Bloodlines: Series Review

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Warning: will contain spoilers seeing as I will be briefly talking about all the books in the series!!

bloodlinesBloodlines (Bloodlines, #1) by Richelle Mead
Publisher: Penguin Group
Published: August 23rd, 2011
Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal
Source: Bought
Finished: January 29th, 2015
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Thoughts: 

If I’m being completely honest, I don’t remember what happens in this book at all. All I remember is that Sydney Sage is back and gets sent to Palm Springs, CA to protect Jill Dragomir (Lissa’s half sister) from anyone who decides they want to remove Lissa from the throne, as you need at least one other family member in order to be King/Queen. Honestly, I was just super excited to be back in this world and I was so happy the first book started out with the same characters we know and love from Vampire Academy *cough* rose and dimitri *cough*. This was definitely a great introduction to the new series and it set the stage really well for what was to come.

***

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The Golden Lily (Bloodlines, #2) by Richelle Mead
Publisher: Penguin Group
Published: June 12th, 2012
Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal
Source: Borrowed
Finished: July 14th, 2015
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Thoughts: 

The second book to the series was definitely one of the most important ones. This is when we finally see Sydney start to question her Alchemist beliefs, which is such a relief. We also get more of an introduction into her as a human magic user and it’s really interesting stuff! Her teacher, Ms. Twillinger, is hilarious! I just loved that this book covered so many different dynamics. The magic, the group really becoming a family, the brewing love interests, and of course the weirdo vampire hunters.

***

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The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines, #3) by Richelle Mead
Publisher: Penguin Group
Published: February 12th, 2013
Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal
Source: Borrowed
Finished: July 26th, 2015
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Thoughts: 

This book was definitely my least favourite in the series. I felt like too much was going on and I was getting confused and annoyed at some of the decisions that were being made. Sydney finds herself tracking down Marcus Finch, an ex-alchemist who has been on the run for years, while simultaneously tracking down a rogue witch who is using her powers to suck the life out of other young, gifted magic-users. She finds out a lot of important things about herself and is able to accomplish a lot in this book, but of course this is not without it’s consequences. At the end of the book we learn that Zoe Sage, Sydney’s younger sister, is to join the ‘family’ in Palm Springs to help Sydney ‘cope’ with the vampires she deals with daily. Also, I can’t remember if Angeline was introduced in this book or the last one, but she quickly sky rocketed to one of my favourites… She’s so hilarious and unpredictable!

***

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The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4) by Richelle Mead
Publisher: Penguin Group
Published: November 19th, 2013
Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal
Source: Borrowed
Finished: September 8th, 2015
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Thoughts: 

This book was so stressful!! OMG. Zoe’s presence definitely threw everyone off. Neil, the new damphir assigned to them, stirs up some ‘romantic’ feelings in Jill and Angeline. Sydney struggles to balance her sister’s presence as well as all the problems she usually takes care of for the crew, all the while trying to keep her secret relationship with Adrian under wrap and at the same time create two tattoo formulas that could one, break the alchemists hold and two, prevent damphirs/moroi from becoming strigoi if attacked by one. Sydney has many amazing traits, but the fact that she is so stubborn and self-sufficient isn’t helpful when she has so many priorities. Of course she starts raising suspicion and of course it doesn’t end well.

***

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Silver Shadows (Bloodlines, #5) by Richelle Mead
Publisher: Penguin Group
Published: July 29th, 2014
Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal
Source: Borrowed
Finished: September 11th, 2015
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Thoughts: 

This was by far my favourite book in the series, which is strange because I for sure thought I would hate reading an entire book of her being stuck in re-education. It was so good! I love that Sydney was risking everything to help the people in re-education even though they really didn’t deserve her help. I love that Adrian was struggling back at court without her. I love that regardless of the hell she was going through, she knew she had to find a way out so that she could be with Adrian again. I love that Adrian finally snapped out of it and enlisted Marcus and the rest of their friends to help break her out of re-education, and I love that they saved everyone else in the process. The end of this book was absolutely fantastic. The running from the alchemists, the shotgun wedding, the hope that being at the moroi court would save them, the fact that they didn’t care at all what anyone thought of their relationship… It was all fantastic!

