Awake by Natasha Preston (No Spoilers)

“My dad always said that you know you are in love when someone comes along that makes you question everything.” -Noah, Awake

As I’ve said in another post, I recently bought a ton of stuff during Black Friday. Two of those things happened to be books, Awake by Natasha Preston and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. Unfortunately, my mom made me pick one of the books to read now, which happened to be Awake, and the other one my mom is making me wait until Christmas to get. :/ This made me extra sad because I didn’t count of finishing Awake in two days, which has only happened twice before.

Now, I’ll be honest, I was kind of hesitant to purchase this book since I read her previous book The Cellar, and although the book had what I thought was a really creative and Criminal Mind-y plot line, there were a lot of flaws I found (including the character development) that made me at least a little hesitant to try out another one (If you would like to know more about exactly I had problems with the first book, I actually did a book review on that one as well which you can find here.). In the end, though, I’m really glad I gave Natasha Preston a second chance. Despite the fact that it seems like most people do not agree with me on this, I thought you could really see improvement in her writing style and story development in this book versus her previous one, and I’m personally hoping that she comes out with a sequel which I would definitely try hard to get my hands on.

Short Overview

This is going to be a bit hard trying not to give too much away, but I shall try my best. Basically, Awake is about a girl named Scarlett who is not able to remember anything before the age of four, supposedly due to a fire that happened at that time. She has long since accepted the fact that she will never be able to regain these memories until she meets this handsome new guy named Noah. They almost instantly fall in love (or so it would seem), and Noah begins to make her rethink her decision to leave those memories in the past. That is until Scarlett and her family get into a car crash suddenly bringing pieces of those memories back, which sends her on a mission to remember everything. In the process, she discovers more than she ever wanted to know about her childhood, family, and, eventually, her new boyfriend and finds herself fighting for her life because of it.

What I Enjoyed

  • The plot line. I think above anything else, Natasha Preston does a great job a coming up with plot lines. Even though I’ve only read two of her books, I just find her stories to be so unique and interesting. Almost like I’m reading something that came right out of Criminal Minds (and we all know how much I love Criminal Minds 😉 ).
  • It deals with cults. I really haven’t read many books that dive into the world of cults, and I happen to find cults fascinating and terrifying at the same time. Because it’s a fiction book, it makes you feel like something of this nature couldn’t actually happen when, in all honesty, it’s definitely out there. It’s seems impossible that someone could brainwash an entire group of people, but history has shown that when people seclude themselves from the rest of the world, it makes it that much easier for them to fall for lies coming from an authority figure within the group, especially when those people are already hurting and vulnerable. Like I said before, to me, this is a really scary thought.
  • I found myself feeling the same things as the characters. When the book spent a lot of time focusing on Scarlett getting frustrated at the fact that she couldn’t remember, my immediate thought the book was moving too slowly, but then I realized that I was really just feeling the same type of frustration in her not being able to remember faster that she was feeling herself.
  • The ending. I don’t really want to talk about too much of this because I don’t want there to be a lot of spoilers, but I like how she ended the book with another mystery waiting to be discovered. If she decides to write another book, then she’s already set up another interesting plot line, and if she doesn’t, it just shows you that we don’t always get to learn everything about what happened.

What I Didn’t Like So Much

  • She couldn’t remember anything before the age of four, and that was supposed to be a really big deal. Maybe I’m just crazy, but there’s not much I remember before the age of four either. She even made the comment at one point that she “lost four years of her life.” I haven’t met anyone who can remember stuff from when they were born to age two, so at most, she only missed like maybe two years of very fragmented memories.
  • The romance. At some points, it was just really cheesy. The romance seemed to be  written for middle school kids and the rest of the plot line was more for high school to college students which I was kind of disappointed about.
  • The grammar mistakes!! This is something that really got to me with The Cellar, so I was really disappointed that they showed up again in Awake. I realize that she wrote the book on Wattpad to begin with, and most people probably didn’t care about the mistakes on there. In my opinion, though, a published book should have little to no (bordering on no) mistakes, and someone just isn’t doing the best job proofreading it.

Basically, I thought the story line was on point and everything else was not so much. As I said with her first book, I think high school students and anyone looking to kill some time would enjoy this book. In the end, I’d give it about three stars out of five.

