Review: The Program (Program #1) by Suzanne Young

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Goodreads Summary:

In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

My Review

The Program has been sitting on my Audible app for a year now. I honestly had completely forgotten about it until about a month ago. The concept of this book is just so surreal and intriguing! Don’t get me wrong, it’s also a beautifully vulnerable premise that had me feeling kind of down while listening to parts of it, but overall, Suzanne Young did a fantastic job!

The Program takes place in a dystopian type world that isn’t quite end of the world status but kind of is at the same time, at least for all young people. Teenage suicide has skyrocketed to such alarming rates, that the US government implements The Program, a “therapy” system that takes depressed teens and wipes their memories to prevent them from killing themselves and then proceeds to send them back out into society! Wow, right?

The story focuses on the couple: Sloane and James, two lovers who find strength in one another in the middle of extremely desolate times. However, just when you think there’s no way these two can crack, things go south fast. This book was entirely different from anything I’ve ever read! The dramatic irony in The Program was through the roof!! I commend Young for taking a character’s narration to a whole new level as the main character evolves in completely mind blowing ways. I sat there listening to this book in the car thinking, how the hell is she [Suzanne Young] gonna swing this?! I started to get angry and mad at the plot, but the way it played out just worked. I felt for the characters and for the human need to feel sad, and how completely OK that is!

By the time I reached the ending, I was left wanting closure for what had happened to these poor characters and could not wait to dip into the second and last book! It’s only a duology folks! Although there are multiple novellas. I am currently listening to book two and really liking it so far! Review to come.

I would most definitely recommend reading The Program if you are looking for a new scifi dystopian read! Buy it on Amazon here! 

Review: Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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Goodreads Summary:

Dying sucks
…and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand.

After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows.

Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things–including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he’s a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she’s more than interested. There’s just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden’s adopted father, a man she’s sure has sinister reasons for collecting children whose abilities even weird her out. However, she’s willing to do anything to hold her sister’s hand again. And hell, she’d also like to be able to kiss Hayden. Who wouldn’t?

But when Ember learns the accident that turned her into a freak may not’ve been an accident at all, she’s not sure who to trust. Someone wanted her dead, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she is to losing not only her heart, but her life.

For real this time.

My Review

I have been trying to finish reading Cursed for 6 months now and am so glad I was able to read it at last! I love Armentrout books and when I saw that this was a stand alone I got even more excited. Although, now after finishing it, I’m sad that there aren’t more books.

Cursed is a unique story focusing on the life of Ember, a girl who kills everything she touches. She hasn’t always had this power however. Since the day she got into a car crash and her sister brought her back from the dead, she’s had this deadly touch. She’s lived in the shadows ever since keeping to herself to avoid disaster, that is until she meets Hayden and her world is turned upside down. Soon she’s discovering that there are others with strange powers and the accident that killed her father might not have been an accident at all.

I most definitely enjoyed reading Cursed. I felt for Ember so much, her entire life becomes uprooted in the blink of an eye. She lives in such a miserable state, but seeing her relationship grow with Hayden made the story so worth wild. There were so many questions that got thrown around throughout, I was determined to find out the answers, no matter how predictable some of them were. That was the main flaw in the story in fact, was it’s predictability in the end. If anything, this was proof of how far JLA’s writing has come. I could tell this was one of her early books, though it was still good for sure, she has come so far with her incredible stories.

I would definitely recommend you read Cursed if you’re a JLA fan like me! It’s worth the read! Buy it on Amazon here!

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Book vs. Movie

I listened to the first half of Prisoner of Azkaban on audio that I had checked out through Overdrive. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to finish listening to it before it expired. Hence why it took me three months to have the chance to finish it by reading my own copy! I had forgotten how much I absolutely love the third book in this beloved series!! SO MUCH LOVE! So I’m very pleased to bring you the third edition of Harry Potter movie comparison post!

WARNING: BOOK/MOVIE SPOILERS AHEAD!

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Movie: Harry meets and rides Buckbeak for the first time during his very first class of Care of Magical Creatures with Hagrid. Harry is the only one who really interacts with a hippogriff as Buckbeak is the only one present.

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Book: Hagrid has multiple hippogriff grazing and multiple students get to interact with them.

sirius_black_wanted_gif_by_nightgrowler-d3443e2Movie: Mr. Weasley takes Harry aside in the Leaky Cauldron to tell him that Sirius Black is coming after him.

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Book: Harry overhears a conversation between Mr. and Mrs. Weasley at the Leaky Cauldron about Black being after Harry. Mr Weasley never approaches Harry personally. 

 

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Movie: Harry steps up to bogart in Professor Lupin’s class and it turns into a dementor in which Lupin jumps in front of Harry to block. 

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Book:Harry never gets a chance to approach the bogart, Lupin stops the class right before Harry can step up to it.

 

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Movie: Harry, Ron, and Hermione find their own to their first class of Divinations.

