Entwined by Heather Dixon

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Title & Author: Entwined by Heather Dixon

Publisher/Year: Greenwillow Books/2011

Source: Amazon

Format: Kindle eBook

Other Books by Author: Illusionarium, Perchance to Dream: Classic Tales from the Bard’s World in New Skins

My Rating: 5hearts

What This Book Is About

Just when Azalea should feel that everything is before her—beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing—it’s taken away. All of it. And Azalea is trapped. The Keeper understands. He’s trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. So he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest, but there is a cost. The Keeper likes to keep things. Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

Oh my goodness, let me start this review off by saying I freaking LOVED this book. This is my first ever fairy tale retelling I’ve read and I am so, so, sooo happy it was my first as well. With fairy tell retellings being on the rise lately, I kind of turned my nose up at them and didn’t think I’d be interested. I was participating in a challenge on Goodreads where the one option was to choose a retelling based off of a fairy tale, myth or legend. I knew I didn’t want to read the same ones everyone else had been reading (and even raving about lately) so I looked up lists on Goodreads and that is where I came across Entwined. Before finding Entwined I had never even heard of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, which made this is ideal book for what I was looking for.

I was immediately sucked into Entwined. I loved the characters, the storyline, the setting. To put it short, I loved absolutely everything about this book. I don’t even know where to start with it. Overall it took me 2-3 days to finish during the work week and I spent a majority of my free time outside of school work reading. I loved the main character Azalea. She was such a strong, independent female lead character. Her sisters were just as amazing as she was and I would love to see sequels written for some of them. The whole palace and it’s garden and the silver forest was described in such detail it seemed magical.

As for the storyline, I feel like I can’t say too much without giving spoilers away. I thought the storyline did an excellent job retelling and extending the story of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. It had romance thrown into it, along with some magic/supernatural moments and quite the action packed ending. The girls love of dancing was clear throughout the novel and their will to continue dancing although they were in their year of mourning showed how determined they were to continue doing what they and their mother loved.

I honestly would recommend anyone looking for a new book to get lost into to read Entwined. Don’t pass it by because it’s a retelling. If I had done that to Entwined, as I had done to so many other retellings, I would have missed out on an amazing book which is now definitely on my favorites shelf. If you love fairy tales, then there is no doubt you will fall in love with Entwined like I did.

City Love by Susane Colasanti

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Title & Author: City Love by Susane Colasanti

Publisher/Year: Katherine Tegen Books/April 1, 2015

Genres: YA Romance, YA Contemporary

Format: Paperback

Source: Around the World ARC Tours

Other Books By Author: So Much Closer, When It Happens, Waiting for You, Something Like Fate, Keep Holding On, Take Me There, All I Need, Now and Forever

Rating: 5hearts

What This Book Is About

Sadie, Darcy, and Rosanna are living together in New York City the summer before their freshman year of college begins. With no parents, no rules, and an entire city to explore, these three girls are on the verge of the best summer of their lives.

Sadie is a native New Yorker. She is hopeful, romantic, and an eternal optimist who is ready to find her soul mate. Then she meets her dream boy: cute, funny, and quirky in all the right ways. The chemistry between them is unreal. Could he be the one?

Darcy is a free spirit from SoCal with rebellious tendencies and unlimited financial resources. Moving to New York City is just another adventure for her. Darcy wants this summer to be all about boy adventures—nothing serious. But how much fun is too much?

Rosanna leaves Chicago for NYC so she can put her past behind her and reinvent herself. The only thing standing in her way is the grand total of seventy-three cents she has saved. Then she meets a guy who wants to show her the glamorous side of New York—a side that she would never get to experience on her own. If Rosanna doesn’t resist, she may find herself in city love.

Told from alternating points of view, City Love captures the moments in each girl’s life when everything is thrilling, amazing, and terrifying all at once . . . in a way it will never be again.

