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Sash

Sash from Sash & Em

I run a blog with my best friend, Em - we love Young Adult literature.

A magnificent debut that I can’t believe I didn’t read sooner. Exquisite.

Seraphina - Rachel Hartman

At first glance, I must admit that this book didn’t jump out at me. A pretty cover and a unique premise just weren’t enough. Add in the lengthy list of awards that were racked up – 2013 William C. Morris YA Debut Award, Cybil Award for Teen Fantasy and Science Fiction, Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of the Year – just to name a few. You’d think I would be ready to tear into this one – but it still wasn’t enough to pique my interest.

 

Until I was in the mood for DRAGONS. I wanted a good dragon story and, boy, did I get what I wanted.

 

Seraphina starts out rather slow and I did feel a little like I’d been thrown into the deep-end without any proper explanation of what was what or who was who, but this is just one of those books that immerses you into its world within 50 pages and then you forget how or where it even began. The writing is absolutely stunning – rich descriptions of music and dragons – with politics, philosophy, and religion thrown into the mix to make the reader think.

 

Questions that I thought to myself while reading this book: What does it feel like to feel? What do I feel like when I’m sad? What about when I’m happy? Could I choose between my family and the one I love? How do people bring peace to times of war? Could (or rather, would) I be willing to put peace and my country in a place of higher priority than my own heart?

 

This series has the potential to be multiple books – and I would gladly read them all! And there is a sequel, Shadow Scale, but the release date is set for MARCH 2015 (insert sobbing here).

 

Overall, a magnificent debut that I can’t believe I didn’t read sooner. Exquisite.

Source: http://sashandem.com/sash-seraphina-rachel-hartman-audiobook-review
Cinder  - Marissa Meyer

I’ll admit that when I first heard about Cinder, I was a bit skeptical. Fine, A LOT skeptical. Not only are fairytale retellings a hard thing to pull off in terms of creativity, but even with the right idea, the execution has got to be there as well. There’s a storyline that everyone knows so well, so how will this plot and story play out in a similar but different kind of way. It’s just not possible – but OH, it is!

 

I love love love the cyborg/futuristic world that Cinder takes place in; it’s both familiar and alien. Marissa Meyer reworked this classic story into something totally new and fresh and I was so caught up in it that I almost forgot that it was a retelling!

 

My only question is why didn’t someone force this book down my throat aka MAKE me read it? This series has that special something that makes me read past the first two books (Yes, I’ve already both Scarlet and Cress).

Source: http://sashandem.com/sash-cinder-by-marissa-meyer-audiobook-review
Find Me - Romily Bernard

Find Me is a fast-paced game of Whodunit that (if you’re like me) will have you guessing til the very end. Fans of the PERSEFoNE series and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will enjoy this murder mystery for sure.

 

What I really liked about this book was the snarkiness of the main character, Wick. She definitely was not a vanilla character. She had lots of spunk and brought an edge to the book. Her sarcasm, plus the way that all of the scenes were written – with this crazy amount of tension – made the book enjoyable and though I didn’t want to put it down, I had to because I couldn’t read it late at night! Too scary! Even though I’m not tech-savvy, I still liked reading about her searching for the killer over the internet. And yes, I couldn’t read it at night even though the tracking of the bad guy was done mostly over the web.

 

I’m sure that mystery novel experts and seasoned sleuths figured this one out WAY before I did – but I’m thankful for my ignorance because it made the book so much more thrilling.

 

All in all – a good debut from Romily Bernard that I’m HOPING will be turned into a series. I think I can guess what the next book would be about!

Source: http://sashandem.com/sash-find-me-romily-bernard-book-review

Maybe I'm the misfit in this story

Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell

Oh, my – how do I begin? Well, first, let me say that I haven’t read a YA book in a while. I’m climbing the bookish equivalent of Mount Everest this year – aka making my way through the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin and it is brutal. So maybe I went into this book not sure what to expect? I don’t know what happened. I had hopes of romance and swooning and first love a la Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, but that’s not what I got. Instead I got this amazing boy whom I adored and a girl that annoyed me.

