Review Of Eleanor & Park

Thursday, 31 July 2014
Book: Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Adorable Books
Cover:











Rating: 3/5 Stars

Summary: Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor
... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.

Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

*WARNING! UNPOPULAR OPINION! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!*

Review: I first mistake was reading this book right after The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. My second mistake was going into this book with such high expectations. Lesson learned: I shouldn't expect to love all contemporaries as much as I loved TFiOS (The Fault in Our Stars). That's basically why I don't usually read two contemporaries in a row.

Anyway, I found this book to be a bit too slow for my tastes and while I get that real life usually isn't rushed and that it takes time to develop a relationship, I just felt that it dragged on for too long. That's not to say that I didn't like the writing. The writing, for me at least, was the best part.

I also didn't really connect to the characters that much. They were too awkward and different for my tastes (more Eleanor than Park). It felt as if she was the awkward teenager taken to the extreme. Not only did she have imperfect hair, but she also wore weird clothes, and her stepfather was awful to her, and her real father didn't really care about her that much, and she had no phone in her house, and she also didn't have batteries, and she was bulled, and she was larger than the average girl, and...well you get my point. It got to the point where I stopped feeling bad for her. 99.9% of the time, females have something that they like about themselves/something that they like in their life. For example, I like my blog posts. I like how honest I am and my occasional rambles about how gorgeous a fictional boy is. (I'm looking at you Maxon Schreave and also at you Chaol Westfall, and Dorian Havilliard, and at hundreds of other boys *cough* Augustus Waters *cough* because fictional boys are (99.99% of the time) better than the real thing.)

I get that Park is the something that she likes but she's fictional. Her world should include something else that she likes that is not a boy. (For those of you thinking about her family and friends, I wish she'd liked something about herself and if she did, it should have been more prominent and not drowned in negativity.)

I liked how unconventional the pairing was. It was a nice change for the usual pairings. Don't get me wrong, the usual pairings in books are awesome, but a little variety is always nice.

Overall, it's not my favourite book in the world, but I can see why some of you love it. However, I am excited to give Fangirl a try. (Cath and I will probably have a lot in common considering how big of a fangirl I am.)

- Hearts And Crowns

Review Of The Fear Trials

Wednesday, 30 July 2014
Book: The Fear Trials
Author: Lindsay Cummings
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Young Adult, Novella, Prequel, Horror, Dystopian
Cover:











Rating: 7/5 Stars (Because it deserved more than just 5 stars and 6 wasn't enough.)

Summary: Meadow Woodson has been trained to survive. This is a prequel to The Murder Complex, by Lindsay Cummings, and it is set in a blood-soaked world where the murder rate is higher than the birth rate. For fans of Moira Young's Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson's father calls it The Fear Trials, and it is a rite of passage in their family. Meadow is up against her brother Koi. The Fear Trials will both harden her and make her brave. If Meadow wins, she will get a weapon of her own and the right to leave the Woodsons' houseboat without her father or mother at her side. Set in the violent, complex, and mysterious world of The Murder Complex, and introducing Meadow Woodson—a teenage girl trained to survive no matter what the cost—and her family, who are together for the last time on their houseboat in the Florida Everglades.


Review: Can I just say that this novella was perfect? Wait, this is my blog. I'm expressing my opinions so of course I can say what I want. Meadow Woodson has got to be one of my favourite protagonists of all time. Done. She's so awesome and cool that I just want to be her best friend. The way she's portrayed in the novel was perfectly done. Good job to Lindsay Cummings for making me instantly (yes INSTANTLY) fall in love with a character.

In case you haven't read this novella yet, I won't tell you the ending but OH MY GOSH THAT WAS SO...PERFECT! (I get it. I've used the word perfect in this review a few times already, but no other word fits this book so perfectly.) It was foreshadowed perfectly so that you knew it would eventually come in the series, but you didn't think it would happen in the novella.

For those of you who don't know, Lindsay Cummings is such an amazing author! Seriously though, she's one of my favourites. The way she describes everything is done in such a fascinating way in which you're told enough information so that you can picture what's being described in your head, but not too much description to the point where you're questioning whether or not you should finish the book. (She also followed me on Instagram, which makes me like her even more. :) (I'd already read this and loved it. Her following me was just the cherry on top.) I also fangirled (Is that how you spell it?) afterwards.)

