitely recommend this book. Whether you liked If I Stay or not, I think you would like this book.


samedi 3 septembre 2016

Zenith (The Androma Saga #1) - Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings

Goodreads summary:


There is darkness sweeping across the stars.

Most know Androma Racella as the Bloody Baroness: a powerful mercenary whose reign of terror stretches across the Mirabel Galaxy. To those aboard her fearsome glass starship the Maurader, she’s just Andi, their captain and protector.

When a routine mission goes awry, the all-girl crew’s resilience is tested as they find themselves in a most unfamiliar place: at the mercy of a sadistic bounty hunter connected to Andi’s past and a harrowing betrayal.

Meanwhile, on the far side of the galaxy, a ruthless ruler waits in the shadows of the planet Xen Ptera, biding her time to exact revenge for the destruction of her people. The final pieces of her deadly plan are about to fall into place, unleashing a plot that will tear Mirabel in two.

Andi and her crew embark on a dangerous, soul-testing journey that could restore order to their ship—or just as easily start a war that will devour worlds. As the Marauder hurtles towards the unknown, and Mirabel hangs in the balance, the only thing certain is that in a galaxy run on lies and illusion, no one can be trusted.

From internet sensation Sasha Alsberg and author Lindsay Cummings comes a new serialized space opera, full of action, fantastical intrigue, and steamy star-crossed romance. ​

For fans of popular sci-fi books and fantasy books for teens such as Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, Wool by Hugh Howey, Truthwitch by Susan Dennard, and A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas.

My review:


I love Sasha Alsberg's channel, ABookUtopia, so I had to read her first novel, written in collaboration with Lindsay Cummings. I was a bit surprised by the length of it, even though I was aware that it was only part of a novel, but I wasn't disappointed at all.

I'm afraid that I can't say much about the novel right now, because I would have to read the entire novel, instead of parts of it, to have a real opinion about it. However, I can say that I liked what I read so far. I liked the writing, and the plot seemed quite interesting, even if it's just blooming at this point. Even though it's done in short parts, I feel like this one could have been a bit longer, because it would have been easier to understand the story and the characters if there had been a bit more explanations.

I'm excited to read the other parts of Zenith, because I really want to find out more about this interesting world and its characters. Also, this part ends on a sort of cliffhanger, so I can't wait to continue reading!


jeudi 1 septembre 2016

The Cinderella Pact - Sarah Strohmeyer

Goodreads summary:

In this funny and big-hearted story by the author of The Secret Lives of Fortunate Wives, three best friends make a pact to transform themselves into the glamorous women they've always wanted to be.

Nola Devlin has a secret identity. By day she is an overweight, frumpy, and overlooked editor at Sass! (the "celebrity magazine with an edge!"), but by night she slips behind her keyboard and into her alter-ego: Belinda Apple. Belinda is thin, gorgeous, British and the author of a trendy advice column- she is, in effect, the latest Carrie Bradshaw. Not even Nola's two best friends or her self-absorbed sister (who worships Belinda as the "sister she never had") know her secret.
When "Belinda" jots off a column about how easy it is to lose weight, Nola is shocked when her best friends take her own lies to heart and urge her to follow Belinda's weight loss program. Since Nola can't reveal herself as the real Belinda Apple, she bites the bullet and joins her friends in making the "Cinderella Pact"- a last ditch attempt to lose weight (again!) and transform their lives for good.

But as the pounds come off, things don't turn out the way the three friends expect. Their journey of self-discovery leads to the return of an old love and the unmasking of new problems. Meanwhile, Nola finds herself torn between two different men as she stomps out fires caused by her deception as Belinda Apple and falls in love with the man who just might be her prince - or the rat in coachman's clothing.

My review:

I have watched the movie adaptation of The Cinderella Pact about ten times over the past few years, so when I found out, only years after watching it for the first time, that there was a book, I knew I had to read it. As different as both versions can be, I think they're pretty much just as good, which doesn't happen often! Then again, the last time I watched the movie, I was probably 14, so maybe it's much worse than I remember it to be.

I already knew and loved (or hated) some of the characters from the movie, so I was happy to see that they were very similar to the ones in the book. Nola and her friends are amazing ladies and I was glad to see even more of their friendship when I read the book. I could understand their motives for getting healthier, because it's obvious how difficult their lives have become, not just because they can't get their favourite table at a restaurant. Seeing their journey through weight loss, especially Nola's, was very motivating. As I saw how much they struggled, I couldn't help but want to push myself more into everything I do.

The one point that I think is better in the movie than in the book is the romance. While I keep swooning whenever I watch the movie, the romance in the book just seems too quick and not deep enough. I couldn't see the chemistry between the characters and it only seemed like Nola "falling in love", instead of a love story. I was a bit disappointed, since it's one of my favourite parts of the movie. Also, Chip's character isn't very complex in the book, in my opinion, which didn't help the romance aspect.

Luckily, I found myself laughing just as much as I do whenever I watch the movie. Nola is a funny character to follow and her misfortunes made me laugh quite a bit. Because of that, it was the perfect summer book and I'm glad I finally picked it up.

I would recommend both the book and the movie, since they're both great!