Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

 

Morgan Matson Since You've Been Gone

“Since You’ve Been Gone” by Morgan Matson

4 out of 5 stars.

Emily’s summer is looking up. Sloan, her best friend, and Emily have the perfect summer planned out: get jobs somewhere where they can hang out together, and experience new adventures together all summer long. But before Emily can live her dream summer, Sloan disappears without a word. It’s happened before, Sloan leaving without so much as a call or text, but Emily can’t help but feel that this time is different, more permanent than the last. Their friendship can’t end like this, can it? Can over two years of friendship be so easily forgotten? But after two weeks a letter arrives addressed to Emily, and inside is exactly what she had been hoping for: a list.

Whenever Sloan leaves, she usually sends a list to Emily, a list of things her friend must complete before she comes back from where she disappeared to. Emily has always tried to do as many things on these lists as she could, but was never able to complete one, but all that’s going to change. This is the year Emily is determined to do everything on the list, and by the end of the summer, Sloan will come back and then they can share their stories, once again fast friends. All will be right in Emily’s world after that. There’s only one problem, though: all the things on the list are really hard and some even require Emily to conquer some of her biggest fears. Can she really do it all by herself, or will she once again shy away from the challenge?

This was a very spontaneous buy for me. My sisters and I had gone to Barnes and Noble (coupons in hand), and I had been planing to by a different book. As I perused the shelves, sniffing paper and ink, my older sister brought this beauty over to me. I literally fangirled over the cover.

toy story

It was so pretty I couldn’t resist buying it. And so, here we are, writing a review about one of my most recent spontaneous buys.

“Since You’ve Been Gone” by Morgan Matson was a really cute book. Morgan Matson is a very good author, and I liked how the story built up steam the longer I read it; this book was a bit hardier than most Chick Lit reads that I have experienced. I had fun watching Emily grow as a person, and some of the situations Morgan put her character in were interesting, and they kind of made you wonder what you would do if you were in Emily’s shoes.

Besides it being a really great light summer read, I liked “Since You’ve Been Gone”  because of Morgan Matson’s secondary characters. Usually the secondary characters in Chick Lit books fall flat (except in Katie McGarry’s and Ally Carter’s books), but in this one I found myself enjoying everyone, and I was especially happy to see Emily help out her brother a lot more nearing the end; I always enjoy it when siblings look at for each other in books. One of the other things I liked was that each of the characters were pretty average, but in a good way. They were real people, not perfect, gorgeous, and unrealistic like a lot of books characters I’ve read. They were all endearingly average and I really liked that.

Overall, I really liked this book and would recommend it to anyone looking for a light, well written summer read. It was clean and cute, and I am very happy to have purchased it!

The One by Kiera Cass (The Selection #3)

the one kiera cass

“The One” by Kiera Cass

5 out of 5 stars.

It’s time. America is ready to fight for what she wants and she has the strength to do it, but there is so much more at stake now than just her heart in “The One.” The rebel attacks are getting so much worst, leaving more damage to the kingdom of Illéa than they could have ever anticipated. America soon begins to wonder, though, at the secrets being kept inside these palace walls, and whether it’s really the Rebels tearing apart the country or if it’s the bounty of secrets that King Clarkson holds so close? Whatever may be the cause, chaos is coming and America is going to have to be stronger than ever to fight the coming wave of violence, not only from the Rebels, but also from the King himself.

Maxon and America soon strike up an alliance with the non-violent Norther Rebels in the hopes that working together will be enough to stop the Southern Rebels from causing more bloodshed, and also break the iron fist with which Maxon’s father rules Illéa with. Can Maxon really be a good king, or is he just like his father? And can America be strong enough, not only to save herself, and the people she cares so deeply for?

