I recently came across a shelf I made on goodreads a couple of years ago, called: “Books-that-made-my-heart-do-the-jittery-thing”. I only added a few books onto it, but rediscovering that list reminded me of some of the books that made my heart beat a little faster because of the gorgeous romances depicted within them. Here’s some of what I found on the list… Continue reading “Books That Made My Heart Do The Jittery Thing”
Author: Colleen Hoover
Published: 10th August 2012
Publisher: Atria Books
“Life wants you to fight it.
Learn how to make it your own. ”
Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she’s losing hope.
Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.
Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart.
Author: Stephanie Garber
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Published: 31st January 2017
Publisher: Flatiron Books
“Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find yourself to magic in this world.”
Title: Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Published: 6th September 2016
“This thing between them, the force of it, could devour the world. And if they picked it, picked them, it might very well cause the end of it.”
Title: Isla and the Happily Ever After
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Published: 14th August 2014
“I like reading about adventure, sure, but I also like doing it from the safety of home. But what is home, besides a quilt-covered bed?”
Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?
Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.
Okay okay, so nearly every YA book blogger has most likely read this book by now. I really have no excuse. I mean, I bought it not long after it came out, and then it just sat on my shelves for ages, waiting. Waiting for the perfect moment. And although I gave this book only 3 stars, I can assuredly say that this was the perfect moment to read this book. My three stars is not due to lack of enjoyment, but because some aspects of it just didn’t sit right with me. Regardless, I think of the Anna/Lola/Isla trilogy, still, as my happy books. Especially Anna and the French Kiss. Having Anna as the first book in this trilogy basically spoiled me for liking the others so much!
So the things I liked:
1) We went back to Paris! I missed the Paris boarding school setting in the second book, so I was really happy we were took back there in this one. I really liked that Stephanie Perkins takes you to the everyday parts of Paris, and not just the tourist parts, and how real Paris feels as a result. She really captures the beauty of Paris. And any book in Paris will probably be somewhat enjoyable for me anyway!
2) The importance of art. In Anna and the French Kiss, it was movies. In Lola and the Boy Next Door, it was fashion and design. And in Isla, it was drawing. Art is an important, essential, beautiful part of our world, and I love that this trilogy captured that!
3) The reunion scene. Honestly, if you loved Anna and St Clair, you need to read this book just for that reunion scene! I think a tear of joy might possibly have slipped from my eye. Possibly.
However, despite how much I enjoyed reading the story, I just couldn’t get past some of the messages of this story and how much they sat a little wrong with me. Firstly: how easy a relationship blooms between two shy, awkward characters, and how easy it seems for Isla despite her secret 3 year-long crush on him. If only these situations were as simple and cringe-free as this was!
Which brings me onto number two, the reason why it was so easy for them: because he was ‘the one’. I don’t like the idea of ‘the one’ – the idea that there is one person you are fated and destined to be with and it doesn’t matter how young you are, or how many obstacles are in your way, you will defeat them all because you are each other’s ‘the one’ and no one else will match. Yeah, I just don’t like that idea, and a small part of me was actually thinking how interesting this book would have been if they didn’t have the ‘Happily Ever After’. (Can you tell I don’t read much contemporary YA romance!!??)
But these aren’t really problems with the book specifically, but an idea this book kind of subscribes to. And regardless, I still flew through it and enjoyed Isla and Josh as characters. As a complete trilogy, these books will always be associated as my happy books, and always make me smile when I flick back through them. Hopefully Stephanie Perkins will keep writing more of these happy, lovely books!
Title: Stars Above (A Lunar Chronicles Collection)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Published: 2nd February 2016
“The first time, he had wondered why she liked books so much, and if it had anything to do with why he liked spaceships. Because they could take you somewhere far, far away”
The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories—and secrets—that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?
If you read and enjoyed the Lunar Chronicles and are debating whether this book will be worth your time, let me do you a huge favour and enlighten you…
IT IS WORTH YOUR TIME!
