Monday, July 13, 2015

Destiny Binds by Tammy Blackwell


Hey guys,

I'm so sorry I haven't been updating but I've been pretty busy. Namely going to Chicago and checking colleges out there. :) Of course, that is no excuse for abandoning this blog but again, sorry. But the positive side is that I just read a few amazing books on my way there and back. Check out my review for one of them!

My Rating:
4.5 OMG I <3 Alex and Scout stars

My Review:

There are a few choice words that I would like to say when I look at this book.

Mind blowing. Incredible. Heart breaking. Snarky. Realistic (well, as realistic as you can get with a book about werewolves).

Hold up, I know what you all are thinking. A WEREWOLF book. Cliché much, Star?

Yeah, that's what I thought too. But this one of the best werewolves book ever. In fact, the werewolf aspect of it isn't even the center of the plot.

Destiny Binds revolves around the life of Harper Lee Donovan, nicknamed Scout. She is snarky, down to earth, witty and seriously cool. Seriously, this girl could probably talk a bear out of eating her. There were so many times that I burst out laughing at her comments that I got a few weird looks on the train.

Scout's life is pretty normal in the small town of Timber, Kentucky. She's got a best friend called Tally and a twin brother Jase who is just as sarcastic. She's also very in love with his best friend, Charlie. :) But when Alex and his older brother Liam comes to town, things begin to change.

Alex is charming, snarky and basically the male version of Scout. He's beautiful and at first, Scout can't believe that he likes her and that breaks my heart. Mainly because Scout thinks she isn't beautiful but Alex likes her for her wit and humor. I wish I had an Alex.

This book is about werewolves but I promise you, it is so much more than that. The characters in this book are so relatable, especially to how teenagers feel, that I couldn't help but fall in love with them all. It's about growing up, liking crushes and dealing with bullies and school. Though these instances aren't obvious, school was a big part of the story in Destiny Binds which I really liked because this IS about teenagers.

Earlier I said it was kind of heartbreaking. Guys, I mean, I shed a few tears reading this book because of how skillfully Tammy Blackwell brought around the tragedy. I'm not going to give it away but it threw me off because I was totally not expecting it. In that way, it was realistic because Tammy showed us that we can't always get a happy ending and that life will sometimes mess things up. I really liked that aspect because it gave the book a lot more depth.

If you're looking for a funny, quick read on a Friday night, read this. I loved the well rounded characters in this book and I hope you will too.

P.S. It's self published too! How the heck is a book this good self published?! Besides a few spelling errors that are expected from a self-published book, I think it's safe to say that Miss Tammy has done a great job.

Oh, and I've included a few snarky comments from Scout and her friends. :)

“Vampires? You think vampires are real? Seriously?"
"The werewolf is asking me if I believe in vampires?” 

“There's an old adage about everything looking better in the morning light. I'm guessing that whoever thought of that had never been punched in the face.” 

“Ground Control to Major Spazz. Can you hear me, Major Spazz?” 

“John Davis smells like Play-Doh. When we were in elementary school, it wasn’t a big deal. I mean, we were kids. Play-Doh was pretty high on the awesome scale. But there comes a time when a guy should stop smelling like crafting supplies and develop a more manly scent, like campfire or gym floor.” 


Find Destiny Binds on Goodreads!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

I have a curse
I have a gift

I am a monster
I'm more than human

My touch is lethal
My touch is power

I am their weapon
I will fight back

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

My Rating: 3 stars

My Review: I would really like to say I loved this book because look at the cover. No, just LOOK AT IT. IT. IS. GORGEOUS. Dat eye doe. 

Unfortunately, the contents of this book is not even close to being the level of kickass this cover is. The book is banal, boring and cliché. Half the time, I wanted to cut Juliette. 

You've read the summary. Juliette's this really powerful girl with this lethal touch. Her power causes people to die, basically. I told you before that I like kickass powers. This girl has definitely got them. But she isn't actually kickass. 

Because what would you do if you were locked away for murder? And you were extremely powerful? Like powerful enough to maybe blow this prison to bits? Girl, she doesn't even try. 

