Saturday, March 30, 2013

Megan Rambles About Sever

Sever by Lauren DeStefano
From Goodreads:Time is running out for Rhine in this conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Chemical Garden Trilogy.

With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them.

Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain.

In this breathtaking conclusion to Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, everything Rhine knows to be true will be irrevocably shattered.


Wow it has kind of been a long time since I actually wrote a review. I blame school and its many attempts to drown me in homework. 

Anyway, I wanted to start this post off by saying that I absolutely love everything about The Chemical Garden Trilogy. Recently I sat down and tried to decide which of my many, many favorite authors are my favorites, writing wise. This was really hard, but Rachel has always had her top three authors who are tied as her favorites, John Green, Sarah Dessen, and Maureen Johnson (WE JUST MET HER *FLAILS*) and they're the main authors that made her want to write. I decided that I should have a set of authors who inspire me to write too and Lauren DeStefano made that list along with Gayle Forman, Tahereh Mafi, and Lauren Oliver.

The first T-shirts we ever made!
Now that my love for Lauren DeStefano has been explained, let me get on with the book. Sever was a really emotional read for me, and not just because it was the ending of the trilogy, but because I have literally been with this series since the very beginning. About two years ago, before this blog even existed (and probably before it had even occurred to either of us that we could actually run a book blog) my mom brought Rachel and I into New York City to the glorious, heavenly place called Books of Wonder for a signing with Cassandra Clare, Holly Black, and Lauren DeStefano. It was Lauren's first book signing ever, and she read from Wither and revealed the title for the second book, Fever. We had both already read Wither by the time we got there and told Lauren just how much we loved it and that we were basically going to die slow, painful deaths waiting for Fever. And now that trilogy is over and I am so, incredibly sad.

The other reason I am sad is because of CHAPTER 24. And the whole rest of the book, because this was one emotional roller coaster, BUT MOSTLY CHAPTER 24. I honestly can't believe what Lauren DeStefano did in that chapter. I wasn't expecting it at all, and it makes sense (not really. it's still not okay) for her to have done what she did, but MY FEEELINGS. So be warned, if you have a heart, you will cry (or in my case sob) when you read Chapter 24.

Now, on to the reasons why this book was the most perfect ending to the trilogy there could ever be. First of all, by the third book in a series, you would think you have a pretty good concept of the way the world the characters are in functions right? If your answer was yes, Lauren DeStefano is probably sitting at her computer somewhere laughing evilly and doing a little dance while yelling "NOPE!" because she literally takes EVERYTHING you thought you knew about world of The Chemical Garden Trilogy and blows it into teeny, tiny little pieces. My mind was completely blown and it was perfect and awesome and just so, so cool.

The characters were also amazingly well written in this book. We get to meet Vaughn's brother Reed, who is basically the exact opposite of Vaughn. Where Vaughn believes science can solve the problem it created Reed is basically like "NOPE. I AM SO DONE WITH THAT SCIENCE CRAP." Plus, his house is in the middle of nowhere and filled with all of these inventions and old things he is trying to fix. Cecily really grew up a lot in this book too. She definitely isn't the same scared  fourteen year old girl we first met at the beginning of Wither. Now that she's had a baby and discovered Rhine down in Vaughn's lab, it is obvious how the cruel world she lives in has changed her.

Rhine was a really strong main character in this book for sure. I really felt for her because she was dealing with so many terrible things at such a young age. Vaughn is constantly haunting her, she desperately wants to find her brother, she still worries about Linden and Cecily, oh and there's that tiny little detail of her rapidly approaching 20th birthday which will also be the day of her death unless a cure is discovered sometime soon. That's definitely more than I could handle if I was in her situation. Rhine also has this quote that I just love, so much that it is currently written on a post-it on my wall. "A feeling can't kill you." I don't know exactly why I love that so much, but I guess it's just relevant to pretty much anything. Especially when you're a teenager and every little bit of emotion kind of feels like it might just be the death of you. Also it's relevant to this book because FEELS.

