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Falling For YA

Hello! I'm Emily. I am a YA Book Blogger at Falling For YA, Third Year Law Student at the University of South Dakota, and lover of all things bookish. 

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea - April Genevieve Tucholke Violet and her brother Luke are old money but the money has run out. They’re living in a crumbling mansion while their flighty artist parents are in Europe. To make some extra money Violet puts up an add to rent out the guest house, River West answers that add and suddenly Violets life is changed and so is the entire town.

I loved just how creepy this novel was. I was always trying to figure out what was happening and all signs constantly pointed back to River being behind all of the strange happenings around town. River is a lovely, wealthy, liar who makes Violet feel so at ease. I never trusted him because I don’t think Violet ever does. While she likes him there is just something off about River and as the novel progresses I liked that Violet knew to keep her distance even if she wasn’t sure she wanted to.

I immediately liked Violet. She is quirky, while still remaining rather dark. She was completely unapologetic about the way she acts and how she thinks. At times I felt Violet was rather judgment, especially regarding her friend Sunshine, but you can tell she has a good heart. I also liked the way she keeps her grandmother, who everyone including Violet calls, Frankie alive in her memory. Even though Frankie was never in the story I felt like I knew her through Violet.

Tucholke excels at writing dysfunctional sibling relationships. Violet and Luke are twins and one second it feels like they hate each other but the next you can tell just how much they truly care about one another. The dynamics just feel real and the sibling relationships between Violet and Luke as well as between River and Neely became one of my favorite aspects of the story.

My one gripe with Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is that I found the ending to be a bit of a cop out. I wanted it to be so much creepier then it actually was. If Tucholke had taken the novel to its natural conclusion it would have been dark, terrible, and I would have loved every word. Instead things wrap up rather nicely and none of our main characters are forced to be the bad guy.

Overall, despite the ending I still really enjoyed Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. It was creepy, whimsical, and I enjoyed all of the old movie references. I will definitely be picking up the sequel, 2014 can’t get here fast enough.
The Truth About You and Me - Amanda Grace, Mandy Hubbard The Truth About You and Me is different, but different in such a good way. It is a long letter written by Madelyn to Bennett. In the letter she tells the story of how their relationship began, and how everything crumbled apart. From the outset you know the outcome of the relationship but it never lessened my enjoyment of the novel. In fact the sweet parts were so much sweeter because you knew how it was going to end.

Madelyn is an exceptional student, doing Running Start and getting college credits while in High School. She is doing this so that she can fulfill her parent’s master plan for her education. The problem is these plans aren’t what she wants. In case you missed it a couple days ago I wrote a post about this same problem here, so I felt especially close to Madelyn. The novel while it is partially a love story is also about Madelyn finding her voice and doing what she wants for the first time in her life.

Then there was Bennett. I thought at first I wouldn’t like him. After all he is the teacher in this situation, he should know better. The way Madelyn describes him though and his actions make you realize what a genuinely good guy Bennett is. It was impossible not to like him.

Aside from the characters my favorite thing about this novel was that it was set in Enumclaw, Washington. Actually, it was set in a town about an hour North of where my family lives. I loved the descriptions of the trees, and the mountains. It made me feel a little bit homesick and I think this further connected me to the story.

Overall, The Truth About You and Me was a wonderfully different novel. It doesn’t have a happy ending but you never really expect one. I liked the journey the story takes you on though and will definitely be seeking out other books by this author.
Awaken - Meg Cabot This series, for me, has been an exercise in indifference. I was indifferent to the first book, Abandon, and had I not borrowed the second one from the library at the same time I borrowed the first one I probably wouldn’t have read it. After reading Underworld I figured I had already come this far and I should read Awaken just to finish things up. That brings us to this point. I finished Awaken and want to know how I feel? Indifferent.

From the outset I neither loved nor hated Pierce. She was simply the main character and nothing she did ever seemed out of the ordinary or pulled me in one direction or the other. She never pissed me off with her decisions or left me wanting her to be more aggressive. Pierce is just there, and this novel felt no different. I did like that she embraced John and her position as consort of the Underworld in this novel though.