The first, like, 100 pages are all of her sitting in her cell, moping around. Crying about how she's a monster, how she can't get over it, blah blah blah. Girl, get up on your feet, put your hands on the wall and blast this f*cker! She's got this power that she won't even use. If Adam (potential love interest) wasn't thrown in prison with her, I bet she would've stayed there for the rest of her life and this entire book would've been pointless. And the two books after it. 

I didn't like her attitude. She made stupid decisions, acted like a freaking damsel in distress when she was probably the most powerful being in the world. But nooooo, she just wanted to think about her actions and REFLECT. What the hell is this? Talk about our feelings day? 

I had really hoped that this would be a great book. You know, one of those books that are forever etched in your mind because of how awesome it is. Shatter Me was not one of those books. It will probably disappear from my mind the instant I post this review! 

There's a potential for a love triangle. I sometimes like love triangles. Occasionally, they can be really well done and leave me hyperventilating over who my character should choose. However, most of the time they are stupid and a complete waste of time. Like choose one already! 

The writing didn't stand out either. Like I'll take a bad plot and vapid characters but man, if the writing is sh*t, how am I supposed to love this book? There was just no personality. The author seemed to be just pulling characters out of her a*s and having them act the way she felt like it at the time. It just...wasn't pretty. 

Shatter Me's love interests were boring. Just. Boring. Adam was a bore and the other guy who I can't even bother to remember the name of was less interesting than a snail. Adam was a flat character who was constantly nice to Juliette for no apparent reason (he knew she was a killing machine!) and the other guy was a supposed bad guy turned nice guy. Ugh, so cliché.

What a load of horse dung. 

Oh, and there were a lot of references to birds for no reason. 


 'I don't know how to find the white bird.' 

'There will be a bird today.' 

'There will be a bird.' 

'I'm the bird and I'm flying away.' 

'Maybe a bird will fly today.'

'Birds used to fly.' 

I've dreamt about the same bird flying through the same sky for exactly 10 years.' 

'I glance at the window and wonder if I'll ever see a bird fly by.' 



Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

My Rating: 
4 stars 

My Review: 

The Other Boleyn Girl is an enchanting, insidious read. I don't read many historical novels mostly because I find the characters a bit boring and jaded. This book is a romance but it doesn't revolve around just that. The one thing that caught my attention when I saw this book was that it follows the life of the Boleyn family, a powerful family during King Henry VIII's reign. I'm sure you all know the infamous Anne Boleyn, one of the most influential rulers the world has seen. But you may not know the other Boleyn girl--her sister, Mary. While Mary did exist, keep in mind that this book is fiction but I found it interesting that the narrator was a girl on the sidelines of history. 

I had hoped that Philippa Gregory would deliver this story in a poignant, special way. After all, doesn't everybody love hearing the great tales of the Tudor period? I was not disappointed. 

Gregory delivers The Other Boleyn Girl with a certain poise and charm that most historical novels lack. In this genre, it is easy to get lost in the maze of old-fashioned ways and curtsies and bows. Gregory speaks through our honest protagonist, Mary Boleyn, a girl who wants nothing more than to fall in love with a good man and live a pleasant life. But this is not the path carved out for her. The family she comes from is cutthroat and ambitious and Mary is soon sucked into the tangled web of scheming and politics. 

When she catches King Henry's attention, she is ordered by her uncle to become his mistress and tend to his sexual needs. Poor Mary is used by her family to further their own interests and gain the king's favor. Mary is very young, only a girl of fourteen, who becomes understandably swept away by Henry's intense attention and the lavish gifts he gives her. Soon, she finds herself falling in love with him, causing her sly sister, Anne Boleyn to become extremely jealous. But as Mary becomes pregnant with the king's child, the king begins to desire Anne. After a year, Mary finds herself invisible and her shrewd sister in the center of attention. Anne overwhelms Henry who overturns every law to satisfy her. And when she demands the queen's throne, the king is so besotted with her that he gives it to her. But not even the beautiful Anne could keep in the king's favor for long.

