Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller | Review

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Release Date: September 24, 2013

Pages: 352

Source: Netgalley/Bloomsbury

Rating: 5 out of 5

I remember reading Trish Doller’s debut novel last year, Something Like Normal, and really super enjoyed it. I was more than ecstatic to pick up Where the Stars Still Shine, and, after reading it, I can happily say that this made it to my 2013 favorites.

Laced with a gorgeous writing style throughout the entire novel, Where the Stars Still Shine was a vivid story with a very realistic setting in the small town in Florida. This particular setting really enhanced the story for me, and it was utter perfection.

Not only this, but the characters in this story were also incredibly lovable and heart-wrenching. If I wasn’t from the start, I became so attached to each and every character by the end that I couldn’t help but tear up a little when the story ended. Doller has that affect on you: the one where she creates such authentic characters that you sometimes question why they ended up in a fictional book, and not in reality. Callie, the deeply wounded main character, progresses slowly throughout the story, since she did not live a normal life through her growing years. I have to say that I didn’t agree with all of her decisions, but they were all understandable in her situation. While she doesn’t fully recover by the end of the story, Doller leaves the reader knowing that things do get better for her, and it’s an overall beautiful feeling.

The romance. Oh, the romance. At first, I wasn’t even sure this particular guy in the story was the love interest, but I couldn’t have asked for a better guy for Callie. The romance starts off as a pure insta-lust kind of love, but Doller really dives into the nitty-gritty of it all and it really becomes a romance that is swoon-worthy, genuinely flawed, and real. Have I mentioned that this guy is swoon-worthy? YUM.

I’m not sure if I can go any further to convince you to pick this book up, because seriously, this contemporary is magnificently written with unbelievably real characters and a die-hard romance. Where the Stars Still Shine will make your heart unfold their wings and soar– I bow down to you, Trish Doller.

rating system 5 out of 5

Advertisements

The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White | Review

The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: September 10, 2013

Pages: 288

Source: Edelweiss/HarperCollins

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Kiersten White is well-known for providing that fun, light-hearted quality when writing stories for teens. I knew this going into The Chaos of Stars, and I got exactly that. The Chaos of Stars is an enjoyable novel that reads a lot like a contemporary, but is infused with Egyptian mythology that makes it all the more interesting. There are some minor flaws here and there, but overall I adore this masterpiece White has crafted for her fans.

The main protagonist Isadora is easily one of my favorite aspects about this novel. From the start, the reader learns that she is extremely passionate about interior design and it really shows. I always love when a character is particularly devoted to  something, and can find a hobby that comforts them. Not only this, but Isadora is also a stubborn girl, which may come off as a negative quality, but to me it shows that she is strong and steadfast in her opinions. She also believes that her parents don’t love her, which leads to her understanding that love doesn’t exist forever. Her judgment changes in the story and seeing the light appear in her eyes was a great part in her character development.

Speaking of love, I have kind of mixed feelings about the romance, but more on the positive side. It starts off as a bit insta-love, but White proves that their lust transforms into real love by the end of the story. In fact, their love starts off as a bit of a crush, and it’s a one-sided relationship more than anything. But the romance worked for me, and I ended up really liking where their bond proceeds.

Lastly, the plot of the story is really fun and entertaining. Isadora moves from Egypt to America near the beginning of the story, and it takes off from there. She learns about cars, Coca-Cola, working at a museum, etc., and it reads very much like a contemporary. The Egyptian mythology is definitely present, though. I’m not too familiar with Egyptian mythology myself, but I think White did a good job of utilizing the gods. However, the minor complaint I have about this is that there are tiny little snippets of information at the beginning of each chapter that felt a bit like info-dumps, and I didn’t think they were all that necessary. White could have mixed the mythology lesson into the story more skillfully than that.

My final verdict: the Egyptian mythology sprinkles are a nice addition to the story, but it reads much more like a contemporary with a strong main female protagonist and an okay romance. I’m happy to say that the White’s writing style kept the story light on its feet. If you’re a fan of mythology and you’re in the mood for something quick and fun, I explicitly recommend The Chaos of Stars!

rating system 3.5 out 5

The Truth About You and Me by Amanda Grace | Review

The Truth About You and Me by Amanda Grace

Publisher: Flux

Release Date: September 8, 2013

Pages: 229

Source: Netgalley/Flux

Rating: 3 out of 5

I’ve always had the morbid curiosity about student-teacher relationships ever since I watched Pretty Little Liars. The synopsis for this story instantly intrigued me, and although the format for The Truth About You and Me is unique and works out well, everything else falls a little flat.

The one quality that stands out (besides the forbidden relationship) in The Truth About You and Me is the story-telling, or, rather, the format. Madelyn, the main protagonist, writes letters to Bennett, the love interest. I found that this way of revealing their relationship works really well and it’s a nice change from the usual third person POV. Somehow, it makes it easier to be fully engaged and captivated in her story.

