Apr 18, 2014

Just Listen

Just Listen is one of my favorite books written by Sarah Dessen. Ever. It's a story that to this day has stuck with me and every time I find myself rereading it I find I love not only the story but the characters within it more.

Annabel Greene is "the girl who has everything" — at least that's what she portrays in her modeling shoots. But Annabel's life is far from perfect. Her friendship with Sophie ended bitterly, and her older sister's eating disorder is weighing down the entire family. Isolated and ostracized at school and at home, Annabel retreats into silent acceptance. Then she meets Owen–-intense, music obsessed, and determined to always tell the truth. And with his guidance, Annabel learns to just listen to herself and gains the courage to speak honestly. But will she be able to tell everyone what really happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends?

Annabel Greene is the girl with everything. The girl who holds back as not to hurt others feelings. The girl who can't handle conflict. A girl who has something brewing deep inside of her that she won't allow herself to say. She's dealing with something far bigger than anyone has any idea about. And then she meets Owen and he teachers her honesty and that silence is so freaking loud.

Annabel Greene is one of my favorite characters. Sarah rights her so beautifully and she's so real. I could relate a lot with Annabel in the way that she has a hard time expressing herself and doesn't do well with conflict. And because there was so much about Annabel that reminded me of myself I found myself getting very invested in her story. It's such a beautiful and often times heartbreaking story. She's the type of character who sticks with you for a long time. Her story always at the back of your mind.

Owen Armstrong will and forever be one of my favorite book guys. He is so admirable and utterly honest. He does not lie. What so ever. What you see is what you get with Owen. And boy do you get something amazing. He isn't perfect though and that's something I really appreciate about Sarah Dessen and the characters she creates. He's very much real and such a music junkie.

I really loved the way Sarah wrote Owen and Annabel's story. Here are two complete strangers who build a friendship and slowly find a romance building. I personally really love the gradual growth of two characters who are friends before a romance starts. There is something much more endearing and charming about the romance when that happens. And Sarah does it so well that it makes it that much better between Owen and Annabel.

Me being someone who really loves music always really enjoys when music is featured in books. There is a lot of discussion and mention of music in this book because of Owen being so into it. And I really loved that. There was mention of so much music and such a wide variety of things. Owen definitely listen's to a bunch of different things and the discussions with Annabel about it were the best parts of the book.

There are a lot of great characters in this book from Rolly and Mallory to Annabel's sisters. That is something I really loved was it wasn't just about Annabel but also about her family and how through the years and struggles they've changed. Whitney grew to be one of my favorite characters and I loved her character growth as she came to terms with her condition.  And Kirsten as well was great as she too changed.

There is so much I loved about this book. I could talk about it for hours from how beautiful Sarah Dessen's writing is to how amazing the characters are. Just Listen gets 5 out of 5 birds from me. This book conveys a very good message and it's too beautiful of a story not to be read. I'd recommend everyone read this one. You'll quickly become invested in the story. It's very hard not too.

Apr 17, 2014

If I Stay Movie Trailer

There are so many amazing books being adapted into films these days. And I've noticed recently that they are finally sticking closer to the book than they did when they first started making these adaptions. Last night on MTV they released the first trailer for If I Stay by Gayle Forman. This is a book that I really loved and it's a book that demands to be cherished.

Holy moly. That's all I could think after watching the trailer the first time around. Of course once I was over the shock of how awesome it looked many thoughts flooded my brain and I watched it over and over again. I'll get to that. But first watch the trailer if you haven't seen it yet!

Okay I have to recover from my feels. Every time I watch it I get chills. It looks like it is going to be beautifully acted. I have never heard of the guy who is playing Adam but I have to say I am sold one hundred percent. His acting looks amazing already and this is just a trailer. Did anyone else just get captivated by him? Especially when he's asking her to stay? I can't wait to see the whole movie. Chloe looks like she will do Mia justice and her acting is always pretty good. Gah. I am just so excited. I have to reread the book sometime soon. What are your thoughts on the trailer? Are you as excited as I am?

Apr 16, 2014

That Summer

That Summer was the very first book I ever read of Sarah Dessen's. To do this day I can still remember picking up that book and falling in love with Sarah's writing. After all these years I still really enjoyed That Summer.

 The more things change...