This book is about 500 pages long but I finished it within five hours. Let's just say I was completely immersed in the dangers of the court. And when I came out of the Tudor era, I found myself realizing how corrupt court was. It was constantly emphasized throughout the book that no matter how bright, how spirited or how kind you were, you were never safe. The king's word was the law. King Henry had the power to kill you without evidence of your crime if you were annoying him. For Anne Boleyn, keeping the king's attention required to appear confident, kind and spirited not just to him but to everyone. It was so stressful that when she came home and dropped her guard, Mary remarked that she would whisper witty retorts under her breath in her sleep. Court required the courtiers to always be on guard and trust no one. 

Mary was one hell of a character. She was this kind, rather honest girl in the beginning but court and her family's schemes hardened her. In the end, she came out stronger and tougher but she remained fair to others. In the flurry of constant deceit and lies, Mary remained virtuous. I really liked her. 

I would like to say I hated Anne but that would be untrue. Anne was one of my favorite characters in the book. She was corrupt, horrible, mean and selfish. Any step she took was for herself and nobody else. Anne used people, especially the people closest to her heart like Mary and their brother, George. I despised her for her wicked ways but couldn't help but admire her for how high she reached. The girl was just a courtier of a wealthy family and five years later, she sat in the throne next to the king. It is true that she got there by scheming and seduction. But she had me impressed. 

The twisted rivalry between Mary and Anne was also interesting to see. Especially for me because I'm an only child. :) Though it seemed like they despised each other, at the same time they wanted to see each other succeed. This book just shows that the bond between sisters can never be broken, no matter how cruel and fraudulent one sister becomes. Mary still thought of her sister and Anne did as well. 

I really liked this book. I may have a new appreciation for court intrigue after this. So many things were going on that you had to take in. The rumors that flowed like currency in court, the dangerous moods of King Henry and the English people. I loved how Gregory didn't make it just a shallow romance but that she added as many facets of the Tudor court to this book. She makes sure to add depth to her characters' every decision, emphasizing how much the dangers of the court influences their choices. This book is all about secrets, cover ups and appearance. One day you may be the favorite of the king and the next your head may be rolling down the steps of the scaffold. 

Dark, intricate and complicated, The Other Boleyn Girl is a book worth reading. 



“I was born to be your rival,'  Anne said simply. 'And you mine. We're sisters, aren't we?” 

“We might, either of us, be Queen of England and yet we'll always be nothing to our family.” 


She lives in the North of England with her family and in addition to interests that include riding, walking, skiing and gardening (an interest born from research into the Tradescant family for her novel Virgin Earth) she also runs a small charity building wells in school gardens in The Gambia.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

My Rating: 1.5 stars

There is a lot of controversy surrounding this book. Some of my friends love it. Some of my friends want to crush this book into a million pieces and burn it.

Thirteen Reasons Why is about a teenage boy named Clay who receives a few cassette tapes on his porch one day. When he listens to them, he realizes that they are from Hannah, his crush who committed suicide a few weeks ago. Hannah lists thirteen reasons why she killed herself and Clay is among them. Some of his classmates are on the list as well. And as Clay listens to Hannah tell her story, he finds himself completely altered by her tale.

That is basically the summary from Amazon.

I read Thirteen Reasons Why three years ago. To a twelve year old who believes that anything with deep words and death is a good book, Thirteen Reasons Why is an amazing story. To twelve year old me, it was a tale that spoke to the hardships teens go through and how it affected one girl. I was bewitched by the awesome title--so deep!--and the gorgeous cover. I told all my friends how great this book was, how much it impacted me.

Then a few days ago, I saw this book in the library and decided to read it again. You know, in order to bring back some good feelings and have a good cry because it is a sad book. After I got through the first chapters, I felt like spearing Hannah in the stomach with a lance and throwing her off a cliff.

There are many days when I feel sad and blue. Days when I feel like the world is ending when my friend insults me or I trip and rip a gash in my wrist. There are bad days for everyone. That is basically what happened to Hannah: a bad day. But do you kill yourself because of a bad fall?

The reasons Hannah gave for killing herself are not the reasons for teens to kill themselves. I recently read a one-star review that pointed out this exactly: that teenagers would not commit suicide because of this. While it sucks that some bad things happened to Hannah, it should not be enough to cause her to kill herself. Though this may earn me some dirty looks and wide-eyed glances, I feel that this is something I must say.

