Gravity by Melissa West

At its most basic, Gravity is about a girl named Ari, who has to try to prevent a war between two races: the humans, and the Ancients, with the help of her friends, Law and Gretchen, and a boy named Jackson Locke, who is actually more than just a boy.

I…guess I liked this book. It was enjoyable, and entertaining, but it didn’t keep my attention. I didn’t care if I was reading it or a different book, and it really wasn’t anything overly special. It was good, don’t get me wrong; I found that I liked some of the characters, but it was very predictable. At no point was I surprised by what happened throughout the novel. There were no shocking twists. It simply…was.

I think one of the issues I had with the book was that I didn’t love the main character, which is kind of an issue considering it’s told in the first person. In fact, now that I’m thinking back, I didn’t love any of the characters. I guess I sort of liked Jackson…but the truth is, I didn’t really care. I read the book purely for enjoyment, and I kept reading because I thought that it would get more addicting, that I would start to love the characters, or the plot, or just…something about the book that would keep my interest. But nothing did. I just kept reading, and reading, but nothing changed. I still didn’t love the book. And by the end of it, the characters just started to annoy me. It was like they had no real emotions, or at least not tangible ones. Like, they were all so black and white, that even when their emotions did show, I didn’t care, or it didn’t even matter to me. And it really bothered me that they thought they had to be strong the entire time; and it wasn’t even an actual thought, they just refused to show any emotion. Even when they were alone, there was no emotion. It was like they were robots, for the entire book.

I found myself actually skipping paragraphs. I would be reading the dialogue, and then Ari would start to talk about something in her prose, and I would just skim through it, not even paying attention, because none of it interested me. And I know that that is awful, and that you’re supposed to read the entire book before deciding that you don’t like it, but I couldn’t read those paragraphs. It just bored me so much.

I do not mean to say the book was bad, it just didn’t hold my interest. I finished it, so I must have enjoyed it on some level, but I never felt any attachment to it. It wasn’t a page turner. And I don’t think that I’m going to read the sequel; it just doesn’t seem worth it.

For those still interested, the book is appropriate for any age (there weren’t any bad language, or scenes that were inappropriate). I do not recommend this to anyone looking for something that will keep them invested. But if you’re looking for an in-between book, this one works just fine.

More Than This by Jay McLean

This book is about a girl named Mikayla, who catches her boyfriend cheating on her with her best friend. Then she met Jake. Jake, who saw everything, the whole spectacle, and decided that she needed cheering up. Only, that’s not the end to their night, which only ends in tragedy.
I loved this book. Well, more like the books following it. This one didn’t capture me as much, but at no fault of the book’s. The other two (More Than Her and More Than Him) just happened to be better and more enthralling. I did, however, really enjoy this book, and could not put it down.
At its base, this book is a simple love story. There’s nothing overly special about it; it’s just a romance novel. And that’s actually fairly accurate throughout the book; it’s just a romance novel. But there was something about the characters that made you want them to be okay, even if some of it was a bit…strange, to say the least. It was very unconventional, and at points I didn’t entirely understand why the characters were acting the way they were acting (I’m trying not to spoil anything).
I really liked Micky. Throughout the book, she struggles with loss, and acceptance, and not leaning too hard on others, but at the same time, knowing when to accept help. I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with Jake, mostly because I wanted to smack him and tell him he was being an idiot at times, although even that wasn’t entirely “hate.” Really, I just got a little frustrated with him. The characters I fell in love with, though, were Lucy, Logan, Cam, Heidi, and Dylan, their friends. They were all so warm, and supportive, and just genuine characters, not to mention absolutely hilarious.
Like I said, though, the other two books in the series (so far) have been my favorite. The second book is Logan’s story, with the third being a continuation of the story, and I just thought it was better. I couldn’t put it down, and actually finished reading the second one night, and the third the next. It might have had a lot to do with the fact that it’s a more haunting story; Logan has a lot of problems to work out, as does Amanda, and it made it seem less like “just a romance”, and more like I was reading their actual lives. It also made the story more interesting, and I was able to get more of an emotional reaction from reading their two points of view than I did in the first book. Don’t get me wrong, the first one was still sad and amazingly beautiful; the second and third were just…more.
I should warn you: there is a lot of cussing, drinking, anxiety, social issues, mental issues, abuse, and it is graphic both in language (as in characters speaking) and in image (everything else, pretty much). The book doesn’t focus on the physical part of the relationship as much as the romance and chemistry and mental issues, but it is still present, still there.
I would say this, though: to anyone looking for a romance, pick up this series. But start at the first. Don’t think just because I didn’t like it as much as the others that it wasn’t good. It was. Don’t read the books out of order!