Overall, I'm planning on reading The Murder Complex (the first book in the series) sometime in August. And if I love it as much as I loved this, then I'll be sure to host some sort of read along for it.

- Hearts And Crowns

P.S. THE SECOND BOOK HAS A TITLE! OMG I LOVE IT SO MUCH! IT'S CALLED THE DEATH CODE!

The Fear Trials Goodreads
The Murder Complex Goodreads

Review Of Crown of Midnight

Tuesday, 29 July 2014
Book: Crown of Midnight
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Sequel, Magic
Cover:











Rating: 10/5 Stars (I know that technically I can't do that, but it's my blog so I'm going to give it more than 5 stars because that's what I think it deserves.)

Summary: "A line that should never be crossed is about to be breached.

It puts this entire castle in jeopardy—and the life of your friend."


From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena's world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie...and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.


***WARNING THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST BOOK. IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THRONE OF GLASS YET, LEAVE NOW AND COME BACK WHEN YOU HAVE.***

Review: Okay, so I'm going to assume that you've all read the first book and are prepared for those spoilers. Don't worry if you haven't read the second one yet, this review will be spoiler free! 

Filled with everything you loved in the first novel and more, Crown of Midnight is an excellent follow-up to the first book in the series, Throne of Glass. Normally the sequel is never as good as its predecessor but THIS BOOK IS AN EXCEPTION! I REPEAT, THIS BOOK IS AN EXCEPTION!

The fact that Celaena ACTUALLY won in the first book was great, but seeing what she's been secretly been doing while serving the king was better. (WHY DOESN'T HE HAVE A NAME YET? HE NEEDS A NAME! Okay, maybe he doesn't need one, but it would be nice to not have to refer to him as the King of Adarlan whenever I'm talking about how amazing this series is with my friends.) I mean I knew that the king was evil but never like this!

Sarah J. Maas continues to impress us with her wonderful writing, making it impossible not to love this story even when *Insert spoilers here* and I cried. (If you've read the book then you'll know what I'm talking about or at least have a good idea of what the spoiler could be.) Her talents really shine through even more in this book.

I'm not even going to start with Dorian and Chaol because that's too complicated. All you need to know going into this book is expect things to happen to them. Things that you never could've expected to happen.

Just so we're perfectly clear, WHEN HEIR OF FIRE COMES OUT ON SEPTEMBER 2ND, I'M GOING TO DEVOUR IT! (And then I'm going to review it because that's what I do. :) )

- Hearts And Crowns

August To Be Read Pile

Sunday, 27 July 2014
I'm hoping to get quite a few books done, so here we go! Goodreads pages will be linked for each book if you're interested.

1. The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings
Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.







Life. Possibility. Choice.
All taken from Adelice by the Guild—until she took them back.









A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.




The Pre-Sloane Emily didn't go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn't do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just... disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try... unless they could lead back to her best friend. Apple Picking at Night? Ok, easy enough.Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a Stranger? Wait... what?



If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she'll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head.








7. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins *Read Along Book Of The Month
Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets √Čtienne St. Clair. Smart, charming,beautiful, √Čtienne has it all...including a serious girlfriend. 

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

I may read more, I may not finish them all, and I may not stick to the list. Don't worry, you'll be getting reviews on whatever I do read.

- Hearts And Crowns

August Recommendations

Saturday, 26 July 2014
Since it's summer, I usually prefer contemporaries and/or cutesy love stories over other genres/books. They make great beach books as well. I'll also be throwing in a few other genres/types of books as well in case that's not your thing. Hopefully my reviews for these books will be up soon. Without further ado, I present to you all my August Reads!


1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

About: For those of you who have never heard of this book, it is about two teenagers who, even though are very different, try to make their love work. 


For fans of: For those of you who enjoy John Green's novels, I highly recommend this one for you. 

What's it good for: This one's good if you're looking for a cute love story that's also a bit more deep. Great contemporary novel for the beach or vacation as well.


2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

About: In case you don't know what this is about, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

For fans of: If you enjoy coming-of-age stories.

What's it good for: This one is deep and a bit sad, so I'd recommend it during a lazy day. It's also only 213 pages, which is great for those of you wanting shorter books.



