Welcome to yAdult Review, a space where two girls review novels from across the genres, from YA and MG, to fantasy and sci-fi, to historical fiction and mystery, with a sprinkling of non-fiction too. We hope you enjoy your stay here as much as we enjoy ours.

Cress (Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer

13206828Cress (Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer
Release Date: February 4, 2014
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Source: ALA 2013
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard.

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can. – Goodreads

Review:

It took me months to read this book. Months. And that breaks my heart because I really enjoy this series, but I could not get into Cress and I tried.  I first read a good portion of it and then I had to set it to the side. Then I put the audiobook at hold at the library and figured why not, let’s try it again. The audiobook worked better for me than the actual book did, which does happen occasionally.

The problem with this book for me ultimately came down to the fact it was told from so many point of views, the book felt sloggy and almost never ending because of that. My friend, Renae said it best:

This is one of those situations where I can understand and agree with the appeal other readers see in a particular book, but at the same time, I don’t, objectively, think the same book is actually very well-done.

I read her review as I was finishing the book and agreed so much I sent her a text message going something along the lines of “I’M NOT ALOOOOONE.” Yes. I’m as dramatic in text messages as you would think I would be. But when it comes to Cress I couldn’t help but agree.

I thought that it was an enjoyable book, but the flaws of the book pulled me out. The number of people! Should I have kept a list of the character, their role and the fact there wasn’t much character development because there was so many characters in one book that I didn’t get a good feel for any of them. If the narrator didn’t do different voices, all the characters would actually be one to me. Which is hard as a reader because they did so much planning in this novel. I love a heist as much as the next (Looking at you Oceans’ Eleven) but there was so much planning with so many people that I honestly spent a lot of time confused. And lost, so lost.

Also, I spent most of the book wondering when something was going to happen. I just finished the book and I’m still wondering when something is going to happen. While I’m fine with planning, this suffered from middle book syndrome where one spends a lot of their time bored. With this being a hefty book (550 pages) that is a lot of time to spent bored.

While, Meyer was able to intertwine all of the characters beautifully there was a downfall while she was doing this.  I understand the appeal of Cress and I love what it has done to the genre of Young Adult but it still took me months to finish. The pain of putting a book on my goodreads “hold” shelf is never a good sign, which ultimately effected my rating on Cress.

Believe (True Believers #3) by Erin McCarthy

18686240Believe (True Believers #3) by Erin McCarthy
Release Date: January 21, 2014
Publisher: Penguin
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Robin used to be a party girl… until she got black out drunk and woke up in bed with her best friend’s boyfriend. Now she’s faced with being THAT girl, and couldn’t be more disgusted with herself. She can’t even tell her friends the reason for her sudden sobriety and she avoids everyone until she meets Phoenix—quiet, tattooed, and different in every way that’s good and oh, so bad…

Phoenix is two days out of jail when he meets Robin at his cousin’s house, and he knows that he has no business talking to her, but he’s drawn to her quiet demeanor, sweet smile, and artistic talent. She doesn’t care that he’s done time, or that he only has five bucks to his name, and she supports his goal to be a tattoo artist.

But Phoenix knows Robin has a secret, and that it’s a naïve dream to believe that his record won’t catch up with them at some point. Though neither is prepared for the explosive result when the past collides with the present… – Goodreads

Review:

This series gets better and better. Honestly it does. While I was wading through bad New Adult this series was the gem in the rough. When I finished book two in the series, I quickly went to my public library overdrive account, borrowed this book and then read it in one sitting. What was fascinating to me was how not only did McCarthy weave together these characters and this story, but also how much I started to care. I’m not saying that these are amazing stories that will change the world, because they aren’t. But in the NA genre, they are that true gem in the rough, and let me tell you there is a lot of rough.

