Tag: Young Adult Fiction

My Life With the Walter Boys

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At the time when I read this, which was, actually, a few weeks ago, I kind of was bored with everything I was reading. Who knows? If Ali Novak’s debut Wattpad-turned-published contemporary romance about a girl who lost everything, and then had everything, including a new family after moving into the Walter household hadn’t come into my life, I would’ve went into a reading slump, and my Goodreads challenge would have been even more at stake. It already is, in case you were wondering. I’m like, 60 books behind schedule. Anyways, I must say that My Life With the Walter Boys is absolute literary brilliance. For anyone seeking a new, never-been-done-before kind of story that has every bit of gushing, squealing and ship-creating in it, I would strongly recommend reading this. It changed the way I look at contemporary-romance and how others look at the genre. Many tend to stay away from it because some books become cheesy and predictable, and although this was really, really predictable (I know some of you really dislike that), I loved it. So much that I want to go and read everything that Ali Novak has written. After I grabbed a copy of this at BEA last year, I discovered that Ali is also the author of another book Sourcebooks was amazing to hand out: The Heartbreakers. My younger sister read it and adored it, so I am very excited for it, too.

My Life With the Walter Boys is one of those books that you imagine becoming a TV show slash sitcom. I would love to watch it if that ever became something. It’s so real, normal though significant at the same time. I loved our protagonist, Jackie Howard, who reminded me a little too much of myself, being obsessed with school and a total perfectionist. I loved the romance, even the love triangle that formed. This was an exception to all of the bookish things I once said I hated. For some reason, this seems like the book I would dislike, in the end. Somehow, it was the opposite.

The only thing I have to complain about is the predictability. But that’s what occurs when a teenage girl writes a book about romance and releases it on Wattpad. That’s the only way that predictability occurs. Only with romance. I knew that the ending would occur the way it did, and there was nothing that was a shocker for me. But thankfully, I liked the characters too much to have to dislike this book even more.

Jackie, like the title states, is in a house with the Walters. There’s eleven guys. GUYS. (I would go nuts) She has just lost everything, including her parents and her sister, in a car crash that she was supposed to be in, if she hadn’t caught the flu. She lost her NYC luxurious life, her friends, and has to move to the other side of the country—Colorado, because her uncle cannot take custody of her. Instead, her mom’s old best friend and her family are Jackie’s new home. Of course, she hates all of them at first, blaming them on her horrible life, but as she forms a connection with the older boys, like Alex and Cole, romance sparks. Duh.

Each of the Walter boys (and Parker, of course, who is the only girl in the family, excluding their mother) had their own personality—that was interesting. It’s so interesting to ponder about how an author must conquer twelve different personalities (that’s without Jackie) into a single novel. Twelve different characters who have different hobbies, opinions, appearances… this is crazy. Ali Novak did it wonderfully. We have our popular, player boy who Jackie finds herself attracted to, Cole, who has a twin, and then there’s Alex, who is the computer-freak and Jackie also finds him attractive. It kind of was instalove between her and Cole, but that’s okay. It didn’t bother me. Yet again, here I am talking about how INSTALOVE DOESN’T BOTHER ME. Am I hearing myself correctly? I think I am, though.

It was extremely easy to relate to Jackie. Although I thankfully had not gone through what she had, I loved her as a character. She goes through a swift character transition, from good to bad, doing many things that in the past, she would never believe that she would do. Some may think that this is a a cheesy kind of thing to add into contemporary romance, but honestly, it happens to many people. Sometimes, being too good is boring. *twiddles eyebrows* I promise, I don’t have anything bad in store.

My Life With the Walter Boys is just such a fun, summer read. Purchase it, bring it to the beach, pool, or even couch with you and just devour it. Ali Novak writes with a very fast pace that keeps us readers addicted, and unable to put it down and take a breath until it’s all over. When it was over, I swear, I felt such an attraction to the Walter family that I felt like I, myself, had lost everything.

The Rose and the Dagger

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My fellow Caliphs and Caliphas, the story of Shahrzad and Khalid is actually over. Thinking about the fact that I will never be able to see a new cover being released for this series, or that I will never be able to hold the two books in the duology as if they were new and as if I never heard of them before just cracks my heart in half. All in all, The Rose and the Dagger is beautiful, electrifying and gives me the feels once more. I’ve been waiting a year (or so) to read this sequel, and I actually just discovered that it’s a duology (well, before I read this) so I had so much rage in me. Looking back at the ending and how Ahdieh, as always, unfolded everything and answered all of us readers’ questions, I am truly satisfied. This couldn’t have ended in a better way.

