Monday, December 30, 2013

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Publication date: September 10, 2013 (St. Martin's Press)

Fangirl brings us the story of eighteen year old Cath’s first year of college with her twin sister Wren. But when Wren decides she wants to start having her own life, Cath has trouble accepting that. Being a huge fan of the series Simon Snow, Cath completely immerses herself in the world of Simon to cope with having to have her own life. She struggles to find herself as she tries to maintain a relationship with Wren and fit in school but life quickly tosses her problems in the form of two boys, a creative writing class that soon proves to be much more difficult than she thought, and the return of a mother that abandoned them when they were in third grade.

First off, my summary of the book does it no justice and if you want a better and more appealing summary, go check it out on GoodReads or Barnes and Noble.

Anyways, when I first saw the title of this book, I was immediately intrigued. Being in the middle of a time where things like fangirls and fandoms and the like are exploding, I thought it was interesting that someone decided to write a book where the character was the exact embodiment of a fangirl in an active fandom.

What I really enjoyed about this book was that Cath is so easily relatable; her awkward and shy personality, emphasized with a well done case of social anxieties, is something many people can connect with without feeling like it was over exaggerated. The romance plot was also a nice surprise in that taking the usual route of “I’m a shy girl but around you I’m totally open and loud right away,” it actually did go with Cath’s personality of “I’m shy and I will continue to be shy and awkward around you until I slowly get more comfortable.”

My only real issue with this was that I wish the conflict with Cath and Wren’s mother was fleshed out more than it was. The reader is able to get a good understanding of it but it doesn’t delve very deeply.

(4 out 5)


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (12/25/13): Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Expected publication date: March 18, 2014 (Atria Books)

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover, a passionate tale of friendship, betrayal, and romance—and the enchanting music that inspires one young woman to put her life back together.
At twenty-two years old, aspiring musician Sydney Blake has a great life: She’s in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her good friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers Hunter cheating on her with Tori—and she is left trying to decide what to do next.
Sydney becomes captivated by her mysterious neighbor, Ridge Lawson. She can’t take her eyes off him or stop listening to the daily guitar playing he does out on his balcony. She can feel the harmony and vibrations in his music. And there’s something about Sydney that Ridge can’t ignore, either: He seems to have finally found his muse. When their inevitable encounter happens, they soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one…
From the author of the New York Times bestsellers Slammed, Point of Retreat, Hopeless, This Girl, and Losing Hope, Maybe Someday is destined to become another bestseller and long-lasting fan favorite.

Guys, I'm such a huge Colleen Hoover fan you don't even understand. 

- Rachel

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Holidays from Flesh & Books!

Twas the night before Christmas
When all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The bibliophiles were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of advanced reader copies danced in their heads...

Wait, what?

    Life gets crazy and we get lazy, so we might not always do what we say we're going to or when we say we're going to do it, but we're here now wishing you and your loved ones a very merry Christmas! Eat some extra cookies for us, and try not to snap at those nosy family members like we know you're dying to. We hope you receive every book on your wish list this year (and a few extras), as we are waiting with bated breath for your recommendations!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Confessions of a Hater by Caprice Crane

Confessions of a Hater by Caprice Crane
Publication date: August 27, 2013 (Feiwel & Friends)

Average teenager Hailey Harper has spent her entire life living in the shadow of golden girl and older sister, Noel. She isn’t popular at school but she isn’t hated. But when her parents announce they are moving to California and Hailey stumbles upon her sister’s diary called “How to be a Hater” as she’s packing, Hailey decides she is going to use this move as her opportunity to reinvent herself and become popular. Not long after she manages into the popular clique at her new school, Hailey finds herself hating everything about being popular and she is quickly butting heads with the most popular girl at school, Skylar. Hailey finds solace in the most hated girl at school, Anya, and her group of friends. Dubbing themselves The Invisibles, these girls quickly spark a war with Skylar and her clique.

What I found to be a refreshing change of pace is that instead of being the typical “girl moves across the country and is just instantly popular without changing/reinventing herself on her own,” Caprice Crane instead had Hailey reinvent herself to be exactly like her sister through the use of her sister’s diary. I haven’t read a book that has done that. The ending was also a pleasant surprise what with Hailey putting her artistic skills to use to resolve the conflict of the book.

Crane also shows she is quite capable of handling the tiny nuances of writing very well such as when Andy and Anya are introduced, the reader can instantly tell these two have a history because of their reactions to and behavior around one another. She also slips in the subplot with Kura that expertly emphasizes the fact that someone can be so caught up in their bullshit that they don’t realize their friends or family are struggling with something much bigger than what they’re dealing with.

My biggest issue with the book was the fact that as soon as Hailey ignited the war with the popular girls, I instantly knew where Hailey was going to end up character-wise: she was going to become what she hated. Along with the most popular guy at school falling for her, the flaw of this book is predictability.

With that being said, Confessions of a Hater is a book that I would recommend as something to read in between finding something that you absolutely love.

