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Archive for the category “Young Adult (YA)”

Review: A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole

A Thousand Boy Kisses

A Thousand Boy Kisses
Author: Tillie Cole
Publisher: Tillie Cole
Published: March 15, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary

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Synopsis new

One kiss lasts a moment. But a thousand kisses can last a lifetime.One boy. One girl. A bond that is forged in an instant and cherished for a decade. A bond that neither time nor distance can break. A bond that will last forever. Or so they believe.When seventeen-year-old Rune Kristiansen returns from his native Norway to the sleepy town of Blossom Grove, Georgia, where he befriended Poppy Litchfield as a child, he has just one thing on his mind. Why did the girl who was one half of his soul, who promised to wait faithfully for his return, cut him off without a word of explanation?Rune’s heart was broken two years ago when Poppy fell silent. When he discovers the truth, he finds that the greatest heartache is yet to come.A stand-alone young adult tearjerker romance, recommended for ages fourteen and up.

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Tillie Cole is a new-to-me author. I have heard a lot of great things about her books and A Thousand Boy Kisses is one of them. The cover is so beautiful as well as the title. I must say though that I wasn’t prepared for its intensity and heaviness. The moment I started it, I knew it would be a challenging book to read because of its melancholy tone. It sure was. The story was more poignant than I’ve expected.

“Maybe we’re like a cherry blossom, Rune. Like shooting stars. Maybe we loved too much too young and burned so bright that we had to fade out.”

Rune Erik Kristiansen and Poppy Litchfield have been best of friends since they were kids. Their friendship started when Rune and his family left their roots in Norway and started their lives in the U.S. He didn’t want to live in the new country where it required him to speak English and adapt to the culture, but when he met the beautiful and bubbly child Poppy, his feelings changed. The two of them grew up and somehow developed a much deeper relationship as the year went by. Poppy, whose grandmother passed away, grew up with a goal in life to collect a thousand boy kisses. It’s an idea left by her grandma to her. Each time she gets a kiss from her special boy, the details should be written in a pink heart and be placed in a jar. The boy kisses, of course, were given by Rune.

“It’s okay to laugh. It’s okay to smile. It’s okay to feel happy. Or what’s the point in life?”

This book is a real heartbreaker. It actually reminded me of those books I’ve read in the past that made me cry a river (I won’t mention any title because it would be a spoiler). I was able to connect with the story. However, I failed to appreciate it even more because of its predictability. I knew exactly what’s about to come even before the ‘twist’ in the early part of the book happened. I wasn’t surprised when Poppy finally revealed why she went away and didn’t communicate with Rune anymore.

Also, lots and lots of cheese were thrown everywhere. I couldn’t even count the number of sappy dialogues and scenes. For me, they are a little bit exaggerated. Not to mention how their conversations slowly became repetitive each chapter.

Despite the flaws I’ve mentioned, the ending somehow moved me. I was blown away by the things that happened. Of course I knew at the back of my mind that their story would end that way, but still, I wasn’t prepared for it. There was still a small part of me that longed for a different ending. A twist, perhaps. A Thousand Boy Kisses, as a whole, was a highly emotional YA love story. It’s a book that touches the soul and makes you realize a lot of things in life. If you love heavy, angsty, and heartbreaking books, then this book is the one that you should devour. Just prepare lots and lots of tissues. You will really need them.

Rating:

three point five

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Review: Witch Emerging by Mona Hanna

Witch Emerging (High Witch, #2)

Witch Emerging
(High Witch #2)
Author: Mona Hanna
Publisher: Createspace
Published: September 27, 2013
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult, Romance
My Rating:

three point five

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Synopsis new

Sequel to High Witch.

After surviving being hunted by Julius, Brayden and Ariel settle into their married life. Ariel is determined to find the other High Witches to make sure they’re alright. But there’s something going on with her pregnancy, something unusual, and she needs to find out what.

In the meantime, Hallie, an eighteen-year-old witch, is being pursued by Nicholas, a strange young man who knows about her past. What does Nicholas want with Hallie, and how are they both connected to Ariel? And what about Sean, the man Hallie loves? Will they end up together, or will Nicholas’ plan hurt all of them? The two witches will need to work hard to save those they love, and each other.

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There’s a bit of an improvement in this second sequel of the series. Like the first book High Witch, Witch Emerging is a quick and easy fantasy read that you can finish in one or two sittings. This time, there are additional important characters to read about.

The storyline of the book expands when Brayden and Ariel, now a married coupe and are expecting a child, are on a quest to find the other existing High Witch in order to protect her against possible threats. However, it’s difficult to trace her when the baby in Ariel’s womb is exhibiting some strange power that troubles them. Meanwhile, the other High Witch known as Hallie is being pursued by a warlock named Nicholas who is on a mission of revenge.

There were things that I liked in this book including the writing of the author which apparently improved. The characters were given much depth and there was also enough “creep factor” that kind of made my hair raise on the back of my neck. (I started reading this witch book at 2AM so you can basically imagine the freaky feeling I’ve had.)

