Release Day Review: The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: February 10th 2015
Purchase: Ebook • Hardcover
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

From New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand comes a gorgeous and heart-wrenching story of love, loss, and letting go.

Since her brother, Tyler, committed suicide, Lex has been trying to keep her grief locked away, and to forget about what happened that night. But as she starts putting her life, her family, and her friendships back together, Lex is haunted by a secret she hasn’t told anyone—a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything.

In the tradition of Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why, Gayle Forman’s If I Stay, and Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall, The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a thoughtful and deeply affecting novel that will change the way you look at life and death.

There’s death all around us. Everywhere we look. 1.8 people kill themselves every second.
We just don’t pay attention. Until we do.

The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a heartfelt, thought-provoking, emotional read from Cynthia Hand. I knew once I finished this book that I wouldn’t be forgetting it any time soon. It’s the type of book that stays with you – I may not have necessarily LOVED it, but it’s a gut-wrenching read with a powerful story that should not be missed!

This is going to sound trite, I suppose, but you never know when it’s going to be the last time. That you hug someone. That you kiss. That you say goodbye.

Alexis Riggs is numb. Ever since her brother, Tyler, committed suicide, Lex has bottled up her emotions – especially her grief – and is going through the motions of her senior year of high school. She’s haunted by the night Ty committed suicide, questioning herself and feeling guilty about whether there was something she could have done to prevent it. Cynthia Hand portrayed her character fantastically – I could feel Lex’s heartache, how much she loved her brother, how much she misses him every day. I could also feel how angry Lex was at Ty for leaving her and her mother alone, leaving them to become shells of themselves.

Lex tries to keep her emotions bottled up, but she’s asked by her therapist to write in a journal. She’s reluctant and not at all impressed by this method of coping, but she does manage to write. She vents her feelings, some flashbacks of her and her brother, and anything else on her mind. Lex dreams of Ty almost every night, and each dream ends with Ty’s death. It’s through these dreams and the occasional flashback that we get to know the kind of person Ty was. He was the kind of person no one ever expected to kill himself – no one ever knew the pain he hid within himself. I loved how Cynthia Hand was able to create such presence in Ty’s character. Even though he’s no longer alive, he’s still very much a part of the story.

Lex struggles day to day, not knowing if the hole in her heart from Ty’s death will ever heal. Her friends are there for her, but she isolates herself. But when she becomes reacquainted with an old childhood friend, Sadie, and Lex finds a letter from her brother to his ex-girlfriend Ashley, things slowly start to change. Lex has a goal now, to find Ashley and give her the letter. And through this goal, Lex pieces together Ty’s life – the struggles he had – right before he passed. And Lex starts to forgive – herself and Ty – and accept that her brother is gone.

The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a story about loss, grief, and acceptance. At its heart, it’s a story of family and friends, about accepting help when it’s offered, and not having to go through grief alone. Lex is surrounded by people who care and comes to realize that even though the hole in her heart from Ty’s death will always be there, she doesn’t have to let it consume her life. I adored this novel, how heartbreaking yet eye-opening it was. It’s not an easy read, but a deeply emotional, stunning one that I highly recommend.

4 hearts

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.

Early Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: February 10th 2015
Links: Ebook • Hardcover • Audible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard’s sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king’s palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?

Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

WOW!!! I loved this book!

So Red Queen has been getting a lot of hype, and it is very well deserved! I practically devoured this book – it did take me a while to get into it, but once I hit that groove, I couldn’t put it down.

I haven’t read fantasy books in a long while, but reading Red Queen reminded me of all the reasons I love the genre (and that I should get back to reading it some more). Victoria Aveyard has created a fresh, unique world that meshes magic and politics and has created an epic tale I highly enjoyed. This is definitely a book you don’t want to miss!

In a world where the rich and powerful are magic users are called Silvers and the poor and non-magic users are called Reds, Mare Barrow is part of the latter group. She and her family are of the lower class, constantly taken advantage of by the Silvers. Mare wants to be able to support her family, but all she’s good at is picking pockets. With the day of her conscription to the army looming before her, she tries to find a way out of it, and somehow winds up saved as a servant to the royal house. And just when there couldn’t be more surprises, Mare discovers that she herself has magic powers, even though as a Red, she should have been fully incapable of having any powers.

From now until the end of your days, you must lie. Your life depends on it, little lightning girl.

What ensues is a game of life-or-death for Mare, as she struggles to keep herself alive among the powerful and corrupted Silvers. She uses her newfound position to help a rebel cause, the Scarlet Guard, to try and create a better world for the Reds. In between learning to enhance her power, a budding romance with a Silver prince, and enemies who want to kill her, Mare has to find a way to stay alive in a world where anyone can betray anyone.

I struggled in the beginning of this book. There was just too much information too fast, but once I got the hang of it, I was quickly swept away by the world, the writing, and the characters. I was hooked onto the story – it’s an unputdownable, heart-pounding read! Victoria Aveyard wrote a fantastic debut. I am eagerly awaiting the next book!

4.5 hearts

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.

Reading Order: Red Queen series

Queen Song by Victoria Aveyard Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard Steel Scars by Victoria Aveyard Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

#0.5 ~ Queen Song: EbookGoodreads (Sept. 1, 2015)
#1 ~ Red Queen: Ebook • Hardcover • Audible • Goodreads
#1.5 ~ Steel Scars: Ebook • Goodreads (Jan. 5, 2016)
#2 ~ Glass Sword: Ebook • Hardcover • Goodreads (Feb. 9, 2016)


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Early Review: Sweet Reckoning by Wendy Higgins

Sweet Reckoning by Wendy Higgins

Sweet Reckoning by Wendy Higgins
Series: The Sweet Trilogy #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: April 29th 2014
Links: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher (HarperTeen) in exchange for an honest review

It’s time.

