My Big Fat Fake Wedding by Lauren Landish-Book Review

If you think Courtney isn’t going to ‘pop by’ within twenty-four hours of finding out we’re living together to check the status of my closet and where your toothbrush is, you’re an idiot. And I know for a fact that you’re not.”

Ross, My Big Fat Fake Wedding Page 125

Author: Lauren Landish
Published: 2019
Pages: 360
Rating: 6/10

Let’s just get this out of the way because it will probably decide if you are going to read this review at home or at work. And also whether you will read this book on a weekend alone, or with your kids around. This book is a NSFW book masquerading as a regular comedic love story if I ever saw one. There are some very descriptive scenes. So keep that in mind as you read this. I will try to keep the dirty to a minimum, but if you are under 18 this book is 100% not for you, even though the story is hilarious. Adults only. Preferably in the comfort of your own home, while you are alone. Trust me, you may need that.

So for shits and giggles here is my one word description of this book. Horny. There is no need for more, but because I am a good person here is the Goodreads Summary.

Goodreads Summary

He needs a wife.
I need a husband.
It’s just temporary… what could go wrong?

I’ve always wanted the fairy tale wedding. Not for the princess perfect dress or big party, but for Papa.

My grandfather. The only father figure I’ve ever known.
It’s his dying wish to walk me down the aisle.
Gee, no pressure.

But I can grant that wish…
I just have to fake being head over heels in love with Ross Andrews, my best friend’s big brother whom I embarrassingly crushed on all through high school.

Handsome. Knockout sexy. Arrogant jerk extraordinaire.
Our childish pranks and tit-for-tat battles were legendary. Then I grew up.
Not that he ever noticed.

I know it’s a terrible idea, and we’re both in over our heads.
It could be the wedding of a lifetime or a total disaster.
How do we make it to the altar without killing each other first?

Or without falling in love for real?

My Thoughts

Where to begin with my thoughts on this book. I mean first off I read it in just a few hours. The story is a train wreck, but it is pretty much written to be that way. I enjoyed the writing style and Lauren did a great job being descriptive. The story also made me laugh out loud more than a few times. But it also did a few other things that I did not expect.

Even from the Goodreads summary it sounds just like a pretty standard YA or even like early 20’s type book that is going to be filled with a cheesy love story and not much else. Now see I am no prude. I have no problem with sex scenes in books but there were SO MANY in this book. And they were so descriptive. Every. Single. Time. Had I started the book knowing that was going to happen I probably would not have as much to say about it. But man, oh man. I mean, I knew it wasn’t going to be specifically for a younger audience when on page 30 Ross and his dad are arguing and he says The one time I didn’t fuck the woman throwing herself at me, and it’s gotten me into more trouble than if I had thrown her the bone she wanted. But even that did not prepare me for what was to come.

The thing is the story was really good. I thought the way a few of the scenes played out was a bit over the top but the book did have a really good base for a romance story. Boy and girl fight in high school. Girl thinks boy hates her, and boy thinks girl doesn’t like him. Boy is an idiot and doesn’t realize girl has a crush. Boy hasn’t seen girl in years and sees her at a bar. Boy wants to sleep with her. Boy and girl fall in love. They don’t tell eachother. They basically ruin their relationship. The only extra thing thrown in here is the ridiculous plan for a fake wedding.

I also usually try to find a moral, or an underlying meaning to a book but this one really doesn’t have one. It is just a funny story with a lot of sex. I meant it when I said you would probably want to read this one when you were alone. You definitely would not want your kids walking up on you reading this.

Final Recommendations

I am conflicted about my final recommendations on this book. I want to recommend it because it was funny and I enjoyed it. But then again I don’t want to because of how descriptive this book can get when talking about sex. Granted the books itself is very descriptive about most things and it would have been odd for that to not have been described. I personally just enjoy being told they are having hot steamy sex and being allowed to imagine the rest. I guess if you like books like 50 Shades of Gray but don’t want it to be on that level you will probably enjoy this book. I give it a 6/10 because I just had a hard time wanting to read all those sex scenes. Had even just like 1 or 2 of those scenes been left out I probably would have enjoyed the book more.

If you are interested in buying My Big Fat Fake Wedding you can buy it here. This link is an affiliate link, by using it to purchase this book you will be supporting this blog at no extra cost to you! I earn a small commision from each sale, so if you are interested in helping keep this blog running please think about using the link above!

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen-Book Review

Somethings don’t last forever, but some things do. Like a good song, or a good book, or a good memory you can take out and unfold in your darkest times, pressing down the corners and peering in close, hoping you still recognize the person you see there. “

Remy, This Lullaby Page 344

Author: Sarah Dessen
Published: 2002
Pages: 345
Rating: 8/10

Time for another review of probably my favorite YA author, Sarah Dessen. This is an old book, like 8 years old at this point, but I still think it is worth checking out. I actually thought I had already read this book but after starting it realized I had not. This book is like me in a nutshell. Or at least my view on relationships, or what it used to be.

Goodreads Summary

When it comes to relationships, Remy doesn’t mess around. After all, she’s learned all there is to know from her mother, who’s currently working on husband number five. But there’s something about Dexter that seems to defy all of Remy’s rules. He certainly doesn’t seem like Mr. Right. For some reason, however, Remy just can’t seem to shake him. Could it be that Remy’s starting to understand what those love songs are all about?

