Book Review: The Next Together by Lauren James

Summary: Set in alternating historical and future time periods, the story follows Katherine and Mathew as they are born again and again only to fall hopelessly in love every time before being tragically separated.

Thoughts: You know that feeling when you’re reading a book and every page is better than the one before and you can’t stop reading and you’re just following an upward trajectory of awesomeness but then you reach the end, and that trajectory slopes downwards so suddenly? That’s what it felt like. The book was so amazing, almost perfect enough to get five beautiful stars of awesomeness, but then the ending happened and I wasn’t satisfied with the answers I was getting. Despite that, this was a beautiful story about the power of love and its ability to transcend time and hardships. It was unlike any time-travel story I’ve ever read because of its focus on the romance more than the other aspects that kept pecking at my brain (time-travel, reincarnation – how is this happening?). Wanting the answers to these questions and wanting to reach a time period where Catherine and Mathew weren’t terribly separated, was another thing that kept pushing me to finish immediately. The story followed Mathew and Catherine through 4 different time periods, but they were woven together so flawlessly and the attention to historical detail was very well-done. The history geek in me has to praise this. As for the futuristic time-line, it read very realistically and a bit like modern-times rather than the super technological future you’d probably have in mind. Catherine’s voice was so real and funny that it lightened whatever dark and sad road the story was about to take. Overall, if you’re a fan of historical novels, or romance novels, or light sci-fi novels, then I highly recommend you read this book (it being a brilliant mashup of all these things). However, bear in mind that the ending may not go as far as you’d hoped.

Stars: 4/5

My Most Anticipated Books of 2017

One of my new year resolutions is that 2017 is going to be the year where I read harder and hopefully surpass my Goodreads challenge. Things are looking very hopeful right now with all the awesome books that are going to be published this year! And so here are 19 of my most anticipated reads for 2017…

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1- City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

This is at the very TOP of my list because it was pitched as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Gone Girl but set in Kenya. Need I say more?

Publication Date: 24/1/2017

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2- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
I am so excited for this one! Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.

Publication Date: 28/2/2017

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3- Wintersong by S. Jae Jones
I’m really looking forward to this because it reads like its based on the Persephone and Hades myth, except let’s assume Persephone traveled underground to save her sister and Hades is The Goblin King who strikes a deal with her – her sister’s life for her hand in marriage. I cannot wait for this one!
Publication Date: 7/2/2017

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4- Wicked Like Wildfire by Lana Popovic
Yet another story that revolves around sisters, and with such a beautiful cover to boost! And there’s magic too.

Publication Date: 15/8/2017

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5- Roseblood by A.G. Howard
A modern day retelling of Phantom of the Opera – full of unrequited love, madness and lots of weirdness (or so I’m told!)

Publication Date: 10/1/2017

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6- The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee
That title alone makes me want to grab this book ASAP!

An unforgettable tale of two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe who stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other along the way.

Publication Date: 20/6/2017

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7- Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
I liked Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn, but didn’t LOVE it because *coughs* the ending was so abrupt and unfinished and didn’t wrap up the minor plot lines as well as I’d hoped. I still haven’t picked up The Rose and the Dagger because of that, but there’s no denying how beautiful Aideh’s writing and prose is. Which is why I’m very excited for this upcoming book about the daughter of a samurai who disguises herself as a boy to hunt down the people trying to kill her.
Publication Date: 16/5/2017

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8- Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts
I have read so many good reviews about this book and I cannot wait to read it! I’m imagining something along the lines of a kickass Jon Snow theme/arc but with a girl!

Publication Date: 6/6/2017

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9- Once And For All by Sarah Dessen
There’s nothing I love more than a character who is pessimistic and wary of all things romantic.

Publication Date: 6/6/2017

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10- The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich
I need this book in my life right now! In school that cultivates teenage spies, two boys who are the opposite of each other (one good and the other bad) are competing for a girl, but instead they start to FALL FOR EACH OTHER!!!! Where has this book been???
Publication Date: 16/5/2017

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11- We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

This is a story about loneliness and grief and LaCour’s prose is so beautiful, I have a strong feeling I’m going to love this.
Publication Date: 14/2/2017

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12- Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza
This book is going to be great! I just know it. A fugitive empress who wants to avenge her family and take back what is rightfully hers? Sounds familiar, no? Reads like something that happened to the Stark children but in space! I. Can’t. Wait!
Publication Date: 7/2/2017

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13- Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee
I’m so excited about this book because *drumroll please* it’s a book about an asexual character!! I have been waiting for this for so long.

