Cars Aren’t Tree Huggers (Where It Began – A Book Review)

Where It Began
Author: Ann Redisch Stampler
Published: 2012

Where It Began

My Rating: Full boltHalf bolt

 

Gabby lived under the radar. Way under. That all changed at the beginning of Senior year. She came back to Winston with a brand new look that her over-the-top mother, Vivian, insisted upon. That is when the bad, yet most popular boy, Billy Nash notices her and then she’s suddenly living it up in the popular crowd with his hand in her back pocket.

But then one night, Gabby wakes up on the ground. The stars are spinning above her and not far off, a car is wrapped around a tree and the keys are in her hand, but she can’t remember what happened or how she got there. Everybody else does though. While everyone thinks she’s covering for Billy about the crash, she’s trying to figure out how to get out of this tight, legal fix without jail time.

Soon enough she discovers that she can’t continue to ignore the truth any longer and has to find out what it is. It could be what saves her.

Where It Began - Tumblr

How do I begin? Hmmmm…

Well, there is much I appreciate about this book, but much that I don’t. The style was really unique! I loved it! I was in the front seat of the character, Gabby, who is recovering from a horrendous car crash due to drunk driving. Just like her, we are clueless about what is going on around her. This POV was much closer than your ordinary first person POV. I was planted right into her head and the story pulled you along with her memories and thoughts. That did limit what I knew, though. The natural fluidity that comes with the character physically interacting with everything around them was not there because you never stretch beyond Gabby’s mind. Between Gabby’s recovery from the car accident she can’t remember, I rediscovered some memories with her that retrace her steps to where she is currently, which was really nice. I liked it because it gave some backstory, which really adds to the story. The style is much like Dot-To-Dot.

The blips between Gabby and her boyfriend Billy in their chatrooms were really nice, too. I liked that Ann really held up the style and language that actually occurs online. It added good fluff to the book that filled out the characters.

The tone however? I did not enjoy. Not. At. All. Gabby’s over-exaggeration that doing anything that would help get her out of her nasty legal situation with drunk driving and wrecking a car was mind-numbing. She was going to just DIE if she had to lift a finger to do anything. Not very appealing. And neither was her boyfriend, Billy Nash. I couldn’t believe she wanted to be with this guy. He’s conceited, obnoxious and could care less about the condition Gabby is in. The girl was completely mangle from that car accident, but yes, let’s fix his sexual need. Queue my flattened and disgusted look. He cares more about his probation and if he’ll get out of this. Ann did phenomenal job in getting me to hate this guy.

And then Gabby is telling herself what to not do in order to keep him—don’t do this, don’t do that, it’ll chase him away. If a boy acts like a jerk and has you trying to figure out how not to be yourself then he is not a keeper. I was just disgusted with this kid! Who did I love in this book? Gabby’s friends, Anita, Lisa, and Huey. All three have decent heads on their shoulders. They were not falling for any of this deceit and even though Gabby was ridiculous, they were loyal to her and never ditched her once through her recovery and return to Winston.

This book was more disappointing than I expected. It’s not my taste, I believe. Rich, privileged kids and their parents working to get them out of a fix by nailing the girlfriend with it is just downright slimy. I just struggled too hard trying get on Gabby’s level. She didn’t seem like much of a better person. She was too snooty and uptight and felt entitled. I just can’t give this book much love. I was happy that she’d found a happy ending to a better life, though.

 

Quotables:

“This is how a person falls in love with Billy Nash.” (Gabby, p. 97)

“I had never been beautiful before this moment, but now I am. I am beautiful because Billy says.” (Gabby, p. 100)

– Okay, I plucked this one out because it made me cringe. Ladies and Gentlemen, it is a grand and special feeling when the one you’re falling for finds you to be beautiful, but-and this is sole opinion of course-do not, I repeat, DO NOT sit there and think that you are only beautiful because he/she says so. No. You were beautiful before you met them and you will always be beautiful after. Their say so does not determine beauty. It’s you.-

“I want to be back in my After and not in some weird after-After Purgatory, waiting to find out if I am Saved or damned.” (Gabby, p. 127)

“Nobody believed I didn’t remember, so nobody told me the truth; they all thought I knew the truth already.” (Gabby, p. 326)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? Baby Don’t Lie by Gwen Stefani.

 

You can also find me at:

Twitter: @CheshireKat_92

Goodreads: Kat J.