“The One” was an extremely emotional book for me. “The Selection” was my favorite “fluff” book of 2012, and I was just in love with Maxon. I loved that it read like a fairy tale, but it still was substantial in the sense that it had some really cool dystopian qualities about it. It was beautiful and light, and Kiera Cass became one of my favorite authors because of  that book. “The Elite” was also a great book but I disliked where Kiera went with Maxon’s character; what he did was awful and I felt betrayed. Despite that, though, I thought that it was a great book and that Kiera Cass did a fantastic job of bringing in the rebels into the book without giving too much away.

Although I love Kiera Cass as an author, I was very wary of “The One.” I have read some really terrible series enders that have actually made me hate ALL of the books in those series, and I was so scared that I would eventually say goodbye to Kiera Cass’, who is one of my favorite authors. So when “The One” came out I was torn in two, on one side I was super excited to read Kiera’s book because she is such an amazing writer, and the other half of me was terrified that she would do to me what Tahereh Mafi did in “Ignite Me.” I was equal parts excited and anxious! But what I got with this book was something I never could have anticipated.

First off I just want to say, thank you, HarperTeen, for another absolute gorgeous cover to look at.

sheldon

It even makes Sheldon giggle, it’s so beautiful. But as most wise people say, never judge a book by its cover. I have found this saying to be true about 90% of the time. I was expecting “The One” to be a part of the 90% of books that disappoint me, but instead it turned out to be apart of the 10% that has taken my breath away. Now that we have the discussion of its cover out of the way, let’s talk about how amazing a book “The One” is.

I think that stunning is the best way to describe the plot and writing in “The One.” I am still in awe of how many things Kiera Cass dealt with in this book, and she only took three-hundred and twenty pages to do so, whereas a lot of authors I’ve read can’t do it half as good as Kiera in twice as many pages. And it makes for a non-stop roller coaster ride that leaves you breathless and wanting more. The plot was intricate and well thought out, but there wasn’t so much to keep track of that you felt the need to reread things. I also liked that she didn’t shove her own political opinions down your throat like a lot of authors I’ve read have done; believe whatever you want, it’s your freedom of choice to do so, but don’t ruin a book by shoving your opinions down your readers’ throats. You’re not going to win anyone over that way. Kiera Cass did a lovely job of stating historical fact without taking one side over the other, which was new and refreshing.

The plot of “The One” is masterfully written, and it was really cool to see how Kiera had each of the characters take part in either helping the kingdom of Illéa stand on its own two feet, or bring it to its knees. This book is so much more than a romance; it’s about doing what is right for others even when that means sacrificing your own happiness. I felt myself rooting for the people of Illéa as a whole, not just Maxon and America, or Aspen and America, and I noticed while I was reading that, although I loved the Maxon and America moments, I wasn’t focusing on that. I wanted to see the people of Illéa set free from their chains, and I think that’s what made this such and epic finale; it wasn’t about one OTP getting together, it was about a nation, a people, breaking free and finding true justice. Okay, let’s talk about a couple of the main characters in this book.

America has grown a lot as a person since she started The Selection. When first entered it, she was a brokenhearted teenage girl, and she was exactly where she didn’t want to be. But it ends up being exactly where America needed to be, not only for herself but also for the people around her.

Why I love  America so much is because she has a super strong personality (it does get her into trouble a lot, but we all make mistakes), she is a faithful friend, and even though she messes up a lot, she always tries to do the right thing in the end. She went through a lot of stuff in “The Elite” and I think that helped her grow a lot as a person, and she REALLY comes into her own in “The One.” I love what Kiera Cass did with this character! She helped America retain her sweetness, her heart, her desire for justice while still making her strong and passionate, unyielding (in a moral sense, not the “I won’t listen to wisdom” sense) and bold. America became so self-sacrificing by the end of “The One” that she began to (knowingly) risk her own happiness and safety so that people she didn’t even know could have justice. She seriously was like,

captain hook2

throughout “The One,” and she never asked for anything in return. America was a true hero in this series, and I am so proud of Kiera for creating such a strong and inwardly beautiful character! Good golly I’m gonna cry again!

grown man cry

Aspen was a great character in “The One.” Originally I had disliked Aspen, but after reading the first two books a couple of times and his novella, I have really come to love this character. He is strong and faithful, and I really enjoyed him as one of the main character in this series. While reading this book I wished him the best, no matter what that meant for my Maxon and America; he was, truthfully, that good of a character!