***

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The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines, #6) by Richelle Mead
Publisher: Penguin Group
Published: February 10th, 2015
Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal
Source: Borrowed
Finished: September 17th, 2015
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Thoughts: 

A really good ending to the series. The fact that Jill was kidnapped was terrifying, but also the best way to end the series seeing as they were sent to Palm Springs to hide her away in the first place. There was just so much that still needed to be resolved and this book was certainly successful in resolving all of it. Adrian had to deal with his spirit demons. Sydney had to accept that her life would certainly not be easy as a full-fledged witch and wife to a vampire. They found Olive and although they couldn’t save her, they made and kept an important promise. Jill and Eddie finally accepted their love for each other in the end <3. Adrian’s mom accepted both Adrian and Sydney, while accepting herself as a divorced woman. THE BABY. OLIVE’S FRIGGIN BABY ❤ ❤ ❤ The end of the book was probably my favourite. Adrian and Sydney and their new little family. The fact that she speaks to the baby in Spanish… The fact that Rose and Dimitri got engaged… Ugh. Just so good. How can these books be over?

***

I refuse to believe that Richelle Mead is done with this world. Even if she doesn’t write about the Moroi and Damphirs for years, I will be right here when she does. I will never be able to get over the characters she has created, she is so gifted. The series was so kick ass and emotional and hilarious and heart-warming… and just UGH.

For those of you who have read the Bloodlines series, which book is your favourite? Which character? Tell me your feelings! 

Until next time,

Jacqueline

xx

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The Longest Ride: Book Review

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The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Published: September 30th, 2014
Genre: Adult Romance
Source: Borrowed
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis 

Ira Levinson is in trouble. At ninety-one years old, in poor health and alone in the world, he finds himself stranded on an isolated embankment after a car crash. Suffering multiple injuries, he struggles to retain consciousness until a blurry image materializes and comes into focus beside him: his beloved wife Ruth, who passed away nine years ago. Urging him to hang on, she forces him to remain alert by recounting the stories of their lifetime together – how they met, the precious paintings they collected together, the dark days of WWII and its effect on them and their families. Ira knows that Ruth can’t possibly be in the car with him, but he clings to her words and his memories, reliving the sorrows and everyday joys that defined their marriage.

A few miles away, at a local rodeo, a Wake Forest College senior’s life is about to change. Recovering from a recent break-up, Sophia Danko meets a young cowboy named Luke, who bears little resemblance to the privileged frat boys she has encountered at school. Through Luke, Sophia is introduced to a world in which the stakes of survival and success, ruin and reward — even life and death – loom large in everyday life. As she and Luke fall in love, Sophia finds herself imagining a future far removed from her plans — a future that Luke has the power to rewrite . . . if the secret he’s keeping doesn’t destroy it first.

Ira and Ruth. Sophia and Luke. Two couples who have little in common, and who are separated by years and experience. Yet their lives will converge with unexpected poignancy, reminding us all that even the most difficult decisions can yield extraordinary journeys: beyond despair, beyond death, to the farthest reaches of the human heart.

My Thoughts: 

Honestly, the reason I was so intent on picking this book up was because I saw the trailer for the movie adaptation. When it comes to Nicholas Sparks, I tend to read his books right before the movie comes out (With the exception of A Walk to Remember and The Notebook because I was still young when those movies came out). Nevertheless, I could not have read this book at a better time… I had just finished reading A Dance With Dragons and watching both The 100 and Girls in their entirety. All of these stories having extremely heavy content and breaking my heart into pieces I thought would be impossible to mend. Enter Nicholas Sparks.

