The Book of Ivy Review (Spoiler Free)

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“”. . we can’t choose who we love. Love chooses us. Love doesn’t care about what’s convenient or easy or planned. Love has its own agenda and all we can do is get out of its way.”  

Author: Amy Engel

Publication: November 4th 2014 by Entangled Teen

Pages: 282

GoodReads

Rating – 5/5

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian

After experiencing the dreaded phenomenon we readers fear known as the reading slump, I am happy to say that I am officially out it! And this is all thanks to the latest book I finished: The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel. In general, I was pleasantly surprised by this dystopian novel. I have read plenty of books from this genre before but I think this one was just so fast paced and intriguing that I could not stop reading. If you are looking for quick and simple read with a rapid plot and great characters, then this book is best for you!

Summary:

The Book of Ivy follows a girl named Ivy Westfall after a brutal nuclear war which left the country divided between two families who yearned to rule the nation. This resulted in a division between those who supported the Westfalls, who eventually lost the feud and Lattimers, the family which gained power over the country. In order to keep the peace between the two sides, daughters of the losing side were to wed the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual. Ivy Westfall is forced to marry the President’s son, Bishop Lattimer but she plans to bring her family back into power with a mission of her own – Killing Bishop Lattimer. The only problem is that the boy who she initially thought to be cruel and merciless, actually turns out to be the only person who understands her.

Characters:

  1. Ivy Westfall – Resilient, A bit reckless; I honestly liked Ivy as a character. I loved how she was strong enough to enter into this marriage alone with a heavy expectation placed on her and that she is not afraid to speak her mind.
  2. Bishop Lattimer  – Patient, Kind, Truthful; Bishop is probably the one guy who most girls want to end up with since he literally portrayed to as being Perfect but I guess that is also a flaw in his character. Sometimes being too naive is not always a good thing and I believe he does grow as a character in this book and maybe even more in the second book of the duology.

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Overall Thoughts: 

Despite taking on the trope of arranged marriages, I was surprised to see that there was more of a deeper societal/political aspect which was tackled within this novel. The romance does take a back seat and is not the major portion of the story which I appreciated. Amy also explores the different sides to marriages as well which I was not expecting. It definitely kept me intrigued and made me wonder about our current societal issues which many people may be facing.

This novel would definitely make you think what you would do if you were in Ivy’s position? And what really IS the right thing to do? This is another reason why I loved this book since the author did take her time to offer two sides to the story and make sure all the characters had layers to the personality. She makes it clear that while it is good to hold your ground in a conflict, it’s best to understand both sides properly before you act impulsively.

Overall, I thought that this was an awesome read and I just hope that I pick up the next book soon because THAT ENDING THOUGH!!!!!

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Hope you all enjoyed this review and let me know your thoughts if you have read it already!

Until next time, keep reading and I will be back with another bookish post!

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Why I Loathe Sterling Lane Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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Genre: Contemporary

Author: Ingrid Paulson

Publication: Published June 6th 2017 by Entangled: Teen

Pages: 287

Rating: 4/5

GoodReads

Hello everyone! I hope you all are having a wonderful week! For today’s post I will be reviewing the new release from Entangled Teen entitled “Why I Loathe Sterling Lane” by Ingrid Paulson. Thank you to Entangled Teen this amazing opportunity! I was able to receive an e-ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Summary from GoodReads

“Per her 537 rules, Harper Campbell keeps her life tidy—academically and socially. But the moment Sterling Lane transfers into her tiny boarding school, her twin brother gets swept up in Sterling’s pranks and schemes and nearly gets expelled. Harper knows it’s Sterling’s fault, and to protect her brother, she vows to take him down. As she exposes his endless school violations, he keeps striking back, framing her for his own infractions. Worst of all, he’s charmed the administration into thinking he’s harmless, and only Harper sees him for the troublemaker he absolutely is.

As she breaks rule after precious rule in her battle of wits against Sterling and tension between them hits a boiling point, she’s horrified to discover that perhaps the two of them aren’t so different. And maybe she doesn’t entirely hate him after all. Teaming up with Sterling to save her brother might be the only way to keep from breaking the most important rule—protecting Cole.”

