Burnt Out on Books?

I think it happens to the best of us. One second, we’re reading every book in a particular genre… and the next second, you simply can’t. This is exactly what happened to me and Dystopian Books. For the longest time, I claimed Dystopia to be my favorite genre. I lived, breathed, and most importantly, read Dystopia novels, and I was constantly searching goodreads for my next read. I read everything from The Water Wars to Starters to The Hunger Games, and I loved them all. But recently, I picked up a few new books for my kindle to read during my downtime…. and I simply couldn’t get into ANY of them. So I figured, the authors must all suck at writing, and I just need to get a different, better book.

Nope.

Turns out, I just burned myself out on Dystopian Novels. I read so many in such a short period of time (mainly my freshman and sophomore years in high school) that I couldn’t even enjoy new, promising novels, which is a total bummer when you’ve spent years obsession over Dystopian novels, even to the point of writing one during Nanowrimo 2013.

If my tale sounds like yours, don’t fret, Starlight-Reader! I have some tips that might just help you get over your book-burnout!

1. Try out a new genre – One of the best tips I can give is to simply try something different. If you’re burnt out on a particular genre (or theme, or plot point) try something completely new and different. After my burnout, I found myself drawn to contemporary fiction and even some paranormal novels. Try to move in the complete polar opposite direction of your old favorite genre. If you liked Dystopia, Paranormal or Scifi, try moving to realistic, contemporary novels, and vice versa. Poetry readers could try traditional prose novels, and prose readers could test the waters of creative poetry fiction, such as the Crank series and other books by Ellen Hopkins.

2. Give it Time – Don’t try to force yourself into something you don’t want to do. Maybe you could pick up a hobby in the meantime, like writing, painting, or playing an instrument. Soon enough, your book burnout will be over and you’ll go crawling back to your bookshelf of old favorites.

3. Swap Books – This is related to #1, but if you can’t get over your burnout soon enough, it might be the perfect time to swap books with a friend (bonus points if your friend is also burn-out!) The two of you could bond over books that you’ve already read and loved, and nothing’s better than the feeling of getting a friend to read one of your favorites! Who knows, with the two of you gushing over book characters and plot twists, you might just break yourself out on your own!

Well, there you have it, Starlight-Readers! I hope that you guys can overcome any book burnout you might have with these tips! Happy Reading!

Review: The Choice by Allison J. Kennedy

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I’ve recently gotten myself into a bit of a realistic/contemporary fiction obsession. Where I once filled my shelves and wish lists with the newest Dystopian/Scifi/Fantasy/Paranormal novels, I’m now starting to find myself drawn to these realistic novels with real-world problems and tearjerking moments (not to say that I’m done with the other genres!)

I received a copy of The Choice from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I started it on Friday, and I finished it very early Sunday morning, after taking a day off from reading on Saturday.

Without further ado, my spoiler-free review!

I’ll start with the description, which is from Goodreads.

How do you heal from your past when you’re still trapped within it?

I lost myself the night of the party. Just like that, my innocence and my sanity were torn away.

I would like to say that time heals all wounds, but it doesn’t. And I would like to say that falling in love is what rescued me, but it wasn’t. Nobody told me what to expect in the coming days and weeks and months after conceiving a rapist’s child. Years later, my wounds are still just as fresh as the night they were made. It would be so easy to disappear and allow the memories to consume me.

But that’s the choice, isn’t it? To live instead.

**This book contains rape triggers. Discretion is advised. **

From the description, you can see that this isn’t a cute, breezy summer love story. This is a raw, real novel, with pain and angst, but also hope, painting the pages. Allison J. Kennedy did a great job of creating two amazing characters, May, our protagonist, and Alex, a new friend of May’s who helps her deal with her pain. Both of the characters are well rounded, and I’m so glad that they’re able to be there for each other throughout the novel.

do have a few criticisms, mainly of the other characters. We don’t really understand much about May’s mother as an actual person until near the end on the novel, when she and May have a talk. Grace, May’s little sister, is very similar to their mother, and she’s a bit unlikable because of how little she’s characterized. May’s friends, Addison and Danika, are pretty much just the supportive friends, but they do drive the plot forward, each in their own ways. Danika leads May to pain, and in the end, Addison leads her (partially) from it.

Back to the plot, there was actually one moment in the book that had me EXTREMELY happy, even with the awful things going on in May’s life. I’m sure that when you get to that point, you’ll get know why I I felt the way I did. I don’t want to give it away, but that simple line was enough to make everything a little better.

Now, be warned, this book isn’t for everyone. There are difficult subjects in this, such as rape and other potentially triggering subjects. Still, I feel that even survivors of such traumas could find light in this book, especially in the last few chapters, in which you see the turnaround for the better in May’s life. The last chapter, and the ending specifically, was especially empowering.

All in all, this was a harrowing, powerful read that I feel that a lot of people need to read. This isn’t a read just for girls, either. I feel that guys should also read this, so that they can understand that the choices they make in regards to sexual assault can have a huge effect on someone else’s life. This book is called The Choice, and shows just how crucial the choices we make in life can be.

