BOOK REVIEW : IT WAS ME ALL ALONG BY ANDIE MITCHELL

20484545Title: It Was Me All Along
Author: Andie Mitchell
Published: January 6th 2015
240 pages
Source: Purchased

Click here to find it on Goodreads

It Was Me All Along is a memoir written by food blogger and instagrammer, miss Andie Mitchell. In this inspiring piece of literature, Andie talks about her childhood, her long-time struggles with weight loss and her fear of gaining it all back. It’s so much more than just a book about diet and exercise. She isn’t telling you what you should eat to get skinnier or what she did to magically lose all of her weight, she shares her true life story without sugar coating any of it.

So many things about this story made me reflect on my life. I could relate to the narrator in more ways than one. At times, I felt as if the author were an actual friend of mine and I was sad when the last chapter came to an end. It Was Me All Along really inspired me. I can’t think of a better word to use, than inspire. I can honestly say that I learned a lot by reading Andie’s weight-loss story, especially when it comes to BALANCE. It also peaked my interest when it comes to health, nutrition and self-help books. I would love to get my hands on other books like this!

What made this book so great was knowing that it was real. Andie Mitchell is a real person, just like you and me. I loved checking out her Instagram page and blog after finishing this book. Her blog posts are awesome and motivating. I highly recommend you all check out this new non-fiction author.

Click here to learn more about Andie on her BLOG

maria

Advertisements

BOOK REVIEW : ATTACHMENTS BY RAINBOW ROWELL

8909152Title: Attachments
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published: April 14th 2011 by Dutton Adult
323 pages
Source: purchased
Click here to find it on Goodreads

Maria’s thoughts:
Attachments is narrated by Lincoln, who’s job is essentially to read other peoples emails. One day he stumbles upon an email from two very interesting women, and as much as he knows it’s wrong – he can’t stop reading. The more he reads, the more he falls in love with one of the two ladies…

I really loved Lincoln’s character growth throughout this book. He was portrayed as the cute, but awkward, computer guy. He was very unsure about who he was and where he was headed in life. Jennifer and Beth were fantastic female characters. Both of them were Hilarious. I definitely enjoyed reading their emails written to each other just as much as Lincoln did. Those conversations were my absolute favourite parts of this book.

At some points, I wasn’t certain about where the story was going. Beth had a boyfriend throughout the whole book, and Lincoln was way too scared to even approach her in person. It all tied together quite nicely in the end though. Rainbow Rowell’s endings never fail to WOW me. No matter how I feel in the beginning or middle of her books, the endings always blow me away. I thought that Attachments was a very original, fun, contemporary read. I am really glad that i’ve gotten around to reading more of Rainbow Rowell’s work. 4 out of 5 stars.

Mackenzie’ thoughts:
Before going into attachments, I was very excited because I previously loved Eleanor and park and Fangirl. Attachments was probably my least favourite out of the three, but still very good. I loved that it was set in the 90s and the concept of the book was so interesting to me. I loved reading the emails between Beth and Jennifer. At first I wasn’t crazy over our main character, Lincoln. I was really frustrated with him throughout the book. I really loved the side characters like Doris, she was always great! Overall I still recommend this book, it was really funny and enjoyable. 5 out of 5 stars!

BOOK REVIEWS: BEAUTIFUL DISASTER & WALKING DISASTER BY JAMIE MCGUIRE

11505797 15745950
Title: Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful, #1), Walking Disaster (Beautiful, #2)
Author: Jamie McGuire
Publication: May 26th 2011 by Jamie McGuire, April 2nd 2013 by Atria Books

When I started Beautiful Disaster, I was seriously wondering what all of the fuss was about. The writing was just okay, and I felt as if the story was being rushed. For example, Abby and Travis became friends very fast and then BOOM he loves her. Thankfully, these initial thoughts did not keep me from reading or loving this book. I have to admit, the more I read, the more enthralled I became with their dysfunctional relationship. After reading the first hundred pages, I was down right addicted. I did not want to put this book down, at all.

