Review: Legacy by Ellery Kane + Giveaway!

legacy
Publication Date: September 5th, 2014
Publisher: BalboaPress

Synopsis: How do you want to feel today?

In 2041, the choice is yours.

San Francisco is deserted, the Bay Bridge bombed, and the BART subway trains grounded. The Guardians, members of an elite and mysterious government-appointed military police force, are maintaining order at all costs—thanks to emotion-altering drugs like Emovere that suppress fear and anxiety. Lex Knightley, daughter of a prominent forensic psychiatrist, risks entering the devastated city to partner with the Resistance, a group of rebels intent upon exposing the dangers of Emovere. Lex discovers an ally in Quin McAllister, a magnetic Guardian Force recruit with a haunting past that binds them together. As she uncovers the secrets of the Guardian Force and confronts the truth about her family, Lex begins to realize that even those closest to her are not quite who they seem.

My Review:

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The first time I read this book, I was completely in awe of how well written and amazing it is.  I just couldn’t put it down.  The setting was amazing, the plot was original, and the characters were so easy to like (or dislike, in some cases).  This is one of those rare books that made me feel like I was actually in the story.  The story itself is full of action – this is definitely not a slow paced book (and it really keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very last page, and then it makes you want more).

The story starts off with Lex, who is going into San Fransisco to deliver a flash drive to the Resistance, in order to help fight the Guardian Force.  Her mother has to send her alone, and while she is frightened, she knows what she has to do, and she goes right for it.  Allow me to say, while some books have female heroines that whiny and somewhat annoying, this isn’t the case with Lex.  She’s strong, she knows what she has to do and she does it, and she doesn’t spend the entire book whining and complaining because she’s in love with multiple guys (this happens way too frequently in books anymore).  While she does develop friendships with a few members of the Resistance (who also had some time serving under the Guardian Force, in some cases), she learns a lot about herself, her new friends, and her mother.

The Resistance fights the Guardian Force, who is still using these emotion altering drugs (such as Emovere) to control others and make them part of this government police force.  The things that these guys do are actually kind of scary, and the fact that they feel absolutely no fear or anxiety (thanks to these various drugs) while doing them, makes it even worse.

When Lex meets Quin (and Quin’s adorable dog, Artos), the two develop a friendship that is tested by Quin’s past and who Lex’s mother is, but at the same time, it’s one of those friendships/more than friendships that kind of makes your heart melt.  In the world of favorite character duos in books, I have to say that Lex and Quin are among my favorites.

This book is absolutely fantastic if you enjoy science fiction and dystopian reads.  Like I said, I couldn’t put it down, and I finished it in less than a day.  This is definitely not one to miss!

Note: I received a copy of this book from the author, Ellery Kane, in exchange for an honest review.

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Ellery Kane, the author of the Legacy series, has been extremely generous and agreed to do a giveaway for an Amazon Gift Card, which you can use to get your own copy of Legacy, and the second book in the series, Prophecy!  The gift card will be an e-gift card, and the winner will be notified via e-mail when the giveaway ends.

pink starClick Here To Enter!  pink star

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Review: Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

emmy and oliver

Publication Date: June 23rd, 2015

Publisher: HarperTeen

Synopsis: Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.
She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.
He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.

My Review:

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I have read a lot of young adult romance-type books that made me roll my eyes and skip over half of the book because it was just so cheesy and terrible that I couldn’t even bear to read it.  I have read a lot of young adult coming-of-age books that had characters that were typical, one dimensional, and/or absolutely annoying, and it made the book a chore to read.

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway isn’t either of those things.

Emmy & Oliver is a fantastic book that made me realize why I fell in love with young adult fiction in the first place.

The story is so real and believable.  The characters are likeable, and the writing feels like it’s drawing you into the story and creating a place for you right alongside the rest of them.  I felt like not only was I reading the book, but like I was an actual character in the book, too.  I felt all kinds of emotions…happiness, excitement, sadness, anger, heartbreak…you name it, and I felt it while reading this book.  I can’t remember the last time a book made me feel like this.