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XOXO,Holly (Breakfast at Tiffany’s – A Book Review)

Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Author: Truman Capote
Published: 1958

Breakfast at Tiffany's

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

Autumn of 1943, during World War II. The setting is an apartment building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and the newest tenant moves in to pursue his career as a writer. His life is changed when he meets Holly Golightly, a young girl who’s turned socialite. With all of her stories and the famous people she knows, like a model and a mobster, her life appears to never be dull. Full of life, naivety and the illusions of love, this bittersweet novella will charm even you.

Breakfast at Tifaany's

Truman Capote’s most well-known novella of which you can connect Audrey Hepburn to is a wonderful classic of a young woman with no true direction who believes that nothing bad can ever happen to her. I first read this during my freshman year in college and discovered it a few weeks ago in a stray box, all dusty and longing to have its pages turned.

The seemingly endless possibilities that Holly had in the novella really brings out the dreamer in me while realizing how she appears to have such a fantastic life is unsavory. She doesn’t take up the workforce to earn her way, but uses her wits to get other people to pay her way and help her keep her cushy lifestyle. There is a lot of disregard for the possible consequences of this, showing just how wild Holly and how she values people.

One of the parts that have always reached out to me is Holly’s dislike for cages. It comes up more than once throughout the story. Looking beyond the cage, it’s the idea or reminder of being stuck in one, whether literally or metaphorically, that I believe makes Holly dislike them. It seems simple enough to dissect, but then you have to discover what is caging her in, which you can figure out for yourself when you read the novella. (I can’t spoil it for you, but I can give you a thought.) I can honestly relate to that. For me, and I’m sure a lot of people, the small hometown is my cage. While I would love to travel, I also want to find a home of my own, a home that doesn’t feel like a toxic vortex that’ll never let me go. It’s a strong element to think on. What’s your cage?

Breakfast at Tiffany's

It’s a beautiful and buoyant piece. Capote’s writing is wistful and direct. While it seems like I’ve given away too much, trust me when I say I haven’t, but if I’m making you think about it, then give it a read. It’s worth it.

 

Quotables:

“You’ve got to be sensitive to appreciate her: a streak of the poet. But I’ll tell you the truth. You can beat your brains out for her, and she’ll hand you horseshit on a platter.” (O.J. Berman, p. 31)

“Never fall in love with a with thing, Mr. Bell” (Holly to Joe Bell, p. 74)

 

More to come soon…

P.S. Song today? NOT Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Deep Blue Something. Nope! It’s Beautiful by Ben Rector. Love you, bookworms.

Totally Witching (Summer on East End: Triple Moon – A Book Review)

Hey my loving bookworms!

I’m getting this review in here before I head out of town to the Supernatural Convention down in Pittsburgh. I’m super excited. It’s one of my favorite shows and I’ll be getting some much needed quality time with my mom.

So to the review!

 

Summer on East End: Triple Moon
Author: Melissa De La Cruz
Published: 2015

Triple Moon

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

“Beware the storm of retribution” (p. 143)

Young witches, Mardi and Molly Overbrook (and twins to boot) are sent to stay with their Aunt Ingrid on East End after a terrible accident that could expose their magic and send them back to the days of burning witches at the pyre. Problem is, they can’t remember what happened so they, along with their Aunt Ingrid and Aunt Freya need to figure out what happened before it’s too late. That means they’ll have to come together and that’s not easy since they can barely stand each other. One thing is for certain, there was somebody else with them during the accident. While in East End, the girls will need to keep cool with their magic and embrace the human life. Their lives depend on it.

Meeting cute boys, however, is a side perk to being stuck in the small, oblivious town too. The twins meet the Gardner brothers and sparks certainly start flying both metaphorically and literally. Can they handle getting caught up on in love dram and stay out of witch drama, or will this be the end of them?

Triple Moon

If you’ve followed the witches of East End then you’re already familiar with the characters. I followed them through the TV show on Lifetime so I know a little-tid-bit. It was delightful and made me quite reminiscent of Charmed. Plus, it’d been a while since I read a book with witches, so I was ready for this book.

Both old magic with potions and broomsticks meet the modern world of fancy parties and ritzy fashion. I wasn’t sure about the combination when I started, but it blended very well, much like salty and sweet. You think being so opposite of one another that they wouldn’t work, but they are tasty! I personally love Reeses Snack Mix (and I’ve realized I make food comparisons. Not sure if that’s just because I’m hungry or not. I love food.).

Myth and lore of magic is always important to me. One small tidbit can ruin a whole book for me. That kind of happened with Twilight. Loved the storyline and the characters, but didn’t love the vision of mythology of ‘vampires’ and ‘werewolves’. And while I don’t mind debates, this review isn’t about Twilight. To each their own. But I loved how this book stayed attached to magic in a way that while it was one of a kind, it was also still connected to the history of witchcraft.

