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Monday, June 29, 2015

Review: P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #2)

Publisher: 26 May 2015 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 337
Series: To All The Boys I've Loved Before #2

"Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?
In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I've Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing."

This was the first book that I read after being released to summer vacation and I couldn't have chosen a better book! It was funny and sweet and incredibly well written!

P.S. I Still Love You picked up where the first installment left off. Peter and Lara Jean are fighting and its not certain if their relationship will be mended. This is a theme throughout the whole book. Lara Jean and Peter fight...a lot. It started to bug me.

One aspect of this novel that I really liked was the game of Assassins. I've actually played it before but with different rules so it was fun to see it in a book. I think it would be exciting to play it on that large of a scale over that long of a time period. The game just added a different element to the story than what other books have and it was highly enjoyable.

This book was predictable, but that doesn't mean it was bad. I actually really liked reading this book and seeing more of Lara Jean's life. I almost wish that there were more!

If you haven't yet, you should definitely read the To All The Boys I've Loved Before series by Jenny Han. You will not be disappointed! I promise!

-Shawnee Smith

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I'm Going on Vacation!

As you can tell by the title of this post, I am about to embark on my first vacation of the summer. I AM SO EXCITED!!!!

It is an 18 hour long road trip down to Las Vegas, Nevada.


That part, I'm not so excited about. In honor of my (incredibly long) road trip, I have assembled a list of YA road trip books to read. Without further ado...

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour Paper Towns Take Me There

Guitar Highway Rose Thou Shalt Not Road Trip Let's Get Lost

Finding Paris The Disenchantments Two-Way Street

There you have it, nine YA Road Trip Novels. So pick one of them up, and enjoy the ride. And I'll enjoy sitting in a car for 18 hours. haha. Just kidding. I'm probably going to go insane. 

At least I'll have some books to keep me company <3

-Shawnee Smith

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)

Publisher: 4 February 2014 by Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 550
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3

"In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. 

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who's only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has. "

It's about time I wrote this review. So, Cress is the third installment of The Lunar Chronicles (you can check out my review for Cinder here and Scarlet here). This book throws in a new character, Cress (AKA Rapunzel), a Lunar shell who has been forced to live alone on a satellite doing the technological bidding of Queen Levana since she was a kid. Cress gets in contact with Cinder and everything goes haywire during a botched rescue attempt. 

Despite the added POV's, I really liked this story. I thought Cress was an interesting character to bring in and she was made even more interesting by her attachment to Carswell Thorne. She is a good asset to have when it comes to the technology and you can also get a good sense of the other characters through her non-biased feelings. Her thoughts about the other characters made them seem more deep, like they are not shallow (Do you get what I'm saying? I hope you do because it's an important point).

One of my favorite parts in the whole book was Cinder realizing how many people will stand behind her. Not just those that are Lunar, but those that are human and believe that the Lunars do not pose a threat. I think it boosted her confidence a lot. Look out for that scene when you see it.

There are quite a few plot twists in the book, some of them are unfortunately predictable. 'Unfortunately' because I could tell that they are supposed to be big bombs that is supposed to rock your world. Yeah, I had my hunches about those ones. 

You know that reunion that I was hoping would happen in this book, the one between Cinder and Kai, yeah it happened. And I am so happy because it is everything that I wanted it to be and more. I wont say anything further so I don't spoil any of the plot, but it was so awesome and I'm laughing just thinking about it!

But I want to know what happens next! There are so many unanswered questions! Like what will happen with Scarlet? Will they all stop Queen Levana? I want to know! Marissa Meyer, write faster! 

I definitely recommend that you read The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer sometime soon! You will not be disappointed!

-Shawnee Smith

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Review: None Of The Above by I.W. Gregorio

None of the Above

Publisher: 7 April 2015 by Balzer + Bray
Pages: 352
Series: N/A

"A groundbreaking story about a teenage girl who discovers she was born intersex... and what happens when her secret is revealed to the entire school. Incredibly compelling and sensitively told, None of the Above is a thought-provoking novel that explores what it means to be a boy, a girl, or something in between.

What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?

When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She's a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she's madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she's decided that she's ready to take things to the next level with him.

But Kristin's first time isn't the perfect moment she's planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy "parts."

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin's entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?"

Representation. Matters. 

I'm so happy we live in an age where it is starting to be okay to be who you truly are and not have to put on a mask everyday just to survive. I'm glad that people are (albeit slowly) being educated about what makes people different inside and out. 

I wont sit here and preach about how good this novel is representing the struggle those that are intersex go through, because I don't know what it's like to be intersex. However, I do believe that this novel is great at showing the world that people who are intersex are no different than everyone else. 

I enjoyed getting into Kristin's mind and following her through this journey. I was getting so mad at the people who were so ignorant! I just wanted to scream "Let her be! She's not hurting anyone!" The fact that I was rooting for Kristin is a testament to Gregorio's writing and creating of amazing characters.

I have been waiting to read this book for quite some time and I was not let down at all. This book could have easily been something where the author tries to talk about a controversial topic and then shys away from it without really addressing it. But Gregorio did an AMAZING job with this story and with the topic. 

I highly, HIGHLY recommend that everyone read this book and pass it along! Make your younger sister read it, make your dad read it, put it in your local Little Free Library. Get this book out there! 

-Shawnee Smith

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

My TBR List....Stack

I mentioned over on twitter last week (@YAFictionReview) that I have a stack of books just sitting on my nightstand waiting to be read. They have been taunting me since the beginning of last week when I was in finals mode.

Now that finals are done...


...and it's summer vacation ...


...I finally get to start reading them!!!! 

Here is the list of books currently waiting to be read by moi

None of the Above Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe The Heir (The Selection, #4) Messenger of Fear (Messenger of Fear, #1)

P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #2) The Wrong Side of Right No Place to Fall 

I am so excited to start reading all of these books! 

-Shawnee Smith

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Review: Confess by Colleen Hoover


Publisher: 10 March 2015 by Atria Books
Pages: 320
Series: N/A

"Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…"

OMG! A character my own age!

So, I had a small break from school (thank you Memorial Day) and I was able to sit down and enjoy a book in one sitting! Hurray! 

I actually thoroughly enjoyed this book. I like that it took place so long after the first scene that way some of the major plot points could have time to develop. 

While this books is a romantic book, and at some points I did feel like I was reading some soft-core porn, there were many other topics that were discussed. These other topics kept the book from veering too far into the sickeningly sweet love story that is often portrayed. 

Of course there were a few "oh my gosh I can't believe you just did/said that" moments, as to be expected with every novel out there in the world. But I thought Hoover did an exceptional job creating these characters. While they did some things we as readers may not condone, I can understand why they would do them.

And I LOVED the confessions. There was actually a confessional project in Las Vegas, Nevada that I read about and wanted to go to. Sadly they closed a few years ago (news still does travel slowly, even with the internet). I liked how the confessions were weaved all through the story, not just the confessions that Owen received for his art, but also the confessions that Owen and Auburn gave to each other. 

I highly recommend this book. It was a gripping read and I think everyone should read it! Plus the cover is amazing!

-Shawnee Smith