My Thoughts

This book spoke to me more than most books I have read recently. I bought this book YEARS ago, like while I was still in high school and on my kick of reading anything and everything Sarah Dessen. There is a small part of me that wishes that I would have read this then. Remy and I had the same outlook on relationships that is for sure. I was also a very cynical person (about almost everything, not just love) and though I would date or do the casual thing with guys I really never committed to anyone for a long period of time. Or maybe they just didn’t commit to me for a long period of time, I don’t know. Either way I was like Remy. Thinking that love was stupid and having boyfriends was fun but I knew that nothing was going to last. I was working and in band and just ready to move on with my life. That was until I met the one that changed that. Just like Remy.

I am going to get a little sappy and personal here for a line or two. My boyfriend and I met when I was 18, a senior in high school. He had just turned 21 and normally that would have been a nope for me, but he was friends with my best friends boyfriend so I figured I would give him a shot. Almost 7 years later and we are still together. I fully expected it to be a short fling, just like everything else. Just like Remy expected Dexter to be. We still have our moments and we definitely struggled with how cynical my outlook on life was, but I am glad I took a chance with him.

Anyway back to the book after that sap fest. I read a review from someone who did not like the the book who said that Remy was to cynical at 18 and hard to stay in her headspace because of that. This review also said that they wanted to know more about why Remy was that way. I agree, I would loved to have had more back story on Remy and what made her feel that way, but the story alluded to it pretty well by talking about how she had seen her mother married so many times that she knew none of it would last. That would give you a pretty cynical view. If you are not someone who is cynical then you probably would find Remy to be over the top on her views, but to those of us that are not these huge optimists it is easy to see why she is the way she is.

I am glad that I have finally found a YA book that doesn’t make it seem like the main female character is only looking for love and is oh so happy sappy with the person they like. The fact that Remy doesn’t just immediately go “Oh yes I love him” makes the story so much more relatable to be. I love the happy sappy stories but I think more books need to be written from this perspective, because it makes those of us who feel this way not feel like it is wrong or a problem. And it gives us hope that out view on things can actually change.

Final Recommendations

8/10 because to be honest as much as I loved it I could see the flaws in it. I could see why other people didn’t love it. It is a book that I will probably read again though. I think that as an adult you could read this and maybe see some similarities between your high school self and some of the characters. Had I read this in high school it would have been a 10/10 no doubt about it. If you are a high schooler I total recommend checking this book out and sitting down with it. Take some time to really think about it. Especially if you have a not so happy sappy view of love.

If you are interested in buying This Lullaby you can buy it here. This link is an affiliate link, by using it to purchase this book you will be supporting this blog at no extra cost to you! I earn a small commision from each sale, so if you are interested in helping keep this blog running please think about using the link above!

The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith-Book Review

The wine you poured tonight came from those vines. It was the last vintage I brought into the world before I … went away.”

Elena, The Vine Witch Page 76

Author: Luanne G. Smith
Published: 2019
Pages: 263
Rating: 7/10

The cover of this book is so pretty, but to be honest with you I did not have high hopes for it going in. When I first read the title I thought it said The Wine Witch, and I was MUCH more excited about it when I thought that was the title. To be fair, that could very well be the title, because that is exactly what the book is about. So my excitement for it only continued during the time I was reading.

Time for the goodreads summary of this book! I tried to write this myself but no matter how I wrote it it didn’t make the book sound interesting, but I promise it really was.

Goodreads Summary

For centuries, the vineyards at Château Renard have depended on the talent of their vine witches, whose spells help create the world-renowned wine of the Chanceaux Valley. Then the skill of divining harvests fell into ruin when sorcière Elena Boureanu was blindsided by a curse. Now, after breaking the spell that confined her to the shallows of a marshland and weakened her magic, Elena is struggling to return to her former life. And the vineyard she was destined to inherit is now in the possession of a handsome stranger.

Vigneron Jean-Paul Martel naively favors science over superstition, and he certainly doesn’t endorse the locals’ belief in witches. But Elena knows a hex when she sees one, and the vineyard is covered in them. To stay on and help the vines recover, she’ll have to hide her true identity, along with her plans for revenge against whoever stole seven winters of her life. And she won’t rest until she can defy the evil powers that are still a threat to herself, Jean-Paul, and the ancient vine-witch legacy in the rolling hills of the Chanceaux Valley.

My Thoughts

This book was so much better than I expected. One of the first things I wrote down (right on page 2) was What in the hell did I just read…this is going to be a trip I can already tell. I was right about that. Though it wasn’t a trip in a bad way. I really enjoyed the story and I think that Luanne worked the story of the wine vineyards in nicely with the magical element. I also appreciated that she didn’t just write a story where magic only showed up a few times because one of the main characters of the book didn’t believe in it. That made it so much better to me. That Elena just wanted to save the vineyard and was willing to hide from Jean-Paul and still do the magic.

One bone I have to pick with this book though is the writing style. I have said time and time again I am not really a huge fan of books being written from two perspectives. There are a few books written like that that I have enjoyed solely based on the writing style, but this was not one. The writing of the book actually confused me more often than not because unlike the last few books I have read written like this they did not tell you in the chapter title who’s perspective you were reading. It took me longer to read because I would often have to go back and reread parts just to find out who’s perspective it was. I can look past that, because I liked the story, but had I not liked the story I would have DNFed the book because of this.

Final Recommendations

I did enjoy this book despite the writing style. I think that if you can get past the writing style and you enjoy magic you will enjoy this book. I give it a 7/10 because the writing style just wasn’t there for me. Had it even just been slightly more clear I would have given the book and 8 or a 9 because I liked the story that much. It is also the start of a series, so I am looking forward to reading the second book when it comes out in June.

