The Lifelong Bookworm’s Best Books of 2015

Hi guys! Today I’m sharing with you the books that impressed me this year because of their awesomeness. These books are dear to me! Without further ado, I now present you The Lifelong Bookworm‘s Best Books of 2015! 🙂

 

All the Bright Places

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

“Brimming with the brightest of hopes and the darkest of heartaches, All the Bright Places is a memorable tale of love, loss, and the beauty of being alive.” (Full review here.)

 

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Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

“An effervescent and uplifting coming of age story, Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda is a spectacular book that fills your heart with the warm glow of infinite bliss.” (Full review here.)

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The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

“An outstanding second novel from a talented author, The Start of Me and You is pure heart and soul and the best kind of perfect.” (Full review here.)

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The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne

“Bursting with the brightest intensity of awesomeness, The Wrong Side of Right is an extraordinary debut novel that warms the heart in every beautiful way.” (Full review here.)

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

“Sparkling with the glamour of timeless magic, A Court of Thorns and Roses is a phenomenal first book in a new series that everyone is sure to love!” (Full review here.)

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The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

“Gleaming with heartfelt moments and the brightest of possibilities, The Night We Said Yes is a remarkable debut novel that beautifully captures the core of love, friendship, and second chances in a magical and unforgettable way.” (Full review here.)

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Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith

“Instilled with surprising discoveries and hopeful beginnings, Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between is brilliance and heart in one exceptional novel.” (Full review here.)

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Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

“Brimming with optimism and profound clarity, Every Last Word is a remarkable novel that you need to add to your TBR pile!” (Full review here.)

*All book covers from Goodreads

How about you, fellow bookworms? What are your best books for this year? Share them on the comment section below! 🙂

ARC Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

16096824Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publication date: May 5, 2015

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s

Pages: 416

Source: ARC from publisher (Thank you, Bloomsbury!)

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked / National Book Store

Synopsis:

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

The last time I read fantasy was sometime in August 2014. It was then followed by a streak of contemporaries and occasional sci-fi and dystopian in between. To be honest, I am not a massive fantasy fan but this book I’m going to tell you about is purely incredible.

A Court of Thorns and Roses held my full attention at “The forest had become a labyrinth of snow and ice.” That first sentence—that first taste of magic is quite a knockout. I knew right away that I was reading a novel that is certain to be huge. ACOTAR is my first Sarah J. Maas book, and I’m happy to say that it surpassed my expectations. I was impressed by the remarkable world-building, the brilliantly executed plot, and the well-developed characters! The magic in this book washed over me in an extraordinary fashion. Words are not enough to describe how it felt. One thing I adored about ACOTAR is its refreshing Beauty and the Beast vibe. It gave the classic fairy tale a twisted yet hypnotic charm that engulfs readers in a matter of seconds. AMAZING!

A Court of Thorns and Roses started slow for me, but the story picked up soon enough. And from there, I was on an adventure that I didn’t want to end. There are surprises and revelations along the way specifically towards the conclusion that will blow your mind. Oh, and ready your heart for an influx of emotions because the ending is… Well, I’ll leave it at that.

Feyre is the kind of main character that readers should look up to for her strength, bravery, and selflessness. Those traits truly make her an unforgettable heroine. Now there’s Tamlin, Lucien, and Rhysand—three enchanting faerie men who are out of this world beautiful, sexy, and powerful in all angles. I loved Tamlin from the beginning because of his protectiveness over Feyre. Tamlin may also seem intimidating, but deep down he’s sweet and awkward at times when Feyre’s around. The spark between him and Feyre is just !!!!!!! 🙂 ❤ ❤ ❤ Lucien is my favorite because of his being faithful to Tamlin and a trusted friend to Feyre at court. Although he could be occasionally irritating with that snarky attitude of his, Lucien is still adorable. Last but not the least is Rhysand. My feelings toward this fae are in a tug-of-war situation. Rhys is a character that I like to hate yet there’s something about him that makes me want to love him. WHAAAAT? I know. Perhaps Book 2 will settle my ambivalent thoughts?

