Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Review : Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Title: Finding Audrey

Author: Sophie Kinsella

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Release Date: June 9th, 2015

Goodreads Summary: From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Shopaholic series comes a terrific blend of comedy, romance, and psychological recovery in a contemporary YA novel sure to inspire and entertain.

An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.


I have never read a Sophie Kinsella book before, but I meant to, because I loved the Confessions of a Shopaholic movie. I heard it was her first YA novel, and I think she did pretty good.

First, I like how the cover reflect Audrey's state of mind at the beginning of the novel, because her instinct tells her to hide. I liked Sophie Kinsella's style because this book was so addictive (there are chapters, but not the numbers, so I couldn't stop reading) and funny. 

For me, this book was more relatable because it had only half-truths, for example there weren't details about the bullying, because Audrey didn't want to talk about it. Even though I wanted to know precisely what had happened, the author didn't push it and let us imagine, which also permits the reader to make the book his own. 

Audrey's "recovery" was really interesting to read about, it allowed a lot of character development for her. It was realistic, because even at the end, she isn't back to "normal" like she wanted to, and understands people can have a perfect life (see the graphs) like she wanted to. Seeing a part of the story through the camera was really interesting, it was most of the time things she wasn't supposed to see, so even funnier, and it was cute when Frank used it.

About the characters, I think my favourite was Felix. I love children and have three little brothers, so I always relate to characters who have younger siblings. 

"Hello you," I say, and press my face close against his. "Hello you." He squashes up even closer. "Do you want to build a snowman?" 
And because of that Frozen obsession, I started finding him soooo cute. All the characters were whole, Frank with LOC for example. But, I couldn't bring myself to like the Mom. She was really obsessed with the Daily Mail and it pissed me off how much she had a crisis because "Video games are evil, blah blah blah", because in the end, she kinda became interested. Like seriously, she throw a computer off the window? Whose mom would do that? I think she's supposed to understand how expensive that thing is, I really didn't get that part, she was essentially an extreme stereotypical figure.

I liked Audrey and Linus relationship, how he helped her overcome her fears with his challenge. The one with the ice-cream seller was really cute. But, I didn't understand the beginning of their relationship, it was really unrealistic. Audrey is anxious, she can't make eye-contact with him, and the next minute they're making out? I would have preferred it with more steps, even if there was the shoe contact before.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time reading this book, it was a fun, easy and quick read. Still, I had a few issues with this book, but that's not a big deal, it just explains why this isn't my favorite book.

Rating : 4/5

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Review : Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Title: Red Queen

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Publisher: Harper Teen

Release Date: February 10th, 2015

Goodreads Summary:

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?


First, I would like to say that I didn't want to read this book at all, because of the hype. Everyone was talking about it in February and a lot of people said they had mixed feelings about it. I doubted I would ever get around it, but only idiots never change their minds, as they said, so I jumped into it. I won't lie, I also have mixed feelings about this book.

For a debut novel, this book is good, no doubt.
If you aren't so familiar with YA, this book is amazing.
But here is the thing : I'm a sucker for YA.

This book is a mix of YA books (The Selection, The Hunger Games, Red Rising, Shadow and Bone...), which disturbs me a lot. I have stopped reading dystopian novels because I found them too similar to each other, and then, I read this one. This book makes my point. So yes, I liked it, and if I was writing a review only based on my enjoyment, this book would be a 4.5 stars. But right now, all I can't think about is the similarities. If you want to know what I'm talking about, check this review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1204596355?book_show_action=false

However, I don't want to dwell on this matter and try to talk about what I enjoyed about this book. 

This world was really interesting, a true dystopian society, on that point, Aveyard was pretty good, even it there was nothing new. The Silvers are above the Reds, who wants to begin a revolution with a spark (almost a quote of the book, ahem, you know which ORIGINAL book I'm referring to), our main character, Mare.

I really liked her, she was an interesting character, and most of the time she was realistic. I will make an exception for a moment like when she has to bow in front of the king (who can kill her) and refuse, because his system is the reason for her awful life. I can't understand she hates him, but if I had been in her shoes, I would have been terrified. 

There was a love triangle, I don't really like it obviously (like most of the time), I'll be happy as long as she doesn't end up with the Gale. 

The plot was pretty solid, the last plot twists were really well done, even if I knew that character would betray her. Still, I didn't expect the last events at all, I was pleasently surprised. 

Victoria Aveyard can write, that's what she showed me with this book. The pacing, the transitions, it was well written and enough to keep my attention, even if I was mad at her for the similarities. Now, I want to give her a chance for improvement in the second book, for the originality. With an ending like this one, I feel like I have to read the second book, and I will, but I really hope it won't turn out on a collection of similarities to other YA books. I think Aveyard would be great at retellings because of that, though. 

