Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder Book Review

This book was such a sweet book!! I honestly didn't know what to expect from this book. I'd never heard of the author before and while the cover did draw my to this book, I had only briefly glanced over the premise. Nothing had jumped out to me and I didn't pick up this book for a few months. Then the release date started to approach and typical me I didn't plan as I should and only finished it a day before it's release!! What I can tell you is that I'm so glad that I have a copy of this book! I was soon caught up in a world of quirky characters and the high and lows of friendships and romances. 

Pen was someone I could relate to because I too am not very good at socializing. She also wants to become a writer and her favorite escape is in a book! Set in New York, she and her trio of friends are slowing beginning to undergo some changes. Audrey, her bestie, has started to become fast friends with another girl who Pen doesn't like. And then she starts getting into tiffs with her other friend, Eph so she feels like she's becoming all alone. She also starts to like a boy, Keats, and is struggling to find ways to hang out with him more as she is convinced this is going to be her happily ever after. Fast forward to the end of the book, she's heartbroken (as you can well enough have figured out by the title) but she's gained a lot of knowledge. She's made some new friends, figured out her heart, and realized that not all stories will have happy endings. I personally really loved all the characters in this book. They felt alive and there are some characters (like Grace, Miles, Oscar, and May) who I would want to know in real life!! They were definitely my favorite part of the book.

Plot wise, it's got it's ups and downs. I honestly saw some things coming from the second chapter, but that could have been intentional and that didn't mean I knew how the book would end or anything, I just guessed a few things and hoped and hoped things would work out the way I wanted them to. I probably would have asked for a bit more at the ending, or maybe an epilogue, but really it was fine. 
I also liked the writing! There were some really picturesque descriptions and places that Pen and co. visited that sounded wonderful. There were hidden away book stores and thrift shops. There was a flea market, diners, name it! I really got involved with the story and the characters within a few chapters and never really got bored. The setting and writing were both lovely and there wasn't anything that I disliked. 

Super sweet story!! When I read the premise I hadn't seen anything that piqued my interest but when I finally started the book I was surprised by characters I grew to love (and to some, strongly dislike) and a sweet story about not only love, but about friendship too. I found it very easy to relate to the main character and I liked her! I may have picked up on quite a few things before she did, but she wasn't dumb or annoying! It's just that she was hoping for the best and after all, who really has a clear head when it comes to figuring out crushes and what not? This is a good autumn or late summer read, as it's set in the fall and I tended to picture an overcast sky over the streets of NYC. If you are looking for a swoon worthy (but also realistic) romance with some quirky characters, I would definitely recommend this book!!

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Goodreads • Published June 2016 • Standalone
🌟🌟🌟🌟 (4.5)
** NOTE this book just came out yesterday!! I'd highly recommend going to pick up a copy to read because I definitely enjoyed it ^-^
**Also, I have an ARC that was sent to the library that a librarian then gave to me idk how to properly credit that :P 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard Book Review

It was so cool to read these short stories that offer a peek into other characters' POVs and stories. Here we get a look at the past, how Cal's mother met his father the king and slowly lost her mind and in the second story of the book we return to the near present where Farley is being sent into Norta for the Red Guard. Both these stories were pretty interesting and it was great to get a chance to look characters on at the sidelines of the main story. You can understand things a bit better, like how complicated Maven and Cal's past is or find out more about the Red Guard. Although maybe not as exciting as Red Queen or Glass Sword, Cruel Crown is still worth reading, especially if you have read and loved the other books as I did. It's a little bonus material to add to the story, it's great!! I'm probably the only one, but I almost feel like short stories like this are almost like fanfiction to the regular books. Except everything is canon and written by the author haha. Point is, you get more knowledge of the world Cam, Mare, and Maven have grown up in. I quite enjoyed it and if you're a fan of the series, I'd recommend you read it as well!

