JJ Reads

Salt (Salt, #1)

Salt (Salt, #1) - Danielle Ellison Review to come


Enders - Lissa Price Review to come

Fracture Me (Shatter Me, #2.5)

Fracture Me (Shatter Me, #2.5) - Tahereh Mafi Tahereh’s much anticipated novella which gives Shatter Me fans a glimpse into Adam’s mind is finally here. Much controversy has plagued the internet since Kindles and E-Book readers across the world downloaded the 68 page novel that was supposed to be the answer to Destroy Me, the other Shatter Me novella in Warner’s point of view. It would be nearly impossible for me to review this short novella without spoilers, so SPOILER ALERT from this point on in my review.

As a Team Warner member I should be happy, really happy about the way this novel was written, but as a reviewer who values fairness, I can’t help but be a bit disappointed about the way Fracture Me turned out. I went in thinking I was going to find what was finally going to make me question my loyalty to Warner, my undying love for this character, but instead what I found were more ways to convince myself that I had made the right choice all along.

The Adam that we met in the first book is not he same Adam we see in this novel. I had a thought that maybe the reason for the discrepancy was that Shatter Me was written from Juliette’s point of view as opposed to Fracture Me which was written in Adam’s own voice. Could Juliette be such a bad judge of character that she could be painting Adam in a completely different light than how he actually is? Or is that just a side effect of being in love and putting that person you love on a pedestal? Adam in his own voice lacked the feeling and devotion that Team Adam fans love him for. For the first time ever, I felt bad, really bad, for Adam and Juliette shippers because I honestly think that ship has sunk. Of course, there is no way of knowing this for sure unless you’re Tahereh Mafi and you got something else up your sleeve.

I will say that I give Tahereh much credit for getting her fans as invested in a story as what I saw unfold yesterday when this book came out. Way to stir up the pot. I for one, am now even more curious to see how things wrap up when the last book, Ignite Me, comes out in February. These are my opinions though and you should definitely read the book to form your own. Besides, you get the first couple of chapters from Ignite Me included with this novella and that alone is worth whatever passionate reaction this book will bring out of you.



Uninvited - Sophie Jordan Review to come

Destroy Me (Shatter Me, #1.5)

Destroy Me (Shatter Me, #1.5) - Tahereh Mafi This short e-novella is written from Warner's, the villain we love to hate in Shatter Me, point of view. We finally get a good look into his slightly disturbed, yet inexplicably adorable mind, and the extent of his obsession with Juliette as told in his own words. Since this is a very short novella, this review itself will be short as well.

The beauty of this novella, at least in my opinion, is that it gives Warner fans their icing on the cake. I must admit that I am among the horde of Warner fans out there. I don't know if it's that human instinct to see the good in even the more seemingly despicable people and that sense of duty to save him from himself. Warner tends to bring out those feelings on me and tons if other fans of the Shatter Me series. I don't want to make comparisons, but the Warner vs Adam conflict reminds me a lot of Team Edward vs Team Jacob in the Twilight series, which this series has nothing in common with other than having totally swoon-worthy leasing men.

I recommend reading this novella to anyone who is a fan of the series. Definitely after you've read Shatter Me, so that what is happening makes sense. It should be read by Warner and Adam fans alike because they both should be given their chance to present their case, and this novella gives that chance to Warner. Adam does get his turn in a few days when Fracture Me is released on December 17th. There's no way I can give this novella that I enjoyed so much less than 5 stars. It was simply brilliant, as all the books released by Mafi have been so far.


The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars - John Green Every once in a while I read a book that hits me so hard it knocks the breath out of me. This was one of those books. It took me some time to collect myself enough to sit down and write this review, because John Greene is simply a genius, and I can only hope to do his book justice with these few paragraphs.

