RELEASE BLITZ: BLACKHEARTS!!! (+ GIVEAWAYS!)

IT’S FEBRUARY 9TH, AND THAT MEANS…

*DRUMROLL*

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BLACKHEARTS IS HERE!!!

Look, you all know by now (or should know) how much I love this book (you’d know more if you follow me on twitter). There’s no book that quite compares- this book struck me as everything that I wan tin my historical fiction and it still strikes me now. You can find my review right here if you want to know what I felt right after reading it. Perhaps even more than me, my lovely friend Stephanie (who is one of the most AMAZINGLY WONDERFUL AND PERFECT people EVER) from CHASM OF BOOKS (which, by the way, is one of the most amazing blogs EVER) is also a huge lover of Blackhearts. 

This week, we’ve teamed up to blitz the internet with the awesomeness that is this novel! With Glass Sword also releasing today, we were afraid that Nicole’s AMAZING novel might get a little lost in the shuffle of major promotion of the newest Aveyard installment. But Blackhearts is worth so much love and praise and shouting, we’ve rounded up a few others who loved it to get everyone in on the love- and in on the hashtag/street team of two:

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Use the hashtag #prepiratenation on social media to share the love! We want everyone to know about Blackhearts and how awesome Nicole is, so please, help us to spread it like jelly on toast!

In honor of the release, I’ve put together a little aesthetic for Blackhearts, one that I actually think turned out really well. I used pictures from my own pinterest as well as Nicole’s to create it, and I think this might become something I end up doing more often, because I LOVE the way this one turned out. (Although it could have turned out this well because Blackhearts is just so absolutely photogenic!)

 

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Gosh. I love looking at this beautiful cover, and I can’t wait to have to real deal in my hands- by now, my copy should be on the way! I can just smell that ‘new book’ smell, feel the smooth edges of pages against my thumb….WHOO. Can you feel it?! GET EXCITED.

I wish there was a quote I could share with you, but as of yet, I don’t have a finished copy (obviously) and therefore don’t want to share a fan art that’s wrong! But here’s something you might like a little more:

GIVEAWAYS!

GIVEAWAY #1: INTERNATIONAL!

Enter here for a HARDCOVER of BLACKHEARTS, open anywhere The Book Depository ships!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

GIVEAWAY #2: US ONLY

Enter here for a SIGNED HARDCOVER of Blackhearts, as well as SWAG!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

VISIT EVERYONE PARTICIPATING IN THE RELEASE BLITZ!

Chasm of Books

Bookmarks (me!)

Beauty and the Bookshelf

Chasing Faerytales

Arctic Books

My Friends Are Fiction

The YA Booktraveler

Bookishness and Tea

Read.Read.Read.

Sophie Reads YA

Middle Grade Minded

 

I want to give a special thanks to Stephanie @ Chasm of Books (link above) for organizing this great release blitz. Without her, our participating blog list would be pretty short, and our giveaways would be nonexistent! So thanks, Stephanie, the best of the best.

Of course, none of this would have been possible at all without our fearless leader, NICOLE CASTROMAN! She wrote the book that brought Stephanie and I together on this, and I’m forever grateful to her for that! (P.S. We all hope there’s a sequel in the works soon! ;D)

That’s pretty much it, ladies and gents. Please, PLEASE pick up a copy of BLACKHEARTS at your local bookstore or library- you won’t regret it! And remember to tag any Blackhearts release posts or fanart on social media with #prepiratenation so we can all share the love!

BABY BOOK REVIEW: SWORD AND VERSE

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SUMMARY (goodreads):

Raisa was only a child when she was kidnapped and enslaved in Qilara. Forced to serve in the palace of the King, she’s endured hunger, abuse, and the harrowing fear of discovery. Everyone knows that Raisa is Arnath, but not that she is a Learned One, a part of an Arnath group educated in higher order symbols. In Qilara, this language is so fiercely protected that only the King, the Prince, and Tutors are allowed to know it. So when the current Tutor-in-training is executed for sharing the guarded language with slaves and Raisa is chosen to replace her, Raisa knows that, although she may have a privileged position among slaves, any slipup could mean death.

That would be challenging enough, but training alongside Prince Mati could be her real undoing. And when a romance blossoms between them, she’s suddenly filled with a dangerous hope for something she never before thought possible: more. Then she’s approached by the Resistance—an underground army of slaves—to help liberate the Arnath people. Joining the Resistance could mean freeing her people…but she’d also be aiding in the war against her beloved, an honorable man she knows wants to help the slaves.

