I'm not surprised that I didn't like this, if only for how completely shitty the Royals acted for about 75% of the book. Am I supposed to excuse misogI'm not surprised that I didn't like this, if only for how completely shitty the Royals acted for about 75% of the book. Am I supposed to excuse misogyny and dickish behaviour because deep down, these brothers are "vulnerable" and "unloved"? Nah. The concept of this story sounded promising, but I spent more time reading about a bunch of teenaged boys acting twice their age and treating every girl within a two-foot radius like trash than I spent admiring our protagonist's spirit (which was the only redeeming factor to this book, quite honestly).
I'm still plunging on to the next books, but I think I'll review the series as a whole when I finish Twisted Palace....more
I'm so excited! I loved (and recently bought a hard copy of) Lily's debut novel (The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You) and I hope this experience willI'm so excited! I loved (and recently bought a hard copy of) Lily's debut novel (The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You) and I hope this experience will be just as fulfilling. ...more
This book was great. The last time I read a series about espionage and mystery, it became one of my all-time favourites, so I was a little apprehensivThis book was great. The last time I read a series about espionage and mystery, it became one of my all-time favourites, so I was a little apprehensive about this one. But it was actually really good. I found myself guessing the entire time. And it was so reminiscent of Veronica Mars, which I loved, and Ellie seemed a lot like Nikita, which I also loved. It's actually the first in a long time that I've genuinely been intrigued by and simultaneously adored a protagonist. Ellie is not perfect; she is flawed, and has a tendency not to trust people, including her closest friends, and I found that Julie Cross handled this excellently. There was a lot of development to Ellie's character, her misgivings, and her gradual closeness to other characters like Justice and Miles. I loved reading from her voice, which was refreshingly sarcastic, witty, and smart. And Miles was also quite flawed - I think there's a lot of work to be done when it comes to him, as a matter of fact ((view spoiler)[since he found out about Ellie's history and is moving away (hide spoiler)]). I would really like to see how their relationship progresses. I am HOPING there won't be any unnecessary relationship drama or, heaven forbid, a love triangle. (Please don't let me down, Julie.)
I think what was especially great about this novel is that while the story itself was shaped and detailed, the characters were just as important. I mean, some characters were only present for a short time but a lot could be said about them (like Dominic, Bret, Chantel, and even Simon). I really, really, enjoyed seeing Ellie's sister Harper and Aidan be present, ((view spoiler)[because while Ellie's parents are obviously absent, and for understood reasons, these two were remarkably protective and caring (hide spoiler)]). I really hope to see Aidan and Harper again in the next release. And I'm curious to see where the mystery is going as well (view spoiler)[especially with the St. Felicity stuff (hide spoiler)].
A great start to a new series, which I'll give 4 stars!...more
Thanks to Netgally and Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with an e-ARC!
Anyone who knows me knows how much I dive for Miranda Kenneally's novels. They'Thanks to Netgally and Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with an e-ARC!
Anyone who knows me knows how much I dive for Miranda Kenneally's novels. They're guaranteed to make my day, and it helps that some of the characters in older Hundred Oaks books appear in newer ones as cameos, which makes the lightheartedness and romance that much more special. So it's really no surprise that I liked Coming Up For Air.
This installment - if that's what you choose to call it - is about Maggie and her best friend Levi, who are training for Olympic swimming qualifiers. In between challenging herself to actually make the cut despite an old rival (Roxy), Maggie is also trying to balance a normal future college life with her newfound sexual desires, and trusts Levi, who's had much more experience in that department, to "teach" her. It seems like a complicated story, but since it's Miranda Kenneally, I was no less excited to read it.
I have several mixed feelings about the book, and the only way I can discuss them is by comparing my reading experience for Coming Up for Air with Kenneally's previous release, Defending Taylor. While its predecessor made me actually fall in love with the love interest (Ezra), Coming Up for Air lacked in that department - at least in the first half of the book. Don't get me wrong - I did like Levi, and he definitely made a swoon-worthy character, as this author's love interests (and protagonists) tend to do. But I felt that I was seeing more of Maggie's investment in the relationship than Levi's (again, that developed a bit better later on), and it seemed that there was a short gap between their friendship and their sexual attraction for each other - not really an in-between.