This is the story of Robin, a girlfriend from the first two books who started to go further into the background and we quickly found out why. She slept with one of the other three girls boyfriends. She is traumatized, heartbroken and decides to change her ways. Without telling anyone why, which leads all of her friends to worry about her. One of the only people who doesn’t worry about Robin, is Phoenix, who meets Robin at his cousin’s home. Where this story begins to differ from the previous two is that it is told from dual perspectives. It was interesting to not only get in the head of the girl, but also the boy. Particularly because Phoenix has an equally fucked up background as his cousins.

Phoenix spends most of the novel not only falling in love with Robin, but also helping Robin work through her problems. And while they work well together, they also work well separately. That is one aspect I’m enjoying from NA novels is the fact that authors are working on creating characters that stand alone. They don’t need someone else to survive, although it makes everything easier, of course. Phoenix has had a fairly horrible life and has anger issues and Robin had drinking issues that she is currently working with. Everything is fine with the two and they are figuring out the relationship waters and then everything comes to ahead and it goes BOOM!

McCarthy however throughout the whole novel spends a lot of time making them human and making everything work, even the small details that don’t seem to matter in the moment. While the series has problematic aspects, I was able to overlook most of them, because when I was reading the genre, there were so many other problematic aspects I was sick of reading about.

Sweet (True Believers #2) by Erin McCarthy

18113253Sweet (True Believers #2) by Erin McCarthy
Release Date: June 14, 2014
Publisher: Penguin
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Jessica Sweet thought going away to college would finally make her free of her parents’ constant judgments and insistence she play chastity club role model for their church events, but if anything, the freedom has made her realize she can’t go home and be a hypocrite anymore. Tired of dodging their questions, she stays at school over the summer and lands in an unexpected crash pad: Riley Mann’s house.

Sarcastic, cocky, and full of opinions, Riley is also sexy personified with tattoos and biceps earned from working as a roofer all day. Not the right guy for her even if Jessica was looking for a relationship, which she is definitely not. But Jessica knows that Riley hides the burden of having to raise his younger brothers behind that grin and as she helps him get his house in order for a custody hearing, they begin to fall hard for each other, and she is forced to question what she’s hiding herself.

Jessica has never had a problem getting naked with a guy, but when it comes to showing Riley how she truly feels inside, her fear of rejection may just ruin the best thing—the best guy—to ever happen to her… – Goodreads

Review:

Continuing on with my New Adult Spree of August, I read/devoured McCarthy’s True Believers series. This may be because McCarthy’s books have always been a source of comfort to me. I read them when I was younger so to come back to her writing has been nice. While this is number two in the series, it is far more a companion novel than a sequel. Of course being me, I still read the books in order. Of course I did.

In Sweet, we meet back up with Jessica, who we were introduced to in the first book, True. Jessica was the snarky best friend who was very much the opposite of Rory, the main character in True. I loved being inside Jessica’s head. I related more to her than Rory. Jessica’s parents are a bit controlling and constantly judging her, because of this she decided to spend the summer in her college town free of her parents and her brother who seems to hate her for no reason. McCarthy didn’t go too far into Jessica’s past and her parents, spending more time on Jessica and Riley who hate each other. At the beginning of the book and in the previous book they bicker with each other, they snap, it is recommended to not leave them together in the same room for very valid reasons. Then Jessica decides to stay in town during summer, tell her parents that she’s building houses for the poor, while she herself has nowhere to stay.

That is the moment her BFF Rory tells her that she’ll be out of town and she can stay in the house with Riley. Yes, the Riley who hates her. Jessica decides that is fine, because it’s better than being at home right? Slowly, McCarthy has the two characters, Riley and Jessica work together and ultimately fall in love. While Jessica’s background is completely different from mine, her bitterness, her snark, it was something I related to and it is something that Riley also related to which made the two of them work. Jessica’s personality is not something that is warm and welcoming to others and that is hard for her, and Riley’s brothers, who live with him, to get used to. Although they are not main characters in the novel the same way the older brothers are, they are still important (family is very important to them) and Jessica wants them to like her the way they like Rory. Of course this is easier said than done as everyone likes Rory. That’s just how Rory is.

