Tessa's Blog

My two best friends and I are extreme book nerds. Especially for YA books. Since we are viewed as weird in the real world, we decided to go to the Internet, where everyone is weird. It has been going pretty well. Our original blog is Crazy for YA

The Midnight Sea by Kat Ross | Fantasy Persians are awesome



They are the light against the darkness.The steel against the necromancy of the Druj.And they use demons to hunt demons….

Nazafareen lives for revenge. A girl of the isolated Four-Legs Clan, all she knows about the King’s elite Water Dogs is that they bind wicked creatures called daevas to protect the empire from the Undead. But when scouts arrive to recruit young people with the gift, she leaps at the chance to join their ranks. To hunt the monsters that killed her sister. Scarred by grief, she’s willing to pay any price, even if it requires linking with a daeva named Darius. Human in body, he’s possessed of a terrifying power, one that Nazafareen controls. But the golden cuffs that join them have an unwanted side effect. Each experiences the other’s emotions, and human and daeva start to grow dangerously close. As they pursue a deadly foe across the arid waste of the Great Salt Plain to the glittering capital of Persepolae, unearthing the secrets of Darius’s past along the way, Nazafareen is forced to question his slavery—and her own loyalty to the empire. But with an ancient evil stirring in the north, and a young conqueror sweeping in from the west, the fate of an entire civilization may be at stake…


My Review


This book was provided to me from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. I swear on my bookshelf that this has not affected my opinion of the book.


I have honestly never read anything like The Midnight Sea, which is quite impressive considering the amount of fantasy novels that I devour. The setting was completely new to me, and was the magic in the world.


To see the rest of my review and the many reasons that you should pick up The Midnight Sea and to enter the giveaway, see my original post.

Source: http://4evercrazyforya.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-midnight-sea-by-kat-ross-fantasy.html

Release Day Blitz | The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I am hosting a release day blitz for Jennifer L Armentrout's latest YA novel, The Problem with Forever. My stop includes an exclusive excerpt and an amazing giveaway full of goodies!


There is also a preorder special for The Problem with Forever. Send in your proof of preorder for a special gift!


Source: http://4evercrazyforya.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-problem-with-forever-by-jennifer-l.html

Art, Life, and Love According to The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt

Theodore Decker's life was a mess, even before he stumbled museum, and subsequently, into a terrorist bombing with his mother.
As fulfillment of an old man's dying wish in the wreckage of the museum, Theo leaves with a priceless painting, but without his mother. 
From that day on, Theo's life is spent bouncing from place to place, and family to family. He starts at the house of a wealthy family friend in New York to the dusty streets of Las Vegas and the quiet isolation of Amsterdam. The only thing that stays with him is the painting from that cursed day in the museum.
One stolen painting in his childhood leads to a life on the edge, where there is a fine line between good and bad. Theo must decide if life, love, and art are valuable enough to keep fighting for.




I felt as if I was not grown up enough to read this book. I had many of the same gripes with The Goldfinch that I had with Donna Tartt's other novel, The Secret History. The book's style and tone were too much like classic books for me to reconcile the writing with the modern concepts. I also had trouble relating to the characters due to their improbable circumstances.


The characters all felt like they were decades older than they actually were. The main character was drinking, doing drugs, and cavorting with women at the ripe age of 12. When I was 12, I was still reading the Chronicles of Narnia and still believed that boys had cooties, so I find this completely unrealistic and unrelatable for me, and probably most of the other people who read this novel.

The circumstances that the characters were thrown into all seemed exaggerated and improbable. I understand that this is fiction and it does not all have to be real, but The Goldfinch was trying to fit too many coincidences into one novel.



The writing style was beautiful and reminiscent of classic authors's words, like Charles Dickens and such. The phrases and descriptive language used in the novel would not have been misplaced in a novel from the 1800's. To me, this is a double-edged sword. While the writing was absolutely stunning, it was often at odds with the context and the conflicts. This was also one of the problems that I found with Donna Tartt's other novel The Secret History. Most of the time, the writing came off more pretentious than stylistic. Honestly, the beautiful writing was not complimentary to the rather gruesome and modern conflicts of the story. 