From More Than This:

*Mikayla*
In one night my fairytale ended. Or it may have begun. This is my story of friendship and love, heartbreak and desire, and the strength to show weakness.
*Jake*
One night I met a girl. A sad and broken girl, but one more beautiful than any other. She laughed through her sadness, while I loved through her heartbreak.
*This is our story of a maybe ever after.*
He was right. It made no difference whether it was six months or six years. I couldn’t undo what had been done. I couldn’t change the future. I couldn’t even predict it. It was one night. One night when everything changed. It was so much more than just the betrayal. It was the Tragedy. The Deaths. The Murders. But it was also that feeling. The feeling of falling.

For those interested, this is from More Than  Her:

“For every action there is an equal or opposite reaction.”

For every choice you make there are rewards, or there are consequences. It was my choice to walk away the first time.

And my choice to chase her the second.

But sometimes you don’t get a choice,

and all you get are the consequences.

 

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength,

while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

Unless that someone is Logan Matthews.

Because loving him didn’t give me

the strength to walk away.

It didn’t give me the courage to fight for him.

And when it was over, all it gave me was a broken heart.

The Things We Cannot Change by Kassandra Kush

This is actually, technically, a series. It goes, Prologue, The Struggle, The Healing, and the Love Story, which actually kind of annoyed me, because it could easily have just been one long book.

Basically this book is about a girl who is Ms. Popular, is extremely rich, and has a perfect boyfriend (it’d be more accurate to call her Ms. Perfect). It is also about the boy who is not only her polar opposite and has a tendency to burry his emotions, but who also finds out that her boyfriend is abusing her.

Personally, I found this book extremely emotional. On more than one occasion, I had to stop reading because my eyes were tearing up so much. It is very heart wrenching, and I thought that that should be the first thing I tell you, as a warning. If you don’t want to be emotionally vulnerable, emotionally attached to characters, or you don’t want to end up screaming and raging at how stupid the characters are being, at how stubborn they are because they are human and are portrayed as human, than you shouldn’t bother to finish reading this post. This obviously isn’t the book for you. But if you like books where characters are relatable and actually human, and the struggle they go through feels very real, then by all means, keep reading.

Like I said, the characters were very human. Zeke and Evie (the main characters) were two of the most flawed, insecure characters I have read; they were vulnerable, and courageous, and amazing people, while at the same time being complete cowards who were destructive and harmful to themselves. It took me no time at all to fall in love with Evie and Zeke, and some of their friends, like Dom, Koby, and Jenny, while at the same time absolutely hating on their enemies.

I also loved the writing style. It was very fast paced, and easy to follow; I was never confused or thought things were moving too slow or too fast. Considering the series is practically in installments, I spent no time ripping through the pages to get to the end. I must have read the first two or three in one day. And, at the same time, you feel like you’re actually in the characters skins. You feel like you’re a part of them, like you’re feeling what their feeling.

The one thing I did not like was the way the books were broken up. The first two parts could have easily been one book, and it annoyed me, to no end, that I had to keep going to the store to get the next one. It seemed to me like the books are more like sections, and they’re even labeled as “Part 1,” “Par 2,” “Part 3,” etc. And the entire thing just felt like one giant struggle leading up to the inevitable. Yes, it would have made a very long book, but it really wouldn’t have made a difference. It wasn’t like The Harry Potter series, where each book stood on its own, without any real help from the others (although you did have to read the previous books to fully understand what was happening, you could have picked up from anywhere, and enjoyed it, if not slightly less than if you had started from the first and read through all seven). It really did blend all together.