For fiteen-year-old Haven, there's just too much going on. First, there's her father's wedding to Lorna Queen, the local television "Weather Pet." Then her sister Ashley's wedding to boring Lewis Warsher, who doesn't seem to suit Ashley at all. And Haven can't ignore the fact that she's nearly six feet tall and still growing. Haven can barely figure out who she is anymore or where she fits in. Then Ashley's old boyfriend, Sumner Lee, shows up and sparks Haven's memories of the summer when her parents were happy, her sister was plucky and carefree, and everything was perfect...or so it seemed.

Too much is changing in Haven's life. Her father is getting remarried, her sister is getting married to a guy nothing like her usual type, and her mom has a new friend Haven isn't all that fond of. Not to mention the fact she's struggling with the fact she's nearly six foot tall.

Haven was an interesting character. She wasn't one that I could necessarily connect with but at the same time I could understand where all her frustrations and anger was coming from. It is a hard thing to accept change and with Haven it seems like everything has changed. She gets tired of never being bold and speaking her thoughts. I love Haven because she's very much a realistic fifteen year old girl. She's flawed like most people are especially at that age when we are trying to figure out who we are.

Sumner Lee made an impression on Haven. A big one. So much so that when her sister dumped him she felt everything fell apart in her family. Her parents got divorced and no one was really ever as happy again. And now Sumner is back in her life and it brings all those happy times rushing back. I really loved Sumner Lee and his role in Haven's life. It's hard not to like Sumner. He's got a a quality about him that demands to make you smile. But he wasn't this perfect character either. That's one of my favorite things about Sarah Dessen's characters are how real and flawed they are. And Sumner certainly was. I loved how everything came to full circle with Ashley and Sumner and what exactly happened that night.

Ashley can seem like a bit of a brat in the beginning so focused on her wedding and having hissy fits over things. But at the end of the day Ashley is really good character and I found myself really liking her and the relationship she had with Haven.

Though this book doesn't have all that much of a romance aspect it never failed to keep my attention. Sometimes it's okay for a book not to focus so much on the romance and more so on a family struggling to pick up the pieces as everything around them changes. I liked that Sarah did that with That Summer. 

This is a quick summer read with a great story to be told about family and how change isn't all that bad when you know why everything changed in the first place. That Summer is getting 3.5 out of 5 birds from me! I really enjoyed this book and all though it isn't the best of Sarah Dessen's work or one of my favorite's I'd still recommend everyone read it. It's a good book with a story I think anyone can take a little something out of it and relate to.

Apr 13, 2014

My Life Next Door

I am a huge sucker for boy next door kind of love stories and I have to say that My Life Next Door has to be one of my favorites of them all. Because not only is it a sweet romance but it's a great story with more than just a romance. It's about family and hard choices. It's such a good book.

"One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time."

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.

As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase's family embraces Samantha - even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha's world. She's suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

A transporting debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another.

From the moment the Garrett's moved in next door to Samantha they were off limits. They were this big rowdy family her mother could do nothing but complain about. Getting to know them was not something her mother would allow. So that left Samantha to watch them from afar.

I quickly become attached to many of the characters in this book. And surprising it wasn't the main characters but instead the Garrett's themselves. I adored this family from the start whether it be little George or Patsy who only seems to know the word "boob". I have never loved a family like this one. Sometimes when there are siblings or parents involved in books it doesn't work all that well. It can grow to be boring but with the Garrett's that wasn't the case. Each of them was written so well that I was always so eager for there to be more of them.

Samantha was a great character. I really enjoyed her narration and it was very easy to become engrossed with her fascination with the Garrett's. They live next door to each other yet their lives are completely different. And from the moment Samantha meets Jase she changes little by little. She changes for the good. She becomes stronger and braver and more loving. I could fall in love with Samantha and Jase's story over and over.

Jase Garrett he is something else. Something so amazing he sets new standards for book boyfriends. He is just so thoughtful about everything. And he notices all these little details. Not only that but he's so kind in general. I loved all that about Jase because it felt so genuine and different from any male character I have ever read about. He felt very much is own. Needless to say I fell for this character.

