Review a Book with Sariah Cook

I'm in LOVE with reading. My favorites to read are romance novels or series, and poetry. These book reviews are for my senior project, but I plan to continue this book blog afterwards.

An Emotional List

— feeling cry

I will be updating this list as necessary. 


Books that have made me cry my eyes out for 20+ minutes:


- Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

- Speak by Laurire Halse Anderson

- A Breath Too Late by Rocky Callen

Adorkable by Cookie O'Gorman

Adorkable - Cookie O'Gorman

Hello there fellow readers! I apologize for my leave of absence, I assumed I'd post MORE during quarantine rather than leaving a dry streak. This past weekend I read Adorkable by O'Gorman and the title is ever so accurate for my feelings about this novel. The characters were so cute and flawlessly written, with irresistible names! - C'mon, Sally Sue Spitz and Baldwin Eugene Charles "Becks" Kent? Best friends since ever! Simply charming. I also loved the clever word play through BFF characterization - the matchmaking best friend with the last name/nickname of "Hooker"- who's teamed up with Sally's mother the wedding planner to send Sally on countless blind dates with the hopes of finding her the man of her dreams.   


I really enjoyed the plot of this novel, it created a wholesome type of suspenseful reading experience, and had me jumping for joy and pausing in frustration at all the right moments. I'm a sucker for everything this book brought - best friends turned lovers, fake relationship into real relationship, nerd girl and jock guy, WOO my heart! Loved it. I think my favorite part about the way that O'Gorman created her own unique ending to this common story plot is how the love confession was played out very uniquely to the characters and wasn't super textbook cheesy. There was a bit of this present, but it definitely didn't hurt ;) And ok I loved it. 


Now, there were a few minor details that I would change about 'Adorkable', the first of which is how the title isn't incorporated into the story itself. While this can be common among YA novels, I think it would've really added to the story if the phrase "Adorkable" was something that Becks said in reference to Sally, as possibly a fond connection or inside joke between the two. Other than that, I'd maybe include a German to English translation reference in the back? It's equally tiring to either pretend I can read German, or copy the entire statement into Google translate to help a girl out. Besides these, the book was a total home run, I've already recommended it to some fellow book lovers, and it's very deserving of a 5 star rating. 


Ps. A little comment - the version I read was from Target, and included some bonus content that made my book worm heart so happy!! Poems that young Becks wrote to Sally, an excursion of the ending from his point of view, and even an Adorkable Book Playlist! I was in love. Cookie O'Gorman, wherever you are, you're doing awesome. Keep it up :) 

The Selection - Kiera Cass The Elite - Kiera Cass The One - Kiera Cass

The Selection Trilogy by Kiera Cass

— feeling happy

For this review I will only be talking about the first three Selection novels by Kiera Cass that follow the story of America and Maxon, reviewing the characters and then the story-line, ending with what I did and didn't enjoy about the trilogy. I purchased the complete series through Scholastic Books last year, and I was excited to get around to reading them, which ended up being around the end of January of this year. 


I'll begin with America Singer, the main character of the story and the point of view for the books. America's character is so real and honest, which created a refreshing and exciting read through her eyes. Her heart is pure, and she always does what she believes is right regardless of the consequences.Along with this, she's very stubborn and refuses to be influenced against her views, which causes many problems for her with a lot of people. Regardless, she aspires to make Ilea a better place for her family and others living in the lower chastes. America is presented with conflict in her love life, facing a choice between her teenage love and the Prince of Ilea, both of which end up becoming a big part of her life during the Selection. 


Next up is Maxon Schreave, the Prince of Ilea and the bachelor of the Selection. He's seen as just another royal snob to America before they begin to interact, where it's revealed that Maxon is very genuine and true to himself. He's respectful and kind to America and all of the other women in the Selection, and the story proceeds to show the sides of him that aren't seen by everyone else. As his relationship with America progresses, she comes to understand that he too cares greatly about the people of Ilea and those around him, and that he's always had the same intentions as America regarding the government and society systems. To create conflict, his Father, the King, does everything in his power to shoot down all of Maxon and America's ideas.


The final main character is Aspen Leger, who is America's ex and childhood friend, and a prestigious guard at the castle. He is strong-willed and protective of America, risking his job to visit her in her room whenever he gets the chance. Aspen is a wholesome character with honest intentions for his relationship with America - which is a crucial factor of both his and America's character development in their story. 


The additional characters throughout this trilogy are done really well and had a great part in supporting the main characters through their decisions. For example, the King and Queen of Ilea, America's maids and family, and the other girls in the Selection are all characters that variously affected the development and choices of other characters. 