Riley doesn’t care about Rory, not only because that’s his brother’s girl but because they would never work. Now him and Jessica? They could make that work and they do. Jessica wanted to protect Riley. Riley wanted to protect Jessica. But what they did differently than other couples, is they communicated, or they tried to. They’re still young twenty year olds who have fucked up lives, nothing is going to come that easy for them, and in a way, that is understandable. I’ve read a lot of reviews, in which there are complaints about the fact that the guys in this series smoking and that is disgusting. Yes. It is. But the guys in this series come from a very fucked up background. The fact that the worst thing they do is smoke is actually quite impressive.

This was by no means a perfect book, but it worked and more importantly the characters worked. I enjoyed Jessica and Riley’s story far more than I thought I would. I wanted to know more about them and their little world. I even picked up the third book right away thanks to my library’s overdrive purely because I wanted glimpses of Riley and Jessica.

True (True Believers #1) by Erin McCarthy

17332551True (True Believers #1) by Erin McCarthy
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Penguin
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

When Rory Macintosh’s roommates find out that their studious and shy friend has never been with a guy, they decide that, as an act of kindness they’ll help her lose her virginity by hiring confident, tattooed bad boy Tyler Mann to do the job…unbeknownst to Rory.

Tyler knows he’s not good enough for Rory. She’s smart, doctor smart, while he’s barely scraping by at his EMT program, hoping to pull his younger brothers out of the hell their druggy mother has left them in. But he can’t resist taking up her roommates on an opportunity to get to know her better. There’s something about her honesty that keeps him coming back when he knows he shouldn’t…

Torn between common sense and desire, the two find themselves caught up in a passionate relationship. But when Tyler’s broken family threatens to destroy his future, and hers, Rory will need to decide whether to cut her ties to his risky world or follow her heart, no matter what the cost…. – Goodreads

Review:

I have decided to continue to give New Adult a chance. I had a very in depth discussion lately about it with my Canadian brother, Jen, about how we have these major, valid issues, with the New Adult genre which is a whole other post for another day. We realized there were a lot of things in common with New Adult books and I wanted to prove to myself that it can’t be true.

This is my second official New Adult book and it’s the second one I’ve given three stars to. It seems I find the genre to be “okay.” And there is nothing wrong with that. While I was reading True, it came to my attention that I read Erin McCarthy about ten years ago before New Adult was even a thing and that may be why I’m over New Adult, I read the genre before it was a genre. And that sounds hipster-like. I understand, but it’s true. I was reading Erin McCarthy’s first romance novels which now would be classified as New Adult, but at the time, were just romance novels.

True reminded me of that time, in which all I read was romance. This was a little more angst ridden than I usually would like to read, but I found it to be fairly realistic. It’s the story of Rory, the science nerd who one day, while drunk, told her roommates that she’s a virgin. They decide if the hot boy Tyler takes her virginity her life will be better. Because that solves everything right? Wrong. For many reasons. The first is they don’t tell Rory, because why would she need to know? Second, Tyler actually cared for Rory far before they offered him 100 bucks to sleep with her. Yes. That is what her virginity is worth: $100 bucks.

What McCarthy does, though, is makes it work for the story. In a weird way, I found that part of the story to almost be one of the more realistic parts. Yes, typing that out seems backwards, I know. I know. Rory is a girl who understands black and white, science, math, things that can’t be changed. Tyler is the opposite. He’s good at literature, loves to read, wants to move away from his very broken family. Can the two be together? Tyler imagines that Rory is this perfect good girl who never got into any trouble and to a point, that’s true and he loves that about her.

Then, his druggy mother’s past comes and catches up to him and he doesn’t tell Rory the whole story. He makes the choice to save her, without talking to her about it and he breaks her heart. This thrills her father, who of course found him to not be good enough for her. Rory doesn’t care about her father, she only cares about Tyler. What Rory does find out during this break up though is that she doesn’t need Tyler. She loves Tyler, and she wants to be with him, but she will survive without him. And that was nice. It was nice to see a girl saying “I will survive without you”

While the ending tied everything together, and my book had a bonus section, it didn’t make me any more excited for the drama than my previous read in this genre.