If you are interested in buying The Vine Witch you can buy it here. This link is an affiliate link, by using it to purchase this book you will be supporting this blog at no extra cost to you! I earn a small commision from each sale, so if you are interested in helping keep this blog running please think about using the link above!

If You Tell by Gregg Olsen-Book Review

Author: Gregg Olsen
Published: 2019
Pages: 428
Rating: 10/10

If You Tell was not the book I expected it to be. I don’t know why but even with the cover saying it was a true story I still thought it was going to be written in more of a fictionalized thriller kind of way. It was not. The book read exactly like an interview and played out in my head exactly like a true crime tv show. The entire time I picked up this book I was filled with emotions. I didn’t understand, and still don’t, how a mother could do that to her children. And how anyone could do what she and her husband did to another person.

This book review isn’t going to be quite like my others. In this review while I do what to talk about the book I really want to talk more about the story that the book portrays and how it makes me feel knowing that it happened. I will be giving details of what was talked about in the book. True crime is something I am very interested in so this book really made me think. I won’t be retelling the entire story, but to give my thoughts on the book I will have to retell a lot of it.

Please note that this story may be triggering for some people to read. This book focuses on abuse of children, adults, and unfortunately on the murder of 2 (possibly 3) people. Please use caution when reading this review. If you are triggered by these things I do not recommend that you continue reading.

Goodreads Summary

A shocking and empowering true-crime story of three sisters determined to survive their mother’s house of horrors.

After more than a decade, when sisters Nikki, Sami, and Tori Knotek hear the word mom, it claws like an eagle’s talons, triggering memories that have been their secret since childhood. Until now.

For years, behind the closed doors of their farmhouse in Raymond, Washington, their sadistic mother, Shelly, subjected her girls to unimaginable abuse, degradation, torture, and psychic terrors. Through it all, Nikki, Sami, and Tori developed a defiant bond that made them far less vulnerable than Shelly imagined. Even as others were drawn into their mother’s dark and perverse web, the sisters found the strength and courage to escape an escalating nightmare that culminated in multiple murders.

Harrowing and heartrending, If You Tell is a survivor’s story of absolute evil—and the freedom and justice that Nikki, Sami, and Tori risked their lives to fight for. Sisters forever, victims no more, they found a light in the darkness that made them the resilient women they are today—loving, loved, and moving on

My Thoughts

One thing I have to admit that I love about this book is that Gregg Olsen does not just focus on the sisters. He finds out exactly what Shelly (real name Michelle, which confused me a few times through the book) was like as a child, through her teenage years, and then up to the time of her arrest. This book, and story, is told from multiple different points which really adds to explain some of the things that don’t make a lot of since.

First and foremost my thoughts are with everyone affected by what Shelly and Dave Knotek did. For anyone to be put through what these people were put through is utterly horrible. I wish that she would have been found way before she was, and I am pissed at the outcome of her arrest. I also feel for the families of Kathy and Ron, who were never able to say goodbye to their loved ones. Kathy’s family did not know for a decade what happened to her. Shelly fabricated an entire story to cover up what happened and keep her family from coming around and asking what happened. Ron’s family was made to think that he hated them, and they didn’t want anything to do with them. Shelly drove a wedge between that family and that is just as bad as what she ultimately ended up doing to Ron. I also feel for Shane’s family. His grandparents and Nikki and Sami particularly. Yet another murder that was committed where the family was lied to and told that he just ran away and didn’t want to talk to anyone. Shelly Knotek was a sadistic woman and I feel for everyone that was affected with this.

Throughout the book I kept asking myself why the girls didn’t tell anyone what was going on. The further I got into the book the more I realized that they were afraid of Shelly and afraid of what she would do to them. You get a very good sense for the type of person Shelly was in this story. She had a way with talking people into doing what she wanted and into believing her convoluted lies that she told. From the time she was a young girl lying to the school about her father raping her, all the way up to abusing Kathy and telling her it was for her own good and that she loved her. I wish that the girls had just told. Things might have been stopped sooner, but based on what did end up happening when they finally told, I don’t know that anything would have changed. Other than them being tortured and abused worse than they already were.

Even after all of the true crime books I have read I still don’t know how people can do these things to people. She bathed the girls in bleach with a water hose for crying out loud. They had to ask to use the restroom, and they were often told they had to work out in the yard naked. Shane was forced to abuse Kathy and when he refused his punishment would be even worse. It seemed that Shelly would focus her abuse mostly on the oldest person in the household and then once she was done with them she would turn to the next person.

I also do not understand how you can manipulate someone into killing someone for you. I know that Dave said that he was just done fighting with her but that is now excuse. Even to this day he seems to think that Shelly did nothing wrong and that he was at fault. That blows my mind. No one should be able to have that much control over someone.

I am appalled by the way the police department handled this case. Nikki told them that her mother and father had killed Kathy and they did the bare minimum to look into it. When Sami wouldn’t return their calls they just stopped looking into it. They could have stopped what happened to Ron had they just listened. I don’t know what ever became of the police that worked on that case but I do hope that it served in a learning moment for everyone involved.

I am glad that Nikki and Sami decided to finally tell the police a second time. They were able to get their sister out, and though they couldn’t save Ron they saved anyone else from ebing manipulated by her.