Regarding the story-line throughout The Selection, The Elite, and The One, I really enjoyed the consistency of surprises and plot twists and turns, and how it always kept me on the edge of my seat while reading each of the books. The way the story flowed, progressed, and connected at points was impressive and very well written. The use of the Northern and Southern rebels and their frequent attacks with varying intensity created lots of suspense that left me wondering what was going to happen next! This made it nearly impossible to put down any of the books while I was reading them, and I would give this trilogy an impressive score for how close I got to throwing each book many times, especially as I finished them. 


In the end, I really enjoyed The Selection Trilogy, and would definitely read it again, possibly even multiple re-reads. There was a lot that I loved about the books, but there is something that I wish was written differently about Maxon and America's love story. For 2 1/2 books, Kiera Cass adds quite a bit of length to the development of their relationship, with lots of ups and downs and conflicts between them, which does keep my interest, but at the end of the 3rd book, their conclusion feels soooo rushed. It's true that they've been affected by massive loss and don't want to waste any more time wandering around "maybe's", but I do wish it didn't feel so jumped at the end. 


Overall, I rate these books 5 stars because they kept my interest the entire time, the writing was impressive, the plot was amazing, and the characters were very well written and developed through the story. 2 big thumbs up for Kiera Cass, and I can't wait to read The Heir! 

Credits to The Expert Editor. Found on Business Insider
Credits to The Expert Editor. Found on Business Insider

I love this! The facts shown on this are really important and should be seen by everyone in my opinion. There really is many benefits from reading that can increase your brain power and knowledge, and that's just one of the many reasons why I love to read. Hope you enjoy!

A Review: On the Fence

On the Fence - Kasie West

This book was a really sweet "boy next door" story - which I'm a sucker for! I enjoyed reading this, and had it finished within a day or two. 


Our main character, Charlie, is "one of the guys." Having grown up with 4 older brothers, 3 biological and one her neighbor Braden, she's always knows her way around a game and crazy dares. When her father catches wind of her speeding ticket, he tells her that she has to get a job to pay it off. Reluctant and hopeless to find anything, Charlie goes job-hunting with her brother Gage. She strikes luck (or unlucky in her case), when she meets Linda, the owner of her own small boutique shop who offers Charlie a job with 8 hours a week.


She accepts, figuring it's the only offer she'll receive, and figures the job of itself would satisfy her father. Then by her surprise, this job comes to introduce Charlie to a whole new unfamiliar world of feminine clothing, makeup and friends who aren't her brothers. After she agrees to model for a makeup demonstration in the store, she's being asked if she could model for other makeup artists in the area.


Charlie stresses about her new clothes and makeup and how she's going to keep it all from her family. On the nights when she can't sleep, she finds herself outside and leaning against the fence that separates her and Braden as they talk about their worries and conflicts to the night sky. 


 As the story progresses, we watch Charlie grow as she develops feelings for Evan, a guy who's never seen her play it rough on the field, while she also ponders on her potential feelings for Braden. It isn't until she's away at basketball camp for a week when she realizes that the reason why she couldn't get Braden out her mind is because she loves him. 


The conclusion of this novel had it's ups and downs, but nothing too insane where I nearly throw the book across the room. I was happy with the way the book ended, and how Braden and Charlie ended up together, but if there's anything I could change or improve on, it would be that. I absolutely love dramatic love confessions at the end of a story where the relationship was blossoming, but between Braden and Charlie it was a more of a "hey by the way I love you, I love you too, okay we're together now" and I felt like the ending was just way too rushed! 


Therefore, the novel was a great read and a wonderful "boy next door" romance, but I do with the ending didn't feel so rushed. I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good weekend read or a sweet story. 

A Review: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson

4.5 stars for this 1999 novel by Laurie Anderson because it’s written so well that reading it in 2020, you can’t even tell by the style or story that it was written over 20 years beforehand. The story of Melinda is heartbreaking, and one of learning to overcome sexual violence and the loss of every friend you thought you had. Being able to watch her reach her lowest point and come back up from it, and then learning to understand and accept what happened to her is an astonishing read.


It's written a lot like a personal diary, so you can see through her eyes and thoughts during her freshman year of high school. She'll tell you about "IT" and about the friends she lost and the ones she gained, as well as her parents and the teachers that made a difference. She considers herself the “outcast” of the school because of the way everyone treats her after she called the cops at the big party before school started. In Melinda’s defense, she had just suffered from a traumatic experience at this party, and she felt lost and confused and reacted to her mind’s urge to seek help.