Walking Disaster is the very same story told in Travis’s point of view. I enjoyed this one just as much. I did get a bit bored with the repeated dialogue, since I picked it up immediately after finishing Beautiful Disaster, but I loved reading about Travis’s thoughts and feelings. It was refreshing to read from a males perspective and I flew through it.

Travis is a bad boy with big time anger issues that he chooses to deal with by fighting in college. He is the kind of male character that you hate SO MUCH sometimes, but in the end you just can’t help but love anyway. Yes, my favourite kind. There were moments in this book when I seriously wanted to punch him in the face, or at least make Abby stay away from him. He was a disaster, but he had a big heart and tried SO hard to prove himself to her. Abby, however, is a good girl who had a hard upbringing. Her mother was a drunk and her father was a gambler, so she does everything in her power to stay away from that type of lifestyle – at least before falling for Travis.

Shepley, Travis’s roommate, and his girlfriend America also played big parts in these two books. They were such great friends to both Travis and Abby. I enjoyed following them and watching them grow as a couple, even though they weren’t the main focus of the story.

Jamie McGuire knows how to write some addicting books with lots of ups and downs. I am looking forward to reading A Beautiful Wedding and Beautiful Oblivion. If you have read any of these books, let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

maria

MARIA’S APRIL TBR

22819890      23126606       8909152      8709523
11505797     12000020      18081809      15745950
graphics-flower-line-068748

I’ve been on a bit of a contemporary kick lately, so I will be reading more of that genre than usual this month. There are many more books that I would love to be able to read in the month of April, but I have to be realistic – it’s exam month people! If all goes well, I will be studying hard during the day and still making time to read these books and relax in the evenings. I just don’t want to be putting TOO much pressure on myself.

A Time To Reap by Jonas Lee and The Gatekeepers Son by C.R. Fladmark are the “review books” that Mallory and I will be tackling in the next few weeks. Both of which were sent to us by the authors.

Aristotle and Dante discover the Secrets of the Universe is the book pick for our monthly discussion with Mackenzie and Marissa. I am really excited about discussing this one! You can check out last months discussion HERE.

Let me know if you have read or plan on reading any of these beauties!

maria

MARIA’S #EASTERREADATHON UPDATE

Hey guys! I just wanted to let you all that I am participating in the Easter Read-A-Thon, hosted on Instagram by @Tulipreads @Zeilenverlieb @Booklovingjacky @Zeilensehnsucht @Zeilenzauberet. It will be going on from today, April 3rd, until Sunday, April 5th. I may bend the rules a little bit and count Monday as well, because I will be spending most of tomorrow and all day on Sunday with family.

22819890Today I read the last 50% of A Time to Reap (The Legend of Carter Gabel #1) by Jonas Lee. This book was sent to Mallory and I by the author in exchange for our honest reviews. I have to say, I really enjoyed this book a lot! A solid 4.5 stars for me. I don’t want to say too much just yet, as we will be posting our in depth reviews here on the blog. Just know that I am starting to fall in love the time traveling genre. It’s so interesting and cool!
12000020
After finishing that one, I decided to pick up Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. This is the book that Mallory, Marissa, Mackenzie and I chose to read and discuss in the month of April. Oh my goodness. I read this entire gem of a book in one sitting. My goal was to get to 50%, but from that point on – I just couldn’t put it down. Very real characters and a truly touching story. Everything that makes a book beautiful. I am so excited to see what my reading friends think of this one!

I am really happy with today’s reading, both books were very good! I am so grateful to have had the entire day to do nothing but read in my pyjamas. It will most likely be challenging to fit reading into the rest of my weekend, but that’s alright. I have no TBR and no specific number of books to complete. I just plan on reading and enjoying Easter with my loved-ones.

What are you doing this weekend? Are you participating in the #EASTERREADATHON? Let me know in the comments below!
maria

BOOK DISCUSSION: ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES BY JENNIFER NIVEN

18460392Title: All the Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Published: 2015 by Knopf
388 pages
Source: purchased
Click here to find it on Goodreads

“You are all the colours in one, at full brightness.”

Caution! Spoilers ahead!

