Review: The Next Together (Next Together #1) by Lauren James

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Goodreads Summary:

How many times can you lose the person you love?

Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again, century after century. Each time, their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated.

Spanning the Crimean War, the Siege of Carlisle and the near-future of 2019 and 2039 they find themselves sacrificing their lives to save the world. But why do they keep coming back? What else must they achieve before they can be left to live and love in peace?

Maybe the next together will be different…


My Review

The Next Together was unlike any other book I’ve read! The concept of past lives and destined love hooked me from the start!

Lauren James took the plunge and wrote this book from three simultaneous time periods from the perspectives of three different versions of the two main characters. Pretty crazy right? I admit, at times it was difficult to keep up with! The concept of time and how the past influences the future can get jumbled when the two start to blend. What was the most unique were the documents and IM images scattered throughout the chapters. It added a fun and more detailed take on the story events.

As the plot thickened, I had more and more questions that needed answering. Who was controlling the two characters? Would they finally live through this lifetime? And why was this happening to them? Unfortunately, not all of my questions were answered, and I was left feeling a little unsatisfied by the conclusion. Certain aspects were confusing and unclear, and I felt like I needed so much more to happen before the story could just end. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated the characters and the concept, but I wanted more. I wasn’t able to form a real bond with the characters because I never figured out the truth behind their terrible situation!

I can only hope for more answers from the next book! If you are looking for a unique scifi story, then I would definitely recommend The Next Together! The concept is genuinely different, and the transition through time is utterly intriguing.

Buy The Next Together on Amazon! 

 

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Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

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Goodreads Summary:

With this stunning debut novel, New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver emerged as one of today’s foremost authors of young adult fiction. Like Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why and Gayle Forman’s If I Stay, Before I Fall raises thought-provoking questions about love, death, and how one person’s life can affect so many others.

For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—”Cupid Day”—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.

However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.


My Review

I’ll be honest, I had never heard of this book until I saw the preview for the movie. The concept definitely intrigued me. I decided to listen to it on audiobook, and wow, just wow. This story was unexpectedly heart wrenching and real, so so real.

The story centers around the life and death of Samantha Kingston who has climbed her way to the top of the popularity tower and happens to be friends with the top dogs. She’s essentially a bitch and so are her friends. That becomes apparent immediately, however, when she wakes up in the morning after experiencing her death to find that the day she lived yesterday is on repeat, she soon discovers she is stuck in a loop unless she can do something to change her path and the situation around her.

It was so incredibly interesting to see Oliver create the same day in multiple different unique ways. I kept thinking throughout, how is she going to change it this time, how is she going to give this story a happy ending? Well folks, don’t expect a happy ending, but do expect an ending that makes sense and will certainly give you chills. Though I definitely disliked Sam’s character in the beginning, I began to appreciate her and her character evolution as her repeated days continued. She grew so much and developed into a wonderful female lead. And though I so wish the story had ended differently, I understand why it concluded the way it did. And even though it kills me inside, I am content in a certain way with the way things played out.

The message in Before I Fall is absolutely beautiful and makes you appreciate life and humanity. It teaches you to take in every small wonderful detail of your existence, because even the most insignificant aspects of life have a role to play, a role that could be so much more impactful then you ever realized.

I would definitely recommend you read Before I Fall if only to feel all the emotion that this story has to bring and appreciate it’s meaning. I can only hope that the movie brings that emotion to life just as well as the book.

Buy it on Amazon.

Review: The Death Cure (Maze Runner #3) by James Dashner

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Goodreads Summary

It’s the end of the line.

WICKED has taken everything from Thomas: his life, his memories, and now his only friends—the Gladers. But it’s finally over. The trials are complete, after one final test.
l anyone survive?
What WICKED doesn’t know is that Thomas remembers far more than they think. And it’s enough to prove that he can’t believe a word of what they say.
The truth will be terrifying.
Thomas beat the Maze. He survived the Scorch. He’ll risk anything to save his friends. But the truth might be what ends it all.

The time for lies is over.


My Review

Before I get started, let me just say that I was not aware I was reading (or listening in this case) to the last book in the series until I was about 3/4 of the way through it. My bad. But honestly, I think I might have self sabotaged this series by listening to it on audiobook instead of just reading it. I just couldn’t really get into this book, I found myself indifferent through about 50% of it.

The Death Cure picks up with Thomas back in a cell in the hands of WICKED yet again. I mean come on it’s the constant cat and mouse situation with these books. The plot line is just so darn redundant. Before ya know it, Thomas and the gang are fighting back against their captors and escaping once more into a world that is still foreign to them, having not yet gained their memories back in their entirety.  As their lives become increasingly threatened, new secrets are revealed that change the game entirely.

This third and final book had so much potential to be amazing, and don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of plot reveals, some of which were emotionally heart wrenching, and others were just flat out predictable. I really wish I could have become more invested in the story and the characters, but I just wasn’t. I expected the ending to be a lot more spectacular and it was certainly intense, but it was also over before I knew it. The story ended and it wasn’t really a resolution, it was kind of a half assed conclusion if I’m being honest.

The Maze Runner was a thoroughly okay series, I loved the first book, but I couldn’t help but feel that as the series continued it fell into an endless loop of the same plot developments disguised as a new additions to the story.

If you’re looking for your typical apocalyptic series with a satisfying enough ending, then I would recommend you read The Death Cure. Buy it on Amazon here.

 

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: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: 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!