Tag «letter format»

Blog Tour: Illusions by Madeline J Reynolds

Synopsis for Illusions (from Entangled Teen):

Dear Thomas,

I know you’re angry. It’s true, I was sent to expose your mentor as a fraud illusionist, and instead I have put your secret in jeopardy. I fear I have even put your life in jeopardy. For that I can only beg your forgiveness. I’ve fallen for you. You know I have. And I never wanted to create a rift between us, but if it means protecting you from those who wish you dead—I’ll do it. I’ll do anything to keep you safe, whatever the sacrifice. Please forgive me for all I’ve done and what I’m about to do next. I promise, it’s one magic trick no one will ever see coming.

Love,
Saverio

breakdown

Author: Madeline J Reynolds
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, LGBT, Magic
Heat Rating: cool **suggestive content**
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: November 6, 2018
Source & Format: YA Bound Book Tours–eARC via Netgalley

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I was drawn to this title for a number of reasons. The first is its historical setting–I love a good Victorian Era YA novel. The second is the gay romance between the leads–I haven’t read too many books set in this era with that romance. And the third is the premise itself–who doesn’t love some good magician sabotage?

The Plot:

This book took me awhile to get into probably because it is told through (primarily) journal entries and that delivers the story in a different way. You focus more on the characters, their feelings and daily events more so than the setting or interactions with other characters. In a sense, you are getting the story secondhand story because they are describing what has happened without you experiencing it first hand. But once I got into the groove of the POV format, the story was easy to read.

I, personally, would have enjoyed a more amped up rivalry between the two master magicians; with more sabotage. Instead, the focus remains on the two apprentices creating a very character driven story that is still very enjoyable to read because there is some great character growth (in addition to the very sweet romance).

The Characters:

It was amazing to watch these two transform before my eyes as the story progressed. The Thomas and Saverio we get at the start of the novel definitely aren’t the same boys we end the story with. I just loved the personal growth we see in these characters. I think the journal entries provided that touch of intimacy into these characters’ emotions and inner thoughts that really adds to the characters’ many layers.

The Romance:

These two were simply adorable together! I always enjoy romances that don’t start out with the nicest intentions, yet twist into something real and strong. When the plot isn’t focusing on them as individuals, I like how it concentrated on how they navigate their relationship given the various circumstances (their rivalry, the nature of their relationship in society, etc.). I also appreciated how it took the time to tackle them realistically; nothing ever felt rushed in that sense (and that isn’t always the case).

My Rating: 3/5

overall
Despite a slower start, this is a great read for fans of character driven historical YA reads!

Read if You Like: historical, stories told through journal entries
Avoid if You: want more than romance

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Madeline J Reynolds

Madeline J. Reynolds is a YA fantasy author living in Chicago. Originally from Minneapolis, she has a background in journalism and has always loved storytelling in its various forms. When not writing, she can be found exploring the city, eating Thai food, or lost in an epic Lord of the Rings marathon.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Goodreads

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Single Sundays: Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Dear Martin (from Goodreads):

Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fav 2018
Author: Nic Stone
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: Third Person + First Person
Publication Date: October 17, 2017
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I saw this book floating around quite a bit last year. While The Hate U Give seemed to catch more of the main stream attention, this book was mentioned quite a bit in the blogging community.

I was drawn to this book for 2 reasons. One is the fact that its lead is a male character. After getting a black female perspective in The Hate U Give, I was curious to see what the black male one would be. Two is the fact that Justyce writes a journal to Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

The Concept & Writing Style:

What I really loved about this book was the narrative’s style. You get chapters told from a third person narrator; then a transcript of dialogue of classroom discussions; Justyce’s letters to Dr Martin and the transcripts of news reports and the like. It keeps the story moving, focusing on the important topics and conversations. Nothing ever dragged in this book and it never losses sight of the main messages by distracting us with unnecessary plot devices.

The Plot:

As I said, this story is always moving. It’s a very straight forward plot but it works so well.  I laughed, I cried, I screamed in frustration and it made me think. You can’t ask for more in a book.

The Characters:

Justyce lives in a bit of a bubble and one that only recently gets burst. It was interesting to see how he copes with everything that is thrown at him. And he does get a lot thrown at him. He makes mistakes but he learns from them and I appreciated that. I truly became invested in his story and life.

The Romance:

It’s just a tiny part of the novel but when it does appear, it does contribute in a positive way to the many topics this book touches.