Thoughts before starting the book?
Mackenzie: I didn’t really know what it was about or what to expect. The lady at the bookstore recommended it to me and said it was very good and I heard good things online. I also heard they were making a movie adaptation and that got me interested because it’s not too often that a new release already has a movie in the works.
Mallory: I don’t even think I had heard of it until you guys suggested it. I was a little upset that they made the comparison to The Fault in Our Stars because let’s be honest, we all know someone is going to die when that happens.
Maria: I sort of had high expectations because of it being compared to The Fault in Our Stars and Eleanor and Park, but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did.
Marissa: I didn’t know anything about it going in so I just kind of blindly jumped in.

What were your first thoughts on Finch?
Mackenzie: Finch I really liked but he was a weird character. I loved how he cared so much about Violet. It was interesting to hear his point of view about like and stuff.
Mallory: I adored Finch right from the get go. He seemed to have such positive thoughts about everything, even after we learned about his growing up. I loved that he wasn’t afraid to change his personality from week to week and no one could bring him down.
Maria: I wasn’t sure how i was going to feel about Finch. The fact that he was so “out there” and had suicidal thoughts made me wonder if I would be able to connect with his character. The more I read, the more I loved him! He was smart, funny and full of adventure. He narrated his parts of the story amazingly! I don’t think I will be forgetting his character for a long time.
Marissa: I really fell in love with Finch’s character. He was so easy to picture and seemed like a loveable guy.

And Violet?
Mackenzie: Violet was just okay for me, though I felt bad for her loss, she was like every other high school student except she wasn’t living life until she met Finch.
Mallory: With Violet I felt so bad for her, Finch was exactly what she needed to bring her life and joy back to her.
Maria: I thought that Violet was a sweet girl. I was glad that she was there for Finch. She understood him more than anybody and accepted him the way he was.
Marissa: I wasn’t sure about Violet at first because I was worried she’d be a super annoying and popular girl, but I started to like her more once we got more of her story.

What did you think after Finch talked Violet down from the balcony but she continued to let everyone call him Theodore Freak?
Mackenzie: I understood because she didn’t know him well, but she could have stood up for it. It really frustrated me that she went with the popular kids and ignored him.
Mallory: I was really disappointed in her character then. I understand she didn’t want everyone knowing it was her but it really bugged me how she let everyone keep calling him that. I think if someone saved my life I’d be forever grateful and would stand up for them no matter how unpopular they were.
Maria: I didn’t really think too much of it… I don’t think I expected her to change right away, or to defend him right away either. The pacing was done right in this book. It wouldn’t have seemed as “real” otherwise.
Marissa: I really thought she’d be the bigger person and stand up for him. Super disappointing.

What did you think of the wanderings?
Mackenzie: I really liked it and that’s when I started liking Violet as a character and loving Finch. Even though he has problems he is a great person. I loved their adventures and how it brought them together. Violet finally started to live after her sister’s death.
Mallory: Sooo cute. So so cute. Like better than any date I’ve read in a story. The wanderings made me so happy I found myself smiling the whole time they were out. It really got Violet to live a little more and you could really see both characters coming out of their shells a lot more.
Maria: I thought that this was an awesome part of the book. It took the characters on so many adventures. They didn’t stop at just two, they kept finding new wanders to visit. These places brought the characters closer together and helped them be themselves despite what they were going through. It makes me want to go on my own wanders.
Marissa: It was so fun since they were so unusual. I thought it was pretty great that Finch was able to get Violet in a car again after the accident.

Did you like the use of the alternating chapter points of views?
Mackenzie: Yes because they were two very complex characters that had two different stories and two different points of view. If there wasn’t both of their points of views, especially Finch, I think it would have ruined the story.
Mallory: At first I only liked Finch’s chapters. So getting to Violet’s got a little slow for me. But once I started liking her I found that it made the book fly by a lot faster than if it had been just one point of view.
Maria: I think that it was done really well! Both characters were written so good, they really each had their own voice in the story. I especially loved Finch’s point of view.
Marissa: I really liked getting a boys point of view, it was a nice change.