Evil is running rampant and sweet Anna Whitt is its target. Nobody knows when or how the Dukes will strike, but Anna and her Nephilim allies will do anything necessary to rid the earth of the demons and their oppressive ways.

The stakes are higher than ever, and Anna is determined that the love she feels will be her strength, not a liability. But trying to protect the ones she loves while running for her life and battling demonic forces proves to be perilous—especially as faces are changing and trust is fleeting. When the Duke of Lust sends Anna’s great love, Kaidan Rowe, to work against her, Anna must decide how much she’s prepared to risk.

In the most sensual and fast-paced installment yet, Sweet Reckoning brings all the beloved Neph together one last time to fight for their freedom.

I have to admit, I wasn’t the biggest fan of this series at the beginning, but now… I’m so in love. Each book in the trilogy got progressively better and better, and I grew to care for these characters so much that I’m sad that it’s all over. I had high expectations for Sweet Reckoning, since it’s the last book of the series, and Wendy Higgins absolutely delivers. Sweet Reckoning is a heart-pounding, fast-paced, and fabulous conclusion to this trilogy.

Anna and the gang have one last final chance to rid the world of demons, and the action doesn’t disappoint. There’s never a dull moment in this book, though there are many instances of sweetness between Anna and Kaidan, which I adored. Sweet Reckoning is thrilling, romantic, and fast-paced, and I was able to read it in one sitting. Wendy Higgins’s writing is easy to follow and I was riveted from beginning to end. I loved the subtle humor that appeared every now and then in the book (Kaidan, in particular, is hilarious!). And I was so impressed with all the characters–with their growth development and their relationships.

Anna is an impressive heroine–she truly becomes someone stronger, more confident, and more at ease with her destiny. It did become a bit too preachy for my taste at times, but I was glad that Anna had so much faith–faith in herself, in God, and in her friends. She already lost one of her Nephilim friends, and she’s definitely not ready to lose another one, so she does everything in her power to do what it takes to save all the Neph.

Kaidan is so, so sweet! I truly loved him best in Sweet Reckoning. He and Anna have to protect their relationship from the Dukes, but when it’s safe to be alone, the two of them are so adorable. Kai is so protective and willing to show how much he loves Anna (swoon!). They make such a great couple–their romance is sweet yet very, very sexy–and I loved the direction Wendy Higgins chose for them. It was something I never would have thought of, but for Kaidan and Anna, it was perfect.

All of their friends have a strong role in the book as well, and it was so great to see how much everyone has changed throughout the series. New relationships arise, some become more steady, but overall, it was the perfect ending for them.

Sweet Reckoning was so much fun to read, but I have to admit that I’m sad the series is over. Still, it’s a brilliant conclusion to this series I’ve come to love, and it’s got an even better epilogue! The epilogue was so beautiful and heartwarming that I fell in love with Kai and Anna all over again. It was such a perfect way to end the series.

4 hearts

Reading Order: The Sweet Trilogy

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins Sweet Peril by Wendy Higgins Sweet Reckoning by Wendy Higgins Sweet Temptation by Wendy Higgins

#1 ~ Sweet Evil: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Sweet Peril: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Sweet Reckoning: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#4 ~ Sweet Temptaiton: EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads


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Review: The Elite by Kiera Cass

The Elite by Kiera Cass

The Elite by Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: April 23rd 2013
Purchase: Ebook • Hardcover • Paperback

The hotly-anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestseller The Selection.

Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Iléa.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

Ohmygoodness, I was SO excited to read this book! First off, whose team are you guys on!? Team Maxon for me because Aspen is just like…LIKE GET OVER HER OKAY JUST STOP PLEASE YOU ARE SO ANNOYING. But anyways, if you guys haven’t already read The Selection, I highly recommend it! & also if you haven’t, this review MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FROM THE 1ST BOOK. 

I was super ecstatic to start The Elite because I got such great VIIBES (omg why am I using this word so much idek) from The Selection so I was expecting The Elite to be similar, if not better. well, I’m going to be straight up with you guys-it wasn’t. America was so annoying in this one and her indecisiveness between Maxon and Aspen was just SO FRUSTRATING I JUST WANTED TO SLAP HER FACE. I hated how she tells Maxon that she chooses him, and then THAT NIGHT, she sneaks out to Aspen. LIKE UH GIRL WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU NO WONDER WHAT HAPPENED AT THE END HAPPENED.

However although I was quite frustrated throughout the entire novel, I do have to say that I did enjoy many parts of it!

Okay guys I guess my reviews are just going to be short and sweet. Or in this cause since it is a slightly negative review, short and bitter.

4 hearts

Reading Order: The Selection series

The Prince by Kiera Cass The Selection by Kiera Cass The Elite by Kiera Cass
The Guard by Kiera Cass The One by Kiera Cass The Selection Stories by Kiera Cass

#0.5 ~ The Prince • Ebook • Goodreads
#1 ~ The Selection: Ebook • Hardcover • Paperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ The Elite: Ebook • Hardcover • Paperback • Goodreads
#2.5 ~ The Guard: Ebook • Goodreads
#3 ~ The One: Ebook • Hardcover • Paperback • Goodreads
The Selection Stories (The Prince & The Guard): Paperback • Goodreads