Sixteen year old Hazel Grace, because of a miracle drug, has been able to fight cancer and live longer than anyone expected her to. She lives day in and day out with the knowledge and the fear that her condition could worsen and cut her life short. She’s also not a regular teenager since her normal routine consists of medical treatments and attending a cancer support group. It is at this support group that she meets Augustus Waters. Augustus is immediately smitten with her and the two of them start a friendship that throughout the story blooms into a romance.

Augustus Waters also has cancer, although he has been “NEC” (No Evidence of Cancer) for a few years now. As a side effect of his ailment, he lost part of one leg and now walks with a prosthetic. As a former basketball player and as a result of his charismatic personality, Augustus has no trouble making friends and being liked. Although it’s apparent that Hazel and Augustus very much like each other, Hazel is cautious about not starting a relationship with him. Since she considers herself to be sicker than him, she doesn’t want to be the “grenade” that explodes and leaves shattered hearts on everyone that loves her. As a result of a chain of events in this story, Hazel and Augustus end up traveling together to Amsterdam to meet the author of a book that Hazel idolizes. During this trip their relationship begins to transform as the harsh reality of their condition begins to hit them head-on.

I recommend that you read this book with a box of tissues in hand, because not only will you will fall in love with the characters and will suffer with them through their hardships, but you will also fall in love with their love. The level of emotion that this book brings out is very deep. You do not have to be a cancer victim, survivor, or even to have known someone with cancer to understand and feel what they are going through. It is painfully realistic and delightfully uplifting at the same time. A combination that in this case is pure gold. 5 stars all the way.



Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell Coming off a long reading hiatus, this book was the perfect one to bring me back to my bookish happy place. Not only did the descriptive title and fun cover scream out my name, but also the promising reviews and intriguing summary. “Fangirl” is a coming of age story that those of us who have a little geek in us can relate to.

Cath (Cather) and Wren are twin sisters embarking on that journey called College, only Wren is the only twin sister that is excited about it. Having always been together and sharing everything since their birth, Cath is a little distressed about the fact that her sister Wren wants to explore beyond twin-hood and doesn’t want to room with her. Wren being the outgoing twin and Cath being the total opposite, made for some lonely and depressing days (and nights) for Cath. She no longer had her sister by her side to tell everything to or to be the one to depend on, and meanwhile Wren was having the time of her life with a social calendar that put any socialite to shame.

I felt especially connected to Cath in this story because she personified the geek in me who loves books and fangirls over things that others may find trivial. Cath is a fan fiction writer that enjoys a lot of popularity online, but unfortunately, her social skills lack when it comes to making connections outside of the web. Her obsession with “Simon Snow”, the hero in the fictional books Cath writes fan fiction about, and “Baz”, Simon Snow’s archenemy and love interest, has taken over her life in such a way that she would rather live in this fictional world that the books’ author created and that Cath so passionately has transformed via her fan fiction.

Cath is put in many situations where she has to decide between making her fan fiction fans happy, taking care of her mentally unstable father, talking sense into her borderline alcoholic sister, or snap her laptop shut and look at what’s been waiting in front of her all along. I’d have to say that my second favorite character would have to be Levi, the boy who can’t seem to stop being overly nice to everyone, because that’s just his nature, and he’s perfectly happy being that way.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves contemporary literature or just wants to plain indulge their inner geek. Rainbow Rowell’s writing is amazing and has a way of making you fall in love with her characters. I will definitely be reading more from this author. In a rating scale of 1-5, I give this book 4 stars.

Review also posted at Young Adult Hollywood

Unravel Me

Unravel Me - Tahereh Mafi As the much anticipated sequel to Shatter Me, Unravel Me picks up where its predecessor left off and takes us through the struggles Juliette faces now that she’s a part of the resistance at Omega Point. Not feeling quite like she fits in, Juliette holds on to the fact that she can be with Adam, that is until Adam’s supposed immunity to Juliette’s lethal touch starts to fail and he begins experiencing the pain associated with coming in contact with her skin. This revelation prompts a breakup that is too much for Adam to accept, even knowing deep down that it’s for his own protection.