There were a few aspects of the novel I did enjoy, including the references to art. Most people would probably assume by the cover and the synopsis that this is a book solely focused on art, but that is an incorrect assumption. The artwork and Theo's precious painting are like the landscape of the plot rather than the main focus. Regardless, I did love the art references that were periodically included in the story, since I do not see appreciation for art that often in YA and middle grade books. 

The themes of art, love, and life were thoroughly explored throughout the novel, and there were a few gems of quotes that I enjoyed. Theo's ideals changed so much over the course of the novel, and I enjoyed seeing his moral evolution (and devolution). There are certainly multiple morally gray areas that are explored in this novel and enhanced Theo's character and situations. 

Another disappointing factor in the story was the relationship within Theo's family. Complicated is not even enough to cover it, and this is where some of the unrealistic improbability comes in. Theo has some of the worst luck of any character that I have ever read about, and the amount of misfortune Theo experienced with his family made the novel a little bit less put together for me. These "incidents" and circumstances all seemed to be rather thrown together for the sake of upping the drama level instead of adding anything relevant to the story. 

The final nail in the coffin was the length and slow pace of The Goldfinch. Before you pick this book up, you should know that this is over 700 pages long. If you have the average reading speed of one page per minute, it was likely take you more than 12 hours to read this book. Personally, I do not think that this book is worth that much time. The writing was drawn-out and a great portion of it was not necessary. The Goldfinch could have been cut down to a mere 400 pages and it most likely would have been a better, more compact, and more memorable novel.



I would recommend The Goldfinch to anyone who enjoys somewhat pretentious adult literary fiction and who can stand to read pages of wordy descriptions and conversations. I would also recommend it to those who are looking for an adult version of The Series of Unfortunate Events or are interested in reading about art and the consequences of loving beautiful things. 

I would not recommend The Goldfinch for readers who do not like lengthy and slow books that never seem to get to the point quickly. Also, if you are new to adult literary fiction, I would not read this one until you have gotten used to the genre. 


Do you like adult literary fiction? Do you have any recommendations for me? Have you ever read a book that just had too many bad events at one time? Do you know of any YA books about art?


This review and many other discussions, puns, and fun at my original blog, Crazy for YA.

Source: http://4evercrazyforya.blogspot.com/2016/02/art-life-and-love-according-to.html

In Defense of Reading Multiple Books at Once


I am not one of those people who systematically eat their meals in order. (I hope we have already established the fact that I am far from normal, if not, here is your first clue.) For example, if I were to have a hearty and delicious meal of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and peas, I would not eat anything in order. I would probably start with the meatloaf, and eat a couple of bites of the surprisingly delicious protein yes, meatloaf can be amazing. Then, I would take a couple of scoopfuls of mashed potatoes, maybe even mixing the meatloaf and the potatoes. I would then rotate to taste the peas. This process would repeat until I finish the whole meal.

I read exactly like I read. I love to nibble on one book, then snack on another, then return to the first one. (See, there was a point to that intro besides making you incredibly hungry.)

I read multiple books at one time, and there is nothing wrong with that. 

In some spheres, this is one of the dirtiest and most humiliating crime to commit in the reading universe. Most people do not think that you can read two books at one time and fully enjoy and understand both of them.

I am living proof to the contrary.

I am a fickle mood reader sometimes, which means I can get bored with books really quickly, no matter how good they are. I need to refresh my palette by reading something else, like taking a crisp sip of cool water after a good meal. This translates into me reading more than one book at a time. 

I think that it can be beneficial to take a step back from a story and start a new one for a couple of reasons.


See the rest of the post on my original blog, Crazy for YA.

Source: http://4evercrazyforya.blogspot.com/2016/02/in-defense-of-reading-multiple-books-at.html

Size does matter | Demon Princess by Kassandra Lynn

Demon Princess: Demon Kingdom Fairy Tales Book One - Kassandra Lynn

This book was provided to me from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. I swear on my bookshelf that this has not affected my opinion of the book.