Working against the one she loves—and a palace full of deadly political renegades—has some heady consequences. As Raisa struggles with what’s right, she unwittingly uncovers a secret that the Qilarites have long since buried…one that, unlocked, could bring the current world order to its knees.

And Raisa is the one holding the key.

BABY REVIEW:

What a disappointment. I had high hopes for Sword and Verse. The author created a new language just for her book! If you can create a language, you MUST be able to use it, right?

Wrong.

I think she spent a little too much time on linguistics and not enough on her plot. Let me put a disclaimer that I skimmed a LOT of this book, but this was what I got from it:

BEWARE: SPOILERS AHEAD

 

 

Page 20: Raisa is already raised from lowest slave level to Tutor-in-training: training WITH the prince. Yeah, sure. And she avoided execution somehow, which was also unclear. Then there were the names and the places- an info dump if there ever was one. Raisa was the most normal name of any of them. I’m all for creativity, but please don’t give me 15 crazy names of people, places and things in the first 20 pages that I’m supposed to remember.

Page 30: She and the prince, who have never spoken before, ARE IN LOVE. Kissing ALL THE TIME.

Page 50: They sneak off to the library to have sex, and continue to do so several times throughout the book, even after the prince is betrothed to another girl, who’s super nice. Did I mention that she’s fifteen? But she was 14 when this love affair got started, and she barely breaks 16 by the time you actually get to the plot? Unrestrained teenage hormones are obviously a key factor in pushing this plot.

The rest (because after I spent 50 pages flipping through shivers and coos and the laughable idea that the ONLY PRINCE could sneak off so easily, for so long): There’s some kind of revolution, but Raisa is only concerned with how long it is before the prince gets married to the other girl- who is SUPER NICE, as far as I can tell. But it doesn’t seem to matter, because they still sneak off together anyway. Raisa only joins (begrudgingly) when people- important people- get kidnapped. And then there’s hardly any action, just some planning and suddenly, BAM. Raisa is the ruler of the whole place, some kind of priestess that can consult with an oracle and all sorts of random stuff like that. Good grief! A language rebellion wasn’t enough? It’s frustrating because I thought this would be in the vein of The Pledge, by Kimberly Derting, which was a great book about language and class separation. Maybe that was my mistake. But I certainly expected more than this.

I am very, very disappointed in this one. Insta-love, 8000 random characters, NO real action that I could find, and a very sketchy way of trying to have a happy ending. It would have been much more satisfying if there had been any true sacrifice from ANYONE in this book.

WHAT TO WATCH (more spoilers)

There was the bad romance, of course. Lots of not-so-innuendo about what they were doing and how. That permeated the book.

There was some violence, though not nearly as much as expected when you see the word sword in the title and a picture of it on the cover. Isn’t it supposed to be a revolution?

As far as drugs and drinking go, I couldn’t tell you, because I didn’t get that deep into it, to catch those details. The same goes for language, though I think I can safely say that since the author created a language, the curing wouldn’t be what we normally see.

The resolution of the whole affair seemed to rely on her suddenly becoming the magical priestess, something I am so not on board with. Can’t have a happy ending? THAT’S FINE. Don’t add some random plot element at the end so that everything can be hunky-dory.

This book was not for me. I thought it was awful, and yet, it was so hyped! Maybe I’ll write a post up about hype- because this is happening more and more. It’s a travesty, especially when people pre-order books based on some contrived excitement. A synopsis does not a good book make.

BOOK REVIEW: NEVER FADE

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Okay! Finished book two of The Darkest Minds (with only a day to spare for A Series a Month) and I’m going to throw up a quick review before I get cracking on book 3, In the Afterlight.

SUMMARY:

Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby “Leader”, but she knows what she really is: a monster.

When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America’s children—and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts—has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future—and who now wouldn’t recognize her.

As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam—and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart—she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself?

THOUGHTS:

WARNING: Spoilers from book one MAY be included in this

Unfortunately, I felt a lot of disconnect with this second book (you can read my review of The Darkest Minds here) and felt it fell kind of flat. Maybe it’s because I was really tired last night trying to power through it, or maybe it was the book, I’m not really sure right now. But I stayed up pretty late getting it done, and maybe that’s why I just wasn’t feeling it.

