Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

I am taking part in a new meme hosted by What’s Beyond Forks? where we take a book that’s been on our TBR list and we review it!


Title: Better Off Friends
Author: Elizabeth Eulberg
Publisher: Point
Publication date: February 25, 2014
Source: Purchased

From Goodreads

For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can’t be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan’s friends. They are platonic and happy that way.

Eventually they realize they’re best friends — which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t keep getting in each other’s way. Guys won’t ask Macallan out because they think she’s with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can’t help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated?

I have been on an unusual contemporary kick recently and so Better Off Friends seemed like a good book to read. I actually saw it on Twitter and went faith that it would be a good read. Unfortunately, I was mistaken.
I really wanted to love this book. Like I REALLY wanted to enjoy it. This book is about two friends who met in middle school and are instant best friends. I had no idea when I started the book that this was going to start off in middle school with preteens. Honestly I did not need to know that much backstory. A simple flash about the moment they met would have been enough or even just a comment thrown into their conversation.
Such a huge chunk of this book was needless and it almost turned me off completely. I went onto Goodreads to see if they ever got to high school and when I discovered they did I decided to keep going. This book has its really great parts, mostly the banter between Macallan and Levi and that was something that held me on through most of the book and I thought that the instant messaging/texts between the two were a good shining moment.
The language and personalities of these characters does not change throughout the book and that was such a huge issue for me. I would expect growth from a book that spans so many years, but there was none. The character’s issues were immature and not what I’ve come to expect from the YA books that have become so popular. Young adult novels get more sophisticated every year and in order to keep up they all need to be written on a high level and this book was just not up to standard. I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone unless you have some time to waste.

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

I am taking part in a new meme hosted by What’s Beyond Forks? where we take a book that’s been on our TBR list and we review it!


Author There Mafi
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
Source: Purchased

From Goodreads

tick
tick
tick
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it’s almost
time for war.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She’s finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam’s life.

Oh what a wild ride we go on in the follow-up to Shatter Me. Unravel Me starts right after the conclusion to Shatter Me.
Juliette is struggling to adjust to life at Omega Point, while it seems that her friends blended seamlessly into their new lives. Instead of discovering more about her abilities and learning about the world she was shut off from for so long, she shuts herself down. She deals with grief and fear in the only way she knows how, by distancing herself from the other inhabitants of Omega Point.
While Juliette drives me insane at times because she just can’t seem to get it together we are constantly reminded that this is a girl who literally cannot touch other people or they will die. This is a girl who was abandoned and hated by her parents, shipped from place to place before eventually ending up in that asylum/prison. When putting her life into perspective it’s easy to see why it’s just so hard for her to adapt to a new world where people surround her constantly.
Kenji is a great source of humor in these books and much needed or else we would just have Juliette’s anxieties and her burning love for Adam and that’s about it. Kenji is the best friend we all want. He is strong, kick ass, hilarious, and fiercely protective. He’s also not afraid to call someone out. He never lets Juliette go too far into her own mind and wants nothing more than to bring her to a place where she can learn and embrace her abilities. He wants what the readers wants; for Juliette to finally accept herself and grow strong and confident.
Unravel Me starts the love triangle that wasn’t really present in Shatter Me. Warner and Adam are two totally different guys. Adam is a sweet guy who wants nothing more than to make Juliette happy and to love and be loved by her. Warner is a psychopath who had Juliette removed from her cell in the first book and brought to his military base in order to use and manipulate her…at least that’s what we thought.
When Warner shows up in Unravel Me I was just as confused about what was going on as Juliette was. Some of those scenes were on fire and had me rooting for Warner and Juliette so bad while the entire time Adam was in the back of my mind reminding me that Juliette already found her soul mate. These scenes will confuse any reader. Warner and Juliette share a level of understanding that Adam and her can never have. The two former enemies connect on deep soulful level, while Adam who has done nothing but love Juliette can only see the things he wants to see. My poor heart was just as confused as Juliette while watching her try to navigate it. Better her than me!
Overall this book was very good and I loved being able to delve further into Juliette’s story and watch her try to navigate a world she doesn’t fit into.

The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa

I am taking part in a new meme hosted by What’s Beyond Forks? where we take a book that’s been on our TBR list and we review it!

I read the first two books in this series way back when they were first released and I fell in love instantly. Of course this third book came out during my “dark years” of reading when I read basically nothing at all and blogged even less. In an effort to try and read more in 2017 I actually purchased this a few months ago, but I was still not at a point where I felt the fire ignite my love for reading again. But alas, that moment has finally come and I was finally able to finish this series!



Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: April 15, 2014
Source: Purchased

From: Goodreads:

Vengeance will be hers.

Allison Sekemoto once struggled with the question: human or monster? With the death of her love, Zeke, she has her answer.

Monster.

Allie will embrace her cold vampire side to hunt down and end Sarren, the psychopathic vampire who murdered Zeke. But the trail is bloody and long, and Sarren has left many surprises for Allie and her companions – her creator Kanin, and her blood brother, Jackal. The trail is leading straight to the one place they must protect at any cost – the last vampire-free zone on Earth, Eden. And Sarren has one final, brutal shock in store for Allie.