To this day Shelly still claims that she did nothing wrong and she never abused her kids and that she was nothing but loving and helpful. I dont know how she was able to lie to herself for so long and make that seem true in her head. There is something very wrong with this woman. She will be released from prison in 2022, and I can only hope that she does not ever do this again, but because she thinks she didn’t actually do anything I could see it happening.

Final Recommendations

I gave this book a 10/10 because of how well Gregg Olsen told this horrific story. If you are a true crime fan then you will really enjoy this book. As I said in the beginning of the review there is a lot of very graphic details of the abuse that the people in this situation suffered. It vaguely reminds me of the book A Child Called It. That book is what started by love for true crime in general. I am not someone who is triggered by really anything but there were a lot of things in this book that were hard for me to read, which is why it took me a few days to finish it. I did have to put it down. Not because I did not like it, but because there was a lot that had to be processed and I needed to step away from the book before continuing it.

If you are interested in buying If You Tell you can buy it here. This link is an affiliate link, by using it to purchase this book you will be supporting this blog at no extra cost to you! I earn a small commision from each sale, so if you are interested in helping keep this blog running please think about using the link above!

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning-Book Review

I have always loved you. Every day. My heart is not mine to give because it is already yours.”

Nik, Sea Witch Page 296

Author: Sarah Henning
Published: 2019
Pages: 384
Rating: 7/10

I have been going for some newer books recently, so when I saw this one was released not even a year ago I was really excited. I had different expectations for this book going in but I still enjoyed it. I failed to understand what the story was actually about before reading it, which is why it didn’t meet those expectations. In retrospect if I would have actually realized what it was about it would have exceeded my expectations of the book. I also probably wouldn’t have read it had I know what it was actually about.

Here is the goodreads summary for you regardless, and then we can talk about the book as usual.

Goodreads Summary

Everyone knows what happens in the end. A mermaid, a prince, a true love’s kiss. But before that young siren’s tale, there were three friends. One feared, one royal, and one already dead.

Ever since her best friend, Anna, drowned, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. A freak. A curse. A witch.

A girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears offshore and, though the girl denies it, Evie is convinced that her best friend actually survived. That her own magic wasn’t so powerless after all. And, as the two girls catch the eyes—and hearts—of two charming princes, Evie believes that she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after.

But her new friend has secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad, or on two legs, unless Evie finds a way to help her. Now Evie will do anything to save her friend’s humanity, along with her prince’s heart—harnessing the power of her magic, her ocean, and her love until she discovers, too late, the truth of her bargain.

My Thoughts

So many things that I could say about this book. Originally I thought this was going to be a retelling of The Little Mermaid. It is not, which at first was slightly disappointing but it was still a really good book. This is actually more of an origin story for Ursula, the Sea Witch. You would have thought I would have figured that out by the title, but clearly I don’t do well with context clues sometimes. Once I realized that is what the book was actually about it blew my expectations. I was expecting some sappy YA love story (which don’t get me wrong this has) but the twist of how the Sea Witch actually comes to be is perfection.

I don’t want to get into too many spoilers so I will just talk in vague terms here as needed. Writing style was decent. I didn’t love the flashback chapters at first because I didn’t see why I should care about what happened to their friend four years before the story was taking place. Let me tell you, DO NOT SKIP OVER THESE PARTS. They end up being very relevant and they give a whole lot of context information that you will want towards the end of the book. Thankfully this book, other than the flashbacks, didn’t try to jump back and forth between a bunch of different points of views like the last few books I have read. (Yes, I am looking at you The Vine Witch).

I had a love hate relationship with Ikar. The prince of a neighboring country and the cousin to prince Niklas. It feels like he kind of toys with Evie at some points in the story and not in others, but the ending it what solidifies that I hate him. He is a traitor and I hate him.

Annemette is also one of those character that I had a love hate relationship with, leaning more towards a hate relationship. She is a mermaid (which is only a slight spoiler, you learn that in about 2 pages of meeting her) who looks like their dead best friend. That was always too convenient for me and I hated that plot line. It has a reason though, but I still hated it. She was a likeable person for like 1/2 of the time she was in the book and then she just turned into a traitor and a bitch. 10/10 my most hated character in the books I have read this year.

Nik, the poor unfortunate soul (see what I did there….yeah bad joke). I actually really loved him, and still do. He was a great character from start to finish and didn’t turn out to be the traitor that his stupid cousin did.

Finally we come to Evie, she has secrets of her own but she falls just right behind Nik in characters that I love in this book. She just always tries to do what is best for Nik, Ikar, and Annemette. She does it without fail and she tries to make up for the mistakes she made in the past.

Moral of this story I would have to say is that you can’t judge a book by its cover, or you know a person. They all trusted each other more than they should have, and they all definitely trusted a person they had just met more than was reasonably acceptable to do. It lead to terrible consequences for all of them. Also a small underlying tone to the book is that you should never do things out of revenge because karma sucks and in the end you are also going to get hurt by doing it.

Final Recommendations

Overall, I did really enjoy the book. I would recommend it to anyone that likes stories of magic, and also likes a cheesy love story thrown in. This is the first book in a series and the second book is actually the retelling of The Little Mermaid with a twist to it I believe. I will hopefully read that next month once my OWLs are done. Or maybe this month.

If you are interested in buying Sea Witch you can buy it here. This link is an affiliate link, by using it to purchase this book you will be supporting this blog at no extra cost to you! I earn a small commision from each sale, so if you are interested in helping keep this blog running please think about using the link above!