It is beautiful and wonderful and amazing and lovely and such a great addition to the series!
Stars Above is definitely to be read AFTER you have finished Winter though, as otherwise you may get some spoilers at the end! And no one likes spoilers!
I am going to review this book based on each story individually. In terms of individual stories, there were definitely some that I liked more than others, and I felt that I enjoyed the stories more as the book went on. However, as a collective, this book was just wonderful and amazing and everything I needed in life right now, and I’m not a mathematician or a scientist, so I’m going to pretend that averages don’t exist and round it up to a collective 5 star rating!
This first story is a prequel to the series, following Scarlett and her grandmother, Michelle Benoit, and explaining how Princess Selene/Cinder came into her care. I thought it was really interesting for some background; to see Cinder’s beginnings on Earth. I also liked reading more about Scarlett’s grandmother, who had an important role in the series, yet didn’t feature in it much at all. However, I didn’t think it was the best start to the book, and it was my least favourite of the stories.
In this prequel, we see the plague’s effects on Cinder’s new family, and its impact on her future years. This also wasn’t my favourite of the stories, but it was nice to see the origins of Cinder’s friendship with Iko, and her coming to terms with her life in a strange new house without memories of her previous years. And it flows really well from the previous story.
The Queen’s Army:
This story follows one particular soldier, drafted into Queen Levana’s army, who will do whatever he can to not be turned into the monsters she is creating.
Three guesses for who this special soldier might be…
The funny thing is, I had read this story back when it was released, and didn’t even realise who it was about. I think because it uses his real name, which is only released later in the series, I think? Anyway, I enjoyed re-reading this with that new understanding and appreciation.
Carswell’s Guide To Being Lucky:
Oh Carswell Thorne…we all knew you were cocky and arrogant and endearing, but as a teenager…! It was so funny reading a story about Thorne as basically a mini version of his older, Lunar Chronicles, self. The quote at the top of this review is from this story, and it made me smile. Because teenage Thorne loved his cargo spaceships, and his love for the Rampion ship was apparently a deep-rooted one! This was basically exactly what I imagined a younger Carswell would be like, and I loved reading a story from his perspective, as well as getting a bit of insight into his family life and background, which we don’t get in the main series.
After Sunshine Passes By:
This story follows nine-year-old Cress and how she ended up in her satellite, spying on Earth. It was so heartbreaking. In terms of the story-telling and writing, this was my favourite of the stories. Cress is such a wonderful and real character…with fears and awkwardness and dreams, all in a relatable way. She is my favourite character of the series, and I’m so glad this story made it into this book!
The Princess and the Guard:
This story was my favourite, in terms of content, of the whole collection. I always considered Cress and Thorne to be my OTP for this series, but after finishing this book, I think I would have to say Winter and Jacin may have topped it. I just loved reading more about them, and seeing their bond and connection. It also shows us some important events
in Winter’s life, and shows how she came to her Lunar sickness. It was a beautiful story of strength and care for one another, and I will probably read it many times!
The Little Android:
I found this a very strange little story. I was really confused at first who it was supposedly about. I’m still not completely sure if we were supposed to know the android, but I read the story as if about a completely new character. I found it the most difficult to get into, but also really different (in a good way) and quite emotional. Marissa Meyer made me so connected to these characters in less than 50 pages. I thought, while reading, that this story felt a little like the Little Mermaid, so I looked it up, and yep, apparently that’s what it’s a re-tellling of! Albeit a very vague and unique one. Clearly I’m just wired to pick out fairy tales in everything! It was definitely of a different tone to the rest of the stories, but quirky and interesting to read.
This story covers Cinder and Kai’s first meeting at Cinder’s stall, but from Kai’s perspective. I am so glad this story was in here. I forgot how much I loved Kai and his sarcastic humour. I loved seeing the scene from his perspective, and reading about his first impressions of her. It was such a cute and adorable scene!
