Dec 31, 2015

The Book Bratz Present: The 2015 Best Book Awards!

Welcome to The Book Bratz's Second Annual Best Book Awards!

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If you're new here, our annual Best Book Awards is a post where Amber and I showcase some of our favorite books from 2015. It's lots of fun and we want YOU to get involved too - by commenting down below and telling us what YOU would choose as the winners for certain categories, and what you thought of our choices! Without further ado, here are our favorite books of 2015! 

And the winners are...

Best Fantasy:

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Jessica: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh



Amber: Siren's Fury by Mary Weber 

Best Sci-Fi:

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Jessica: Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman



Amber: Crash by Eve Silver 


Best Contemporary:

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Jessica: I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios




Amber: Amour Amour by Krista and Becca Ritchie



Best Romance:

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Jessica: The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan




Amber: Addicted to You by Krista and Becca Ritchie

Sexiest Book:

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Jessica: Made for Us by Samantha Chase



Amber: Written on my Heart by Cole Gibsen

Best Stand-Alone Novel:

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Jessica: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen



Amber: Dumplin' by Julie Murphy 

Least Favorite Book This Year:

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Jessica: Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee



Amber: Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George

Best Love Triangle:

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Jessica: Gabriel (The Styclar Saga, #2) by Nikki Kelly



Amber: Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Grey 

Biggest Thriller:

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Jessica + Jessica: Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young


Funniest:

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Jessica: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli



Amber: The Lifeboat Clique by Katy Parks

Best World-Building:

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Jessica: Wandering Star (Zodiac, #2) by Romina Russell



Amber: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Best Cover:

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Jessica: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon



Amber: The White Rose by Amy Ewing 

Best Book-To-Movie Adaptation:


Jessica + Amber: Insurgent (Divergent, #2) by Veronica Roth


Favorite Main Character:

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Jessica: The Diamond Sisters from Diamonds in the Rough by Michelle Madow



Amber: Katie & Roxy from Fall With Me by Jennifer L. Armentrout


Best Debut Author:


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Jessica: None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio



Amber: Velvet by Temple West 

So that's all for this year's Best Book Awards! We hope you all enjoyed it - now comment down below and let us know what books YOU would choose to win each of these categories! Now go enjoy ringing in 2016!

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Dec 30, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Epidemic


"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine where we highlight some of the upcoming books we can't wait to read! 

Jessica & Amber are Waiting On:


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Title: The Epidemic (The Program, #0.6)
Author: Suzanne Young
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: April 19th, 2016
Hardcover, 416 Pages
Summary: Quinlan McKee has spent her life acting as other people. She was a closer—a person hired to play the role of the recently deceased in order to give their families closure. Through this process, Quinn learned to read people and situations, even losing a bit of herself to do so. But she couldn’t have guessed how her last case would bring down her entire world. The only person Quinn trusts is Deacon, her best friend and the love of her life. Except Deacon’s been keeping secrets of his one, so Quinn must set out alone to find Arthur Pritchard, the doctor who’s been trying to control her life. The journey brings Quinn to Arthur’s daughter, Virginia, who tells Quinn the truth about Pritchard’s motives. The former closer will start to see that she is the first step in fighting an epidemic. But Quinlan doesn’t want to be a cure. And with all the lies surrounding her, she realizes she has no one left to rely on but herself—even if she doesn’t know who that is anymore.
Jessica: I just recently finished reading the prequel to this book, The Remedy, and I absolutely fell in love with it! The book ended with a big cliffhanger so I definitely can't wait to get my hands on this book to see what happens! 


Amber: *Grabby hands* I NEED THIS BOOK IN MY LIFE. YOUNG KILLED ME WITH THE END OF THE REMEDY. Also, look at that freaking cover. Seriously. My book loving heart it going to explode. 

What are you waiting on this week? Comment down below with the link to your post so we can stop by!




Dec 29, 2015

Our Holiday Book Haul!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Christmas may be over, but the fun certainly isn't! We didn't get a whole lot of books this Christmas, but we definitely got a lot of awesome book-related things to share. So without further ado, here is today's post in which we share with you some of the awesome book and literature related gifts we scored!

