#BookReview An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

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An Abundance of Katherines was an interesting book by John Green – it’s the perfect mix of YA and contemporary fiction in my mind. While it’s not his best book (in my opinion), it’s still a really intriguing read. John Green knows how to write a unique narrative and pull in the reader. Although, his books all tend to be different so you aren’t guaranteed to enjoy this book if you liked his other novels. He does an excellent job at changing genres and narratives, and making different stories every time he writes a book.

Colin isn’t the most likable protagonist, but that’s why I liked him. He wasn’t the typical YA character we fall in love with, he had his flaws. His friends were more likable, but to me it made him seem more real. We don’t all love ourselves the way we should, so sometimes the protagonist should be more “realistic”.

As for the plot, it’s has a smooth flow and doesn’t build very much. It’s more of a contemporary fiction piece that follows the characters throughout. There’s no major plot twists or devices that jumped out at me. Yet, this book still worked well in this context! With most authors, I would have given up with a plot like this, but somehow John kept me hooked. That takes a fair bit of talent!

The best part of this book is that it is full of epic quotes. John Green knows how to make quote worthy books that relate to teenagers and adults alike. I have found countless quotes that I can either relate to myself, my situation or my friends and family. That’s one of the major things this book has going for it!

I definitely wouldn’t recommend this as the first John Green book you read (unless you want to start off “weaker”). While I think it’s fantastic, it’s not the strongest book (in my opinion, yet again). Especially since this book is the type of novel that you either love or you hate (just look at all of the other reviews – it is split right down the middle). So, take a swing at this book once you’ve convinced yourself that John is truly remarkable through his other books first.

Five out of five stars – what can I say? I enjoyed it.

 

Check out this book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49750.An_Abundance_of_Katherines

Or purchase this book on Amazon: Amazon.com or Amazon.ca

 

If you enjoyed this review, check out another you might enjoy: Young Adult July Reads Book Review: The Fault in our Stars by John Green

And check out my twitter for the most up-to-date antics about my blog! @ReviewAlholic

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#BookReview Gene. Sys. by Aaron Denius Garcia

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This scientific dystopia is an excellent read for those who like apocalyptic stories!

The world is getting ready for the apocalypse, and Atom is at the center of it all. Him and the other teenage Genetic Systems must survive and help “restart” the earth when everyone is wiped out. Along the way, drama, romance and war ensues – all creating havoc upon the teens.

This book reminded me of a Young Adult novel – the drama and fighting definitely sat around a young adult audience level, in my opinion. I could easily see youth and adults enjoying this book. The plot itself was very reminiscent of many YA novels I’ve read – apocalypse, teenagers being the only ones who can save the world, and the YA romance tropes.

I did find the writing and conversations to be very simplistic. That doesn’t make the novel bad, but I’m a reader who likes complex words, not using “said” or the same words all the time, and lots of excitement. The writing style just didn’t match with my reading style! I feel like there is a lot of potential in this book, and maybe in a sequel (?? pretty please??) it could be enhanced to a much higher level.

I did like the plot itself – I think Aaron Denius Garcia put a unique and fun spin on it that made me want to continue reading this book. I was desperate to follow these characters (specifically Atom and Ev) to see where their adventure would go. Throwing in actual history was also a really cool part of this story, since it was looking at history from a different point of view. I also found the nuclear aspect to be extremely scary (due to the realism) in this fictional world. It did take me about half the book to get really into the story, but once I got there I was hooked and addicted. I absolutely HAD to finish this book!

I felt the book left off in a way that it could continue in some form, so I’ll definitely be looking out for the next book! I hope Aaron continues with this story because it has so much potential, it’s really fun and it has one epic story! Maybe one day a publisher will pick this book up and pimp it out to readers everywhere!

I’d highly recommend this book if you like sci-fi, apocalypse stories, young adult or just fun fiction! It’s a great book, even if it wasn’t the best book for me! I loved it and would definitely want to read more!

Three out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

On a side note, I LOVE that Aaron signed my copy of the book AND spelled my name right! Authors (and anyone really… coworkers, family, etc) rarely spell my actual name right, and it made me so giddy!

 

Check out this book on:

Goodreads – Gene. Sys.