I will say this- I’m really starting to love Vida. She’s brash and bold and all edges, but I know there’s a lot more to her than meets the eye. I’m reaaaaally shipping her with a certain character who shall remain nameless so no one yells at me for spoiling anything. BUT YOU KNOW WHO IT IS.

I think this review is less of a review than a confused rambling- I’m not sure where I’m going with it. To be perfectly honest, I don’t remember a lot of what happened, and it seemed like a lot of things were really anti-climactic, like the fight with Mason and them seeing the Slip Kid. I expected just a little bit more, so the disappointment was just a little bit more sharp.

But I did like it. I thought it was very well done, especially writing-wise. Although I personally skimmed some of the random details and setting, I know a lot of people really love that. I’m more of a sparse reader- I like to get right to the action, and that gets me in trouble sometimes because I’m a huge skimmer.

So I guess I was kind of on the fence with this one, but since I loooooove Cole and Vida (no, he’s not the aforementioned person that needs to remain nameless) I’m definitely going to read book 3. I did like Never Fade, but I think I wasn’t in the right mood to really enjoy it this time. I just hope I can get the series all done before tomorrow night!

Yeah, right

A SERIES A MONTH REVIEW: THE DARKEST MINDS

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I finally finished my first book for the Series challenge! I’m almost positive I’m not going to finish the whole series before the month is over, but I’ve been doing pretty good reading this month, at least. I finish my TBR book for January, which is exciting, and I’m going to have the house to myself this weekend, so that could be promising for some serious reading! But anyway, I wanted to throw up a review of The Darkest Minds, the first book of Alexandra Bracken’s series of the same name.

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SUMMARY

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.’

THOUGHTS

Okay! I finally read The Darkest Minds, and it only took me three years to do it. Three cheers! Well, I’m happy, anyway. So, I gave it 4 stars for mainly this reason: I thought it was a great book, really chunky and interesting (I binged it in a day), but I was really confused through a lot of it. I couldn’t figure out why she was so upset about  being what she was. I thought it was really cool, and an advantage, but about halfway through the book when you find out what her powers did, I understood. But I didn’t quite get it at the beginning. Also, the action sequences came hard and fast, which I would usually love, but since my brain was still trying to figure out what Ruby’s deal was, I ended up being confused even more. Of course, I was also sick, and that could have contributed to it. 

In any case, I did really like this book, especially when I got everything straight in my head. I loved the slow-burn romance (I am NOT happy about the ending), I loved the secondary characters- Zu especially- and I didn’t predict much of what happened. There were some things that you could kind of see coming, but I’m not one for trying to figure out a book before I read it- I just let the book carry me along, for the most part, unless it’s super obvious. So I liked that part of it. I thought all the character development, especially Ruby’s, was really good, and I can’t wait to see where Alexandra takes her in Never Fade, book two. 

WHAT TO WATCH

That was another bonus for this book- it was exciting, fun, had a romance, but there was nothing to make it inappropriate for younger teens. Aside from some violence (which was never graphic) this book was clean and appropriate for everyone. I would recommend it even for younger teens who are looking for a thicker book that tackle.

So there it it! Book one is done, now on to book two!

#RockMyTBR: NOWHERE BUT HERE

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So, this will be another unconventional review- one for the #RockMyTBR challenge, hosted by Sarah! I’ve completed my first book (actually, it’s been about a week now) and I’m proud of that feat! The first book I decided to read was….*drumroll*

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Well. I’m glad I got through it, in anticipation of Walk the Edge, which releases on March 29th of this year (I’m pretty sure). While I still plan on reading that one, I’m afraid Nowhere But Here didn’t do much for me- not as much as Take Me On, which remains my favorite of McGarry’s books. Here’s my quick review, as posted previously on Goodreads, for all you lovelies waiting to see my reaction!

THOUGHTS

Finally made it through this chunky little baby! Not sure what my thoughts are yet- definitely a little slow in places, and I can’t wait for (hopefully) more information on Chevy and Violet. Emily got on my nerves more than I usually tolerate, and there were some weird personality morphs it seemed like, but I’ll have to ponder it more.