The series dealt with a lot of issues: abuse (physical, mental, and sexual; both from others and to yourself), substance abuse, cutting, graffiti, losing a loved one, bullying, being on your own and having to defend yourself, the healing process, among other things. It really talked about and delved into standing up for yourself, figuring out your own problems, and relying on others, as the main topics in the backbones of the plot.

The one regret I had, aside from the sections thing that I had no control over, was that it ended so quickly. I almost wish there was another part, so that I can find out what happened (it ended on such a cliff hanger that I have to assume there’s going to be another part to the series), but I’m also ready to lay the series to rest. I have yet to decide weather or not I will hunt down the next part, or weather I will just let it lie. But I will say that I do recommend it for anyone who 1) continued to read despite my warning, 2) liked what they read or was at least interested in reading it, and 3) can take being emotionally rocked and slightly horrified. This series is not for the light-hearted, or the easily upset stomach. It does batter and bruise, but I thought it was worth continuing to read, and I’m glad that I didn’t stop after the first part. 

Seven Years by Dannika Dark

This is the first book in the series, and it tells the tale of Lexi Knight and Austin Cole, and how, seven years after Lexi’s brother died, Austin (his best friend) returns. The book summary is better than any that I could ever give, so here it is: “It’s been seven years since Lexi Knight lost her brother in a tragic accident. On the anniversary of his death, her brother’s best friend she’s up unexpectedly–a man she hasn’t seen since the funeral. He is no longer the boy Lexi once knew, but a dangerous-looking man with tattoos and dark secrets. He broke her trust and abandoned her family, yet what he reveals makes it impossible to stay angry. Lexi has been secretly infatuated with Austin since childhood, so finding out he’s a Shifter just makes him sexier. Dammit. Austin Cole has returned to the city where he grew up, and just in time. He’s lived a hard life these past seven years, and the shadows of his past are threatening to destroy Lexi’s family. It’s time that she learned the truth about her brother, but there is a shocking twist that Austin never saw coming. Now he must protect her family when her mother and sister wind up in mortal danger. Will Lexi learn to accept the truth about who he is, and can Austin salvage a relationship from the ruins of their past?” That’s the summary that the book gives, and it does a pretty good job of summarizing the book. Although it is a little deceitful, because it tells you absolutely nothing about the actual plot; it was, heavily based in romance; however, the entire story was not just some ploy for Austin to win her back. It was a lot more intricate than that. Sort of. Hopefully that statement will make sense as I go on.

One thing that I really liked about this book was that it was mostly playful; it never felt entirely serious (at all), and I felt like I was reading a romcom more than a paranormal romance. For starters, when Austin first announces that he is, in fact, a mythical being that can turn into a wolf, Lexi just shrugs it off, labels him crazy, and decides to indulge in his fantasies for a bit. I personally thought this was a completely realistic reaction. For a few pages, she insists that he’s yanking her chain. It’s only a bit after that, when she actually started to believe him, that I thought, Hold up. You believe this nonsense? (Keep in mind, that I would love it if Shifters exist; I’d probably be the first person to go hunting for Big Foot if proof ever came up that he exists, and I’m talking about solid evidence. But the fact that Austin cannot prove anything, and she just goes with it? I had a hard time dealing with that). But it did add to the lack of seriousness, which I greatly appreciated. At the time, I was just looking for a book to get me through the weekend. I wasn’t expecting heavy reading. This pretty much succeeded my expectations. It was neither a brilliantly written book, nor was it dull; it’s simply entertaining.

I also really liked the characters. Austin is absolutely adorable, and I found myself looking forward to his narrations. I also fell in love with his brother Denver, who is sweet, and funny, but at the same time flirtatious with a more serious side. And I definitely liked Lexi; she was fiercely independent and strong, but still gave in to tears now and then, which I appreciated (since strong does not necessarily mean emotionless, and it really bothers me when women are portrayed without emotions when their situation does not warrant it. Being strong is one thing. Being empty is completely different).