Amazon.com – Gene. Sys.

Amazon.ca – Gene. Sys.

 

Find out more about Aaron Denius Garcia on:

Goodreads – Aaron Denius Garcia

http://www.genesysbook.com/

Twitter – @AaronDenius

 

If you read this review, comment below with your favourite YA dystopian novel!
And… give me a shout out on Twitter! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

 

If you enjoyed this review, check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview The Sinking of Bethany Ann Crane by K. Kris Loomis

#BookReview The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

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The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is a novel I really should have read back in high school!

I found this book surprisingly fulfilling for me being an adult now reading about pre-teens. These stories are sweet and made me want to know more about these characters. I watched the movie years back, but this makes me want to watch it again for all the silly, girly feels (and I miss those ladies who starred in it <3).

The pants being a symbol in this story was a really honest yet fun take on passing the themes around in a book. I truly think it’s a smart way to make the symbol so obvious yet… not? I feel like as a pre-teen I wouldn’t have noticed the theme, but now as an adult it just warms me up!

Ann makes you love and feel for these girls in this book. It wasn’t the fastest moving story, but it still had me hooked at every word. I want to fall into these girls’s worlds and be best friends with them (or mentor them, at this point in my life).

I think this would be a great book for adults to read to their middle grade children, or introduce to their teens. It’s sweet and heartfelt – and it doesn’t bring you down. It lifts your spirits up, which is something we really need in this world.

If there are any cons about this book, it’s that it isn’t made for adults – if you are looking for an adult themed book, this isn’t it. It’s all about teenagers and their problems, in the minds of teenagers. It’s not an adult look at teens, in my opinion.

Overall, I’m in love with this series! I hope I’m able to find the rest of this series so I can fall into their lives once again.

Four out of five stars!

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview Bleeding Hearts by Alyxandra Harvey

Comment below – what is your favourite girl centered book?

Use the hashtag #BriarsReviews on Twitter if you read this review! @ReviewAlholic

And finally, check out Ann Brashares on her website: http://annbrashares.com/

#BookReview Bloody Valentine by Melissa De La Cruz

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Bloody Valentine is a little book full of short stories relating to romance in the Blue Bloods universe.

I meant to read this years ago, but it disappeared into the depths of my book shelf. I finally found it the other day, and I decided I might as well read it. I’m sure, somewhere, I have the remaining books of the Blue Bloods I meant to years…half a decade ago…

The short stories were cute, but I don’t remember half of what happened in the Blue Bloods universe. With that being said, I wouldn’t recommend reading this book outside of the series. Make sure you are reading the series so you understand everything that is happening. I did a little research on Goodreads to review what had been happening in the series so far, but it would make way more sense to read it within the series.

Oliver, Allegra and Schuyler’s stories were adorable and sweet, and I think this is a great addition to the series. I’d like more sweet stories like this for other series as well!!

Overall, it was cute and I enjoyed it. It’s definitely just some YA side stories so it’s not a must read for me by any means. If you’re into the Blue Bloods, this is for you. It’s vampires, ooey gooey romance, excessive drama, and lots of gossip! What else can you ask for from a YA board school-esque story? It’s like Gossip Girl and Vampire Diaries had a baby.

Three out of five stars.

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview The Coffin Club by Ellen Schreiber

Use the hashtag #briarsreviews to give me a shout out on Twitter if you read my review! @ReviewAlholic

Comment below – what is your fave YA novel?

#FreeBook Happy Thanksgiving from Briar featuring an interview from Kelley Kaye Bowles!

On this lovely day before the American Thanksgiving, I am going to share an amazing offer with you! Not only will you get to read an amazing blog post but you also have a chance at a free book! So, take a peek at the content below and at the very end you’ll have a super special surprise… A free book by the author Kelley Kaye Bowles!

First and foremost, Kelley and I asked each other 3 questions about gratitude! Around this time of year, it’s always important to take a step back and reflect on what you’re thankful for (hence the name… Thanksgiving).