Update (added 3 days later):

Upon reflection, what really stands out to me about this book is how sexualized it was. It seemed like every two sentences one character or the other was thinking about various physical characteristics of the other person, and not in a ‘hey, he/she is pretty’ way. A ‘I want that person naked’ way. It got tiresome quickly, and it didn’t stop. Although it was by no means insta-love, it almost seemed like they got carried away by their physical wants and then decided to be in love after the fact. I know McGarry always writes romance, but this one was definitely the most romance-dependent- which is saying a lot. For a 500 page book, I thought there would be a lot more substance, especially as it was so hyped. I was really hoping for more of a blowout with the rival motorcycle gang, etc. On another note, the language was atrocious. I know most people don’t mind, and yeah, they’re a motorcycle gang, but Oz said it himself ‘We aren’t thugs.’ Anyhow, it was seriously chock full of f-bombs, which made more of an impression than a lot of the other parts of the book.

When you get right down to it, the underlying plot was really interesting- the secrets about Emily’s past and how everyone seems to have their own agenda really was what kept me going. But the romance was pretty off to me, maybe because I didn’t really like Emily or Oz all that much. I’ll still read Walk the Edge, because McGarry usually makes me happy, but this one was more of a miss than a hit for me.

WHAT TO WATCH

I think I would rate this one for older teens and up, although I won’t be recommending it for more reasons than one. As mentioned, there was a lot of foul language, a lot of not-so-innuendos, and all this hot and heavy hate-love-hate-love stuff that got pretty tiring after 500 pages. Maybe it’s just been too long since I read a McGarry book, but this one seemed more adult than the others. But obviously these are my opinions, and it’s all up to you.

Overall, I only give this one 2 stars. It wasn’t a strong start to the series for me, but my loyalty to the author (as well as my intense interest in a few select characters) will keep me reading.

IN ANY EVENT

Make sure you follow me on TWITTERbecause I’ll be giving away my hardcover copy of Nowhere But Here a little bit close to the release date of Walk the Edge! 

 

QUICK REVIEW: FIRST AND THEN

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SUMMARY

Devon Tennyson wouldn’t change a thing. She’s happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon’s cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn’t want them first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.

MY THOUGHTS: 

DISCLAIMER: I’m experimenting with dropping the blog thing- I’ll miss Netgalley, of course, but I’m so busy that it’s hard to find time to read, let alone write the type of reviews that I love the most- long, exhaustive, full of rants and feels, etc. So I’ve been taking a little bit of time off and will continue to do so (my reviews, when I write them, still go up on Goodreads, but are often very quick and address concerns I see from other readers). This is an example of a very quick goodreads review I wrote after reading First and Then. 

Exactly what I needed. A light, quick read that takes you back home to high school football and daydreams about those brooding heroes. Definitely going on my list of comfort books to read when I’m down.

I’m seeing a lot of reviews bashing First & Then because of the issues it doesn’t go into detail about- Foster’s Mom, Marabelle, etc- but I think it’s okay that we don’t get into the gritty details of their messy lives. This isn’t meant to be a serious discussion of the issues that people face- it’s a fun, easy romance, one to sit down and smile at, to enjoy the growth of a few characters and that hometown feel of community even when things get bad. I, for one, was glad there weren’t pages upon pages of the mess. Sometimes, that’s what we need to escape when we read, and that’s why I live books like First and Then. It helps us all to remember that sometimes, it’s not wrong to just take a few hours and relax and not think about all the horrible details and underlying trauma-we can just enjoy the love of football and family.

I’ll add my What to Watch as well: 

This is your basic high school scene, so there is mention of drugs, some brief underage drinking, and some innuendos. But there is nothing graphic and I would have no problem recommending this to a high-school age teen (maybe not a freshman- they should worry more about their GPAs :D)

So, not a huge review and not very in-depth, but I’ve been really enjoying my time off, even though I have been working (slowly) on my 2 challenges for this month. I completed a book for #RockMyTBR, and expect to see a post on that soon! Thanks for reading!

WoW: THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine! This week, I’ve chosen a beautiful book with a beautiful author. Emily Henry is funny, imaginative, and one of the kindest people you could hope to meet. January 26th, 2016, welcome the debut novel from the girl with amazing hair:

 

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(And, I mean, that cover is my absolute fav)

SUMMARY:

Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves.

Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start… until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.

That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.

