Reviews

ARC Review: The Sound of Us by Julie Hammerle

The Sound of Us

GoodReads Summary:

Kiki Nichols might not survive music camp.

She’s put her TV-loving, nerdy self aside for one summer to prove she’s got what it takes: she can be cool enough to make friends, she can earn that music scholarship, and she can get into Krause University’s music program.

Except camp has rigid conduct rules—which means her thrilling late-night jam session with the hot drummer can’t happen again, even though they love all the same TV shows, and fifteen minutes making music with him meant more than every aria she’s ever sung.

But when someone starts snitching on rule breakers and getting them kicked out, music camp turns into survival of the fittest. If Kiki’s going to get that scholarship, her chance to make true friends—and her chance with the drummer guy—might cost her the future she wants more than anything.

My Review:

The Sound of Us is an emotional and compelling story about a girl who goes to music camp and finally understands what she wants out of her life.

Kiki Nichols takes the summer between her Junior and Senior year of high school to attend a music camp and attain a scholarship that will help to pay to go to college and study music. While at camp she meets a variety of other talented musicians in her program as well as other programs. She meets a boy to helps to open her eyes, see what really matters. Her parents on the other hand hope she fails so they don’t have to waste money on her education, like they did with her older sister. Through out the novel she learns more about herself and what she wants. She strives for her dreams

Julie Hammerle did an excellent job of making this story and it’s characters very real and very relatable. Not many teens know what they want to study and do for the rest of their lives. Seeing these students really push themselves for their dreams is really engaging. The friendships and challenges Kiki faces are the same ones any teen does. Questioning who you are as a person, what you want, who you want to be friends with are all important during this stage of life. And just as important is love and heartbreak. Knowing that you may love someone, that they could break your heart- whether it’s a boy or your parents- and that you can move past it.

I hope readers come away from this story knowing that they can do anything, that they can reach for the starts, and bring their dreams to life.

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Rating: 5 out of 5

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Entangled Teen for the opportunity to review this ARC. Receiving this ARC for free does not sway my review.

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Reviews, YA Paranormal, ya romance

Book Review: The Siren by Kiera Cass

The Siren

GoodReads Summary:

A girl with a secret.
The boy of her dreams.
An Ocean between them.

Years ago, Kahlen was rescued from drowning by the Ocean. To repay her debt, she has served as a Siren ever since, using her voice to lure countless strangers to their deaths. Though a single word from Kahlen can kill, she can’t resist spending her days on land, watching ordinary people and longing for the day when she will be able to speak and laugh and live freely among them again.

Kahlen is resigned to finishing her sentence in solitude…until she meets Akinli. Handsome, caring, and kind, Akinli is everything Kahlen ever dreamed of.

Falling in love with a human breaks the Ocean’s rules. But for the first time in a lifetime of following the rules, Kahlen is determined to follow her heart.

My Review:

I was so excited when this book was announced. Kiera Cass is a favorite author of mine due to her Selection series. But then I actually read the book. I should’ve known I would be let down. In the past, when I have read books about sirens, they don’t live up to the description or expectations set.

Kahlen is a whiny brat and I hated her. She has been with the Ocean for 80 years, serving her sentence for being saved from drowning, but she isn’t happy. She has “sisters” that the Ocean has also saved, but they aren’t like her- they are out-going, and one of them, Elizabeth (yes I was excited that my name was used) even goes to clubs and goes home with guys. But Kahlen sits under a tree drawing, or in the library, researched all the people she has ever killed… because you know, she’s a siren and serenades people to death.

Kahlen meets Akinli, and it’s like the sun has finally broken through the gray clouds. They meet three times and she falls in the love with him. I hate this. They have no relationship to build on, and this insta-love is an insta-hate for me. Did I mention that Kahlen can’t speak to Akinli or else he’ll die? So yeah, no relationship, little dialogue. How is it possible for them to fall in love, especially Akinli. If a girl kept running away from me… I would have given up on her and told her to get away from me.

This book is unrealistic (for a fantasy novel), in that these two characters know nothing about each other, barely speak, and only meet for a total of 4 times that span from a few minutes to  barely a single day in the matter of almost 2 years. And how the end happens, it’s insensible. This book doesn’t have enough of a plot for me to want to keep reading, though as I waded my way through, I hoped that somewhere, a plot would form. Set your expectations at zero. This book is a mess.

