Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins is a feel-good romantic novel. As expected, Perkins'Review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins is a feel-good romantic novel. As expected, Perkins's second novel is full of moments that make the reader wish s/he had such a romantic dilemma. Fun, incredibly witty, and more than just a love story, Lola and the Boy Next Door is a fun and quick read.
A couple of the unexpected twists in the novel are Lola's two gay dads. It was incredible seeing how seamlessly Perkins weaved such amazing characters into a novel that deals with accepting differences. Lola herself is extremely unconventional. But it doesn't simply stop at her appearance, but at her choices in love.
My issue with Max, Lola's boyfriend, is how disgusting he is as a character. He treats people like crap and is way too intense. Not just that, but the way he makes Lola into a weaker character by degrading her and letting herself question who she is.
Lola is spunky and incredibly creative. She's also overly stubborn. Though I loved her story and the way it concludes, the path getting to her happily ever after is full of easily avoidable moments. If you still love someone, and you think about him/her always--would you not choose him/her? But I guess for drama's sake, the story needs that extra inner conflict to keep the book going.
Perhaps my favorite character is Cricket. Sexy, unassuming, and intelligent, Cricket Bell is one of the most appealing boys I've encountered in my romantic Y/A adventures. Unlike other boys, who wear confidence like an over-powering cologne, Cricket is a stumbling, nervous wreck around Lola. Which is ridiculously cute and charming.
The pacing of the novel is awesome. I loved that Perkins does not conclude her story where most authors would, but instead satisfies our curiosity by continuing until the events beyond the book are obvious. The dialogue is sharp and witty, effectively demonstrating the characters' personality.
What irked me a bit was how easily the whole Max issue is resolved. I mean, okay, I knew he was a dick from the moment he stepped into the storyline. But still. I figured there would be more... oomph! We spend most of the novel with a confused Lola, pondering what she will do, understanding her hurt and Max's jealousy, so the fix to the situation is a very soft metaphorical and nearly harmless punch at a huge, menacing issue in the novel.
Even with its faults, Lola and the Boy Next Door is a great read for a rainy day, or just for lounging around the house. I recommend Perkin's novel to fans of her previous novel Anna and the French Kiss. Also, if you love romantic Y/A fiction and protagonists who speak their mind and have their own special quirks, then you just might end up loving this one....more
Sophie Kinsella is one of my favourite authors and I was surprised when I realized how many books she’d wriFirst appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Sophie Kinsella is one of my favourite authors and I was surprised when I realized how many books she’d written since I’d last read Remember Me?. Thankfully, I came to my senses and now own almost all of her standalone novels (not a huge fan of the Shopaholic series). One of the reasons why I love Kinsella’s writing so much is because of her fluent use of humour and romance in stories that show female protagonists learning life lessons. But mostly, and I won’t delude myself to say that this isn’t a huge part of why I love her writing, I love the romance. Kinsella’s novels ARE Chick Lit, no matter what other fancy genre titles may be put on her stories. These are empowering stories that encourage female readers to not settle for the expected, or to not settle for less than what they deserve.
The Undomestic Goddess did not disappoint in serving as a warning to all you workaholics out there. There is a life outside of the office, life is good and relaxing living in a middle-of-nowhere town where no one knows who you are or that you barely sleep, and that there might be an extremely well-built, sexy worker waiting for you. This is what awaits you in Kinsella’s novel. So, you workaholics, ever thought what type of life you’d be living if you weren’t attached to your phone or constantly checking your emails? Then, give this one a look if you feel the need for inspiration.
Samantha Sweeting is a workaholic lawyer living in London who always gets home late, rarely has dinner with her family (unless it is a quick dinner, full of beeping cellphones and business oriented conversations), and has just made a big, big mistake. In a state of shock, she leaves her office before the crisis fully erupts and jumps on a train. To where? She doesn’t know. In fact, she’s still going over her BIG MISTAKE. When she does get off the train, she’s suddenly in a new predicament when she gets mistaken for a housekeeper interviewing for a job at a big house, when she just needed directions. Now, Samantha has to learn how to cook, clean, and do other menial housework, while keeping her identity a secret. She begins to question her life when she sees that there’s more to life than business mergers, and when she unexpectedly starts falling in love.
