HIATUS IS OVER!!!! An update on my life for the past five months + Single Sentence Reviews of all the books I’ve read in that time!

I’m baaaaaaack!!!!

I’m so sorry that I disappeared without a trace, but I am so thankful to all of you lovely people who stuck around with me on twitter and tumblr, and who will pick right up where they left off with me! <3 I love you guys! But my life has definitely not been the same without blogging and the wonderful friends I’ve made through blogosphere. I’m so excited to be back online!

giphy

Anyway, you’re probably wondering what I’ve been up to for the last five months! Well, mostly school stuff. Second term was a lot busier than first term, and I had a lot more meetings and training sessions to attend to prepare me to be a Frosh Week leader for September! I successfully completed my first year of university, and discovered where my passions lie. I will be pursuing an English Major degree with a minor in math. These are the two subjects that I want to teach when I become a teacher.

I also just had my first ever student teaching placement, and it was in a full day kindergarten class for two weeks.  It was so much fun, and the little kiddies were so adorable!!! It was an eye opening experience, and I learned a lot. I’m glad that I got placed with such a young group, because it is basically the complete opposite end of the age spectrum of who I want to teach – which is high schoolers.

I also signed the lease on a house with four of my friends that I made at school this year, and I can’t wait to move in and live independently next year. I mean, I was in residence this year, which is independent, but it is no where near as much responsibility as living in your own house where you need to cook and clean for yourself.

Now, let us move on to talk about all of the books I’ve read in that time!

Natalie’s Single Sentence Reviews

OK. OK. They’re not all single sentences… but they’re short.

3-59the perks of being a wallflowerallegiantmy life next door image

3:59 by Gretchen McNeil

This book was the perfect blend of creepy and alternate universes.
5 hearts

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

This one wasn’t really my cup of tea, but it was still an okay read.
3 hearts

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

 I really enjoyed how Veronica Roth ended off the Divergent Trilogy with Allegiant, despite what a lot of others have said about this book.
4.5 hearts

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

This was one of the cutest books I’ve read in a while, and I loved the twist at the end!  I also fell in love with the entire Garrett family, and would love to have them as my own next door neighbours! I can’t wait to read What I Thought Was True!!!
5 hearts

Anna and the French Kisssmart girls get what they want angus thongs and full frontal snogging the fault in our stars

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss did not let me down after I heard all of my blogging buddies raving about it! I need to find myself a St. Clair. *swoons*
5 hearts

Smart GIrls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer

I absolutely adored the main character Gigi, and was able to relate to her and to her relationships with her two best friends.
5 hearts

Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging

I didn’t find this book as hilarious as I know loads of other people have, but it was still a quick and enjoyable read for me.
3 hearts

The Fault in Our Stars

Let’s just say that when you get to the end of TFiOS you won’t want to be reading it in a classroom full of students… the tears will still come even if you will them to stop.
4.5 hearts

Love and other perishable itemswhy we broke uphopelesssiege and storm

Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo

This book was refreshingly real–the characters, the plot, and all the emotions.  I devoured this book over one night and one morning. I quite enjoyed how the story was told in chunks by the two MCs because it really allowed me to understand their feelings. All in all this was a really good book, it just lacked the WOW factor for me.
4 hearts

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

This one was a DNF for me. I got about 80 pages in and it was just so repetitive and whiny. I was rather upset because I ADORED A Series of Unfortunate Events.

