Monday, May 30, 2016

Book Review: The Third Twin

The Third Twin by CJ Omololu

Released: February 24, 2015
Read: April 2016
Publisher: Delacorte
Format: Paperback, 326 pages
Series: Stand-alone

Description on Goodreads:

    When they were little, Lexi and her identical twin, Ava, made up a third sister, Alicia. If something broke? Alicia did it. Cookies got eaten? Alicia's guilty. Alicia was always to blame for everything. The game is all grown up now that the girls are seniors. They use Alicia as their cover to go out with boys who are hot but not exactly dating material. Boys they'd never, ever be with in real life.
    Now one of the guys Alicia went out with has turned up dead, and Lexi wants to stop the game for good. As coincidences start piling up, Ava insists that if they follow the rules for being Alicia, everything will be fine. But when another boy is killed, the DNA evidence and surveillance photos point to only one suspect: Alicia. The girl who doesn't exist. As she runs from the cops, Lexi has to find the truth before another boy is murdered. Because either Ava is a killer…or Alicia is real. 

    This novel left me speechless. Okay, not literally; I was screaming and couldn't stop grinning. With bodies piling higher by the day, and the suspect list narrowing, I couldn't put it down. The main characters, Lexi and Ava, although naïve at times, were very well written, and had very different personalities, which I like about twins. Ava was the out-there, social, party-all-the-time fashioniesta, while Lexi was the overachieving, anti-social book nerd. This contrast shows you that if people paid attention, they would be able to tell the difference between them. It's weird that even some of the people close to them couldn't tell.
    Okay, I don't want to give anything away, but I was completely shocked when I realized who Lexi was suppose to be with. I mean, come on, the person I liked was killed out of nowhere! I didn't think he was actually going to die in the end!
    And finally, I didn't see the murderer coming, although I usually do. That's one of the top reasons why this book was so amazing. I didn't understand how this person could be in so many places at once, and how he/she could be taking selfies of Lexi/Ava if the murderer wasn't one of them (and I'm not saying the murder actually is or isn't one of them). 

Favourite Quotes:
  • " Ava's the beauty and I'm the brains, and it always amazes me when people can't tell us apart." 
Rating: 8.5/10

Recommended if you like: murder, mystery, crime, thriller, twins, flings, high school parties

Keep flipping pages,

Friday, May 20, 2016

Book Review: Down with the Shine

Down with the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn

Released: April 26, 2016
Read: April 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen 
Format: ARC, 368 pages
Series: Stand-alone

Description on Goodreads:

    Lennie always thought her uncles’ “important family legacy” was good old-fashioned bootlegging. Then she takes some of her uncles’ moonshine to Michaela Gordon’s annual house party, and finds out just how wrong she was.
    At the party, Lennie has everyone make a wish before drinking the shine—it’s tradition. She toasts to wishes for bat wings, for balls of steel, for the party to go on forever. Lennie even makes a wish of her own: to bring back her best friend, Dylan, who was murdered six months ago.
    The next morning gives Lennie a whole new understanding of the phrase be careful what you wish for—or in her case, be careful what wishes you grant. Because all those wishes Lennie raised a jar of shine to last night? They came true. Most of them came out bad. And once granted, a wish can’t be unmade… 

    To start things off, this book was predictable up until the plot twist that caught me totally off guard. I was just following the chase, and then BOOM. I had to ask myself what happened. But I loved the ending anyway.
    The way the characters were written was slightly odd, especially the three uncles. It was like they spoke in unison, and were all basically the same person. But how could you not love them? They were hilarious, supportive, brave and caring at the best of times.
    Then there was Smith. Sigh. I love the way he was connected to each character. He's Lennie's ex-Friend, Dylan's brother, and knows everyone from school. He's a great side character for the novel and could really have a novella made all about him. Also, I was fond of the idea that Smith would never apologize.
    All together, Down with the Shine was a wonderful read.

Favourite Quotes:

  • " I think about how right my uncles were - the stars in the sky are not to be reached for, but to remind us how small we truly are."
  • " You don't pull the teeth of a trained dog. No, sir. You take the teeth of a dog you're afraid might still bite."
  • " You know, people say hate is a strong word. But it's not, not really. I've seen lots of people hate and it always looks the same. Now, love, on the other hand, oooh boy, that's another story. If somebody loves you, or you love somebody, you never know how it's gonna come out. 
Rating: 7.5/10

Recommended if you like: magic, genie, romance, fantasy, fairytales, the story of King Midas. 

Keep flipping pages,

Monday, May 16, 2016

Book Review: The Glittering Court

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

Released: April 5th. 2016
Read: April 2016
Publisher: Razorbill
Format: Borrowed, hardcover, 416 pages

Description from Goodreads:
Big and sweeping, spanning from the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.
Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training, and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.
When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and then when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.
But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands…

This book was certainly not what I expected. It started in one spot, and ended in another. Staring it, it was almost like a historical version of the Selection, with the main character very similar to America Singer. Both were headstrong and independent, wanting a better life for themselves. So Elizabeth (later Adelaide) decides to take her maids place in a finishing school, and is TOTALLY prepared to be sold of like an object. Hmm. That doesn't sound like America to me. I had many issues with this novel, among them the patriarchal (almost sexist) undertone to the plot and the school she attends. Also, it started as this "princess" story and ended up in the wild west. Yes, the wild west. She ends up panning for gold in the "New World". Not even kidding. The plot felt forced, and rushed. Starting it, I would never have guessed that it would end up there.. Another is the love interest, Cedric. He was a two-dimensional at best. Mead tried to make him less so, by revealing his "dark secret". I won't spoil, but it was not juicy in the least. It's kinda boring, and really didn't make him a better character. Lastly, I'd like to point out that this is billed as "fantasy". THERE IS NO FANTASY! Part of the appeal for me was this supposed fantastical element, but there was literally none! I have no idea who labeled this book, but they did wrong. Not sure how someone could make a mistake like that. All in all, this book had high expectations, and sadly it didn't meet them.

