Les Petits Bonheurs #26…

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“Lire, c’est toujours une bonne idée.”

(Reading is always a good idea.)

This is my goal for the weekend: a delightful book with some powerful coffee in hand, and no school books or work to be dealt with. Crossing our fingers…

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This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab (Monsters of Verity #1)

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 “This Savage Song” by Victoria Schwab

3 ½-4 out of 5 stars.

 Goodreads summary:

“There’s no such thing as safe.

Kate Harker wants to be as ruthless as her father. After five years and six boarding schools, she’s finally going home to prove that she can be.

August Flynn wants to be human. But he isn’t. He’s a monster, one that can steal souls with a song. He’s one of the three most powerful monsters in a city overrun with them. His own father’s secret weapon.

Their city is divided.

Their city is crumbling.

Kate and August are the only two who see both sides, the only two who could do something.

But how do you decide to be a hero or a villain when it’s hard to tell which is which?”

“This Savage Song” ended up being a very enjoyable and conceptually unique YA read, and I liked the fact that it was a dystopian novel, but it also felt like it could belong to the fantasy genre because of it strangeness at times. The concept of Schwab’s novel felt fairly unique to me, though I can imagine that there have probably been other novels before it that took hold of the idea that humankind’s wicked actions had the ability to bring to life real monsters. But for me personally, I had yet to read a book with that concept as the main theme until I picked Victoria Schwab’s latest novel, and that made my reading experience a lot more enjoyable. Oh, and did I also mention that this was my first Victoria Schwab book?

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I know, I call myself a YA book blogger and I only just got around to one of its up-and-coming authors. I have personally never felt the need to read a Victoria Schwab novel beyond wanting to be up-to-date with the rising authors and their successful books, but I still did not get around to reading Victoria’s novel “Vicious” or her “A Darker Shade of Magic” series before this book was released. With “This Savage Song,” however, I was thoroughly intrigued by its concept, and when amazon.com dropped the hardcover price to just under $8, I knew that I had to give at least one Victoria Schwab books a try to see if I liked her writing style.

I liked the depths that Victoria’s writing reached toward in “This Savage Song,” and I found her concept of monstrous actions awakening various kinds of monstrous creatures to be quite fascinating; it made for a darker reading experience, but it almost felt brutally honest to how such crimes awaken ugly things like hate and fear in the hearts of people. I liked how in August, though, Victoria displayed the changing force of hope that comes along with the desire to do better, to be more than our former selves, which created a silver lining to her novel’s darker tone. Victoria Schwab’s writing style also added a haunting atmosphere that made her story and its concept fit quite well together.

A lot of bloggers and readers of Victoria’s most recent novel complained about the pacing, but I was actually quite happy with it. I never felt like the pacing of “This Savage Song” was too fast or too slow while I was reading it, and I enjoyed the progression of this book’s plot and how Victoria Schwab slowly revealed little details about the world that her protagonists lived in. Schwab is fantastic of writing impacting and/or slow reveals of certain places or events that have taken place, and I like that her style has the ability to create an atmosphere of mystery to surround its readers, even as they are making guesses as to what is happening. Although some of the events and surprises in this book felt a little predictable to me, I still enjoyed the atmosphere that those plot twists created in “This Savage Song.”

Despite finding the story held inside of this dark book to be interesting and Victoria’s writing to be quite good, I don’t feel like I fell completely in love with “This Savage Song.” It was well-written and fairly unique, but I just felt like there was a slight disconnect from me and the story and its characters.

August was a sweet and compelling character, but I did not fall in love with him. I was always interested in “This Savage Song” when August was present, and his struggle between embracing what he was and who he wanted to be was very compelling in my opinion, but there was just a distance between either me and this book or its characters that could not be bridged. I though that August was a sweet, interesting character, and I liked the moments where he reminded me of Jem from Cassandra Clare’s “Infernal Devices” series with his gifted violin playing, but my heart was not completely invested in him as a character.