Triple Moon

The blend of Nordic gods and witchcraft was such an amazing twist, even though I already caught a gist of it from the Lifetime TV show. There was more depth added to it here in the book. I was swimming in an endless pool of magic.

Triple Moon

The twins were fantastic characters because of how they made me feel. There was frustration and excitement and longing for them to find closure in certain aspects of their life, like their absent mother. There was a great amount of detail to them, right down to what made them so different and what their styles were. If I had to pick one I can relate to the most it would have to be Mardi. While she’s bold and relaxed, she’s shy and caring while her sister is sensitive and high-end. However, I’m not brave enough to try Mardi’s skimpy and flashy clothing style.

 

I’d read this book again because while I wasn’t surprised by some of the plot twists, I found the story to be a beautiful, magical, mess. The detail sucked me in and really put me right in the middle of a different world. I couldn’t find a problem, not even when I got frustrated with the characters, because they weren’t written terribly, they were just stubborn and making me go grrr sometimes just like people do in real life. I look forward to reading the sequel.

 

Quotables:

“The rush of gratitude she felt toward the universe was intense.” (Mardi, p. 36)

“Something about him felt like home. A home she had never had.” (Mardi about Trent, p. 61)

“…Take for instance, the very runner beans. They look pretty misshapen, and they have a few brown spots. Their color isn’t uniform. If you were looking for perfection in a gleaming supermarket, you might turn up your nose at these particular beans. But these particular beans are actually fantastic, bursting with flavor. All of their color and beauty is on the inside. So you have to know them in order to love them…” (Marshall about Molly, p. 103)

A fantastic analogy by the way. This book was littered with beautiful language and it was delightful.

“You always want to a fresh situation with a boy on a high note, with a lingering sense of possibility.” (Mardi, p. 240)

 

More to come soon…

– K.

P.S. Song today? Can’t Be Tamed by Miley Cyrus.

Party Goes Murder (The Cabin – A Book Review)

The Cabin
Author: Natasha Preston
Published: 2016

Cabin - pintrest

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt

They think they’re invincible…

Mackenzie joins her friends on a weekend escape to a cabin in the middle of nowhere so that they can have fun before everyone heads off to university in the fall. Sparks fly and alcohol is flowing and in the morning two people are dead with the only possible suspects being the ones in the house.

Mackenzie, determined to get herself and her friends off the list of suspects, investigates, going to great lengths, but what she discovers shocks her to the core. Everybody she thought she knew is hiding secrets and she isn’t so sure that her friends are really innocent anymore. Could the people that she trusts so wholeheartedly be capable of such a heinous act? Everybody tosses blame, increasing suspicions and fears. And when the killer is revealed, Mackenzie fears that the worst has yet to come.

 

When I read the back cover of the book I was intrigued. This is about a killer tracking a group of kids and knocking them off one by one. But it’s not. I was thrown back by this. I felt like the description was completely different from what the book was truly about. I didn’t expect a murder mystery. I was intrigued though. Like peeling back petals of a flower, you slowly discover that none of these characters, even Mackenzie, are who they seem.

What is happening

 

The repetition really got under my skin. I was losing it. There were certain points that Mackenzie kept repeating throughout the whole book. As the reader, I didn’t need her to tell about the things her dead friends would never get to do again. I understood that the first time she thought about it. I understood that when their bodies were discovered. I also couldn’t stand how she kept saying that she couldn’t be falling for Blake, the brother of one of her dead friends. Instead of thinking it all the time, I would’ve liked to see her deflect these feelings more if it bothered her so much. I just felt like she was whining too  much.

Would I read this book again? Probably not. I was thrown off balance too much with it. Between Mackenzie and Blake’s back and forth Will I? or Wont’t? I was dizzying. All of the characters had such short fuses and their emotions ran so red hot that I couldn’t take it seriously. The idea of this story is so good. It truly is, but I feel like it needed more work to get me invested.

 

Quotables:

“His gaze was intense like he saw everything. I didn’t want him to see anything about me.” (Mackenzie about Blake, p. 5)

“The secrets you hide from yourself are always the most dangerous.” (Blake to Mackenzie, p. 21)

“My stomach turned over in fear. The killer could want more blood.” (Mackenzie, p. 194)

Possession is Fundamental, Not. (Unmarked – A Book Review)

Unmarked (The Legion Book 2)
Author: Kami Garcia
Published: 2014

Unmarked

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

                                                He is here…And he could be anyone.                

