The Auctor Trilogy by T.R. Wolf Review

auctor

Synopsis: When seventeen-year-old Addie Auctor’s mother is murdered by her father, she must confront many secrets that her family has hidden from her. The worst of these secrets is that Addie’s father, Donovan Hawthorne, is still hunting Addie because of an ancient blood feud between her mother’s family, the Auctors, and her father’s family, the House of Hawthorne. In order to be protected from the House of Hawthorne, Addie and her brother, Augustus, are sent to Initiation at an exclusive University, the Wicked Cabal.
Initiation is nothing like Addie expects. She is immediately separated from Augustus and thrown in with four complete strangers – Fallon, Maddox, Liam, and Tempe. Addie must try to forge friendships with her fellow Initiates while they solve clues, battle mystical creatures, and explore increasingly dangerous places.
Readers of all ages will love this adventure filled with suspense, treachery, and romance.

My Thoughts: I was a bit hesitant to read this book when the author contacted me because the genre is a bit out of my comfort zone but the cover of it convinced me to give it a try. I am very glad that I gave it a chance, it was a perfect book to read for someone who is just getting into fantasy…it has some fantastical creatures but the majority of the story feels more like a dystopian or adventuresome story.

I really enjoyed the story…the author was great at imagery and world building. The story is very atmospheric, I felt as if I was right there with the characters, trudging through the forests, caves, and obstacles of initiation to the Wicked Cabal.

There was a lot of suspense and the story was full of action and adventure. I found myself flipping pages quickly to find out what would happen next. The pacing was great…the story had 481 pages but I found myself at the halfway point in no time.

I wasn’t a fan of the romance in the story, it felt quite forced and ingenuine (but I rarely like romance in books). I also felt that the characters lacked a lot of common sense in many circumstances, which was a bit frustrating.

Overall, I was very pleased with this book and would definitely pick up the next one when it comes out, I’m very curious to find out what happens next. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves fantasy or who is interested in dipping their feet in the genre.

My Rating: 4 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

Remember to Forget by Ashley Royer Review

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Goodreads Synopsis: In Remember to Forget from Watty Award-winning author Ashley Royer, Levi has refused to speak since the tragic death of his girlfriend, Delia, and can’t seem to come out of his depression and hindering self-doubt. Desperate to make some positive change in Levi’s life, his mother sends him to live with his father in Maine. Though the idea of moving from Australia to America seems completely daunting, Levi passively accepts his fate, but once he lands faces personal struggles and self-doubt at the same time he and his dad battle through resentment and misunderstanding. And then, while at therapy, Levi meets Delilah, a girl who eerily reminds him of someone he lost.

My Thoughts: This book was sweet. One thing that makes it unique is the fact that it is told in a first person narrative by Levi, a male, and Delilah. I haven’t read many books that are narrated from a male perspective, so I enjoyed that. I really disliked Levi for the first half of the book. He has selective mutism, which means he doesn’t speak but the reader gets to hear his thoughts as he is narrating. He seems very ungrateful and kind of mean in the beginning of the book. He is dealing with a lot of grief and pain because of a tragedy but I still found him unlikable at first. As the story progressed, Levi became much more endearing but the change seemed a bit too instantaneous.

Delilah was a great character throughout the book. I loved that she was understanding and kind, even when it would be difficult.

The romance in the story was very sweet. It was nice to see these two teenagers taking things very slow which seems to be extremely rare in YA contemporary books. I also appreciated the fact that there was no swearing or sexual scenes in the book. It was also nice to see the characters relating to their parents and actually listening to their advice.

The writing was not the best but, considering that the author is 17 years old, I’m impressed. There was a moment in the book that is very unrealistic (having to do with patient privacy) but because it wasn’t a major plot point, it didn’t bother me too much.

To be honest, I am not a fan of YA contemporary books…I find them very boring and a bit tedious. But as far as this book goes, it was enjoyable for what it was. I’m just realizing more and more that the genre isn’t for me.

My Rating: 3 stars

 

I received this book from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

 

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki Review

summerGenre: Graphic Novel, Young Adult

Plot According to Goodreads: Every summer, Rose goes with her mom and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It’s their getaway, their refuge. Rosie’s friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose’s mom and dad won’t stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. It’s a summer of secrets and sorrow and growing up, and it’s a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.