The romance is intense, heart melting, and irresistible. Pardon me for these overused words, dear readers. ACOTAR is the kind of book that puts a brake on your brain’s production of appealing descriptive words. But take note of this: you’ll want more of the romance after you’ve finished ACOTAR. Trust me. 🙂

Sarah J. Maas’ writing is vibrant with life. She created a fantasy world that you’d want to be part of. Plus, Sarah J. Maas has a breathtaking way of describing things, places, people, and emotions. Everything about this book is magical and genuine at the same time! A fantasy novel with sincere emotions never fails to capture my heart. Two thumbs up for ACOTAR!!!

Sparkling with the glamour of timeless magic, A Court of Thorns and Roses is a phenomenal first book in a new series that everyone is sure to love!

 

 

Rating:

5/5 stars

 

ARC Review: Mortal Gods by Kendare Blake

Mortal GodsTitle: Mortal Gods (Goddess War, #2)

Author: Kendare Blake

Publication date: October 14, 2014

Publisher: Tor Teen

Pages: 352

Source: Review copy from publisher (Thank you, Tor Teen!)

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked / National Book Store

Synopsis:

Ares, God of War, is leading the other dying gods into battle. Which is just fine with Athena. She’s ready to wage a war of her own, and she’s never liked him anyway. If Athena is lucky, the winning gods will have their immortality restored. If not, at least she’ll have killed the bloody lot of them, and she and Hermes can die in peace.

Cassandra Weaver is a weapon of fate. The girl who kills gods. But all she wants is for the god she loved and lost to return to life. If she can’t have that, then the other gods will burn, starting with his murderer, Aphrodite.

The alliance between Cassandra and Athena is fragile. Cassandra suspects Athena lacks the will to truly kill her own family. And Athena fears that Cassandra’s hate will get them ALL killed.

The war takes them across the globe, searching for lost gods, old enemies, and Achilles, the greatest warrior the world has ever seen. As the struggle escalates, Athena and Cassandra must find a way to work together. Because if they can’t, fates far worse than death await.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads 

My review: 

With more action, jaw-dropping twists, and a tidal wave of intense emotions, Mortal Gods is one gripping book that I totally enjoyed reading this year. It’s the kind of sequel that you’d want to read at a relaxed speed because every moment in the story is precious. Although there are parts where the pace is a bit slow, it doesn’t matter because those give readers time to prepare themselves for big scenes that will blow their minds in every way. Big Bang-like explosions of feels and surprises are also components of those scenes, making Mortal Gods an epic reading adventure. Tension, shock, pain, and heartbreak are the four dominant emotions that left a lasting impression on me. I think it took a day or two for those extreme feelings to die down.

The characters are fantastic! Each one of them is distinctive in personality, actions, and opinions. The diversity of characters injects a flavorful spice that generates excitement and compulsive appreciation for the story. In addition, the conflicts that the characters live through brilliantly emphasize their flaws and strong points. My favorite character in the book is Athena. A daring goddess who exudes intelligence, determination, and a firm grasp of reason, Athena is the ideal picture of a remarkable heroine. Regardless of her identity as a goddess, Athena has a vulnerable and empathetic side that also makes her so human. The clash of emotions raging through her is very realistic and is something that readers would identify with. Second favorite character is Cassandra who grew to be more insightful and braver as she acknowledged her role in the war of gods. Cassandra still grapples with her past and present self so with the tragic event in Antigoddess; nevertheless, she’s making an effort to get better. I have to mention Hermes and Odysseus as notable characters as well because they are both strong driving forces in Athena’s team of warriors. Furthermore, new characters will be introduced. Some of them readers will love or hate or both. But one thing I can tell about the fresh faces is that they’re unpredictable. Why? That, you have to find out for yourself, dear readers! Sorry! 🙂 My advice to you is to be ready for a huge impact coming your way!

Kendare Blake’s writing is exquisite. She imbued the story with life that sparkles with energy and brightness. Her beautifully constructed sentences depict sharp images, transporting readers to a rich and spectacular world where reality and mythology coexist.

Heart-stopping and out of this world, Mortal Gods is a sequel that leaves you breathless and thirsty for more. I NEED Book 3 now!