This story hit close to home because while reading her story, it reminded me a lot of the years where I hit my lowest points and had to come back up from those, around the same time Melinda was facing hers. Although my personal experiences were very different from hers, I can understand her when she feels so lost and alone and seeks comfort in sleeping away the pain and the confusion.  On her way back up, she understands what happened to her that night at the horrible party, and she confides in a past friend about this with the purpose to protect her from this certain guy, the “IT.” Even though it doesn’t go the way she was hoping it would, Melinda begins to feel a weight lift from her shoulders.


*SPOILER* The climax of this story is at the very end, when it’s the end of the school year and Melinda is cleaning out the abandoned school janitorial closet that she spent much of her time isolating herself inside. This is when “IT” finds her here and locks them inside before he attacks her. She tries to fight back but he’s much stronger than her, while cursing and degrading her. But then Melinda finds her voice, and she screams. And she screams and she fights back, and she breaks the mirror on the wall that she hid underneath a poster of Maya Angelou. She grabs a broken shard of class and holds it to his neck, cutting him slightly, and rendering him powerless while people who heard her scream come running to her rescue. She won.


If there was anything I could change or improve about this story, I would want to put more emphasis of her art project into her story. The item she chose at random was a Tree, with which she had to create any form of art that resembled her object by the end of the year. She struggles with this assignment throughout the year but ends up turning in her final project on the last day, finding inspiration through everything she had overcome. I believe this project had an important connection to her story of growth and strength, but I do wish it was shown more throughout the story, rather than implied or left to be connected by the readers. It is written well the way it is, but it took me awhile to make the connection.


I would recommend Melinda’s story to reader’s everywhere, because it’s a story that changes you. It inspires you, and connects with you on a real level, no matter who you are or when you read her story.

A Review: Stronger by Erica Marselas

— feeling love
Stronger - Erica Marselas

Holy cow! 


I started reading this book on my Kindle app while I was bored on a weekend out of town to visit family. The cover grabbed my attention, because I tend to lean heaviest towards romance novels for young adults. I've never read any other novels or series by Erica Marselas, so this was a chance to experience a new author and their writing style. 


I enjoyed the character introductions, but I believe that they were pretty general, and sounded like every other character introduction that I've ever read. They definitely couldn't stood out a bit more - they were well written, just really familiar. 


The main character, Brooklyn Turner, is someone who a lot of readers can relate to. She's a beautiful 17 year old girl with light skin, freckles, and red hair. She's bright and smart, but got bullied throughout middle school and hid herself in her studies throughout high school. 


Brooklyn's best friend, Riley, is supportive of her and wants her to be able to break out of her shell and show the girl who doesn't feel like she needs to hide herself to stay safe. 


The tormentor of the school, Kara, who has been bullying Brooklyn since middle school, is a very well written character. It's shown throughout the novel how bad some bullies can be, and the lengths that Kara went to keep her victim quiet.


The second lead character, Hunter Evans, is the schools football star with a secret past of his own torment and pain throughout his middle school years. He's had a crush on Brooklyn since the first time he saw her freshman year, but doesn't end up really interacting with her until French class senior year, when he recruits the help of his teacher to convince her to help tutor him in some classes so that he can keep his grades up to stay on the football team. 


The beginning of this novel started out really fast for me and it actually made me pretty nervous about my outlook for the rest of the book. Marselas jumps straight into their story, and he's already laying moves on her during tutoring sessions only 30 pages into the book. I neglected my concerned and continued to read with the hope that the story line will bloom, and I was not disappointed whatsoever. 


I will warn here and now that the sexual content of this novel is a very descriptive and there are a good number of scenes throughout your reading that get very intimate and detailed. Personally, I was impressed by how well these scenes were written, and I do expect similar content in her other literary works. 


The characters face many challenges throughout their story, which does a great job of keeping readers interested. When you get to a point where you're not sure what may happen next, BOOM! Marselas throws the peak right at your face and suddenly you're on the edge of your seat, cheering on your lead characters, cursing your villains, and crying a bit. I really loved this point in the story because I never saw it coming, and the outcome of it was great as well. 


Overall, I really loved this read and I would most definitely read it again. I recommend it to readers who love Romantic Suspense novels, are okay with detailed sexual content, and want a good something to read over the weekend. I gave this a 4.5 out of 5 because there were parts of the story that I thought could be better, and I even thought that Brooklyn and Hunter's story couldn't been extended quite a bit - possibly throughout two books or just adding a few chapters. 


I hope you enjoyed my review! I tried my best not to spoil anything from the story in case you're reading this before you give the book a try. If so, feel free to let me know if my review was helpful or convinced you to read this novel. If you're already read this wonderful book my Erica Marselas, did you agree with any of my points? Again, feel free to let me know and I would love to hear other views! 

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