Then there was John, he was silent and brooding as ever, he actually was missing for a portion of the novel and his absence was felt. I guess in that section of the novel I liked Pierce a little more just because she was expressing emotion and working toward getting John back.

In all honesty the synopsis (which can be found here) for this book is way more exciting then the book itself. I feel like while the stuff listed in the synopsis happens it was presented in such a manner that left me feeling blasé. This novel didn’t suffer from a lack of action either. I think the problem, for me, was that the action never felt immediate or like anything important was on the line. Either they solved the problem or they didn’t and I couldn’t bring myself to care either way.

Overall, this book wasn’t bad it just left me feeling nothing and I probably won’t remember what happened in it this time next year. There were no technical problems I just think this series suffered from a lack of soul and because that something intangible was missing from the story I wasn’t able to ever really love it.
Team Human - Sarah Rees Brennan, Justine Larbalestier I’m usually dazzled whenever I read something by Sarah Rees Brennan, she is a very funny lady and it really shines through her writing. When I found out about her vampire parody novel Team Human I was instantly smitten. It took me a while to get my hands on this book but once it was in my possession I quickly devoured it. Unfortunately, by the end of the novel I wasn’t dazzled. I just felt like I had finished a book. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t amazing either. I was not overwhelmed or underwhelmed I was just whelmed.

Team Human begins when Francis, a vampire, arrives at Mel’s high school. Mel’s best friend Cathy instantly falls in love with him and Mel is horrified, and rightly so! She can’t understand who would fall for a vampire or why, he’s old, can’t go out in the sun, to her the entire idea is just kind of gross. I liked the world Team Human is set in. Vampires live right alongside humans in their own district (the shade district), and most families have a vampire aunt or uncle that visits. It was an easy world to get to know and become immersed in.

I think the reason for my whelmed opinion of this novel was Mel. She was an ok heroine. At times I liked her spunky attitude and meddling. Then at other times she came off as annoying. She wouldn’t just let her best friend be happy, and she constantly had to be the center of attention. I understand that she had some very strong anti-vampire sentiments but I just wanted to shake her, tell her to mind her own business, and live her own life. I think she eventually came to a similar realization (although in a much nice fashion) but she had an ‘I know better then you’ mentality for most of the novel.

I began to actually enjoy the story when Kit entered the scene. He is a human that was raised by vampires and his entire life he has intended to be made a vampire when he turns 18, so that he can continue living in the shade. It was fun to see his opinions clash with Mel and to see how Mel and Kit change each other throughout the story.

Overall, I enjoyed Team Human and I liked the world building. It was a fun and fairly quick read, but my on again off again relationship with the main character left me feeling rather ho-hum about the experience.
Dirty Little Secret - Jennifer Echols Dirty Little Secret is my first Jennifer Echols book but it definitely won’t be the last! For the first few pages I was sucked in to this Nashville world of Country and Blue Grass and despite the fact that I know absolutely nothing about either of those things I was still able to enjoy the story and found each of the characters to be fun and relatable.

The story centers around Bailey, an amazing fiddle player whose sister has signed with a major recording studio and what was once a duo is now a solo act. I liked that Bailey was portrayed in such a real way. She wasn’t the perfect sister, she was jealous of Julie, her younger sister, resentful about the way her parents treated her, and rebellious. All of these traits made Bailey someone you wanted to root for so that she could have that happy ending and not have her life turn in to a country song.

Then there was Sam who is determined to make it big in the music industry but he doesn’t want to be a solo act he wants a band and Bailey is his way to that perfect band. With his singing and her fiddle playing they could be that something different the music executives are looking for. Despite Sam’s often single minded drive to make it big, I still liked the guy. Sam is just the right combination of cocky and vulnerable. The relationship that develops between him and Bailey had me exasperated at some points and then at others I just wanted them to be together so bad! I like the happy balance that Echols strikes with the romance.

Overall, Dirty Little Secret was a fun, quick read. I liked being immersed in a country world and reading about the struggles Bailey has with her sister, parents, and band. I’m now looking forward to getting my hands on more books by Echols!
The Deepest Night - Shana Abe The Sweetest Dark took me by surprise earlier this year with just how much I enjoyed it. When I saw a copy of The Deepest Night available on Netgalley I jumped at the chance to read the sequel. I expected to enjoy this book just as much as the first, and while I did enjoy it there was just that something special missing in the sequel that made me love the first book.