My Thoughts: I am fairly new to graphic novels and I’m guessing that this review will reflect that. This is the story of Rose, whose family goes to the same beach town for vacation each summer. She and her friend Windy spend the summer together, experiencing many ups and downs. Based on the cover, I expected a cute coming of age story directed at ages 10-16…my expectations were not accurate. I was surprised (and a bit disappointed) by the graphic sexual content and language in this book. My personal opinion is that books like this should have some kind of rating sticker on the cover to caution parents of the content inside. The cover of the book looks very middle-grade to me, which is why I was surprised by the story, which is definitely directed more to older teens but features girls that seem to be around 12 years old. Overall, I really enjoyed the story…it mixed the innocence of youth with the grittiness and reality of adulthood. The artwork was amazing, definitely one of my favorite things about this book. I loved the characters but I didn’t feel connected to them. There were parts of the story that felt a bit rushed and not quite sorted out completely.

Overall, this was a good story but I wish the cover wasn’t made in a way that draws in an audience that is too young to be exposed to the content inside.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

Popular by Maya Van Wagenen

Popular_comp9.inddGenre: Non-Fiction, Young Adult

Judging the Cover: This cover is adorable, I love the vintage feel, which really goes along with the story.

Plot According to Goodreads: Stuck at the bottom of the social ladder at pretty much the lowest level of people at school who aren’t paid to be here,” Maya Van Wagenen decided to begin a unique social experiment: spend the school year following a 1950s popularity guide, written by former teen model Betty Cornell. Can curlers, girdles, Vaseline, and a strand of pearls help Maya on her quest to be popular?
The real-life results are painful, funny, and include a wonderful and unexpected surprise—meeting and befriending Betty Cornell herself. Told with humor and grace, Maya’s journey offers readers of all ages a thoroughly contemporary example of kindness and self-confidence.

My Thoughts: I really wish this book would have been available in 1994…the 14-year-old me would have loved it. Middle School is an extremely difficult time and acceptance and being liked is so important…

mePopularity was something I always wanted but never achieved. I loved how this book comes to the conclusion that the outward appearance isn’t as important as personality and kindness. There were some great lessons to be learned in the book and it was a lot of fun to read some of the tips from the 50s. Maya was a very determined, driven young lady and I admired her courage (I would never have been able to do most of the things she did when I was in 8th grade).

The story is definitely more geared toward the teenage population…there were some moments that were a bit boring to me. Overall, this was a great book that I am going to encourage my daughter to read when she hits those difficult middle school years.

My Rating: 3/5 stars.

Trance by Linda Gerber Review

tranceGenre: Young Adult, Paranormal

Judging the Cover: This cover has a holographic effect to it that I really like.

Plot According to Goodreads: Ashlyn Greenfield has always known when bad things are going to happen. Each time that familiar tingling at the back of her neck begins, she knows what’s to come: a trance. She’s pulled in, blindsided, an unwilling witness to a horrible upcoming event. But she’s never been able to stop it; not even when the vision was of her mother’s fatal car accident. When soulful Jake enters Ashlyn’s life, she begins having trances about another car accident.

My Thoughts: The premise of this book sounded very interesting to me, so I was eager to read it. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed.

The Good: The main character, Ashlyn has a pretty rough life…her mother was killed in a car accident where Ashlyn was the driver, her father is practically absent from her life, and her sister moved away and Ashlyn has no way of contacting her…not to mention the fact that Ashlyn experiences premonitions that she is unable to control. I really felt sympathy for Ashlyn and felt that her character was well developed. Romance in books usually annoys me, especially young adult romance, but the romance in this book was sweet and realistic.

What I didn’t Like: The entire story felt like a huge buildup that didn’t really amount to much. The story dragged a lot in the middle and the ending was extremely predictable. I am not a fan of paranormal elements or things that have to do with the occult, so I didn’t like the numerology element.

My Rating: 2/5 stars. This wasn’t the book for me.