This book was funny and heartwarming, but tragic in it’s own way. Even though Sparks’ stories usually include the “insta-love” that everyone seems to hate, he acknowledges that the relationships are not flawless and they are not without obstacles. Although Ira, a man in his nineties, has lived a full, happy life, he is not without regrets. The story of Ira and Ruth’s past that parallels Sophia and Luke’s present is what really affected me. Reading about Ira’s past broke my heart. As a pilot in WWII he has experienced his fair share of tragedy, which only seemed to get worse when he was forced to come home and face his fiancee Ruth. Despite the fact that their marriage was plagued with tragedy and heartache, they were able to overcome it with the simple realization that they never wanted to be with anyone else. The memory of Ruth and their many years together is the only thing that keeps Ira alive in the terrible situation he has found himself in.

Sophia is a senior in university who has just gone through an earth-shattering break up (well, for her). Brian, her frat boy first love, cheated on her three times and now he seems to be everywhere she goes hoping to be able to convince her to take him back. I like Sophia’s character right from the beginning. She’s real, she’s relatable, and she’s interesting. The insta-love aspect didn’t bother me because I felt like she really deserved to find the right guy and fall in love. She spent a lot of time being broken over Brian so when her best friend Marcia asks her to go to the rodeo with the girls she, though somewhat reluctantly, agrees. This is where she meets Luke.

Luke is quite literally my dream man. I’ve always had a thing for cowboys and although I’ve never been to North Carolina, where this book takes place, I’ve been to Nashville, TN, which was pretty much the coolest place I’ve ever been. So yeah, I love cowboys. Luke’s character is somewhat reserved, really charming, and extremely hard working and driven. There were a few times where him and Sophia were fighting and I was actually getting mad and upset reading it… I think that just shows how invested I was in this relationship and this book in general. As a bullrider Luke puts himself at risk every time he participates in a rodeo… but it’s even worse for him because he has already been in an accident that almost cost him his life. However, when Sophia finds out what a risk it is for him to be riding she refuses to be with someone who willingly puts his life on the line. But the situation is a lot more complicated then either of them anticipated…

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was just the right book at the right time. Nicolas Sparks can honestly do no wrong when it comes to romance. If you like love stories, you like cowboys, and you also like a little bit of historical fiction thrown into the mix then you will love this book. Also, check out the trailer for the movie!

The movie already looks like there are a few changes to the plot, but the story is pretty complicated so I can understand why they would need to simplify it a bit to fit into a standard length movie. However, all the actors look like they are going to do a really great job and I can’t wait to see it!

xx

Jacqueline

MINI REVIEWS: MEYER, ROTH & TAYLOR

I have been meaning to review Days of Blood & Starlight and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer for a while now, but then life happened. I really hate reviewing books a long time after I read them, but I was smart enough to throw some notes in my phone so that is why I’m compiling these in to one post. Without further ado, let’s talk the last three books I’ve read!

also: SPOILER ALERT! I won’t be going into too much detail, but all of these books are sequels so it needed to be said! I don’t wanna ruin anything for anyone!

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer13206760
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Published: February 5th, 2013
Genre: Young Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy. Fairy Tale Retelling
Source: Bought
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis 

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison–even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive. Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

General Thoughts:

Scarlet is an absolute bad ass. I love her character and I really felt for her. However, although I could appreciate her stubbornness at times, sometimes she was too hot-headed. I understand what she went through to find her grandmother was traumatic and then to lose her must have been excruciating, but it seemed like she didn’t make much of an effort to connect with Cinder. Meanwhile, Cinder and Thorne saved both Scarlet AND Wolf… She immediately flips out and blames everything on Cinder, but did not even stop to think what Cinder herself had gone through. It also kind of bothered me how needy she was when it came to Wolf, especially at the end. No matter how many times he lied and screwed her over, she refused to leave him behind. Which brings me to Wolf himself…

Wolf is, well, Wolf. He is quite a wonderful specimen. Their relationship is cute and hilarious and thrilling, but I genuinely was not expecting him to screw her over like that. However, he saved her life when he really shouldn’t have so… brownie points? I like him a lot more than Kai that’s for sure.