But that doesn't take away from what I did like about the book infinitely more. For example, I liked how Miranda handled Maggie's feelings like a teenager would, and that the conversations Maggie had with all of her friends, her peers, and her coach, parents, and teachers, were significant in her self-improvement as a swimmer. One of the things I most like about Miranda's novels is how simple they appear but how important they actually are - including the presence of parental figures and helpful teachers. I barely knew Maggie's parents or Levi's Oma and Opa, but I felt like I knew enough about them, which says a lot about character development. And of course, Sam and Jordan made an appearance (and there was a lovely epilogue at the end of the novel in Sam's POV!!) so I was a happy reader.
What I liked the most (if this review isn't gushing enough) was how Miranda balanced two conflicts at once and merged them in some form. Here, Maggie's struggle to qualify for the Olympics was also in harmony with her struggle to be a normal teenager with sexual desires, and Levi basically hung in the balance with his own desire to make the cut and depend on sex to "take the edge off". It only seemed likely that both would depend on each other, and I felt that this was handled perfectly. While I mentioned before that Levi wasn't as swoon-worthy to me as I'd hoped, the romance definitely developed further as the story progressed. I liked that Levi made up for what he'd done to Maggie (something about him crying made me sad but also happy? idk man) and that Maggie took her time forgiving him, as she deserved. This is definitely something I liked better in Coming Up for Air than I had in Defending Taylor, which is that self-development outweighed anything else.
I wouldn't be me if I didn't recommend this book, so I obviously will, if you're looking for a lighthearted, quick read, with a lovely friends-to-lovers romance and a lot of self-improvement lessons. I laughed a lot during this book - especially at the Superman briefs and the condom-shopping! - and yes, smiled wistfully. Be sure to read this when it releases!
I could probably interpret this play in seventy different ways, but at this point, I'm exhausted from reading so much Shakespeare for academic purposeI could probably interpret this play in seventy different ways, but at this point, I'm exhausted from reading so much Shakespeare for academic purposes. It wasn't a terrible play - a lot can be said for the interconnectedness of characters (perhaps why some adaptations use doubles for multiple roles), the gender non-conformity (which I found particularly interesting), the reduction of Caliban to a "monster" (which I'm convinced is relevant to imperialism/colonization), and the presence or absence of "wives" (my tutorial had a good discussion about brokenness in Shakespearean texts due to editorial work, and how the presence of a long s in the text changed it in "wise" to an f - "wife" - in some editions, and that basically shifted the meaning behind some lines). Very interesting stuff. But other than that, I wasn't as enchanted by Tempest's plot as I was with A Midsummer Night's Dream or Measure for Measure....more
Ha! little honour to be much believed, And most pernicious purpose! Seeming, seeming! I will proclaim thee, Angelo; look for't: Sign me a pre
Ha! little honour to be much believed, And most pernicious purpose! Seeming, seeming! I will proclaim thee, Angelo; look for't: Sign me a present pardon for my brother, Or with an outstretch'd throat I'll tell the world aloud What man thou art.
Who will believe thee, Isabel? My unsoil'd name, the austereness of my life, My vouch against you, and my place i' the state, Will so your accusation overweigh, That you shall stifle in your own report And smell of calumny.
I was sold once I read that, from Act II, Scene IV. I think the play deals a lot with feminism overall, but this direct attack on misogyny and the terrible way a man's "reputation" protects his criminality is very, very important and necessary. Especially right now....more
Admittedly one of my favourite Shakespearean plays, and I had very limited time to read it. The "everything is really nothing" concept is completely mAdmittedly one of my favourite Shakespearean plays, and I had very limited time to read it. The "everything is really nothing" concept is completely mind-boggling (in a good way), and the final scene (the mechanicals' play), where Thisby and Pyramus talk through "a wall" is hilarious. ...more
This was actually, ridiculously, adorable. It got me out of a reading slump and it featured two very dynamic characters. I assumed that Lucy and JoshThis was actually, ridiculously, adorable. It got me out of a reading slump and it featured two very dynamic characters. I assumed that Lucy and Josh would be pretty static and dull, but their interactions proved otherwise. The banter, the detailed monologues, the writing style... all of it was excellent. My only complaint is that Lucy was a tad over-dramatic in the first 100 pages or so, but I didn't see that problem as much in the rest of the story.