My Audiobook Experience:

I thought the narration was fabulous! Dion Graham is the narrator and he was just amazing. Everyone had a distinct voice, his pauses and dictation were perfect, and he really captured my attention at all times. He truly brought this book to life for me.

My Rating: 5/5

overall

Another great novel that is so on point with the current issues in society. I highly recommend this for fans of The Hate U Give and those of realistic fiction.

Read if You Like: realistic fiction, current events
Avoid if You: dislike non-classical prose/writing formats

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Movie Mondays: Love, Rosie

Movie Mondays: On the occasional Monday, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this week’s offering:

Book: Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern | Movie: Love, Rosie (2014)

Which did I read/see first? the MOVIE

Book Cover | Movie Poster

Author: Cecelia Ahern
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Point of View: First Person, Multiple (Told via letters, texts, insta-messaging)

thoughts

This is one of those rare cases where I decided to watch the movie before I read the book. Mainly because I wanted to be surprised when I watched the movie–and truth be told I wanted to watch the movie more than I wanted to read the book. Sometimes with certain movies/books it’s better to watch the movie first so that you don’t know what is going to happen in a movie and that’s what I wanted when I watched Love, Rosie. (I know that you are probably going: “It’s a rom-com, of course you know how it is going to end” but if you watch the trailer you can probably see why I felt this need to be surprised).

My good friend read this book before I did and lent me her copy. She told me that it was a quick cute read but that Rosie really started to get on her nerves as the story progressed so I felt like I had fair warning.

And thank goodness that I did or else I would have quit reading!

I’m sympathetic to Rosie’s situation, don’t get me wrong. So I can understand where her selfish tendencies might arise. However, at the same time, I would expect a situation like hers to accelerate her maturity; and for a while it did. But then it (her immaturity) comes back and it just rubbed me the wrong way. There is no other way to phrase it other than that she is a quite selfish person and that makes her hard to like at times.

As for the plot: it is the ultimate second chance love story. As my new book BFF Ruby puts it:

“You know, you two have the worst timing ever…when will you ever learn to catch up with each other?”

And that is how the entire book goes. It is simply a collection of letters, instant messages and emails contributing to the final question: will these two ever get together? Which is cute but gets a little tedious over time especially when you have to deal with an annoying Rosie (and Alex for that matter too). I often found myself wanting to smack some sense into these two but thankfully there are a few characters who were willing to do that for me as I read.

overall

The ultimate lesson I learned from this book: just go for it! This book is all about taking a chance when you should have; never assuming anything and making the best of whatever life throws at you. However, I found it to be very tedious and long. If it was hundred pages shorter, I would have found it a lot more enjoyable.

Rating: 3/5
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Were My Expectations Met?

I’ve wanted to see Love, Rosie since the summer of 2014–only bummer part was that it wasn’t coming to Canada until February 2015 so I “patiently” waited until it arrived.

I really liked the movie! I thought it was charming and sweet and I laughed quite a bit throughout it. It’s everything you like in a rom-com. Sure, it was a little cliche at times but I mean really: the story is about two best friends who have always loved each other! The entire premise is a cliche! Still, I really wasn’t sure how everything was going to wrap up in the movie so that was exciting. Plus, I just loved watching everything happen and a part of that major reason is the acting.

How Close is it to the Book?

I actually read the book months after I saw the movie but they are vastly different. Many of the situations are similar but the order is different or the people involved have been changed.

I actually prefer the pacing of the movie mainly because it is faster but the events were also much more dramatic. I would say the book is perhaps more realistic while the movie is more “Hollywood” drama but I found the movie to be more entertaining in that respect.

What I also like about the movie is that it actually shows Rosie and Alex interacting. The problem with the letters/etc. is that most things are being described after the fact whereas with the movie you see everything happen in front of you. You see their relationship from start to finish, see how the events actually unfold and it just forges a better connection with the characters.

Did I Like the Cast?

Perhaps I’m biased because I love Lily Collins as an actress. I’m not sure why I like her so much, but I’ve always enjoyed her movies. She reminds me a lot of Jennifer Lawrence for some reason; probably because she can do awkward funny really well. Sam Claflin was also great as Alex! If you didn’t already have a crush on him, you will probably walk out with one after this movie. He does adorkable-sexy so well 😉 I thought they had great chemistry on screen as well which made it such fun to watch. The rest of the cast was awesome as well.