El Deafo by Cece Bell

20701984El Deafo by Cece Bell
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: Amulet Books
Source: ALA 2014
Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful—and very awkward—hearing aid.
The Phonic Ear gives Cece the ability to hear—sometimes things she shouldn’t—but also isolates her from her classmates. She really just wants to fit in and find a true friend, someone who appreciates her as she is. After some trouble, she is finally able to harness the power of the Phonic Ear and become “El Deafo, Listener for All.” And more importantly, declare a place for herself in the world and find the friend she’s longed for. – Goodreads

Review:

When the list of ALA signings came out and I read the blurb for El Deafo I knew I needed to have it and not just because of my new found love and appreciation of graphic novels. The blurb spoke to me and I had this need to meet Cece and not only was Cece one of the nicest people I’ve met, she was a pleasure to talk to, also! We also bonded over the fact that I’m an Ashley and her brother is named Ashley!

El Deafo did not disappoint. I devoured it and then re-read parts of it because I loved it that much. Not only do the illustrations give me a warm feeling, it was extremely relateable. Everyone feels like they don’t fit in it, Cece just believes it is different for her because she wears this beast of a hearing aid and while that is partly true, it is also because she’s in elementary school and everyone goes through that phase.

What also drew me in was her family and friends and how they tried to do the best for her and what the believed would work out for her in the end (Spoiler: she’s happily married with two kids! Everything worked out fine!) Cece’s friendships also spoke to me. The mean friend, the friend who worries about hurting you, the friend who you wonder if they really are that nice (and yes they are). I honestly have nothing bad to say about this book, I enjoyed it that much. Not only did the storyline keep me in, but the drawings did, too AND this is the ARC that I read, I cannot wait to read the finished product and see how the color adds to it. This is one I would recommend with no hesitation.

 

Heroes Are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

20306788Heroes Are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Release Date: September 1, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Edelweiss
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

New York Times bestselling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips is back with a delightful novel of a killer love that is filled with her sassy wit and dazzling charm

The dead of winter.
An isolated island off the coast of Maine.
A man.
A woman.
A sinister house looming over the sea . . .

He’s a reclusive writer whose macabre imagination creates chilling horror novels. She’s a down-on-her-luck actress reduced to staging kids’ puppet shows. He knows a dozen ways to kill with his bare hands. She knows a dozen ways to kill with laughs.

But she’s not laughing now. When she was a teenager, he terrified her. Now they’re trapped together on a snowy island off the coast of Maine. Is he the villain she remembers or has he changed? Her head says no. Her heart says yes. It’s going to be a long, hot winter. – Goodreads

Review:

As a strong hard-core romance novel addict, Susan Elizabeth Phillips is often my go-to romance author. I have read all of her books and often re-read them. It was a joy at ALA 2013 to meet her in Chicago, I’m pretty sure I flailed. It was an honor. That is why when I had the change to read Heroes Are My Weakness I jumped at the chance. All of that being said this book was completely different from her usual fair, at least to me. I spent a solid portion of the book, around 25% reminding myself that this is the Susan Elizabeth Phillips I know and love. This was completely different. It was darker, it was sinister, it was heartbreakingly romantic.

I almost quit the book a few times in the beginning but I am very glad I stuck with it. After 25% something clicked and the book made sense to me. The stories of the past, the main story in the present and even the bits with puppets, it worked. It was never, ever forced and although it took me awhile to fully figure out I never wanted it to end.

The writer, Theo, the loner, and the puppeteer, Annie, have loved each other from when they were teenagers. However life happened and it became clear to both of them that it would never work. Mostly because Annie viewed Theo has a villain. A true villain that she could, and should never, trust. Because the villain couldn’t change, could he?