I had expected to dislike Kate because of her desperate need to do terrible things in order to have her father notice her, but instead I just felt bad for her. I felt the same disconnect with Kate’s character that was present with August in this book, but I still enjoyed reading about her character. The little glimpses of her past were quite interesting, and the dynamic between her and August definitely kept me reading, despite the fact that I was not particularly emotionally invested in them. Neither of Victoria Schwab’s characters were under develop or lacking in dynamic, but there was a slight distance between the characters and me and that might have just been the time in my life when I read “This Savage Song.”

Victoria Schwab is a very good writer, and I can see why people like her writing so much, even though I was not deliriously in love with the first book of hers that I read. “This Savage Song” was an interesting book with a unique premise, and I am very curious as to how Victoria will continue August and Kate’s story in “Our Dark Duet.” If you are looking for a dark, dynamic dystopian novel that has streaks of fantasy in it, you should give “This Savage Song” a try.

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Les Petits Bonheurs #25…

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This will be my last les petits bonheurs post before college recommences, which is pretty crazy! Summer break went SO fast, and although I kept busy, I feel like my attempt at blogging more consistently went down the proverbial toilette one week into my summer resolution. I did a fair amount of rereading books, but there were not a lot of new releases that caught my attention this summer, so I have been severely lacking in creativity and inspiration to write a review. This fall, however, seems to hold some promising up-coming releases like “Crooked Kingdoms” by Leigh Bardugo and “The Lovely Reckless” by Kami Garcia among others, and I am looking forward to just finding another book and world to get lost in. Until then, I bid you all adieu!

P.S. I do have two reviews that are in the works, so hopefully I will have one up for you by the end of this week or the start of next week.

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P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

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“P.S. I Like You” by Kasie West

4 out of 5 stars.

Goodreads summary:

What if the person you were falling for was a total mystery?

While Lily is spacing out in Chemistry one day, she picks up her pencil and scribbles a line from one of her favorite songs on the desk. The next day, someone else has written back to her on the desk! Soon enough Lily and the mystery student are exchanging notes, and lyrics, and even sharing secrets. When Lily finds out that her anonymous pen pal is a guy, she’s flustered — and kind of feels like she’s falling for him. She and her best friend set out to unravel the identity of the letter writer — but when the truth is revealed, the guy is the LAST person Lily could have ever imagined it to be. Now that Lily knows the truth, can she untangle her feelings and gather the courage to listen to her heart?

From beloved author Kasie West (The Distance Between Us) comes an utterly charming story about mixed messages, missed connections, and the magic of good old-fashioned secret admirer notes.

This review is going to be short and (hopefully) sweet. “P.S. I Like You” was the perfect summertime fluff, and I just adore Kasie West as an author for how she consistently delivers adorable, heart-warming YA contemporary novels. I love how entertaining and engaging Kasie’s books always are, and “P.S. I Like You” was so charming and sweet, from it fun characters to its fabulously adorable cover, that I couldn’t put it down! (P.S. I want the filter that they used for the cover shoot. It’s like the unicorn of filters, leaving magic in its wake!)

Lily was a pretty relatable teen character, and I liked how Kasie West made Lily’s family a key part of “P.S. I Like You”; there were no disappearing parents or lack of supervision on their part, and I appreciate how “real” the family dynamics came across in this book. It was refreshing to read about a high school girl who had boundaries and limits because she was underage, and I enjoyed the fact that Lily owned up to her familial obligations, rather than being the overdone rebellious teen who ditched her family so that she could do whatever she wanted. I also liked that Kasie wrote a more realistic teenager by having her character’s parents not buy her a car, or with how Lily had to babysit to get her beloved guitar. Most YA contemporaries have these rebellious teens as their stars, and the kids have cars and/or family’s with money, but somehow zero parental supervision. It was refreshing to see the other, more average side to YA contemporary that Kasie West chose to show, and I feel like Kasie approach in this book made me enjoy her character and her journey even more as a reader.

Besides Lily being a fairly relatable character because of her realistic (and average) lifestyle, I thought that Kasie did a great job of showing her character grow as an individual. Lily had some things that she needed to work through in “P.S. I Like You,” and although they weren’t insurmountable problems, they were realistic to some of the issues that high schoolers deal with in this generation. I also thought that the letters were pretty cute, despite the fact that Lily’s “Dear John” was easy to spot.