I'm not much of a historical fiction reader in general, so it was with some hesitation that I picked this novel up, even after having read some of BroI'm not much of a historical fiction reader in general, so it was with some hesitation that I picked this novel up, even after having read some of Brodi Ashton's, Jodi Meadows', and Cynthia Hand's works. I was pleasantly surprised to note, however, that this novel turned out to be pretty well-written and enjoyable.
I mostly picked it up because I'd read raving reviews about how funny it was, and since I like reading pretty light-hearted books in general, I dove for it. So on that count, I have to say that each of The Lady Janies provided and exceeded my expectations. I even found myself laughing aloud at a few scenes just for the sheer ridiculousness of the dialogue and internal monologues. There was plenty of humour. I can sense that it must have been really fun to write this novel based on the humour alone. Besides that, this novel is based on the Tudors, and the family of King Henry V (or something along those lines - as you can tell, despite taking history courses for years now, I know next to nothing about European history). But despite my incapability to keep track of the royal ancestry, My Lady Jane wasn't too strict on understanding the historical context. The authors pretty much broke the "fourth wall", if you may, by providing these details in little side notes and in a midlogue. Plus, it's fiction, so none of the details even mattered. As long as I understood the story - which I did - the rest were unimportant to me.
And this novel had a pretty good story. Considering the fact that I picked it up thinking I would read a novel about a horse-boy and a girl, there was a lot going on in MLJ. It was predictable, yes, as I did figure out quickly what the perpetrators were doing, what was being planned, etc., but I believe the point was to just go along for the ride. To figure out how the protagonists would save the kingdom, rather than why. There was plenty of adventure to support that, which was exciting.
Also, My Lady Jane excelled at its solid characters and characterization. I would assume that would be a pretty important feature, since the novel was written by three authors, but every single character in this novel played a solid role in its making. Side characters, like Elizabeth and Bess, and even Gracie, were actually quite solid. And the main characters themselves (Jane, Edward, and Gifford) underwent a lot of development, and in doing so, contributed to the overall plot. While remaining funny and witty. I have to commend the writers on that, because even though they appeared pretty unremarkable at the start of the novel, they started to grow on me very fast.
... With the exception of Gifford. Don't get me wrong; all three characters were written very well, to the point where I couldn't differentiate the writing styles for each chapter. My issue was with Gifford in general. His characterization was pretty bland - in fact, I felt like I could have done without his perspective in the novel at all. I think he was a decent character (not a misogynist for sure, like Edward was towards the beginning and middle of the story). He was just... unremarkable. He was, overall, an improvement later in the story, but kind of annoying at the start. Maybe because he was almost always a horse? I don't know. He just felt kind of flat.
The thing that irritated me the most about the novel, though, was the sheer number of misunderstandings. So many misunderstandings. The miscommunication, I know, was supposed to be part of the plot, and add to the humour, but it just started to get more annoying, especially, when Gracie was convinced that Edward was in love with Jane, and Gifford thought Jane loved Edward back. It took wayyy too long for that mess to sort itself out.
Nevertheless, My Lady Jane was a perfect YA novel to end my summer. I definitely do recommend it - if you're interested in a historical romance with as much action and conspiracy as comedy. 4 stars!...more
Not terribly bad, just wasn't as interested as I thought I should have been, given the hype. I liked the characters (with the exception of Andie, who,Not terribly bad, just wasn't as interested as I thought I should have been, given the hype. I liked the characters (with the exception of Andie, who, for some reason, appeared a little one-dimensional), and Andie's relationship with her father was wonderful to read, but the story didn't suck me in as much as the characters did....more
This was surprisingly fun! I'm not exactly sure why it took me a more than a month to actually pick it up, given the raving reviews, but when I did, iThis was surprisingly fun! I'm not exactly sure why it took me a more than a month to actually pick it up, given the raving reviews, but when I did, it was a pretty quick read.
