Young Adult July Reads Book Review: Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer (Zac Brewer)

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Book Review

Book Title: Eighth Grade Bites (Vladimir Todd #1)
Book Author: Heather Brewer (now Zac Brewer)

This is a throwback review, since I read this book way back when I was in grade eight (which feels like a lifetime ago). At the time this was one of my favourite books, and it goes me into many more YA novels and into my current reading obsession. I even called one of my cats Meredith (many years later). This book was a great way to get me into reading, and I applaud Zac Brewer for all of his wonderful writing and work, because I wouldn’t be here in my reading and writing career without him.

Now onto my review:

Eighth Grade Bites is a great spin on the typical fish out of water story. Vladimir Todd is a vampire, and his life is quite the mystery. Not only does he have to try to survive being a teenager as a vampire, but he has to try to find out where his past comes from. Where are his parents? What happened to them? Why is he a vampire? Why must he hide this secret?

The book is incredibly light hearted and written for the correct audience. It doesn’t exactly translate into the adult scene unless you are interested in these types of books (in my opinion). Rereading it, I loved it but my friends who have moved on from the vampire scene did not enjoy it as much. The book is super fun and delightful and I hope more people get into this series.

Every minute of Vlad’s story is enjoyable to read. It will keep you on your toes and make you want to continue the story. The plot is well thought out over the series, and the characters are absolutely lovable. Alongside the steady pace, the random twists that occur make this book stand out among the many other vampire books I have read throughout the years. The fact that I can still pick this book up and get a good chuckle out of it proves to me that Zac is a truly incredible author.

Overall, I give this book four out of five stars. Wonderful story!!

Young Adult July Reads Book Review: The Fault in our Stars by John Green

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Book Review:
Book Title: The Fault in our Stars

Book Author: John Green

Rave and Rant: I read this book after my father lost his battle to cancer, and it gave me a beautiful insight into a land where cancer is not viewed as the villain and rather as a fact of life. This book is not your typical love story! It followed sarcastic teenagers who live with cancer, and does not mainly focus on the cancer, it follows their life. It is a beautifully written book and John Green brings his excellent wits in this novel. I’d suggest it to anyone, but remember to have a tissue box nearby once you’ve finished the first half of the book! This book deals with strong emotional themes. Five stars!

Potential Issues: This book does make cancer seem a little romanticized. When I look back on reading it, at the time it was the type of book I definitely needed. I was hurting and I needed a book that didn’t make cancer seem like this horrible villain in my story. This book might not be for everyone, but it helped me at the time. Is cancer scary? Yes. It is life ending, horrible, and ruins lives? Yes. But can this book help heal? Yes.

This book will make you cry – it’s definitely sad, but at the same time it gives you  a different insight into cancer. Yes, there is a romance story in it, but these characters will give you some form of hope. There are beautiful quotes throughout the novel that show you cancer from a very different perspective. Readers must keep in mind this book was written after John Green lost a friend to cancer as well, so this book could have helped him heal.

Final Thoughts: This book is a YA novel – that means it is not going to be 100% realistic. This novel has it’s ups and down in many ways. The characters don’t seem to talk like teenagers would (but the novel was written by an adult). I found Hazel (the main character) to be quite average (other than her amazing quotes), but sometimes you don’t want the perfect Mary Jane as your main character. Gus is kind and a jerk, all wrapped up in one package. He’s not your perfect male lead, which is why I like him. Yes he has his issues, but at the same time he is romanticized for the audience this book is aimed towards. There’s a villain who has his reasons for being evil, but they don’t entirely make up for his behaviour. Overall, I enjoyed this book because it was there when I needed it to be – it’s a good book to read to heal after losing someone to cancer because it gives you a very soft and sweet look compared to the horrors a cancer story typically is.

Five out of five stars. I enjoyed this novel.