Magical Readathon O.W.L Week 1 Update

Week one of the Magical Readathon OWLs hosted by Book_Roast is completed. Time for an update on what I completed, short opinions on the books, and what I have left to complete. I also want to give a disclaimer that I am not participating in all the OWL events that Book_Roast is hosting, but am participating in a few events that other are putting on and using my OWL books towards those. Okay so with that said let’s jump into the update!

This was the first day of OWL’s and I really killed it this day. When I got up I remembered that the Audible version of The Tales of Beedle The Bard was released the last day of March. I wanted to listen to it but also wanted to start on my OWLs. So I looked up how many pages it was, expecting it to be just over 150 pages. It wasn’t! Since Of Mice and Men was still on loan through Libby and I had not yet been able to get it I figured I would just use The Tales of Beedle The Bard for my Potions OWL instead. The book version is right around 119 pages and the audio book is only like 1.5-2 hours long. The thing I loved most about this was that it was read by actors from the Harry Potter Movies. I enjoyed listening to Bonnie Wright read Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump. I could listen to her read books to me all day long, her voice is so soothing and I loved it! I wasn’t invested in all of the stories, but I did enjoy it so 7/10 from me!

I also completed my care of magical creatures OWL today. I used Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the version of the book that was written my Newt Scamander, not the screenplay. My favorite thing about this book was that the Kindle version of the book is what they call a book in motion. So a lot of the pictures had moving elements to it. It really made me feel like I was reading a real book from the wizarding world. The books was interesting, it didn’t really surve to give me any knowledge I would use later in life, but I really just enjoyed reading it for the fun of it.

I did absolutely nothing notable towards my OWLs today. I had planned on it but I got a little distracted. I was able to start Harry Potter: A History of Magic which definitely is not what I thought it was going to be about in the slightest. I am making slow progress on this one because I am using it for Astronomy and you have to read the majority of that book when it is dark outside. I keep intending to read it before bed and I keep falling asleep midway through a few pages.

Another day where I didn’t do too much work towards my OWLs. I did start reading My Big Fat Fake Wedding though. So I guess I at least got a start. I ended up having to make a lot of phone calls to my employees this day because we got some updates around work. Instead of them trying to give us a date we were going back they just told us we would not be going back for the foreseeable future. Once I finished those calls I made myself a nice alcoholic beverage along with cheese burgers for dinner and sat on my balcony the rest of the night reading. Update you can now find my full review by clicking on the name of the book!

Today I took part in a 12 hour mini readathon on Instagram put on by the lovely Kira from @kcbookshelf The prompt for this week was books with magic in them. I was able to make some more progress on OWLs today despite falling asleep 30 minutes into the readathon. Short version of the story is that I got up at like 5am. The readathon started at 7am where I live and I was all ready to go and start reading with everyone. It was still dark out though so I was still laying in bed, that was my mistake. 30 minutes in I fell back asleep and woke up 2 hours later. Soooo I ended up reading longer than most everyone else but that was okay.

For my Defence Against The Dark Arts OWL I read Sea Witch, which I thought was a retelling of The Little Mermaid. Turns out it was more of an origin story for the Sea Witch (Ursula). I still really enjoyed it. I am going to write a full review of the book in the coming days so keep an eye out for that. Update, you can now find my full review by clicking on the name of the book!

My History of Magic OWL was definitely not what I expected. I chose to read The Vine Witch despite having really no idea what the book was actually going to be about. The short version there was some curses, there were some demons, and there was some wine. Overall LOVED the book and am actually really excited for the next book in the series to come out. Again, I will be writing a full review for this so keep an eye out for that. Update, you can now find the full review by clicking on the name of the book!

Overall this week ended up going better than I originally thought it would with my pretty much two days of no reading. I finished up four books and have a decent start on the fifth and sixth books I need to read. I have four OWLS left to sit and 3 weeks to do it. That means that I only need to read like 1.5 books a week and I will be good. I am still needing a book for Transfiguration, but I am going to leave that for last and see what everyone else is reading for it. I guess technically I could use Sea Witch as the Transfiguration book because there is some shapeshifting involved and I could read the second book for my DATDA OWL. We will see where the following weeks take us. For now I am off to start reading more of My Big Fat Fake Wedding.

Are you participating in the OWLs? If so how are you doing so far? Do you think you are going to be able to finish your TBR by the end of the month? Let me know!

Four: A Divergent Collection-Book Review

How to Be Dauntless: An Introductory Course. Lesson One: It’s okay to hug your friends here.”

Shauna, Four: A Divergent Collection

Author: Veronica Roth
Published: 2014
Pages: 304
Rating: 10/10

My love for this book is huge. It is the story we all already know and love, but the major moments are told from Four’s point of view. Something I wish we had in the first book, but something I am so glad to finally have. If I had not already loved Four, this would have made me.

Here is the goodreads summary for you. It is better than my summaries as I think we have all learned.

Goodreads Summary

Two years before Beatrice Prior made her choice, the sixteen-year-old son of Abnegation’s faction leader did the same. Tobias’s transfer to Dauntless is a chance to begin again. Here, he will not be called the name his parents gave him. Here, he will not let fear turn him into a cowering child.

Newly christened “Four,” he discovers during initiation that he will succeed in Dauntless. Initiation is only the beginning, though; Four must claim his place in the Dauntless hierarchy. His decisions will affect future initiates as well as uncover secrets that could threaten his own future—and the future of the entire faction system.