DNF

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

I literally have no words to even begin to explain how amazingly wonderful this book is. If you take my word, and only my word for just one book, this is the one you should take it for.
5 hearts

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

The second instalment in Leigh’s Grisha Trilogy, this book was just as fantastic – perhaps even more so – as the first!
5 hearts

perfect chemistryhyperbole and a halfcrankthe infinite moment of us

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

This book was your classic “good girl” meets “bad boy” book and it was enjoyable but nothing special.
3 hearts

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

If you want a book that will make you laugh until you cry, and also give you a new perspective on serious issues like depression, this book full of short stories with hilarious illustrations is for you!
5 hearts

Crank by Ellen Hopkins

This book grabs ahold of your heart and doesn’t let you go until you finish the very last page.
4 hearts

The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle

Something about this book didn’t sit quite right with me, and I think it was the writing that was somewhat colloquial at all of the wrong times.
2.5 hearts

anatomy lessondead girls dont write letterssince youve been gonecity of ashes

Anatomy Lesson by Matt Spadafora

(This book is going to get a little bit longer of a review than the other ones.) (Also my review of this book is not biased in any way.) Anatomy Lesson is a book of short stories written by my good friend Matt Spadafora. He took a “Making a Book” class in his last year of university and successfully wrote and published this book! The interesting concept is that each of these short stories revolve around a memory about a part of his body. Some of them are hilarious, some are revolting, and some of them hurt your heart. Also another major selling point about this book is that I’m mentioned ;)
5 hearts

You can purchase Matt’s book online from Amazon, and you can read more of Matt’s writing on his blog, Mathew John Writes.

Dead Girls Don’t Write Letters by Gail Giles

This one is a very quick read, but will have you on the edge of your seat the entire time, and you’ll never know what to think about everything!
4 hearts

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

I can’t get over how amazing this book was!!! I fell in love with the characters and the story and I literally have no bad things to say about this! And the cover is super cute too :)
5 hearts

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

I didn’t love this book as much as the first TMI book, City of Bones, but I still liked it! I’m excited to read the rest of this series, and City of Glass is coming up soon in my TBR pile.
4.5 hearts

the replacementevery dayThe programwhere the stars still shine

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Creepy, weird book that didn’t seem well thought out, and left too many questions unanswered for my liking.
2 hearts

Every Day by David Levithan

The concept of this book is very interesting, but lacked slightly in execution. The writing was beautiful, but the story itself felt repetitive and drawn out.
3 hearts

The Program by Suzanne Young

I literally could not put this book down. The characters and the superbly unique plot had me captivated from the very first page.
5 hearts

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Phenomenal writing and exquisite characters and development = TEARS. In a word? Flawless
5 hearts

Well, there you have it. A complete list of short review of all of the books I’ve read in the time since I let blogged (minus finishing a couple of series that I want to write about in separate posts.) Thank you for sticking with me and welcoming me back into the blogosphere with open arms!!! I’m so happy to be back :)

Review: The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine

the promise of amazingTitle/Author: The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine
Publisher/Year: Balzer + Bray on December 31, 2013
Rating:  ★½
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Series: Nope!
Other Books by Author: None yet
How I got this Book: From the publisher in exchange for an honest review – Thanks HarperCollins!
Summary From Goodreads: Wren Caswell is average. Ranked in the middle of her class at Sacred Heart, she’s not popular, but not a social misfit. Wren is the quiet, “good” girl who’s always done what she’s supposed to—only now in her junior year, this passive strategy is backfiring. She wants to change, but doesn’t know how.

Grayson Barrett was the king of St. Gabe’s. Star of the lacrosse team, top of his class, on a fast track to a brilliant future—until he was expelled for being a “term paper pimp.” Now Gray is in a downward spiral and needs to change, but doesn’t know how.

One fateful night their paths cross when Wren, working at her family’s Arthurian-themed catering hall, performs the Heimlich on Gray as he chokes on a cocktail weenie, saving his life literally and figuratively. What follows is the complicated, awkward, hilarious, and tender tale of two teens shedding their pasts, figuring out who they are—and falling in love.

My Thoughts copy

The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine was not as amazing as the title leads you to believe. Sadly, there wasn’t much amazing in there for me at all.  Wren Caswell was a likeable character, but she wasn’t anything special. She was too typical for me. You know, the indecisive, average at everything, middle of her class (socially and academically) kind of girl. Wren works at her family’s Banquet hall, and while working one night, she saves a hottie teen boy from chocking to death on a cocktail weenie. And then BAM! Instalove hits you right in the face.