*Sighs* About Lily’s Dear John…Although the letters were cute, I’m not sure that I bought into the boy outside of his letters to Lily; they were sweet and all, but how he behaved in reality didn’t appeal to me as a reader. For most of this book the boy behind the letters was cute, but the entire time I was wondering how Kasie was going to make me like the actual Dear John, who I did not initially like in “P.S. I Like You.” I know he’d had a rough past and it explained a few of the things that he did, but I still felt like it was more of an excuse than anything else for how he acted during the first half of this book.

Despite not completely buying into Lily’s letter-writer, I did see some similarities between “P.S. I Like You” and “Pride and Prejudice,” although I do not believe Kasie West intended her novel to mirror the classic literature piece. Some of the pride and prejudices between the main characters and the initial rudeness of the Dear John character reminded me a little bit of those same themes in Austen’s novel. I get that this book’s premise was that there’s always more to a person’s story, and that sometimes our perceptions and judgments of a someone can be wrong, as was the case with Dear John. But I do wish that I’d had more time with the real Dear John that Lily fell for, because I liked that version a lot, instead of “seeing” mostly the jerk that Lily’s point of view initially portrayed him as. I guess my perception of this character was slightly skewed because I had been reading about how much Lily disliked him, even though I knew he was going to be the romantic interest. Maybe when I read this book again, I will like Dear John a bit more because I will have a better understanding of his character, and can then forgive his Darcy-esk style of hiding his feelings, when he actually genuinely cared for people. It may take me some time, but I can get there…

Overall, “P.S. I like You” was a really sweet, quick read. I liked Lily and the personal growth that she showed by the end of this book, and I appreciated Kasie West’s choice in how prominent a role Lily’s family played in “P.S. I Like You,” and it was refreshing to see a more realistic family dynamic in a YA contemporary novel. My only disappointment with this book was that I did not fall head-over-heels for the main guy character; the boy behind the letters took ¾ of the book to “show up,” and I felt like I was deprived of really getting to know him like I wanted to, because his letter were all I had to make me like him for most of this book. Other than not being in love with the Dear John character of “P.S. I Like You,” I did really like this book in its entirety, and I really admire Kasie West for her consistency in writing such adorable and good quality YA contemporary novels.

P.S. Do yourself a favor and end your summer on a sweet note by picking “P.S. I Like” and reading it. You won’t regret it!

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Fangirl Friday #18….Wonder Woman Is Coming!

It’s been a LONG time since I’ve done a Fangirl Friday post, but I think that it’s high time to announce that I’m fangirling once again! Obviously Comic Con happened this past week, and with it always comes some news about the amazing upcoming movies and books. There was a lot happening this last Comic Con, and although I am quite excited about all of the new books and movies that are going to be released late this year and in 2017, the thing that I completely geeked out over was the new “Wonder Woman” trailer!

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My sisters and me were beyond excited to see our favorite “Fast and Furious” actress in “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice,” so you can imagine how ecstatic we were to see the full trailer for her own movie as Wonder Woman. Everything about it looks amazing, and I can’t wait for “Wonder Woman” to come out!

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In that vein of fabulous new news, I am also quite excited about some old news.

A few months back, it was announced that several well-know and very talented YA authors were enlisted to write books based off of DC comic characters. Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo were two of the authors on that list, both of which I was very excited about. I am SO happy with the choice that was made in having Sarah do a book about Catwoman and Leigh write Wonder Woman’s story. Once Gal Gadot was cast as Diana (AKA Wonder Woman), I was on the train, and then to have it announced that the fabulous Leigh Bardugo was writing a “Wonder Woman” novel was just icing on the cake.

Leigh Bardugo is amazing at writing powerful, strong female characters who not only have a lot of heart, but also quite a few faults and weaknesses; she takes her heroines on journeys that enable them to grow and develop as individuals, and they become stronger because of the weaknesses that they overcome and conquer. I think that Leigh’s gift for creating kind, goodhearted, and strong female characters is exactly what the “Wonder Woman” story needs, and I cannot wait to see this powerful character on the big screen and read the newest novel about her!

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Check out these link for the announcement of YA authors writing DC characters and a little something from Leigh’s website!

http://mashable.com/2016/03/31/superhero-ya-dc/#XzfEzvjTBOqRhttp

 

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