But one thing I could not get over was the writing. Like I said, it wasn’t brilliantly written. It wasn’t poetic, or inspiring. It was simply entertaining. Which I’m fine with. Really. But sometimes I like to read books that are entertaining, and well written. Not to mention the fact that I like books that are at least somewhat grounded in reality, even if other aspects of it are not. For example: supernatural creatures are not real. But at least have the characters reactions to these paranormal activities be realistic. Maybe not going and fetching a gun with silver bullets; but at least be a little more shocked than “Oh. You’re a werewolf? Cool. What’s for dinner?” Your world has just been turned upside down. At the very least, say “Prove it,” or be ready to defend yourself.

One thing I was not prepared for, and I should warn you should you decide to read it: I was not ready for how graphic the book was. It wasn’t Fifty Shades of Gray, but it also wasn’t Shiver (great book, by the way). The scenes were graphic enough that they couldn’t be considered innocent, which, having read the writing style on the first page, was what I was expecting. I had honestly thought that it would be an innocent romance, and maybe the author would hint at something happening, but would not give us graphic details. But no, I was very wrong.

I do not know that I would go out of my way to recommend this book. But I will say that I enjoyed reading it. It wasn’t what I was expressly looking for, but it got my curious enough to read the second book. It’s not that it’s bad…it’s just not great.

Becoming Alpha by Aileen Erin

This book is about a girl whose life has always been difficult. Tessa has a loving family; they’re very supportive and caring. The problem is that she has become a social pariah at the age of seventeen because she gets visions when she touches people. Her family decides that it is best if they leave their lives in LA, and move somewhere new; to start over. But on the first week that she moves to Texas, trouble finds her. She kisses one boy at one party, and suddenly her life is thrust into chaos.

Not my best summary. I tried really hard not to give anything away. I really liked this book. I thought it was going to be your typical Twilight read, a supernatural romance that didn’t suck me in (no pun intended), and didn’t cause me to want to keep reading, just one more page, until I’d finished the book and was still craving to know what happened. I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

There were a lot of things I liked about the book: one, the author stuck to traditional folklore. I know, not so creative, but it was a lot more intriguing to see how the characters interacted within traditional lore, rather than, say, have vampires who sparkle. I was able to get into it faster because I knew most of what the main character was learning about the different types of creatures within the novel.

I also really liked the main character, Tessa. She was absolutely hilarious, smart, witty, sarcastic, and she didn’t just go with what everyone was saying, thinking, oh, yeah, awesome, cool. Yeah, that totally makes sense. I’m definitely fine with the whole werewolf thing. You’re sooooo hot. She questioned things, and stood up for what she believed in. There were also moments where I though, Tessa, no, stop, what are you doing, you’re going to get yourself killed you idiot! But it was those moments that made her human (well, as human as she was going to get). She didn’t seem perfect; far from it. She was rash, and didn’t always think things through. She was strong, but she also had her weak points, like her pride, or her control over her emotions (or lack of control). She wasn’t a wallflower. She stood tall and proud. And reading it, I found myself respecting her as a character.

Another thing I liked about the book was that it wasn’t a Oh, I just met you and now I’m in love with you type of book. The main love interest (Dastien), made it clear that he was, indeed, in love at first sight. But it wasn’t an automatic, we must be together. They recognized that on some level they were meant to be. But they weren’t perfect either. For a good part of the book, he gives her space, letting her adjust to everything that’s happened to her. He’s not forceful with her, either, but instead he tries to win her over (although he’s not the smartest person when it comes to romance).

And, while we’re on the topic of Dastien…I definitely liked his character. He was the perfect character to match hers. He was sweet, and adorable, but at the same time, he was tall, dark, and (supposedly) handsome. And there was actual chemistry between the two characters. And I didn’t just like Dastien, but I also loved her friends (and even some of her enemies). They were lively, and they were funny, and they were generally like-able people. Even some of the villains were redeemable, and I enjoyed reading about them.

And here’s the only negative: it was very predictable. It was easy to figure out what was happening next, who the enemy was, who would get attacked and why. There was nothing surprising about it. Nothing shocked me.

But, like I said, that was the only negative I had. I really enjoyed the book.