In a ruined world where no life is sacred and former allies can turn on you in one heartbeat, Allie will face her darkest days. And if she succeeds, her triumph will be short-lived in the face of surviving forever alone.

THE FINAL HUNT IS ON.

The Forever Song drops us back into Allie’s world right where we left off. Her love was tortured to death at the hands of her greatest enemy and she struggles to function towards any other purpose other than revenge. For a good chunk of the first act in this story she struggles to find something to ground her to the humanity she tried so hard to salvage. We see her slowly turning herself into the monster vampire she fought so hard against while Zeke was alive losing her path as they travel through the night to take down Sarren. Jackle serves as the only comedic relief in this story and only if you find annoying and heartless somehow enduring.
I don’t know how to accurately review this book without giving away a spoiler because this “surprise” was so integral to Allison’s story. When we get to Old Chicago thinking we are about to get a glance at Sarren I had only on thought going through my mind…It is WAY too early in the story for us to already be facing off against the crazed vampire. I know something was about to happen and I had a strong feeling I knew what it was, and I was right. Zeke is alive! Well…sort of…rather he is undead. Sarren has Turned him into a vampire whose mind has been so damaged that he can’t see/feel anything that Sarren doesn’t want to. Here is where I lodge the first of only a few complaints; Allie seems to bring him back from this fractured mindset very quickly. There were really only a handful of pages between when we find out that he is a vampire whose mind I damaged and appears to be evil and then suddenly Allie has brought him back and he is normal Zeke…tormented by the fact he’s undead and ashamed of the things he did while Sarren was controlling him, but Zeke none-the-less.
This all brings me to the second and final thing that I found fault in. A huge part of the narrative is the struggle that Allie and Zeke both go through over the fact that they are vampires, each for slightly different reasons, but it all boils down to very similar things. They wallow and they whine and they struggle and they slip and fall and then…they climb their way out of that hole super quick and I’m left sitting there like…two paragraphs ago you were hating yourself and the world and now you’re good?
Honestly those two things were the only thing that bothered me about the book other than that I loved every minute of it. It was a very satisfying end of this series. Oh, and that thing I said about Jackle earlier? Well let’s just say I love his story just as much as any other character in this book. In fact, Kagawa does a fantastic job with all four of our main characters balancing and building each of them very well (with the exception of previously noted complaints.)
I would recommend this to any fan of vampire stories, love stories, stories about the end of humanity or just anyone who likes to read!

Defiance by C.J. Redwine

I am taking part in a new meme hosted by What’s Beyond Forks? where we take a book that’s been on our TBR list and we review it!

I had heard about this book leading up to its release through other blogger friends and I totally meant to get it, but I just never had a chance to. A few months after this was released I got so overwhelmed with school and I just stopped reading for a long time. I went to the SCBWI MidSouth Conference in Sept. and had a face-to-face with Holly Root who recommended that I read this book based on the kind of book that I was writing.

I immediately bought it once I got home from the conference and I read about 65 pages and…didn’t read anymore. I was still at a point where reading was difficult for me because I was just so busy, but then at the very end of January I got a new job that actually affords me a life outside of work so I put it back on my list.

So here is the long overdue review for Defiance by C.J. Redwine.


From Goodreads

Author: C.J. Redwine
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Source: Purchased

Defiance by C. J. Redwine is rich postapocalyptic YA fantasy perfect for fans of Graceling and Tamora Pierce.

While the other girls in the walled city-state of Baalboden learn to sew and dance, Rachel Adams learns to track and hunt. While they bend like reeds to the will of their male Protectors, she uses hers for sparring practice.

When Rachel’s father fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the city’s brutal Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector: her father’s apprentice, Logan—the boy she declared her love to and who turned her down two years before. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can’t be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

This book was a ride! It’s extremely well-paced, quick without leaving out any important details. I am usually really averse to having two characters followed in narrations, but lately I have had so much success with these type of books and this one was in that group. Switching between Logan and Rachel worked really well for this story.
We got to see the developing relationship between the two from both of their perspectives and it was a real treat! Redwine did such a fantastic job with Logan’s inner thoughts. He’s a guy and there is a whole internal conversation he has about Rachel’s breasts in a dress and it’s hilarious! She did not shy away from that and I am so happy because it only made him even more realistic as a character.
The way that Rachel handles grief was perfect! I love when we get to see characters who aren’t strong all the time, that’s not realistic and gives people who read it a very difficult bar to follow.
There were several elements that helped turn this from a traditional post-apocalyptic into a fantasy; the Cursed One, Baalboden, and the Tree People. The Cursed One is a monstrous creature who came out of the ground when humans dug too deep. He is described as a wingless dragon in the book but for some reason in my head he still has wings. I have no idea why that happened, but his description is very clear, but my brain is crazy I guess. Baalboden is the town that they live in and honestly doesn’t feel like anything in our world right now which made it perfect. The people live under the ruthless Commander, who seems to be the only person the Cursed One is afraid of. We only very very briefly get to see the Tree People and I wish we would have actually gotten to see one of their villages. I know that there are two more books, so maybe we will see them then?
Overall this book was great, it was action packed, filled with romance in the face of death and danger, and a monster that destroyed humanity as it was known. I can’t wait to order the other two books and get to read them!