Whether you're a nerd or not (like me, who was pretty intimidated by the concept of references to geek culture that I'd never delved into before), this was ridiculously fun. The wit and humour quickly overtakes you as it did me, and I found myself laughing along with the dialogue (which was very captivating). And, strangely, I could relate more to Trixie than I could to a character in a long, long time. Sure, she has flaws, as is obvious in her basically-unwarranted hatred of Ben for a (large) portion of the novel, but I absolutely adored her - something I aim for in every YA novel I read. And of course, the same can be said of Trixie's friends, who were equally as fun - it was like being in high school again... only one where I liked everyone and we were all best friends. Trixie's group of friends, which merged with Ben's, was supportive, smart, and hilarious. Seriously, if you want to read this book for one thing, it's the characters.
Also, the romance. I was hooked from the start. I generally feel iffy about hate-to-like romances, probably because they're so exaggerated in a lot of YA and NA that I've read, but here, the hilarity made it VERY much worth reading. Especially when the romance came as a result of Trixie's meddlesome best friends. I laughed so hard when they were exposed in the end.
ANYWAY. This review is obviously scattered, but this was a great book. 4.5 stars....more
Thanks to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire for the e-ARC!
No one looks forward to Miranda Kenneally's books more than me. I love her writing, because it'Thanks to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire for the e-ARC!
No one looks forward to Miranda Kenneally's books more than me. I love her writing, because it's light-hearted in its simplicity, but her stories also contain deep, meaningful messages at the same time. There are lessons to be learned but I never feel as though her characters are embarking on philosophical, John Green-inspired journeys. What I love the most about Miranda's characters is that they are all developed, and they act like teenagers. They make mistakes, they learn from those mistakes by acknowledging and rectifying them, and in doing so, teach me some lessons as well. I don't think I've really read a contemporary novel that evokes that kind of response while still maintaining light-heartedness and humour.
Defending Taylor does not disappoint in that respect. Taylor, our protagonist, lies to protect her ex-boyfriend, (view spoiler)[who was dealing prescription drugs (hide spoiler)] because she knows he is less privileged than her and as a result, is kicked out of her prestigious private school and sent to Hundred Oaks, while also facing consequences such as her parents' disappointment (to such an extent that her father excludes her from his campaign advertisements, which just about gutted me), and ruining her chances of getting into good schools (like Yale). I have to say, I actually liked reading this part of the novel as much as the romance. It was heartbreaking to witness Taylor be rejected by so many people, including her new soccer team, considering how much of a free spirit she appeared to be, but I think that was the point. I liked that I felt like I was growing with Taylor as she learned to reconcile with her new fate, take chances, and (eventually) tell the truth.
The reason I docked .5 stars is because at some point, it felt as if Taylor was living the most tragic life - her parents seemed very unsupportive and the words read like a sob story. The stoty before and after that point weren't as melodramatic. Later on I think it righted itself, but I have to say I wasn't enjoying the extreme angst about halfway through. I also need to add that while everything eventually got better, as Taylor's parents had genuine conversations with her and she sought to mend fences with her brother and Ezra (and just about everybody), I didn't really appreciate that even though Taylor explicitly mentioned to her father that she didn't like working so hard that she lost sleep, he didn't acknowledge that enough. I know this would be one of the "characters make mistakes" thing I was referring to earlier, but in all honesty, I wish Taylor would have stressed that more, or that her father would have apologized for it. I kind of think Taylor spent the entire novel being on the brunt end of the stick that she was taken advantage of.
I have to mention the romance, because what is a Miranda Kenneally novel without it? You guys. I have never (with VERY FEW EXCLUSIONS) read a romance with the love interest as great as this author's. I think I tweeted to Miranda at one point that she could write about a leather pant-wearing guy with anklets who recites fables religiously and I would love him eternally. And Ezra is no different (minus all the details I just mentioned). I like that Miranda forgoes all the tropes you EXPECT to actually read (e.g. extremely swoony man who's broody but also hot, is skilled in such-and-such trade!) but don't see, and delivers on tropes that are even better (case in point: Ezra, Taylor's brother's best friend, a - REALISTICALLY IMPERFECT MAN! - who actually makes conversation, buys doughnuts and coffee, and is a good guy). Honestly, I can't even rank the love interests in order of my favourites at this point. They're all so good.
Defending Taylor is an all-around amazing book, with plenty of life lessons, strong female friendships, and romance galore. I can't wait for Miranda's next book. I think it's about swimming? Or speedos? Doesn't matter.