I was really annoyed with Samantha's best friend Nan. How could she be so nasty? Sure maybe Samantha has an easy life but Samantha doesn't flaunt that in peoples faces. And just because someone has money doesn't mean their lives is all that easy. Samantha's a good friend. And Nan just...wasn't. It's so sad that sometimes the people you think are your closest friends end up not being so.

Huntely Fitzpatrick's writing was the type that didn't take any effort to read. From page one you just slip into it and you find it very hard to stop reading. I am a new fan of this author and can not wait to read more from her! She pulled me in so much with this story.

My Life Next Door is a new favorite and is getting 5 out of 5 birds from me! This was a book I had a really difficult time putting down. I'd recommend it to anyone because it's such a beautiful story with so many wonderful characters. It's the type of book that the moment I'm finished I want to go back and reread all my favorite parts. Definitely read this one!

Apr 9, 2014


I really enjoyed the first book Flicker and was super excited to hear from the author again to read the sequel Brightly. Though its been a while since I've read Flicker it didn't take me long to remember everything and fall back into the characters stories.

After escaping the faeries that held her prisoner in Otherworld, Lee Capren has made a new life for herself. When she’s not slinging spells with her monster-wrangling roommate, Filo, or honing her newfound magical abilities with her boyfriend, Nasser, she’s working in a shop that caters to Bridgestone City’s magical crowd. It’s not exactly a normal life… but it’s hers.

Everything changes when three strangers arrive with a desperate plea for help and a connection to Filo’s cruel former masters. Lee and her friends are soon swept up in the strangers’ quest to break a curse that plagues their island home.

Unraveling the secret of the curse will take them from an island where merfolk swim in the coves to a hidden city beneath the streets of Seattle and beyond. As the danger grows, relationships are tested, new ones are forged, and in the face of impossible choices, Lee learns the hardest lesson of all: Where there is love, there is also heartbreak.

With time running out and lives on the line, it becomes clear that failure could cost their lives—and success could cost them everything else.

Lee and her friends meet three strangers who ask them to help them get rid of a sickness that has spread across their island. Turns out that sickness is a curse and if they don't get rid of it lots of people are going to get really sick--or worse.

I really loved Lee in Flicker. She quickly became a character who was easy to like. I can remember how much I connected with her but I found that in Brightly I had a harder time connecting with Lee. I don't exactly know what it was but throughout the beginning of the book it was much harder. I still really liked Lee and by the 150 mark I found myself connecting with her again. She's a fantastic character with so many loveable and admirable characteristics. And she's grown a lot since Flicker and it was great seeing that change not just in Lee but in all the characters. They have so many challenges presented to them in Brightly.

My favorite thing about these books is Kaye's writing. There is something to be said about the way she writes. It is truly captivating even more so this time. Every sentence is crafted beautifully with imagery that allows you to picture things perfectly. I'd forgotten just how good Kaye Thornbrugh is at crafting the world her characters live in. I don't read many books with fey but the few I have don't always make it easy to picture the world they have created. Kaye though has a way of making it so easy that there is no effort to create the image in my head. It all flows so well.

It's no secret Filo Shine is one of my favorite characters from Flicker. I liked this guy from the beginning. And I found myself loving him more and more with each page I read of Brightly. Out of all the characters in this book he is the one that grew so much and became an even better character. I'm really surprised I never picked up on certain things with Filo but am actually really pleased with how Kaye took his storyline. When I first read Flicker I really wanted him and Lee together but I found that the friendship and respect that bloomed between them was much better. In fact I am so glad it's a friendship rather than anything else.

I found myself really enjoying the romance between Lee and Nasser. Not only that but I found myself really loving Nasser in general. I liked him in the first book but I was so lost in Filo Shine that I never really thought much of Nasser. That changed with this book. I really really liked his character and the journey he goes through. 

So much goes on in this book and yet by the end of it you find yourself wondering why it has to end like that. Gosh, that ending was intense and now it's left me wanting more. I have to know what happens to the gang next! That was so insane I couldn't read faster with those final pages.

It's safe to say Brightly was a winner for me! I enjoyed it even more than the first book and it's getting 4.5 out of 5 birds from me! I am so excited to see where the story will go next. Did I mention the insane ending? Wow. Really, read these books if you haven't already people! So so good! I'd recommend them to anyone especially since me not being a big fey fan love these books.

~~Thanks Kaye for a copy of your book!~~