I also disliked Jay Asher's writing style. It was an interesting idea to have Hannah speak through her cassette tape but it was way too confusing. I had no idea when Hannah's voice was talking or when Clay did something. The entire book was a mess and I didn't understand why twelve year old me had loved it so much. Speaking of Asher's writing style, Hannah was not someone I sympathized with. I am sure Asher was trying to paint her into an innocent, broken girl who was hit too many times by the cruelty of others. That did not happen.

The people that Hannah put on the list did not really do anything to her. For example, there is this one guy who cheated on her (he kissed someone else, I think) and Hannah put him on the list. Some other person was mean to her and boom, he was on the list as well. And Clay, the guy who liked her, who didn't even do anything cruel to her...he was on the list as well. Really?

I don't know how many times I can emphasize this: THESE ARE NOT GOOD REASONS FOR A TEEN TO KILL THEMSELVES. I have been cheated on, ditched, bullied at points in my life and while I felt down and sad, anger always pushed me back to my feet again. Smack the boy a few times on the cheek and get back up, girl! Another thing that made me mad was that her "tormentors" didn't even mean to do anything to hurt her. The boy who kissed another girl? He was just being a guy and a dick. The person who was mean to her? He wasn't trying to hurt her feelings. These tapes were not fair to the people she was mailing them to or Clay. I would understand if she was being bullied or pushed around for years or a long period of time but that wasn't it. It was just small things like a crush kissing someone else or a guy calling you fat one time.

This is life, Hannah. Life sucks and people are sometimes mean and insensitive but that doesn't mean you should end your own life because of them. There are bright patches and it sucked that she just couldn't see them.

It would make sense if Hannah had a condition or was mentally unstable. In that case, if the people who "tormented" her had known that and still acted rudely towards her, it would've been on them. But Asher did not portray her as such. She sounded like a normal girl--like you and me--but just whinier. No mental disabilities. No anxiety disorders. She wasn't even that sky. She was just...whiny.

The portrayal of Hannah throughout the whole book made me see her as an incredibly shallow, overly sensitive girl. These cassette tapes that supposedly taught its viewers her life story? They sounded like guilt trips. Every thing that Hannah went over a bump in the road, she blamed it on those people. Did she ever stop to think that her sending these cassette tapes to people might cause them to blame themselves for something that they had no part in? That they never meant to accidentally say something mean? That you yourself may scar others for life because of your selfish need to get revenge on people who did nothing to you in the first place? Hannah killed herself supposedly because of people's cruelty but isn't she hurting others by sending out these tapes? Such a f*cking hypocrite.

I hated this book. God, you know that 1.5 star was really hard to decide on because half of me wanted to dive into the book, bring Hannah back and throttle her myself. She caused nothing but drama and pain for the people she sent the tapes to and the book wasn't even realistic. I gave it an extra 0.5 star because my best friend loves it. Nothing more.

OH and SPEAKING OF REALISTIC. The guidance counselor. In the middle of the book, Hannah goes to the guidance counselor as one last shot to save herself. She is hesitant and tries to talk to the counselor about her wanting to commit suicide. Now the counselor knows that something is up with Hannah but because she isn't forthcoming with it, he dismisses her. What the f*ck?? Who the f*ck would let a girl contemplating killing herself walk away without helping them. Hannah talks about how she walks away slowly in order to give the counselor another chance to help her. He doesn't.

If Jay Asher is trying to show how crappy and stupid people are, he's done a wonderful job. But the guidance counselor? It's a step too far. In a realistic novel, I am sure no guidance counselor would ever refuse to help a student, inept or not.

This book is a cold, horrible and so unrealistic. It is like fantasy but even fantasy is better than this piece of sh*t.

However, like I've said before, lots of controversy. If anything of you guys like this book, let me know. Explain to me. Maybe I'm being a little too harsh on what is, at its highest point, a mediocre book.