Adriana's coronation day did not go exactly as planned. She is not even supposed to be the Demon King yet. But in the absence of both her father and her brother, she is forced to step up to the throne and take charge of the Demon Kingdom. 

But before Adriana even has a chance to feel the crown on her head, she is summoned to a fledgling mage who has no idea the power that he just summoned. Now instead of wearing her crown and controlling the power of the Demon Kingdom, Adriana is forced to obey the will of a weakly mage who cannot even light a candle by himself. 

If Adriana wants to keep her kingdom safe, she has to hide her identity from the mortals who trapped her and get back to her leaderless kingdom before it falls apart.  

Sometimes size does matter when it comes to books. Some books are too long and long-winded to capture by attention (The Secret History by Donna Tartt) or they are too short and lacking in detail for me to fully appreciate the story.Demon Princess falls short of my standard for world-building and character development.

For me, world-building and character development are two of the most important aspects of fantasy novels. Demon Princess struck out with me because, due to its short length, neither of those aspects were fully elaborated.

I really wish that I knew more about everything in this book. The story and the characters were interesting, but I finished the book and still felt as if I knew nothing about them. 

The history of the world and the inner workings of the characters were mostly thrown aside for the romance. I would say that a good 3/4 of the book was romance and all of the world-building and fantasy was shoved into 1/4 of the book. Normally, I like these ratios to be flipped. 

There were also long periods of time that were completely skipped over in the novel. This is to be expected since it is so short, but instead of enhancing the story, this time gap further disconnected me from the characters and the plot. Skipping large amounts of time is one of my pet peeves in novels. Time gaps always make me feel as if I missed something and leave me wondering what happened during the time without getting any answers. 

Due to the unique nature of fantasy novels, I believe that the longer they are, the better. Now, this is not a steadfast rule, but the more detail and length that is put into the world-building and descriptions, there is a better chance that a fantasy book will impress me. 

When I read the synopsis of this book, I did not expect romance to be the main focus. I wanted the culture and history of the new world that I was thrown into and some memorable characters for me to hate or love. In the end, I was just indifferent to everything since I did not know enough to really develop an opinion about most of the characters and the world. 

The inklings of ideas that were introduced in this book were interesting, which I will give it credit for. There were some unique concepts in Demon Princess that I have not encountered in other YA fantasy books. This is rather hard to accomplish due to the massive amount of books that I read, especially fantasy novels. If those concepts were expanded and used more throughout the novel, my final rating would have been much higher. 

Even though correlation does not always result in causation, I believe that more detail, events, and length in Demon Princess would have greatly improved the novel. 

I would recommend Demon Princess to anyone who likes short and sweet fantasy novels heavy on the romance and light on the fantasy. I would also recommend it to people who like less descriptions and more romance. 

I would not recommend Demon Princess if you are a fan of description-heavy and detailed fantasy novels. 



Source: http://4evercrazyforya.blogspot.com/2016/02/size-does-matter-demon-princess-by.html

Mini-Reviews | Breaking hearts, demons, and thoughts on how we treat people


Since I do not have a Time-Turner, a TARDIS, or a cloning machine, I just do not have time to write a full review for all of the books that I read. So, I have decided to write mini-reviews to discuss the books that I do not have as much to say about. That does not mean that I did not like these books, but sometimes, as creative and amazing as my brain is, I just cannot think of that much to write about a book. 

Today, I am discussing how Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between broke my heart, how The Demon King gave me hope for books with multiple perspectives, and how You are Mine's unique premise was not enough to make me love the story.


See the original post to read the full reviews and join in the discussion!

Source: http://4evercrazyforya.blogspot.com/2016/01/mini-reviews-breaking-hearts-demons-and.html

Top Ten Tuesday | Books I have recently add to my towering TBR list


This is a weekly list meme hosted by the wonderful bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish. 
Today's topic is the top ten books most recently added to your to-be-read list. My TBR list is constantly fluctuating, with additions practically every day and even some removals. I try to keep my TBR down to a minimum by periodically going through my Goodreads lists and purging books that I do not have any interest in anymore. 
With the help of Goodreads, I am going to list the 10 books that I have added to my to-be-read list most recently. 