Sadly, that’s pretty much all I liked in this book. My biggest issue is the romance between Madelyn and Bennett. It’s love at first sight, and throughout the book, their relationship doesn’t grow, and the reasoning behind their love for each other isn’t revealed. During the story, I feel that Madelyn only loves Bennett because she has the urge to be rebellious after so many years of following her parents’ instructions. And Madelyn herself comes off as a very creepy 16 year-old girl pining over a 26 year-old man. It’s weird to say that I liked Bennett more as a character because he felt much more like the innocent victim being dragged into Madelyn’s world.

And just on a little side-note: Madelyn’s 16, and going into her freshman year of college. She’s supposedly extremely smart. Nowhere in the book did she display her intelligence. I’m not just saying she made a dumb decision by going out with her teacher, but book-smart-wise; even in her classrooms she didn’t seem very smart.

I guess the unbelievable-ness in The Truth About You and Me is the problematic area for me. The romance between the student and teacher isn’t there; their chemistry is nonexistent. Her supposed intelligence did not shine through in any scene. Along with that, Madelyn is an uncomfortable character to read about, and the only positive (and redeeming) quality is the way the story is told. Overall, Amanda Grace took a shot at writing this forbidden relationship, but there are so many flaws that I think it is just okay.

rating system 3 out of 5

Tie a Bow on It: August 2013 Wrap-Up

August 2013 Wrap Up - Banner

Image from We Heart It

NO NO NO NO. Why is summer over already?! This can’t be happening. School already? I’ll be talking about some changes later on in a different post, but August was quite a good month for me!

favorite books this month - bannerEasy by Tammara Webber - PolaroidEasy by Tammara Webber - DescriptionThe Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider - PolaroidThe Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider - DescriptionCity of Ashes by Cassandra Clare - PolaroidCity of Ashes by Cassandra Clare - DescriptionCity of Glass by Cassandra Clare - PolaroidCity of Glass by Cassandra Clare - DescriptionCrown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas - PolaroidCrown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas - Description

three things that happened this month - banner

  • I beta-read for a bloggy friend for the first time ever. One of my best blog friends, Willa from Willa’s Ramblings, asked if I would like to beta-read her story and I did some critiquing! It was a lot of fun to read what she wrote.
  • Saw The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie! Unfortunately, I didn’t see this during midnight, but I wore a Shadowhunter shirt and I got a HUUUGE movie poster for being a big fan! The movie was quite good, I want to see it again!
  • Roadtripped with the family. I roadtripped to drop off my older sister at college, and I ate SO MUCH FOOD. Oh I love roadtripping.

three new bloggy discoveries

  • Rachel from Hello, ChellyI love reading this girl’s reviews, they are seriously clean, to the point, and very helpful. And her blog design is to die for! ❤ (plus she's Asian. GO ASIANS.)
  • Annie from Random ReadsAnnie is so sweet! She recently started commenting on my blog and I decided to check HER blog out, and I fell in love. She actually just reached her one year blogoversary, so go congratulate her!
  • Hazel from Stay BookishOMGFDAFAOEP her blog design. One of my favorites! Hazel is a somewhat new blogger, and she has such cool features on her blog! Definitely a must-follow.

music musings - banner

Okay so basically all this month I’ve listening to recommendations from Vy’s Blog and Rachel Reads. THEY GIVE GOOD RECS.

Music Musings - Banner

five September releases I'm looking forward to

five September releases I'm looking forward to- Collage

  • All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill: Time travel? HECK YES.
  • Cherry Money Baby by John M. Cusick: I love stories about small town life to big glam cities. This one is a must read for me!
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: I have a feeling I’ll be able to relate to this main character a lot. FANGIRLS FTW.
  • This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales: A story about a girl who finds passion in music and finds herself? Yessss, I love these!
  • Vicious by V.E. Schwab: Even though this one’s an adult read, the supernatural elements sounds so cool, plus I love Victoria’s writing.

So that’s it for me for the month of August! What good books did you read this month? Any new music favs? What AWESOME releases are you looking forward to in September?

Stacking the Shelves (#10)

Stacking the Shelves - Banner

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews. It gives us book nerds to share what awesome books we got this week, may it be from the book store, library, mailbox, or from friends!

***

Waterfell (The Aquarathi, #1) Heartbeat The Waking Dark Tandem (Many-Worlds, #1) Red (Never) Again Maybe One Day

(Click image to link to Goodreads):

Waterfell by Amalie Howard | Netgalley – Harlequin TEEN

Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott | Netgalley – Harlequin TEEN

The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman | Netgalley – Random House Children’s BFYR

Tandem by Anna Jarzab | Netgalley – Random House Children’s BFYR

Red by Alison Cherry | Netgalley – Random House Children’s BFYR

(Never) Again by Theresa Paolo | Netgalley – Penguin Group Berkeley, NAL

Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor | Edelweiss – HarperCollins

What new pretties did you get this week? Let me know!