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My Thoughts

I absolutely love these types of books since they are quite refreshing and a breath of fresh air from the hardcore, dark and epic fantasies novels which I am usually swept up by. I really enjoyed reading about Harper as a character; she is very meticulous in everything she does and is pretty much a studious girl with very high grades. Sterling on the other hand is the complete opposite and is a trouble maker and I loved seeing the relationship between these two unfold. While the story is predictable in its plot that this is a hate to love type scenario, it was quite enjoyable to read. If you are looking for a read that will pick you up from your low spirits, this is the one! There were times were I was pretty much laughing at the quirky scenes between the two main characters. They truly did put a smile on my face! I also love how everything flowed together towards the ending, where Harper does grow through some character development where she learns not to live life by rules but with freedom and true happiness.

That’s all for now!

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another post!

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Violet Grenade Book Tour w/ Author Interview

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Genre: Dark

Author: Victoria Scott

Publication: May 16th 2017 by Entangled Teen

Pages: 300

Rating: 4/5

GoodReads

Hello everyone! I am so happy to announce that I am hosting a stop for the Violet Grenade Book Tour by Victoria Scott! Hoorayyy!!! Thank you to Entangled Teen and Chapter by Chapter for this amazing opportunity! I was able to receive an e-ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Stay tuned for the Author Interview at the end of the post for an in depth look into the book, Victoria’s writing habits and what we can look forward from her in the future!

Summary

Domino is a homeless girl who lives with her best friend, Dizzy, who unfortunately ends up captured and thrown into jail through a series of events. With no money to bail him out, Domino is forced to turn to the aid of Madam Karina who offers her a place to stay and a position in her Home for Girls. It isn’t long before Domino learns the dark secrets which lay within this Home as well as the ones Madam Karina holds herself. Within time, Domino tries to escape her clutches but she holds a special and dangerous secret as well: A voice in her head named Wilson.

Characters

Domino – Strong and Independent; I truly enjoyed reading about Domino. I loved that she was portrayed as a strong woman who knew how to take care of herself but still had a few insecurities as well: one of them being Wilson since she believes herself to be a monster for having him invade her mind. Her insecurities helped with making her character more relatable.

Cain – Quiet and Mysterious; Cain was also a character who was well thought out since he does come from a past which haunts him but despite everything, he is still gentle and protective over Domino which was sweet to see progress throughout the story.

Madam Karina – Mysterious yet vicious antagonist who manages to charismatically gain control over the minds of the girls in her Home. I also enjoyed that the author gave her character a backstory along with the other characters. It helped make the story more realistic.

Wilson – “The voice within Domino.” When we first introduced to Wilson, I had to admit I was quite shocked since I never read a story in which we were introduced to a character within the mind of a protagonist. I loved reading about him and the relationship he had with Domino. Despite being the dark and violent voice within Domino, he only had one sole purpose which was trying to protect her.

My Final Thoughts: 

This was a fabulous read and I was very impressed of how fresh the concept of the story was to include a character within the mind of another main character. We usually do not see much psychological thrillers within YA literature so it was quite refreshing to read something different from typical YA genres. This book was a mix of a lot of themes: Psychological, Unusual, Horrifying, and Heartbreaking that you cannot help but be glued to the pages since the plot moves rapidly. There was not one moment where I felt the story slowed down or lagged. The high stakes and the secrets within these characters was what kept me reading. This is definitely not a light read since there are dark themes present within this novel as well as some intense and emotional scenes. Overall, the characters were so well developed and the plot was so fast paced that this was just an awesome book to read! I would definitely recommend this if you enjoy reading psychological thrillers and darker YA genres.

 

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About the Author (From GoodReads): 

Victoria Scott is the acclaimed author of eight novels for young adults including FIRE & FLOOD, THE COLLECTOR, HEAR THE WOLVES, and VIOLET GRENADE. She is published by Scholastic and Entangled Teen, and is represented by Sara Crowe. Victoria’s novels are sold in fourteen countries, and she loves receiving reader emails from at home, and across the world.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instragram | Goodreads

 

Author Interview: 

1. The concept of having a character with a second personality is quite unique. How did you come with the idea?

I just kept picturing this small teenage girl who looks in every way like the perfect victim, but you don’t realize she’s packing ammunition in her head. The character, Domino, never left my mind. So I had to write her.

2. In terms of writing and world building, what advice do you have for future writers who wish to craft and develop a fantasy yet believable new world? How do you approach this when you are writing your books?

I think the realness comes from the details. It comes from watching people around you and noticing what quirks make them human, and relatable. I think comes from the characters even more than the world itself.

3. Have you ever faced writers block? How do you typically try to overcome it?

I treat writer’s block like others treat having an unmotivated day. I put on my Big Girl pants and write anyway. Because this is my job, and I can’t stay in bed just because I feel like it no more than anyone else at any other job (though sometimes I wish I could).