Book Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

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Book Review
Book Title: The Kiss of Deception
Book Author: Mary E. Pearson

Introduction: Indigo sent me this entire series after I won a Twitter contest. I’ve been trying to read it for quite a while but life has been busy. Finally I was able to sit down one Sunday afternoon and binge read it!

Book Review:

Synopsis: Princess Lia decides to run away from her potential marriage, and runs off with her friend Pauline. She meets Rafe and Kaden, and some mischief and adventure pursues on.

This novel follows your typical dystopia/YA novel trope storyline, but is quite beautifully written. As the title suggests, there is deception involved in this book, and some kisses of course (would it even be a YA without some teen angst and romance?!).

I enjoyed this novel, but it was not my favourite. I really had to force myself through the novel. Yes, Mary E. Pearson is absolutely fabulous as writing (every page was so beautiful) but it just wasn’t fast enough for my likes. There were so many terms and languages that flew over my head and made me super bored, but I had to finish this book. I desperately want to finish this series, because I’ve heard amazing reviews about it everywhere.

Our lead female is quite strong, she has her moments but is a quality female lead. I was impressed with the building of all the characters, but Lia was by far my fave. Rafe is so kind hearted and Kaden (our prince) is also quite charming. Pauline seems realistic, Berdi is pretty awesome, and overall I found all the characters to be on point. They were all written and built over time, which is a nice change compared to some YA novels.

This book does slow down quite a bit – so readers beware. The first quarter of the book is fast and incredible, but then the pace slows down as if gravity is trying to pull it back from its super high speed chase of it’s readers. If you love fast paced stories, this might not be the book for you. If you’re okay with the speed changing and just want a super awesome, well developed, fantasy novel – then this is for you!

What I got out of this novel, and what I think readers should take out of it:
The world building is absolutely fantastic! The scenes and descriptions will take you to a whole new world and will have you hooked.
This book has a big focus on love/relationships/babies and all those fancy tropes you get in YA, so be prepared for silly romance, boy obsessed girls, and lots of day dreaming about kisses.
The story takes a while to build up, it picks up speed quickly, then plummets into a cliffhanger.
If you get into this book, it will pull at your heart strings – be warned.
This book is probably rated PG-13, but is a fine book for any pre-teen or teen readers.

Overall, three stars. It was hard to continue reading this knowing there were other fast paced books on my shelf, but I do want to finish this series! It’s worth the read if you like a good fantasy novel and some fantastical descriptions.

Great job Mary. E Pearson!

Throwback Thursday Book Review: Unbelievable (Pretty Little Liars #4) by Sara Shepard

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Synopsis:
Who is A? Who tried to kill Hannah? Secrets will be revealed in the fourth novel (and final arc in the first quartet) of the Pretty Little Liars series.

My Review:
The fourth book in Sara Shedpard’s Pretty Little Liars gave a great ending to one of the many plot lines – who is the first A? I was very happy that this story arc came to a close, since the mystery of A was beginning to become more of a bother than an interesting plot line.

Some of the characters do seem whiny and annoying, at least by an adult’s standards, but it is fitting in the setting of the high school teenagers dealing with a crazy murderer.

This book will get you hooked from start to finish. With the tease of knowing who A is, you’ll be grasping onto this book desperately and not wanting to let it go. Each character has a different chapter and it rotates so the reader gets many points of views within this final novel within the first quartet in Pretty Little Liars.

This book moved at a good, fast paced and the plot line was well thought out. There wasn’t much more I wanted out of this book! The plot arc coming to a close made the four books arc perfectly over. I can’t wait to get the fifth book in this series! This book was not as slow in the movement of plot as the first three were! Sara Shepard seems to be getting better and better with each PLL book that comes out.

If you have watched the television series you must be aware that this series does not follow directly with the show. This series was made first, and thus there was changes.

For readers who are not as impressed with this series as I am – every quartet is a great place to stop if you don’t want to leave things off on a bad ending. Each quartet seems to have a good ending if you felt the need to stop, but there will still be a few unanswered questions. That being said, if you chose to stop here, it would help tie up most of the loose ends.