There were a few things that irked me by the end of this novel and that’s mainly why I’m not rating it perfectly, but other than these little occurrences, I enjoyed the story!
1. One of the issues I always tend to have with Kinsella’s characters is how oblivious and/or rude they are before their transformations. I know that they change and become better people, but Kinsella sometimes takes it a bit too far. Samantha is one of those people that I would loath to meet when I am at work at my coffee shop. Before she becomes a girl who doesn’t care too much about her “important” career, Samantha is ruthlessly rude, narrow-minded, and intimidating. There’s even a hint at the beginning that her secretary hates her. But, one other thing that I really don’t like about Kinsella’s protagonists is how naive they can be before they have their moments of clarity near the end. This is a technique that Kinsella has adopted and I can see that it is one that a) sometimes works for her and b) sometimes doesn’t. The problem with sticking to this method of writing is that the stories become predictable, so onto my next point.
2. The storyline was a bit predictable. This didn’t deter me from the story because there were still moments where I was happily surprised, but some of the choices that Samantha made and what happened to her were a bit predictable. I don’t want to ruin the experience for anyone, but if you’re a fan of Kinsella you may have noted that the protagonists tend to take a huge step backwards from what they’ve learned throughout the novel near the end, right before realizing what they’ve done and righting their lives once more. Like I said in my previous point, it seems like Kinsella has stuck to this routine since it hasn’t really failed her yet.
3. One of the greater issues in the novel regarding her family isn’t really resolved. (view spoiler)[Samantha mentions a brother who had a breakdown and became a teacher several years before the events of the novel, yet Kinsella doesn’t explore this relationship further. Also, I felt deflated when Samantha’s horrible relationship with her controlling mother was left unfinished. To her credit, Kinsella did have Samantha stand up to her mother, but there wasn’t really any form of conclusion between the two. Yes, Samantha DID take control of her life back from her mother, but, at the risk of sounding cliche, couldn’t Kinsella have found a slightly better resolution between the two? This is one of the other problems I have with Kinsella’s characters sometimes, they are sometimes left as what they are instead of growing. I know Samantha’s mother was a one-dimensional character, but she was Samantha’s mother for goodness sake. (hide spoiler)] In all honestly, I was disappointed with this relationship, considering how well Kinsella has portrayed previous parent-child/child-in-law relationships.
1. Despite all of the negatives mentioned above, I am a sucker for chick lit. Kinsella’s writing is fluent and humorous, making it a quick and fun read. Unless you’re like me and look at the novel too critically. The Undomestic Goddess is no exception. I can always count on Kinsella for a good laugh.
2. Though a bit predictable, Kinsella has the gift of writing fun, feel-good stories. She creates worlds where foreign readers can feel part of the England and UK atmosphere with her witty and hilarious diction. I found myself enthralled with this small town that Samantha arrives in and the descriptions made me want to be part of that world.
3. Even if they are sometimes annoyingly naive, Kinsella’s protagonists, like Samantha, have strong voices that always mark the beginning of the story. Kinsella isn’t a writer who begins her stories with long descriptions or with an intelligent sentence. Instead, her protagonist’s voice is always the first thing the reader meets, and the personality of the character is immediate. For example, first line of The Undomestic Goddess is: “Would you consider yourself stressed?” (Kinsella). This line actually belongs to a questionnaire that Samantha is filling out and the interesting thing is that Kinsella, without having a fully developed, over-thought sentence, has already introduced the gist of Samantha. Is she stressed? Could this character be a workaholic?