Something Old, Something New:
This is that epilogue that we all needed. There’s just one problem: now I need an epilogue to the epilogue! As the title suggests, this final story follows the wedding of one of the series’ couples. Not really the couple I was expecting though! But still, the story gets the happy ending we all want! This is a hard one to write about without spoiling. So I’ll just say: it is a fitting, wonderful, if a bit cheesy, (but who doesn’t love a bit of cheese?) ending to the series, and I am now experiencing my Lunar Chronicles withdrawal symptoms again!
This is going to be the most fun book review I have ever written. I don’t even have a plan for it, and I’m literally just going to write this out how it comes to my mind, but I have so much to talk about with this book.
First of all, this is a SPOILER book discussion.DO NOT READ THIS IS YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK!
If you want the non-spoiler review, you can check that out here!
Okay so in ACOTAR, I was kind of Team Tamlin. Not because I loved Tamlin. Actually, Tamlin was my least favourite of the male characters in the book, while Rhysand was my favourite. The reason was because I believe in fairytale happy endings. And Feyre literally killed herself out of her love for Tamlin Under the Mountain. She LITERALLY DIED FOR HIM! So a huge part of me wanted them to live happily ever after, because after all she had put herself through, out of her love for him, surely they were meant to last forever.
But then again, I understood the Rhysand x Feyre shippers, because I LOVED Rhysand and I loved the scenes with them together. But I didn’t want to think of poor Feyre going thrugh all of that and then not living happily ever after with Tamlin.
But this book just threw it at me…Feyre going through all that she did, was important for her self development, far more than for any love. Because from the very beginning of ACOMAF, it is so blindingly clear that Feyre and Tamlin are both such different people than they were in ACOTAR. And although Feyre truly (and I do believe she truly did) loved Tamlin…she loved him as human Feyre, who had lived a life of hunger and poverty and lack of love, and wanted love and protection. After the things she had gone through, she no longer wanted such protection: the now-Fae Feyre needed to be a protector. All at the same time as Tamlin had seen the woman he loved die and come back to life in front of him, and believed that showing her love would be to protect her and keep her safe. He just goes about it in a kind of twisted, jerk-y way. I mean, the scene where he locks her into the house had my head raging…
Sarah J. Maas is so good at describing emotional pain (I mean that in the best possible way!), and I so completely felt the pain Feyre was feeling. After so long not feeling anything, this becomes the point that anger and despair actually come to her, and it is such a powerful scene. Tamlin, I know you wanted to protect her but COME ON! You don’t lock the woman up and imprison her! You don’t make her wear dresses when she feels constantly uncomfortable in them! You don’t resign her to wedding planning when she has literally just saved your entire country from Amarantha and is clearly capable of so much more! You don’t tell her there is no such thing as High Lady, when you are just feeding her lie after lie to stop her becoming your equal, all to protect her.
I think the thing is, Tamlin loved, and I think still loves, Feyre. But, when he loved her before, it was out of trying to woo her to save his people. And now there wasn’t an imminent threat to his people, there was no rush or challenge in it any more. I think he just forgot that he needed to try any more. But that was just what Feyre needed.
I got closure of the Feyre x Tamlin reletionship being over, and I actually really appreciated it. In so many series, the female character (it is usually a female character, I’m not stereotyping here!) falls madly and deeply in love with the first male that shows them any love and kindness, and this love carries until the end of the series. And this is actually annoying because it is usually their first love too, and how many people’s first love is their true love? I mean, obviously that does happen, but it is annoying to read about all the time. So I really appreciated this book for shaking that up!
Which nicely brings me on to Rhysand…
Rhysand Rhysand Rhysand. Why are you not a real person? It’s not actually fair. I think he has actually become the number one book boyfriend after this book. It’s official…in the completely fictional sense, of course *not really because it’s real in my head though*
When Rhysand interrupts Tamlin and Feyre’s wedding…
He just sort of swaggers in:
“I whirled, and through the night drifting away like smoke on a wind, I found Rhysand straightening the lapels of his black jacket.