I would not recommend this book to anyone who thinks that brooding, ancient (I’m talking over one or two hundred years), blood-sucking, murdering creatures is romantic, then this is probably not the book for you. It’s not exactly nice to vampires, and it’s mostly a werewolf and witch story.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

This book is about a girl named Juliette who cannot touch people. She spent the last three years locked in a mental asylum, alone. Her world changes when they assign her a cell mate. But things are never so simple.

I’m going to try very hard to not give anything away. It’s pretty difficult, but I’ll try.

I really liked this book. I liked it enough that my stomach dropped while I was reading it. But it wasn’t because of the story itself. The plot of the novel is simple, predictable, and cheesy at best. However, the characters, while still cheesy and more than a little typical, made me really happy. Nobody is wholly evil or wholly good in this book. Except Adam. Adam pretty much walks on water. But I’ll get to that later.

What really grabbed me was the way Mafi chose to write the novel. It’s not just prose. It’s a lot more like one long poem, with extensive metaphors and beautiful imagery. It took me a little bit of time to adjust to the way it was supposed to be read, but once I did, I got really into it. It sort of just sweeps you along, until you’ve read about fifty pages and haven’t even realized it. It was absolutely beautiful writing. And if there weren’t moments when the plot bothered me, or the characters bothered me, I would have absolutely loved it.

The plot bothered me mostly because it reminded me way too much of the X-Men. Juliette could easily have been Juliette. The only other things I can say is that it has so many parallels to X-Men that it made my head spin, and made me a little annoyed, to say the least. Had Mafi just had Juliette, I would have been fine. Had that been the only parallel, I would have just gone with it. But there were so many that all it did was bother me.

There was also the matter of the cheesiness of Adam and their relationship. I can’t deny that it made me happy. I won’t deny that it made my toes curl a little. I definitely won’t say that I did not let out a very unlady-like squeal and a soft awww while I was reading. I will however say that it annoyed me that there was no variety in their relationship. Everything was sunshine and roses. She never once thought that it was odd, or that he was a little too perfect. And it really bothered me that he was so perfect. I could not find a single flaw with Adam, nothing to make him seem human. I liked him, because he was so adorable, but I was wondering when the perfect persona would end. I kept expecting there to be some kind of flaw with him, or something that made him human, and I couldn’t find it. I wanted him to be human, and it annoyed me, to no end, that he was absolutely flawless.

I did, however, really like Warner. Weird thing to say, considering how creepy and cruel he was. But there were times I felt bad for him. And I think that that may have been the purpose of his character: an absolutely evil person, who is ridiculously selfish, and only has power on his mind, is someone you can feel bad for. (Obviously I couldn’t tell you if Mafi intended for the reader to feel this way; I’m not a mind reader). It didn’t justify his actions; I still hated him most of the time, and I found him repulsive. But I liked that I felt that way. Had he been a genuinely like-able character, I wouldn’t have continued reading. I wouldn’t have wanted him to die so badly (not a spoiler! Just a feeling). But I liked that I still felt bad, and even sympathized with him at times. That’s what a villain should be like; almost entirely evil, misguided, and screwed up, but who you can still sympathize with or recognize that they’re still human. All Warner wanted was for someone to love him, to feel like he belonged.

I also liked Juliette. She was not weak or strong, but somewhere in between. She was not confident in herself, which made me sympathize with her more. Mostly, she was realistic. She seemed human. Even when her abilities made her seem more than human, she was still human-like. The only critique I had of her was that I wish she had been more independent from Adam. She was too dependent on him, too absorbed in him to focus on anything else. And yeah, I understand why (spoiler if I told, so I won’t.). But that didn’t make it any better.

This is definitely a young adult romance. I would not recommend it for adults who are used to reading biographies. Divergent fans might enjoy this, as would Hunger Games fans (although it’s not as good as the Hunger Games). I would also not recommend this for anyone who does not like romances, or is below the age of 10. There is mention of sex, although it is more implied than anything else, but the writing is a bit difficult to read at first. I will say that you should read it; despite it’s shortcomings, it is still a fantastic book. I enjoyed it a lot while I was reading it; it was just when I was starting the second book that I realized how basic and annoying some of it was. But I’ve already said that. Definitely read it. It’s very good. If you like romances, especially young adult ones, chances are you’ll like this one.