Five out of five stars! A good, quick read with great movements in plot!

Quick Book Review: Mania (The Night Walkers #3) by JR Johansson

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Mania is a great fantasy, young adult novel for any reader.

To start out with, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE read the previous books before starting this one. I did not, since I got this as a review novel, and boy was I confused for 75% of this book. That’s not to say this book isn’t highly addicting and incredibly interesting as a “standalone”, but having the background information from the other novels would have made this book so much better!

As a standalone, (or as I call it, Bri-anna the reviewer couldn’t find the other novels and couldn’t afford to buy them), the book was great! The author does back track and explain some of the content of the previous novels to aid the readers. So, I had a basic understanding of what was going on throughout the book.

In short, this book follows some teenagers and young adults through a sort of post apocalyptic / dystopian world. There is a virus that is going around, that makes people similar to zombies – some of them can’t sleep and don’t read, which leads them to not living long. Our main characters, half brothers Jack and Parker, are trying to find the cure which their Father left behind (but is no longer with them). Together with their friends, they must face a rivaling group bent on evil and cure this disease to aid the world.

I wish I would have read the previous books so I would have more feelings towards the characters. These characters are beautifully written, but since I didn’t know their previous relationships and personalities, I felt like I was at a loss. JR Johansson did so great building these characters in just this book, that I can’t help but wonder what happened in the two previous!

Overall, this book was great! The plot was summed up, the characters were built well, and it was an original story and plot I hadn’t heard often – it was a great spin on what could have been a very typical plot.

Three out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Quick Book Review: Perfect (Pretty Little Liars #3) by Sara Shepard

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I am so annoyed at this book but I love it at the same time! I am annoyed at wanting to know who A is and why he or she is going after Spencer, Aria, Hanna and Emily.

This series is continuing to bring me back to the ever frustrating life of the girls after Allison died. The novel is a very quick read and is full of twists and turns that I shouldn’t have expected (except for the fact that I have looked ahead by watching the television series Pretty Little Liars). I cannot wait to get the next novel in the series and start reading it! Hopefully soon A will make an appearance as a character!

The only thing I found wrong with the novel was some of the girls got more ‘screen’ time than the others. I would have liked to see the girls all together in some scenes, or experience more time with each of the girls by themselves. The plot was easy to follow and the chapters moved fast enough that I wasn’t getting bored.

I can’t complain about this novel! It is perfection in my eyes, except for the fact that I am desperate to know who A is! But that’s good for this kind of novel.

Five out of five stars! I love it!

Quick Book Review: Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri

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This novel was a big let down for me.

I picked up this book at a clearance event for books. I had wanted to read the novel for years, but I could never remember the name. The book was the cheapest of the pile and on sale on top of the clearance, which should have been a warning.

I heard rave reviews from my friends that I should read this book, so I picked it up willing and ready to be wooed. Sadly, this book was one where I had to force myself to continue, and I did not see the point in the ending.

The ending to the book, without spoiling, made me question if it was randomly made up on the spot because a better ending couldn’t be found. The ending didn’t fit with the pace of the novel or make sense. While I did not read up on the Faust story itself, I felt that the ending could have been more dramatic and exciting instead of a lame ‘The End’ feeling. The conflict did not seem to be resolved and I felt more confused than ever as to what really happened.

The novel was very slow to start, and slowed down even more when I got into it. When I was about 4/5ths of the way through, I began to become really into the book and I couldn’t put it down, but the ending didn’t fit in with the pace that was built throughout the novel.

I had high hopes for this novel, and I will read Another Pan to see if it is any better, but it was a let down.

I wish the ending would have been better, because if it went out with a bang I would have found the book much more interesting. A slow build in pace would have been nice with a spectacular ending that made up for the slow build to the climax.

This book would be good for preteens or younger, since it isn’t as climactic as most Young Adult novels.

Overall, not impressed but I will keep it on my shelf