I loved this; don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t as good as the first book. I initially predicted that I would rate this five stars, because the first book changed me in more ways than I would ever expect (especially with how I look at the high fantasy genre), but this book was weaker in a few ways. Listen, I have always loved the characters, romance and ideas/themes that Ahdieh presented. My love for those book characteristics never changed or diminished. Shazi and Khalid are still my favourite couple in the entire universe, their characters/personalities as a whole are so fearless and strong, more strong than most books’ characters have, and I have always loved the setting of the desert and Khorasan and basically… everything. 

Before I get to the positives, I feel that it is best to speak about the issues. This book didn’t feel as put-together or as wholly as the previous novel, or how I would like a book to feel. Yes, our questions were answered and it turned out pretty great, but the book felt so (it’s hard to describe honestly) stiff. There were parts where I was bored (especially through the middle) and I constantly felt this tension that a random war would pop up in the midst of the story (which it kind of did/didn’t) and I was waiting for that. Also, I would have appreciated more Khalid/Shazi moments, but it is completely understandable how they had to part ways for a huge portion of the story because of the events/curse that got in their way. Also, what happened with that curse?

“You continue to wound me, you awful girl. Because I know. Had I spent a single night with you, I would never have wished for us to be parted from that day forward” (66).

As you may have known, Khalid’s curse is a large theme of book one because this affects his relationship between him and Shazi, and how the world around him looks at him, his reputation. I can’t really pinpoint what the goal of this book was. Question-answering, absolutely, romantic development, sure, but the curse was rarely mentioned and there was hardly any fantasy magical things occurring. Listen, I am not your diehard fan of spells and whatnot, but I love the way Renée approaches it, and that barely occurred. Yeah, we see Shazi experimenting with her magic carpet, but that was only a short instant. Those were the issues I spotted.

Now, to the positives, because there were a ton. I loved how Ahdieh reminded readers of who was who, what meant what, and where the characters were in terms of time and setting. I didn’t feel like re-reading the first novel because (A) my TBR pile is huge and (B) I had no time to prepare myself for the sequel so I just bought it. Thank you, Renée! I seriously needed that recap. This novel takes place right from where the first left us off. Each character is basically in a different place, and we feel this tension when Shazi and Khalid are trying to find each other.

As always, Ahdieh has handled the perspectives well. I’ve enjoyed her writing of this series because it’s written in third-person perspectives. Therefore, we could easily discover who Ahdieh is writing about because their names are mentioned. I loved every character, their rivals and their relationships.

Shahrzad is as fearless, strong and kick-ass as always. Since the time I read The Wrath and the Dawn, Shazi has resided as my favourite heroine in all of YA and in all of every single book I have ever read. I love her independence, how she doesn’t need someone by her side to get the job done. There are many scenes where she goes to find something/someone, and she goes on her own, secretly.

“When I was in the desert, I woke each day and carried on with my life, but it wasn’t living; it was merely existing. I want to live. You are where I live” (173).

BUT GUYS WE HAVE A NEW STAR CHARACTER. Irsa, Shazi’s younger sister! I adore sister relationships because they can only remind me of my relationship with my own sister. Ahdieh introduces Shazi’s character in the first chapter, and she remains an important part of this sequel because she is always by her sister and would do anything to save her, even though she is younger. We even see her fall in love, confess her deepest worries to people that we would never expect her to, and most importantly, we see a huge character development. She’s amazing.

KHALID AND TARIQ, MY FRIENDS. These are the hottest YA guys in all of the universe. Some people may disagree with me, but I actually liked their feud, because it made sense. They had reasons to hate each other. It’s a love triangle, people, what else do you expect?

The Rose and the Dagger was just absolute joy and greatness. I adore Renée Ahdieh’s writing so much that she is an instant-buy for me and I would sell all of my books to get a new book by her (okay, that is nuts and I don’t think I’d do that haha). This was just a perfect ending to the story and there were so many shocking moments, plot twists and the amount of suspense at the end of every chapter was astonishing. YOU’LL EXPERIENCE EVERY FEELING; I ALMOST FELL APART AT THE END because of something shocking and sad. Goodbye, Shazi and Khalid. I love you! (I’ll reread this series eventually because it’s too good)

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Hello booklovers!

Every year YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) asks teens to vote for their favorite 10 titles of the year. Well the list is in for 2016. Have you read these titles?

Alive by Chandler Baker. coming soon…

  1. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.
  2. The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough.
  3. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  4. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon.
  5. Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone.
  6. The Novice: Summoner: Book One by Taran Matharu.
  7. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.
  8. When by Victoria Laurie.
  9. Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls. By Lynn Weingarten.

Want your voice heard? Why not vote on next years’ list? Here is a link to next years nomination form.