*Beware Spoilers for The Sweetest Dark below

The Deepest Night begins shortly after The Sweetest Dark concludes. Lora is still coming to terms with the fact that she is a Drakon and with the loss of Jessie. In addition to having that on her mind she is also struggling with her feelings for Armand in the wake of losing Jessie and this is all happening as World War I looms in the background. I think that is my favorite thing about this series; the setting is just superb and I love the way the author describes the setting.

Lora in this novel felt a little winey at times. She spent so much time worrying about what was going to happen to everyone and about everything that had already happened that it took a long time for the novel to get to the driving action and once the action started it felt like the story just ended. I did enjoy getting to know Lora better though and find out more about her past.

Then there was Armand. In the first novel I kind of waffled back and forth on whether I liked the guy or not but in this book he really redeems himself and was loyal and steadfast toward Lora almost to the point that he was being walked all over by her. I’m interested to see how Armand grows and changes in the next book though, since he did do a lot of changing as a character throughout the book.

Overall, The Deepest Night was a good follow up novel I wish the action had begun sooner and lasted longer but it was a solid second book and I am excited to read the next installment in the series.
The Liberator - Victoria Scott This review will contain spoilers from The Collector if you haven’t read it yet make sure to check out my spoiler free review here.

At the end of The Collector Dante has officially left the service of Hell and started working for the Big Guy as a Liberator for Heaven. The problem is Dante doesn’t really know what all of that entails and is content to just follow Charlie around and be the same person he always has been. That is until Big Guy sends him on a mission to liberate a girl named Aspen’s soul.

Aspen was a welcome addition to the story. I liked that a female character was introduced and she was in no way a love interest. Boys and girls can be friends and I think that the relationship that Aspen and Dante develop really proved that. I also liked that Scott uses Aspen as a way for Dante to reflect on his own character and his own failings. Dante really begins to grow as a character in this novel.

Never fear all you Charlie/Dante lovers there is plenty of romance and swoon-worthy moments between the two of them in this book! Despite Charlie acting a little out of the ordinary in the beginning of the novel and Dante’s constant worrying things get ‘back to normal’ and I enjoyed the way their relationship progressed. It felt natural given all these two have been through.

One thing I feel the need to mention is that the first half of the book was a little slow. Luckily, after a pivotal moment the action revs up and the ending of The Liberator left me wanting more. I can’t wait to see what happens with Dante, Charlie, and Aspen next.

Overall, The Liberator was a great sequel that ends on a high note and I can’t wait to read more from Victoria Scott!
Ink - Amanda Sun It took me over a month to read this book. Every time I started to read my mind would wander and I would literally do anything else to avoid reading. I started with such high expectations and honestly the first introduction to the characters was interesting, a boy dramatically breaking up with his girlfriend, but from there everything went down hill.

Instantly Katie falls for Tomohiro the guy that was JUST doing the dramatic break up with his girlfriend, even though he shows no interest in her. She proceeds to stalk Tomohiro, follows him to the train station, follows him to his secret hide out, and then wonders why he lashes out at her. For the first 100 or so pages this was the entire storyline.

Then suddenly Tomohiro and Katie have this connection and are drawn together because of the ever mysterious ink that is making drawings move, and doing other strange stuff. I honestly wish I had known more about the ink, it could have been the most interesting thing and saved the story but I never felt like I really understood what it was capable of. The ink to me felt more like a giant: ‘Insert Paranormal Plot Device Here’ rather then having substance and making the story interesting.

Really though I could have lived with a subpar plot because I loved the setting in Japan so much. I was an exchange student in Kitakyushu so I understood a lot of what Katie was going through, being in a completely different setting and experiencing Japanese culture for the first time. Even her inability to communicate in the language seemed real to me. Unfortunately Katie herself didn’t seem real and neither did her relationship with Tomohiro. Actually it was this terrible relationship that made me avoid reading the book. The romance was just so fake, distant, and awkward that it detracted from the story.