We learn that this boy Wren saved is Grayson Barrett, a bad boy who wants to change his ways… maybe? He manages to land a job working for Wren’s family’s business to, you guessed it, be closer to Wren and spend more time with her! Told from dual point of view, this is where the book took a turn for the worst. From this point onward – and even a little bit before – all we ever got to read about was the internal banter of Wren and Grayson each wondering if the other one liked them (which they obviously did) and what they should do about it.

We also got to read about Grayson and all of his past term-paper-pimp antics, and his band of miscreant friends and all of the trouble that they like to get into. Which to me, just didn’t seem realistic. I don’t want to give anything away, but I’ve never heard of a group of young teenagers doing things like that before. But even Grayson alone didn’t do it for me. He just didn’t seem like a good person, even though he was trying to change.

Final Thoughts

All in all, The Promise of Amazing started out kind of okay. I’ve got to admit, the moment that Wren saves Grayson from choking was kind of cute. But after that it all went downhill for me. I found the characters underdeveloped and unrealistic, and therefore I couldn’t connect with any of them. And I also found the plot (/lack of a real plot other than their internal bantering?) mind-numbingly boring. But, it has a really cute cover!

1.5 hearts

Second opinions

Diane said The Promise of Amazing “had so much potential but lost its steam.”

Amber said it was “bland.”

Debby said “It wasn’t a completely terrible read.”

Talk to me

Have you read The Promise of Amazing? What were your thoughts on it? Do you like the cover? If you haven’t read it, do you still think you might, or is it a no-go? LET ME KNOW! :)

Mini Book Reviews: If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch, The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd, Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

As most of you know, this summer has been pretty busy for me what with work, getting ready to move away to university, and trying to hang out with all of my friends for one last time before I leave! So, because of this, I have A BUNCH of books that I’ve read dating back to mid-June that I haven’t had time to review yet! I figured that instead of taking a bajillion hours to give all of these books full length reviews, I will have a series of mini reviews come out during the next few weeks, featuring three books per post, just until I get myself caught up. Sound like a good plan?? GOOD! (clicking the book covers will lead you to goodreads)

mini review if you find me

if you find me

*** Recommended to me by Judith. If she ever recommends something to you, you listen.***

Summary from Goodreads: There are some things you can’t leave behind…

A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys.

Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go… a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.

 What I liked: EVERYTHING!!!! I am not kidding. This book was fantastic! I couldn’t put it down the entire time I was reading it. Emily Murdoch is a writing genius, and this was most definitely one of the best – if not the best – debut novel I have ever read! Murdoch took such great care in writing from Carey’s POV as someone who does not know much about civilized life, and the way she describes simple things that Carey has never seen before is amazing. Also, being an only child myself, I really appreciate reading about a great sibling relationship as I don’t have one myself and love living them vicariously through books! Carey and Janessa are perfect, and are definitely up there tied for the top of my favourite sibling relationships along with Sam and Dean from Supernatural!!! Anyway, I can’t say enough good things about this book! READ IT NOW and thank me later.

What I didn’t like: Nothing. I literally have not one single complaint about this book. Except maybe that it could have been longer. So that I didn’t have to stop reading it so soon and that the amazingness would never end!!!

Swoon factor?: It’s not a huuuuge factor in this book, but there is this boy named Ryan Shipley, and he’s perfect. <3

Favourite character: Carey. She’s amazingly awesome and takes care of her little sister so well.

Favourite quote: “I answer her with my silence, understanding the full power of it for the first time. Words are weapons. Weapons are powerful. So are unsaid words. So are unused weapons.”

Rating:  5 hearts+ a million more hearts!

mini review the madman's daughter

the madman's daughter Summary from Goodreads: In the darkest places, even love is deadly.