 

My questions for Kelley and her answers are as follows:

1. What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Ugh—how can I make this anything but cliché? I’m thankful for my children and my husband and my home. I’m thankful to be alive—every day above ground is a good day! On something closer to home, I’m thankful the destructive winds around here have stopped and no California fires are currently threatening me and mine. ~ Kelley

 

2. Who is one person you’d like to say ‘Thank you’ to? I’d like to say thank you to William Shakespeare. I think a lot of what came after as far as studies into humanity and human relationships was explored first by him. But not really, right?!? What about Homer? That guy was born in 850 b.c. and The Odyessy certainly covered humanity and human relationships. So sorry, Briar, I can’t pick only one! I just want to thank WRITERS. ~ Kelley

 

3. Is there anything in your life you take for granted that you’re grateful for? I think I took my parents for granted a lot—they were great! Now my Dad is gone and my mom has Alzheimer’s, so she’s not gone but she is—the interactions we were able to have are gone. I am really grateful to have had them. ~ Kelley

Kelley sent me back three questions, so of course I had to answer them!

1. What’s your fave ‘stop and smell the roses’ activity? (I.e. what’s something you do purely because it makes you feel present or peaceful?) Whenever I’m in an area that has butterflies around, I always take a small moment to admire them. This year I was lucky enough to take that to the max and go to a Butterfly Conservatory. Just watching these beautiful creatures interact with the environment and thinking about how important they are for pollination makes me take a big step back! I feel at peace around them and it really cements ‘the butterfly effect’ – how one little act like a butterfly pollinating a flower can have a big impact on the world.
2. What’s a place in the world where you feel you most belong? That is honestly a very hard question to answer! I’ve always been ‘outcast’ growing up – I liked swimming when my class liked basketball, I liked reading when it wasn’t ‘cool’,  I was interested in grades and spending time with my family when my friends were interested in parties, etc. Which, consequently, made me feel like I didn’t belong for a very long time! This isn’t necessarily a place, but when I’m swimming in a pool I feel like I belong. My life was always dictated by water, so it makes sense that I feel like I belong when I can swim my little legs off!
3. What’s a time you did something that scared you, but now you’re so grateful you did it? This isn’t a happy story, but it’s one that is dear to my heart. Years ago, while my Dad was ill, our dog was also near the end of her life. We had to put her down and I was horrified to stay in the room with her. My parents convinced me that we were truly the best of friends so it was important for her to see me to feel safe. Now, you might be thinking ‘why would she be grateful for THAT’? Well, I’m not grateful for that moment, in fact – I wish I never had to put my dog down. But, that was one of the last days my Father was alive and I am so grateful to share that powerful and emotional moment with him. That’s a hard bond to recreate – two humans bonding over their shared and extremely powerful love of their mutual best friend. Oh man, I have tears in my eyes writing this!

 

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! Reflect on how you would answer those questions yourself during this holiday season, since this is the season for nostalgia.

Now, time for that free book! Since there’s a four day weekend for the U.S.A, why not spend your time reading a FREE book? Yes, FREE!!

Here’s the links to this AMAZING and FREE book:

Amazon.com – Down in the Belly of the Whale

Amazon.ca – Down in the Belly of the Whale

 

If you don’t know what this book is about, then you’re in luck! I have read this book myself and I’d love to give you a quick summary of this magnificent book.

This YA story is an emotional roller coaster that is all about the strength of families and friendship. Harper has this incredible ability – she knows when people feel ill. Suddenly, she notices her best friend isn’t feeling so well and she takes some action! The book tackles a multitude of real issues that teenagers in a heartfelt story. If you’re looking for a book that feels real and is beautifully written, you’ve found it!

So, get on that buying spree and remember to post a quick review to Amazon once you’re done! Kelley’s book is an absolute must read for those who love the YA genre!

#BookReview Blood Ties by Mari Mancusi

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Here’s a quick book review for one of my fave authors: Mari Mancusi!!!

Another round of Mari Mancusi’s Blood Coven Vampires?! Yes please!

I adore Sunny and Magnus, and lucky for us these two are back together! They are one of my top YA couples and we’re SO lucky to get another book with these two characters interacting!

The drama in this book is intense – a love triangle between Sunny, Magnus and Jayden is clearly occurring. But, as we all know, Sunny is meant for Magnus and they adore each other to no end. The excitement that ensues includes fighting, kisses, biting (vampire alert!), misunderstandings and teenage romance and drama!