Throughout the book we are taken through Juliette’s emotional roller coaster. Her highs and lows as she learns more about the extent of her powers and how she has now become an integral part of the resistance. Our loyalties are put into doubt as we see a side or Warner that we had never seen before, a side that he only shows when he’s around Juliette. He is truly in love with her and will do anything to be with her, but he’s also the same evil guy we read about in Shatter Me who has done unspeakable things. I found myself thinking that maybe Warner was just a victim of his circumstances and that with the right motivation, maybe Juliette’s love, he could change. On the flip side, I was brought back to Adam and what a wonderful guy he has been the whole time and I’m torn all over again.

A lot is revealed in this book about the different abilities and weaknesses the characters have. We find out why Adam all of a sudden is hurt by Juliette’s touch, we find out why it is that Warner is able to touch her, and we find out what exactly is Kenji’s power. We also find out that what we know so far about Juliette’s powers is just barely touching the tip of iceberg and that there’s a lot of work to be done on her part to explore these abilities, that is if Juliette can stop feeling sorry for herself and works up the courage. Like in Shatter Me, there’s a lot of Juliette self-pity in this book. I’m hoping that by book #3, Juliette has found her worth and her voice.

As always, Tahereh Mafi’s writing is deliciously poetic. She never fails to deliver a story that will tug at your heartstrings and make you fall deeply for not just the main characters, but all the supporting characters as well. There was a lot of buzz online regarding chapter 62 in the book, which I can confirm contains a very passionate love scene while still keeping it YA acceptable. This book is a very worthy sequel and set up for the conclusion of the trilogy. As with anything that Tahereh writes, this a must-read.

Review also posted at Young Adult Hollywood

Gabriel's Rapture

Gabriel's Rapture - Sylvain Reynard The professor has done it again. He has managed to capture my heart and long for him again. After reading Gabriel's Inferno I was absolutely captivated with Professor Emerson, so much that I was pretty much pining after the sequel. It's finally here after months of waiting and I couldn't be happier. Sylvain Reynard has once again written a story that hit me on so many levels, it's hard to put into words, but I will at least try.

The sequel picks up right where the first book ended, with Julia and Gabriel in Italy right after they make love. Julia is no longer a virgin and she has fulfilled her dream of making Gabriel her first. Trouble is never far behind though when Julia's troubled past starts to catch up to her and she once again fears that her beloved professor will leave her, like he did once before long ago. Gabriel, being the seducer that he is, resolves to show Julia that will never happen in his own way. Gabriel's way. The sexy way if you get my meaning.
All is paradise until they return to Canada and the university, where trouble finds them once again as word gets out that Julia and Gabriel are in a relationship and an investigation ensues trying to prove that they were in such a relationship while Gabriel was Julia's professor. As a reader of the first book, I know how much care Gabriel took to not jeopardize either of their careers, so it greatly hurt me to see them go through so much to defend their love.

Julia's conflicted emotions, still being the shy little girl but also wanted to break out of her shell made me feel so much compassion for her. Gabriel's undying love for Julia is one that will make your heart melt. It was so refreshing to see how much Gabriel's love for Julia changed him in every way. The way he cared for her and how protective he was just made me melt inside. This is truly a love story for the ages and a book I would highly recommend to anyone who can handle a book with deep emotion, romance, and eroticism mixed in. A 5-star read for sure.

Caged Moon

Caged Moon - Rachel Deagan Werewolf lovers rejoice because this book is that shifter/werewolf book you've been looking for. The story centers around Charlotte, a regular girl that is moving into a new town with her dad. All is good with the exception that long ago, when Charlotte was younger, she had been bitten by what she thought was a dog. While staying overnight at a campsite she gets lost and runs into Liam and is immediately attracted to him. His overwhelming scent and something else very mysterious drew her to him and she couldn't understand why. Soon after Liam just happened to show up everywhere Charlotte went. As well as being attracted to him, and unsure of his real intentions, Charlotte felt a distrust for Liam. A double-edged sword of passion and fear was present at all times in Charlotte as far as Liam was concerned, coupled with the fact that she felt she was always being followed and the feeling that something important was about to happen to her.