(Summary from Goodreads)

My Thoughts on This Book

For years I have been reading books by Susane Colasanti and I love all of her books. It is extremely safe to say City Love is no exception and actually by far my favorite out of all of her books. I fell head over heels in love with Sadie, Darcy and Rosanna from the start and only continued to fall in love with the story as I read each page. I was thrilled to find out that City Love is not a standalone novel and can’t wait for the second book to come out. Every chapter is told in a different girl’s point of view, and they each deal with their own love, drama and issues throughout the book. I liked how each girl experienced something different from the others and that they were all different personality wise as well. The book ended on somewhat of a cliff hanger for each girl and left me wanting more and wanting to know what was going to happen to Sadie, Darcy and Rosanna.

Sadie, who was also a character in Susane’s book So Much Closer, is back as one of City Love’s main characters. Although she is already a New Yorker and wants to leave home ASAP, she stays in NYC for college and moves into an apartment with two roommates, Darcy and Rosanna. Sadie is such an optimistic and romantic at heart, believing her one true love is just around the next corner. She’s kind and always bubbly and happy especially when she meets a total hottie at her internship who is into all of the same things she is.

Darcy comes from California to New York City for college. She also comes from money and with her dad’s credit card. She is definitely not your typical spoiled rich girl at all. She uses her money often to treat her roommates to dinner and even treats Rosanna to a new wardrobe. She wants the people around her to be as happy she is. This summer is her “free for all” after a nasty break up back in California but when she meets a certain guy who she just can’t get out of her head she may break her own rules.

Rosanna leaves one city for another, Chicago for New York. She comes from a large family and is paying her own way through college through financial aid and loans. When she first gets to New York she didn’t realize how expensive everything would be and soon is left with a whopping seventy three cents in her bank account. Rosanna works at a summer camp to pay for her share of rent and makes friends with a girl named Mica. Rosanna is cautious and seemed a bit shy to me. She is against the “Wall Street type” but when she meets the brother of a co-worker she can’t help but to come back for more.

All three girls are so different and all come from different backgrounds. They each bring so much to the story that I couldn’t imagine City Love without one of them. At the end of the book each of their stories is left with the reading dying to know what is going to happen next and wishing that all three girls will get their happy endings that they all deserve. I cannot wait for the trilogy to be finished and I have a feeling it will be one of my favorites I have read. I strongly recommend City Love if young adult books are your thing, this is one you will not regret.

Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington

Usually when I pick up an author’s debut novel, I read it with an open mind. I usually don’t expect anything fantastic or something that will be on my top ten list of favorite books, but I have to hand it to Amy Talkington. She wrote on hell of a debut young adult novel.

Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington

5stars

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When Liv Bloom lands an art scholarship at Wickham Hall, it’s her ticket out of the foster system. Liv isn’t sure what to make of the school’s weird traditions and rituals, but she couldn’t be happier. For the first time ever, she has her own studio, her own supply of paints. Everything she could want.

Then she meets Malcolm Astor, a legacy student, a fellow artist, and the one person who’s ever been able to melt her defenses. Liv’s only friend at Wickham, fellow scholarship kid Gabe Nichols, warns her not to get involved, but life is finally going Liv’s way, and all she wants to do is enjoy the ride.

But Liv’s bliss is doomed. Weeks after arriving, she is viciously murdered and, in death, she discovers that she’s the latest victim of a dark conspiracy that has claimed many lives. Cursed with the ability to see the many ghosts on Wickham’s campus, Gabe is now Liv’s only link to the world of the living. To Malcolm.

Together, Liv, Gabe, and Malcolm fight to expose the terrible truth that haunts the halls of Wickham. But Liv must fight alone to come to grips with the ultimate star-crossed love.

(Summary from Goodreads)

This is definitely going to be one of the harder reviews I’ve done. That probably doesn’t make much sense because I gave the book five stars and have said I loved it. I feel like no matter how good a review I write, I won’t be able to do the book justice. So, although I will be writing a review I’m just going to strongly urge you now to buy or rent Liv, Forever. You won’t regret it.

I had my eyes on Liv, Forever before it was published, but waited until my library got it to read it. Well I can assure you, I will be buying a copy of it ASAP. I sat down with Liv, Forever and would have to say it only took me about 5 hours total to read it. It was so addicting that I literally could not put it down.