Finally, Linden. Oh how I love Linden. From the very beginning of this series Linden made me love him even though I didn't want to. He has always been so innocent where his father was evil and I couldn't hate him no matter how hard I tried. It was obvious from the beginning that Linden wasn't the one making all of the rules keeping Rhine and her sister wives prisoners. At the end of Fever, Linden was forced to wake up and see just what Vaughn had been doing in his basement of horrors. When Sever starts, he is trying to find a way to deal with the horrible things he's discovered about the man who has taken care of him his entire life. It isn't easy for him, and he isn't the same man he was at the beginning of the series, but I really loved seeing Linden grow up a bit, become more independent, and really start to be his own person and make his own decisions.

This series ended in the best possible way, with a last chapter that wrapped everything up the only way it really could have been. Lauren DeStefano has completely sold me on her writing and I will definitely be reading everything that she ever writes. So if you haven't read Sever yet, get your hands on a copy now! If you have, let me know what you thought in the comments. I'd love to hear your opinion on the ending (Also feel free to harass Rachel until she reads it too, because she hasn't yet and I am DYING OVER HERE).


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Rachel Rambles About Poison

WARNING: This is a particularly ramble-y ramble! Extreme amounts of gushing/enthusiasm/CAPSLOCK ahead!

Poison by Bridget Zinn
From Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.

But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart . . . misses.

Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?

Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.

I'd never heard of this book until I saw Erika from Rescue Reads tweeting about how much she loved it, and I was like "ooooh, what is this shiny book? I must read it immediately!" Then Jasmine from A Room With Books sent me a copy because she is the BEST, and I was so excited. (The moral of the story: BLOGGERS ARE THE BEST PEOPLE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD.) 

I went into this book with some pretty high expectations, and let me tell you, Poison did more than exceed my expectations. It completely OBLITERATED my expectations.

I cannot even handle my feelings about this book. I'm so sorry for this train wreck of a review, but I honestly can't do anything but GUSH about this book. It is so good. So so so so so SO good. 

Poison is fresh and fun and original and the kind of thing I didn't realize I wanted to read but really I've been wanting to read so badly. Does that make sense? I dunno, it does in my brain. :P

Listen, I realize I gush about books a lot. But my feelings about Poison are totally different from my normal fangirling. I read it about a month before writing this review, and it has NOT LEFT MY BRAIN. I still think about this book all the time, and I seriously have nothing negative to say about it. I don't say this often, but I would recommend this book to ABSOLUTELY ANYONE. It doesn't matter what you usually read or what you're in the mood for. Trust me, you're in the mood for this! 

If you read this book and don't like it, I give you permission to come to my house and punch me in the face. YOU THINK I'M KIDDING?! TRY ME.

Okay, okay. I might be going a little too far. BUT I DON'T CARE, OKAY? My love for this book is so intense and I am not ashamed!

Poison is high fantasy, which usually seems to be a pretty dark and serious genre. But Poison is different. It has the adventure you come to expect from a high fantasy, but it's also light and fun and hilarious. Poison is a new and exciting take on the high fantasy genre, and it is exactly the kind of book that the YA world needs more of.

The main character, Kyra, is a total badass, while still being vulnerable at the same time. I ADORE HER. Can she please be my best friend?! And to make this book a thousand times better, there is a cute boy! His name is Fred, he's super cute and sweet, and...can he be my best friend, too? Please?! But before you go all "OH NO A ROMANCE EWWWWWW", you should know that the relationship between Fred and Kyra, while being extremely adorable and shippable, is not even close to being the main focus of the book. Their relationship perfectly balances out the super intense action-packed parts of the book.

Another thing you need to know about Poison is that there is an adorable little pig named Rosie who is kind of a huge deal. I didn't think it was possible to love a fictional pig so much, but um, apparently it is TOTALLY possible! I also love Langley, who is totally the perfect match for Rosie. So what if he's a dog? I think Rosie and Langley might be my new OTP. I ship them so so so hard. (I'm weird, okay? Don't judge me. :P)

I could probably gush about this book for YEARS. But I'll stop now so that you can go get a copy of Poison and experience its awesomeness for yourself.