Jay Asher has worked at an independent bookstore, an outlet bookstore, a chain bookstore, and two public libraries. He hopes, someday, to work for a used bookstore. When he is not writing, Jay plays guitar and goes camping. Thirteen Reasons Why is his first published novel.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Sweet Gum Tree by Katherine Allred

My Rating: 4.5 stars 

My Review: 
The Sweet Gum Tree is a haunting, beautiful, heart-breaking, lovely, soul-healing novel. Ms. Allred has done a terrific job with it because this book is so touching that it heals your heart. 
The Sweet Gum Tree is a story that spans over ten years and it is from the point of view of a little girl called Alix French. She comes from a very respectable family with a unflappable mother and her two fussy aunts. The respectability of the French family is mostly derived from her grandfather whom she calls Judge because he was a judge. One day, when the Judge is fixing his car, Alix meets Nick, a boy two years older than him. And when she sees the scars from a belt buckle on his back, she can't help but try to help him. 

While other kids may be scared of Nick's closed off demeanor, Alix is determined to help this boy. The further Nick retreats, the more Alix chases him, inviting him to a picnic and introducing him to her mother. I love it when Nick finally realizes that Alix will never stop and gives up. He becomes her closest friend and her protector through the years of growing up. 
But it ends all too quickly. When Nick is accused of shooting his father, he is given the choice to join the army or face jail time. He chooses the army, leaving teenage Alix behind.

 “No one should have to go through life with only half a heart,” he whispered.” 

As the years go by, Alix retreats within herself, walling herself away, even from the ones closest to her heart. She stops sharing secrets with her best friend, Jenna. She divorces her husband, Hugh. It saddens me to watch the old, bright Alix slowly fade away, leaving nothing but a cold, stern woman with haunted eyes behind.
And when Nick finally returns, many years later, Alix is so closed-off that he can't even get to her. It makes you wonder: What made her like this? What happened while Nick was gone? Why has Alix become like this? 
Alix is a beautiful, multifaceted character. She can be cruel at points and she makes some big mistakes but who doesn't? I love it when the characters are realistic because there is no such thing as a perfect person. The things that Alix experience, the memories that Allred highlights are especially important because they are a reflection of our lives. Whether you're a teenager or an adult, you have or are experiencing a part of Alix's life. In that way, Allred makes the book very relatable, giving us realistic characters who make mistakes. 
Nick is a beautiful man. He's beautiful on the outside but he is also gorgeous on the inside. He is always kind, fair and generous which is incredible considering his father abused him for years. His heart is so big that he has the ability to love everyone. But I love him most for his faithfulness to Alix. Through it all, he has always seen Alix as the one for him. When she didn't realize it, he reminded her. Separate, they were great people but together, they were spellbinding. 

There are a few reasons why I loved this enchanting book. Number one: Katherine Allred's writing is personal and honest. It gives us a feeling of the simplicity of life, of living in the South and its society. Of a little girl named Alix trailing behind her grandfather, listening with wide eyes to his stories. Of Nick and Alix meeting for the first time. It's a very clean feeling and I really liked it which is ironic since this book is all about secrets and cover ups. 
The second reason this book hit me hard is the length of it. Not just the number of pages but the time it spans. Like I've said, it envelopes a big section of Alix's life, from when she is seven, to when she is in her thirties. Each part of her life is explored in depth and while I love it when authors give you a little peek into the childhood of their character, I love it even more when we get to really experience their childhood. In the case of The Sweet Gum Tree, Alix's teenage years are really given details and I felt like I was right beside her as she discovered boys and things about herself. In that regard, Allred makes Alix's story come alive, creating a journey for us all. 
Last reason: the symbolism. Oh, Katherine Allred is an expert at tugging at your heartstrings. Every time she described the setting, I felt like I was looking in on the scene as it was happening. But what I enjoyed the most was the symbolism. You may have wondered at the title. The sweet gum tree is a big symbol for Nick and Alix and their intertwined lives. It stands for strength, honesty and truth to the very end. In spite of hardship and time, Nick and Alix found their way back to each other. The sweet gum tree is a symbol of their great love and courage because "the deep red wood stays true to its nature." 

I adored seeing everything the characters did. 

I treasured this book. 

I really encourage you guys to try it! And please comment if anything comes to mind! 



"You can’t turn love on and off like a light switch, no matter how hard you try. All you can do is wall it off, one brick at a time, until you’ve created an impenetrable fortress around your emotions. And once that fortress is built, you camouflage it so well that even you can’t see it anymore.” 

