Shadow and Bone

10194157Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo 
 : 2012
Version Read
 : paperback
Read More about it here.

4starSurrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

I’ve had this book on my TBR for a very long time. Probably one of the longest books sitting there, since I started this blog site. Not sure why it’s taken me so long to pick it up, but I made a promise to myself to start reading the books I’ve been putting off. Starting with what is the oldest and working toward the newest.

I enjoyed this book more than I expected to. The world building was fantastic and I felt drawn into it almost instantly. Like a lot of people I really crushed on the Darkling until near the end. I can’t say that I ever shipped him and Alaina, but I can see why some people may have.

The plot was very slow going and at times I wasn’t sure where it was going to end up. I had a feeling that not all was what it seemed and there were a couple characters that really freaked me out. If they freak me out, that just means they are well rounded and perfect.

I’m really interested in seeing where this series goes. I know it’s one of the most popular out there, and so far it’s lived up to the hype. I hope the second book doesn’t have the sophomore slump. That would be a shame.

The Fill-in Boyfriend

23291575The Fill-in Boyfriend by Kasie West  
 : 2015
Version Read
 : ebook
Read More about it here.

4starWhen Gia Montgomery’s boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she’d been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend— two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it’s not the real Bradley she’s thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn’t even know. But tracking him down doesn’t mean they’re done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend’s graduation party — three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.

Right along with my romantic contemporary reads, I started this bad boy.  I enjoyed the heck out of it and almost read it in one sitting. The characters were well written and with just the right amount of angst to keep the plot going.

Although Gia is not my favorite heroine, I loved the heck out of Hayden. For once, we have a guy that is not shady and seems like a genuinely good guy. Where are they at in real life? Anyway, their feelings toward each other are a little too insta-love for me, but I can easily over look it.

I enjoyed the relationship Gia had with her family, and it wasn’t a great one. I thought her brother was a little mean with his video, but I get the point he was making. Gia was shallow and only worried about how many likes/hits she got. I thought that helped drive the plot to where she would realize how crazy she is and straighten up.

It wasn’t the most original story, but it was so well written and I loved the characters so much that I will probably re-read this one again.

P.S. I Still Love You

20698530P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
Published : 2015
Version Read
 : ebook
Read More about it here.

4starLara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing. 

After reading To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, I knew that I wanted to go right into this book. I needed to know what happened to Lara Jean and Peter. I was not disappointed by the story, but maybe that it was everything I expected and nothing more.

It’s hard for a contemporary to really grab my attention and shock me with a twist or turn in the plot. I felt like I knew everything that was coming before it happened. There was nothing new in the plot, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it. I think I read this book in a couple days around working and life. It was fast and I really like it.

The thing that annoyed me was how forgiving Lara Jean was that Peter always ran to Gen or seemed to be with her all the time. I personally wouldn’t put up with that. Sure you can be friends with your ex, but they shouldn’t come before your new relationship. Clearly they still had a lot to resolve, and it was annoying that it took her so long to see through the bull.

It did surprise me that she still ended up with Peter. I was rooting for her to be with John Ambrose McClaren. They seemed to be a better fit than her and Peter. Maybe my ship will sail in the last book.

All in all I did really enjoy this book. I’ve been reading a lot more contemporary and this is among one of the best I’ve read in a while.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

15749186To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han 
Published : 2014
Version Read
 : ebook
Read More about it here.

3starTo All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

I wanted this book to be so much more than it was. I had a quite a few problems with it in terms of plot and characters, but for what it was, I did enjoy it and I picked up the second one right after finishing this one.

I thought that the plot had so much potential but it ended up being a normal teen romance story. One that I thought was predicable and unsurprising. The major redeeming quality that I loved about this story was the strong family connections. I loved that the parents were present and involved in the story. Sure, it’s sort of a cop out to have Lara’s dad work all the time, but when he was at home it was magic.

I was confused almost throughout the whole story (actually I still am) about why Lara and Gen weren’t friends anymore. I also wish that Lara Jean had more girlfriends. I didn’t care for one friend who was never around and always into trouble.

Even though it seems like I didn’t like this book, I still think it was a decent story. I flew through it in about 24 hours. The romance was cute and I really enjoyed the idea of Lara Jean and Peter. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves YA contemporary.

The Islanders Vol. 2

23287181The Islanders Vol. 2 by Katherine Applegate
Published : 2015
Version Read
 : ebook
Read More about it here.

3starThe Islanders have known one another forever–but everyone has a secret. The third and fourth book in Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant’s electrifying series reach a whole new audience in this gorgeous omnibus edition.

Nina has never been very interested in having a boyfriend. Especially since the only guy she’s ever really liked happens to be dating her sister, Claire. But when Ben and Claire break up Nina begins to wonder if it’s time she take a risk and put her heart on the line. The only problem is the other thing . . . the secret that Nina has never told anyone. The secret that has haunted her for years.
Now Nina must decide if she can tell her friends the truth. And, if she does, whether it is possible Ben will ever look at her the same way again.

I feel the same way with this volume as I do with the first one. I miss the original books. I don’t connect with the updated slang and cultural references. I still really enjoyed it and it brought back memories of reading it in high school, so so many years ago.

I had forgotten what the third book in the series was about. Nina’s story is one that touches me because I’ve gone through something similar. I knew how she felt and she acted the way that one would expect from a victim of abuse. It was a dark story and for a while I didn’t think that she was going to get the support she needed. It was a nice surprise to see people stand up for her, who normally wouldn’t.

The fourth book was a nice break from all the heavy drama in the third one. It was mostly about the homecoming dance and who would be king and queen. Some of the drama might have been a little over board, but I enjoyed it none the less.

I’ll keep reading the next two novels whenever I need a good pick me up story. I’m so glad they decided to republish this books and hope that they will continue with the rest of the series.