Publication Date: 6/6/2017

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14- Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
Two reasons to look forward to this book: 1- #ownvoices 2- diversity!

Publication Date: 14/3/2016

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15- The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

A romantic coming-of-age fantasy tale steeped in Indian folklore.

Publication Date: 18/7/2017

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16- American Street by Ibi Zoboi

A YA contemporary about a girl who arrives to America from Haiti and the price she pays for her dreams.

Publication Date: 14/2/2016

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17- Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
Mary B. Addison allegedly killed a baby while he was in her care. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a church-going black woman and her nine-year-old daughter…. In this gritty and haunting debut, Tiffany D. Jackson explores the grey areas in our understanding of justice, family, and truth, and acknowledges the light and darkness alive in all of us.

Publication Date: 14/1/2016

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18 – A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard
A YA contemporary about a selective mute and how she falls for a boy who can’t hear.

Publication Date: 12/1/2017

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19- When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Publication Date: 30/5/2017

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And that’s all for now. Feel free to share what you’re looking forward to reading this year, because I’m sure there are so many books out there that I’ve missed!

Book Review: A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann

Summary: A modern day group of teenagers are chosen to participate in an all-expense-paid trip to France where they will explore the underground Palais des Papillons, which has been hidden since the French Revolution. In 1792, Auriele flees the revolution and hides in the Palais des Papillons. The story alternates between past and present as the teenagers try to uncover the secrets of the palace.

Thoughts: This is one of the strangest books I’ve read in a while. It’s a mix of genres: Horror, paranormal, science-fiction, thriller, historical – and they meshed together really well. However, this book gave me the creeps. I had to turn on all the lights in my room and push the doors wide open to read this comfortably because I just didn’t know what to think. I loved that the book kept surprising me and it never took the turn that I expected it to take, but that very thing also kept throwing me off because I had to constantly stop and readjust my focus. I think my favorite thing about this book was Anouk, the main character. Her narration made the book enjoyable to read. Her sarcasm and cynicism and dark humor somehow made the book lighter. I loved how self-aware she was and how her mind kept trying to figure out what was happening. Every time I’d wonder: but why is that? or how come? and this doesn’t make sense she’d point it out and ask the right questions at the right time to dispel my confusion. So even when things seemed to come out of nowhere, her narration made sense of it. I loved how the setting shifted from Anouk to Auriele, and how one person’s discovery complimented the other person’s problem and made sense of it. The one thing I couldn’t wrap my mind around was how easy some of the explanations for the weird things that were happening were – and I just couldn’t believe that it was just that easy. This had to knock a star off my review. I’m not sure if this vague review will convince you to pick this up because half the charm of this book is that you go in expecting one thing only to be hit in the face with something else. If you’re into that, then I recommend you read this. It’s a fast-paced page-turner and it took me a day to finish it, so if you’re looking for a quick read that will keep you on your toes, then look no further.

Stars: 3.5/5

Book Review: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Summary: After Lily opens her own business and starts falling for Ryle Kincaid, her life becomes almost too good to be true. Except that Ryle has an aversion to relationships. Still, Lily tries her best to make it work until more questions arise about their relationship. Enter Atlas Corrigan, her first love and her link to the past, putting everything Lily has built with Ryle on the line.

Thoughts: I’m not a fan of romance in general, but this is one book I couldn’t not read. I loved how Colleen Hoover portrayed Lily’s relationship with Ryle, and then going into the past to show us  her relationship with Atlas, and how it all just came together in the present. There were times where the scenes were so graphic, I’d cringe and have to put the book down just to take a few deep breaths before continuing. I just felt Lily’s fear and sadness and I think this is my favorite book by Colleen Hoover as of yet. It is a great and very emotional read. Ultimately, this is a story not only of abusive relationships, but of love and forgiveness and how the choices we make not only effect us, but those around us and those who come after us. I highly recommend this book, even if it is a bit uncomfortable to read at times, the topic is too real and important to ignore.

Stars: 5/5