Two years later, Four is poised to take action, but the course is still unclear. The first new initiate who jumps into the net might change all that. With her, the way to righting their world might become clear. With her, it might become possible to be Tobias once again.

My Thoughts

This is probably one of my favorite companion books I have ever read. I loved being able to see what Four was like before he met Tris. How he made the decision to become Dauntless. What really made him tick. I also enjoyed seeing how he and Eric were during their initiation. Despite all of that I really loved seeing his relationship with Tris grow from his point of view.

From jumping day through her seeing him by the chasm drunk. All of this is in there. Every single bit of information you wanted but didn’t know you did. Four was a nice guy. He knew that he shouldn’t be falling for Tris, but you see the exact moment when get gave up and just went for it. I still would love to have the entire trilogy written from his point of view because I think it would be nice to really hear the outside view of Tris. His view of Tris. More than you do in this book.

Bonus: Free Four- Tobias Tells The Divergent Knife-Throwing Scene

Ah yes this scene. This scene was one of my favorites because I could tell in that scene that Four did not really want to hurt Tris. If he did he would have, as he told her in Divergent. Tris was too dumb to realize that at the time though. The reason I am lumping this in with this review is because it is more of a short story than a book. It is about 16 pages long and just tells the one scene but you get to learn even more about Four. You see his struggle with if he should throw the knives at Al or not. Then you really see his struggle when he has to throw them at Tris. You see his thinking about Eric and you get to really see why he made the choice to say the things to Tris that he did. It was a great insight into the character.

Final Recommendations

If you really liked the Divergent trilogy and wanted to know what Four thought then this book and short story are something you need to read. I didn’t know I needed it until I read it. I recommend waiting to read it until after you have finished the series. It does not spoil anything that happens after Divergent but it gave me comfort after the shitty ending that Allegiant had. I am glad I had this book to open up to and laugh at. It made it almost feel better. The same with the short story.

If you are interested in buying Four: A Divergent Collection you can find it here. If you are interested in buying Free Four: Tobias Tells The Divergent Knife Throwing Scene you can find it here. If you would like to buy the entire trilogy and the companion books you can find them here.

These links are affiliate links, by using them to purchase these books you will be supporting this blog at no extra cost to you! I earn a small commision from each sale, so if you are interested in helping keep this blog running please think about using the link above!

Allegiant- Book Review

There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you have ever loved, for the sake of something greater. But sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through pain, and the work of every day, the slow walk toward a better life. That is the sort of bravery I must have now.”

Tobias, Allegiant, Page 507

Author: Veronica Roth
Published: 2013
Pages: 526
Rating: 9/10

This book…..the movies gave me false hope…..Veronica took a knife and just shoved it through my heart….I cried ugly tears for the last 30 pages of the book. UGH.

Here is the goodreads summary of the book while I try to figure out how to put my feelings about this book into a coherant review.

Goodreads Summary

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered – fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningliess. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend to complexities of human nature – and of herself – while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, ALLEGIANT, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the DIVERGENT series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in DIVERGENT and INSURGENT. 

My Thoughts

THE MOVIE IS NOT THE SAME AS THE BOOK AND IT GAVE ME FALSE HOPE! There I said it. here is the thing though, the reason I address this at the beginning of the review is because it was not just the ending of the movie that differed from the book. The entire fucking plot of the movie was different than the book. I went into this book expecting one thing and got thrown for a loop, my mind blow, and then a knife jabbed into my heart at the end. So if you watched the movie do not expect this book to be anything like that. Nothing like that at all actually. Also, maybe don’t watch the movie. I love me some Tris and Four action on the big screen, but damn the plot of the book was SO much better than the movie.

That is out of my system, I promise from this point forward we will just be talking about the book. This review is gonna spoil the hell out of this book for you because I really do not know how to talk about this book without spoiling things. I will try to save the major spoilers for an entire spoiler filled wrap up post though. But this is your only spoiler warning. If you continue reading past here I am not responsible for your disappointment.

Let’s talk about the writing style of this book a little bit. It is written from both Tris’ and Four’s point of view. Now, as I said in my review for Five Feet Apart this is a writing style I am not fond of. I also said in the Divergent book that I wished this would have been how it was written. I am torn on if I like it for this book or not. I see why it was needed. There are a lot of times where Four is off doing something without Tris around and unless it was written this way you wouldn’t know about it. This particular writing style is what makes the ending of the book so hard to handle in my opinion. We will talk about the ending at length later. I don’t think that it was done quite as well as it was in Five Feet Apart, but I can say that after I got into the flow of checking the chapter to see whose point of view it was from it became intriguing. I also loved seeing it from Four’s point of view because he is one of my favorite characters.

Speaking of characters let’s talk a little bit about the characters that were involved in the majority of this book. I don’t care that there are a lot of non essential characters in the book, it makes the world feel more real, but I do care about the characters that Tris and Four took with them outside the gates of the city. Logically I see why they took them. They took Caleb because Tris did not want to leave him to die. They took Christina because she is one of Tris’ only friends left and she is Dauntless so she knew how to get out of the city. They took Tori because again she was Dauntless, but even I am a little confused as to why they took her other than for plot convenience later in the story. Peter got to go because he is a dick and always gets what he wants. Cara went because she was one of the Allegiant members and was Erudite so she was smart. I still don’t know why Uriah went. Past the logic of it for them pretty much all of these characters were irrelevant to the story and didn’t do anything for them until the very end. Uriah also never really served a purpose other than being blown up to give Four a reason to have to go back to the city.