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JESSICA GOT:


Amber got me this adorable candle from Etsy that smells like a sea breeze and is called "Gatsby's Shoreline" - which I love because it's book-related, smells amazing, and The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite books of all time!


I didn't get much else that was book-related, but I got $80 freakin' dollars in Barnes and Nobles gift cards, which means that you know exactly where I'll be heading to spend these later this week - and I'll definitely do a post on what books I bought with them soon!

AMBER GOT:

  

Jessica is freaking adorable. She got me a shirt with our blog logo on the front and then my name on the back. She also got the same shirt with her name. How freaking cute is that!? 


My mom surprised me with these candles! I have an obsession with candles. (I own over 20) These are candles and bookish inspired ones. Seriously my favorite! Both smell amazing too!


I cried when I opened this. My mom went on The Book Bratz and took images of the books we reviewed and designed a blanked with them. It is so soft and comfortable! 


I got a new kindle! Thank goodness because my old one is seriously going to die any day now. Its the Kindle 6 inch and it is really convenient for when I am on the go! The battery is also amazing on it, so I won't be attached to the wall charger constantly anymore. 

So that's it for today's post! Leave us a comment down below and tell us what YOU got for Christmas - we'd love to hear what gifts you received, book-related or not! Enjoy the rest of this week and we hope you have a great rest of the holiday season and a wonderful new year! <3

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Dec 28, 2015

Review: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

Title: Every Last Word
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 368 Pages
Published June 2015
Add it on Goodreads!
Summary: Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can't turn off. Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn't help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she'd be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam's weekly visits to her psychiatrist. Caroline introduces Sam to Poet's Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more "normal" than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

I've been interested in reading this book ever since I saw an advertisement for it in one of the teen magazines I regularly read. As a writer myself, any book that has anything to do with writing or poetry (or, in this case, secret poetry-writing clubs) is the kind of book for me. So I was so glad that I finally got a chance to go to the library and grab myself a copy!

So as the summary explains, "Sam" is a teen girl who is dealing with a pretty tough form of OCD, and on top of that, she feels that she has to hide it from her schoolmates and even her supposed "best friends," which remind me a lot of the Plastics from Mean Girls -- the type of girls who claim to be her friends but put her down every chance they get. They even have a group name just like the Plastics did: the Crazy Eights. So yeah, on top of struggling with her own mental illness, Sam has to deal with being the constant doormat for her "BFFs." 

I really enjoyed this book, because you see a definite positive character development in Sam from start to finish. She starts off the book as a girl focused on appearances and hiding her secrets from everybody. She was definitely very closed off about her life. But once she meets Caroline and gets involved in Poet's Corner -- an underground poetry club hidden beneath the school's auditorium -- she learns that there's a lot more to life than appearances. She learns secrets and important information about people that she never thought twice about, and figured out that there is more to a person than what meets the eye, no matter how cliche it seems. I was very impressed with how she grew as a character, and managed to come out as more of an individual and be seen as somebody other than just another girl in the Crazy Eights. 

There are some minor spoilers ahead so please skip to the next paragraph if you haven't read this book yet! The only thing about this book that bothered me a little bit was towards the end, when Hailey and Sam had that talk about her breaking apart from the group. That part was very sweet - especially when Hailey admitted that she was wrong and should have been standing up for Sam more and everything. But what bothered me is that Hailey still thought it was totally okay to stay with the group and not stand up for herself more. Sam stood up for herself and decided being a doormat and being treated as such was wrong, but when her own supposed "best friend" decides to continue being a doormat, Sam thinks it's kind of okay and just lets her do her thing. But why the heck is that okay? That was the one thing that bothered me about the whole book -- that Sam didn't try to teach one of her best friends right from wrong, too. Although to some people they may argue that saving Hailey wasn't Sam's own business. *shrugs* It's just my opinion and it irked me a little bit.