Maxon, Maxon, Maxon…I have an abusive relationship with this boy. One minute he is a perfect angel, the boy I know from “The Selection,” and then the next he goes and kisses another girl! I get that he is in a bachelor like situation, but that show has never sat well with me for that exact reason, and so, yes, I felt betrayed whenever that happened. Normally I am the kind of girl that’s like, “Stick it to the man! If he doesn’t treat you right, then he doesn’t deserve you,” but Maxon is my kryptonite . I try again and again to tell myself to stop loving him, but then he’ll do the most amazing thing, and I forget what he did to my heart a chapter ago. It’s sick and abusive, but I can’t get enough! It hurts so good!

Betrayal aside, Maxon (like America and Aspen) changes a lot in “The One”; you see  pieces of him in this book that you hadn’t been allowed to see in “The Selection” or “The Elite,” not even in his novella. As I was reading those parts (especially towards the last seventy pages), I started to cry, and I was like this the whole time.

weeps

Added to this emotional torment, Kiera took a cue from Suzanne Collins (my sister made this comparison) and she killed off quite a few characters in the last thirty-five pages. IT. WAS. A. BLOODBATH!!!!!!!!!!!! My reaction to some of the characters dying was like this:

 

even stevens

You can ask my sister, and she will confirm my statement. Want to know how I felt when a couple of my favorites got shot?

thorthis coupled with this…

screams coupled with this…

awesome2

A LOT of people died, and I was thinking, “Wow, Kiera.” Like,

psych3

What makes this such an epic book (and Kiera an epic author), though, is not that she had enough b**** to kill a ton of people off, but that at the end of this story you felt like there was still hope. Despite all the pain and sorrow, there was hope on the horizon, that not only does life go on but it can also be beautiful again; it’s not a fairy tale ending, it’s better than that because it was real (despite the fact that it is a book). This was the third trilogy ender to ever do that for me. Cynthia Hand was the first, Veronica Rossie the second, and now Kiera Cass. She wrapped up this trilogy beautifully; all the loose ends were tied, and even after all of the pain I endure reading this book, it left me hopeful, complete, and satisfied. It didn’t end perfectly (life’s not perfect), but it ended exactly the way it needed to. This was, and is, without a doubt the most epic finale to a series/trilogy I have EVER read. It wasn’t a story about two people ending up together (despite what other people are saying. IT IS SOOOOO NOT “Twilight!”). It was a story about being selfless and brave and true. It was about sacrifice and doing what is right, standing up against evil and standing up for true justice. And THAT is why I love this book. Beautiful job, Kiera Cass. BRAVO!!!

 

This was me during and after reading “The One,”

patrick unicorn The One

I am Patrick and “The One” is the unicorn. It was literally that friggin’ awesome.

The One by Kiera Cass

I have a review ready to post, but I kind of wanted to give you a preview of everything I felt while reading this book. Here it goes…

 

supernatural 2This is what the cover thinks about itself. I have to agree with it…

tuesdaysI felt this way, only it was a Saturday and Sunday…

taylor swift WHATreally, Maxon? Kriss? Really?…

once upon a timeTo: Kriss…I don’t know why people like you…

sherlockmy reaction whenever Kriss speaks. GET. OUT. OF. MY. BOOK…

sheldon the big bang theory1this was my expression when Celeste offered to hurt Kriss on America’s behalf. You are now my new favorite person, Celeste…

captain hook3wait, why is this happening?!!!…

psych2everyone’s dying!!!! Why is everyone dying?…

officepeople are STILL dying…

worth it supernaturaland this was me by the end of “The One”, bruised and battered, but still alive.

Full review coming soon!