“Lies and half-truths hurt not only the liar, but the people they love most.” 

“But we southerners know that you can insult someone as much as you want so long as you add that "bless her heart" to the end of your comment.”

“He always was someone. Because the core of the sweet gum tree never changes. Like Nick, the deep red wood stays true to its nature. Strong, and steady, and pure.” 


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Graceling by Kristen Cashore

Summary (from Goodreads): Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight - she's a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king's thug.

When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po's friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace - or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away...

My Rating: 4.5 stars


Gosh can you believe it? Even the author's name is cool. Kristin. Cashore. Sounds like something from a fantasy novel. And the title? Awesome. 

Graceling is a wild ride. It's a truly amazing book. Let me explain why. 

In this fantasy world that Ms. Kashore has created, there are people called Gracelings. Like the summary above reads, these people are rare and held in high regard because they've got a skill in one area. So you could have a person who plays piano extremely well and is crap at other things. Anyway, they are experts at their area. (Get this: Gracelings have different colored eyes. That is cool.) 

Katsa is the niece of the king but she is also Graced with killing. Her Grace was discovered at a pretty early age when she shoved her relative's nose into his brain, killing him. Although that is kind of gross, it's also incredibly badass. Unfortunately, because of her Grace, her uncle sees that as an advantage to terrorize his enemies. 

Like I've said before, world building is always a big deal for me. Ms. Cashore shapes a world with descriptive words and her writing flows very nicely and smoothly. Katsa is pretty chill and calm, the sort of thing you would find in a king's assassin and I love her for that. She's completely fearless and is willing to face anything...except for when it comes to Po. 

If there is one word that sums up Katsa's and Po's relationship it is sweet. It was cute and charming because Katsa, the girl who can kill someone without even trying--is completely flustered by Po. He is funny and debonair and he is Graced with fighting skills. So he's a pretty darn good fighter. 

Instantly, you feel the chemistry between Katsa and Po and it gives me the incredible urge to giggle. Ugh, can you believe it. I never giggle. 

This book is just nonstop action. Like I've said before and will say again. Awesome. 

One thing that poked at me, one thing I'm sure others have also pointed out, is that Katsa rejects anything "girly". While it is fine to be a tomboy and hate wearing dresses, it is almost like Katsa scorns other girls that like "girly" things. She's like a radical feminist. In that regard, I find the book to be a little lacking because someone can wear dresses, like pink things and still be a feminist. In the end, feminism is about advocating to be a woman with equal rights as a man--not about what a woman wears. 

But besides that little flaw, the book was very good. The pacing, the fights, the little scenes between Po and Katsa were all perfect. Good job, Ms. Cashore. 


Kristin Cashore grew up in the northeast Pennsylvania countryside as the second of four daughters. She received a bachelor's degree from Williams College and a master's from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College, and she has worked as a dog runner, a packer in a candy factory, an editorial assistant, a legal assistant, and a freelance writer. She has lived in many places (including Sydney, New York City, Boston, London, Austin, and Jacksonville, Florida), and she currently lives in the Boston area. Graceling, her first book, was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. Fire is her second book.

The Summer Remains by Seth King

Summary (from Goodreads):
Twenty-four-year-old Summer Johnson knows two things. The first is that due to a quickly worsening medical condition, she faces a risky surgery in three months’ time that may or may not end in her death. The second is that she would like to fall in love before then.

As spring sinks into her namesake season on the Florida coastline, Summer plays the odds and downloads a new dating app - and after one intriguing message from a beautiful surfer named Cooper Nichols, it becomes clear that the story of what may be her last few months under the sun is about to be completely revised. All she has to do now is write something worth reading.

Tender, honest, devastating and triumphant, The Summer Remains explores a very human battle being waged in a very digital age: the search for a love that will outlast this temporary borrowing of bones. In an era when many feel compelled to share and re-share anything about everything, prepare to feel a love so special, you will want to hug it close and make it yours forever.

Rating: 5 stars

My Review: 

Oh. My. God. This book destroyed me. 

Shattered me. 

Annihilated me.

 Then it built me back up again. 