“Hello, Feyre darling,” he purred.”
I mean, reading back over this scene now is so emotional and gives it so much more significance, knowing that he knew they were mates (which I’ll get onto in a minute!). And later on in the book, when he tells her that he would have let her be wed, had she not been desperately, silently pleading in her head for someone to get her out of it. Rhysand would have let the marriage go on if she had been happy. He was going to sacrifice his love so that she would be happy.
Basically, Rhysand is the best. I had so many favourite Rhysand and Feyre scenes, but these are some of them: *emphasises the ‘some’ because if she were to give them all we would be here for hours*
1.The moment where he wakes her after a nightmare (which is significant because Tamlin never did and he was sleeping in the same bed!)
“Hands – there were hands on my shoulders, shaking me, squeezing me. I thrashed against them, screaming, screaming –
The voice was at once the night and the dawn and the stars and the earth, and every inch of my body calmed at the primal dominance in it.
“Open your eyes,” the voice ordered.
2. The scene where Feyre is describing the paintings she did for her sisters in her home.
“Rhys’s voice was raw as he said to the floor, “What did you paint for yourself?”
I drew out the fifth, moving to the sixth before saying, “I painted the night sky.”
I guess this scene only feels all the more significant to me after finishing. Because when he later tells her that it was him who sent those images through her mind, not knowing who she was, or where she was, but knowing that she was somewhere safe and could hold onto that image he so loved…
Which brings me onto number three…
3. The mating-bond-acceptance scene! AKA best, most emotional scene I think I have ever read. Rhysand tells Feyre his story, and he is so raw and honest and open and I literally sobbed
“If you were going to die, I was going to die with you. I couldn’t stop thinking it over and over as you screamed, as I tried to kill her: you were my mate, my mate, my mate.
But then she snapped your neck.”
Tears rolled down his face.
“And I felt you die,” he whispered.
Tears were sliding down my own cheeks.
“And this beautiful, wonderful thing that had come into my life, this gift from the Cauldron…It was gone.”
“And I said, “You love me?”
And I wondered if love was too weak a word for what he felt, what he’d done for me. For what I felt for him.”
But besides from all of the main characters, this book’s cast of side characters was so fantastic.
Along with Rhys and the Night Court, come his inner court:
Cassian – Basically, the sarcastic, funny, strong but loving character that everyone loves
Azriel – The quiet, reserved character who clearly has so much depth left to unveil
Mor – Possibly my favourite female character in this trilogy. She doesn’t care what anyone thinks about her. She is powerful and strong, and knows she can inflict so much pain, and yet she is kind and loving, aware of those around her, and restrains from inflicting such pain.
Amren – Who I’m not fully sure about yet. She was certainly interesting, but also a little creepy. But we apparently find out her story in book three, so I am reserving judgement!
And of course there is Nesta and Elain. Elain I still liked, Nesta I am struggling with. I get that she is hard and cold but still loves those close to her, but I just really find it difficult to connect to her. But the next book is probably going to break that because…
NESTA AND ELAIN ARE NOW FAE!!!
I did not see that coming at all! I think at this point I was skim reading a little (which I always do when it comes close to the end of the book, because I am always desperate to get to the ending to find out what happens – I’m impatient, I know!) and I had to re-read this whole scene again, because my brain was so confused.
So now humans can just be made into Fae by being put into this liquid?
But my reservations about that aside, it really does make the ships a lot easier because…
Nesta and Cassian are going to happen. THEY ARE!!!
And Elain and Lucien ARE MATES…well, I kind of saw that one coming actually…
…and I kind of like it.
So I’m leaving my review there because I could go on for hours and hours about my feelings on this book. So I’m going to leave you with probably my favourite quote/moment of the whole book…
“Welcome to the family, Feyre.”
And I thought those might have been the most beautiful words I’d ever heard.”