ARC Review: Dreamology by Lucy Keating

Dreamology by Lucy Keating
Series: N/A
Published by HarperTeen on April 12, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 3336 : ARC edition
Source: Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
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Vibrantly offbeat and utterly original, Lucy Keating’s debut novel combines the unconventional romance of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind with the sweetness and heart of Jenny Han.

For as long as Alice can remember, she has dreamed of Max. Together, they have traveled the world and fallen deliriously, hopelessly in love. Max is the boy of her dreams—and only her dreams. Because he doesn’t exist.

But when Alice walks into class on her first day at a new school, there he is. Real Max is nothing like Dream Max. He’s stubborn and complicated. And he has a whole life Alice isn’t a part of. Getting to know each other in reality isn’t as perfect as Alice always hoped.

Alarmingly, when their dreams start to bleed into their waking hours, the pair realize that they might have to put an end to a lifetime of dreaming about each other. But when you fall in love in your dreams, can reality ever be enough?

When this first popped up on my doorstep from HarperTeen, I have to admit I hadn’t heard of it but was very intrigued by the cover, the title, the synopsis…pretty much everything. Add to that that I had been in a bit (ie. a 2 month long) reading slump, this was just the book I needed to kick my reading funk all while being a super adorable and enjoyable read!

This is the type of book that eating a marshmallow while listening to soothing music on a rainy day feels like. In other words, it’s sweet, it stops and makes you think about your life, but it also has that hint of sadness to it (just a hint. A splash. Like adding cinnamon to hot chocolate).

The entire premise of this story is just so refreshing and original. I find dreams to be very special so to have a story written about them in such an interesting way made for a really interesting book. Especially since the dreams and psychology of it all was explained here and there but not in a way that detracted from the story (I mean, hello, Mr. Levy sounds awesome and I want to sign up for his psych class immediately).

I also really enjoyed how the dreams were described because I fell into the pages and wanted to be there with Max and Alice the entire time. And the rest of the characters were awesome as well! So original and life-like.

So, I think this may go down as one of my top books of the year and hope to see a lot more from Lucy Keating in the future!

Bonus: Totally give this song a listen while reading Dreamology. I had it on loop almost the entire time and it just worked so well with the entire book. Continue reading

ARC Review: The New Guy (And Other Senior Year Distractions) by Amy Spalding

The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions) by Amy Spalding
Series: N/A
Published by Poppy on April 5, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 320 : e-ARC edition
Source: Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review (via NetGalley)
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A ridiculously cute, formerly-famous new guy dropping into your life? It’s practically every girl’s dream.

But not Jules McCallister-Morgan’s.

I realize that on paper I look like your standard type-A, neurotic, overachiever. And maybe I am. But I didn’t get to be the editor of my school’s long-revered newspaper by just showing up*. I have one main goal for my senior year-early acceptance into my first choice Ivy League college-and I will not be deterred by best friends, moms who think I could stand to “live a little,” or boys.

At least, that was the plan before I knew about Alex Powell**.

And before Alex Powell betrayed me***.

I know what you’re thinking: Calm down, Jules. But you don’t understand. This stuff matters. This is my life. And I’m not going down without a fight.

—-

* Okay, I sort of did. But it’s a sore subject.

** I mean, I guess everyone knows about Alex Powell? Two years ago, you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing about viral video boy band sensation Chaos 4 All. Two years ago, Alex Powell was famous.

***Some people think I’m overreacting. But this. Means. War.

Filled with romance, rivalry, and passive-aggressive dog walking, Amy Spalding delivers a hilariously relatable high school story that’s sure to have you falling for The New Guy.

If you follow me on Twitter (which you totally should; there’s fun gifs and you get to hear about the dumb shenanigans I get myself into) then you know I was struggling with whether or not I should give up on this book. I ultimately decided to do so after reaching the 60% mark. I’m not writing the book off completely, since I think there were some really awesome components in it, but it ended up coming down to me getting annoyed with the main character mixed with some “I don’t really care about this story anymore.”

So, pros! I started off really liking the unique voice that this contemporary had. Jules definitely does not care what others think of her and I liked her inner dialogue…until it became annoying. There was a specific turning point in the novel when I couldn’t relate to her anymore and I started to find myself flicking past pages wondering when she was going to stop talking. Alex also got on my nerves. He seemed sort of sleazy from the beginning. No, I didn’t make it to the end so maybe he does redeem himself, but the point I got to made me really dislike him.

Gay parents! Yes! Jules’ mom’s were so rad. I probably stuck it out as long as I did because I loved them and their dialogue. Can we get a book focused all around their romance? I’d read that in a heartbeat.

I also got a bit sick of Jules’ friends and the way she treated them. Jules is so caught up in her own life that she can’t even take the time to respond to emails/texts and her friends let her get away with it! Maybe I’m just not an overly forgiving person, but it continued to happen enough in the book that I seriously questioned why her best friend, who’s name I can’t remember beyond “the loud one who acts as the foil to the quiet one” would put up with that crap.