“Watch out for the little witch, with golden hair on her head. She’ll say your name and your fingers will twitch, and then you’ll end up dead.”

I wasn’t fully convinced by the action in this book, though. For me, that aspect fell short. I was looking for a real elaboration of action scenes, like how the casting of spells are done, how they fight an enemy using their power, etc. And I’m not just talking about the descriptions via characters’ dialogues. I want more showing and less talking.

All in all, it was a good sequel. It was better than the first book for sure. Although there were elements that were missing here, a few things however, stood out. For fans of witch and fantasy books, I recommend you to check this series out. 🙂

(Thank you to the author Mona Hanna for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!)

Rating:

three point five

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Review: Honey Girl by Lisa Freeman

Honey Girl

Honey Girl
Author: Lisa Freeman
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Published: March 17, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Historical Fiction
My Rating:

3 Stars

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Synopsis new

How to survive California’s hottest surf spot: Never go anywhere without a bathing suit. Never cut your hair. Never let them see you panic.

The year is 1972. Fifteen-year-old Haunani “Nani” Grace Nuuhiwa is transplanted from her home in Hawaii to Santa Monica, California after her father’s fatal heart attack. Now the proverbial fish-out-of-water, Nani struggles to adjust to her new life with her alcoholic white (haole) mother and the lineup of mean girls who rule State Beach.

Following “The Rules”—an unspoken list of dos and don’ts—Nani makes contact with Rox, the leader of the lineup. Through a harrowing series of initiations, Nani not only gets accepted into the lineup, she gains the attention of surf god, Nigel McBride. But maintaining stardom is harder than achieving it. Nani is keeping several secrets that, if revealed, could ruin everything she’s worked so hard to achieve. Secret #1: She’s stolen her dad’s ashes and hidden them from her mom. Secret #2: In order to get in with Rox and her crew, she spied on them and now knows far more than they could ever let her get away with. And most deadly of all, Secret #3: She likes girls, and may very well be in love with Rox.

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A book rich in teenage drama, Honey Girl was a quick and lighthearted read. The book tells the story of 15 year-old Haunani “Nani” Grace Nuuhiwa who lives in Hawaii. When her dad passed away, she and her mom moved to Los Angeles, California to start a new life. In California she met a crowd that interests her– the LA surfers crowd and a group of “honey girls”. But of course she has to follow some “rules” and tips in order to belong.

Admittedly, it took me a little while to warm up to the story not because it was boring or something but because I had a problem with the narrative style the author used in this book. I felt disconnected because the narration tends to jump from one subject to another and most of it comes from Nani’s random thoughts (e.g. “In Hawaii, we called them kanaka pupule, but I nicknamed State Beach’s bum Lolo. Which is pidgin for crazy. Back home, pidgin is day-to-day local talk, kind of mix for Creole, English, and Hawaiian.) These random thoughts that just pop up all of a sudden kind of confuse me. However, once I got the writing in the later parts, I finally felt the flow and rhythm of the story.

The protagonist was an interesting character especially because of her fascination with both the boys and the girls. For me she was genuine and real. Her POV was also jovial, however, it has somewhat gone overboard with forced humor. I get that the author aimed to put some sassiness in her character but it was lacking.

I guess the main thing that really bothered me was the side characters. I wish they weren’t too many. Apart from that, these characters are also one-dimensional and there was nothing about them that’s truly remarkable. They flew in and out of the story without even making a difference to Nani. I guess the only character that has some sense to Nani was her mom. I felt the raw emotions from her.

There were little bits of dialogues in this book but for the most parts, it was all just descriptions. I wish to see more interactions with sensible conversations and not just about some nonsense things going on in their lives.

With everything being said, this book was a heart-warming and genuine read. The message was simple and clear. How you value yourself, your family, and your friends is really important. The settings are also beautiful. I love beaches and everything summer so the book definitely made me feel as though I’m having a tropical vacation somewhere.

On the other hand, I loved the “rules” and female mantras. My favorites are:

* Never snag another girl’s boyfriend.

* Start at the bottom if you want perfection.

* Be nice, no matter what.

* Treat people the way you want to be treated.

This book also offered LGBT vibes and I think this is one good diverse read that I can recommend to everyone especially to teenage readers. If you are a die-hard fan of YA contemporaries, then you are bound to like this book. 🙂

(A copy of this book was sent to me by the author Lisa Freeman in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Lisa!)

Rating:

3 Stars

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Novella Review: Friends by J.M. Darhower

Friends (Sempre, #0.5)

Friends
(Sempre #0.5)
Author: J.M. Darhower
Publisher: J.M. Darhower
Published: October 27, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Young Adult, Contemporary, Dark
My Rating:

5 stars new

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Synopsis new

Friends:
One moment.
One wrong choice.
That was all it took to destroy a friendship.
*takes place before Sempre*

my thoughts new

Friends is a Sempre novella. It’s about what happened to our boy Carmine DeMarco before he met Haven Antonelli. I loved how we get to see a glimpse of his friendship withNicholas here and the reason why they fell apart. This novella pulled on a few heartstrings. A bit heavy but it sure was worth reading. My heart ached for both boys since obviously these two are f*cked up in more ways than one and they came from families who have complicated issues.

