Kody Keplinger draws her readers into a highly addictive and edgy c**spoiler alert** Find this review and more on my blog The Rest Is Still Unwritten!
Kody Keplinger draws her readers into a highly addictive and edgy contemporary read with The Duff: Designated Ugly Fat Friend. A sharp, witty and thought provoking story that explores the body issues, fears and insecurities of todays teenagers alongside a sizzling romance featuring a commendable heroine, The Duff is one of the best books I've read this year!
Seventeen year old Bianca Piper is cynical, sarcastic and somewhat jaded. While her two best friends are happy to go to clubs, party and think about boys Bianca prefers to focus on the more important things in life. She's already had her heart broken once and isn't looking to go for round two. Yet when Bianca's home life begins to unravel she finds herself searching for an escape in the arms of the last person she ever expected; Wesley Rush.
Arrogant, egotistical and a man-whore through and through Wesley is someone Bianca can't stand and is the last person she thought she'd want to spend time with. Especially after he nicknamed her "Duffy". But when a spontaneous kiss with Wesley slides into an enemies-with-benefits type relationship, Bianca finds herself discovering Wesley might not be the jerk she thinks he can be and soon her no-stings-attached agreement with Wesley begins to feel all too real.....
My goodness was this book fun to read! Honestly, I literally read it in one day. I could not put it down. Kody Keplinger manages to write a really entertaining story with The Duff; a romance that manages to explore hard hitting issues relevant to today's teens. There's a perfect balance between snark, humor, friendship and romance with real issues faced and dealt with in this story.
The Duff is certainly entertaining, but it is also an authentic take on teenage relationships and the complexity that comes from the physical relationship between two people, especially in today's society. Keplinger explores how the boundary between emotion and physicality can blur in this adorable romance.
The whole idea of the "Duff" focuses around the concept that within every group of friends there is a Duff; one girl who is slightly less attractive and appealing than her friends, whose simplicity make her friends stand out and seem more attractive to those around her. Standing for the designated, ugly, fat friend, the love interest of our main character Bianca explains the terms when he dubs Bianca the Duff of her friends, but Kody Keplinger does a fantastic job taking this concept and shining some light on it over the course of the book. I was very happy with Bianca's understanding and acceptance of this term and it's implications by the end of this story.
Bianca was an easy heroine to follow. She's loyal, sarcastic and to the point. Though she has natural insecurities, Bianca doesn't give a crap about what people think, something that only becomes more evident when she begins a secret relationship with the hottest guy in her school but refuses to loose her head over him. Though her heart is a whole other story......I think Kody Keplinger did a great job writing a character that was relatable and who you honestly wanted the best for.
The Duff focuses heavily around Bianca's relationship with Wesley. Now this book boarders on the YA/NA line with Bianca and Wesley physical with each other. And often. Though it's not as graphic as some books out there, it's still sexual and should be read with caution....because Bianca and Wesley are HOT! Bianca doesn't like Wesley in the beginning, something Keplinger reminds us of often as Bianca and Wesley bicker and insult each other, but when they're together boy are they sexy. There's is a very primal and physical relationship with their attraction a physical one that develops into something even more beautiful over time.
I thought Bianca and Wesley were sweet. Yes, Wesley was a arrogant jerk sometimes, but he wasn't a bad guy; not really. He actually comes to care for Bianca as their attraction deepens and I loved that he stands up for her as he does and tries to make her feel better for herself. They have a great chemistry and are so cute together!
The Duff really is a fantastic read through and through and with a motion picture in the future for this story, Kody Keplinger has won a new fan with me. I'll look for more of her books and urge anyone who loves their couples with plenty of chemistry, sass and growth to pick up The Duff--you won't regret it! ...more
Skylark by Meagan Spooner is a surprising and at times difficult read that gets off to a slow start but then steadily progresses into a fast-paced and thrilling tale that is a mix of fantasy, sci-fi, dystopian and steampunk and will leave you well and truly ready for more!
In all honesty I don’t think I’ve ever had a reading experience like I’ve just experienced with Skylark. I mean, it took almost 200 pages for the book to capture my attention and to be honest I almost gave up and didn’t finish it. Granted some books do take a while to pick up, but to get almost halfway through a novel and still struggle to find something to really capture your attention is a long time.
I almost felt like Skylark was two different books. While the beginning really lagged, the second half was simply incredible and if the whole book was this good I may have given it 5 stars. Following Lark Ainsley, a sixteen year old girl who has spent her whole life never seeing the sky and never journeying past the Wall that surrounds her city and protects it from the dangerous elements that exist on the other side, Skylark is a real mixture of genres.
There’s a bit of fantasy, sci-fi, dystopian and steampunk all woven together; with horrendous monsters mingling with magic, machines and mystery. Spooner’s writing is deeply descriptive and I quite enjoyed the world she has created. It was very unique and unlike anything I’d seen before, with so much still unknown and a mystery to both our heroine and us as the reader.
Skylark depicts a dystopian-styled society where wars waged a hundred years prior have left the outside world twisted and uninhabitable. With the Wall that encompasses the city the only thing protecting it from the outside elements and the monsters that call it home, magic is “harvested” from the younger members of the city and is used to power not only the Wall but the technology and machines that keep the city running.
