Monday, March 28, 2016

Pocket Book Reviews {March 2016} + Giveaway

Only three months into the year, I've already read 25 books! Mind. Blown.

I have so many books on my TBR pile, so why is it I always reach for the newest book, leaving all of the older ones untouched?! I had to read The Forbidden Wish even though I have piles of unread books. And I just got Madly (currently reading!) and A Study in Charlotte, and of course I want to read them straight away. 

Star Wars: Before the Awakening
 (4 out of 5)

Written by Greg Rucka; Star Wars: Before the Awakening is an anthology book that focuses on the lives of Rey, Finn, and Poe before the events of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

A fun read! While watching The Force Awakens, I couldn't help but want more backstory on the three new main characters and this book is that. Sadly while I love Rey in the movie, her short story was my least favorite. It just seemed kind of...useless and didn't have anything to do with the overall story. I didn't think we were going to get any new info on her background, but I just wasn't as impressed with her story. On the other hand, I really enjoyed Finn's emotional journey and Poe's awesome, action-packed story. I like that we even got some info on the events that led to the beginning of the film. Great read for people who like Star Wars and the new movie.

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Me Before You
 (5 out of 5)

Written by Jojo Moyes; Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job. Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that. What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of color. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

Once I saw the trailer for the movie, I knew I had to read it instantly! I pretty much ran to the library to get the audiobook and I'm so glad I did. This book is quirky, heartwarming, heartbreaking, thought-provoking, emotional, and yes sad. Louisa and Will have a strange and beautiful friendship and I wished I could read their clever and sarcastic conversations forever. I also really enjoyed the fact that it was read by a few voice actors instead of just one. Verdict: Go read it now!

Lois Lane Double Down*
 (5 out of 5)

Written by Gwenda BondLois Lane has settled into her new school. She has friends, for maybe the first time in her life. She has a job that challenges her. And her friendship is growing with SmallvilleGuy, her online maybe-more-than-a-friend. But when her friend Maddy's twin collapses in a part of town she never should've been in, Lois finds herself embroiled in a dangerous mystery that brings her closer to the dirty underbelly of Metropolis.

Could. Not. Put. This. Book. Down. I read the first one Lois Lane Fallout in a day, so I was over the moon to get the chance to read an early copy! I devoured this book in one weekend. The story is exciting and fun and suspenseful and has a modern-meets-1940s feel with a bad ass heroine! I liked that the mystery in Double Down was more emotional and hit closer to home for Lois and I liked how her and SmallvilleGuy's relationship progressed. But I want more! I need the third one right now! (*Won a copy) 

Add to Goodreads (out May 1)

The Beauty, Vol. 1*
 (5 out of 5)

Written by Jeremy Haun and Jason A. Hurley; Modern society is obsessed with outward beauty. What if there was a way to guarantee you could become more and more beautiful every day? What if it was a sexually transmitted disease? In the world of The Beauty, physical perfection is only one sexual encounter away. The vast majority of the population has taken advantage of it, but Detectives Vaughn and Foster will soon discover it comes at a terrible cost. 

I saw the first comic in a local comic book store and the cover immediately captured my attention, so I had to have it. I read it that day and loved it. The story is unique and clever and frankly a bit scary and startling. Can you imagine if such a disease existed and had such an outcome? When I went back to get the next installment, I couldn't find it, so I was so excited to be able to read the full volume! It was incredible and captivating! I hope there's more to come! (*Received a copy from NetGalley)

Wedding Night
 (3 out of 5)

Written by Sophie Kinsella; Lottie just knows that her boyfriend is going to propose, but then his big question involves a trip abroad — not a trip down the aisle. Completely crushed, Lottie reconnects with an old flame, and they decide to take drastic action. No dates, no moving in together, they’ll just get married right now. Her sister, Fliss, thinks Lottie is making a terrible mistake, and will do anything to stop her. 

This is my first Sophie Kinsella book and it was...okay. But I know that her other books are much better, so I'm not deterred from reading more of her work. Wedding Night is funny and charming and Lottie and Fliss are believable sisters, but it's also over-the-top and the lengths Fliss goes to in order to stop Lottie from having sex on her honeymoon is ridiculous. I liked Fliss' story a lot more than Lottie's, who is just plain annoying and I wanted to smack her. 