Maybe I’m just getting too old for contemporaries? I really hope not. Maybe it’s my own fault too for siding with the “bad” characters too. I mean Jules is pretty set in her ways, which I’m all for sticking to your guns, but she did it in such a way that shut down everyone else’s ideas, and I wasn’t too thrilled with that.

At the end of the day I am giving this two stars though. I think (and hope) some people will find it enjoyable, but it just wasn’t for me. As someone pointed out to me on Twitter, life is too short to waste time reading books you don’t like. On to the next!

(As it’s becoming a common theme with my DNF’s, I do really like this cover. There’s just something about it that is great! Maybe it’s the soft pastels)

What do you think? Have you read this one yet? Are you going to pick it up when it gets released next week? Let me know!

Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor

Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor
Series: Into the Dim #1
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on March 1, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Time Travel
Pages: 432 : e-ARC edition
Source: Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
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When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. Trapped in the twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Along the way, her path collides with that of a mysterious boy who could be vital to her mission . . . or the key to Hope’s undoing. 

I thought after the catastrophe that was Lady Midnight that I could dive into something that was much more fast-paced and enthralling but…I was left disappointed again.

It wasn’t that Into the Dim was necessarily bad, I just was so uninterested with the story after finishing 21% of it. I had little care for the main character, who’s name I can’t even remember, the story, or pretty much anything. I wasn’t sucked in as I had hoped and while I think there is a good premise here, it’s not something that had me on the edge of my seat, chomping at the bit, trying to figure out what was going to happen next.

The whole thing felt like a set up for a very stereotypical YA novel. Which, you may be thinking, “what the hell does that mean?” I just felt like it was very “I’m not special” character who is special coupled with “I don’t know what all this means” when a new world is thrust upon her. I actually yawned.

Maybe I’ll give this one another go at a later date, but as of right now, I just can’t push myself to read (or even skim) any further.

The one thing this book does have going for it? Gorgeous cover!

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

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Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
Series: The Dark Artifices #1
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on March 8, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Pages: 720 : Paperback edition
Source: Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
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The Shadowhunters of Los Angeles star in the first novel in Cassandra Clare’s newest series, The Dark Artifices, a sequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series. Lady Midnight is a Shadowhunters novel.

It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.

Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…

Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?

Glitz, glamours, and Shadowhunters abound in this heartrending opening to Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series.

Let’s start this review/discussion with a couple prefaces to set the scene for you.

I have never been a huge fan of any the Mortal Instruments/Infernal Devices series’ mostly because I avoided the hype of both of them for 9 years (and counting) and I could never get invested into the storylines. I owned almost the entire series for years and it just stood on my shelf collecting dust. I never watched the movie, the TV show, and I won’t. Yes, it was a huge honor to receive this ARC from the publisher and I thank them generously for taking the time/money to send it to me, but I stopped halfway through because of some ethical issues that I will try to tackle here in this post.

I read (and reviewed) City of Bones a few weeks ago and was told my numerous people that it wasn’t that great, but I had to continue reading to really get into the series. Not having the time to do so (as I am a college student who is still approaching finals), I read through the story plots on the Shadowhunters wiki pages. These were pretty informative and helped me understand the gist of the series so that I could jump into Lady Midnight and get my review done.

Flash forward almost three weeks later and I still can’t get into Lady Midnight. The action scenes felt dull, the story itself should probably be 200 pages shorter than it is, I didn’t connect with the characters, and it stressed me out having to read it. I’m not kidding. I would come home from class and see it sitting on my desk, and it stressed me out having to think about reading it and reviewing it, knowing that there was such a huge fan base behind the series. Eventually, I had to hide it in another room so it would stop staring at me and shouting “Read me! Love me!”

The past week alone has given me such guilt about not liking the series and worry about being attacked by the fandom that I even became stressed thinking about writing this review. An over exaggeration? For me, no. For others, maybe.

The past two weeks I have also been hearing reports here and there about some plagiarism scandals surrounding Cassandra Clare and the series. So, not wanting to jump to conclusions, I did my research. I read the court documents that cited what Sherrilyn Kaye was accusing Cassandra Clare of, I found examples of plagiarism from other works, and I read other opinions on the entire matter. As someone who works in my University’s Writing Center, I ethically could not continue reading this series, nor will I pick up her other works (I only recently bought some because I thought I would be able to attend an author signing for her).

So, this leads me to my current predicament and something that has been tumbling around in my mind for awhile. Yes, this may offend some people, and I’m sorry about that if you genuinely do like the series/works. However, as I said before though, I was never a fan of the series, I don’t see myself becoming a fan of the series because I’m over paranormal books, and I cannot ethically support this author.

But, what is the book blogger community if not honest? We are all allowed to have our opinions. It is not my end goal to go shouting my opinion all over social media nor do I stand for author bashing; this is just an honest portrayal of my feelings, something that I am entitled to.

For now, I’ll quietly purge myself of these books, and fade away so that others can enjoy the series as they see fit.