Emmy is so thankful when she finds out that Oliver has been found and is returning home, but at the same time, she doesn’t really know how to act around him, or how to treat him.  She wants things to back to normal for the two of them (well, for her friends Caro and Drew, too…who used to be good friends with Oliver before the kidnapping as well), but isn’t sure that’s possible.  She has her own life now, and isn’t sure that Oliver will have any interest in fitting in with it.  She surfs.  She hangs out with her friends.  She applies to a college that she doubts her parents will let her go to (because they’re incredibly overprotective since Oliver was kidnapped ten years ago).  But she tries to make Oliver feel at home again, and although he is angry and confused, the two of them try and work through Oliver’s feelings and form a friendship all over again.

I have never wanted a fictional couple to be together like I was hoping for the best for Emmy and Oliver.  I felt attached to them while reading this book.

There are small chapters every here and there that have to do with Emmy and Oliver during their childhood together.  These range from birthday parties, to being at the park together, and they are absolutely adorable.  They really do add something different to the novel that give you an insight into the type of close friendship the two of them had before Oliver’s father kidnapped him.  As Emmy and Oliver work on rekindling their friendship (and becoming something more), looking back on these moments from their childhoods is sweet and meaningful.

The obstacles that Oliver faces after coming back to California and trying to fit back into a normal life in high school are heartbreaking, especially when he feels left out and like he no longer is a part of the group of friends that he used to be close with when he was younger.

I truly can’t think of a single thing that I didn’t like about this book.  It is young adult fiction at its finest, and definitely deserves a spot on your shelf if you’re into young adult books.

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Hyacinth Girls by Lauren Frankel

hyacinth girls

Publisher: Crown Publishing
Publication Date: May 12th, 2015

Synopsis: A stunning debut about a young teenager on the brink and a parent desperate to find the truth before it’s too late.

Thirteen year old Callie is accused of bullying at school, but Rebecca knows the gentle girl she’s raised must be innocent. After Callie is exonerated, she begins to receive threatening notes from the girl who accused her, and as these notes become desperate, Rebecca feels compelled to intervene. As she tries to save this unbalanced girl, Rebecca remembers her own intense betrayals and best-friendships as a teenager, when her failure to understand those closest to her led to tragedy. She’ll do anything to make this story end differently. But Rebecca doesn’t understand what’s happening or who is truly a victim, and now Callie is in terrible danger.
This raw and beautiful story about the intensity of adolescent emotions and the complex identity of a teenage girl looks unflinchingly at how cruelty exists in all of us, and how our worst impulses can estrange us from ourselves – or even save us.

My Review:
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One of the most memorable books that I have come across is probably Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher.  Hyacinth Girls reminds me so much of that book, only much deeper.  This book, as well as a few other books about bullying and the drastic consequences that it has on its victims, tend to shed light on the issue, and give it the light it deserves so that more attention can be paid to it, and everyone can understand what a serious problem bullying is.

This book starts off with one of our main characters, Rebecca, being called away from work into the principal’s office of the fourteen year old girl she has guardianship over.  According to the art teacher, Callie walked over to her peer, Robyn, and threw red paint all over her.  Rebecca cannot believe that Callie would be this cruel, and Callie’s friends lie and say that Robyn dumped paint on herself to get Callie in trouble.  Things escalate from there, with notes showing up at Callie’s mother’s grave, at their apartment, and so on, and Rebecca’s and Callie’s stories come to light.  We don’t exactly find out what really happens until almost the end of the novel, but we are given bits and pieces of it throughout the book.  Between chapters are Callie’s interactions with Robyn, from memories to e-mails and instant messages.

I read this book in less than a day, because I was completely hooked and wanted to see what was going to come of Callie’s story.  It was a fast, enjoyable read that really left an impression.

Hyacinth Girls is a heartbreaking look at how bullying can affect pretty much everyone…and the harrowing depths that it can push those victims to.

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review: My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman

my grandmother asked me to tell you she's sorry

Publication Date: June 16th, 2015
Publisher: Atria Books

Synopsis: From the author of the internationally bestselling A Man Called Ove, a charming, warmhearted novel about a young girl whose grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters, sending her on a journey that brings to life the world of her grandmother’s fairy tales.

Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy, standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-men-who-want-to-talk-about-Jesus-crazy. She is also Elsa’s best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother’s stories, in the Land of Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal.

When Elsa’s grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa’s greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother’s letters lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and totally ordinary old crones, but also to the truth about fairytales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry is told with the same comic accuracy and beating heart as Fredrik Backman’s internationally bestselling debut novel, A Man Called Ove. It is a story about life and death and an ode to one of the most important human rights: the right to be different.

My Review:
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I absolutely loved A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.  It was one of the most touching, important books that I have read, probably in my lifetime.  It had a wonderful message and it was such a touching story that I’m not sure if any other books could ever come close to it for me.

This book was on my list of highly anticipated books of 2015.  I was so excited to read it and get drawn into the story like I did with A Man Called Ove, and that definitely happened.  I enjoyed the story and the characters, for the most part.  I loved how mature Elsa seemed for her age (although I’m not sure it was completely believable all the time), and how close she was to her grandmother.

I thoroughly enjoyed the fairy tale theme that went on in this story, about the Land-of-Almost-Awake (Elsa’s grandmother told her tons of fairy tales, and they are all incredibly important to the story line, so don’t be tempted to skim these) and all the kingdoms and characters (that eventually tie in to Elsa’s real life).

While I didn’t find myself as drawn to this book as I was drawn into A Man Called Ove, mostly because it seemed a bit drawn out, and some of the characters (like Elsa’s parents) really irritated me, it was a book that I can truthfully recommend to fans of Fredrik Backman’s debut novel, or anyone who enjoys a good story that has the ability to transport you into a whole other world.  It was funny, it was happy, it was sad, and sometimes it was all three at the same time, but no matter what it was, it was a great story of how love can last, and how people you love will always be with you, even when it doesn’t seem like it.

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

a man called ove
Publication Date: July 15th, 2014
Publisher: Atria Books

Synopsis: In this bestselling and delightfully quirky debut novel from Sweden, a grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

In this bestselling and delightfully quirky debut novel from Sweden, a grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

A feel-good story in the spirit of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Fredrik Backman’s novel about the angry old man next door is a thoughtful and charming exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others.

My Review:
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With the upcoming release of Fredrik Backman’s new novel, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, I thought that I would do a special review of his debut novel, A Man Called Ove.  I had originally reviewed this book on GoodReads, but since I’ll be reviewing My Grandmother asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry this coming week, I thought it would be a good plan to post a review on A Man Called Ove, because it truly is an amazing book.

When I first stumbled across this book, it was by accident.  I was looking at Amazon Kindle books, to find something new to read, and I saw this listed as a daily deal for only $1.99, so I decided to give it a go.  Everyone seemed to have good things to say about this book, so I figured it might end up being a really good read, and if not, well it was cheap, so it wouldn’t be a big deal.

Wow, was I really blown away by this novel.  It’s a heartwarming story about a man named Ove (and while he’s not really that old in the book, for some reason I always pictured him being much older), who is incredibly grumpy and doesn’t want to be bothered with anything or anyone.  Ove’s wife had passed away, and now that he is alone, he really doesn’t know what to do with himself.  He spends time doing his usual checks of the neighborhood, the recycling, and parking situations.   When he gets laid off from his job, he finds himself landed with more free time, in which he thinks about his wife, and gets incredibly depressed to the point that he doesn’t want to live without her any longer.  So, he does the only thing that he thinks will solve this dilemma – he plans to take his own life.  However, the doorbell rings, and Ove’s adventures with the neighbors truly begin.  They bring him cookies.  They need his help with their children.  They ask for driving lessons.  They interrupt his quiet, lonely life, and at first, Ove hates it.  He wants to be left alone to miss his wife in peace, but after a while, Ove discovers that they aren’t the only ones who need someone…but deep down, maybe Ove needs them, too.

This book is absolutely hilarious in some places, and in others it tends to be heartbreaking and meaningful.  It made me appreciate life and those that are in it, and it has a message that has stayed with me months after reading it.  At any cost, this has been one of the best books I’ve read, and I cannot recommend it enough to those who haven’t had the delightful experience of picking this one up yet.