 

Rating:

4.5/5 stars

 

ARC Review: Fates by Lanie Bross

FatesTitle: Fates (Fates, #1)

Author: Lanie Bross

Publication date: February 11, 2014

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Pages: 336

Source: e-ARC from publisher via Netgalley (Thank you, Random House Children’s!)

Purchase the book:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble Book Depository

Synopsis: 

One moment. One foolish desire. One mistake. And Corinthe lost everything.

She fell from her tranquil life in Pyralis Terra and found herself exiled to the human world. Her punishment? To make sure people’s fates unfold according to plan. Now, years later, Corinthe has one last assignment: kill Lucas Kaller. His death will be her ticket home.

But for the first time, Corinthe feels a tingle of doubt. It begins as a lump in her throat, then grows toward her heart, and suddenly she feels like she is falling all over again–this time for a boy she knows she can never have. Because it is written: one of them must live, and one of them must die. In a universe where every moment, every second, every fate has already been decided, where does love fit in?

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads 

My review: 

Fates is an intriguing story about fulfilling destinies. It has a promising plot and the author’s writing is simply beautiful. Words laced with the creative vision of an artist, Lanie Bross’ descriptions of things, places, people, emotions, and situations project sharp, bright images to the reader’s mind. The world, rather, worlds she created gleam with the mystery and beauty of impossibilities.

But in spite of that, I struggled in connecting with the story and its characters. I felt that Fates is kind of complex. There is too much to know about Pyralis Terra, the world of main character Corinthe. Terms and ideas are thrown to readers and are explained. However, even with all those information, everything is still confusing. To be honest, the story needs solid history or background to thoroughly explain to readers the origin of concepts and how things are the way they are.

Even the romance aspect of the book was a bit vague so I, as a reader, got lost. The process of falling in love was not clearly presented. One moment Luc, the love interest, loathes Corinthe and in the next, he loves her because she understands him. Corinthe is Luc’s “Other” but how did that happen? I went back to previous chapters that led to Luc’s moment of realization looking for scenes wherein he showed signs of love for Corinthe. Yet, I found nothing. I didn’t see how and when the guy fell in love with the girl. There’s obviously a spark between Corinthe and Luc but I think there’s something more than that—a deeper meaning that justifies the attraction and love that Corinthe and Luc feel for each other. I hope the sequel will tackle more about their connection.

Although this story did not work for me, I still encourage you to give it a try because of its interesting take on the idea of destiny. Fates will appeal to fans of destiny stories with a touch of other-worldly magic.

Rating:

2.5/5 stars

ARC Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel BeautyTitle: Cruel Beauty

Author: Rosamund Hodge

Publication date: January 28, 2014

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Pages: 352

Source: ARC provided by publisher (Thank you, HarperCollins!)

Purchase the book:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble Book Depository / Fully Booked

Synopsis:

Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review: 

Cruel Beauty is a bewitching retelling of the classic fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast. With a touch of Greek mythology, the story’s original concept provides a fresh insight in giving unique twists to timeless tales and making them brand new.

Rosamund Hodge’s writing thrums with gracefulness and vitality. Her words are lyrical and alive, enchanting readers until the last word. The beginning of the story may be a bit slow. However, it is worth reading because it deals with the backstory of Arcadia, the riveting fictional setting of Cruel Beauty. I’m amazed by the rich and imaginative world-building of this book. Gripping and believable, the history of Arcadia really supported the intricate details of the magical lore it’s enclosed in. It supplies answers to questions that arise as you read along.

Surrounded with a supernatural, mysterious atmosphere, the plot is a wonderful piece of art. Each scene is thoroughly presented and well put together. What I also like about Cruel Beauty is the unpredictability of events. I had no idea what was going to happen next and it really made reading the book a thrilling experience.

The characters are remarkable. Gorgeously flawed, they exhibit realistic traits that help readers understand their nature and way of thinking. Nyx is a complex character, overwhelmed with fury and resentment. But in spite of that, she’s a fearless and compassionate person whom I grew to admire as the story progressed. Nyx’s determination to fulfill her mission of saving Arcadia is the factor that renders her courageous. She could be annoying at times with her thoughts of jealousy and indignation but really, she’s a character worthy of appreciation.