I loved all the characters in this book. My favorites of course were Charlotte and Ty. Charlotte was a very strong MC with just the right personality to deal with what was happening to her. Ty, Charlotte's friend, was that friend we wish we could all have. Another character that captured my attention was Aaron, Liam's brother, whose rivalry with his brother kept me interested the whole way. The relationship between Charlotte and Liam develops kind of slow, but it is understandable since Charlotte doesn't really trust him and is guarded to say the least. Liam is very secretive and mysterious and that just adds to the suspense.

I really enjoyed this book and I highly recommended it to any fans of paranormal and obviously, werewolves. I felt that the story moved kind of fast, but I don't necessarily find that a bad thing. I love when I can read a book in one sitting and end up thirsting for more. I personally can't wait until Alpha Moon, the next book in the series. 4 Stars.

(Originally Reviewed on 6/11/12 at JJiReads.blogspot.com)


Undertow - Callie Kingston I was very pleased when I found out that this will be yet another Mermaid/Merman book I'd be reading this year, but I was not prepared to be so enthralled with this particular story. While reading Undertow I felt like I was speaking to a normal girl, with real problems and frustrations. Unhappy with her life, parents that don't understand her, and the seemingly perfect boyfriend that ended up cheating on her, Marissa takes an unexpected trip to the beach where she is swept away by a rogue wave and dragged out to sea. Convinced that she is surely to die Marissa doesn't remember how she actually manage to survive and ended up back at home a few days later, hair matted and full of sand.

In order to get back into some kind of normalcy and to forget her cheating ex-boyfriend, Marissa moves away to college in Portland. Little by little Marissa starts to remember little things about the incident at the beach and starts to realize that what saved her was a mysterious merman. Marissa becomes convinced that her savior is real and that she will one day go back to the sea to be with him forever. Is Marissa's merman-savior real, or is Marissa losing touch with reality?

Callie Kingston does a great job of keeping you guessing the entire time what is real and what is not real. As a likable main character, I tended to side with Callie and believe that there had to be a real fantasy merman out there that saved her. This fact kept me passionately reading to find out if Callie was right or if she was just imagining the entire incident. I loved that about that book. This was a very fast read and a great book for those that like the mystery. 4 stars.

(Originally reviewed at JJiReads.blogspot.com)

Angel Eyes

Angel Eyes - Shannon Dittemore First, let's talk about how gorgeous this cover is. I love everything about it, including the halo the girl is holding in her hands. I can be very picky when it comes to books about angels and demons, so when I started reading Angel Eyes I had very high expectations. I was not disappointed but I can't say either that I was blown away. The novel was well written and the plot was interesting. I did find some of it to be quite predictable and cliché, but the characters were interesting nonetheless.

Brielle, the main character, is dealing with the subject of grief over the death of her best friend, and in the process struggling to hold on to her faith. She moves back to her old hometown after this tragedy that has completely changed her and turned her into a self-loathing, depressed, person. Upon her return, she meets Jake who takes a liking to her and who Brielle immediately notices something different about. Warm to the touch, Jake is the sweet guy who makes Brielle see that there just might be light at the end of the tunnel after all. Brielle's spiritual doubts also makes her the target to some dark forces who zero in on her. They see her as one that can be easily enveloped and whose soul can be taken. I definitely have to say that the MC was my favorite character, even more than the love interest, which is usually my pick for most books.

I enjoyed the religious parts of the book since I am personally a fan of angels but I can see how it might be viewed that the religious aspects of this book border on a bit excessive. Not to say that it makes the book any more or less great, just that it is a matter of preference and not everyone's cup of tea. All in all I enjoyed this book and I think that those that enjoy reading about angels and don't mind some religion will enjoy it as well. 3 stars.