Rating : 3.5/5

Review : Rogue by Julie Kagawa

Title: Rogue

Author: Julie Kagawa

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Release Date: April 28th 2015

Goodreads Summary: Ember Hill left the dragon organization Talon to take her chances with rebel dragon Cobalt and his crew of rogues. But Ember can't forget the sacrifice made for her by the human boy who could have killed her—Garret Xavier Sebastian, a soldier of the dragonslaying Order of St. George, the boy who saved her from a Talon assassin, knowing that by doing so, he'd signed his own death warrant. 

Determined to save Garret from execution, Ember must convince Cobalt to help her break into the Order's headquarters. With assassins after them and Ember's own brother helping Talon with the hunt, the rogues find an unexpected ally in Garret and a new perspective on the underground battle between Talon and St. George. 

A reckoning is brewing and the secrets hidden by both sides are shocking and deadly. Soon Ember must decide: Should she retreat to fight another day…or start an all-out war?


This month has been my Julie Kagawa's month, I read the Blood of Eden trilogy (about vampires, really good) and the two first books of the Talon quintet. The third book, Soldier, is scheduled to be out during Fall 2016. Personnally, I can't wait to read this book because I loved the first two ! I also need to read the Iron Fey series, but that's another story. 

I loved this book, it was a great second installment in this Talon quintet. At the end of the first book, Ember went with Riley/Cobalt for a rogue life, Garret was taken by the Order to be judged and Dante remained with Talon. At the beginning of the book, Ember discovers what the life of a rogue really is and convinces Cobalt to come with her to rescue Garret (who is to be executed), I'm glad it didn't take too long for the rescue part. For Dante, he has to convince Talon he is trustworthy and organizes a mission to take Ember back. If I had to summarize the plot, I would say it is an on-the-run kind of book, with a fast pace, so I was never bored. I loved the betrayals (even if I had guessed). <spoiler>I think my favorite part of the book was when Faith made Ember shoot Garret, she aimed at his head, dropped the weapon and Shifted. It was such an intense moment, I loved it.</spoiler>

The characters are all supposed to be kick-assed and have a lot of development, for example Cobalt's flashbacks of twelve years ago. Ember, who chose a rogue life, admits she isn't sure about what she's doing and I liked that : she shows her weaknesses. 

<blockquote>"I don't know what I'm doing," I admitted. "I thought I did, but I was wrong. I have no idea what to do now. I…" <i>I don't want to lose anyone else. Especially him.</i></blockquote>

The end is the promise of a fantastic third book : Garret arc in London, Dante and Talon (OMG the epilogue, I want the next one like now) and Ember and Riley going after traitors/rogue hatchlings. I'm really excited, even if the next book will be out in such a long time ! If I had to pick a team, it would be Garret, because seriously, star-crossed lovers.

Rating : 5/5

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Review : Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

Title: Every Last Word

Author: Tamara Ireland Stone

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Release Date: June 16th, 2015

Goodreads Summary: If you could read my mind, you wouldn't be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can't turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn't help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she'd be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam's weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet's Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more "normal" than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear. 

"But I think you meant what you said in that poem. Did you?"
It takes effort, but I sit up straight and look right at her. "Every last word."
On BookTube, a lot of people read this as an ARC and did giveaways for it. I didn't know if I was ever going to read it at that time, few weeks ago. This book completely took me by surprise. I like contemporary books, but I've never read one dealing with mental illness before. However, I had the feeling I could relate to Sam - mostly because my little brother has similar issues. 

Every last word is the story of a girl who has a perfect life on the outside : popular friends, family, swimming practice, but she struggles to keep it together, because she has OCD. Her new school year shows her evolving a lot, developing new friendships and finally, finding her place.

This room changed her life. And it's just beginning to change mine.
Even if this book resolves around our main character, Sam, there are some side stories, for example Emily's (I cried so much) or Cameron. In the beginning, Sam can seem self-centered (which can be related to her group of friends), not knowing the names of persons that have been in her classes for a while, but she starts to care about others, in fact, she grows up. 

Tears are rolling down my cheeks, because my heart is breaking for a girl I didn't even know three months ago.
The romance was obvious but I liked the way it was built up, it didn't feel rushed, even if it happened two-thirds in. 

There were also really funny parts, just check this out :

"And instead of heading off to the bathroom to change it like I normally would, I told her that her blush was too heavy and she looked like a mime."
"Well, if she looked like a mime, it makes perfect sense that she's not speaking to you", he says.
Of course the poetry took a large spot in this book and I loved it so much, especially Abigail's "As if", which summed up a lot of high school students experiences. By the way, the characters weren't seniors but juniors, it changed, for once. 

To conclude, this book is one of my favorite contemporary books of this year, it touched my soul and I cried a lot, I will keep this story in my heart for a long time. 

Rating : 5/5