Overall, I really love all the characters and am so excited to continue the series. I am also so glad Iko has made her return as the ship and that Thorne is still part of the story. He is so hilarious. This series is just so much fun and is super action packed and so thrilling, definitely a must read.

* * *

Days of Bl12812550ood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2) by Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little Brown
Published: November 6th, 2012
Genre: YA Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal
Source: Bought
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis 

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

General Thoughts: 

I love how fast paced Laini Taylor writes. Usually I get super confused if things go too quickly, but I thoroughly enjoy it with these books. I expected to be bummed out by this book because I heard it isn’t a very good sequel, but I really loved it. I mean of course I found Karou super annoying by how whiney and submissive she was being, but at the end of the day she went through so much at the hands of the White Wolf that I actually could not blame her. I seriously wanted to wring his neck in every scene especially when he was basically trying to rape her… I was so uncomfortable and repulsed.

On a brighter note, I am SO SO SO HAPPY that Zuzanna and Mik had such prominent roles in this book. I was so nervous when they first showed up, but I was on the verge of tears when they started to get along with all the Chimaera. AND ISSA!!!! Thank the heavens some of Karou’s family lived ❤

I also thought Akiva was kind of annoying and obsessive in this book, however I definitely love his relationship with his siblings and I am so upset that his brother died. It literally broke my heart. I was also very surprised by the ending, but now I am terrified for the final book.

* * *

I11735983nsurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Published: May 1st, 2012
Genre: YA Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian
Source: Bought
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis: 

One choice can transform you– or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves–and herself–while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable–and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

General Thoughts: 

When I picked up Divergent the week before the movie came out, I whizzed through it. Then the third book was spoiled for me and it really took me a lot to want to read the next one… but seeing as my brother bought me the hardcover boxed set for my birthday I feel obligated to complete it. Plus I really do like the characters.

This book kind of started off slow, but once the action kicked in again it was really enjoyable. Tris and Four are kind of annoying and half the time just need to learn how to communicate!!! I nearly fainted when I read that Caleb basically f*cked Tris over and watched her get tortured… Also how did no one else think Four’s mom was a sketch bag. AND the like plot twist at the end with the video.. LIKE WHAT EVEN WAS THAT. The end of this book literally blew my mind. I read the last chapter at the dinner table and my sister kept asking me things and I was like “no you’re seriously going to have to be quiet until I finish this page”.

If it wasn’t for the slow pace and a couple of things I was annoyed with I probably would have given this book 5 stars, overall I didn’t mind it as a sequel but now I’m super nervous for the last book and don’t know when I will get around to it.

Well that took a while… back to reading!

xx

Jacqueline

Daughter of Smoke & Bone Book Review

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Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little Brown
Published: September 27th, 2011
Genre: YA Fantasy/Romance
Source: Bought
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis 

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

My Thoughts:

Karou is a 17 year old human art student living in Prague, or so she thought. She was raised by four demons who are not at all human – as they are made up of an array of animal and human parts – in a shop that can open it’s doors to almost any city in the world. In these cities she runs “errands” for Brimstone (her, uh, foster father?) who collects teeth and grants wishes. So far, it sounds confusing, but that’s because it is. The interesting thing about Karou is she doesn’t try to live a double life. She fills her sketch book with drawings of her demon family and of the places she goes on her errands. The funny part is, when her bestfriend Zuzana ( or any of their other friends for that matter) ask her where she has been or what the drawings are, she tells them the complete truth. However, because it is completely insane and impossible they laugh it off and become addicted to her drawings and the stories that go along with them. Karou’s life is somewhat normal and consistent, that is, until three winged figures start showing up in the shadows of cities to mark the doorways of Brimstone’s shop. These fiery hand prints keep appearing until eventually they have marked the doorways of every portal and Brimstone’s shop is destroyed forever.

