Thursday, January 31, 2019

REVIEW: A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi - 4.5 stars

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 8:00 AM 0 comments
Title: A Very Large Expanse of Sea
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication: October 16th 2018
Cover Rating: 5/5
Reading Format: Owned Hardback

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi is an extremely powerful story about Shirin and her life as a Persian-Muslin a year after 9/11 happened. She has just started at a new High School and the reader gets to see just how bad Muslim Americans were treated as a result of that terrible day.

Shirin is a VERY powerful character. She is such an angry force to be reckoned with and she has every right to be angry. She is treated so horribly just because of how she dresses and her religion. But her angry behavior has negative effects too. Shirin has built such a huge wall around herself that when someone does finally want to be let in to get to know her she doesn't know how to truly do that. She is suspicious and weary and so confused and you can feel so much of that while reading.

Ocean is the person who wants to be let into Shirin's world. He is a beautiful, All-American, white boy but he seems genuinely interested in her. But his interest is about to cause some serious problems in his world. 

Shirin just wants to live her life, listen to her music, do her school work and breakdance with her brother and his friends. Is that seriously so much to ask? I really enjoyed this book for many reasons but one of the main reasons was I simply enjoyed the blast from the past. They were talking about AIM(AOL Instant Messenger) and original iPods. I even had to google when the first iPod even came out. 

Throughout reading the book I couldn't help but wonder what kind of person Shirin would have been if she wasn't targeted every day because of her race/religion. She was so defensive and angry in the book but she was also this extremely strong female lead that I love reading about. It was also weird to me seeing how she got the brunt of the hate whereas her brother seemed like a normal kid. I know it was because of her Hijab, that one representation of her religion caused people to act extremely out of character and it was so shocking getting to see that time period through her eyes.

While I was reading this book I kept remembering something that I read where the author said this book meant a lot to her and you could definitely feel the emotions coming off the page from how much of her heart the author put into the story. That's not to say her other books didn't spark emotions in me but this book was REAL. I think everyone should read this book so they can FEEL how horrible it was to be a Muslim in America after 9/11.

In the end, this book sparked a lot of emotions in me. I wish I could have reached through this book to hug Shirin and tell her that not everyone is a horrible bigot. Yes, 9/11 was a scary time but we became a scary nation when we started attacking people who LOOKED LIKE a group of people who harmed us. 

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

REVIEW: The Cerulean by Amy Ewing - 5 stars

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM 0 comments

Title: The Cerulean
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Author: Amy Ewing
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication: January 29th 2019
Cover Rating: 5/5
Reading format: Provided ARC

The Cerulean by Amy Ewing is a gorgeous tale of a world full of beauty and grace. A world tethered to another planet in order to survive. A world that must move on and tether to a new planet in order to continue this survival. A world where... one of their own people is chosen to make the ultimate sacrifice to break the tether so that the rest of their race may go in search of another planet. 

The Cerulean are a race of people with silver skin, blue eyes, and equally blue hair. They are every bit their namesake. Not only are they stunning but their blood means magic. And this story centers around one of them. Her name is Sera and her blood means magic but it also might mean death.

The story switches back and forth from Sera's home to the world her home is tethered to. It is a very intriguing world much like ours but they live in a time period where women as still pretty much owned an controlled by men. The circumstances in which Sera finds herself in after sacrificing herself for her people is very bizarre. And that says a lot considering Sera just jumped from the clouds.

Sera pretty much becomes a prisoner after she falls. She is captured by the son and daughter of a man who is wealthy but wants to make sure his wealth and standing are never taken away. And this is how Sera meets Agnes. Agnes might be this man's daughter but she is not like him. She wants to help Sera and this leads to many interesting happenings throughout the rest of the book.

I have thought about my review for this book for a few weeks because I was given the honor of being able to read the book before it was released and I think I have finally decided that this is a book that must be experienced. I can sit here and type until my fingers fall off but nothing I can think of can convey how utterly beautiful and thought-provoking this story was. There are so many important things, political, sexual, abhorrently wrong things humans do, etc, that this book contains and it needs to be experienced as a whole instead of in bits and pieces from someone reviewing it. 