WHY I’M WAITING

Gosh. I wish I didn’t have to wait for this lovely thing to come my way. It’s romance and time travel, two of may favorite things. It’s a molasses drawl in the tune of Bone Gap, one of my favorites this year (or so I’ve heard) and that kind of slow-burn book is just my type. I like to read fast, but I can’t wait to just sit down and savor every word of this genre mix. It takes a special breed of writer to write something so thoroughly genre-bending, and to write it in a way that makes you ache for more, but I believe this will be one of them. Along with a few other 2016 releases I’ll be featuring later on, The Love That Split the World definitely deserves the hype that few books receive.

Need I say more? Because you all know that you want it, too.

 

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS

PREORDER FROM AMAZON OR BARNES AND NOBLE

EMILY’S  AMAZING TWITTER

What’s your WoW?

 

 

WoW: TRAITOR ANGELS

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

Oh, this is one of my top 2016 releases. I CANNOT wait. Anne Blankman has written two stunning historical novels already- Prisoner of Night and Fog and Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke (those names! those covers!) So, without further ado, here’s her upcoming book, coming to us May 3rd, 2016 from Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins, here’s:

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(Have you ever seen a more beautifully simple cover? I DIE. The summary is just as good)

SUMMARY: 

Six years have passed since England’s King Charles II returned from exile to reclaim the throne, ushering in a new era of stability for his subjects.

Except for Elizabeth Milton. The daughter of notorious poet John Milton, Elizabeth has never known her place in this shifting world—except by her father’s side. By day she helps transcribe his latest masterpiece, the epic poem Paradise Lost, and by night she learns languages and sword fighting. Although she does not dare object, she suspects that he’s training her for a mission whose purpose she cannot fathom.

Until one night the reason becomes clear: the king’s man arrive at her family’s country home to arrest her father. Determined to save him, Elizabeth follows his one cryptic clue and journeys to Oxford, accompanied by her father’s mysterious young houseguest, Antonio Vivani, a darkly handsome Italian scientist who surprises her at every turn. Funny, brilliant, and passionate, Antonio seems just as determined to protect her father as she is—but can she trust him with her heart?

When the two discover that Milton has planted an explosive secret in the half-finished Paradise Lost—a secret the king and his aristocratic supporters are desperate to conceal—Elizabeth is faced with a devastating choice: cling to the shelter of her old life or risk cracking the code, unleashing a secret that could save her father…and tear apart the very fabric of society.

WHY I’M WAITING

AHHHHHHH

AHHHHHHH

AHHHHHHH

AHHHHHHH

Look, I can’t gush enough about how amazing Anne’s books are. She took a time period I don’t enjoy reading about (WWII) and made me ONLY want to read more about the lives of Gretchen and Daniel. If someone at my job at the library asks me for a rec, I send them straight to YA BLANKMAN. I know that Traitor Angels will be no exception. Danger? Check. Intrepid, intelligent, independent heroine? CHECK. Super-hot Italian scientist? CHECK CHECK CHECK.

All I’m saying here is that there are NO complaints when it comes to an Anne Blankman novel, and I have every confidence that this newest book will fill the void in my heart where the daughter of an epic classic literature writer and an Italian scientist will live. I’ll save the rest of my gushing for my review when I finally get my hands on this one (no matter how long it takes) but PREPARE YOURSELVES for the epic storm of love.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS

FIND IT ON BARNES & NOBLE OR AMAZON

ANNE’S WEBSITE AND TWITTER

AUDIO REVIEW: ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE

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SUMMARY:

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

MY THOUGHTS:

Okay. I’m going to be brief about this. I listened to the audio, and first things are first: I loved the narrator’s voice and the way that, even though he was only one person, he brought each character to life. I loved, too, Frank Volkheimer. The entire time. I loved the strains of piano that concluded the reading, and the way each piece of seemingly random information clicked into place as you reached the climax. I can see why it took Doerr ten years to write this novel, and I can see why it won the Pulitzer- the writing was so elegant and the words wrapped around you like old friends or a worn favorite blanket. When I tried to read it, I got lost in those same words, but hearing them let me concentrate on the cadence and the tone rather than how to pronounce them.

What I did not love:
I became difficult, at times, to decipher who, what time period, what place each chapter took on, because there were so many, and there were few indicators. Reading would have been better for this, I think. I ended up spending a lot of time with my mind occupied in figuring out what had happened the last time we were with this character, in that place, in what time.

The convergence of Werner and Marie-Laure left something to be desired. You spend this entire book waiting, waiting for them to meet, and once they do….it’s only for a moment. I suppose that is meant to mimic the lives of real people, how one person or so many tiny coincidences can lead up to a single moment, and that can be beautiful, but in a book, it made everything I had wanted so badly to happen so fleeting and so lacking.