 

The description says that you’ll remember your own first love, and while it did have moments that reminded me of what it’s like to fall in love for the first time, I just couldn’t connect with Eleanor. Was she in a bad situation? Yes, but in times like those, you either let it make you or break you and I feel like she let it break her. Again, yes, she’s 16 and “helpless” but all I’m saying is that 16 is old enough to call the police and not give a second thought to “Oh, is my mom going to be mad that I’m doing something that she as 40 something year old can’t?”

 

The saving grace for me in this book is Park – not only the character but his POV (the book is alternating POVs). Without Park, this book would have probably been a Did Not Finish. Park – my sweet, sweet boy – WHY do you even like Eleanor? She pushes you away, is an emotional rollercoaster and disaster, and has got to be the most self-deprecating  character I’ve read in a while – she puts Edward Cullen from Twilight to shame.

 

And speaking of favorite characters, I’ve got to say my overall favorite character (and the one I think is most like me) was Park’s mom. She’s an Avon lady who loves makeup, nails, and hair – AND she always wants to make other people over.

 

I will say that I really enjoyed Rainbow Rowell’s writing style and I’m reading her next book, Fangirl, right now and absolutely loving it. So it’s just this particular book that didn’t do it for me. Also, the narrator for Eleanor on the audiobook was not the best so that probably played into things a bit.

 

I put this book on my Everyone Loved But Me shelf as there are no less than TWENTY 5 star reviews from my friends. Maybe I’m the misfit in this story.

What those who enjoyed it are saying:

 

  • “I highly recommend Eleanor & Park to anyone who loves contemp YA with a lot of grit and emotion.” – Tara from Fiction Folio
  • “The recommendations all over the Internet for ELEANOR & PARK are completely warranted.” -Shanyn from Chick Loves Lit
  • “I tried to write a review, but it was just so fangirly, I had to calm myself down.” -Anna from Anna Reads
Source: http://sashandem.com/sash-eleanor-park-by-rainbow-rowell-review
Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn Psychology majors in college should read this book. Because oh-my-goodness.
Don't Look Now - Michelle Gagnon I just really, really like this series. Perfect for fans of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Full review to come!

If you want Thrills, here's your book

Don't Turn Around - Michelle Gagnon

HOLY COW, YOU GUYS. This book was SUCH A RUSH. Looking for YA that would be perfect for fans of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? HERE IT IS.

 

Lately I’ve been on a mystery/thriller binge and Don’t Turn Around satisfied my craving for a good thriller. The main character, Noa, is dark but not overly emo/gothic. And while another storyline is thrown in there (Peter’s), I always found myself wondering what was going on with Noa while I was reading about Peter (he was definitely interesting on his own though). This book was extremely fast-paced and had me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

 

While I would have liked a little bit more explaining on the PEMA epidemic, I’m willing to wait and see if the other books provide me with the info I want.

 

Perfect for fans of Variant by Robison Wells and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson – if you want thrills, here’s your book.

Source: http://sashandem.com/sash-dont-turn-around-michelle-gagnon-book-review

If you’re looking for a fluffy, one-day read – pick this one up!

Over You - Emma McLaughlin, Nicola Kraus

Hollywood film executives, take note of this book! I would definitely go see Over You if it were at the box office. It’s cute, fluffy, and fun – it’s chick lit that fans of Meg Cabot would definitely enjoy. Did I learn anything about myself from reading this book? No, but that’s okay because it was just plain fun. I really enjoyed the characters – they were relatable teens, and although somewhat cookie cutter, I was okay with it.

 

Most of all, I loved all of the brands and fashion nods in the book. My favorite quote: “I’m about as tranquil as a Missoni dress.” Missoni is KNOWN for their wild prints.

 

Then she had a Marni vest! AH – LOVE! Okay, so basically I loved all of the fabulous things she had plus her sassiness was killer. Brokenhearted teenage girls are nothing new but it was fun to read this story. I wish it had been written in first person (I would have liked to connect a little bit more with Max) but I understand why it was written in third person omniscient.