The people coming back seemingly from the dead was also a bit of a weird point. It was one of those things that got left out of the movie, probably to save time trying to explain it, so I wasn’t really ready for it when it happened. The one that really got me was George though. He was Tori’s little brother who she thought was killed by Dauntless leadership for being Divergent. Turns out he was not killed, but guess who does die. Tori. Why? To drive the point that one of them is still dead. This also gave me a false sense of security for the rest of the book.

Finally the genetic modifications. The scary thing to me about this is that it is something I could see happening. It isn’t something that I see as distant and not possible like some of these books. Hunger Games for example, great story but that isn’t something I see happening anytime soon. The Purge, hella scary idea, but again not something that I see happening. Genetic modifications though. Yeah. If that isn’t already possible and being tested I would be surprised.

I think that Veronica was trying to drive home the idea of racism, classism, and death with this book. Racism and classism because of the whole Genetically Pure vs Genetically Damaged debate. With Tris being GP and Four and the rest of their friends being GD Veronica was able to show that even just one person not caring about how someone is classified can change things. Tris still loved Four for who he was, even if he didn’t like himself after hearing he was “damaged”. Tris still loved him and wanted him to stay who he was because to her he was perfect. The idea of death is in every book but there was one specific one that made me ball. HUGE END OF BOOK SPOILER HERE. DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THIS BOOK YET.

Tris. I was angry that Tris died. In the movie she lived so I was expecting her to come back to life. To do that to Four, who already had enough hurt in his life was beyond horrible. I know the point she was trying to drive though. War sucks, people die, and no matter how much you love someone you can not save them from war. Surviving during a war is often accidental. Tris chose to die for the people she loved to stop a war from happening that would result in more people she loved dying. I am mad that Four was not there. That he couldn’t say goodbye. He left thinking Caleb was going to sacrifice himself and that Tris would be there when he got back. She wasn’t. Veronica just stabbed my heart with a knife during this. I was holding out hope that somehow she wouldn’t be dead. But we can’t get happy endings to everything.

As much as I hate how this book ended I admire Veronica for not feeling like this trilogy had to have a happy ending just because that is what everyone probably wanted and because that is what other ya books do. She showed that happy endings don’t always happen. You will survive and you will move on. It will just be in different way than you did before.

Final Recommendations

Read this book. Read this book even though you are going to have a serious meltdown at the end of it. Read it because there are good lessons in it. I would give this book a 10/10 if not for the ending. I may change it at some point, but right now I can’t give it that extra point. No matter how reasonable I think it was. No matter how much I admire that Veronica did it. I just can’t give her that point.

If you are interested in buying Allegiant you can find it here. This link is an affiliate link, buy using it to purchase this book you will be supporting this blog at no extra cost to you! I earn a small commision from each sale, so if you are interested in helping keep this blog running please think about using the link above!

Insurgent- Book Review

I’ll be your family now.”

Tobias, Insurgent, Chapter 36 Page 399

Author: Veronica Roth
Published: 2012
Pages: 525
Rating: 8/10

Like the first book in this trilogy I also watched this movie before reading the book. Okay that was true of all of the movies and books so I will get that out of the way here. Like seems to keep happening to me in trilogies I really didn’t enjoy the second book as much as I enjoyed the first book. It was not bad by any means and it also did not make me angry like the second book in the Honor trilogy did, so that is improvement. This review will likely have more spoilers in it than the last. Fair warning.

Anyways, here is the goodreads summary of the book:

Goodreads Summary

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

My Thoughts

First thing I realized while reading this was that I was reading this book like it was happening months/years after the first book when in reality it is maybe a couple days later. That was insane to me when I first realized it because I really had in my mind that so much time was passing.

I don’t remember all of the plot points of this book as well as I do the first and the last. Again this was one of those books that I feel like the point of it was to push the story forward to the next book. Though plenty of things still happened in this book. I will have to talk in specific details about quite a few things so this is your spoiler warning for this entire section. Just the whole section will probably be filled. So if you do not want that just move down to the final recommendations section.

Okay, for those of you still here let us begin.

I feel like the biggest focus Veronica has in this book is trying to talk about morality and honesty. Both lessons that are important to learn for everyone. Morality comes up a lot. First we see it when Tris is torn over having to kill Will. She knows that it was either kill him or he would kill her, but she still struggles with her choice to kill him. She has nightmares about it and even finds it hard for the remainder of the time to pick up a gun and use it. This is something that is glanced over with pretty much every other character, and in most other books. They just make it seem like killing is easy, like there is a right time to do it and a wrong time to do it. This is one of the first books I have read where they really show the character struggling with that decision. Yes, Tris could have shot will to wound instead of to kill, but she had been trained by Dauntless to kill to save yourself, not really to wound your attacker. As for honesty that comes up early on as well when you see her lying to Tobias (Four) about how she is feeling. She never tells him what is bothering her, never tells him about Will. You also see it come up in the Candor trial for both Four and Tris. Four tells Tris they are going under the truth serum because neither of them have secrets worth dying for. We learn that he kept is want to leave Dauntless from her, that she made him change his mind. This is also when we learn that Tris is not affected by the Candor truth serum and that she could have lied about what happened with Will. She chooses this moment however to admit to everyone that she killed him. Knowing that both Christina and Four will find out she has been lying to them. It takes a lot of courage to admit to a lie, and a mistake, in front of that many people.