Despite the issues that I found in The Undomestic Goddess, I enjoyed this novel. The problems that I did find are more a pattern in Kinsella’s writing rather than problems specific to this novel. But hey, I still love Sophie Kinsella and I can’t wait to read her future works. If you enjoy cute and fun Chick Lit with an edge (slight swearing, slight sex), then I suggest that you read Kinsella’s work. In the world of Chick Lit, Kinsella is definitely a name to keep an eye on and any fan of feisty protagonists should check out the other novels by this author!...more
The Anti-Prom is the first novel by Abby McDonald that I've read and I will admit that it was sThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
The Anti-Prom is the first novel by Abby McDonald that I've read and I will admit that it was surprisingly fun! I was expecting a light read surrounding the adventures of three girls boycotting the prom. Instead, what I got was a novel that touched on subjects that some teenagers experience nowadays in high school. McDonald's novel also acts as a reminder that we shouldn't be so quick to judge others, and sometimes we should give more credit to people we only have assumptions about.
"Three unlikely allies team up for a night of rebellion, romance, and revenge in a high-stakes dramedy from acclaimed young author Abby McDonald.
They’ve spent years at the same high school without speaking a word to one another, but that’s all about to change. Popular Bliss was having the perfect prom until she found her BFF and boyfriend making out in the back of a limo. Bad girl Jolene wouldn’t be caught dead at the prom, yet here she is, trussed up in pink ruffles, risking her reputation for some guy - some guy who is forty minutes late. And shy, studious, über-planner Meg never counted on her date’s standing her up and leaving her idling in the parking lot outside the prom. Get ready for The Anti-Prom, Abby McDonald’s hilarious, heart-tugging tale about three girls and one unforgettable prom night."
1. Meg's character was the loner of the group and her boringness seeped into her narrative. The novel is separated into three different narratives for each character and Meg's was the least entertaining one. I know that this was probably McDonald's intention, but it didn't stop it from being boring and drawn out.
2. I wasn't a fan of the ending. McDonald's novel follows how these three girls change and grow their relationships with each other, so why does she feel the need to end the story on a romantic note? I thought that was a cop-out then, and now, while writing this review, I still think it's a cop-out.
3. Bliss's character is selfish, prissy, and superficial. Sure, she changes during the adventures with the other two girls and when challenging her so called "friends", but I feel that she changes the least of the three girls and I found it a loss that she didn't change more.
1. Though Meg was boring, all three girls had different personalities. I think it's awesome that McDonald writes the narratives in such a way,since the reader can clearly see how the different characters think.
2. I have always loved one-night adventures where characters learn more about themselves and come out with a greater understanding of what their lives could be like. The idea of three girls who are relatively strangers driving around town may not be original, but it does make for a fun read.
3. The novel touched on some pretty serious stuff:
a) College and what to do with your life. b) Parental abandonment c) Unhealthy relationships d) Bullying
McDonald wins points with me for not only discussing these issues within her novel, but for exploring them and using them as building blocks for her story, rather than just glancing over them.
For some, this book may just be a quick, fun read. For others, this book acts as a sign that high school issues aren't just kept within the walls of any school in particular, but that influential authors are touching on important things like bullying. Authors like McDonald who write novels that explore issues plaguing one's teenage years, but help their characters grow from their experiences will always have me as a fan.
McDonald writes fluidly and though this novel isn't about girls who hate the prom, it does show a heartfelt story of three girls who help fix and find each other....more
I feel like I should begin this review by stating that the reason why I read The Selection by KThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I feel like I should begin this review by stating that the reason why I read The Selection by Kiera Cass was mainly because of the front cover. Of course, after reading the synopsis I just fell more in love with the idea of reading this Young Adult novel. I decided to read this novel despite some negative comments going around about the author's bad behavior towards a reviewer, because I care more about the book than the author's actions.
Cass's story has its own unique fun to it. I devoured this novel because it was a light, sometimes funny, and super romantic read. It did have some issues, but not enough to repel me.
"For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined."
1. How cheesy is it to give your protagonist the name "America" simply to make a point of her fighting spirit? I am a huge fan of using the protagonist's name to send a message to the reader, but being so obvious is kind of irksome.
2. While a lot of the characters in Cass's novel added mystery and fun to the storyline, America's mother was a bit on the undecided side. By this I mean that one moment she was all, "You are my daughter, so I will guilt trip you into a potential marriage that will make you miserable just so we have a better life", and the next she was "I understand your pain sweetie, but we love you and want you to be happy." I want to say she felt a bit bipolar, but I don't want to offend anyone.
