In comparison to Eileen Cook’s previous books, I’d have to say that her latest novel, Year of Mistaken Discoveries, is probably the most serious in to...moreIn comparison to Eileen Cook’s previous books, I’d have to say that her latest novel, Year of Mistaken Discoveries, is probably the most serious in tone. The subdued humour wasn’t what I was expecting, but I appreciated that Cook decided to try something new.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t get fully invested into the story because it involved more telling than showing. We also don’t get to know Nora very intimately, and so her death had little impact on me.
Furthermore, I couldn’t connect with Avery or Brody. In the case of Avery, I think this can partly be attributed to the fact that she herself doesn’t know who she is. Brody, on the other hand, seemed like a guy that I would easily like since he was sweet and honest … but, something just seemed to be missing to make him come alive off the pages.
I really liked the last few chapters of the novel however. Although Avery’s search for her birth mother progressed easily and in an unrealistic manner, the result of her search was unexpected and made her – and the reader – reflect on the definition of family.(less)
I normally tend to complain if a novel has too much drama, but in the case of Another Little Piece of My Heart by Tracey Martin, I was mentally prepar...moreI normally tend to complain if a novel has too much drama, but in the case of Another Little Piece of My Heart by Tracey Martin, I was mentally prepared for it. How could a book not be full of drama when the main character’s ex has written a song about her?! Sadly, Another Little Piece of My Heart didn’t live up to my expectations.
I think the lack of drama in Another Little Piece of My Heart can be attributed to the writing style, which forces the reader to spend large chunks of time in Claire’s head. As a result, you get a lot of Claire reminiscing about her past – and thereby, lots of telling rather than showing.
This wouldn’t have been such a big issue if I had liked Claire more. Unfortunately, I found Claire to be whiny, and disliked that she blamed others for making her miserable instead of reflecting on how she herself is partly to blame for her situation. For example, she spends quite a bit of time regretting her breakup with Jared and blames her parents for this decision. Sure, her parents may have disapproved of Jared, but it was her decision to ultimately break up with him!
I also didn’t understand why Claire was still pining over Jared after he wrote a song about her. I know that the two were attracted to each other because of their shared love of music; but besides that, I have no idea what other things they had in common. It would have been nice if their relationship had been more fleshed out so that I could see why no other guy was worth Claire’s time.
Note: I only found out that Another Little Piece of My Heart was a retelling of Persuasion after I finished it. If you’re looking for a great retelling of Persuasion, I’d recommend reading Diana Peterfreund’s For Darkness Shows the Stars instead. (less)
When I saw the synopsis for Ali Novak’s My Life With The Walter Boys, I expected a light, breezy read. Thankfully, I got that because My Life With The...moreWhen I saw the synopsis for Ali Novak’s My Life With The Walter Boys, I expected a light, breezy read. Thankfully, I got that because My Life With The Walter Boys was just so full of drama – so much so, that I laughed at times because I couldn’t believe anybody saying or doing anything similar in real life.
There isn’t much of a plot in My Life With The Walter Boys. Instead, the book relies on the reader getting emotionally invested with its characters. For me, that didn’t happen to the degree that I wanted it to.
I’m not sure why some of the Walter boys were so interested in Jackie because I just couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. A couple of characters described her as a goody two shoes, and I think that’s an appropriate description since she was so boring and uptight. I did like though that she refused to be a doormat and let Cole walk all over her.
I also found the romance quite dull, particularly because neither guy appealed to me. Not only did Alex and Jackie have nothing in common, but they had no chemistry whatsoever either. As well, I didn’t like how Alex kept emphasizing that Jackie was his girlfriend because it made it seem like she was simply a property to own.
On the other end of the love triangle was Cole, who I thought was a major ass. Basically, I detested him for the way he treated girls and the way he acted towards Jackie and his brothers when he didn’t get his way.
The other Walters had equally distinct personalities, and I liked the way they interacted with each other. I also found their reactions towards Jackie when she moved in with them to be very understandable. As for the rest of the secondary characters, they were girls whose sole purpose seemed to be to gush over Cole or be one of his hookups.
Ultimately, I don’t think My Life With The Walter Boys and I were a great fit because the book seemed very juvenile to me. Novak apparently wrote My Life With The Walter Boys when she was fifteen, and I find that shows in the book not only through her writing but also because her characters – who were supposed to be older than her – didn’t act like their age.(less)
Having read Julie Kagawa’s Blood of Eden series, I recently decided that it was time to give her other series a try. Over the past couple of years, I’...moreHaving read Julie Kagawa’s Blood of Eden series, I recently decided that it was time to give her other series a try. Over the past couple of years, I’d seen great reviews about The Iron Fey series – and I finally wanted to see what all the fuss was about. While I didn’t find the first book, The Iron King, to be amazing; I did think it was a solid read.
A huge reason why I enjoyed The Iron King was because of the worldbuilding. I really liked the idea of the faerie realm’s existence being dependent upon human imagination, and seeing the rise of the iron fey and the deterioration of the faerie realm as a result of humans dreaming about science and technology instead.
There was just something lacking with the characters, however. For example, although I found Meghan to be very determined in her quest to get her brother back, I still felt a bit disconnected from her for some reason.