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**EDIT** I just recently saw that this book is a #1 New York Times Young Adult Hardcover best seller. I am very upset by this. It does not deserve this award. There are so many better books than this. How about numbers 3. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken, 4. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, and 5. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (This is as of February 7th). I hope this books falls off the face of the planet (End rant).

Rating: 1 out of 5

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Reviews, ya contemporary

Book Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman

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Goodreads Summary:

It’s been three years since Mia walked out of Adam’s life.

And three years he’s spent wondering why.

When their paths cross again in New York City, Adam and Mia are brought back together for one life-changing night.

Adam finally has the opportunity to ask Mia the questions that have been haunting him. But will a few hours in this magical city be enough to lay their past to rest, for good – or can you really have a second chance at first love?

My Initial Thoughts:

My thoughts you say… well they weren’t pretty. Not because I thought I was going to dislike it, but because I knew it was going to tear my heart apart. I heard Where She Went would open the water gates, so I kept avoiding it.

Review:

I can just tell you from the get-go that this may just turn into a fangirl session. I am ab-so-lute-ly head over heels with Where She Went. 

The rawness of this book just hit the spot deep within me. I am a sucker for heart-breaking tales, and this is one I will not easily forget nor do I want to. WSW is absolutely breathtaking because it was everything I wanted it to be and more. I mourned with Adam, and I felt his pain. I understood his lyrics and the need get it out the only way you know how. For him it was writing music, and for me… poems.

One of the reasons I love the If I Stay duology so much is because I can personally connect to both Mia and Adam. I didn’t go through the same tragedies as they did, but I’ve gone through some of my own, and to have on the page before me the same thoughts and feelings I’ve had before is an indescribable experience. It’s like that quote we see around tumblr so much, “We read to know we are not alone.” I read to know that I am not the only one feeling those same things, thinking those same thoughts.

Some readers that loved If I Stay did not like Where She Went because they say Adam is selfish and a jerk. I am not blind to his characteristics and attitude, but are we really going to say we are not all at one time or another a jerk and/or selfish? If we say we have never been a jerk or selfish we would be lying. Even the people who we think are selfless and the nicest people in the world at least have selfish or mean thoughts sometimes. The difference is that they don’t act out their thoughts or give them voice. Nonetheless, I understand their stance and respect it. I don’t need everyone to agree with me. If they did, well life wouldn’t be fun now would it?

Overall, this book will be going in my “Favorite Books of All Time” shelf. It was an indescribable experience that I want to experience all over again.

Rating: 5/5

 

Reviews, ya contemporary

Book Review: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

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Goodreads Summary:

Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.

My Initial Thoughts:

At first I thought… a book about a girl that is suicidal?! I didn’t want to read it, but the whole DJ thing intrigued me cause I LOVE music. Then Kayla was like read it for me first and I was like OKAY! 🙂

Review:

You can say I read this book in two parts. I read the first half about 3 weeks ago and the other half tonight, and it was a good idea. Why? I coincidently stopped reading right before it all went down in the story. Anyways, let’s get down to business.

The main character, Elise, is not your typical suicidal girl. She is not craving attention. She just wants someone to see her and not just ignore her. I think we can all relate to her. We have all felt invisible at some point in our lives. What struck a chord in me were her habits and ways of dealing with life (not her suicidal tendencies, but how she dealt with life after her attempt).

My second year of college was a hard one. I was tired but wired a lot of the time. At night I would walk around campus, past midnight, trying to tire myself out so that I could sleep a few hours. I would put on my headphones and try to forget the world around me. Elise and I are so similar in that way because she would do the exact same thing to tire herself out, it was weird. I was like… how does the author know this I did?! I didn’t come across a underground party, or learn to DJ, but it was surreal to see a little of myself in Elise.

This story is so powerful because it shows us that this life is worth living. Yes, this world may suck at times (or a lot of the times) and we may not be happy with the cards life gave us, but we can make the best of it. The main message of this book is “Do not settle on being ordinary, be extraordinary”. We can all do that in our own individual ways if we try.

I really wish we got to see more of Henry though. That’s my only complaint. 🙂

Rating : 5/5