The Moment Collector/Vanishing Season - Aly

Disclaimer: This review first appeared on my Goodreads profile

4/5 stars.
The Moment Collector

*ARC provided by NetGalley. All quotes are taken from an uncorrected copy which may change subject to publication.*

It's a crescendo. It's tragic. Because I know what it means. It means we are - I am - a piece of the past.
And I can't save anyone on Water Street.
It means I'm only here to watch.
I drift out and away again. I turn my face away from the world.
This is no place for anyone with a heart.

Brought to you by the author of Peaches and Tiger LilyThe Moment Collector is a beautifully written tale of life, our purpose and first love. 

The writing is absolutely flawless, creative and poetic. It paints a vivid picture and you can almost see the story unravel before your eyes as if you were watching it on the big screen. It enthralled me from the very first sentence: 

A key is buried under the front stairs of 208 Water Street. Scorched on one side, was it in a fire? Who lost it, and when?

A ghost is haunting Water Street in Gills Creek. She doesn't know why, or what her purpose is, or even what she has to do to finally be able to move on. The only thing the ghost knows is that she is tied to Maggie and Pauline. She thinks, maybe, it's because death is coming to one of them...

I'm part of this house, and the residents can hear me in their sleep. I rattle the dishes and creak along the floors in the dark. I turn the lights on downstairs, though they're sure they turned them off when they went to bed. I watch a leg crash through the ceiling into the darkness and I reach out to touch it. But I have no hands, no arms, nothing I can see. I wonder if I ever did.

Maggie has just moved to Doors County with her parents from Chicago. She's lonely, feeling lost when a girl appears on her porch -- Pauline. Quickly, the two become good friends:

Pauline let out a laugh - so surprising and screechy it could scrape paint off a car. That was the first moment Maggie started to like Pauline - the moment she heard her rough, husky laughter that wasn't beautiful at all.

Their friendship is intricate and strong.

This is not a ghost story. This is a -- to quote directly -- "A friendship story bound in snow and starlight, a haunting mystery of love, betrayal, redemption, and the moments that we leave behind."

There is a love triangle:

"What are your issues?"
"Loving an unattainable girl my entire life," Liam said, easily, without hesitation.

And Maggie is right in the middle of it all. 

There is a killer on the loose:

But on the front page was a story about a teenager who'd died in Whitefish Harbor, four towns over. [...] She's been found drown in the lake, floating face down, with no signs of a struggle, and the police were trying to figure out whether it was a suicide, an accident, or something more sinister.

But nothing happens in this book. This is a coming of age tale, one that will leave you empty and possibly heartbroken, one that will make you question your very own existence. It is not a ghost story, or even a scary story. It is a story of two girls, a boy and the memories they cultivate and leave behind.

A must read

Burn for Burn - Aly

Disclaimer: This review first appeared on my Goodreads profile

3/5 stars.

Burn for Burn (Burn for Burn, #1)

This review contains spoilers. I'm not going to tag them, so proceed at your own risk.

You know what? I'm actually pretty peeved. You wanna know why? Because I was dead set on giving this book a glorious 4 stars before I reached the ending. 

That ending was awful. I have never been more annoyed at an ending before, especially since it stinks of cliffhanger gone wrong and a now-you-HAVE-to-read-the-second-book promotion. I was hoping this was a standalone but was left bitterly disappointed, especially since sequels are never as good as the first books and I don't fancy being let down.

So three stars will suffice. Moving on.

The Summary:

Bad things can happen, even to good girls, and sometimes the only way to make things right is to do something wrong.

Intrigued? You ain't seen nothing yet.

Welcome to Jar Island. It's small, it's quaint, it's posh and if you don't have $$$ you won't be special enough for consideration by the It Crowd. If anything, they will go out of their way to make your life a misery.

Sounds familiar?

Burn For Burn is a cross between Mean Girls and Revenge. Our protagonists are ruthless and cruel and hell bent on revenge... with more than enough reason.

Lillia Cho is part of said It Crowd. She's popular, loved by all, and best friends with Mean Lean Bitching Queen Rennie. Lillia is the complete polar opposite of her best friend. Where Rennie eats people for breakfast and spits them out, Lillia is behind her, cleaning up the mess. 

"Fingers crossed, we're getting new uniforms this season, and they're gonna be crop tops. That means I don't want to see a single French fry one anyone's plate at lunch. I'm serious. Also, Dori." Dori looks up, startled. "You need to retire that jacket. It makes you look like a soccer mom."

Too many people have been terrorised by Rennie's Evil Crew of Evilness. Reeve, quarterback and hottie and Rennie's boytoy, made Mary's life a misery...

Reeve stared at me with unbelieving eyes. Once he blinked though, he looked furious. He shouted, "Get the hell away from me!" And then he lunged. His palms went straight into my chest, and, throwing all his strength behind it, he shoved me towards the guys. [...]The pain had me gasping for air, my last breath before I plunged into the water.[...] I could hear their warbled laughter above me.
"Yo, she looks like a manatee!"

Now, Mary wants revenge and wants to make him suffer as much as she did back in school.

Kat has been cheated on. Used and abused by Lillia and Rennie's friend Alex...

And my second thought is -- Alex Lind is running game on me? With a freshman? I don't think so. Clearly he has no idea who he's messing with.

And he's not only messing with Kat. He's also messing with Lillia...

I stumble backward into a tree, then get behind it. Who's the girl? Is it the one from his party, the one he was lying in bed with?
I squint hard. The girl is petite. Dark hair.
Oh my God. It's Nadia Cho.

Now, the girls want to get even and they will stop at nothing to make Rennie, Reeve and Alex suffer.


These three girls do some fucked up shit. They have no boundaries, nothing they won't try to screw over the three people that hurt them most. They smash cars, set a fake fire, humiliate the football team in front of their competitors. There is nothing they won't do.

And it's sweet, sweet revenge.

Oh, how I would love to take revenge on the people that made my life an absolute misery in school. I would love to screw around with them and make them apologise for every cruel thing they've ever done. 

Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian weave a brilliant story of girls gone bad, fuelled by anger and hurt. The story is incredibly real and raw: not only can you see them hurting, but you can feel it too. In my opinion, if you've been screwed around with during your school years, you will be able to relate to these girls on an emotional level. 

It's a bloody good book, one that will have you cackling evilly and egging these girls on.

Pet Peeves:

I realised too late that this book is shelved under "Fantasy" and "Paranormal" and that pissed me off a bit. Mary, it seems, can do some paranormal stuff. If you've read Carrie by Stephen King, you'll see a lot of similarities between Mary and Carrie. There was no need to put this random paranormal shit in the book. It only served as a scapegoat for when stuff got unexplainable.

So annoying.

If it hadn't had some random paranormal stuff thrown in, this book would've been a solid four stars.

Or maybe still three, because that ending was rage-inducing.