Up next is Shade, who plays a huge role in the unraveling of secrets in the story. He’s an intriguing character and readers are sure to be surprised to discover the truth about him. Last but not the least is Ignifex, the handsome and attractive “Gentle Lord”, whom all of Arcadia is afraid of. His charm has a dark, magnetic, sinister feel that sends electricity traveling through your veins. Yet beneath Ignifex’s mask of glamour lies a tortured soul. Shrouded in darkness, he struggles to break free from a curse that keeps him trapped in a world of evil and suffering. Falling in love with Nyx may be the most amazing thing that happened to him, with high hopes of seeing the light again.

Cruel Beauty is a love story that hypnotizes in cruel yet beautiful ways. This book is too good to be missed!

Rating:

4.5/5 stars

ARC Review: Unhinged by A.G. Howard

UnhingedTitle: Unhinged (Splintered, #2) by A.G. Howard

Author: A.G. Howard

Publication date: January 7, 2014

Publisher: Amulet Books

Pages: 400

Source: e-ARC / physical ARC provided by publisher (Thanks to Laura of Abrams Kids and Tina of A&C Kids UK!)

Purchase the book:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble Book Depository

Synopsis:

Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she’s always dreamed of.

That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.

As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind.

If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she’ll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

Unhinged is pure magic. Darkness and mystique jump right off every page! The story is constructed beautifully. Events are all lined up in an orderly sequence so the fictional world was easy to navigate and understand. A.G. Howard’s writing took my breath away just like it did in Splintered. It oozed with brilliance, creativity, and life, infusing a magical feeling that lit up every part of me. Through the beautiful and vivid descriptions, I felt that I was in the story too, following Alyssa, Jeb, Morpheus, and the rest of the stellar cast in their thrilling escapades.

In this much-awaited sequel to Splintered, baffling dilemmas tremendously challenge Alyssa’s strength in making the right decisions for herself and for the people she loves. The choices she would make could change her life in ways she never thought of. Then things get further complicated when Wonderland weaves into the mortal world. The plot resembles a puzzle. Every mystery spins readers around until they find the right pieces that connect everything together. It’s an exciting kind of crazy! Oh and I won’t forget the unforeseen twists up ahead! WHOA. Madness tightened its grip on me in Chapter 19! That part! I can’t even. Hints: Alyssa. Future. Chances.

The conflicts in Unhinged magnify Alyssa’s powers and stretch her skills to their greatest potential. Readers will undoubtedly be stunned by what else she can do. Alyssa has more fire in her and I really like this improved version of herself. Alyssa’s boyfriend, Jeb, is as dashing and genuine as he was in Splintered. He loves Alyssa with all his heart and he doesn’t need magic to prove that. His deep love and selfless sacrifices are more than enough for Alyssa to love him just as much. And this time, Alyssa and Jeb’s relationship is more passionate and romantic. The intense and sweet moments between them burn brighter than before. THE FEELS! *flails* I’d read Alyssa and Jeb’s conversations over and over again and never get tired of them!

Then there’s Morpheus, the attractive and sexy moth from Wonderland who is still manipulative. And similar to Splintered, his motives are the fuel that keeps the book intriguing and unputdownable. So thank you, Morpheus, for spicing up things! I remember saying in my Splintered review that I have a feeling Morpheus is so much more than what I perceived him to be. Well, he is. His perseverance to win Alyssa is what made me appreciate him. I’m convinced that he’s clearly in love with the girl and I bet he’d even make several life-magic vows just to get her.

Alyssa’s mother, Alison, plays a huge part in Unhinged. She annoyed me at the beginning of the story but after all the revelations about her and Alyssa’s dad’s past, I have a newfound respect for Alison. I admire her for the sacrifices she did to protect her family. With a heart filled with so much courage, devotion, and love, she is one amazing woman who exemplifies what a mother truly is.