4. Do you have a favorite place to write? Any special playlists you like to listen to?

I have a favourite coffee shop, and a favourite drink there (Pink Drink for the win!). I usually listen to Spotify while writing, but the scene dictates the playlist.

5. Do you have any book or series that you would never get tired of reading multiple times?

Harry Potter for days! Always and forever.

6. What can we expect from you in the future? Are there any other genres you would like to explore?

I’m drafting a new young adult book right now that’s a stand-alone. Someday I may try an adult novel. I love reading adult thrillers!

 

Thank you all for stopping by!

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you soon! 🙂

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172 Hours on the Moon Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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“In space, no one can hear you scream.”

Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult, Supernatural, Horror

Author: Johan Harsbad

Published April 5th 2012 by Atom

Pages: 368

Rating: 4/5

Originally written and published in Norway, 172 Hours on the Moon is a Scandanavian thriller which is downright terrifying. Despite the extremely slow start to the novel, it quickly picks up pace by the second half of the book to the point where is it difficult to put down. The timing of when I read this book is something I have to point out since its quite hilarious . . . and embarrassing for me lol I actually started to read this before my first solo trip to Italy and the events in the book completely paralleled closely with what happened in my life which made it even more creepy. Because here, we have characters who are leaving their homes to a place where they are all alone and have no one else close to them which did resemble my situation so I ended up putting this book aside to give my heart a break. Not to mention I was reading this at night because I’m a crazy like that 🙂

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Summary:

172 Hours on the Moon is a science fiction thriller where three teenagers win a week long trip to the moon with NASA. This is the organization’s attempt to increase the public’s interest in space travel and also create some sponsors for the program. In terms of my criticism, I found the whole premise of the story line to be a bit far-fetched since the idea of placing kids in outer space seemed unbelievable. Even astronauts require years of training before they can fly to outer space but the kids had to undergo a couple of months. I find that a bit strange. And why did it have to be teenagers? I think it would have done well even if the characters were adults. I assume the age range for the three main characters was probably small since this was targeted to be a young adult book. I also did not find myself having any interest for any of the main characters since I did not find them to be relatable at all. There was also a small romance aspect within the book which I thought was completely unnecessary since it did not progress so there was no need.

Despite these flaws. the only reason as to why I kept reading was because I knew from other book reviewers that the plot does not become interesting until they land on the moon. With that being said, if I did not know anything with regards to the book when I picked it up, I probably would not have finished reading it. But once they do land on the moon, things start to escalate pretty fast and so much to the point where I thought I was reading a completely different book!

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Coming to the actual core plot of the novel – this was absolutely fantastic. I am not sure why the author prolonged everything just to come to the moon since I found the prologue to be quite dull. I have noticed that the author had done a bit of research for this novel and it was even more evident through his interview in the last few pages of the book. For example, I loved how he incorporated a bit of the Japanese folklore into the story since it ties in very well within book, especially towards the end. Oh my gawd . . . THAT ENDING THOUGH!!! Still get chills thinking about it!

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All in all, I think the entire thriller/suspense aspect of the story made up for the lackluster character development. I did manage to finish this book after my trip from Italy of course. Overall, in terms of ratings, I gave this book 4/5 stars!

Have any of you read 172 Hours on the Moon? What were your thoughts on it? Let me know below!

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon!

 

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Fangirl Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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“I’m the kind of girl who fantasizes about being trapped in a library overnight.”

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Published September 10th 2013 by St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 445

GoodReads

Rating: 4/5

I think I might have found my new favorite contemporary book! : )

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From the very first few pages, I was automatically grasped by the story since it was so reminiscent of my early college days. The characters also made the story so enticing and I yearned to learn more about them as the novel progressed. I truly saw myself in Cath, our main character, because I too was highly introverted and I also had a fear of being placed into a social gathering since at that time in my life, I was going through some social anxiety due to my past experiences. But like Cath, when you do meet people who are willing to understand and respect your personality, that is when the walls that you built start crumbling down and you realize that the world may not be as scary as it seems.

Summary:

Cath’s world practically revolves around Simon Snow and her endless pages of fan-fiction and when she was young, she was able to share this love with her twin sister, Wren. Now that the two girls are beginning a new life at college, Wren is ready to let go of the fandom while Cath cannot help but hold on to it. Despite being so close when they were young, Wren decides not to be roommates, leaving her sister all alone. Cath is now surrounded by a brash roommate and her charming boyfriend, a skeptical professor, and a classmate who also shares her love for writing. While being suddenly thrown into this new environment, Cath is forced to learn how to live her own life without having to rely on her sister. With the addition of complex relationships, class struggles and worrying for her Dad, the path towards succeeding in college and life may not seem as easy as it seems.