Again, the novel started out quite slow, but once it picked up, I very much enjoyed the journey I found myself on with main character Lark, a young woman who begins to exhibit powerful magic, after a lifetime of feeling like a dud in the beginning of Skylark and who finds herself an unwitting pawn in plans held by her city’s leaders.
Lark’s journey is a long and difficult one that sees Lark travel across vast plains, through iron forests and magical pockets; hiding from tremendously dangerous monsters and creatures as she goes. Hers really is a tale of survival, as she tries to discover what makes her different from all the other individuals of her world.
I foresee a lot of growth in Lark throughout this series. She has already come such a long way in just only one installment; quickly becoming the kind of heroine who is a joy to follow and who you truly cheer for. There’s still a lot of mystery surrounding what Lark is that makes her different from everyone else, and I’m really excited to see what Spooner does with Lark. From the beginning of Skylark to it’s end, Lark transitions a lot and I was happy to see her find something to fight for. She’s slowly learning to survive on her own and even though she was scared and unsure, she still did what she had to do.
Lark meets a number of different individuals during the story including those of the Iron Wood, but the two that I adored the most were Nix, the copper “pixie” who becomes Larks shadow and constant companion and Oren, the wild boy whose true nature will be a shock to readers.
I’m very much looking forward to seeing more of these two characters and their relationships with Lark—Nix as a friend for Lark and Oren as a potential love interest. Spooner has me intrigued with what she’ll do with these two characters; considering some unexpected revelations that left me surprised during Skylark but that promises some interesting future reads.
Rich in description and setting, Skylark starts out slow but that rises into a promising start to a magical series. Ending just when its getting good, Skylark guarantee’s I’ll be racing out to get the next book as soon as humanly possible. ...more
Mai Tai’d Up is the fourth installment in Alice Clayton’s extensively addictive Cocktail series and is yet another luscious blend of romance, passion and sensual situations. Clayton’s storytelling ability is difficult to rival as she locks readers into another romantic journey full of laughs, smiles and sexy situations!
Told through the eyes of Chloe Patterson, the cousin of one Mr. Clark Barrow whom we met briefly during Screwdrivered, Mai Tai’s Up sees the sweet but confidant former beauty queen leave her fiancé the day before their wedding when Chloe comes to the conclusion that she doesn’t really love him. Striking out for the first time on her own, Chloe travels to the seaside town of Monterey where her family own a summer home on a small but usable acreage.
With the help of a few locals and connections, Chloe begins turning it into a sanctuary and rescue center for mistreated and abused pit bulls. One of Chloe’s helpers is the sexy redheaded vet Lucas Campbell who may be exactly what the doctor ordered to help Chloe get over her past. However when it becomes clear she and Lucas may have more in common than first thought, Chloe must decide whether hiding her secret past is more important than being honest with Lucas. Even if telling him the truth means Chloe may risk losing him forever…..
My goodness do I ever love this series! I mean, honestly…..Alice Clayton is a champion! Every one of her novels I’ve read almost instantly sweep me up and don’t let go, with Mai Tai’s Up no exception. Although admittedly Mai Tai’d Up was not as good as the first three books in my opinion, it was still another excellent installment in the series and absolutely worth a read.
As the main character I did quite like Chloe. She was very down to earth and likable and I liked the character growth she undertook. She made choices and decisions that weren’t easy but needed to be made and I was happy with the self-assurance and dedication she developed for herself and the dogs she rescued.
Personally I don’t think Chloe and Lucas had as much power together as the other couples in the series so far, although I still thought they were great together and wonderful to follow. While Caroline and Simon and Vivian and Clark made me giddy with possibility over their attractions and desires, Chloe and Lucas were rather a steadily progress who had chemistry and who went well together.
As far as these kinds of novels go, the Cocktail series is right up there as being one of best. Alice Clayton’s storytelling is fun, flirty and incredibly entertaining—managing to once again prove to this reader why she’s quickly becoming one of the go-to names in NA/Chick-lit. Funny, sexy and downright fun, Clayton’s stories won’t disappoint! ...more
Edited by Christine Johnson, Grim is a collection of short stories by some of the biggest names in today’s Young Adult genre and sees some of our favorite authors give a unique twist on some of the most classic of fairytales in their own retellings.
By nature, I’m not the biggest fans of short stories. Usually by the time I feel truly invested in the story it’s naturally coming to its ends and I normally feel writers rush in their haste to compact so much information into such a short story. Grim however I did enjoy, and I certainly appreciated some of the different retellings.
It was interesting seeing such a vast array of writing styles come together in one book and it really highlighted how very different all these authors are. Not that that’s a bad thing! Different tones and different styles made for different tales; some were more traditional while others really twisted things up.
Personally I found the stories by Rachel Hawkins, Shaun David Hutchinson and Claudia Gray to be the highlights for me in the overall book, although I think each author did a good job.
A great way to discover new authors while reading more from those you already love, Grim is definitely worth a read!