See the original post on my blog, Crazy for YA, to see my list!

Source: http://4evercrazyforya.blogspot.com/2016/01/top-ten-tuesday-books-i-have-recently.html

Review | An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes - Sabaa Tahir
Freedom is in short supply in the Empire.

Laia watched her family be mercilessly murdered as her defiant brother was dragged to prison. No one escapes Martial prisons, but Laia is willing to do anything for the only family she has left. Apparently, everything includes accepting the dangerous, and doomed-to-fail, mission from the elusive Resistance. The only way to get her in is to sell her as a slave to the most brutal woman in the Empire in the most dangerous place in The Empire.
Elias is a good soldier. But that does not make him a good person. He lived his years at Blackcliff in a constant cycle of training, obeying, and killing. He is a slave to the expectations of the Empire. Graduation is coming up, along with a chance to break that soul-crushing cycle. While Elias wants to escape with his soul intact, it seems like destiny will do everything to rip the life from him. 

These two desperate slaves to the Empire meet when the world is in the midst of chaos, which quickly includes them in its madness.

There seems to be a trend of mixed reviews with this book, and I am afraid that I am not going to be able to break the streak. There were definitely aspects of the book that I absolutely adored, but there were also things that rubbed me the wrong way. 

First of all, my ship majorly sunk. I am talking a bigger shipwreck than the Titanic. Yes, I am bitter about it. Even after some 450 pages I still do not exactly understand why the romance happened the way it did. I feel as if it was more of a temporary, spur-of-the-moment thing, than a relationship that I can actually put my heart behind. I do not think that the couple pairings at the end of the novel were the best choices. (I did ship Katniss and Gale, so I am used to the heart-shattering disappointment.) I just hope that the romance in the next installment of the series is more convincing and realistic.

I also felt as if Laia was playing a constant game of "he loves me, he loves me not" with a flower that has infinite petals. There was some complicated love geometry in the story. In the midst of the intensity, action, and suspense I had to listen to her pining after two guys.Honestly, I did not even want her to end up with either of them. 

I actually enjoyed the world-building, even though I wish that I was given a little but more information about the history of the world and the "things that crawl in the dark" as I am dubbing them. Some things and facts just seemed to randomly pop up in the story, which threw me off guard. I would like to know simple things like where did the Augurs come from, does anyone else have powers, and what exactly are the magical creatures in the Empire. More of the magical aspects of the story would have been appreciated too. I was just left with too many unanswered questions.

On the other hand, I loved the atmosphere of the novel. The intensity and rigidness of the military academy was beautifully constructed, as was the conflicting atmosphere of the open and free Scholar marketplace. The information about the world was a little bit lacking, but I enjoyed the setting that the world-building created. 

There was a brilliantly vibrant, and diverse, cast of characters that I loved. The made me happy, sad, and angry at all of the right times. Everyone had a carefully constructed background story, and I loved hearing how each of the characters got to be how they are. I found myself sympathizing with every character. (I even felt the tiniest bit sorry for the Commandant toward the end, which testifies to the quality of the characters considering how awful she was.) 
My favorite character has to be Helene. I feel as if she was a little bit brushed over when she could have offered a lot more to the story. I hope she has a bigger role in the next book.

Another thing that I loved about the character and the story in general was its examination of guilt and morality. It is full of morally gray areas and hard decisions between right and wrong, honor and disgrace, and good and evil. The heroes had their faults, while the villains had their stories of glory once upon a time.

I also really loved the title of the novel. It fitted extraordinarily well with the story and it seems so poetic. I love it when it is obvious that authors put a lot of thought into their titles. I feel as if truly beautiful titles are in short demand nowadays, so something as meaningful and deep as "An Ember in the Ashes" is nice to see.

I would recommend An Ember in the Ashes for anyone who likes a mix of fantasy and dystopian. If there are any fans of love triangles out there, this book has all of the love geometry that you could ask for. I would also recommend this novel to anyone who is looking for a diverse cast of characters who all have their own unique stories and backgrounds.

I would not recommend An Ember in the Ashes for anyone who is looking for a high-fantasy read. Unfortunately, the magic is more background music than the main display in this novel. I would also avoid this novel if love geometry frustrates you (or if you are like me and frequently root for the wrong ship...).

What do you think of "love geometry"? Has your ship ever sunk to the bottom of the ocean to rot? Have you read An Ember in the Ashes? Do you share in the trend of mixed reviews?
Source: http://4evercrazyforya.blogspot.com/2016/01/review-ember-in-ashes-by-sabaa-tahir.html

Book Battle | Alive by Scott Sigler vs. Messenger of Fear by Michael Scott


Welcome to Book Battles, a feature here at Crazy for YA where I put two books in the battle ring and have them fight it out to see which one is better.

Today's fight is between Alive by Scott Sigler and Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant. 

Alive is a science fiction thriller about a girl who wakes up in a coffin without a clue where or who she is. 

Messenger of Fear is a thriller that leans more on the urban fantasy side of the spectrum about a girl names Mara and her exploits, or more like terrors, with her new nightmare, the Messenger of Fear. 

Since both of these novels are thrillers, it is best if I do not reveal a lot about the nature of the plot. I want to keep the mystery and suspense intact.


Go to the original post to see which book wins, and why!

Source: http://4evercrazyforya.blogspot.com/2016/01/book-battle-alive-by-scott-sigler-vs.html

Classic Conversations | The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne


Disclaimer- These are just my thoughts on a classic novel. They are not intended as a study guide for an English test that you forgot to study for. My opinions may vary from other people's, even yours. Please respect my opinions as I will respect yours. 

Also, this is a discussion of the entire novel, which includes the ending. Basically, there will be spoilers about everything. Read at your own risk.

The Scarlet Letter is one of the classic classics. Almost every high school (or even college) student has (or should have) read it at some point in their English career. It is a story that teachers frequently use as examples and is the topic of a plethora of essays.

It is idolized in the literary world due to its blatant symbolism, dominant themes of religion and hypocrisy, and its revelations about human nature. 

Students know it better as the book that is way to obsessed with a stupid red letter. 

But, that is the magic of this book. The scarlet letter is so much more than a piece of fabric. In order to fully understand and appreciate the novel, you have to look past the superficial appearance of the novel and dive a little bit deeper, which I know is daunting. But with a little bit of guidance, this book could become one of your favorites.


If you want to know more about the real meaning of Hester's scarlet letter, how public shaming is still a problem today, and how this classic book is attached to YA, see the original post.

Source: http://4evercrazyforya.blogspot.com/2015/12/classic-conversations-scarlet-letter-by.html

Review | The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Secret History - Donna Tartt
Five college students commit murder. They mercilessly kill one of their supposedly best friends. Someone that they used to trust, laugh with, share secrets with, and treat as their own family. But all of that changed over the semester. 
These seemingly ordinary students privately study the Classics with their eccentric teacher. They talk about the philosophies and ideals of Greek and Roman culture, and constantly regret that they cannot live there. Richard, a dream-struck boy from California, falls into their group without the knowledge of the true intentions behind their studies. He must navigate through the new world of college temptations, Greek translations, secrets hidden from him, and the puzzle of who he can trust. But as they learn more about classic culture, they go to extreme measures to replicate the customs of the time. And people get hurt. Murdered actually. 

This is a new twist on the classic mystery/thriller novel. You learn who the killers are and who they killed on the first page, and then the rest of the novel shows how five ordinary college students decided to commit murder. This is not a who-dunnit novel or a guess-who-killed-me novel. This is a psychological evaluation of what it takes to push normal people to killing. This is a story of how an average boy from California became an accomplice to murder and barely even blinked an eye. This is a story about human nature, the price of sin, and the true appearance of evil.

At first, I thought this book was going to be completely about the murder with the whole CSI, detective, and mystery shebang. Which was not what I was expecting. I am a fan of all of the crime and mystery shows, if there is mystery and murder, I am there. If you are expecting a crime novel chronicling the case of a murder, you may not get the most enjoyment out of this book. It took me a couple of chapters to adjust my expectations to match the book. Once I got that down, the rest was pretty much smooth (but slow) sailing. 

Much like The Cuckoo's Nest by Robert Galbraith, this is a slow kind of thriller with a lot of emphasis on the lives of those involved. There is less action and more description. While I did not particularly enjoy that style in The Cuckoo's Nest, I actually grew to like it in The Secret History.

The best way to describe the first half of this book is a very in-depth backstory of a murderer. It sounds creepier than it actually is. The coolest part about this book was the step-by-step detail on how an ordinary person could be pushed to murder. None of my beloved crime shows or movies have gone into so much detail or shown how someone just decides to commit murder. 

I loved the diverse cast of characters in the novel (even though I do wish there was more than one main girl). Every character had their chance in the spotlight and were equally characterized.

One of the downfalls of the novel for me was the constant and unexplained references to obscure Greek and Roman literature. When I read the synopsis of this book, I expected there to be quite a few references to the classic languages and their works, but I did not anticipate the confusion theses references would cause. I will be honest with you--I am not up to date on my Roman and Greek literature. 1.) I do not speak Greek nor Latin. 2.) I have never really wanted to learn either of the languages. 3.) I do not spend my free-time scouring through ancient history texts for information on Greek and Roman culture. 

So, I was a little bit lost during some of the scenes where the technical classics talk came out. I have read and fully enjoyed books that specialized in topics that I do not know a lot about (Ready Player One is the perfect example of this), but The Secret History is not one of those books. Many references and allusions were just thrown out there without adequate, if any, further explanation or connection.

My other major problem with this novel was the pace and the length. The story could have been condensed into 400 pages and still maintain the same detail as before. There were just a lot of unnecessary little parts and scenes that I could not figure out how they contributed to the story. I even resorted to skimming pages toward the end of the novel. In addition to the slow pace, the subject of the book, a slow-burning resentment that eventually escalates into murder, does not make for the fastest plot. Sometimes seemed a little bit drawn out at times.

The writing style was also a little bit unorthodox and uncomfortable in some instances. The style was rather old-fashioned and reminiscent of classic authors, which is great and all, but did not fit the time period or the college-aged characters. There were times when the writing style was completely at odds with the events of the novel. Just imagine Dickens writing about college parties with alcohol, drugs, and relationships.

I would recommend The Secret History to patient readers who love psychology, murder mysteries, or who are curious to know how a person could be pushed to murder. If you are tired of the same old thriller, I would recommend you pick up The Secret History for a different and refreshing perspective on the classic genre.


This review and many others are originally posted on my main blog, Crazy for YA.

Source: http://4evercrazyforya.blogspot.com/2015/12/review-secret-history-by-donna-tartt.html

GIF Review | Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Illuminae - Jay Kristoff, Amie Kaufman
Kady's universe is a lot different from ours. Actually, it is pretty much the same but they know a lot more about it due to the advancements in wormhole jumping, battle spaceships, and artificial intelligence. 

But Kady does not really care about that right now. All she cares about are the space ships dropping bombs on her planet and the fact that she has to plan an escape with the boy that broke her heart that morning.

As it turns out, just escaping is not enough.  

Kady also has to survive biological attacks in the form of mutating viruses, psychotic artificial intelligence, and a lethal spaceship bent on revenge that is quickly catching up to them. When the livelihood of the entire fleet is endangered, questions of morality, practicality, and probability complicate the already chaotic attempt to retreat.

They have the whole universe to run in, but nowhere to run to.

Illuminae is the most unique most that I have read all year. The story is told through different mediums, like instant messages, pictures, surveillance reports, posters, announcements, and anything else you can imagine. I have never read a book quite like it. Since Illuminae is so special, I think that it deserves a review that is equally extraordinary review. So, I am introducing my version of a GIF review. Get ready to go through a whirlwind of emotions and I describe my feelings about this book.

This is exactly how I felt when I finally got my hands on this book. I have heard everyone, their mother, their little brother, and their dog squealing about this book. I could not wait to join in on the squealing.  

The book hits the ground running with the first scene of the book, which details the attack on Kady's planet that starts all of this mess. My heart was hammering and I will admit that my palms were the slightest bit sweaty due to all of the adrenaline that this opening scene caused. 
This was me during most of the book. Once the adrenaline of the first scene wore off, I realized along with the characters how much trouble they really are in. They are stuck in the middle of space, months away from the slightest chance of safety, playing a lethal game of tag with a battleship that is following them. I do believe my hairs turned gray and I gained a couple of wrinkles after all of the worrying that I did for these characters.On the other hand, this shows that I really loved all of the characters, because they are all awesome. The story is told through countless different perspectives and mediums, which created a diverse, multi-faceted, and endlessly interesting novel. 
At some times in the book, I was truly disgusted. And yes, somehow it was a good thing. The descriptions and imagery on the ship after everything goes down (sorry, no spoilers) was exquisite, beautiful, and most importantly, disgusting. I truly could envision the horrors that Kady experienced, which is a testament to the story-telling of Kaufman and Kristoff. 
Among all of the horror, blood, and tragedy, there was a shining star of hope -- the romance. Even though it was not the center focus of the book, it was glorious enough to make the hardest hearts melt (hence the gif of Simon Cowell actually smiling). The romance was neither over-whelming or non-existent, but the prefect balance of there and not there. Kady and Ezra's relationship was a light in the black, soundless vacuum of space. 

Illuminae did justice to the science part of science fiction. There were no far-flung excuses or shrugged shoulders when it was time to explain what happened. Instead, the nerdy talk came out to perfectly (and mostly logically) explain the science behind what was happening. The nerd inside me was extremely pleased. 

By the end of the novel, I was so emotionally and mentally drained that all I could do was nod slowly at the fantastic ending. Do not get me wrong, it was far from the standard happily ever after, but I loved it all the same. 
This review and many others are available on my original blog, Crazy for YA.
Source: http://4evercrazyforya.blogspot.com/2015/11/review-illuminae-by-amie-kaufman-and.html

Why I Didn't Love The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith
Cormoran Strike. Former soldier. Son of a rockstar. Amputee. Private Detective. Ex-fiance. Homeless man. 
It is safe to say that Strike's past is as complicated as the case that has just been handed to him. 

Supermodel Lula Landry jumped out of her apartment balcony months ago. The press went nuts in the aftermath. Why would such a beautiful, successful, and young girl suddenly decide to call it quits? The police did not know that, but they thought that they enough evidence to call her death a suicide and close the case. 

When Landry's brother seeks Strike out to prove that his sister was pushed out of her balcony, the opportunity seems too good to be true. Strike's office is on the edge of bankruptcy and his personal life is in ruins. Proving the murder of Landry could be the big break that he has been looking for to turn everything around. But it might also be impossible. The closed case was tossed aside by the police, the media, and ultimately, the public. Everyone has ruled her death as a suicide. But Strike is willing to prove them wrong. 

His investigation brings him into the darkness of the famous and wealthy. He observes the lives of supermodels, fashion designers, and rock singers. Underneath the facade of money and fame, Strike finds something even more terrifying and dangerous.

It has been a long time since I have read a YA mystery novel, and even longer since I have read a proper adult mystery novel. And now I remember why.

I am very picky when it comes to mystery novels. For one, I need to be entertained. The whole plot cannot just be about the mystery. I want subplots, character development, and relationships.

I am also not the brightest when it comes to mystery novels. I actually need to be able to follow's the detective's train of thought and understand what is going one.

It also needs to be in perfect balance of unpredictable and predictable. (I know that I just listed two opposites, but bare with me.) I want my mind to be thrown around a little bit. I definitely do not want to just open to the first page and automatically be able to tell who the murderer is. But, I also want to have a chance at guessing who the killer is. I want to have clues that will make me wonder about things. 

I want to try and figure out the mystery myself first because I am a stubborn and independent reader who thinks she knows best. 

Now that you understand a little bit about my stances on mystery novels I want to explain why The Cuckoo's Calling just did not work for me. 