The ending is an absolute cliffhanger and I could only wish for 2015 to come faster! I can’t wait to go to *insert name of parallel dimension of Wonderland* and find out what happens next! Where are you, Ensnared? I need you NOW!

This dark, twisted, breathtaking sequel is tangible proof that magic exists even in reality. Thank you Anita for writing another unforgettable masterpiece. “You are Wonderland.”  🙂

Rating:

5/5 stars

Favorite quotes:

“You’re our happy ending.”

“Is that not the true meaning of sacrifice? Giving more than you ever thought you had, to save the one you love?”

“This is what I want. It’s what I’ve always wanted. A future with you. A life with you, my fairy bride. Forever.”

“I never saw it coming. It was me all along. Me who would betray myself in the worst possible way.”

“You and me? We’re far from over.”

“I am mad, and I embrace it. Madness is part of my heritage.”

Unhinged banner

Book Review: The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White

The Chaos of StarsTitle: The Chaos of Stars

Author: Kiersten White

Published: September 10, 2013

Publisher: Harper Teen

Pages: 288

Source: Copy provided by publisher (Thank you, HarperCollins!) / Bought from Fully Booked

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble Book Depository / Fully Booked

Synopsis:

Isadora’s family is seriously screwed up.

Of course, as the human daughter of Egyptian gods, that pretty much comes with the territory. She’s also stuck with parents who barely notice her, and a house full of relatives who can’t be bothered to remember her name. After all, they are going to be around forever—and she’s a mere mortal.

Isadora’s sick of living a life where she’s only worthy of a passing glance, and when she has the chance to move to San Diego with her brother, she jumps on it. But Isadora’s quickly finding that a “normal” life comes with plenty of its own epic complications—and that there’s no such thing as a clean break when it comes to family. Much as she wants to leave her past behind, she can’t shake the ominous dreams that foretell destruction for her entire family. When it turns out there may be truth in her nightmares, Isadora has to decide whether she can abandon her divine heritage after all.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review: 

The Chaos of Stars is a great read. It’s my first Kiersten White book and I find her writing style captivating. She writes clearly detailed descriptions that produce strong images in the mind. Kiersten White whipped up an original tale that creatively blends Ancient Egypt with the 21st century. The pacing isn’t too fast or too slow, which, I think, is a good thing because it keeps the attention of readers. Events transpired at their own rhythm and still showed how they are linked to each other in a coherent manner.

Of all the books I read this year, I’d say that The Chaos of Stars is the most family-oriented. Although it has a romance element, it focused more on the issues that the family of Isadora (the main character) is going through. It feels really good to have a break from reading stories that center on romantic relationships. As I read The Chaos of Stars, I realized that it has been a long time since I read a book that revolves around family.

Aside from the main character’s persuasive voice, it was also the mythology that drew me into reading from start to finish. It exceptionally illustrated the rich culture of Egypt and the fascinating history of Egyptian gods. I appreciated Egyptian mythology more with this book.

The characters are well developed. Isadora is a confusing yet likeable character. At first she seemed childish and self-absorbed. She annoyed me big time because of her whining and self-pitying. But as the story moved forward, I understood why she acted that way. Since most in her family are immortal gods, it is a legitimate reason to feel left out, with her being a human. As Isadora sees it, she’s just a “footnote” in her family’s story. In the end, Isadora discovers that she is mistaken. Everything she thought of her family, particularly her mother, was wrong. I won’t discuss about that in this review as I would reveal a lot about the story. Sorry, guys! 🙂

The secondary characters (Isadora’s friends) added color to the story. Tyler’s animated and outgoing personality is so engaging. She’s a good friend to Isadora and I really liked how she made Isadora feel welcome when they met for the first time. Tyler’s boyfriend Scott is also an awesome character. He and Tyler are so funny together! Both of them instilled a light and entertaining tone into the story. Then enters Ry, the gorgeous, charming guy who becomes Isadora’s love interest. His words made me blush and squeal with glee. So sweet and romantic! And did I mention that he writes epic poetry? SWOON. ❤

It was insta-love between Ry and Isadora but it was okay for me. Ry certainly brought out the best in Isadora and I love him for that! He helped Isadora open her heart to love and the possibility of a relationship between them. Isn’t that wonderful? In spite of Isadora’s “anti-love” attitude, Ry did not give up in getting the girl’s heart. Oh Ry, your star shines the brightest in the sky. 🙂 As readers savor the pages of the book, they’ll see instances that justify how perfect Ry and Isadora are for each other.

