Wednesday, December 30, 2015

End of the Year Book Review

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go. - Dr. Seuss

Reading helps you become a better speller
Reading helps you understand different points of view
Reading helps you see how to adapt your own writing to your audience
Just READ because it makes you more AWESOME!

I am going to give my opinion on the last few books I have read. Comment below and tell me if you agree. What is your favorite YA book of the year? Who was your Favorite Fictional Character of 2015?

#5 Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver   

This book is best described as Groundhog’s Day and Mean Girls mashed together. Samantha Kingston, popular high schooler, best friend of the resident mean girl dies the night of “Cupid’s Day.” She is left to relive the last day of her life 7 times changing things and learning lessons along the way.

I didn't care for the whole Mean Girls vibe. It made me feel like an awkward adolescent girl all over again. Her friends were just terrible and I hope that isn’t the reality of high school. I feel extremely bad for my two daughters and might consider home schooling them if that is the case. But that ending, earned a star in its own right. It was well thought out and unexpected but left me thinking too deeply about how time was affected by her reliving the day.

"Things change after you die, though I guess because dying is about the loneliest thing you can do."-Sam Kingston

"How is it possible, I think, to change so much and not be able to change anything at all?"

Add Before I Fall on GoodReads      

Buy Before I Fall on Amazon

#4 Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby

I chose this book because after listening to Carrie Underwood’s “Just a Dream” I thought of writing a story just like this one. Quinn’s boyfriend who was an organ donor, dies in a tragic accident. Unable to move on from her grief, she goes in search of the boy who received his heart. When she meets the donor they have an instant connection and he helps her move on.

It was a heart wrenching story that seriously pulled at my heart strings. I read this book all in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down. It was very descriptive and I could see the ocean scene vividly in my head. The reason why I didn’t write this story myself is because it is very cliché. They have a connection because it’s her boyfriend’s “heart.” But Heart as in where love is stored, not the physical blood pumping organ. 

"For so long, I was the one with his heart, I just need to see where it is now." -Quinn

"It's too much, this. Life, and love and how fragile it all is."

"...we found our synchronicity together, his heart thumping out slow, steady beats and mine filling the spaces between."

#3 Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

I received this book in my Uppercase box (Subscribe to Uppercase-its like Christmas every month). It is a story about a girl named Maddy who suffers from SCID "Bubble Baby Syndrome", which essential means she is allergic to the world. She has been secluded in her white house, confined within white walls while wearing white clothes. Her only friends are her mother and the nurse that cares for her. Then one day a boy named Olly moves in next door and she is instantly infatuated. She knows she is going to fall in love with him but can’t leave the house or have human contact. BIG PROBLEM!

First I would like to applaud the author for her diverse characters. Now let’s take a moment to admire that cover, BEAUTIFUL! The story was compelling and this was another book I couldn’t put down. It was simple, clean, and enjoyable writing. As an adult reading YA Lit, the doodles were eye catching but gave the book somewhat of a childish vibe. The ending was WOW and left me with a bad case of the feels for days.

"Maybe growing up means disappointing the people we love."-Maddy

"You are not living if you're not regretting." 

#2 My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

This story is about a physics nerd Aysel who is planning her own death. Her father killed the town hero and she is desperately trying to escapes the dark shadow that her father’s crime cast onto her. She doesn’t have the courage to take her life alone, so she goes to a website to find a “suicide partner.” She meets FrozenRobot who is also haunted by his own family tragedy and together they plan their deaths. They forge a relationship that goes beyond suicide partners and Aysel is left to choose whether she wants to die with him or convince him to live with her.   

I bought this book on Amazon and anxiously awaited its arrival. When doing research for my own novel I extensively researched suicide pacts (I know, I’m weird). I wanted to tell a story that had never been told before and Jasmine Warga does just that. Most stories we have already heard but we read the author’s variation, but I can honestly say I haven’t heard this one. Aysel is my favorite character out of all of the ones I’ve met this year. She is an extremely smart, caring girl who just needed someone to see past her family’s dark past. It did seem slightly too coincidental that FrozenRobot, her suicide partner, just happened to be an attractive boy her same age, but I guess you can’t question fate.

"You're like a grey sky. You're beautiful even when you don't want to be." -Roman aka FrozenRobot

"Maybe we all have darkness inside us and some of us are just better at dealing with it than others."
-Aysel aka ALS0109

#1 All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

I think it almost goes without saying that this was one of the biggest YA hits of the year. Jennifer Niven topped all of the best of the best lists. Finch is a mentally ill, misunderstood boy who is consumed with thoughts of death. Violet lives for the future because her sister’s life was taken from her prematurely. Both meet on a fateful day on top of the school’s bell tower and seemingly change each other’s lives forever.

I have so many thoughts on this book but will try and keep it short. I love that the story switches between Violet and Finch's point of view, it makes this story even more engaging. I reference this book every day, several times a day. Every single person I run into, I throw in a sales pitch for Jennifer Niven. Bravo to her for shedding light on mental illness. I have struggled with depression and anxiety my whole life and I felt like this book was written for me. It brought me to tears more times that I would like to admit. This quote particularly spoke to me

“I get these headaches sometimes. No big deal. This isn’t an out-and out lie, because the headaches are part of it. It’s like my brain is firing so fast that it can’t keep up with itself. Words. Colors. Sounds. Sometimes everything else fades into the background and all I’m left with is sound. I can hear everything, but not just hear it- I can feel it too. But then it can come all at once- the sound turns into light, and the light goes too bright, and it’s like its slicing me in two, and then comes the headache.” – Finch

Body Count: 7 – I realized YA authors are obsessed with death.

Want to win one of these books? Head over to my over Instagram to find out how.  @CherylAMonty23

To Say THANK YOU and to start the New Year right I am giving away 1 month of Owl Crate.

Happy New Year!!! May 2016 be filled with love, laughter and inspiration. See you next Wednesday.

"May your coming year be filled with magic & dreams & good madness. I hope you read some fine books & kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful & don't forget to make some art (write or draw or build or sing or live only as you can) & somewhere in the next year, I hope you surprise yourself." - Neil Gaiman 


  1. I haven't read Things We Know By Heart or My Heart and Other Black Holes, but I just happen to be reading All the Bright Places right now. My favorite book of the year would probably be Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas. I don't really have a favorite fictional character-there are just too many!

    1. Happy Reading! It is such a good book. I received A Court of Thorns and Roses in my Uppercase. I just need time to read it because I've been on a writing binge. I hope you enjoyed and continue to stop by. Happy Wednesday!

  2. I didn't read nearly as much this year as I wanted to, but my favorite book of the year is actually a nonfiction book. It's Neverland by Piers Dudgeon. It's a really fascinating look into the life of J.M. Barrie and his relationship with the du Mauriers.

    1. I didn't read as much as I would have liked to either. Thanks for stopping by and sharing. I will have to read Neverland. I hope you continue to stop by on Wednesdays. Have a good day! =)

  3. I loved Before I Fall and have All the Bright Places on my shelf and am planning to buy My Heart and Other Black Holes - it seems I've picked well!

    Brilliant blog! :)

    1. Thanks for your support Molly. I loved every single one of them so much. My Heart and Other Black Holes seems very underrated and a hidden gem. I always love to recommend my favorite books because it feels like I am sharing a secret!

      Hope you continue to stop by on Wednesdays when I post new content. This week is my first author spotlight with Kristina Serrano writer of YA Paranormal Romance Slow Echoes. Enjoy your day!