 The demon, Andras is set free thanks to Kennedy and the Legion. (Confused? Read Unbreakable, the first book in this series or take a peek at my spoiler free review: The Family Business?)

Now, Kennedy is off at boarding school. Girls have been going missing left and right. With no idea about where her friends are, Kennedy keeps track of the strange occurrences happening across the country, not that she has a choice with her photographic memory. Then the gorgeous Jared Lockhart shows up, the one who promised to find her, and while she is unbelievably happy to see him, she is immediately reminded of what they did. But when his life is threatened, Kennedy is determined to find a way to save him, regardless of the world falling apart around her.

Kennedy and the Legion are forced to accept help from the most unlikely of people, the organization that has been enemies with the Legion for years, the Illuminati. Kennedy isn’t sure how much more she can take, but when secrets are revealed that change how she views her mother, they could break the Legion apart forever.

Unmarked - Supernatural Wikia

 

The secrets & revelations just keep coming. I was rather surprised with the plot that kept twisting and twisting! My gut was in a couple knots by the end. Kami Garcia really knows how to stun you. I want to say it’s like running into an invisible brick wall. You don’t see it coming or at least I didn’t, which is an upgrade from the first book, Unbreakable. The unpredictability was definitely kicked up a notch.

The new characters were fantastic. Gave the story that good push forward. Sometimes sequels and other books within in a series lean too heavily on the book that started it all, but this was not the case here. While there were flashbacks (well placed by the way) there were massive pushes forward into the series with the introduction of new characters and obstacles. These characters weren’t just here for a few scenes and then gone and I loved it.

 

Revisiting subjects that were only briefly mentioned in the first book and realizing that they held so much more importance that before was made me salivate. It was literally a case of—I remember that! Followed by—wow, intense, because there’s so much I didn’t know and it wasn’t relevant then, but now…now it is and Kami really knows what she’s doing, mind-bending me. For example, the illuminati, briefly mentioned as a group of baddies in Unbreakable, has a much bigger role to and so does Kennedy’s mom.

Unmarked

 

Still moving at like a high-speed semi-truck. The time jump from the first book to the second is only a few days. This series is non-stop action and drama, a force to be reckoned with. There certainly wasn’t a dull moment, though I can’t deny that I rolled my eyes a couple times during those super gushy moments. What can I say, I’m awkward around people with feelings.

 

I’ve read a couple comments on Goodreads about a third book and quite a few people feel like it’s never coming, but never fear! I actually sent a message to the author and her lovely people because I was curious about it myself. I got a reply the next day. There will be a third book. Kami just has a couple other books that she’s been working on such as X-Files: Origins. I hope it really keeps up the momentum of the series and with it leaving me hanging the way it did, I can’t wait for the third book to be released.

 

Quotables:

“Real life doesn’t work that way. There are some fights you can’t win.” (Kennedy to Maggie, p. 18)

“Sometimes when I look at you, I can hardly breathe.” (Jared to Kennedy, p. 172)

“Friends who don’t trust you…and a boy who doesn’t love you” (Kennedy, p. 279)

“This was a war we couldn’t win. Or one we’d already lost.” (Kennedy, p. 331)

“Sometimes moving forward changes what’s behind you.” (Kennedy to Priest, p. 371)

“But you still fight. You still hope. Because there’s a chance you might win. And even if you don’t—you fight for the people you love, especially when they can’t fight for themselves.” (Kennedy to Jared, p. 379)

Unmarked

 

More to come soon…

– K.

P.S. Song Today? Cry Little Sister by Aiden.

K-I-S-S-I-N-G (Naomi + Ely’s No Kiss List – A Book Review)

Naomi + Ely’s No Kiss List
Author: Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Published: 2007
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Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltHalf bolt

 

Naomi and Ely, best friends, who grew up in the same building and went through everything together, even the divorce of Naomi’s parents, though that’s partly because her dad slept with one of Ely’s moms. That’s only the tip of the it’s complicated train. Naomi is irrevocably in love with Ely and dreams that one day they’ll get married. A slight hitch? Ely’s gay.

Naomi and Ely created a No Kiss List of people so that they never get into a fight. And then Ely break that list by kissing Naomi’s current boyfriend. Cue the explosion. This epic betrayal tests their friendship and both wonder: will they ever get past this? Can they get past this?