 

If you’re looking for a fluffy, one-day read – pick this one up!

Source: http://sashandem.com/sash-emma-mclaughlin-nicola-kraus-book-review

A good "starter" mystery

Find Me - Romily Bernard

Find Me is a fast-paced game of Whodunit that (if you’re like me) will have you guessing til the very end. Fans of the PERSEFoNE series and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will enjoy this murder mystery for sure.

 

What I really liked about this book was the snarkiness of the main character, Wick. She definitely was not a vanilla character. She had lots of spunk and brought an edge to the book. Her sarcasm, plus the way that all of the scenes were written – with this crazy amount of tension – made the book enjoyable and though I didn’t want to put it down, I had to because I couldn’t read it late at night! Too scary! Even though I’m not tech-savvy, I still liked reading about her searching for the killer over the internet. And yes, I couldn’t read it at night even though the tracking of the bad guy was done mostly over the web.

 

I’m sure that mystery novel experts and seasoned sleuths figured this one out WAY before I did – but I’m thankful for my ignorance because it made the book so much more thrilling.

 

All in all – a good debut from Romily Bernard that I’m HOPING will be turned into a series. I think I can guess what the next book would be about!

Source: http://sashandem.com/sash-find-me-romily-bernard-book-review
Another Little Piece - Kate Karyus Quinn Deliciously dark - like a chunk of bitter chocolate - and I gobbled it up.

Full review to come!
All the Truth That's in Me - Julie Berry This is the epitome of Unexpectedly Enjoyed. Full review to come!
Crown of Midnight - Sarah J. Maas Meh - tons of moments that I saw coming. I read it pretty quickly but it's written in a way that is just OVERLY dramatic. Plus my boy doesn't seem to winning this one. Tons of other people like it though - maybe I'm missing something.

Full review to come!
Cress - Marissa Meyer WOWZAS. Amazing and the most action packed one so far. Like a kick in the mouth but I loved it.

Full review closer to publication. Oh, how I want to rave about it RIGHT NOW though!

Marissa Meyer, give me more!
Scarlet - Marissa Meyer So I thought these were individual books just set in the same world but they aren't - which is SO COOL. I love that the story of all of these characters is intertwined.

Scarlet felt like the annoying little sister that I never had and my favorite parts were still Cinder's storyline but overall loved this book.

Full review to come!
Cinder - Marissa Meyer Couldn't put it down. Totally saw so many of the twists and such coming but I don't even care because I loved it.

It's totally The Adoration of Jenna Fox meets Sailor Moon and I love it, love it, love it.
Throne of Glass - Sarah J. Maas Where do I begin? Let’s talk about the cover first, which I definitely like more than the original one. The girl on this new cover actually looks like a badass assassin. Oh, and look we’ve got comparisons to The Hunger Games and GAME OF THRONES. Alright, stop right there. If you’re looking for Game of Thrones, do not pick up this book. It is NOT Game of Thrones – I am actually a little bit offended that someone thought that people who like Game of Thrones would enjoy this. They are trying to sell this as Fantasy, but what I took away from it was a teenaged girl who likes to make out with boys and eat sweets – A LOT of sweets. I mean, she’s suppose to be an assassin but all I could picture was this:




Then all she wanted to do was talk about the LAVISH clothes. I mean, she’s suppose to be an assassin and for me, that’s at odds with loving clothes and eating sweets – sorry!

This book sounded like it was written by a teenage girl – and I’m pretty sure the author was young when she wrote this but it just sounded too – immature – for my liking.

Plot-driven and “action-packed” – I just found myself seriously not caring what the heck happened to this annoying girl, which made me kind of sad because so many of my friends really enjoyed this one. Funny as that is – yes, I picked up the next installment – you’ll hear my thoughts on that one later this week.

Have you this book? What did you think? Am I being harsh?

This review can also be found at Sash & Em: A Tale of Two Bookies. An advanced reading copy was provided by the publisher via Netgalley.