The Ruining by Anna Collomore Review

ruinGenre: Young Adult, Mystery, Psychological Thriller, Mystery

Judging the Cover: The sinister image of a girl going underwater set against the backdrop of a gorgeous mansion is a great representation of the story.

Plot according to Goodreads: Annie Phillips is thrilled to leave her past behind and begin a shiny new life on Belvedere Island, as a nanny for the picture-perfect Cohen family. In no time at all, she falls in love with the Cohens – especially with Libby, the beautiful young matriarch of the family. Life is better than she ever imagined. She even finds romance with the boy next door.
All too soon cracks appear in Annie’s seemingly perfect world. She’s blamed for mistakes she doesn’t remember making. Her bedroom door comes unhinged, and she feels like she’s always being watched. Libby, who once felt like a big sister, is suddenly cold and unforgiving. As she struggles to keep up with the demands of her new life, Annie’s fear gives way to frightening hallucinations. Is she tumbling into madness or is something sinister at play?

The Good:

  • There is a lot of mystery in this book. The story begins like a typical young adult story but quickly turns into something a bit darker.
  • There are some parts to the book that cause a lot of confusion to the reader. The main character, Annie, is telling the story in first person and it’s hard to tell whether she is a reliable narrator or not. This was interesting and fun, but could also be a bit frustrating at times.
  • There is a romance in the book that is sweet and develops in a realistic way. I am not a fan of romance but I didn’t mind this one.

What I didn’t Like:

  • I never really felt like I could connect to any of the characters. I felt very disconnected from the story and didn’t feel invested in it.
  • The characters could have been developed a bit more. I wanted to know more about Libby and Annie.
  • The ending felt rushed…things were resolved in about 2 paragraphs and it felt like a lot of build up for a very quick resolution.
  • As mentioned above, the confusing parts were enjoyable at first but quickly became frustrating to me.
  • The story had many aspects that seemed very unrealistic. There were many things that I doubt would occur in “real life”

My Thoughts: Overall, it was an average read. I think I expected more from it than I got. It wasn’t a bad book but it’s nothing to write home about.

My Rating: This was a solid 3/5 star rated book.

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas Review

dgGenre: Young Adult, Thriller, Mystery

Judging the Cover: The cover pictured is the edition of the book that I own. I love the color combinations but I prefer the original cover of the book, which features a pair of handcuffs buried in the sand…that image goes better with the story.

Plot According to Goodreads: It’s Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives. But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations.
As Anna sets out to find her friend’s killer; she discovers hard truths about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love.
As she awaits the judge’s decree, it becomes clear that everyone around her thinks she is not just guilty, but dangerous. When the truth comes out, it is more shocking than one could ever imagine…

My Thoughts: I had only heard positive things about this book so my expectations were high. I was not disappointed. This book was easily one of my favorites of the year, possibly even number one of all the books I’ve read in 2015. The young adult thriller genre seems to be a bit lacking, but I am hoping that we will see more books like this in the future. This book has not received the attention it deserves, so if the synopsis sounds interesting to you and you are a fan of mystery, pick this one up!

The Good:

  • The book opens with a bang…it begins with the 911 call transcripts from when the group of friends discover their friend’s body. I was glued to the book from the first page.
  • This story jumps around to many different time periods throughout the book. For the most part, I dislike the jumping from past to present, at least in the format of a continuous story in the past and a continuous story in the present (leaving the reader with constant cliffhangers). This book jumped to many places in time in a way that made sense and did not leave me feeling confused or frustrated with the changes in time. It is done very well.
  • There are several twists and turns, which I love as a reader. I had an inkling of one of the bigger twists but still found myself surprised when reading it.
  • The ending is done in a very clever way that leads the reader to use their imagination instead of spelling everything out. Some people would probably hate this, but I love pondering over the possibilities.
  • There are a plethora of suspects in the story so the reader is constantly trying to solve the case. My final guess was not correct but I had fun trying to figure it out.
  • It was an unputdownable book. I could easily see myself rereading this one in a few years.
  • This book caused me to think about the impact the media has on crimes. The court of public opinion is a scary thing.

What I didn’t Like:  I got nothing…I tried to think of a negative for this book but I truly loved it all.

My Rating: Without a doubt, this was a 5 star book. Definitely worth picking up!