Once again I was awed by J.M. Darhower’s writing style. It made me miss reading Sempre. I have yet to read Sempre Redemption and I’m so excited on what’s about to happen to Carmine and the rest of the gang.

P.S. You can read this novella after reading Sempre. 🙂

Rating:

5 stars new

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Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)

A Court of Mist and Fury
(A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens Books
Published: May 3, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, New Adult, Romance
My Rating:

5 stars new

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Synopsis new

Feyre is immortal.

After rescuing her lover Tamlin from a wicked Faerie Queen, she returns to the Spring Court possessing the powers of the High Fae. But Feyre cannot forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people – nor the bargain she made with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court.

As Feyre is drawn ever deeper into Rhysand’s dark web of politics and passion, war is looming and an evil far greater than any queen threatens to destroy everything Feyre has fought for. She must confront her past, embrace her gifts and decide her fate.

She must surrender her heart to heal a world torn in two.

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“To the people who look at the stars and wish, Rhys.”

Rhys clinked his glass against mine. “To the stars who listen— and the dreams that are answered.”

First of all, can we take a moment to glorify the perfection that is Rhysand?

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No doubt, A Court of Mist and Fury tops my favorite sequels this year. It basically owned me, took my heart, broke it into a million pieces, and mend it all back together. Sarah J. Maas sure doesn’t stop giving me goosebumps. I’ve just realized that there are so many reasons why I need to stick to her works and never let go, because she does it better. Always.

Notable things to expect in ACOMAF:

> remarkable plot
> character development
> new setting
> new characters
> romantic development
> series of revelations
> sizzling romantic scenes
> deep, tear-jerking dialogues
> plot twist

and of course–

> Rhysand and lots and lots of Rhysand

These things are more than reason enough for me to rate this 5++++ stars. There was just too much goodness that happened in this book. So much improvement, especially when it comes to Feyre’s character. I loved how she handled and basically maneuvered all the rough situations here, how she listened not only to her heart but to her mind as well, and how she was able to use her critical thinking in the end. I’ve just witnessed a new Feyre and with that, I was more than happy.

I guess it’s already quite obvious and it’s fair to say that this book is about Rhysand, isn’t it? Yep. Where is Tamlin? What is Tamlin?

He’s gone. Figuratively. And this isn’t a spoiler. Tamlin (in ACOTAR) was non-existent here. He basically changed– or so I thought. I admit that it was so hard for me to accept his character changes because I rooted for him in the first book. I kept asking, why? Why did the author change his character? It was when I reached the near-end part of the book when I finally realized that he didn’t really change. I just saw the REAL him. He was in my opinion, a good character. It’s just that… He’s weak and his love for Feyre and the need to protect her was all-consuming, to the point where he became so manipulative and territorial.

That’s why in the end, my vote goes to Rhysand. I’ve known his character in the first book as someone who’s cocky and literal bad boy, but I didn’t know anything about him, really. In this book, I saw him as a well-developed, wholly different character. I didn’t know that behind his pretty face and sexy grin lies dark secrets full of pain which made me feel for him.

“He thinks he’ll be remembered as the villain in the story. But I forgot to tell him that the villain is usually the person who locks up the maiden and throws away the key. He was the one who let me out.”

The best thing about this sequel apart from the character and romantic development was also the setting. The Night Court was so beautiful it’s too much! I loved how the place was described in a vivid and captivating way. I found myself really dreamy just by imagining those beautiful stars and sunsets *sigh.

This is what I imagine The Night Court to look like:

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I had a lot of favorite scenes here, too. Like the Starfallfestival scene, the Court of of Nightmares smexy and full-of-sexual-tension scenes, and the scene when Feyre said:

“You love me? Then eat. “

Did I say that I also love it every time Rhysand calls her,“Feyre darling?” 😉

In addition to my favorite scenes, the new characters also rocked! Amren, Cassian, Mor, and Azriel for the win!!! I like the Inner Circle and their bad-assery and I need more of them soon, in the third book.

I actually have a lot more to say, but they’re going to be really spoilery so I am just going to leave it here:

FEYSAND IS LIFE.

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If you haven’t read this sequel yet, do it already. If you haven’t started this series yet, do yourself a favor and read it. BEST ONGOING SERIES EVER. . 🙂

“Then I learned your name. Hearing you say it… It was like an answer to a question I’d been asking for five hundred years.”

(Note: I would like to say thank you to my dear friend, Allie who gave me a physical copy of this book. You are such a wonderful person with a generous heart. Best of all, you are a sweet soul! <3)

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Rating:

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