Overall, I did not enjoy Ink. The plot line felt recycled, the paranormal element did not stand out, and the romance was terrible. The setting was my favorite part of the book but that’s just not enough to get me to pick up the sequel.
Speak Easy - Melanie Harlow Tiny’s Father is a small time bootlegger in early 1920’s Detroit, and because he refuses to pay the local crime syndicate for protection he is kidnapped and it falls on Tiny to team up with Joey, he childhood ‘enemy’, and Enzo, the crime lords son, in order to work out a deal and save her father.

Tiny was an interesting main character. Most of the time she seemed more like a modern woman then a 1920’s bootlegger. The only time I got the vibe that she wasn’t from this era was when she was talking about things like the vote. Otherwise Tiny was very in control of her sexuality, and destiny. I liked that about her, although I wonder how many women living during this time actually felt this way.

The romance in Speak Easy was a sort of love triangle, although it was obvious who Tiny preferred. I just wish she had preferred someone else. Honestly, the romance in Speak Easy, because I had such a dislike for the male lead, Enzo, was not my favorite part of the story. Don’t get me wrong this book was definitely HOT! The scenes between Tiny and the Enzo were electric and intense. I just wish I had liked the guy more. I even felt at many points in the story that Tiny herself didn’t like the Enzo so it made it almost impossible for me to feel anything for him.

I did like the story itself though. A girl trying to rescue her father while taking care of her sisters, running a bootlegging operation, and navigating 1920’s Detroit was awesome! I also liked the fact that the novel gripped me the entire time, it was hard to put it down because something new and interesting was always happening.

Overall, I enjoyed Speak Easy. My one other gripe, aside from the romance, is the length of the novel. At 194 ebook pages (for the ARC) it was relatively short and I am now eagerly awaiting the next book in the series!

*Special note this book is New Adult and I recommend readers be 18+ due to sexual content
Walking Disaster - Jamie McGuire DNF (Did Not Finish)

Thanks to the publisher and netgalley for giving me the opportunity to review and advanced reader's copy of Walking Disaster.

I will not be giving a full review of this novel. I made it a little under half way in to the story and found that I was basically just re-reading Beautiful Disaster. I expected more new content and insight in to Travis's mind. Instead it just felt like the same scenes re-hashed. I actually began to dislike Travis and that's when I knew I needed to put the book aside. I enjoyed Beautiful Disaster and didn't want my memories of that novel to be tainted by my dislike of Walking Disaster.

This novel also felt very disjointed and choppy to me. It felt like a 'best of' clip show and only focused on the scenes between Travis and Abby rather then what was happening in Travis's life outside of Abby.

I look forward to reading other titles by Jamie McGuire in the future and plan to read Providence. Through reading Walking Disaster I came to realize I don't particularly care for novels about the same story written from a different perspective.
Starglass - Phoebe North There has been a space sized hole in my heart since the last page of Across The Universe by Beth Revis. Usually I’m not one for sci-fi novels but something about being trapped on a ship heading to a far away planet really captures my attention. Needless to say when I finally got my hands on North’s novel I was excited to get back aboard the ship, heading toward the next great adventure.

The thing about this novel though was that it was less about the ship and more about the people aboard the ship. For a huge chunk of the story, well most of it actually, I had no idea what the ship even looked like. Bit’s a pieces of information were given but never enough to paint a vivid picture of how the ship looked. I also didn’t know anything about the inhabitants of the ship until half way through the novel when North decided to let us in on the fact that the ship was begun by the Jewish Federation (This is totally not the real name but it was something similar). At this point I was like “Oh! That’s why all the characters keep injecting random Jewish words!” Prior to that I just thought they were fun words that people decided were in vogue in the future.

We meet Terra just prior to her graduation day. At 16 the students become adults and receive job placements from the council this is just one of the many duties and ways in which the council controls the populace. The council is basically a totalitarian regime and so I wasn’t too surprised when Terra finds out about an underground group working to overthrow the council.

I liked Terra, it took me a while to get to know her but once I did she really grew on me. Terra has been through a lot, more then anyone else on the ship has. I liked that her character was real and fallible. Terra makes mistakes and is quick to get swept up with the rebellion’s rhetoric.