What did you think of the writing style?
Mackenzie: I loved it! It was beautiful and I loved the metaphors that Finch had and it felt a lot like John Green and Rainbow Rowell mixed together which I loved. This book should be put into schools. It could help so much and give others information.
Mallory: You can tell the author has dealt with this in her life (if you read the authors note at the end you will find this information). So much emotion came through her words. It makes a whole different story when you can feel the emotion they are conveying through the story telling.
Maria: I absolutely loved it. It surprised me so much.
Marissa: I liked it a lot. It was almost poetic. And I agree with Mallory, so much emotion was conveyed through it all.

Did you like the parts about the use of post it notes? When Finch would have them all over his walls and then Violet started using his method?
Mackenzie: Yes it was a nice twist to the book and very creative and original. It was cute. This book would have really affected me when I was younger and it would have been great to read it while I was still in school.
Mallory: It’s cool things like that that really stick out to me in a book. Staring at the cover I wondered how the post it notes would come into play. And it’s funny how them writing simple little words on them would hit me right in the the feels. I loved the part where they would write good words and post them and then write bad words and crumple them up.
Maria: It was definitely a unique part of the story. Finch was a unique character so of course it fit well. I agree with Mallory, it’s these little things that are going to reach out to young readers.
Marissa: Yeah it made me want to cover my room in post it notes!

Did you think Finch was going to kill himself? And if so, how did you think he was going to do it?
Mackenzie: I wasn’t sure. I kept going back and forth. I thought Violet would have helped him get better. After he left and barely answered I knew he would since it was only Violet’s perspective. I really think he could have gotten better, it was so sad. I had no idea how, he changes his mind so much I couldn’t even guess.
Mallory: Yes and no and yes and no. My mind was so back and forth with this. I kept thinking no, even after he swallowed the pills. I didn’t think he was going to leave Violet like that, especially after having helped her get over the death of her sister. After him leaving I knew he would. But how really stumped me. I thought he was going to crash his van.
Maria: I don’t know how to answer this at all! It was definitely in the back of my mind the entire time that I was reading the story, but I fell so hard for the characters that I couldn’t help by HOPE that the author wouldn’t do that to me! I actually cried when it hit me, and I felt a bit of hatred towards Violet for telling her parents (not going to lie). Basically, I was sitting on my couch, crying, saying no no no no no, please be alive, you have to help Violet, you have to finish the project, you have to LIVE!
Marissa: I sadly knew he was going to, I just didn’t know when or how. I wanted it to be a happy ending but after he moved into his closet I definitely knew it was going to happen. I kind of thought he was going to crash his van by going too fast.

Did you like the use of the back story? Eg Finch’s dad beating him and Violet’s sister dying in the crash (showing us that anything can drive someone to think that suicide is the only answer).
Mackenzie: Not really because it was sad but his dad really didn’t make a difference at all and I hated him. It was interesting to hear about Violet’s sister because it played a big part in her story.
Mallory: It makes me feel so bad knowing the one thing can make such a harsh difference in someone’s life. I want to help all the people going through suicidal thoughts.
Maria: I appreciated it. It had me putting myself in their shoes and understanding their situations a lot more. The whole mental illness aspect of the book really had me interested. It really hit me hard and opened my eyes up.
Marissa: The back story let us see into Finch’s world so much and how he felt alone in his family which I liked a lot. I wanted to know more of Violet’s story other than just her sister.

What was going through your mind when Violet went to find him?
Mackenzie: That I hoped he was alive and she could bring him back home but I knew deep down that he was already gone. I reread it at least three times.
Mallory: I had such a dreading feeling. I didn’t want her of be the one to find him. I looked ahead a few paragraphs and when she said she found him I thought he was alive and felt so relieved. Then kept reading and the dread settled in a little more. I can’t imagine the haunting feeling of finding someone like that.
Maria: I was freaking out. Hardcore. It was like I knew what she was going to find, but I didn’t want to bring myself to believe it. I read that part of the book over again just so I could deal.
Marissa: I felt so sad for her the whole time especially since Finch’s mom made her go find him. It was so sad.