Theo and Annie learn a lot about each other, did they judge each other before they really knew each other? Was life just a lot of misunderstandings? Would everything work out okay? It took a lot to get there, Phillips reminds the reader that life isn’t perfect and tied with a bow. Annie claims she just wants a quick fling with no strings attached and Theo claims to give no fucks (but of course doing the actual fucking.)

She knew he cared for her, just as she knew he didn’t love her.–eARC 80%

He comes from a hard life, that is slowly shown to the reader, and Annie. Annie is just trying to survive aspects of life that she doesn’t really want to talk about, to anyone, anyone but Theo. Annie ultimately learns a lot about herself and those around her, people on the island who became her friends, including, yes Theo. The Theo that Annie believes she doesn’t deserve, even though she’s known him forever, because he’s far too beautiful for her, or to be real.

Do you ever look as though you haven’t just stepped off the cover of a paperback novel? –eARC 90%

Theo, of course, not only doesn’t see it. He doesn’t find himself beautiful, he finds himself to be the brooding author who writes fucked up novels and had a wife that killed herself. He wants to be left alone and deal with his demons himself. Even with these walls, Annie gets through: she forces him to listen and think about things he doesn’t want to. Everyone has that friend that one that makes them think about topics they are in denial about. That’s what make the two work well together, they’ve always been good friends until that summer. That summer that changed everything.

What Phillips does though is makes everything unravel and then slowly, real life slow, has things breakdown further and slowly work there way back together.

I’m ultimately glad I stuck with Heroes Are My Weakness because it has become one of my favorite books that I keep going back and reading passages from because it makes my cold bitter black cynical heart warm. I wish I could tell the Ashley who was struggling with the first so many pages that it gets good. It gets “keep you up even though you have work tomorrow” good.

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

9627755Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Release Date: August 14, 2014
Publisher: Dutton
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.– Goodreads

Review:

There are a handful of things that make me feel at home, and one of them is Stephanie Perkin’s writing. That is what reading Isla and the Happily Ever After did for me, it was like coming home. I’ve never hidden the fact that Perkins’ has helped me through many rough times. From her books, to her honesty on her blog, to the fact every time I see her I freeze up and forget to tell her what I want, Isla was happiness I wasn’t aware I even needed.

Isla and the Happily Ever After is a companion novel set in the world of Perkins’ previous two novels, Anna and Isla. While one does not need to read the previous two to understand this standalone it does help because what Perkins’ does is beautifully intertwine multiple characters and bits that originally seems to have no true meaning. Everything has meaning, at least it did to me as a reader. I enjoyed being set back in the world of these characters, from New York City to Paris, if anything, I felt like I never let. Although the pacing seemed a bit off to me, in the sense time often seemed to zip by in a chapter, I never once wanted this book to stop. Or, dare I say it. I never wanted to throw it against the wall. We all know I have book feels I often am forced to deal with, even when I’m in denial.

Isla and Josh quickly, and understandably fall in love with each other quickly, but as most teens know happiness and forever don’t always go hand in hand. Things don’t work that easily, even when you’re in the city of lights.  It was a weird twist of events where the romantic couple come together quickly and then deal with the fallout. The dramatic, painful, oh so real fallout. The drama that Perkins’ created was heartbreaking and never artificial. While the beginning was hearts in the eyes happiness, I knew it would have to end at some point. There would have to be dramatics, if only because the saying lately is no one wants to read about happy couples (which is a lie. I would.) But that’s what Perkins’ does, she created a realistic portrayal of teenage romance. That romance where if you can’t be together the world is going to end a painful end. While Isla and Josh are happy they are forced to face issues they are trying their hardest to ignore, which means they cause an even bigger blow up. My heart went out to all the characters in this book, even though I stayed up late reading it when I had work the next morning.

While I didn’t want to leave these characters, and a few old friends who appeared, I understood at the end it was time to say good bye to them. It was their happily ever after for the moment, and it would all be okay for them (and for us.)


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