The characters are also much more likeable. I think that is a result of how the plot progresses and how they make the characters react to that. I actually rooted for these two when I watched the movie whereas when I read the novel, it was more of a “are they finally together yet?” and I just wanted them to be together to resolve everything.

thewinneris winmovie

The movie is the definitely winner for me! I just thought the execution was much better; the characters were more likeable and I prefer the format. Reading everything as letters are great but I like watching events unfold before me, not hearing about them afterward.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for Love, Rosie (from Goodreads):
Rosie and Alex are destined for one another, and everyone seems to know it but them. Best friends since childhood, their relationship gets closer by the day, until Alex gets the news that his family is leaving Dublin and moving to Boston. At 17, Rosie and Alex have just started to see each other in a more romantic light. Devastated, the two make plans for Rosie to apply to colleges in the U.S.

She gets into Boston University, Alex gets into Harvard, and everything is falling into place, when on the eve of her departure, Rosie gets news that will change their lives forever: She’s pregnant by a boy she’d gone out with while on the rebound from Alex.

Her dreams for college, Alex, and a glamorous career dashed, Rosie stays in Dublin to become a single mother, while Alex pursues a medical career and a new love in Boston. But destiny is a funny thing, and in this novel, structured as a series of clever e-mails, letters, notes, and a trail of missed opportunities, Alex and Rosie find out that fate isn’t done with them yet.

Trailer:

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Single Sundays: Stolen by Lucy Christopher


Synopsis for Stolen (from Goodreads):
It happened like this. I was stolen from an airport. Taken from everything I knew, everything I was used to. Taken to sand and heat, dirt and danger. And he expected me to love him.
This is my story.
A letter from nowhere.
Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back?
The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don’t exist – almost.

Review:

I read this book as soon as it came out and finished it just as quickly!

This book was unlike anything I had ever read (and truthfully still is). It’s a dark read but I found myself sucked into the world we get. I think part of the reason it is so captivating is because it is told as a letter, which makes everything feel extremely personal and real.

It’s interesting to watch the relationship develop between Gemma and Ty. If this book had been released now and not 10 years ago, I would have classified this as a New Adult read because it has the dramatic flare to it–though this is a much more serious and dark flare that is an extreme we don’t see in New Adult reads.

It is an interesting and thought provoking book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

Conclusion:

I don’t want to say much more about this book other than it is a very enjoyable read that is a unique find in the Young Adult world.

Rating: 5/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Drama, Romance
Recommended for: 16+
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person
SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Book
Similar Reads: Wanted by Amanda Lance (Wanted Series #1) You Against Me by Jenny Downham and Circle 9 by Anne Heltzel

Movie Mondays: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Movie Mondays: On Mondays, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this week’s offering:

Book: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky | Movie: The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover Movie Poster

The Book:

Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Genre: Young Adult, Coming of Age, Humourous, High School, Bullying

Thoughts:

This is one of my all time favourite books. I read it in a few hours and I laughed so hard during it. Charlie is hilarious and it was one of the first books I can ever remember laughing through.

I also like it because it is relatable and realistic. And even though it was written years ago, it definitely applies to today’s teens as it deals with topics of bullying, coming out and finding yourself.

It should be noted that the book is written as a series of letters from Charlie as he describes his life and daily events to a friend. This format isn’t for everyone but it’s a nice change from other novels.

Conclusion:

This novel definitely isn’t for everyone and if you don’t enjoy books dealing with growing up, I would stay away from this. I think people in high school or in college would enjoy this more than a 30 year old but to each their own. But overall, if you want to try something new definitely read this!

Rating: 5/5
Similar Reads: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green

The Movie:

It should be noted that the movie was written, directed and produced by Stephen Chbosky so I went in with high expectations and was not disappointed.

While it didn’t follow the book exactly, you definitely got the main messages and feelings from the book in the movie. I laughed and I cried and I left the movie with that “feel-good” feeling great movies have. The cast was great as well. I especially loved Ezra Miller’s Patrick. He nailed my favourite character perfectly. But I have to give props to the rest of the cast as well.

Overall, fans of the book will not be disappointed and if you liked the movie, you will love the book.

So, which is better: the book or the movie?

In this case, the winner is a TIE . Both are great in their own way and the message and feelings of the novel can be found in the movie. You can’t go wrong here!

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for The Perks of Being a Wallflower (from Goodreads):
Charlie is a freshman.

And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.

Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

Trailer: