The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

I’m split on this book. If I look at it as a teen romance book, I loved it. If I take it as a paranormal book, I didn’t really like it. There wasn’t much of a balance of the two throughout the book and I think that’s why it failed to live up to expectations.

When it comes to the teen romance aspect of the book, it was really sweet and intense. Mara isn’t completely insecure when it comes to herself and boys, and while Noah was too much of a perfect character (tall, British, rich, speaks several languages…you get the idea) for me to completely love, he was still nice to read. I really loved their back and forth relationship. It wasn’t the typical sappy love where everything is sweet and roses. They don’t head over heels in love, but bicker in a playful way. For some reason, I really loved reading this.

As for the paranormal aspect of the story, I felt like it was ignored for a large part of the book. Mara questions things before meeting Noah, and then she becomes boy crazy and the paranormal part of the story just drops off. It picks back up again much later in the book, but it felt slightly rushed. There are too many left unexplained or let open, and while I understand that there’s a second book that will hopefully answer these, I still wish this book had offered a bit more in the way of explanation.

I will definitely be reading The Evolution of Mara Dyer when it’s released, because I do want to know how this story ends, but I’ll probably be going into it with lower expectations. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is a confusing book with two personalities. If you’re reading for the love story, you’ll love it. If you want the paranormal, you’ll be left disappointed. I am holding out hope that Hodkin will conclude the series better than she started it.

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Green Heart by Alice Hoffman

Green Heart is two books in one. The first book is Green Angel, the second is Green Witch. I thought about trying to write this review without separating the two, but that wasn’t working. They are two very different stories wrapped up in one another and it’s lovely.

The first, Green Angel is about Green’s journey through loss and grief and finding herself again. She loses her entire family in a horrible, devastating way. She crumbles and has to put herself together again. She feels guilty, regretful and, of course, extremely sad and upset. She has to rebuild her life without those she loved most, but she ends up finding comfort in new people. The neighbor she and her sister stole apples from, the girl from her school that was never really her friend, the boy survivor that stumbles into her life and holds her heart.

It’s a short story, but incredibly moving and hopeful. The way the story is written leaves much to the imagination, and yet you aren’t left trying to figure things out. It’s all laid out, waiting for you to read and put together. It’s dark and yet there’s light that keeps shining through with every page. I absolutely loved it.

Green Witch is the continuation of Green Angel and is more about Green finding herself again and finding the reason people fall in love. She’s looking for something as she visits the houses of neighbors the village people consider “witches;” those that can look past the ugly and have something to give the world. They help Green as she searches for the boy she fell in love with and the girl that became her friend. With the help of these women, she’s able to find out that she’s stronger than she thought; she has a special power from within herself that people wish they could have. They turn to her for help and to help them find hope again.

Green Witch is another story of a journey, but this one is about finding your strength and who you are. It’s about love and what love is worth. Everyone has a different answer for how to measure love and it was beautiful to read how each woman viewed the love they had lost. It was both heartbreaking and empowering.

Green Heart is a simply breathtaking book that opens pieces of your soul and makes you feel. It’s a book that, while short, has an impact. The lyrical way it was written made it all the better. This is definitely a book people should read if they want something that will leave them feeling uplifted and refreshed.

Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter

I have so many feelings after finishing this book and while some of these feelings hurt, they hurt in the best way possible. I know what I’ve read is amazing when, after finishing the book, I want to thank the author for crushing my heart. That is exactly what I want to do with this book. I’d like to thank Aimee Carter for writing a book that has ripped my heart out in the most delicious way.

My main problem with The Goddess Test was how the mythology was handled. I missed that sinfulness that has become so associated with Greek Mythology. In Goddess Interrupted, you get some of that put back in the story. The Gods and Goddess aren’t quite as put together as they appear in the first book and I absolutely loved it. I love more and more this world Carter has created.

I found Kate extremely interesting in this book. In The Goddess Test, Kate was very dependent on her mother. Nearly everything she decides is connected to her mother in some way. In Goddess Interrupted, Kate has lost the dependence on her mother, but instead needs Henry. She hasn’t quite become her own person just yet, but the ending of Goddess Interrupted gives me hope that Kate is finally coming into her own and finding the ability to depend on herself for something. Of course, the major cliffhanger has me salivating for more and hoping Kate is able to keep growing into her own person, not dependent on anything or anyone, but can stand on her own.

The romance part of the book takes a slight backseat for parts of the novel and I’m completely fine with that. The parts of the novel between Kate and Henry were frustrating, sweet, amazing, and perfect. They’re still trying to figure everything out about their relationship. They don’t fall into the perfect relationship right away. They dance around each other, make mistakes. It’s absolutely wonderful to see a relationship written the right way.

Goddess Interrupted is a book that has left me utterly crushed, yet hopeful and eagerly anticipating The Goddess Inheritance. It can’t some out soon enough.

Between by Jessica Warman

I am in love with this book. It’s not a happy book and sometimes it got tough to read, but I love it. Warman created a murder mystery and layered it with an exploration of the different kinds of love people can have. It was intense and meaningful and I loved it.

Liz annoyed me at the beginning of the novel, but she was supposed to. She has everything she could need in life. An almost too perfect boyfriend, friends that love her, parents that just want to make her happy. The only major flaw in her perfect life is waking up on the morning of her 18th birthday as, basically, a ghost.

With the help of Alex Berg, the boy killed in a hit and run less than a year earlier, she gets pieces of her memory put back in place. She’s trying to figure out why she’s still around instead of passing on to wherever it is the dead are supposed to go. She watches her family grieve and her friends fall apart. The secrets that held everyone together start to come out and it’s easy to see that life isn’t always what it looks like on the surface. People aren’t black and white; you can’t judge a person’s character on only what one person sees. People are grey and sometimes you don’t see everything about them.

Alex is on his own journey in this afterlife. He spends time with Liz, helping her with her own discoveries before the truth comes out. I loved him as a character and he really helped Liz’s growth and even though we didn’t see much of his life; it was easy to see him grow as a person as well.

That was another thing Warman did wonderfully in this book. The characters don’t end up the same people they started as. They change and grow. Each one has flaws and strengths. It’s so refreshing to see a book where even the minor characters are people. It made the book even more enjoyable for me.

This book was fantastic and such a wonderful journey to be taken on. So much happened in this book, but it was never too fast or too slow. This is definitely a book people need to read. It will make you think in such a wonderful way.

Fracture by Megan Miranda

The premise of this book was extremely interesting, but I felt like the book was a little lacking in the execution. It was a little hard to connect with Delaney, the relationship with her parents was a little strange, and I understood Troy’s necessity, but his character annoyed me a bit.

Delaney comes across as cold towards the people in her life she should look to most. Decker has to remind her to be nice to her friends when they come to visit her. Decker saved her from the lake and she even treats him with a harsh distance. She becomes a person her parents don’t recognize and she doesn’t really give them much respect. Granted, there are times when her parents don’t deserve that, but there are other times when they are just being parents that nearly lost their daughter and she acts like there’s nothing she can do.

I had a problem with Troy acting as God. I was really hoping he’d come in and be more of a helping force for Delaney; someone that can help her come to terms with what is happening in her life. Instead, he plays extremely hot and cold and has a major God Complex. I can see the need for that to wake Delaney up and make her see what she should be doing with her new life, but that doesn’t make me like it anymore.

There were a couple other plot lines left open that I wish had been dealt with. It would have given a little bit more closure to the book. I don’t want to name them, as to not give away spoilers, but there were just a couple issues with Delaney’s friends and with Troy that I wish had been explored a little more before the book ended.

However, even with those two major issues I had, the writing itself was amazing. Miranda was really able to capture the character’s emotions and get Troy’s mentally unstable emotions across. She wrote the human mind and its complexities very well. I was never entirely sure where the novel was going to go next and I really enjoyed that.

Overall, this was a good book that left a few too many things open for it to be a great book. It was an interesting look into how people deal with death and the aftermath of not dying. I’m glad I picked this book up to read.

A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies

This book has left me confused. I’m confused because it has several of the things that usually annoy me in Young Adult books, and yet…I really enjoyed reading it. The book started out a little slow, but it eventually picked up and made for a very interesting angel story.

Skye was a little murky as a character and I found myself liking pieces of her and annoyed by other parts. She’s not the strongest female character I’ve read, but she’s also not the weakest. I think she has a lot of potential and I’m really hoping she reaches it in the next book.

Asher and Devin were polar opposites, which of course led to the Young Adult love triangle. This one just didn’t feel right. I couldn’t understand why she felt a pull towards either one strong enough to leave her life as much as she did. I felt that Davies could have really done something different and built a romance between Skye and Ian, giving Skye a choice that was her own and not tying the fight between angel sides into it.

Aside from the characters, the origin story really drew me in and held my interest throughout the entire novel. It felt like it was a unique enough take on angels to make it believable and yet something new and fresh. Davies’ writing was also wonderful to read and had a nice flowing style that made going from page to page easy and finding a place to stop reading difficult.

The only other thing that bothered me a bit is the setting. As a native Coloradoan, I was trying to figure out where River Springs would be located. It sounded like it was a mountain town, but there’d occasionally be lines that made me think it was a plains town and it left me feeling a little confused.

A Beautiful Dark is a fresh take on the good vs. bad angel struggle and despite having things that annoy me in the Young Adult genre, I found myself unable to put it down and the ending has me anxiously awaiting A Fractured Light.

 

The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff

I’ve wanted to read this book for a while. As if the description wouldn’t do enough to draw me in, the cover is absolutely gorgeous and I’m a sucker for a pretty book.

I really liked this book. Yovanoff took a story which many people know and made it unique and interesting. She takes a look at good and evil, love, and courage. I loved how the “bad” guys weren’t always bad and the “good” guys weren’t always good. You were rooting for the demon and dreading the angel. It was intriguing to read a book set up like that.

Daphne as a character is left a little clouded and I had to work to put together a picture of her in my head. I liked not being told exactly what she looked like, but instead, given some traits and piecing together a person from my own mind. It connected me to the story in a way that’s rarer for me to find and I loved it.

Truman was yet another wonderful character. He redeems himself from start to end and it’s a testament to Yovanoff’s writing that she was able to make him such a beloved man out of the pieces she started with.

This is a dark book that left me feeling hopeful and happy. The ending felt a little off, but not enough to bother me. I’ll be telling all my friends to pick this book up and give it a read.