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Book: A knight Sir Cadogan who is quite buffoon leads them to their class. He is only briefly shown once in the movies and is noticeable only to those who have read the book. He replaces the Fat Lady as the password keeper for Gryffindor after she gets attacked by Sirius.

 

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Movie: Harry receives the Firebolt from Sirius at the very last scene that arrives with a hippogriff feather.

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Book: Harry mysteriously receives a Firebolt as a Christmas present. Nobody can figure out who its from. Hermione suspects its from Sirius whom she believes to be a criminal still at the time. She turns it in to Professor McGonagall who proceeds to have it thoroughly checked for jinxes before returning it back to Harry to use to win the Quidditch Cup, which they do in fact win.

 

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Movie: Harry uses the memory of his parents “just talking” to defeat the dementor bogart when he is training with Lupin. 

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Book: Harry meets with Lupin multiple times in order to finally achieve a patronus. The memory he uses to do so is of him being told he is a wizard and that he will be leaving the Dursleys. 

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Movie: Sirius attacks the fat lady and is not seen in human form again on the grounds.

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Book: Ron gets attacked in the middle of the night in the boys dormitory. His bed curtains are slashed and McGonagall comes out in her dressing gown to see whats going on. There is actually a deleted freeze frame (seen above) that I think is from this scene but we never actually see it in the movie.

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Movie: Harry sneaks out to Hogsmeade under the invisibility  cloak, and throws snowballs at Malfoy and depants Crabbe and gets away with it.

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Book: Harry throws mud at Malfoy but his cloak slips in the process and Malfoy sees his head. He then runs off and tells Snape who confiscates the Marauders Map from him. The map proceeds to insult him in more than one way. Snape then summons Lupin to read the map who takes it from there. 

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Movie: The whomping willow is on Hogwarts grounds and it just so happens to be located on top of the secret entrance to the shrieking shack.

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Book:Lupin reveals to Harry, Ron, and Hermione whilst they’re all in the shrieking shack that the unique tree was planted specifically for Lupin to use as a form of protection from others when he transformed into a werewolf. 

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Movie: Hermione howls to distract Lupin from attacking them causing him to run after her and Harry. Lupin as a werewolf then comes after them and almost kills them when Buckbeak fends him off. 

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Book: No suspenseful werewolf forrest scene takes place and the book is no less exciting for it! 

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Movie: As stated previously–at the end of the film, Sirius flys off on Buckbeak after having a heartfelt goodbye with Harry and Hermione. That is the last we see or hear from him until the next film.

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Book: Sirius sends a letter to Harry with a tiny cute owl while Harry is on the Hogwarts Express heading back to the Dursleys for the Summer. This is the point in time when he reveals to Harry that it was him that sent him the Firebolt at Christmas. He also tells Ron to keep the owl who had sent the letter so that he would have a new pet to replace Scabbers. 

 

 

Review:Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1) by Richelle Mead

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Goodreads Summary:

I wasn’t free of my past, not yet.

Sydney’s blood is special. That’s because she’s an alchemist – one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives. But the last encounter Sydney had with vampires got her in deep trouble with the other alchemists. And now with her allegiences in question, her future is on the line.

When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she’s still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir – the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir – is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill’s guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the unlikeliest of places: a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. The last thing Sydney wants is to be accused of sympathizing with vampires. And now she has to live with one.

The Moroi court believe Jill and Sydney will be safe at Amberwood Prep, but threats, distractions, and forbidden romance lurk both outside – and within – the school grounds. Now that they’re in hiding, the drama is only just beginning.

SPOILER ALERT: IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE VAMPIRE ACADEMY SERIES, READ NO FURTHER! 

My Review

I was so excited to get my hands on Bloodlines after absolutely loving The Vampire Academy! I knew the story was focused on Sydney the Alchemist but I wasn’t entirely sure what it was all about. I am so glad I started this journey with the series!

The story focuses on a new assignment for Alchemist Sydney with Jill (the half-sister of the Lissa). After Jill is brutally attacked at court she is asked to be sent away under the protection of guardians and Sydney at a boarding school among humans. After the events surrounding Rose, Sydney has been under scrutiny from her fellow Alchemists, so this is her chance to prove herself and her loyalties. However, as mysterious events surrounding alchemy tattoos progress, and she spends more and more time with Adrain, she soon finds that the line between good and evil is a lot more blurred than she realized.

Sydney’s point of view was refreshing and unexpectedly entertaining. She has a fire in her that you don’t get to see in the Vampire Academy books. Her wit and quick intuition makes her adaptable and lovable at the same time. Though there was not a whole lot of action throughout, I found myself wholly intrigued and pulled in by the characters. There were so many questions being thrown out and I had to know the answers. I wound up being very surprised by how things played out and completely enthralled by the content! The ending was highly suspenseful and utterly gripping, not to mention, I was left with even more questions by the time I reached the last page.