N+E - Tumblr

Now, I couldn’t get fully on board with this book for a couple of reasons. It was a nice book about two friends needing to see where they could go and fit into the world without each other, but it struggled at doing even that. Cue Spoiler: I couldn’t get past how neither character could take the responsibility for anything they did wrong. While it’s ridiculous that I say this, I couldn’t handle how self-absorbed they were either. Their disregard for people around them was a bit unbearable, but that didn’t make the book terrible. Not at all. I just didn’t like the characters. It happens sometimes.

However, the in-depth and personal look at lifelong friendship was intense and really made me question if friendship really can withstand anything. This book is a great example of how gut-wrenching heartache can be when it’s caused by somebody you’ve shared everything with and trust with your entire being.

Broken heart - WiffleGif

I love-love-loved the way this was written with emojis, and through other characters’ POV. The emojis made the book more fun and kept in touch with how the characters communicate while also bringing the reader to the modern day of technology. The use of other characters’ POVs (point of view) gives the reader great perspective to not only how the main characters are imploding, but to how the outside characters are affected by it as well. It puts the reader with them as if they live in the building with Naomi and Ely, making them a part of the drama.

The heartache stays with you. It comes from every direction-friends, family, lovers and even crushes, bringing real issues to the front line, like divorce, financial problems, identity crisis, and more. Which, shows that sometimes a heart can’t be completely repaired no matter how much you love somebody and that people change even when you don’t realize it right away.

 

Quotables:

“Buffy could be a bitch, but cut the girls some slack—she once had to kill her true love in order to save the world. I get it, Naomi. You’re like Buffy.” (Gabriel to Naomi, p. 118)

Buffy - buzzfeed

(I know, me and the Buffy gifs. Can you tell I’m a fan?)

“…even though I really liked her as a person, I didn’t really think I liked her as a girl, because when you like a girl, there’s this ignition—you can feel it—and with her, there wasn’t any ignition…” (Boy Robin, p. 156)

“You didn’t think it would be easy, did you?” (Neal to Ely, p. 198)

“It’s like Naomi always used to say: Life tells you to take the elevators, but love tells you to take the stairs.” (Ely, p. 209)

 

More to come soon…

K.

P.S. Song today? Secrets by OneRepublic.

Let’s Get Ruined (The Royals Trilogy – A Book Review)

The Royals Trilogy

Author: Erin Watt

Published: 2016

The royals - pintrest

Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltHalf bolt

 

Ella Harper is swept out of her public school and crappy apartment placed in a private school and lavish mansion after discovering that her birth father, who turned out to be a millionaire, died in a tragic accident. The life of the rich and famous isn’t very welcoming of her and secrets are abound throughout this trilogy.

When given a deal Ella can’t refuse—$10,000 for every month—she stays with her new guardian, Callum Royal—she decides to give lifestyle a chance because money doesn’t grow on trees, and she certainly didn’t make that much at her job. However, Callum’s five sons will do anything to run her out of the house.

These Royals will ruin you…

Not a complete lie. These boys are pretty hot and used to getting everything they want. So when Ella stands up to them to prove herself, it turns out to be the perfect challenge. However, one Royal in particular, Reed Royal, never thought he’d actually fall for this strong-willed girl and this screwed up fairy tale grants your wishes when it comes to bad boys.

 

Possible spoilers ahead.

This trilogy has a lot of spunk and is definitely not afraid of getting down and dirty. The attitude in tone of the books fuels the fire that is the Royal household. From getting deserted in the middle of the night to a pregnancy scandal, the drama never dies and we as readers thrive on that from time to time. It’s like an adrenaline rush that makes our insides crawl with anticipation.

Now, I want to say that I loved this series through and through, but—yes, sadly there’s a but—I had troubles. The storyline was great and certainly kept my attention with shocking twists and turns. However, I did struggle a little here and there due to the repetition in the second book about the discord in Ella and Reed’s relationship. I held on because I love an f**ed love story. There’s a fight for love in a story that’s so complicated and every love story should have some fight in it. This one even had some literal fights going on.

Another issue I had was reading the genre on the back: Young Adult and then reading the books and realizing that they aren’t Young Adult. Not in my opinion anyway. YA ranges from 13-well, I’m 24 and still read YA so the age ranges. But, with the swearing ever so often and detailed sex scenes that is strewn through the series, I don’t believe it’s appropriate. Just because the characters are young adults, I don’t think that it makes this series YA.

So, while this series was a fun read, I can’t give it all of my love. That doesn’t mean I won’t go back and read them. They sit up on my special shelf for rereads.

More to come soon…

K.

 

P.S. Today’s song? Trip Switch by Nothing But Thieves.