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father’s handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it’s too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Inspired by H. G. Wells’s classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman’s Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we’ll do anything to know and the truths we’ll go to any lengths to protect.

What I liked: This book was another fast favourite of mine! I’ve never read The Island of Dr. Moreau before, but I think I might have to now so that I can see what Megan Sheperd pulled from that book in her retelling. The Madman’s daughter was perfectly dark and creepy and had just the right amount of plot twists and shocks woven in! Juliet is a strong female MC, which I just love so much. I also was a fan of both male characters present, Montgomery and Edward, however I think I liked Montgomery just the tiniest bit more than Edward. Also, THE ENDING! Megan did an amazing job of leaving just me on a little bit of a cliffhanger, and throwing in another twist! I need the next book, NOW!

What I didn’t like: My only minor reservation about this book is that there is a bit of animal torture/death…. Now, had I known anything about The Island of Dr. Moreau, I would have been a tad more prepared for this. I am one of those people who react so much more to animal deaths in books/movies, so this was a little bit hard for me to swallow. Nevertheless, don’t let that hold you back from reading a fantastically creepy book!!!

Swoon factor?: I didn’t really fall hard for either love interest in this book, but like I said above, I like Montgomery a little bit more than Edward.

Favourite character: Juliet. She was the perfect strong female MC, with just the right amount of sass!

Favourite quote: “The ways of men and women are such a puzzle. And I could barely decipher my own feelings, let along anyone else’s.”

Rating: 5 hearts

mini review pretty girl 13

pretty girl13 Summary from Goodreads: Angie Chapman was thirteen years old when she ventured into the woods alone on a Girl Scouts camping trip. Now she’s returned home…only to find that it’s three years later and she’s sixteen-or at least that’s what everyone tells her.

What happened to the past three years of her life?

Angie doesn’t know.

But there are people who do — people who could tell Angie every detail of her forgotten time, if only they weren’t locked inside her mind. With a tremendous amount of courage, Angie embarks on a journey to discover the fragments of her personality, otherwise known as her “alters.” As she unearths more and more about her past, she discovers a terrifying secret and must decide: When you remember things you wish you could forget, do you destroy the parts of yourself that are responsible?

What I liked: Pretty Girl-13 has some crazy heavy subject matter, and the way that Liz Coley deals with it and writes about it is amazing. I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of research that would have had to go in to writing a book like this. Pretty Girl-13 goes to show just how much the human brain is capable of, and how far it will go to protect you. This is one book that I literally couldn’t put down, and I had finished it in a matter of only a few hours. Kudos to Liz for writing such an entertaining book!

What I didn’t like: The only thing holding me back from giving this book five stars is that unfortunately, it was a tad too predictable for my liking. By the time I had made it to the HUGE OMG moment, I had guessed it. But still, it’s an amazing twist, if not slightly too much strangeness if you know what I mean.

Swoon factor?: As much as I love for books to have a love interest and kissing, this book wouldn’t have been able to incorporate that, and that’s ok. It would have been waaaay too much and would have made everything a big mess.

Favourite character: Due to spoilery things, I can’t tell you who my favourite character is, except for that it isn’t Angie… Read it and find out!

Favourite quote: “For three long years all I’ve wanted is to know what happened to you. Now, I don’t honestly know if I want you to remember.”

Rating:4 hearts

Well ladies and gents, there you have it! Three mini reviews for three good books! Let me know your thoughts on any or all of the books below, and also let me know what you think of the mini review idea!! I love getting feedback from all of you lovelies <3

Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

clockwork angelTitle/Author: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Publisher/Year: McElderry Books on August 31, 2010
Genre: YA Paranormal
Series: The Infernal Devices
Other Books by Author: The Mortal Instruments Series
How I got this Book: Borrowed from a friend
Summary From Goodreads: When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa’s power for his own.