We also see the issue of morality come up when it comes to Caleb and Peter. Caleb makes decisions in this book based off what he thinks is right. Faction before blood. For him it is not always a question of is it right or wrong it is a question of what is going to be right for the largest number of people. He makes a lot of mistakes in this book, things that make me go from liking his character to absolutely hating his character. I won’t spoil that for anyone because that change is so hard to put into words. Peter on the other hand shows the morality thing by being the least moral person other than the Erudite leader in this book. He jumps back and forth between whose side he is on to benefit his own self. Morality and honesty are not in his vocabulary clearly.

Major plot point here that I find very annoying is finding out that Tobias’ mom is still alive. I am sorry what. Why did that have to be included? He already has one shitty ass parent. Why did we have to add a second? I already loved him, Tris already loved him, give the guy a break. But no, we can not give Four a break because he is clearly the character Veronica decided to use to toy with our emotions. I can’t say I blame her for bringing his mother back, it was a plot twist I was not ready for when it happened. (Okay I was but that was because I watched the movie. I wasn’t ready for it in the movie the first time I saw it so I know I wouldn’t have been if I was reading before watching the movie.)

I feel like this wouldn’t be a Divergent trilogy review if I didn’t talk a little bit about the movie. Please just read the book before you watch the movie. Like I said about Divergent, the movie is its own work of art. It is good, but it doesn’t follow the same plot points as the book does. It gets you to the same result in the end, but it goes about it in a completely different way. It makes you feel bad for characters that you shouldn’t, and makes other characters so irrelevant to the story that you wonder why the movie chose to even include them in the first place. This has nothing to do with me liking this book less than the first, nor anything to do with how I decided to rate it, I just felt like that needed some addressing.

Final Recommendations

Despite the fact that I enjoyed this book less than the first I still enjoyed it and really think it is worth the read. There are a lot of things going on in this book. Some things that drive the plot, some things that never get touched on again, and some things that will lead to character development later. Read the books if you have not and you enjoy dystopian stories, you will not be dissapointed.

If you are interested in buying Insurgent you can find it here. This link is an affiliate link, buy using it to purchase this book you will be supporting this blog at no extra cost to you! I earn a small commision from each sale, so if you are interested in helping keep this blog running please think about using the link above!

Divergent- Book Review

I want to be brave, and selfless, and smart, and kind and honest.”

Four, Divergent

Author: Veronica Roth
Published: 2011
Pages: 487
Rating: 9/10

I must admit. I saw the movie for this before I read the book. I actually saw the movie when it came out and I loved it. This is the first time I have read the book through. I didn’t realize how different the movie was from the book and I loved it. I love seeing both things as their own piece of art. Now, the movies give me a false sense of hope at one point, but I will talk about that later. Also as a heads up the reviews for this trilogy WILL contain spoilers. If you have not read the books and do not want spoilers I recommend you read carefully. I will make sure to mark the spoilers very clearly.

Without much needed introduction, here is the goodreads summary of the book:

Goodreads Summary

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

My Thoughts

I will say I think watching the movie before reading this contributes to me giving it a 9/10 and not a 10/10. I had a false idea of the way the information was going to present itself in the book. Though that is not the fault of Veronica Roth, it is the fault of the movie writers and directors. In the beginning I really didn’t like Four. I think the book being written from Tris’ point of view really is what caused that, where as in the movie I was team Four all the way. You could really tell in the movie that Four liked Tris based on the way he would react to things. In the book you got that to some degree but not until further along in the book. This is one of the only stories that I wish was written to be from more than one point of view. I hate the retelling of things that happened, but I do think that it would have been nice to see somethings through Four’s eyes. (I do get my wish for this in a companion book, which I will also be writing a review about don’t you worry.)

One of the things that I don’t like about this book is SPOILER all the physical fighting. I get why it is necessary to know how to fight, that is proven in this book as well as the two following, but I don’t really agree with it being necessary to mike the initiates fight almost to their deaths to create the faction that Eric and Max are wanting to create.

I do like the way that Veronica chooses to handle SPOILER AND TRIGGER WARNING suicide in this book, to some extent. I like that Veronica shows the side of suicide where the their friends feel like it is their fault and they could have stopped it. I personally have never been in this situation, but I know that many people do feel like they should have known, should have done better. That is what she was showing when Tris asked if Four thought it would have been different if she would have just forgiven Al for what he did to her. The part that I don’t like about how she addresses this issue is when they are talking about it like it is heroic. I know that the was trying to show how the faction was, but I feel like this was one situation where they really should not have been celebrating what he did. Tris said it best when she said that now people might feel like it was brave to throw themselves off into the chasm so that they would be remembered as a hero.

This book is a typical YA dystopian book that has romance and tragedy in it. It is a little more action packed than some of the other ones I have read (such as Matched and Delirium) which probably makes it appeal to a larger audience of people. There were definitely things I rolled my eyes at in the book. The way Tris is completely clueless about Four liking her is one of those. I know that he was trying to hide it but he did a horrible job at it, so she really should have figured it out way before she did.

Final Recommendations

Overall I really did enjoy this book. I recommend reading it before you watch the movie, or at least if you are going to read it know that the two pieces of work are totally separate. Both are great, but they are not the same. I feel like Divergent is the only one of the three that at least includes a lot of the major plot points in the book without changing them, but them choosing to place them where they did in the movie did kind of change the whole tone of the story.

If you are interested in buying Divergent you can find it here. This link is an affiliate link, buy using it to purchase this book you will be supporting this blog at no extra cost to you! I earn a small commision from each sale, so if you are interested in helping keep this blog running please think about using the link above!