Laced with magic and mystery, The Chaos of Stars is a unique modern day myth that captures the essence of love, family, and most of all, the chaos that makes life challenging yet worth living.

Rating:

4/5 stars

Favorite quotes: 

“Orion. Forever now, he has replaced my Orion stars in name.”

“But doing what is easy and safe is no way to live, and a life without passion and love is so far beneath what you deserve.”

“Good-enough can always be made better.”

“I guess we’re kind of opposites, because you’ve spent the last few years determined to love no one, and I’ve spent the last few years determined to find you.”

“I didn’t fall in love with you, I walked into love with you, with my eyes wide open, choosing to take every step along the way. I do believe in fate and destiny, but I also believe we are only fated to do the things that we’d choose anyway. And I’d choose you; in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality, I’d find you and I’d choose you.”

Book Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard

SplinteredTitle: Splintered

Author: A.G. Howard

Published: January 1, 2013

Publisher: Amulet Books

Pages: 371

Source: Bought from Fully Booked

Synopsis:

This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

*Image and synopsis from Goodreads

My review: 

From the moment I saw Splintered on blogs, I knew I had to read it. The cover oozes with absolute brilliance and mystery. The green, red and blue colors, as well as the striking eye of the blond girl, encompass a magnetic pull that will entice anyone who sees it. The words “Welcome to the real Wonderland” will compel readers to explore the intriguing world of this fictional masterpiece.

I loved the story. Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite childhood tales and reading Splintered transported me back to that world. I didn’t expect that the Wonderland in Splintered is dark, eerie and crazy. It is very different from the Wonderland I knew as a kid. But you know what?  I found it AWESOME. A.G. Howard did a fantastic job in constructing the world. The sequences of events in the book are wonderfully presented and the powerful, vibrant descriptions produced a cinematic effect in my imagination. I was also charmed by the impeccable and enchanting writing style. It enraptured me from the very beginning until the last sentence of Chapter 21. So beautifully written! To be honest I read this book in two weeks because I devoured every word. And by the time I finished reading, it was difficult for me to let go.

The madness started with the introduction of Alyssa’s character and her ability to hear voices of plants and insects. I really liked that the main character is presented alongside her intriguing gift. It immediately gives that creepy sensation that crawls on your skin until you’re cloaked with the spine-chilling mystery of the story. I’m always amazed by books that give readers “feels” right away, because it means they are in for a wonderful haunting experience.

So the story takes readers deep into the origin of Alyssa’s ability when she decides to embark on a quest for truth—about her identity and the supposed “curse” that runs in her family. And down the rabbit hole she goes…with the swoon-worthy, selfless and oh-so-handsome Jebediah Holt. Jeb is Alyssa’s best friend who she has a crush on since forever. In the course of their journey through Wonderland, their feelings toward each other were magnified. The passionate kisses and tender moments they shared will make your heart explode with giddiness. Believe me in this one because I caught myself blushing as I read those scenes. 🙂

Now enter Morpheus, the radiant and mystifying winged creature from Wonderland, who frequently visited Alyssa’s dreams when she was a child. Morpheus added flavor to the recipe of this stellar novel. His character’s alluring and daunting presence infused excitement and tension. Some readers may view him as a “villain,” with him being the backbone of conflicts and obstacles in the story. But for me, his manipulative nature is what makes him Morpheus. And even if I’m Team Jeb, there’s something about Morpheus that made me like him. I can’t fathom what that something is but I have a strong feeling that Morpheus is so much more than what I perceived him to be.

This gripping tale of madness and magic took me to a one of a kind adventure and I’m so thrilled there’s a sequel. That ending was a total cliffhanger! I’m so excited to read more!  🙂

Rating:

5/5 stars