Continue reading

Review: The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

turth about foreverTitle/Author: The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Publisher/Year: Penguin Group Inc. on May 11, 2004
Genre: YA Romance/Contemporary
Series: Nope!
Other Books by Author: This Lullaby, Just Listen, and so many more!
How I Got This Book: Purchased
Summary From Goodreads: A long, hot summer…

That’s what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy’s father.

But sometimes unexpected things can happen—things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister’s project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories. Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl’s world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to wonder, Is it really better to be safe than sorry? Continue reading

Review: The Host by Stephanie Meyer

hostTitle/Author: The Host by Stephanie Meyer
Publisher/Year: Little Brown and Company on May 6, 2008
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Series: Nope
Other Books by Author: The Twilight Series
How I got this Book: Borrowed from a friend
Summary From Goodreads: Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. Wanderer, the invading “soul” who has been given Melanie’s body, didn’t expect to find its former tenant refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

As Melanie fills Wanderer’s thoughts with visions of Jared, a human who still lives in hiding, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she’s never met. Reluctant allies, Wanderer and Melanie set off to search for the man they both love.

Featuring one of the most unusual love triangles in literature, THE HOST is a riveting and unforgettable novel about the persistence of love and the essence of what it means to be human.

Continue reading

Review: Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike

life after theftTitle/Author: Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike
Publisher/Year: HarperTeen on April 30th, 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal/Contemporary
Series: Nope
Other Books by Author: Wings Series
How I got this Book: Received this book as an eARC from Edelweiss. This in no way swayed my opinion of this book!!
Summary From Goodreads: Moving to a new high school sucks. Especially a rich-kid private school. With uniforms. But nothing is worse than finding out the first girl you meet is dead. And a klepto.

No one can see or hear Kimberlee except Jeff, so–in hopes of bringing an end to the snarkiest haunting in history–he agrees to help her complete her “unfinished business.” But when the enmity between Kimberlee and Jeff’s new crush, Sera, manages to continue posthumously, Jeff wonders if he’s made the right choice.

Clash meets sass in this uproarious modern-day retelling of Baroness Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Continue reading

Review: Taken by Erin Bowman

takenTitle/Author: Taken by Erin Bowman
Publisher/Year: Harper Teen on April 16, 2013
Genre: YA Dystopian/Romance
Series: Yes! Trilogy :)
Other Books by Author: None yet!
How I got this Book: Won via Goodreads First Reads contest!
Summary From Goodreads: There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends…and he’s gone.

They call it the Heist.

Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side? Continue reading

Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

love at first sightTitle/Author: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher/Year: Poppy/Little Brown on January 2, 2012
Genre: YA Romance/Contemporary
Series: Nope!
Other Books by Author: This is What Happy Looks Like, The Comeback Season, You Are Here and many more!
How I got this Book: Purchased
Summary From Goodreads: Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan’s life. Having missed her flight, she’s stuck at JFK airport and late to her father’s second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley’s never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport’s cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he’s British, and he’s sitting in her row. Continue reading

Review: The Boyfriend List (15 guys, 11 shrink appointments, 4 ceramic frogs, and me, Ruby Oliver) by E. Lockhart

boyfriend listTitle/Author: The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart
Publisher/Year: Ember on March 22, 2005
Genre: YA Contemporary/Romance
Series: Yes!
Other Books by Author: The Boy Book (Ruby Oliver 2), The Treasure Map of Boys (Ruby Oliver 3), Real Live Boyfriends (Ruby Oliver 4), The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
How I got this Book: Borrowed from the library
Summary From Goodreads: Fifteen-year-old Ruby has had a rough ten days. During that time she:

* lost her boyfriend (#13 on the list)
* lost her best friend (Kim)
* lost all her other friends (Nora, Cricket)
* did something suspicious with a boy (#10)
* did something advanced with a boy (#15)
* had an argument with a boy (#14)
* had a panic attack Continue reading