Review: The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak

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When I first started this book, I wasn’t sure if I would like it. I’ve read my fair share of musician/rock star novels, but with The Heartbreakers, it seemed more like it would turn out to be some sort of heavily romantic, lovey-dovey teen novel. I mean, it kind of was, but not in the unappealing way I had expected.

The Heartbreakers tells the tale of Stella, one of three triplets, who is a photographer. Her sister Cara has cancer and is a huge fan of The Heartbreakers, which prompts Stella and their brother Drew to go on a trip to Chicago to get the band’s autograph at a signing. There, Stella bumps into the lead singer of the band, and her entire life flips upside down.
The Heartbreakers was a refreshing read for me. I’m usually an avid Dystopian/Scifi/Fantasy/Paranormal fan, but it’s easy to get burned out in those genres. Sometimes, I just need to take a break and treat myself to a good old slice of the real world. That’s what The Heartbreakers was for me: a fresh, unique concept that grasped my attention from the first page and held it until the very end.

I finished this novel in less than twenty-four hours, mainly because I couldn’t put it down! Oliver is a deep, fun-loving guy, but there are things you don’t learn about him until the very end. I love that Stella, Drew, and Cara are triplets. You don’t see many triplets in YA fiction, let alone real life. I love that each sibling was fleshed out nicely, and that they weren’t used for comic relief. Each twin was uniquely their own, especially Stella. Even the band members are fleshed out, with the fun, slightly immature JJ, Xander, who seems a bit like your stereotypical nerdy guy with allergies and glasses, and Alec, who is pretty much the best friend every girl wants.

I was initially apprehensive that this book would read like a One Direction fanfic, considering that it’s from Wattpad, but this book was wonderful and very much NOT a badly written take on boy-bands. It’s amazing to see what young authors can write, and I’m so glad that Ali Novak chose to write Stella’s story of photography, family, and The Heartbreakers!

I would recommend this book for fans of boy bands such as One Direction or 5 Seconds of Summer, or really for anyone who wants a refreshing read over the Summer. It’s a great book to take with you on the go, or even to curl up on the couch and read all the way through in one sitting. It’s up to you how you read it, but you really should check it out! I believe that the author also has some bonus stories from the POVs of the band members on her Wattpad page, but they’re still in progress. Oliver’s story is complete, though, and I’ll get around to reading that soon!

You can preorder The Heartbreakers on Amazon, and it will be released on August 4th, 2015. Find it here, at http://www.amazon.com/The-Heartbreakers-Ali-Novak/dp/1492612561

Review: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

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Do you ever find yourself splitting your attention between two equally awesome and compelling novels, and then scolding yourself for it? Well, with Afterworlds, there’s no reason to scold yourself! There are two stories included in one book, both of different genres. Afterworlds tells the story of Darcy, the girl who writes the novel, Afterworlds, which is also contained within the book. For the sake of this review, Darcy’s story will be referred to as real life, because while the Afterworlds chapters have a title, Darcy’s fictional life doesn’t.

Without further ado, my review of Afterworlds!

Spoilers Ahead!

The IRL part of Afterworlds tells the story of Darcy Patel, a girl who wrote Afterworlds in 30 days during the Nanowrimo event. She sends it off to an agent, who helps her get published. From there, she’s thrust into the world of publishing, with parties, new york apartments, and most importantly, young love. Darcy falls in love with a fellow writer, by the name of Imogen Grey. Darcy’s chapters are marked by issues with their relationship, publishing issues, and the struggles of being a young writer in New York City.

The actual Afterworlds part is where things get interesting. It starts off with a terrorist attack at an airport, which serves as Lizzie’s introduction to the afterworld, known as the flipside. At the urging of a 911 operator, she plays dead to avoid getting shot. She loses consciousness, and wakes up later when everyone thinks that she’s dead. Of course, she also meets Yamaraj and Yami, twins who live in the flip-side, Yami is a ghost, but Yamaraj is like Lizzie, a psychopomp, who can traverse both the flipped and the normal world. When she finally returns home as the only survivor, she most deal with ghosts, serial killers, and vicious predators in the afterworld, while managing her real life connections.

I LOVED this book. When I picked it up at a thrift store for ONE DOLLAR, I was thrilled. I had seen it on goodreads, and I really wanted to read it, so I’m sure you can understand how excited I was when I found it. I found myself flipping through the pages, on the edge of my seat. The fact that the two stories alternated by chapter left each part with a cliff hanger feel. I thought that I would like the Afterworlds part of the novel better, but the IRL part was also amazing as well. The characters were surprisingly well developed for a two part novel, but then again, with nearly 600 pages in the hardcover edition, I wouldn’t really expect any less. We’re pretty much getting two full length novels with loosely connected storylines together in one book!!! It’s totally worth the cost, even if you buy it from a bookstore rather than a thrift store like I did. There’s so much to love!

5/5

Review: Butter by Erin Jade Lange

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I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into when I started this book yesterday. The title intrigued me, and the synopsis even more. I started reading between classes yesterday, and less than 24 hours later, I was done.