The romance in Starglass is something I could not have predicted. Those of you tired of love triangles will definitely get something different with this novel! I liked that it was completely out of the norm from other stories. Terra doesn’t need a husband vindicating her choices or holding her hand. The girl makes her own decisions and while there was plenty of foreshadowing I was still happy with the direction North took with the romantic aspect of the story.

Overall, Starglass is a promising start of a new series. I look forward to the next novel and what the planet of Zahreh has in store for the people of the Asherah.
Truly, Madly, Deadly - Hannah Jayne I knew from the instant I read the synopsis that this book was going to be creepy. What I didn’t expect was the psychological thrill ride the novel would take me on! From start to finish I was intrigued, concerned, and worried for Sawyer as her “admirer” continually tried to “help” her.

Sawyer was an easy heroine to connect with. She has been going through a lot of changes in her personal and school life. She is trying to find herself in the wake of her abusive boyfriends death, and isn’t sure how to reconcile the abuse with the good parts of their relationship. The fact that Sawyer was constantly portrayed as the underdog, and the bullied made her likable despite her other character flaws.

One of my favorite things about this novel is the inclusion of the police. Too often heroines choose to not involve law enforcement or discount the police before they’ve even contacted them. This always pisses me off to no end. I liked that as Sawyer’s admirer started to really scare her, she turned to the police rather then a rag-tag group of friends or something equally silly. It made the story more realistic because going to the police is something I would have done.

The one thing in the story that rubbed me the wrong in Truly, Madly, Deadly, was that Sawyer ends up being asked out by two different guys and actually carrying on a sort of relationship with one of them. While this is typical high school behavior it felt off to me. It was just too soon after her ex’s death for her to even consider moving on. No matter the state of your relationship, losing someone who has had that kind of effect on your life leaves a mark and I never got the sense that Sawyer really dealt with her unresolved feelings for her ex before moving on.

Aside from the romance aspect I really enjoyed everything else about the story. The mystery kept me up reading late and gave me goosebumps. I thought I had everything figured out fairly early on and was pleasantly surprised when the author took the story in a different direction.

Overall, Truly, Madly, Deadly was an awesome thriller. This novel reminded me that YA does not have nearly enough mystery and thriller books and that I had sorely missed this genre. I look forward to reading other works by this author!
An Endless Summer (Summer, #2) - C.J. Duggan An Endless Summer is Sean and Amy’s story. It is more of a companion novel to The Boys of Summer then a sequel and it was great to see some of my favorite characters from Boys of Summer, namely Toby and Tess, in a different context and to see that their relationship was still going strong.

Amy’s father is the owner of the Onslow, the famous hotel that gave the Onslow Boy’s their name. After Amy is sent to Boarding School in the city the Onslow falls by the wayside and so upon returning to the hotel she is greeted with a dilapidated building with no customers. It becomes Amy’s summer goal to breathe new life in to the Onslow and save it so that her parents don’t sell. It is Sean that becomes her partner and ally.

Amy was an interesting heroine to read about. She was fiercely independent at certain times and at others totally unsure of herself. Her personality swings made it hard for me to predict what she was going to do next but it also made the read interesting. The only thing I really didn’t care for about this story was the relationship Amy had with her Mom. Her Mom was constantly berating Amy and treating her like a child, nothing Amy ever did was right and it pissed me off that her Mom was constantly jumping to conclusions. I also never got the vibe that the issues between the two of them were resolved.

I liked the relationship between Sean and Amy. At times it was riddled with miscommunications and Amy missing so many obvious signs but it was sweet, and kept me rooting for the characters. I liked that despite the fact that Sean was considered a “player” he never really read like one, in fact he seemed very genuine, hardworking, and caring.

Overall, this was a fun companion novel and a great summer read! I am now eagerly awaiting the final installment in the Summer series That One Summer.
Of Poseidon - Anna Banks Mermaids and Dragons are mythical creatures that don’t seem to make sense to me. Don’t get me wrong I don’t hate them or anything but I’ve read so few books about both that I’m kind of indifferent to them. Originally I had no intention of picking up Of Poseidon but after some twitter peer pressure I gave in and honestly I probably should have stuck with my original instinct.

Of Poseidon begins interestingly enough Emma and her best friend are at the beach when they encounter a total hottie and his rude sister. The something totally unexpected happens and I think the story is going to really start there…but it doesn’t. Instead the story becomes your typical insta-love, high school drama, overly possessive guy novel this time with mermaids.