On the other hand, I really really really really loved AJ and Sam together. Even when they had their rocky points, they were super adorable and you could feel the love radiating off of them two. It made me really happy to see Sam finding herself and finding someone else that could love her despite her so-called flaws (which I don't even think are flaws to be honest, because mental illness is nothing to be ashamed about), and it made my heart happy to see her on such a great road to recovery, especially at the end. 

All in all, Every Last Word was a riveting read that taught me a lot as a writer and also as a person. I learned that people are capable of forgiveness, and that normalcy is just an illusion and a mold that nobody quite fits into. I really enjoyed Tamara Ireland Stone's work and I definitely will be reading more of her books in the future. I strongly encourage anybody with any interest in reading about the love of writing and/or mental illness to give this book a shot, because you definitely won't be disappointed!


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Dec 27, 2015

Review: The White Rose (The Lone City, #2) by Amy Ewing


Title: The White Rose (The Lone City, #2)
Author: Amy Ewing
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Published October 2015
Hardcover, 320 Pages
Read Amber's Review!
Add it on Goodreads!
Read my review of:
Book #1: The Jewel
Summary: Violet is on the run. After the Duchess of the Lake catches Violet with Ash, the hired companion at the Palace of the Lake, Violet has no choice but to escape the Jewel or face certain death. So along with Ash and her best friend, Raven, Violet runs away from her unbearable life of servitude. But no one said leaving the Jewel would be easy. As they make their way through the circles of the Lone City, Regimentals track their every move, and the trio barely manages to make it out unscathed and into the safe haven they were promised—a mysterious house in the Farm. But there’s a rebellion brewing, and Violet has found herself in the middle of it. Alongside a new ally, Violet discovers her Auguries are much more powerful than she ever imagined. But is she strong enough to rise up against the Jewel and everything she has ever known?
I read The Jewel earlier this year, and I was really intrigued by it. When I read the summary for it, I believed that it was going to be something like The Selection, which is a series that I absolutely love and for that reason I wasn't keen on reading what I thought was a "copycat" series. But once I read the book and realized it was basically the complete opposite of The Selection -- with girls being forced to be surrogates for royal families -- I was super drawn in. I really enjoyed the first book, and The White Rose was no different!

I'm not going to spoil anything major for you, but this book picks up where Violet is just beginning to get punished for a crime she has been caught committing. Once she realizes that kind of world she's really involved in, she's willing to do anything to get herself out of it. So with the help of a few unlikely allies (some of which you already know and a few that you meet a little later), she sparks up a plan to take down the royalty and the Jewel once and for all. The only quesetion is, will it work?

I really enjoyed this book, especially the relationship between Violet and Ash. I liked watching the rebellion begin to unfold, especially the Society of the Black Key. I thought it was super cool, but that's also because I'm just a huge fan of stories with mafias and secret societies in general. Some of the ideas that the team came up with super creative, and I enjoyed that.

Also, I really enjoyed meeting some of the new characters in this book! While a bunch of other loveable characters return (such as Ash and Lucien) and some not-so-loveable characters as well (such as Garnet and the Duchess), one of my favorite new characters definitely has to be Sil, who is the owner of The White Rose. (Which I won't tell you much about, because you need to find all of this information out for yourself!) She's sassy and sarcastic and is filled with so much vitality that it keeps things very interesting. She's also super helpful in teaching Violet everything she needs to know to help with the rebellion.

(Minor spoilers ahead so skip this paragraph if you haven't read the book yet!) Okay, so the ending leaves off on a TOTAL cliffhanger and I'm not sure that I'll be able to handle not getting the third book for awhile. (There isn't a set release date, title, or cover yet D:) I NEED IT NOW! I'm not going to tell you what the cliffhanger is, but it left me so shocked that I actually had to take a second to collect myself because I was so stunned. I definitely think Amy Ewing pulled off that ending flawlessly, and I am super excited to see where she takes it!

All in all, The White Rose was a fast-paced read filled with epic adventures, love, and the beginning of a rebellion to take back what rightfully has belonged to the surrogates all along. That cliffhanger at the end totally tortured me, and I definitely can't wait to get my hands on the upcoming third book to find out what comes next!


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