Monday, July 01, 2013

Mini Reviews: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick and Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

From Goodreads: The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them ... until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase's family embraces Samantha - even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha's world. She's suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

My Rating: 4 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Although the ending felt a bit rushed, I found Huntley Fitzpatrick's My Life Next Door to be a fun read featuring a very cute romance and a family that's easy to fall in love with. The YA novels I read tend to have dysfunctional families or absent parents so it was really nice to see how close-knit the Garretts were. There were eight Garrett children, and Fitzpatrick made each one of them seem like individuals. Jace may be the one I was supposed to swoon over (and I did), but George and Patsy quickly became my favourite Garretts.

My Life Next Door was released by Dial Books For Young Readers in 2012. 
From Goodreads: Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low. And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war. Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out. When one of the strangers - beautiful, haunted Akiva - fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself? 

My Rating: 4.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: After seeing so much praise for Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, I finally decided to give it a try. Despite a tiny bit of predictability and a romance that had a touch of insta-love, I ended up loving Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I can’t believe I waited so long to read it! The story was absorbing and beautifully written, and the description of Prague and all the places Karou traveled to were incredibly vivid. Taylor’s own fantasy world of Eretz seemed as real a place as her earthly settings because of how well developed it was. I also loved how Taylor managed to make each character important in their own right since none of the secondary characters felt like they were there simply for convenience.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone was released by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in 2011.


  1. I absolutely LOVED Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I thought it was such a well-thought out tale, and her writing is just excellent! I was a little less enthusiastic about My Life Next Door, but I'm really glad to see you enjoyed both! Great reviews :)


    Ooh, two books I've actually read! What a change, haha! I don't think I fell in love with My Life Next Door as much as everyone else did, but I still found it a nice read. The Garretts were definitely a family I adored!

    As for Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I felt the same way! I think I even gave it the same rating as you did. The romance was probably the most bothersome part for me in the book. Everything else was just positively entrancing and enchanting!

    Wonderful mini-reviews, Zahida! :)

  3. Welcome back!!! <3

    Two books I've seen so much praise for. I'm less intimidated at the idea of reading the first one because my expectations are more moderate. I love family books and it sounds like this one has a lot of likable characters.

    DoS&B though is majorly intimidating because I feel like I should LOVE it and I'm afraid that I won't. I also want to wait until the final book is published. *sigh* who would have ever thought there would be so much fear with reading? :P

  4. YAAYAY!! So happy you read Daughter of Smoke and Bone! Isn't Laini Taylor such an amazing and creative writer? I also loved how vivid and real Eretz seemed. Soooo good. And Days of Blood and Starlight was even better!

    And Eeeee the Garretts sound so cute. Got to love a family like that. But especially because they're so rare in YA. I should definitely look into reading that one.

    Great first reviews after your break!

  5. Hey Z, welcome back :)

    I read TDOSAB a while back and though I enjoyed it, I just couldn't get into book 2.

    I haven't read My Life Next Door but it has been on my radar. 8 kids? lol, I'm glad to hear the author does a good job of giving them all individuality.

    Lovely reviews Z :)

  6. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!! So glad you loved both of these Z! I adored My Life Next Door and was absolutely blown away by Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It was just so imaginative, my mind would never be able to come up with something like that:) Can't wait to see what you think of Days of Blood and Starlight!

  7. You're so right about the Garrett children. I can remember ALL of them really well. And I still wish I was apart of that family, too. I'm also really pleased to see Daughter of Smoke and Bone worked for you. The sequel is even better, in my opinion. I hope you enjoy it!

    Lovely reviews as always, Z. :)

  8. I agree about the rushed ending of My Life Next Door, but overall, I loved it too and thought it was the cutest book ever. It's exactly the kind of feel-good read I thoroughly enjoy.
    Unfortunately, I was not as lucky with DoSaB. That book just never worked for me, but I have a feeling the sequel might. I even own it, I just need to find the time to read it.

  9. I am still to read Daughter of Smoke and Bone, so many people loved it. Glad to see you did too =)

  10. I enjoyed My Life Next Door SO MUCH. <3

    Daughter of Smoke & Bone is one that I didn't love like everyone else did. =b Her writing is super gorgeous, though. I really need to read the sequel, because I've heard it's a lot better.

  11. YES, Daughter of Smoke and Bone's writing. Wow. The first page grabbed me mostly on that, but also on Karou's blue hair growing straight from her scalp. I thought that was such a cool detail.

    Haven't read the first book thogh.


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