Hints, Tips, and Things to Try: August Edition

I know I say this every month, but how is it September already?? This year has absolutely flown by. On the plus side, it’s September (!) which is quite possible my favorite month out of the year because it ushers in Fall which happens to be my all time favorite season! Anyway, I’m rambling on about the wrong month.

August has been pretty much all about family for me. Summer classes ended, and I only had a week before fall semester started up again. Because of that, I tried (and am trying) to spend a lot of time with my family on the weekends. I also was officially diagnosed with migraines this month, which may seem like a bad thing, but because of that I was able to get medicine that really helps them which has been great. My dad also turned 50 this month which is really exciting, but also a little scary because I really don’t like to think about my grandparents and parents (or myself for that matter) getting older. So, yeah, overall it’s been a pretty good month, and I really hope that y’all had an equally good month!

Things I Like/Think You Should Try

  1. Invincible Summer. I know I already wrote an entire post on this, but I really just can’t say enough about it. It was one of the best books I’ve read in quite a long time. I read it at a time when I was really pretty terrified about being an adult and graduating college (that’s scary stuff!), and the book definitely helped to put me at ease by reminding me that even if nothing goes to plan, you can still find the strength to go on and keep living and even find beauty and purpose in the little things. I really don’t think you’ll regret reading it. IMG_0870[1].JPG
  2. Tarte, Tarteist Eyeliner. I have been looking for a good eyeliner for quite a while now, so I finally decided to suck it up and try an eyeliner that I didn’t find at Walmart. It ended up coming down to this one and Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil, but Tarte ended up getting better reviews on Sephora. I’m so incredibly glad I did. I love it. For one, it has both a pencil and a liquid side, so you’re getting two for one. They’re both very pigmented, and at the end of the day, it still looks like you just put it on. Plus, I just really love the packaging. It reminds me of New Years.
  3. Beauty Blender. I know I’m incredibly late on this one, so I won’t say much about it. Just go out and buy one. Definitely worth it. IMG_0871[1].JPG
  4. AllBookstores.com I thought this one was appropriate for the beginning of the new semester. A friend of mine told me about this website for renting textbooks about a year ago, and I’ve been using it ever since. Basically, you just type in the book information, and it compares the prices for that same book from lots of different bookstores. It also tells you whether the price is for renting or buying the book, so you can narrow it down that way. This semester alone it’s saved me over $200, so it’s definitely something to look into.
  5. Rate My Professor. Also for the start of the new semester. This website has changed my life when it comes to signing up for classes. Just type in a professor’s name, check that it’s the right school, and a rating with reviews from past students comes up. It’s really nice to get a general idea of what you’re getting into.

Random Things I Learned This Month

  1. Veins carry blood to the heart and arteries carry blood away from the heart.
  2. The smallest bird is the bumblebee hummingbird (It’s also incredibly cute).
  3. The Kiwi Bird can’t fly (also adorable).
  4. You tend to do better in classes when you actually pay attention to the professor.
  5. A snail breathes through its foot.

Invincible Summer by Alice Adams (No Spoilers)

“In the depths of winter, I finally learned that there lay within me an invincible summer.” -Albert Camus

A little while ago (it may even have been a few weeks ago….geez time is flying by lately) I wrote a book review on The Cellar by Natasha Preston. Originally I had planned on it being a one time thing. Since then, though, I’ve really gotten into reading again, and I actually really enjoyed writing the last review, so if it’s okay with you guys, I believe I’ll write some more from time to time. 🙂

I bought Invincible Summer almost on a whim. I found the book in the middle of the bookstore on one of the displays housing all the newly released Adult fiction novels. Normally, I don’t read Adult fiction unless it’s a mystery (Harlan Coben is my absolute favorite. Seriously, go check him out.) because I feel like the topics don’t really fit into my life right now, but this book got such good reviews that I decided to branch out a bit. I am so incredibly happy that I did because I’d have to say this was the best book I’ve read in a while.