And final question, were you happy that she was brave enough to finish the wanderings without him?
Mackenzie: Yes, I knew that she would find something he left behind when she went. It was so beautiful but so sad.
Mallory: The way she did them and found all of his little clues was so adorable it made my heart hurt. But it was nice to see her not coop herself up and away from everyone, but go out and get the closure that she needed. I think for the heaviness of the story the ending was a lot happier than I expected it to be.
Maria: Yes! I was really sad and I don’t know how she did it, but I was so proud of her. I was happy with what Finch left behind for her and I think that finishing the project helped her heal.
Marissa: I loved that she had the courage to do so and was able to get a final goodbye through them. I was reading the last wandering in my religion class and was crying when she read the song he left. So sad but so romantic.

Can we just take a second to also appreciate the name UltraViolet ReMarkeyable?
Mackenzie: Yes!! That was so cute!!
Mallory: If a boy ever gave me a name like that I would cry. Sooo adorable.
Maria: Yes! Everything about this story was so flipping cute and original
Marissa: Gah, so adorable!

Rating on Goodreads?
Mackenzie: ★★★★★
Mallory: ★★★★
Maria: ★★★★★
Marissa: ★★★★

BOOK REVIEW: DARK LEGEND: THE SUPERNATURAL CHRONICLES

22036395Title: Dark Legend : The Supernatural Chronicles
Author: R.A. Reene’
Published: August 2014
300 pages
Source: Author
Click here to find it on Goodreads

Maria’s thoughts:
Alex, was raised as a pure witch by her grandmother and aunts. It isn’t until her fifteenth birthday that she learns the truth about herself: she is a hybrid, half fairy and half demon. Alex is forced to move to a supernatural town and start magical schooling. Being the new kid is even harder than usual because Alex is now known as the demon girl. She manages to make a few new friends and gets used to her new life there. Throughout the book, she discovers more and more about her family and her past. All of her life, she was told that her parents were dead, but she never really knew what had happened to them. Alex also finds out about her evil uncle Sama’el, who is trapped in the underworld, and she does everything she can to stop him from getting out.

I have a special place in my heart for paranormal/supernatural books, so when we were asked to read this book in exchange for an honest review – I was beyond excited. I found the storyline really intriguing. It was never boring, and the pacing was done really well. It especially picked up towards the end of the book. However, I have to admit that I did not feel attached to any of the characters. I liked Alexandria, Eleanor, Emilie and Kat, but unfortunately I didn’t find myself connecting with them. Overall, I thought that this book was a decent quick read. I enjoyed the dialogue, the magical school setting and the supernatural elements. I just wish that I would have been more “wowed” by the character development. The ending leads readers to believe that the author may be releasing a second instalment, so if any of you are interested in a new YA paranormal series to read – keep your eyes open for that!

3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

Mallory’s thoughts:
At 14 years old, Alexandria Grimaldi finds out that she has been lied to her entire life. She is not the witch she thought she was, but rather a demon. Her parents were both thought to be killed shortly after her birth, so Alexandria lives with her grandmother and two aunts. What Alexandria also doesn’t know, is that her evil uncle Sam’ael is looking for her, to kill her. When her family is under attack, they seek refuge in a supernatural community. Since Alexandria is a demon, they don’t really want them to live there, but finally grant them permission. As Alexandria attends her new school she tries to go through her normal life while trying to keep away from her uncle.

To be honest, the synopsis of this story made me so excited. The plot was like nothing I had heard before. Yet this was a major let down for me. I was interested up until the fourth or fifth chapter. From there, the lack of grammar skills, the drab and boring characters, and the inability to provide proper descriptions to tie up loose ends had me shaking my head. Nothing seemed to happen for a reason and the plot jumped around more than anything I’ve ever read. I dragged through this, feeling as though it was a chore to finish this book and there was no action to live up to my expectation. By the end, I felt like nothing had really been cleared up and I felt relieved that the story was finished. If there is another instalment, I will probably not be interested in reading it.

Unfortunately, I had to give this one a 2/5 star rating.