In the end, I can say in all honesty that this will be a book I will reread many times. The world and storyline were just so I depth that I feel like I missed so much while also gaining so much. This story was so beautifully woven and I have never read a book that kept tears in my eyes for as long as this one did. This story is as beautifully woven as the cloudspun dresses in this book. I highly recommend this book!

Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

REVIEW: Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie West - 4.5 stars

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 8:00 AM 0 comments
Title: Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication: February 5th 2019
Cover Rating: 5/5
Reading format: Provided ARC(thank you)

Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie West is the second book in another one of her romance companion series. In this book, we get to experience Lacey Barnes. She was the new friend of Abby in the previous book that helped her with her boy problems and now we get to see her have her own boy problems. Also, this book comes out February 5th so it is THE PERFECT read for around Valentine's Day!

Lacey is an actress. She doesn't feel like her father fully supports her but she just landed a role that means she has to live with her dad until the movie is done filming. Her dad may or may not support her acting career but he definitely wants to make sure she gets her homework done so she can graduate from high school. So he hires her a tutor, many tutors actually, but her finally gets it right with this last one.

Donavan is hired to be Lacey's new tutor. She has pretty much run off any other tutor her dad has hired so her is kind of her last hope if she wants to graduate high school and Donavan is perfect for the job. He is a hard nut to crack and he makes sure to mention that he DOESN'T DATE ACTRESSES. Why is that? Well, you will find out when you read the book.

Oh, and Lacey doesn't date AT ALL. So these two should make for a fun adventure, eh? Especially when someone on set is trying to sabotage Lacey's career and she asks Donavan to help her with that problem.

We do get to see bits and pieces from Abby and Cooper, the love interests of the previous book, and I am very happy about that. It warmed my heart so much.

One cool aspect of this book was the fact that they were filming a movie during so we got to read some scenes. I definitely got a big Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies vibe from the movie Lacey was starring in which added a lot more visual guidance to the book for me, I could picture the zombies better and I even had a pretty decent image of Lacey's character in my head too. I love when books give me great visuals when reading.

In the end, even though this book was extremely good and had the added mystery plot too, I still suffer from Kasie West first book syndrome. I will always love the first book in her little companion sets best it seems. Did that make this book bad? Heck no, it was fantastic as all of her books are. But I didn't feel that strong emotional bond I always end up getting with her first book couple. 

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.

Monday, January 28, 2019

REIVEW: Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West - 5 stars

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 8:00 AM 0 comments
Title: Love, Life, and the List
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication: December 26th 2017
Cover Rating: 5/5
Reading format: Owned Hardback

Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West is the first book in her new companion romance series. This first book we are introduced to Abby and Cooper. These guys have been best friends for a very long time and this book is about their relationship and how it could possibly turn into a love story. 

Abby is our protagonist. She is an artist and we get to watch her progress in her artistic abilities throughout this book. Her art is actually the reason for the "List" portion of the title. She attempts to get her art in a gallery exhibit in order to apply for this special school but she is turned down because her art lacks heart. So Abby comes up with this list in order to better experience life and that is pretty much what drives this story. Oh, and her more than friends feelings she has for her best friend Cooper. 

Cooper is the other half of this duo, technically is a quad but 2 of their friends are off doing things for the summer. He is a pretty standard guy, is described as having a surfer boy look and his main hobby consists of riding a deathtrap in races. It seems like Cooper really values his friendship with Abby, even sort of considers her his good luck charm during his races, yet he keeps looking for love in other places.

Abby tries to accept that Cooper doesn't share her feelings but it gets harder and harder until the point where Abby needs to tell him flat out how she feels but that will only complicate her already difficult life more.

I really like how Kasie West seems to be able to add these deeper levels to her books. At first, it seems like her books are just going to be these light, fluffy romances but she always adds these really relatable/realistic situations that make her books so much more than a romance. I cannot recommend her books enough.

This book really had me feeling a lot of different ways. But when Cooper did THE THING HE DID and pretty much broke Abby's heart and then that lead to this huge spiral downward for a lot of things, oh man, I wanted to beat that boys butt so badly. All because he couldn't see that a girl was trying to ruin his friendship. Cooper.... You infuriated me.