Short Overview 

Basically, the Invincible Summer follows four friends, Eva, Sylvie, Lucien, and Benedict, throughout their adult lives immediately following college graduation and all of the heartache, failures, achievements, dreams, and surprises that come with it. After college the four friends get separated by following their different dreams and career paths, but unfortunate circumstances bring them back together again. The book puts the characters in real life circumstances and shows how you can find the strength within yourself, and with the help of friends, to keep living and moving forward through difficult times.

What I Enjoyed

  • It was refreshingly real. So many times you read books where everything magically turns out great in the end. While that’s great to read every once in a while, I enjoyed this book because it didn’t sugar coat anything. The events in the book felt real which helped you to relate better to it.
  • The characters had a lot of depth, and I feel like you could relate to at least one of them.
  • It was fast paced. I absolutely hate slow books with seemingly pointless chapters. This book was the complete opposite. Because, for the most part, each chapter was set in a different year, there was always some new development in the story to catch up on. It definitely made the book a page turner. I finished it in about two days.

“Everything’s not okay, and it’s not going to be okay, and I still get out of bed every morning and stick a smile on my face even if I feel like my heart is breaking, because what’s the alternative? That’s life. You play the hand you’re dealt.” -Sylvie, Invincible Summer

  • It taught you that everything is not always going to work out the way you planned it, or even be okay, but you can still find the strength within yourself to push through it and see the good in life.
  • The cover is pretty awesome.

What I Didn’t Like So Much

  • It got a bit over my head at times with the content. One of the characters is a Physics professor and another works with finances, so at times I had no clue what they were talking about. Luckily, it wasn’t often, and you didn’t necessarily have to understand it to get the story line.
  • Because it changed years and places so often it could get a bit confusing.

In the end, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone college age or above. I just feel like younger than that it wouldn’t be as relevant, but by all means try it if you would like!  It helped me put a lot of things in perspective and showed me that everything doesn’t have to go perfectly to enjoy life. It also ended up showing you just how important good friends and family are in life.

The Cellar by Natasha Preston (no spoilers)

For the first time in quite a while, I actually started reading again. I used to love reading. It relaxes me, and I love the feeling of letting go and moving into a new world where you can be who you want to be and do what you want to do. Nothing is impossible in books.

Now, this isn’t necessarily a blog based on book reviews, but for some reason I really just wanted to do one on the book I just read, The Cellar by Natasha Preston. When I first picked up the book at Barnes and Noble, I was really impressed to learn that it was a story that was originally written on Wattpad. I’ve read some of the stories on Wattpad, and I think it’s a really great opportunity for aspiring authors, so I wanted to support it.

When I read the preview on the back I got super excited because it sounded like a plot straight out of Criminal Minds (which we all know I love), but it was also original. There are quite a lot of kidnapping stories out there, but this one really felt like it could have a lot of depth to it. At the end of the book, I had very mixed feelings about it. That’s probably why I’m writing this review. I’m still trying to decided whether I liked it or not

Short Overview

Without giving away too much, the story follows a teenage girl, Summer, who, despite the warnings of her boyfriend and family, goes out alone at night (yeah, that part is not that original) and ends up getting kidnapped. After being brought to her kidnapper’s house, she finds that she is not alone. He has been kidnapping for years and views those girls that he kidnaps as his family. He also changes the girls he kidnap’s names after flowers (Summer is renamed Lily) which he views as nature’s version of perfection, and he hates imperfection.

What I enjoyed

  • The book kept me turning pages and reading late into the night which is always a good sign.
  • I really liked the plot line and thought that it had a lot of potential, most of which it delivered on.
  • Some of the characters, like Clover and Rose, had interesting and detailed backstories which I really enjoyed.
  • It switched to the point of view of the kidnapper. It gave you a different perspective, and you begin to view him as a human, someone with feelings and family, instead of just a monster.

What I didn’t like so much

  • I wish she had done more with the character development of Rose, Clover, and Poppy. She started off giving Rose and Clover lots of depth, but didn’t really do anything with it.
  • The main character had a tendency to get on my nerves a bit.
  • There was a lot of (what I felt like was) unnecessary swearing.

Overall, I did enjoy it and would recommend it to anyone who’s bored and needs a book to read. It does have some swearing and lots of gory details, so if you don’t like either of those, I would stay away from it, though.