The Summer My Life Began

The Summer My Life Began - Shannon Greenland I love reading books about self discovery, food, and romance. The Summer My Life Began combines all three subjects in a very fun and entertaining way. I fell in love with many of the characters in this book, especially Em (the main character) whose journey to find herself in the midst of her father's controlling hand hit a very personal nerve. Em dreams of being a chef but her very serious father disapproves of anything that goes against his plans for his daughter, to go to Harvard and become a lawyer for his firm.

Desperate to escape her father's tight grip, Em takes advantage of an opportunity to visit a long lost aunt, her Aunt Tilly, at her island home. There she meets the people that will change her life forever, such as her aunt, her cousin Frederick, and Cade, the boy she never thought she would fall for. No longer being held back by her family, Em begins to explore life in the way she never had before, taking risks and just simply living it to the fullest. Trouble is of course not far behind as her father's strong disapproval of her new life choices haunt her.

The Summer My Life Began meets the criteria for a light, fluffy, summer read. However, it is much more than that. I felt that Em had a lot of issues to work through but was satisfied with the choices she made in the end. Aunt Tilly was the kind of aunt I wish I had, that free loving spirit who just lives now and asks questions later. It is often by throwing caution to the wind that we find what are real passions are, and that's what I felt with this book. It was a very fast read that I was able to get through in between breaks and found hard to put it down. I highly recommend this book, especially now with summer around the corner. A perfect book to pick up and take with you to the beach or the park this long weekend. 4-Stars.

(Originally reviewed at JJiReads.blogspot.com)

This Is Not a Test

This is Not a Test - Courtney Summers Full review to come

Insurgent (Divergent)

Insurgent  - Veronica Roth What an ending! This book totally blew my mind. Full review coming up this weekend.

Saving You, Saving Me

Saving You, Saving Me - Kailin Gow As a fan of contemporaries and Kailin Gow alike, I was thrilled when I received a review copy of this book, and Saving You Saving Me did not disappoint. I think above being a romance, this book is about trust, trusting that special person in your life enough to let go of all that baggage we bring with us into relationships. Sam is a high school student who just turned 18, top of her class, and doing anything she can to get a scholarship to the college of her dreams. She is also a pastor's daughter and a very caring individual who struggles with always having to do what people think she should do, so as not to disappoint her very strict father. As part of her counselor's plan to improve her chances of getting into Stanford, Sam begins to volunteer at a teen helpline where she is to give advice to troubled anonymous callers.

Circumstances bring Sam and Collins McGregor, a 24 year old entrepreneur who built a fortune out of nothing, together. The chemistry between them is undeniable from the moment they meet. Collins becomes smitten with Sam and does anything he can to get her to go out with him, in spite of their age difference. As their friendship grows and a romance develops, Sam finds out some disturbing things about Collins that she is not sure she can live with, but because of how much she cares for him, she might be willing to try. Meanwhile, she starts talking to an anonymous caller at the teen hotline who calls himself "Daggers". Daggers and Collins are very much alike in that they both have deep dark secrets that are crippling their love lives, and Sam starts to develop feelings for him in spite of also having feelings for Collins.

There were moments while reading the book that I became frustrated and literally yelled "come on! It's so obvious!" at the book, but I'd like to think it's because I got so invested in the story. I found that I identified quite a bit with Sam, in that I was also a Psych major in college and was always preoccupied with proving my achievements to my father. I felt for her as she suffered through her father's indifference and her mother's alcoholism, not to mention the mess she was in romantically. I also loved the character of Derek, Sam's co-volunteer at the teen hotline, who also had romantic feelings for Sam. I want a friend like that too.

I enjoyed this book and I found that I was able to get through it very quickly. The story is compelling and will warm your heart. It tackles very real issues for teens nowadays (such as weight, self-esteem, cutting, depression) and through Sam's advice on the phone, you get to read some very good advice on how to handle it. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series which I believe will be called Finding You Finding Me. 4-stars.

(Originally reviewed at JJiReads.blogspot.com)