I cannot wait to read book two of this lovely series, I would definitely recommend reading Bloodlines if you loved Vampire Academy as much as I did! Buy it on Amazon here!

Review: Paper Towns by John Green

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Goodreads Summary:

Who is the real Margo?

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew… 

My Review

I listened to Paper Towns on audiobook which may or may not have been a mistake. I definitely feel like I missed some of the great lines from this book that were probably really profound. I’m honestly not really sure if I would have enjoyed Paper Towns more if I had physically read the book or not. I didn’t dislike Paper Towns by any means, but I wasn’t in love with it.

The story focuses on the point of view of Quentin who is a senior in high school and is just trying to make it through to graduation. He has known Margo Roth Spiegleman almost all of his life but they have drifted apart over the years. That is until she takes him on a wild night full of adventure and crime! However, when she disappears the next day, Q is determined to find her no matter what it takes. Though finding her is much easier said than done.

The beginning of Paper Towns was complete perfection! I was hooked on the characters from the beginning and thoroughly entertained! Though I totally found myself totally annoyed by Margo as time went on!! She just seemed like such a conceited b****, granted I didn’t feel so strongly in the beginning, but as events progressed I began to dislike her more. Although I was really intrigued by Quentin and his friends. Each one of them was so layered and structured. Their interactions were hilarious! Though the beginning and a lot of the middle and some of the end were very well done, I couldn’t help but feel super agitated by the conclusion! I just expected so much more after such a big buildup! I was left feeling bereft.

I still recommend reading Paper Towns, however I would exercise caution when approaching the end. Don’t look for things to work out as planned. I’m starting to notice a pattern with John Green and his endings…

Buy Paper Towns on Amazon here!

Review: An Ember in the Ashes (Ember in the Ashes #1) by Sabaa Tahir

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Goodreads Summary:

Laia is a slave.

Elias is a soldier.

Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

My Review

I have heard all the hype on An Ember in the Ashes and have seen it all over bookstagram, but I never really knew what it was about until I picked it up! I actually have had this book checked out for over a month and had to keep renewing it until I was able to finally read it! And wow was it worth the wait!!! I absolutely loved this book!

The story follows the two perspectives of Laia and Elias, it alternates chapters between the two, which got pretty frustrating let me tell you. Almost every chapter ended on a cliff hanger and you had to wait to see the others POV to get back to that, it was great when the two characters began to finally interact with one another because you were able to learn more as you went. Anyway, Laia is a slave and Elias is a soldier, who happens to be the son of the leader of the army. However, things are a lot more complicated then a division of class between these two characters. Laia is forced into becoming a spy for the resistance in order to save her imprisoned brother, and Elias must make the most difficult decision of his life when he is thrown into a series of Trials made to test the very fabric of his soul. Their lives become remarkably intertwined as the stakes rise higher and higher.

The plot twists and developments in this book were non-stop!! I was so completely hooked from the start! The characters were beautifully structured and the story was very fast paced. The relationship between Elias and Laia was so endearing and very differently formed compared to past books. Though this book is not heavily romantic, it added greatly to the meaning of the content. The world that Tahir created is unlike any I’ve encountered. I cannot wait to see what comes next!! I am so eager to get my hands on book three!

If you are looking for the next great adventure, filled with twists, and epic characters, then I would most definitely recommend you read An Ember in the Ashes! Pick it up on Amazon here!

Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

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Goodreads Summary:

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.


Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. 

My Review

I am so conflicted over this book!! I listened to it on audio, which is maybe weird for this genre, but oh well! This was also my first Rainbow Rowell read! I don’t really know how to feel about it, I can tell you how I felt immediately after reading it which was 100% pissed! However, now after some reflection/research I might have liked it a little more than I thought.

The story focuses on the perspective of Eleanor and Park as they first meet and encounter one another’s very differing lifestyles. Park lives an easy going life surrounded by parents who love him and friends who value his opinion. Eleanor lives in a poor house with her mother, many siblings and abusive stepdad. Everyone at school makes fun of her and she keeps to herself as much as possible. So when Park seems to pay particularly close attention to Eleanor, she is most certainly not ready for it, and before she knows it, her feelings grow from fascinated friendship to first love affection.

I felt so sad for Eleanor throughout the book! She had such spirit, yet she was constantly suppressed by the people around her! Her relationship with Park was adorable, I absolutely loved their interactions! And let me just say, that Rowell has quite the powerful narration up her sleeve with some epic lines that had me stopping to contemplate my role in the universe!

I wanted so badly for there to be a happy ending!! I was kind of disappointed…the ending was not quite unhappy but not quite happy either! It was super ambiguous which KILLED ME!!  I needed to see things work out in a natural order, but I guess I need to give Rowell props in being very realistic with the way things ended, which was in a way that was best for everyone, even if that was not necessarily best for the reader.

Eleanor & Park was definitely not what I expected, but I’m glad I read it. Give it a go if you’re looking for a sweet yet heart wrenching romance. Buy it on Amazon here!