3. The Selection Trilogy by Kiera Cass

About: 35 girls compete for the handsome Prince Maxon. Need I say more?

For fans of: The Bachelor, swoon-worthy boys, pretty dresses, and dystopians.

What's it good for: An easy read perfect for the beach or any point in which you have a long period of time to read because this series is addicting.





4. The Giver by Lois Lowry 

About: Twelve-year-old Jonas lives in a seemingly ideal world. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver does he begin to understand the dark secrets behind this fragile community.

For fans of: Dystopians, The Hunger Games, books with movie adaptations coming soon (August 15), and male protagonists. 

What's it good for: If you're planning on watching the movie but you're like me and can't watch the movie without reading the book first.


5. The Pledge Trilogy by Kimberly Derting

About: This one is less well-known (even though it deserves more attention). In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she's spent her life trying to hide her secret. How awesome is this book?

For fans of: Fantasy, dystopians, The Princess Diaries, and hot fictional boys.

What's it good for: This series was fast-paced and is good for just about any situation.


I hope that you spotted one or more books/series that you want to read this August. Reviews for these books coming soon.

- Hearts And Crowns

Review Of If I Stay

Saturday, 19 July 2014
Book: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Penguin
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Cover:













Rating: 3.5 - 4/5 Stars

Summary: Just listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.

I open my eyes wide now.
I sit up as much as I can.
And I listen.

Stay, he says.


Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it's the only one that matters.

If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.


Review: "You'll like this book," she told herself, convincingly. "Plus there's a movie coming out soon, so it has to be good." 
This is what I told myself right before I started this book. I should have known better. The Hunger Games was turned into a movie, but that didn't mean I enjoyed the books. Same for Twilight (except I only got through the first half of the first novel). 

*I'm not saying those books were bad. I'm saying that they weren't for me.*

I really thought I'd like this book way more than I actually did. This book was okay. It was average. It was predictable. 

*After reading the first few pages*
"This is going to be amazing and I'm going to cry and I'm going to finally understand the hype surrounding this book."
Again, I was wrong. I'll admit that this book was sad. And maybe I would have cried had I not foreseen the ending. (Props to whoever came up with the title of the second book. You were a big help.)

However, I did like Mia and Adam. They were so cute together and I was rooting for them the whole time. Also, they weren't annoying to read. They had so much chemistry together, and seemed genuinely in love.

Overall, I don't know if I'm going to be reading the sequel to this novel. Maybe I'll read a different Gayle Forman book instead.

If you've read this book and/or its sequel, comment down below and tell me if you liked it and/or if the second book is worth reading. I'd love to know your thoughts.

- Hearts And Crowns

Review Of Throne of Glass

Monday, 14 July 2014
Book: Throne of Glass

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Summary: After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. 

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best. 

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. 

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.




Review: I'm going to be perfectly honest, this book got me hooked on fantasy novels. It's not like I hadn't read any before (because I had), but none of them had Chaol Westfall. When the book first starts, we are introduced to a mysterious man who comes with Prince Dorian to offer the protagonist, Celaena Sardothien a chance to compete in his father's competition. This man just so happened to be Chaol. As time goes on, we learn more and more about him, thus making us like him even more. For some reason, YA authors seem to think that instaromance is the way to go, but I like how Chaol's and Celaena's friendship actually grew over the course of the novel. It just gave it that feeling of THIS IS A REALISTIC and not THIS COULD NEVER HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE.

If you've not read the novellas (i.e. The Assassin's Blade), then I recommend you do so BEFORE you read this book. Otherwise, a few things won't make sense to you (i.e. Sam, Arobynn, how she got to Endovier in the first place) so go read them first!

Anyway, as arrogant as Celaena may be, she is still an enjoyable character to read especially considering that she is an assassin and doesn't need a man to protect her like in practically every other YA book out there. *Insert round of applause*

On top of that, Maas's writing was absolutely stunning! From beginning to end, I was hooked and when the story ended, I was left craving more. I'll definitely be reading her future works!

Overall, if you have not picked up this book yet, what are you waiting for? It's awesome.

Introduction

Hello. I'm Hearts And Crowns and I LOVE books! So that's what this blog is going to be about. Books. Hope you all like it!
- Hearts And Crowns