I've already given you guys an idea of my ideal books and characters. From the books I've posted so far, you can tell I love action, amazing female leads and a hot guy wrapped around their fingers. But I also LOVE complicated situations, impossible odds and undying love. 

And The Summer Remains? Made me cry like a baby. 

There is so much I want to say about this book, I'm afraid I won't be able to get to it all. Oh goodness, the feelings coursing through me while I read this book...were incredible. I felt so much within the span of five hours. Seth King is a genius. If his goal was to rip out the heart of his readers...he got that on pat. 

Summer Johnson is a twenty-four-year old with a serious throat condition. It means that her throat is broken. She can't eat food like us and is forced to have a tube drilled in her stomach for the sustenance--milk--she needs to stay alive. Her divorced mother constantly hovers over her and her father has never given a crap about her. I know if it were me, I'd be wailing and sulking about my life, about how cruel the universe is for giving me this condition. 

Not Summer. Summer is strong, brave and I love everything about her. Sure, she doesn't know karate, tae kwon do or any of those other badass martial arts but she is nevertheless strong. She never lets her body's shortcomings get her down. She doesn't complain about her broken throat. She's humorous, sarcastic and amazing. She is quietly strong, always believing that she can survive this. 

So when Summer is told that her odds are near impossible right before the beginning of summer, she is shocked. And when her doctor tells her that her only chance of survival is a surgery that is extremely risky, Summer knows exactly what she wants to do with her may-be limited time. She wants to have an amazing summer. No trips to Macchu Picchu. No skiing in Alaska. Just a nice summer by the beach and maybe fall in love. 

She isn't expected Cooper Nichols. Cooper bursts into her world in a blaze of intensity, light and color. He is equally sarcastic, extremely funny and incredibly philosophical. He asks Summer these questions, questions about life, death and religion. But he's not perfect either. Cooper has scars and instantly, he sees Summer as something special. They have these long discussions and as a lover of philosophy myself, I almost squealed every time it happened. He and Summer are a match made in heaven. 

But what amazed me more about this book is that this is no ordinary romance book. A central part of it is Cooper and Summer but Seth King is also sending an important message. Like I said before, Summer has a throat condition and a tube in her stomach. This means she looks different. Not ugly but different. She has insecurities like every other girl but her condition makes it worse.It saddens me so much to see her degrade herself in her head. She knows she is funny but she never thinks she is beautiful. 

Summer doesn't post on Facebook, Twitter, etc. because she feels that she is ugly. And she knows it's stupid. She sees other girls are posting about their hair, boyfriends and marriage to their soul mate and she thinks it's shallow. But it doesn't stop her for longing for a simple life like that. For a life without an impending surgery and possible death. 

However, as the book goes on, Summer realizes the true importance of life. Facebook, Twitter and other social media? They don't matter. We, today, especially teenagers, post things about our picture-perfect life, our happiness and other bubbly things. But do they really exist? Are we living behind a facade of perfection? Is social media just a way to show that we are beautiful, happy people? 

The way Seth King interweaves this message throughout the entire book causes me to feel breathless. There is an echo of this question throughout Summer and Cooper's entire journey and it truly resonates with me. 

I'm not going to give away any more details because this book is magnificent and everyone has to read it but I'll say this: Summer and Cooper are forever. They are two parts of a whole and when they collide, I love the feelings they feel, the love they show each other and their impossible courage. 

This book is amazing. It's introspective, philosophical, romantic, hilarious and so, so beautiful. The strength that these two show in the face of the jaded world, divorced parents and the pretense of perfection, is inspiring. They bring something completely new to the scene and I am so thankful I found this book. It is a masterpiece. 

“But whatever happened, I knew I’d always have this summer, and that first night on the pier under the stars, with the waves surging around us, when we both glowed. And armed with that, I was not afraid. This summer, and this life, had been a privilege. I was sure of that.”

I've given this book a five star. It is the only rating it deserves. 

Hands down. The best book I've read in the last two years. 



“Life's supposed to be a little hard. If your life is too easy, you're doing it wrong.” 

“You’re beautiful, and beautiful things don’t demand attention. It just gravitates to them.”

“If a writer falls in love with you, you can never die.”

Seth King is a twenty-five-year-old American author. He enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and spending time with his family.