I also was frustrated by the ending. Like many adult books I have read, this seemed like a book written just for me- and then the other shoe drops. For me, with the limited scope of adult books I have picked up, be they critically acclaimed, award winners, or what have you, they seem to be the unhappy endings of an open-ended YA novel. Adult books seem to be written by the realists of the world, even when their imaginations have sparked beautiful worlds and legends and tales. All the Light We Cannot See was one of these. A lush, rich climax that left me excited to keep listening was replaced, not by an aching, open end, or a vague epilogue, but the harsh reality of life, the drudgery of the middle-aged left after the war and the hollowness that enclosed them. And maybe that’s beautiful to some people, maybe they like to read about the real lives of people, but I didn’t want my time to be so spent. It troubles me that now, I can’t even imagine a world where Werner and Marie-Laure even know each other, let alone where they are happy and bold and strong.

Obviously I had a few issues with this book. But Volkheimer, the rich historical details, and the beautiful writing made this book worth my time. I will give it four stars, simply because of those three things.

WHAT TO WATCH:

(SPOILERS) This is an adult book, so there were a few instances to look out for. With regard to violence, this was probably the most prevalent, since it is set in wartime. There were a few gruesome descriptions of deaths, and the training for Hitler’s army of youths is brutal. Werner is trained with regard to triangulating radio signals, only for his comrades to go in and kill the broadcasters.

There are also some sexually explicit jokes made by one of the soldiers in Werner’s company, and his younger sister, her guardian, and a few of her friends are raped by Russian soldiers.

The same man who makes explicit jokes also uses some foul language in a few instances, but the scenes with that person are not frequent.

 

So tell me what you thought of this Pulitzer! It wasn’t really my type of book, but I know it is well-loved by many. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you all soon!

REVIEW: THE MASKED TRUTH

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SUMMARY: 

Riley Vasquez is haunted by the brutal murder of the couple she was babysitting for.

Max Cross is suffering under the shadow of a life-altering diagnosis he doesn’t dare reveal.

The last thing either of them wants is to spend a weekend away at a therapy camp alongside five other teens with “issues.” But that’s exactly where they are when three masked men burst in to take the group hostage.

The building has no windows. The exits are sealed shut. Their phones are gone. And their captors are on a killing spree.

Riley and Max know that if they can’t get out, they’ll be next—but they’re about to discover that even escape doesn’t equal freedom.

MY THOUGHTS:

PLOT: Mrmgh. Eh. Sigh. I didn’t reread the summary when I picked this one up. My interpretation (aka what I remembered) was that it was one of the kids, picking off the others one by one, you never know who you can trust.

Nope. From the start you know who the dangerous ones are, and then it’s just a lot of running and hiding and running and people being absolute idiots. And then it’s just a lot of self-doubt and wandering around a hospital and that’s where I stopped. So I guess this is more of a baby book review, because I skimmed just about the last 50 pages. I guess the end was kind of a surprise? But not…really? Honestly, there were about a hundred pages that were really interesting, and then I just…wasn’t feeling it. It was too fast a climb in action that led to too fast a fall in action.

CHARACTERS: I hoped a lot from these characters. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t connect with them, and I wanted a lot more. From Max and his schizophrenia, I wanted more hallucination, more of that unreliable narrator, instead of thinking it MIGHT be unreliable, but probably not really. I understand that it’s much more realistic this way, but I would have loved more drama from him.

As for Riley, I just…couldn’t get behind her trauma. The survivor’s remorse and the PTSD, once again, I realize were crafted for the realism, but I wanted…more. More than just her calling herself a coward every five paragraphs.

As for secondary characters, I really liked Sloane after the entire incident. Brash and confident, she was just my kind of character. I did think Armstrong did a great job writing an interesting and varied group of characters. (even if a lot of them did bite the dust).

Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for a thriller, or contemporary, or…I don’t know. This one just didn’t strike me, but maybe I’ll revisit it when I know that’s what mood I’m in.

WHAT TO WATCH:

Violence. This one was pretty graphic, too, lots of descriptions and shooting and fighting and just…violence. So this one is definitely not for young or sensitive readers.

What did you think of The Masked Truth? I heard a lot of great things about it, and I want some reasons to try it again someday!