Liv, Forever had everything and I mean EVERYTHING in it, boarding school, both budding romance and friendships, secret societies, ghosts, seriously everything! I honestly fell in love with Liv and my heart broke for her over and over again. I loved the other two main characters, Gabe, Liv’s friend who can see and hear her after she dies, and Malcolm, Liv’s love interest. They were both also amazing secondary characters and really added to the story. As for the ghosts, I really like all of them and how after so many chapters, each ghost got her own chapter to tell the reader what lead to her death.

I never really knew how twisted the ending was going to turn out to be and never really had an idea who killed Liv either. The book kept it a mystery and I loved that because in the end I was so shocked and surprised as well as disgusted. I was also ecstatic to see that the book ended where another one could easily pick up. I really, really, really hope Amy Talkington writes a sequel to Liv, Forever. I do believe I may have found my new favorite book. I seriously cannot get enough of it and am considering rereading it before I have to return it to the library next week. For a debut novel, it was beautifully written as well as incredibly different and original. I can’t wait to see what else Amy Talkington writes.

Have you read Liv, Forever and if so did you enjoy? If you haven’t do you plan on reading it? (Because I really recommend that you do!)

Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

Was I expecting a lot from Pretty Girl-13 when I ordered it on Amazon? Nope not at all. It is the authors debut young adult novel, and while in the past I have read some amazing debut novels, I never get my hopes up just in case. Well, Pretty Girl-13 is definitely now one of my favorite books I have ever read. This book shook me to my core and I was left speechless when I finished it. I cannot wait to see what other books Liz Coley writes in the future, but overall I am very happy I read this.

Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

5stars

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On a girl scouts camping trip three years ago, Angie ventured out into the woods alone in the morning to take care of business. She has just returned home only to find out that three years have gone by and she is now sixteen years old. So what happened to Angie in the past three years? She doesn’t know. There are other people who do know and could tell her every detail of what had happened those three years she went missing, except they are in her mind. Angie decides to go on the journey to learn about her other personalities, known as her “alters”, and here their stories of what had happened in the three years that she had missed. As Angie discovers more about her past, she comes across a terrifying secret and she has to decide when you remember something you want to forget, do you destroy the parts of yourself that are responsible?

Once again, I just loved, loved, loved Pretty Girl-13. It was loosely based off of the Elizabeth Smart case from years ago and it showed you what it was like to go through something so horrific that you had no control over and no way to escape. I thought it was interesting to see inside of the mind of someone, even fictional, who suffered from DID-Disassociative Identity Disorder. It even scared me a little to realize how easily anyone could create multiple personalities if they were to go through something tragic or terrifying in their life. It was a little creepy too because often Angie’s “alters” would take control of her body and she would forget what had happened while they were in control. I felt so many emotions when reading Pretty Girl-13. I felt sympathy for Angie of course to have to deal with so much at such a young age. I felt rage towards her kidnapper and sometimes got annoyed with her father and his lack of compassion. I even felt separate emotions for Angie’s “alters” because although they were actually in a way Angie, they each felt like a different person when I was reading the book. The thing that gave me the chills the most while I was reading Pretty Girl-13 was that I felt like I could have been reading a non-fiction book as opposed to a fictional book, which lead me to think that there is probably a few girls out there who have experienced similar situations and my heart just breaks for them.

When looking at the reviews on Goodreads, there was a lot of mixed reviews. A lot of reviewers mentioned how it was very predictable, but then again I didn’t feel like the author was necessarily trying to make you guess what happens. You know right from the summary on the back of the book that Angie has multiple personalities, but you don’t know how many or what kinds of personalities they are (protectors, fighters, ect.). There were some parts of the story that surprised me as well because I hadn’t been expecting more problems to be thrown into the mix.

Overall I thought this was an amazing book and well written. It does deal with some tough topics, child abuse and sexual assault, but it also gives you insight into how it would be if something horrible like this were to happen to you or your daughter. The pace of the book was excellent and never once did I feel like I couldn’t get into the story or that the story was being dragged out. It was such a quick book to finish as well even though it was over 300 pages, you just get so attached to Angie’s story that you want to keep reading and find out what happens at the end.

Because this book does deal with some sensitive topics, I would not recommend anyone under the age of 14 to read this book, and 14 might even be a little bit too young. I feel like this might scare younger girls if they aren’t mature enough to read about the topics that are expressed in Pretty Girl-13.