Audiobook Review: All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

Review: All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan KielygoodreadsbadgeA bag of chips. That’s all sixteen-year-old Rashad is looking for at the corner bodega. What he finds instead is a fist-happy cop, Paul Galluzzo, who mistakes Rashad for a shoplifter, mistakes Rashad’s pleadings that he’s stolen nothing for belligerence, mistakes Rashad’s resistance to leave the bodega as resisting arrest, mistakes Rashad’s every flinch at every punch the cop throws as further resistance and refusal to STAY STILL as ordered. But how can you stay still when someone is pounding your face into the concrete pavement?

There were witnesses: Quinn Collins—a varsity basketball player and Rashad’s classmate who has been raised by Paul since his own father died in Afghanistan—and a video camera. Soon the beating is all over the news and Paul is getting threatened with accusations of prejudice and racial brutality. Quinn refuses to believe that the man who has basically been his savior could possibly be guilty. But then Rashad is absent. And absent again. And again. And the basketball team—half of whom are Rashad’s best friends—start to take sides. As does the school. And the town. Simmering tensions threaten to explode as Rashad and Quinn are forced to face decisions and consequences they had never considered before.

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Book Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (2012)
Genre: YA, Dystopia, Fairy Tale Retelling
387 pages

My Rating: ★★★☆☆
Format: Paperback


Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future. (via Goodreads) Continue reading

Audiobook Review: The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick NessThe Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
Published By: HarperTeen
Date Published: October 6, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
343 pages

My Rating:★★★★☆
Format: Audiobook read by James Fouhey


What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshiped by mountain lions. (via Goodreads)


Oh. My. God. I sat at my desk and nearly wept (I say nearly because you just don’t show weakness in front of the people who are supposed to fear you). The narrative was so damn good. Let me lead with this, I’ve never encountered Patrick Ness until this book. I recently added his more popular More Than This to my TBR and picked it up from the library after seeing all of the positive reviews. However, when I was looking for an audiobook to listen to while I waited for my work buddy to relinquish Outlander, I came across this and just… OH. MY. GOD. Continue reading

Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the UniverseAristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Published By: Simon & Schuster
Date Published: February 21, 2012
Genre: YA fiction, LGBT+ fiction
370 pages

My Rating: ★★★★☆
Format: Audiobook (read by Lin-Manuel Miranda)
Recommended for:
Anyone looking for a feel-good coming of age tale with philosophical nuggets of wisdom for everyone.


Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be. (via Goodreads)


I can’t tell if every book I’ve read so far has been truly good, or if I’ve severely lowered my expectations after a year of disappointing reads last year. Seriously, last year was ROUGH for me… But I digress. I fell hopelessly in love with Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe about 1/4 of the way in, and I never fell out of it. Which is always a good thing, right? Right. Continue reading

Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys Young Adult Book Review
Recommended for:
Everyone, byeee Readers who take their YA fix with a side of the supernatural. Also, if you don’t mind coming into this knowing that this is setting you up for something bigger (hopefully), give it a try.


“Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.” (via Goodreads)


Click here for the condensed version.

There were so many turn offs for me going into this, but I was determined to stick to it. The synopsis alone is enough to make me throw it across the room. Oh, come on, you tell me who actually picked up the book and got hella excited that we were going to be subjected to another “arrogant, rich boy meets down-to-earth weird girl and falls in love” story. Not only that, but the first line… Continue reading

Book Review | City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Bookenstein's Book Review of City of Bones by Cassandra ClareCity of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Published By: Margaret K. McElderry
Date Published: March 27, 2007
Genre: YA Fantasy
496 pages

My Rating: ★★☆☆☆

 Once upon a time…

“When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder—much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. And she’s more than a little startled when the body disappears into thin air. Soon Clary is introduced to the world of the Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of warriors dedicated to driving demons out of our world and back to their own. And Clary is introduced with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a grotesque monster. How could a mere human survive such an attack and kill a demon? The Shadowhunters would like to know…” (from Amazon)

The Nitty Gritty

Let me add in my little disclaimer. A vast majority of the criticisms I’ve read about City of Bones have been about Clare’s “Draco Trilogy.” To be honest, I don’t really know much about it. The basics? Clare wrote an extremely popular fanfiction of Harry Potter which focuses primarily on Draco Malfoy (as one could probably deduce from the name). As you could imagine, many in the Harry Potter fandom read this as children and are now enraged by the “plagiarism” they believe has been translated into this separate work. My thoughts? There are plenty of other things to pick on in this book. I promise. And as someone apart from that fandom altogether, I didn’t really see any overbearing similarities between this work and Harry Potter… unlike a certain Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (*cough cough*), but that’s a story for another time. Continue reading