In the end, Kasie West scared me with this book! I didn't think things were going to turn out so great and that would have been a big change considering how all of her other books have ended but luckily things turned out to be pretty good and this book even made me flipping cry. IT MADE ME CRY. Actual tears came out of my eye holes. Best friend love stories always get me. Always.

Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars. 

Side note: As I was editing this review and making sure it made sense I noticed something that is kind of conspiracy theoryish. This is not spoilers, BTW. But the book centers around Abby art and the fact that she is trying to get her art shown at a gallery exhibit. But her art lacks HEART. I find it kind of funny that if you take away art from heart you end up with HE. She is missing Cooper from her life and without him, her ART will never have HEART. I just thought that was so interesting. I know that probably isn't how the author thought of it but hey, you have to have fun when reading, right?

Friday, January 25, 2019

Mini-Review: The Similars by Rebecca Hanover - 4 stars

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 8:00 AM 1 comments
Title: The Similars
Genre: Young Adult Sci-Fi
Author: Rebecca Hanover
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication: January 1st 2019
Cover Rating: 5/5
Reading format: Owned Hardback/eARC

The Similars by Rebecca Hanover is a thrilling sci-fi book set in a futuristic Earth, not too far in the future, though. The book focuses on life at a prestigious private school that had decided to allow a few clones to join their ranks. These clones happen to be the clones of students who attend this school so that should make for a very interesting story.

Our main character is Emma Chance. She is in the process of grieving her best friends death when school starts back up. She knows the clones, The Similars, will be coming to Darkwood Academy this year but she has no idea the bomb, in the form of her dead best friends clone, is going to be dropped on her. Ollie has a clone?! She instantly hates him for even existing.

The clones in this book are copies of kids who go to the prestigious Darkwood Academy and no one knows exactly why or how it happened that way. This ends up playing a big role in the plot and, if you are like me, you won't see it coming.

I truly was not expecting the ending that we got. I knew something big was going to go down but I didn't even remotely guess at what was really about to happen. I was shocked but excited at the same time because that meant there had to be another book to explain WTH just happened.

There was a sense of deja vu for me while I was reading the book. I just kept feeling like I have read this or seen this movie before. I have no idea what caused that but I know in my heart that if I really had read a book or seen a movie like this I would definitely remember. It could have been that there were A TON of elements to this story, from the private school to the advanced technology, that appear in a bunch of other books but after much thinking I still have nothing to compare this book too.

In the end, I am so glad I was given the chance to read this book early but it's bittersweet because now I have to wait even longer TO GET MY HANDS ON THE NEXT BOOK! I wonder if the next book will be called The Originals -tehehe-

Overall, I gave the book 4/5 stars.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Mini-Review: Deadfall by Stephen Wallenfels - 4 stars

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM 0 comments

Title: Deadfall
Genre: Young Adult Suspense
Author: Stephen Wallenfels
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication: December 11th 2018
Cover Rating: 5/5
Reading format: Netgalley

Deadfall by Stephen Wallenfels is a book about twin brothers, their horrible father and how they ended up in the foster care system. 

My above description of this book sounds vague and that is because I want it to be. This is one of those books where you need to read everything in order to understand all the events and I don't want to spoil that for anyone so I will keep it vague. 

I will say, however, that the beginning of the book was pretty slow for me. I really didn't enjoy the parts where it went back to the past and showed the father. I did end up liking that part a bit further on in the book when the action started to pick up but in the beginning, I was dreading it. 

This book contains crime, sexual stuff, a gay character, drugs, violence, the woods, snow, a deer, car accident, explosion and many other very interesting things that really draw the reader into the story. I was very glad the story was told more from Cory's perspective because I don't think I would have liked reading from Ty's very much. Cory was a great voice for the story.

In the end, I didn't think I was going to enjoy this book because I have a weird thing where I hardly ever enjoy books told from the boys perspective unless is it dual back and forth, but I really liked the book and I liked Cory's voice throughout the story.

Overall, I gave the book 4/5 stars.

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