The Archived
 (5 out of 5)

Written by Victoria Schwab; Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books. Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive. Mackenzie is a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often violent Histories from waking up and getting out. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself may crumble and fall.

I don't know why I put off reading this book for so long! It's a somewhat dark story about keeping the dead dead, trudging on after there's a death in the family, and lying to keep the people you love safe, but it's also a very hopeful book about new beginnings and new loves. The characters in this book are amazing: Mac has built an emotional wall around herself, but she continues to fight the Histories and even lets herself maybe fall for Wesley, who is so suave and funny; and then there's also her parents and Roland and the flashbacks with Da. It's a YA book that doesn't focus on romance, it's emotional, it's beautifully written, and I need to read the second one now. 

Jane Steele*
 (5 out of 5)

Written by Lyndsay Faye; A Gothic retelling of Jane EyreJane Steele suffers cruelly at the hands of her aunt and schoolmaster. They call her wicked, but she fears the accusation is true. Jane rights wrongs on behalf of the have-nots whilst avoiding the noose. Until an advertisement catches her eye. The new master at Highgate House, Mr. Thornfield, seeks a governess. Anxious to know if she is Highgate's true heir, Jane takes the position and is soon caught up in the household's strange spell. 

Is it horrible if I like this fresh, Gothic retelling of Jane Eyre more than the original? (Probably. But I do.) Don't get me wrong, I still admire Jane Eyre and her powerful story, but Jane Steele is Eyre's story for a modern audience. It's raw, emotional, sensual, bloody, thought-provoking, and a damn good read. I loved that Jane Steele reads Jane Eyre throughout the book. She remarks on the similarity between her and Eyre's lives, but also comments on the stupid things that Eyre did at times. I welcomed the similarity since it made me think I knew what was coming next and then was pleasantly surprised when it turned a different corner. But I like the ties between the stories and how Jane Steele was inspired by Jane Eyre's twists. 

Jane Steele is not a serial killer like people have commented. Serial killers kill for pleasure and while Jane does take pleasure in knowing these men are dead, the deeds are done out of necessity, not because she likes killing people. I like that Jane is intelligent, aware of her own faults, and a sexual being (a suppressed Victorian woman she is not). I liked Charles Thornfield the moment we met him and immediately shipped him and Jane. I can't say the same for Rochester and Jane Eyre unfortunately. Thornfield's background and the thing about his gloves did make me roll my eyes a bit, but it does suit him and the story. (*Received a copy from NetGalley)

 (4 out of 5)

Written by Alex Flinn; I’m Kenda and I'm immortal. And I pretty much know everything after hundreds of years—except for when to take my powers and butt out. Now a girl named Emma needs me. I probably shouldn’t get involved, but her gorgeous stepsister is conniving to the core.

I didn't have high expectations for this book, but I was pleasantly surprised. Despite being somewhat predictable, this story packs quite the emotional punch. I should've known I would like it since I remember staying up late to read Beastly years ago. Bewitching is Cinderella for the modern era and I enjoyed the twists and connections to the classic tale. 

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Giant Days
 (4 out of 5)

Written by John Allison, Lissa Treiman, and Whitney Cogar; Susan, Esther, and Daisy started at university three weeks ago and became fast friends. Now, away from home for the first time, all three want to reinvent themselves. But in the face of boys, “personal experimentation,” influenza, and the unwanted intrusion of “academia,” they may be lucky just to make it to spring alive.

There was a preview of Giant Days in the back of Vol. 3 of Lumberjanes and after reading it I needed to get my hands on a copy. I absolutely loved it! All three girls, Susan (smart tomboy), Ester (nerdy and shy), and Daisy (dramatic goth girl), are so different and yet you can see why they get along so well. This graphic novels shows that you should revel in your weirdness and be yourself. Plus, I just love the art. 

The Forbidden Wish
 (5 out of 5)

Written by Jessica Khoury; When Aladdin discovers Zahra's jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn't seen in hundreds of years—a world where magic is forbidden. But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

Oh my gawd this book! I'm a huge Aladdin fan and this story does not disappoint. It has elements from the classic Disney movie, but this story takes you on an exhilarating new ride. The Forbidden Wish took the main plotline from Aladdin and made it better. I don't want to give too much away because the joy is in seeing it unfold as you read it. Zahra and Aladdin are amazing together and seeing their relationship go from friendship to something more is beautiful, just like the writing in this book. 

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~Sara ♥

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