(3.5 out of 5)

~ Yajaira



All of our favorite books seem to have one thing in common: they have heartwrenching moments. No matter what, there always seems to be one of those moments that make you want to scream, cry, and curl up into a little ball. And as much as those moments break our hearts, we can’t help but love them. Here are my top five heartbreaking moments. (Spoilers ahead for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling, The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, Fang by James Patterson, Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick, and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins)

1. Augustus Waters from The Fault In Our Stars
“I lit up like a Christmas tree, Hazel Grace.”

2. Fang’s letter in Fang
Man oh man, that letter. That letter was one of the most heartbreaking things to read after reading five books and seeing Fang and Max’s relationship blossom. If you know Fang, you know he’s the strong and silent type but with Max, he lets a softer side show and he does everything in his power to be with her and by her side. To see that he is willing to leave her, despite how happy she makes him and vice versa, just to make sure they survive, well that’s heartwrenching. Not to mention his promise to meet her on the cliff where they learned to fly with the hawks is one of the sweetest things ever.

3. Snape’s love woes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Everyone can agree that Rowling’s surprise in Deathly Hallows of Snape having loved Lily for his entire life was completely unexpected. Harry Potter fans everywhere had spent nearly seven entire books hating the Potions Master, thinking he was out to make Harry’s life miserable and eventually kill him. But when I got to the point where Snape’s love for Harry’s deceased mother was revealed, all I could say was, “Oh.” The literal undying love that man had for her was something that some would call almost obsessive but others would find it to be something completely and utterly admirable and adorable. And to find this out right as he died was something that made me want to put down the book for a moment and let what I just read sink in (except I didn’t put down the book because I wanted to finish the book.)

4. Patch’s “death” in Finale
Becca Fitzpatrick’s series, Hush, Hush, had brought us the love story of fallen angel Patch and human Nora. Their relationship was something that at many times caused me great joy and immense pain. But towards the end of Finale, when all the fallen angels were banished to hell and Nora realized that meant Patch was lost to her forever, my heart broke. And when she found his motorcycle crashed on the side of the road, tears welled up in my eyes. The idea of these two being separated was horrible because of how much they loved each other and everything they struggled through to be together; they didn’t deserve to end like this.

5. Finnick’s death in Mockingjay
When Finnick was first introduced in Catching Fire, I didn’t think much of him. When I found out he was aiding the rebels, I thought, “All right, he’s just gonna help Katniss out, won’t be that important.” But when he began to take a more prominent role in Mockingjay, revealing everything about his complicated relationship with Annie and, most importantly, helping Katniss hold herself together when she was falling apart, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the guy. I thought for sure he would make it through until the end of Mockingjay, being able to finally enjoy a peaceful life with Annie. But no. Suzanne Collins decides to take your heart and rip it to shreds when Finnick himself gets ripped to shreds by some Capitol mutts to protect Katniss not long after having gotten married to Annie. I literally wanted to throw my book and then pick it up to find out I had misread it. But alas, Finnick Odair was indeed dead and left me beginning to metaphorically sob (which only worsened as I finished Mockingjay.)

So there you have it! Those are my top five heartbreaking moments in the books I’ve read. Of course there are plenty more but these are some of my favorites. We’d love to hear some of your guys’ favorites so leave a comment and share your tears with us!

~ Yajaira

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson

Confessions of a Murder Suspect (Teen Detective Series #1) by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Publication date: September 24, 2012 (Little, Brown and Company)

The lack of evidence in the sudden death of Tandy Angel’s successful parents make her and her siblings prime suspects. She wants to insist she’s innocent, but the truth is she doesn’t know. There’s a lot that she doesn’t remember. The deeper she digs trying to clear her family’s name, the more secrets she reveals that have her questioning who she’s been her entire life as well as the ones she loves.

Being a fan of James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series since practically the beginning, and looking for something to fill the void after its conclusion in August (2012), I was rather excited to hear of this first installment of his new YA series.

His usual short chapter format makes this book a breeze to read. It strays into predictability at times, and contains more Maury-esque drama than the legitimate mystery/action that one would hope for. You can’t help but become attached to smart, strong Tandy, but I found myself hating the rest of the crew. Malcolm and Maud (may they rest in peace) perhaps had good intentions but they were really just horrible people. While this book need not exist without Tandy’s impressive sleuthing skills, the real detectives on the case were almost unbelievably incompetent.

I honestly can’t say whether I was satisfied or dissatisfied with the ending. On one hand it feels like a stand alone because I really don’t know where it could go from here, but then you realize, “Hey, what about...”? So while a little different from what I would usually read, and not a complete disappointment perse, I don’t know how closely I’ll be following from here.

(3.5 out of 5)

- Rachel

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myrcle

Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myrcle
Publication date: October 1, 2008 (Speak)

On the night before Christmas, Gracetown, North Carolina is hit with a terrible blizzard. Jubilee finds herself being shipped to her grandparents’ house the night of Christmas Eve; Tobin and his friends race to reach the Waffle House first to have the privilege of dining on waffles and hanging out with hot cheerleaders; Addie spends the what should be cheerful holiday trying to get over her ex-boyfriend who is consequently the only thing she can think of. Along the way, these three teenagers stumble upon romances in ways- and in people- they never expected to find it.

Three of today’s top Young Adult authors (John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myrcle) came together to weave this novel of winter romances. Each author contributed a short story that cleverly (and sometimes subtly) connected with one another.

For not being given a lot of pages to work with, each author is able to give a well delivered story. The plots don’t seem rushed at all, the characters are fairly well developed, and the stories come together nicely even though they are three separate tales.

However, out of the three, I felt Myrcle’s story was the weakest. Some points were repeated too often and Addie sometimes came off as whiny which got to be annoying a couple of times. Not to mention her critical character flaw was pointed out one too many times.

But all in all this book is an enjoyable read and I recommend it to anyone looking for a good romance.

(4 out of 5)

~ Yajaira (SynysterShadows)