 

Characters:

Cath – Fanfic writer; Social Anxiety; Cares for Dad/Sister – Cath was someone I could easily connect with since I pretty much shared her experiences when I was in college. The fact that she tends to avoid social situations leads to her snarky and sometimes sarcastic comments which had me amused at certain points. Despite that, she does have a soft side since she was very much attached to her father and would always check up on him since he would be home alone.

Levi – Very Sociable; Next Door Boy personality – Levi is male character who looks and feels so realistic to a normal person. I liked the fact that Rainbow Rowell did not have to make him be this typical YA bad boy who is oozing with sex appeal. He is pretty much the average, sweet guy who every girl would want to meet and have a relationship with. That is not to say he is completely perfect since he does have his own flaws. However, I admire the fact that he is willing to accept and take responsibility for any mistakes he has done.

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Wren – Bold; Outgoing – Wren’s lifestyle is college was the complete opposite of Cath and through her we got to see a complete different side to the life on campus. Although she is not the main character, Rainbow Rowell did do a great job in developing her story arc to highlight some important issues we face in college.

Reagan – Blunt; Straightforward – The dynamic between Cath and Reagan was so much fun to read about. I loved the friendship that grows between them and how Reagan was able to bring Cath out of her shell and help her adjust to college life.

My Thoughts: 

If you have been following my blog, it is no secret that I typically do not reach for contemporary books since I generally prefer sci-fi/fantasy novels since they are the ones which provide an escape for me. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed reading this novel since there were so many moments which I found to be truly relatable. Some examples, existed within the college lifestyle such as the initial fear of being in a new place, having to make new friends, living with a roommate, stressing about classes/exams, etc. I love the fact that Cath would hide a bunch of protein bars in her room to avoid going to the dining hall which is kind of what I did but the only difference was that I basically lived off of ramen 🙂

The only issue I had with this novel which prevented me from giving it a perfect 5/5 was that I felt the ending did not seem as complete or resolved as I would have liked it to be. This could be because there was not much of a direct goal which had to be accomplished by the end of the story or that Rainbow Rowell did not want to drag the book out to make it longer than it needs to be. I did appreciate that we saw some growth in Cath since she is able to speak up for herself and does not shut everyone out like she initially had done from the start of the novel. The romance was beautifully developed and both Cath and Levi just seemed right for each other.  ship.gif

Overall, if you are looking for a fun and light contemporary read, you should definitely pick up Fangirl! 🙂

Fun Fact: I was living on campus for my first year of college and during the final exams of my first semester, I actually overslept and woke about approximately 15 minutes before the start of the exam 😦 The main issue was the lecture hall where we the exam was scheduled was on a separate campus and I has to take the bus to get there. This was probably the day (and may be the only day) where I broke the record for the fastest time I have ever gotten out of bed and gotten ready to go out.

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P.S – I surprisingly did make it there and managed to finish the exam on time hehe

Did any of you guys read Fangirl? What were your thoughts on it?

~Ash~

The Blogger Aesthetic Award

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Hello everyone!! I have been in artistic mood lately so I thought it would be a perfect time to create this post. I wasn’t tagged by anyone to do this but I saw this award at ChicNerdReads and I absolutely loved it! This is a great way for me to learn more about my fellow bloggers!

The Blogger Aesthetic Award was created by Liam @ Hey Ashers!

The Rules:

  • Collect any number of images that you feel represent you as a person—your personality, aspirations, favorite things, anything at all that makes you you.
  • Put your chosen images together into a collage of whatever size and shape you find pleasing.
  • Share your masterpiece with everyone, in all the places.
  • Maybe nominate other bloggers as a way to tell them, “Hey, you, I think you’re awesome, and we should celebrate that awesomeness.”
  • Share these rules (and maybe the below tips, if you’re feeling helpful).

Tips:

My Aesthetic:

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I TAG 

Megnificentbooks

Sydney @ Sydneysshelves

Teacher of YA

LitThis

Elizabeth @ Itsmisselizabeth

Sam @ River-Moose Reads

Lindsey @ Paradisbooks

And anyone else who would like to do it! Have fun everyone!  🙂

~Ash