But before you rush to the nearest bookstore to get your hands on this book, I need to tell you something. Bridget Zinn passed away from cancer in 2011. This was something I didn't realize until after I'd finished the book, and I was so incredibly sad to read about it in the back of the book. Poison is, quite honestly, one of the best books I've ever read, and I know that I would have wanted to read anything else Bridget decided to write. Her dream was to be published, and as someone who dreams of being published one day ( the very distant future), it makes me so sad to know that she won't be able to see her book reach readers.

I found Bridget Zinn's website, where I learned that her family and friends are doing anything they can to help her book get into the hands of readers. You can find out more about all the cool ways you can spread the word about this AMAZING book here.

Again, everything about Poison is brilliant and unique and fun. If you haven't read this yet, do yourself a favor and get your hands on a copy immediately. I mean, I basically ended up writing an entire book instead of a review about how much I loved it, so you know it has to be good!


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Hi... *waves awkwardly*

So, um, Megan and I have kind of failed at blogging lately, haven't we? Sorry about that. I mean, we have an excuse. School has been super intense and it's been stressing us out a lot, which makes me very sad, but there's not much we can do.

Hopefully now that midterms and stuff are over things will get a little less crazy. Like, maybe we'll stop drowning in homework? I don't know.

I feel like this whole school year has been a thousand times more stressful and busy than ever. I don't know what it is, but yeah, I've kind of maybe been reduced to tears a few times? Which is not good. But nothing about high school is really good, so you know, whatever. :P

So school's been killing me and it's been sucking up all my time, and I haven't had much time to read since like December. I believe I've only read about twelve books in 2013 so far, and since my average is usually about ten books a month, twelve books in a little over two months is a serious decline. Especially since about eight thousand sequels I've been DYING to read have come out recently. (Prodigy, Sever, Through the Ever Night, The Madness Underneath...need I go on?) I just want to take a month off from school and sit and read and blog and do nothing else. IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK?!

Oh dear, I'm ranting. When I started writing this, I promised myself I wouldn't rant. *sighs*

But anyway, I've been trying to find time to blog, but I feel like 2013 has kind of been a really terrible year for me. My life seems to revolve around school, homework, and sleep. And no matter what I do, I still can't seem to get enough sleep! (I mean, studies have shown that teenagers need approximately EIGHT THOUSAND hours of sleep, right?)

I really didn't want this post to be a list of complaints. I'm just trying to explain myself, I guess. You see, I have such big dreams for this blog! All I want to do is get to a point where I (and Megan :P) can post consistently and get a fancy professional-looking blog design and have lots of awesome followers and generally not completely fail at blogging, but it's hard! It's hard to juggle school and...well, it's hard to juggle school and ANYTHING right now. I keep waiting for things to slow down a little bit, so I maybe have some time to breathe, but lately I've been thinking that things aren't going to stop being so intense and stressful until I two and a half years. (I'm not crying! There's just something in my a branch or a twig...)

School sucks, is the point I guess I'm trying to make. I just want to have time to read and blog and tweet and talk to my lovely internet friends, but I just don't have that time right now. So it looks like we're going to continue this totally inconsistent schedule where we post stuff whenever we find the time. I hate it, but there doesn't seem to be much we can do, unless we want to fail school. Yeah, no thanks.

I don't even know what the point of this post is supposed to be. I guess I just wanted to let you guys know that Megan and I are still alive, and we still love this blog, but we're super crazy busy so we kind of can't post that much.

But enough of me complaining and making excuses! While I'm here, let me tell you about something fun that happened recently! :D


My sister Lauren, me, MAUREEN FREAKING JOHNSON, our friend Katherine, and Megan.

As I just spent this entire post saying, I haven't exactly been the happiest person lately. :P So to meet an author who is one of my heroes and one of my top three favorite authors ever (the other two being Sarah Dessen and John Green), well, I was absolutely GIDDY with excitement. I spent the entire car ride home with this huge smile plastered on my face, and I swear I fell asleep still smiling. :)

Needless to say, it was quite amazing to feel so HAPPY that night. Maureen is so awesome and hilarious and it was a totally surreal experience to actually meet her! I think we'll probably try to type up a whole special blog post on the experience because we have so many things to say!

Anyway. Yeah, I don't know what this post is even supposed to be. I guess I just wanted to say sorry for being so bad at blogging lately. :P