1. It was as slow as a turtle who is trying to walk through molasses with another turtle on his back. 
Yes, it was that slow. I frequently put the book down and forget about it for a while because it was so slow and there was nothing exciting or even relatively interesting was happening. Sometimes, Strike went off to interview people and do other investigator things that seemed to have nothing to do with the mystery. Also, a lot of the investigations seemed to produce the same, seemingly irrelevant, answers. The Cuckoo's Calling is a book that needs a patient reader, and I am definitely not one of those. 

2. I still do not fully understand how the killer was found. 
I understand who, but not WHY and HOW, which is arguably the most important parts of a mystery. I was fully surprised by who was the killer (and you will be too) but that surprise was accompanied by more confusion than awe. The claims were a little bit outlandish and overly complicated. I had a lot of trouble keeping up with the reasoning behind why and how the killer killed. 

3. It was incredibly detailed at all of the wrong times.
The tiniest things were elaborated on to the point of annoyance. The descriptions were long and plenty, which probably contributed to the slow pace of the novel. There was also some out of place stream of consciousness like writing plopped into the mix sometimes, which threw me off a little bit.  

4. Some things were left unresolved, mystery-wise and relationship-wise.
I realize that this is a series, but I think that more things should have been explained/wrapped-up/concluded, in this novel. I finished the book craving a couple of more pages to heal the confusion that was bubbling in my head. 

Since I really dislike having completely negative reviews, and the fact that this book was not completely terrible, I am going to list the two things about the book that I actually really enjoyed. 

1. British culture was flawlessly incorporated into the novel. 

I have never read a book so fully immersed in British culture before. This might just be my American ignorance showing, but I never heard of a lot of the places and cultural aspects that were mentioned in the book. Sure, I have read other books set in England, but none of them blended the culture of the British into the story as gracefully as Galbraith did. 

2. The cast of characters was diverse. 

The cast of characters was firmly diverse, with the characters being multiracial, disabled, and from different cultures. The homeless and poor were represented well in this novel as well as the minorities who do not really get the spotlight that they deserve. Countless different perspectives were displayed in The Cuckoo's Calling, and I thoroughly enjoyed the chance to see the story from another point of view. 

In the end, I would recommend this book to fans of hardcore mysteries and who do not mind if they cannot figure it out themselves. I would also recommend it if you are interested in a diverse mystery with the life stories and perspectives of many different people. 

Unfortunately, I would not recommend this novel to people who are not necessarily fans of the mystery genre. There is a lot of patience required to get through the novel, which might not be easy for readers who are not used to mysteries to get into the story. 

Source: http://4evercrazyforya.blogspot.com/2015/11/why-i-didnt-love-cuckoos-nest-by-robert.html

The Woes and Rewards of Being a Slow Reader


Recently, the wonderful Cait @ Paper Fury talks about the woes of being a fast reader in her post on the dire agonies of being a fast reader. I want to even the playing field and show that the slow readers are in the same boat of sorrow (and maybe give a few perks about reading slowly too).


Go to the original post to find out my least favorite things about being a slow reader, and some of the perks of reading slowly too. 

Source: http://4evercrazyforya.blogspot.com/2015/11/the-woes-and-rewards-of-being-slow.html

Reading progress update: I've read 235 out of 464 pages.

The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith

I have been reading The Cuckoo's Nest for a good two weeks and it is just starting to pick up. I have been struggling to get into the mystery and action due to the quiet nature of the "mystery" in this novel. The whole investigation was going at a snail's pace right, with little to no significant progress to keep me intrigued, but that just changed. It took half of the book, but I am finally interested in the storyline again. I really hope Rowling can turn this second half of the book around to redeem the slow first half.

Top Ten Creepy Books for Halloween


Max here! Right in time for Halloween, here are a couple of books to make your Halloween a little bit more fun (and by fun I mean scary). I'm not a big fan of horror books, so these books are more suspenseful or a little bit creepy than full on scary, but I still think they're capable of giving you the goosebumps.


See the original post for the perfect books to make your Halloween more creepy.

Source: http://4evercrazyforya.blogspot.com/2015/10/top-ten-tuesday-top-ten-creepy-books.html