I loved this book! It’s fast paced, has fun teenage angst and lots of ooey gooey romance with my faves Sunny and Magnus!

This is a YA book, so don’t go expecting adult drama and storylines. Mari does a great job making this series fun and exciting in the realms of the unbelievable. I highly recommend this series if you haven’t read it! It’s one of the best, fun YA novels out there is you want something lighthearted yet addicting! It’s one of my go to series for when I have a bad day (because it’s rarely depressing).

Five out of five stars!

 

Check out Mari Mancusi on her website: http://www.marimancusi.com/

And give us both a shout out on twitter! @MariMancusi & @ReviewAlholic

If you enjoyed this review, check out another you might enjoy: #BookReview Once Upon a Vampire by Mari Mancusi

Leave a comment below – what is your favourite YA novel? Give us some awesome recommendations to include on this blog and on our shelves!

 

Photo from Goodreads.

#BookReview Down in the Belly of the Whale by Kelley Kay Bowles

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Today is October 10th – World Mental Health Day! To celebrate and make people aware, check out my review of a book that focuses on mental health awareness (and general health awareness too!).

 

 

Down in the Belly of the Whale by Kelley Kay Bowles is a witty and ingenious Young Adult novel that addresses a multitude of tough subject matter in an eye-opening manner.

I don’t know how Kelley does it, but she always manages to impress me. This time around, Kelley has a Young Adult novel that addresses so many tough subjects in one go! Topics such as self harm, child abuse, Multiple Sclerosis, loss of innocence, suicide and not so supportive parents are just some of the many that are tackled in this book. Each “issue” is brought into the story seamlessly and has plot lines throughout the narrative to deal with the issues. Most Young Adult books stay away from the tough yet so very real topics like these, so I have to applaud Kelley for taking the big leap in her story!

My teenage self would have loved a book like this, and I could have learned a lot in the process. On top of the subject matter, the book is written in the voice of a teenager (and it feels oh so real!). Just some of the quotes, such as “I’m going to wear a stunning pair of very expensive jeans that hug my curves like a two-year old with separation anxiety” make this book hilarious! This sitcom-like book creates a fantastic balance between realism and dark topics alongside the silly and goofy one-liners to make the book less depressing.

I did like the character development in this story – both Cora and Harper grow throughout. The change in their attitudes and view points was very obvious as the book went on! I think Kelley did a great job making these characters feel real and like teenagers. Bravo!!

The fantastical side of Harper being able to “sense” when someone is sick, and she’s able to sense mental illness is a big step forward. Mental illness is not always seen as someone being “sick”, rather it’s just an issue to be dealt with. Having a book directed towards teenagers have this point of view makes me very happy and very proud of Kelley’s writing.

Now for the tough part – the negatives. Were there negatives in this book for me? Yes. I felt the ending was rushed, which made some of the pieces being tied together feel less real. Is it necessarily a bad thing? No. It was just something that stuck out to me. Kelley ties up some of the loose ends nicely, but I would have loved a few more pages dedicated to these storylines. Other than that, this book felt flawless.

Would I recommend this book? Heck yes! This book was a fantastic Young Adult novel that I actually got into! I didn’t want to put it down, and I didn’t. I easily binged this book in one sitting, but it could easily be read in bits and pieces. If you like Young Adult novels, books that tackle dark subject matter (in a light-hearted way) or a splash of comedy, then you will love this book! I’d even recommend this to many adult readers, because of it’s amazing way of tackling the rough subjects.

There is a bit of an asterisk on the recommendation side – this book could be a major trigger for some people. Keep that in mind if you plan to pick up this book! The darker sides of this novel may not be suitable for all ages and maturity levels!

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author Kelley Kaye Bowles in exchange for an honest review.

 

Find this book on:

Goodreads

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

 

Find out more about Kelley Kaye Bowles on:

Goodreads – Kelley Kaye Bowles

http://www.kelleykaybowles.com/

Twitter – @kelkay1202

 

If you read this review, give me a shout out on Twitter to let me know you read it! @ReviewAlholic

 

And if you enjoyed this review, why not check out another you might enjoy? #BookReview The Sinking of Bethany Ann Crane by K. Kris Loomis