Favorite Quote:
“Do you think my being someone else's wife will change anything? Don't you know that I'd lie with you in the groves, under the light of the moon? That I'd defy the laws of gods and men for you?”
― Richelle Mead

Rating: 5/10 Stars

Recommended for people who enjoy: romance, frontier lands, "The Selection"

Happy Reading,

Friday, May 13, 2016

Book Review: The Crown

The Crown by Kiera Cass

Released: May 3rd, 2016
Read: May 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Paperback, 279 pages
Series: #5 of the Selection

Description from GoodReads: When Eadlyn became the first princess of Illéa to hold her own Selection, she didn’t think she would fall in love with any of her thirty-five suitors. She spent the first few weeks of the competition counting down the days until she could send them all home. But as events at the palace force Eadlyn even further into the spotlight, she realizes that she might not be content remaining alone.

Eadlyn still isn’t sure she’ll find the fairytale ending her parents did twenty years ago. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and soon Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more impossible—and more important—than she ever imagined.

   I read the Selection series a few months before the One was released. I waited religiously for it's release. Then waited again for the Heir and now again for the Crown. Oh boy, was it worth the wait!
   This was a beautiful conclusion to a wonderful tale that I will miss dearly. But it was sort of weird watching America "grow up" and then watching her daughter "grow up". The fact that America was a little more distant in this series and book in particular was sad, because I really wanted to get to know grown-up America. It did really give us a different perspective into Maxon, though, which was nice.
   The boys, now that all the grossness was eliminated in the last book, are all nice people, and the reasons that they're let go in this book are valid (and at some points a little sad, or sweet). I'm a little disappointed with who Eadlyn ended up with, as he was not the one I liked best. But she did end up with someone who complimented her.

Quotable Quotes:
"Maybe it's not the first kisses that are supposed to be special. Maybe it's the last ones."
"Some see a weed; some see a flower. Perspective."
"Your impression of everyone is probably wrong in some way."

Rating: 9.5/10

Read if You Liked: the Glittering Court, Entwined, good relationship building, gal pals

Optimistically yours, Ola

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

What about Wednesday: Best Mysteries

Hey, y'all!
    Today we felt like we needed a little diversity from the other What about Wednesdays we've done, and we wanted to reach out to the readers out there who live for the thrill of all that is mysteries. Without further ado, here are each of our top three recommendations for Best Mysteries!

Ola's Picks:
1. Ten by Gretchen McNeil
2. The Compound by S A Bodeen
3. This Dark Endeavour by Kenneth Oppel

Mari's Picks:
1.The Diviners by Libba Bray
2.A Spy in the House by Y.S.Lee
3.Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Lauren's Picks:
1. The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy
2. Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout
3. The Third Twin by C.J. Omololu

We hope you take our recommendations into consideration when you pick out your next whodunit!

-The trusty, always there, blog that lives life page by exhilarating page

Monday, May 2, 2016

Book Review: Illuminae


Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Released: October 20th, 2015
Read: December 2015
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Format: Paperback ARC, 599 pages (borrowed from the lovely Ohana Reads)

Description from Goodreads:
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

Review: Reading this book was unlike anything I've ever read before. This was such an interesting and refreshing take on the normal scifi genre. Instead of having the story be told by the protagonists, it took a multimedia approach. The plot was told through emails, reports, schematics, files, medical reports and interviews. It was exciting to turn the page, not knowing what would be on the other side. I have to say, I liked this book. Like a lot. Kady (one of the two main characters) is so ballsy and cool! She does what she wants, when she wants and doesn't care if she clashes with the people in charge. I loved reading the reports on her, where she breaks into secret rooms and then waves at the camera to the people watching. In a book that is ultimately about survival in the deep, dark space, reading about Kady was refreshing and a tension relief to say the least. Her relationship with Ezra was SO CUTE, and you were hoping that they'd rekindle their relationship by the end. The tension over "will Ezra get away from the infected crazies?" really kept the plot driving forward, and kept you turning the page to see what would happen. And don't get me started on AIDEN, the AI (artificial intelligence)  on the ship. Reading about what he was "thinking" was so incredibly unique, and it was a testament to the authors talent on how well they wrote his scenes. I would think that it's hard to write about a character who really isn't alive, but is still "feeling". The authors approach this with poise, and although this is a computer talking, it feels like a human voice. It was actually quite beautiful. Reading the scenes of his was almost like reading poetry turned into art. Confusing to write down, but if you read it, you'll understand. In a weird way, this book was basically a mash up of a "zombie survival" story (the infection that breaks out and that is SUPER contagious), a rouge computer (AIDEN) and a wild space adventure wrapped up into one. So cool... This novel ended on a cliffhanger, so I will definitely be watching for book two come October!  

Favorite Quotes:
 “I am frequently underestimated. I think it's because I'm short.” 

“The universe owes you nothing, Kady. It has already given you everything, after all. It was here long before you, and it will go on long after you. The only way it will remember you is to do something worth remembrance.” 

“All he cares about here on the edge of forever, is her. He does not want to die. Not because he is afraid. Simply because he cannot bear the thought of leaving her behind.” 

Rating: 9/10

Recommended for people who enjoy: scifi, romance, adventure, survival stories

Happy Reading,