The first little bit of this book was very fast paced and completely mysterious. I had no idea what was going on, how these creatures were real, who they were, why the doorways were being marked, who the doorways were being marked by and how the heck Karou has anything to do with it. But honestly, that was half the fun of reading it. I was so overwhelmed and just wanted to find out what was going on that I could not put this book down. After every chapter it was like, oh, oh, OH, OH MY GOSH. Karou is so mysterious and so relatable. Of course not in the sense that normal people are raised by demons and can use magic to grant their wishes… But because she’s really confused by who she is and where she fits it and she just really wants to find her place in the world. I think every young person feels a little out of place at times and just wants to understand where they belong, and that’s why she is such a great protagonist.

It is also so refreshing to have everything we’ve every known about angels and devils shaken up and tipped on it’s head. Reading about angels as these pure evangelical beings gets a little tiresome after a while… This story is nice because for once it makes you question whether angels really do represent “good”, innocent beings. On the flip side, you really feel for the devils (or the chimaera as the book refers to them) and it makes you understand why Brimstone does what he does, and why it was necessary.

Overall, this book was a really awesome, action packed read and I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good fantasy book. I can’t decide if I’m going to pick up the next book, Days of Blood and Starlight, right away or if I will let this one sink it for a little bit longer. Either way, I can’t wait to continue this trilogy and I will definitely do so soon.

xx

Jacqueline

The Book Thief Book Review

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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Publisher: Knopf Books
Published: March 14th, 2006
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Bought
Rating: 5 absolutely brilliant, shining stars!

Goodreads Synopsis

It’s just a small story really, about, among other things, a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery.

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist: books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids – as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

My Thoughts:

I read I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak years ago. I must have been in 8th grade, so yeah about 7 years ago, and I really enjoyed it. It was a really unique story that I definitely never forgot, and I knew this book would be the same. Everyone who has ever read it has raved about it, but I just never picked it up for whatever reason (didn’t want to read something sad, already had too many books on the go, etc). Now that I have read it I honestly could not be more filled with regret that I didn’t read it sooner.

I could not speak a bad word about this book if I tried. Everything about it was perfect. At first I was a little weirded out that we were reading from death’s perspective, but after a couple pages I realized it actually made the story a lot more interesting. At the beginning of the story Liesel Meminger is 9 years old and has more reason than most to be angry with the world. She has just lost her brother to Death and she is being taken to Munich to live with a foster family during the war. As a young girl she has no idea what it means to be a communist (like her mother and father) or to be a Jew (like Max), but soon she begins to understand. It really isn’t a surprise that she resents her foster mother Rosa, and she gets into trouble at school and fights with other children. However, thanks to her foster father Hans she begins to learn to read and finds her passion in words.

All of the characters in this book are so beautiful and well developed. Rudy, Liesel’s bestfriend and first love, is so adorable and such a great sidekick of her to have in her book thievery. Hans is incredibly caring and wonderful to everyone he encounters, even when he knows he’s putting himself in a bad place because of it. It really is no wonder Liesel loves him and looks up to him the way she does. Even Rosa, who is annoying and mouthy at times, definitely grows on you throughout the book. It’s really beautiful to see how all of the characters in this book grow in some way because of their relationship with Liesel, and how Liesel grows and changes because of her relationship with books and words.

The writing. Oh dear god, the writing. Markus Zusak has so much talent. This book and it’s metaphors and imagery will stay with you for a very long time. When I finished reading I couldn’t stop thinking about this book, it grabs a hold of you and does not let go. I don’t even know what to say other than this book was so powerful and wonderful and I can definitely say I will be revisiting it in the future. If you have not yet picked this book up, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! Do not be like me and cheat yourself of this story for any longer than you need to. Read it now.

Phenomenal story, beautiful characters, amazing imagery, and a heart-wrenching ending that will leave you wondering if Markus Zusak is a human or a literary god.

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Kim Kardashian’s ugly-crying-face doesn’t even compare to mine at the end of this book. The movie was also really well done, if you have read the book and haven’t seen the movie I suggest checking it out. However, it really doesn’t do the book justice so do not skip the book for the movie!

xx

Jacqueline