Winter Mini Reviews

Hey y'all!Grace here, slightly more alive by the end of the term. We have less than two weeks left until I leave for spring break, and I could not be more ready to get out of this winter! It's been a hard one.I've scaled down a lot this semester just trying to get through it, so a lot of my daily routine has involved class, running, and then reading. I've caught up with some series I missed and gotten back to that 2011 mindset of just inhaling genre reads. (I'm still a sucker for paranormal books.)With that being said, I wanted to share my thoughts by discussing books that I first read when I was starting out blogging, almost eight years ago. Highlighting some ones that are still notable!Series:Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter | GoodreadsRelease Date: May 1, 2006Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school-that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses but it's really a school for spies. Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she's an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real "pavement artist"-but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her?Cammie Morgan may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she's on her most dangerous mission-falling in love.

I forgot how much pacing means to a book series. If an author can pace well -- perfectly proportioning intrigue, character development, and action, it makes a world of difference. Ally Carter is honestly brilliant in her plotting, and her writing punctuates it all to make it all feel larger-than-life. One of the most exciting and cinematic series I've ever gotten the privilege of reading.Series: Fallen by Lauren Kate | GoodreadsRelease Date: December 8, 2009Publisher: Delacorte Press

What if the person you were meant to be with could never be yours?17-year-old Lucinda falls in love with a gorgeous, intelligent boy, Daniel, at her new school, the grim, foreboding Sword & Cross . . . only to find out that Daniel is a fallen angel, and that they have spent lifetimes finding and losing one another as good & evil forces plot to keep them apart.Get ready to fall . . .

Okay, so Fallen was a book that I LOVED when I was younger. When I first read it, I was blown away by the dark atmosphere and the twisted world of the fallen angels. Lauren Kate nails the Gothic vibe. I still adore it, having gone back, but the writing and the love story were weaker than I remember them being. Luce doesn't have much of a personality. Still, it's a solidly escapist read. Also, this is one of my favorite book covers of all time.Series: Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot | GoodreadsRelease Date: October 14, 2014Publisher: HarperCollins

When Julia Buchanan enrolls at St. Anne’s at the beginning of junior year, Charlotte Ryder already knows all about the former senator’s daughter. Most people do... or think they do.Charlotte certainly never expects she’ll be Julia’s friend. But almost immediately, she is drawn into the larger than-life-new girl’s world—a world of midnight rendezvous, dazzling parties, palatial vacation homes, and fizzy champagne cocktails. And then Charlotte meets, and begins falling for, Julia’s handsome older brother, Sebastian.But behind her self-assured smiles and toasts to the future, Charlotte soon realizes that Julia is still suffering from a tragedy. A tragedy that the Buchanan family has kept hidden... until now.

I genuinely forgot how incredible this book is. When I first reviewed it, I saw it as a modern day Gatsby set in a picturesque boarding school atmosphere. I called it "subtle and winning." Flawed characters, family secrets, and an undercurrent of wistfulness make for a stunning, powerful read that also feels gentle. I will champion this book forever. Intoxicating.Series: Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle | GoodreadsRelease Date: October 23, 2014Publisher: Poppy

The romantic story of a girl who gets plucked from obscurity to star in the next major feature film franchise based on a book and the ensuing love triangles she gets entangled in on—-and off screen.Meet Paige Townsen, Rainer Devon, and Jordan Wilder…When Paige Townsen, a young unknown, gets cast in the movie adaptation of a blockbuster book series, her life changes practically overnight. Within a month, Paige has traded the quiet streets of her hometown for a crowded movie set on the shores of Maui, and is spending quality time with her co-star Rainer Devon, one of People’s Sexiest Men Alive. But when troubled star Jordan Wilder lands the role of the other point in the movie’s famous love triangle, Paige’s crazy new life gets even crazier.In this coming-of-age romance inspired by the kind of celeb hookups that get clever nicknames and a million page views, Paige must figure out who she is – and who she wants – while the whole world watches.

The branding for this book does it a disservice, I think. The title, coloring, and "love triangle" focus undermine a coming-of-age that's poignant and affecting. It has a main character who I genuinely wish I could be best friends with. Self-aware, mature, thoughtful. Also, the framework of this book (small town girl catapulted to fame) include plenty of decadent scenes that also satisfy a craving for a fun read. I wish I could better capture in words how expertly curated this book is, and how full-bodied and distinct the experience of reading it is. Gorgeous.

What books have y'all rediscovered?