Now, Butter kind of reads like a John Green novel. There’s wit, lessons, sass, and a good blend of light and dark scenes. With this book being about an obese teenager who plans on killing himself on New Years Eve, a blend of those ideas is important to keep the novel from being to light or too heavy on the topic.

Now, here we have Butter, our protagonist. All he wants is to play his saxophone, get his dream girl and lose a bit of weight (he’s tired of being the weird kid with the handicap parking spot, the custom desk, and the lonely bench at the lunch table without any friends.) Certain events lead him to create a website about his suicide plan, which is to eat himself to death on a live feed on New Years, which is a major part of this novel.

One thing that shocked me as I read this was just [ how the people that knew about the website didn’t actually tell anyone until it was almost too late. The only person that came close was Butter’s friend Tucker from the FitFab weight loss camp, and even he didn’t tell, but only because Butter convinced him that he actually wasn’t going to kill himself. A majority of the school knew about the site, and online, people were fueling the fire beneath Butter and almost pushing him toward his suicide, which a counselor in the book later describes as bullying, which it is. There was even a viewing party for the live stream of his binge-eating suicide, which was disturbing. Instead of celebrating the New Year, they were watching a classmate kill himself, which is when they finally had the sense to call 911.

I actually found myself growing quite anxious near the end, and I could barely bring myself to put it down when I had to go to class. Some characters were a bit generic, and a few sort of blended together, but Butter is our shining character here. He’s a likable guy, but with a bad idea. Over the course of the book, you start to learn more about him and his family and where his problems started. I like that there wasn’t an intro dump right at the beginning, and that everything is progressively given. 🙂

I would recommend this book to fans of John Green, or really any contemporary young adult fan. 🙂

Review: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

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Where can I even begin? Very few books have ever torn me apart as much as TFIOS did. I remember buying the book on my kindle around noon because the preview seemed interesting. I read for about an hour, and then I took some time off to help set up my fish tank. When I came back to it, it was around midnight. When I finished the book, it was 2 am, and my eyes were swollen from crying, so much to the point that my mom was concerned. TFIOS is one of those books that really sticks with you for a long time after you read the last words.

This is my review of The Fault In Our Stars, which was probably the best book I read in 2014.

Synopsis: *Spoilers ahead*

TFIOS is about a girl named Hazel, who has thyroid cancer that spread to her lungs. Her parents basically force her to attend a support group, where she has a friend, a boy named Isaac, who’s already lost one eye to cancer, and is about to lose the other. It is at that support group that she meets one of Isaac’s friends, a boy named Augustus, who lost a leg to cancer, but is now cancer-free and only there to support Isaac. The two of them immediately hit it off, and thus begins their star-crossed romance. Hazel goes home with him, where they watch a movie and exchange their favorite books. This is a major plot point, as Hazel’s favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, leads up to some of the events to come, such as the trip to Amsterdam, and their entire relationship.

The book takes a turn for the sad when we discover that Augustus’s cancer has come back. He begins treatment for it, but after a while, his family decides to stop the chemo and just let Augustus live his remaining life. There are a few more happy moments mixed in with the sad, but soon, Augustus Waters dies, leaving Hazel behind.


This book was AMAZINGRarely do I ever read through a book all in one day, and I almost never sob for nearly an hour while reading the ending. I’m glad that I read this on my kindle, because the pages of the book would have been wet with my tears.

John Green managed a perfect blend of light and dark moments, with everything from Augustus’s decline in health, to the throwing of eggs at Isaac’s ex-girlfriend’s car. One moment you’re smiling, and the next your sobbing your eyes out. I feel like that balance is one of the things that makes this book so great. Even after you learn that Augustus’s cancer has come back, it’s not a completely dark part of the book. You can still find yourself smiling, even though you have a feeling that something bad is coming soon.

One scene, Augustus’s Pre-Funeral, really struck me. Augustus, or Gus, as he’s called by this point in the book, knows that he doesn’t have too long left, so he calls his two best friends, Hazel and Isaac, to give their eulogies while he’s still alive to hear them. This is an especially heart wrenching part of the novel, as you get to see how much Gus means to his friends. Later, at Gus’s real funeral, Hazel says that funerals are for the living, which I agree with completely. Funerals are pretty much a way for the living to grieve together. However, the pre-funeral was pretty much Gus’s way of accepting what’s going to happen, which I thought was beautiful, as most people don’t get to hear their eulogies.

The ending of the book was another wonderful part. Hazel reads a letter from Gus to Van Houten, asking him to write a eulogy for Hazel because he can’t. It’s pretty much a letter highlighting all of her good features, and ends with one of my favorite lines, “You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers.” For me, that line had be sobbing so hard, partially because it’s one of the last lines, and also because of just how true it is.


I don’t even know what more to say. 5/5 stars. Bravo, Mr. John Green. You have written one of my favorite books. Bravo.

If you haven’t read this book, PLEASE go read it. Or see the movie. Or both. I highly recommend both. I’m usually not the type of person that likes to see movies, especially book-to-movie adaptations, but this is a wonderful exception. Read the book, and then see the movie. You won’t be disappointed.