Emma has gone through a lot for her age, losing those closest to her, and having a bad relationship with her mother you’d think she would be an interesting character but to me she was just another Mary-Sue type lead. I never really understood her choices one second she was completely against talking or going near Galen and then the next she was all about they guy.

That brings us to Galen, Mr. Syrena (mermaid) Prince, himself. He was the typical brooding, rich, super hot, overly-protective, male lead. When I was reading about him I kept getting déjà vu, he was just a carbon cut out of every other YA male lead on the market.

The one redeeming thing about this book was the twist at the end that leads me to believe the next book will have more action and more surprise twists and turns. Unfortunately, for me the twist came too late and I have no plans to pick up the sequel.

Overall, I can see why other people liked this book. It has all the requisite elements for a hit, hot boy lead, drama, a female lead that was just relateable enough, but for me there were just too many similarities to other stories for me to truly enjoy Of Poseidon.
Indelible - Dawn Metcalf Indelible is something that can not be forgotten or when referring to ink it is something that can not be erased. This is the concept on which the world of the Twixt is based. The story begins with Joy and her best friend going out to a night club, from across a crowded room she spots a boy clad in all black. I know what you’re thinking, City of Bones much?, we’ve read this story before. Luckily that is where the similarities end, as the boy begins to approach he is determined to kill Joy and actually ends up cutting her eye this leaves his indelible mark on her.

I really enjoyed the world building in Indelible. At times it was a little hard to follow just because it was so different that I had nothing else to base it on. The story is part fey folklore, and part Spirited Away (one of my favorite movies by the way). I was constantly surprised by what transpired and once Joy enters the world of the Twixt the action never lets up.

Joy was a fun heroine and one I really liked. She is not perfect and has real life problems. Her mother and father recently got a divorce and her mother moved to California basically abandoning her, her brother is off at college and too busy to call, and then her Dad is starting a relationship with a new woman. Joy is balancing all of these very big, very real problems and navigating this new world she has been abruptly thrust in to. I liked that her real life problems were not forgotten as she has to deal with her fantastical ones. The world of the Twixt definitely brought about it’s own set of issues. Namely, Ink and Inq.

Ink and Inq are siblings, they are two halves of a whole. Ink is mysterious, dark, and rather emotionless in the beginning. He has one goal and that is to do his job, he doesn’t care about those around him and has never really lived. Inq is his foil she is outgoing, welcoming, and has a couple of human play things on the side. I liked to see their interactions and the different ways they treated Joy.

The romance between Ink and Joy was different to say the least. I wasn’t even entirely sure they liked each other very much in the beginning, but as the story progressed so did their relationship and I looked forward to the moments they shared together. I have to say I definitely swooned over Ink. He was just the type of dark, mysterious, YA male lead I love!

Overall, I really enjoyed Indelible the characters, world building, and swoon-worthy male lead made putting this story down nearly impossible and I am now eagerly awaiting the next book in the series!

I received an ARC copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Paris Love Match - Nigel Blackwell Paris Love Match begins immediately with action Piers Chapman is in Paris to install a new piece of software on a crane, but the Parisian’s are not ready for him to install it. To kill time he decides to explore Paris which leads him to fighting over a cab with Sidney Roux and another man who promptly ends up dead. Thus begins a journey through Paris, running from mobsters, and uncovering the mystery surrounding the dead man.

What I liked the most about Paris Love Match was that there was always something happening. There was constant running from once action sequence to another and I was never bored. Because there was so much action at times it felt a little hard to get to know the characters. Sidney and Piers were largely unknown to me for the first half of the novel. In the second half we get to know them a little later but by the end I was more intrigued by the story line and what was happening then the characters themselves.

I enjoyed the relationship that developed between Sidney and Piers. With so much going on it was natural for them to develop feelings for one another and it was interesting to watch it progress. By the end I was really rooting for a HEA and luckily I got one.

Overall, Paris Love Match was an action packed New Adult novel that I enjoyed. It truly reminded me of a James Bond or Italian Job-esque movie and read much like a screen play. I look forward to reading what Blackwell writes in the future!