I also didn’t care much about the romance because Ash was cold and kind of a jerk. As well, it seemed that he fell for Meghan because she reminded him of his dead girlfriend, which I find a bit creepy. But, I’m not on Team Puck either because he came off as friend material to me. (less)
Since I haven’t read too many books about witches, I was interested enough by the synopsis of Danielle Ellison’s Salt to give it a try. I also liked t...moreSince I haven’t read too many books about witches, I was interested enough by the synopsis of Danielle Ellison’s Salt to give it a try. I also liked the idea of a witch trying to get her powers back from a demon because it suggested that there would be quite a bit of action in the novel.
While I did get my wish of some action in Salt, I never really got the feeling that something terrible would happen to Penelope or her friends. As well, I wasn’t too thrilled that the action sometimes occurred as a result of dumb decisions made by Penelope.
Despite her tendency of being occasionally stupid, I thought Penelope was a decent character overall. She wasn’t as funny as she thought she was, and fell fairly quickly for Carter; but I liked that she knew she what she wanted and was determined enough to do whatever she could to achieve her goals.
I think where Salt could have been vastly improved was with its cast of secondary characters. Aside from Poncho, I felt that the secondary characters faded into the background, more or less. Even Carter wasn’t as interesting as I thought he would be!(less)
The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg was a light, albeit cheesy, read. After being cheated on, Penny decides to open up a club for girls who ar...moreThe Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg was a light, albeit cheesy, read. After being cheated on, Penny decides to open up a club for girls who are fed up of getting their hearts broken by guys. While I thought Penny’s reason for opening up the club was really lame, I did like the eventual outcome of The Lonely Hearts Club because it led to the creation of a diverse group of girls who supported each other, were loyal to their friends, and learned that they didn’t need a boyfriend to feel validated.(less)
Two Lies and a Spy by Kat Carlton had a completely outrageous but fun plot. I liked that there was plenty of action and an ending that I wasn’t expect...moreTwo Lies and a Spy by Kat Carlton had a completely outrageous but fun plot. I liked that there was plenty of action and an ending that I wasn’t expecting. I also really liked Kari and the secondary characters. Lacey and Evan both made me laugh, and seven-year-old Charlie, Kari’s brother, was pretty cute. As well, although the synopsis makes it seem like there may be a love triangle in Two Lies and a Spy, I liked that that didn’t end up being the case. Kari never veered from having a crush on Luke, but since we really don’t see much of him, I don't know how I feel about him. (less)
Although I didn’t love Crave or Covet, I’ve kept up with Melissa Darnell’s The Clann series because of their cliffhanger endings. The final book in th...moreAlthough I didn’t love Crave or Covet, I’ve kept up with Melissa Darnell’s The Clann series because of their cliffhanger endings. The final book in the trilogy, Consume, was arguably the weakest from all three novels. There was very little action for most of the book because Tristan and Savannah were on the run with their families. What frustrated me more though was that they kept having to come back to their hometown for what I felt were very contrived reasons to move the plot along. Additionally, the romance in Consume was rather nonexistent since Tristan and Savannah were angry with each other for a large portion of the book. (less)
Though the cliffhanger ending of Amy Plum’s Until I Die seemed ominous, I had a feeling that the revenants would somehow find a way to make things alr...moreThough the cliffhanger ending of Amy Plum’s Until I Die seemed ominous, I had a feeling that the revenants would somehow find a way to make things alright in If I Should Die. I guess this is where I was disappointed by the pacing of If I Should Die. Not only did it seem a little too easy for Kate to uncover the mythology that had been lost to the revenants for centuries, but too much time was also spent on trying to deduce its interpretation. As a result, that left Plum only about 20% of the book to squish in a huge showdown between the numa and the revenants and to somehow conclude the Revenants series.
Another reason I was disappointed by If I Should Die was because of the lack of resolution with Jules, one of my favourite characters from the trilogy. It was kind of obvious through the series that he developed some feelings for Kate, but I always assumed it was more of a crush. Falling in love with Kate though seemed a bit out of character for him. Admittedly, I haven’t read the novella Die For Her so it’s entirely possible that his change in feelings are more believable there.
While it may seem so far that I didn’t like If I Should Die, that’s actually not the case. I thought the romance was still sweet, and continued to enjoy the presence of the other revenants. I also really liked the greater inclusion of Kate’s family into the revenants' affairs. It’s just that in comparison to Die For Me and Until I Die, the finale was slightly underwhelming. (less)
Since I loved Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone, another sequel that I caught up on over my winter break was Days of Blood and Starlight. Besi...moreSince I loved Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone, another sequel that I caught up on over my winter break was Days of Blood and Starlight. Besides having more of Akiva’s perspective *cue my inner fangirl screaming*, I loved that Days of Blood and Starlight was a much darker read with some very surprising twists.
Although the main perspectives remain Akiva's and Karou's, Days of Blood and Starlight enables you to get into the heads of other major and minor characters too. I really loved this because it showed how war can affect people in such different positions of life. Through these different perspectives, the novel introduces you to new characters like Ziri and Jael and fleshes out some of the secondary characters from Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I particularly enjoyed reading the perspectives of Liraz and Zuzana, and hope that their perspectives are included in Dreams of Gods and Monsters.
Days of Blood and Starlight also lacks the insta-love romance that was present in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. In fact, considering how badly he betrayed her, I love that Karou doesn’t forgive Akiva! At the same time though, I love that Taylor leaves open the possibility of redemption for Akiva.
A sequel that definitely doesn’t suffer from the dreaded middle book syndrome!(less)