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Goodreads • Published January 2016 • Red Queen series, 1.5

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys Book Review

I was expecting this book to be moving and incredible, I loved Between Shades of Grey and I was expecting a similar experience. In the end, it compared very well! Salt to the Sea was just as good and maybe even a little better. I did find that this book, while still heartbreaking and shocking, was easier to read and a bit less depressing. Within the first third of the book I was quickly falling in love with the characters and getting attached to them (the exception being Alfred, who I never liked). Florian was complex and a bit heroic. Emilia was the real hero, in my eyes anyway, she was so strong and sweet... Joana was also strong and wonderful. The side characters were so sweet (Klaus was absolutely adorable) and if/when any of them died it was quite heartbreaking. War is an incredibly horrible thing and these characters take you on a trip of survival through a difficult time. War makes people turn to drastic measures and it breaks them. It was both sad and interesting to see how each character dealt differently with the hardships they endured.

The pace of the book is generally pretty quick, the characters are fleeing from various countries and there are enemy soldiers and obstacles everywhere. I also liked the way the story was told, a couple pages in one of the four character's perspectives. It wasn't confusing after the first five chapters or so and, I think, made the story read a little faster. In my opinion one of the best things about historical fiction is that you are completely transported to another time and directly into the characters' perspectives. It is the best way to learn about history. You learn a lot and I for one find it enjoyable because it's interesting and from a perspective that's easy to read and relate to. I love that about this book and Between Shades of Gray. It is horrible what happened during World War 2, but I definitely don't regret taking the time to read these books. It's not happy, but it's educational and the type of book that opens your eyes and makes you more aware of events in history.

Overall, I really liked this book. I would probably reread it sometime down the road when the things I remember about it will have faded, but maybe not otherwise as it is pretty sad. That would be my one warning, this is a sad book there's lots of death and terrible things happening. There is fighting, children dying, and people being hurt. There are a few mature topics discussed or hinted at along with the violence, so be prepared for that if you do pick it up. If you can handle that, then I highly recommend it. It's a wonderful trip back in time and it's really educational (in a fun way).
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Goodreads • Published February 2016 • Standalone

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson Book Review

To be honest, I didn't really love the romance in this book. I would have totally been here for a book where it ends with Rapunzel lives on happily with her true family and pursues reading and learning everything she can along with traveling. But on the other hand, Gerek (aka the love interest) does help her out a lot and is kind, rescues her a few times, and encourages her reading so it's not really so bad. I just never necessarily liked him that much I guess? Anyway, the rest of the story is pretty cool because you get to a see a fairy tale told in a historical setting and there's full on knights running around doing tournaments and castles being attacked and what not. It was a nice retelling of the fairy tale and I was pretty happy with how closely it stuck the original fairy tale and what they changed here and there. Gothel was pretty messed up as she usually is, but I think she was written well and I was quite scared of what she would do to keep Rapunzel with her at several points! Rapunzel herself was a nice character, though at times she seems naive, I had to remind myself that it's all she knows from living with Gothel and Gothel being strict with her. She seems pretty perfect actually, but not in an annoying way. She's really sweet, but also brave and curious. I actually ended up both relating to her and liking her a lot. I guess that one of the downsides of reading fairy tale retellings is that you know two things a) more or less how the story will end and b) they live happily ever after 99.99% of the time. The thing that's a bit different with Melanie Dickerson's retellings, I think, is that since these stories are told as "historical fairy tales" (well that's how I'd say it) there's more of a chance that the story might differ a little from the original fairy tale. Of course this can be hit or miss, but it's usually a hit with Dickerson's books. There are just enough changes to make the plot exciting and surprising, but still keep the roots of the story close by. The writing flows easily and while I wasn't picking this book up every time I got a chance, whenever I did pick it up I read several chapters pretty quickly and without really realizing that I had.  

I was pretty happy with this retelling!! I really liked Rapunzel, she was so sweet and I thought her story was retold well in this historical kind of retelling that Melanie Dickerson does. Gothel was a wonderful mixture of creepy and understandable, you get scared of what she might do but you're able to see the reasons why she is so cruel when she tells Rapunzel of her past. Although I didn't really like the romance or Gerek that much it was still ok. This is a pretty quick read and if you enjoy retellings I'd definitely recommend The Golden Braid!! :)

I review for BookLook Bloggers
I was provided with a copy of the book to review and the opinions stated in my review were my own.
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Goodreads • Published November 2015 • Sixth book in the Hagenheim series.