3. Ugh, why must protagonists be portrayed as weak women pining for men who act like complete assholes? I acknowledge that it is unrealistic to make a character completely emotionless when she and the one she loves stop being together, but when a breakup happens because the guy is too chicken-shit (excuse my language) to fight for the girl he so obviously loves, I get annoyed that the protagonist yearns for him even more. Really. Oh and by the way, the whole scene (view spoiler)[ with her and him after she is in the castle is ridiculous. Girls reading books like these need strong protagonists to look up to, not women who immediately revert back to the I-love-you stage (hide spoiler)] in an already broken (and previously unhealthy) relationship.
1. I loved the storyline of America being taken to a palace to possibly meet her prince charming (pun intended). Though a bit slow at first, the story quickly gets interesting and I'm a sucker for romance. Which this has a lot of. Cass's novel was a bit predictable, but it didn't stop it from being a fun ride.
2. I was never a huge fan of The Bachelor, but even though this book is like a novelization of a season from the once popular show, it was neat seeing everything happen from the perspective of a contestant, rather than from the cliched viewpoint of the prince.
3. The ending was expected, I mean, the prince had like a gazillion girls left to pick from and under the pressing conditions (which I will not reveal) it is understandable what he had to do. I just wish Cass would have gone a little longer before concluding, but then that means that her ending was enough for me to want to read the next installment.
4. I liked the mystery that some of the characters in the novel offer, made me incredibly curious!
5. The cover was eye-candy. I have to add this to the list because it is what attracted me in the first place.
I eagerly await the next installment in the series!...more
Okay, I'm going to be brief about this one by simply numbering what I liked and what I didn't like.
What I didn't like: 1. The editing. Could have realOkay, I'm going to be brief about this one by simply numbering what I liked and what I didn't like.
What I didn't like: 1. The editing. Could have really used it 2. The way the protagonist deals with her problems. Felt so immature, ugh, and it frustrated me
What I did like: 1. The romance (even though it was a bit controlling) 2. The intensity 3. The need to know what's going to happen next
When I first started reading I thought, hm, this is going wayyyy fast! But I see what the author was trying to do, and I get it. It's funny because after reading a post on another book about the controlling nature of boys in YA novels I couldn't stop thinking about said post while reading this relationship unfold. Now, I'm not trying to deter anyone, if you can manage to get over the horrible editing, you'll find a pretty cute story, even if it is riddled with the naive nature of the protagonist. I started reading this series because it made me think of the Perfect Chemistry series/ the Fuentes brothers by Simone Elkeles, but though it is hard to reach Elkeles's awesome writing, Reyes tries and if edited properly and if she can strengthen her characters, she might just reach that point where Elkeles stands.
I'm going to rate this a four, purely based on the fact that I was addicted and that I enjoyed the story... not because of the aesthetic value of the editing. ...more
When I first jumped into The Fault In Our Stars I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into, considering that so many people were recommendingWhen I first jumped into The Fault In Our Stars I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into, considering that so many people were recommending it to others and that it had such an unbelievable rating. I've fallen into the trap of people recommending popular books that left me wondering why they were so successful in the first place many times before. I will admit, this was the first time I’d ever read a John Green novel and even though I have a friend who is always parading her love for him whenever we see each other, I’d always been reluctant to read any of his books... you know, on the chance that I might find out that I do love his writing and join the ranks of admirers breathlessly awaiting his next novel. But, in all honesty, I’m happy I read The Fault In Our Stars before his other novels, because now I know what Mr. Green is capable of.
Hazel is a survivor of stage IV cancer, through the invention of a fictional drug. She expects to live the life that she has been given by watching reality television, reading, and sleeping. But, when her mother decides that Hazel should attend a support group for child cancer patients her life changes in unimaginable ways. There, among the other kids in the “literal” heart of Jesus, Hazel meets Augustus Waters, the one boy who shows Hazel that there’s more to life than what she believes there to be and that she should use every moment of it.
The One That I Want by Jennifer Echols is one of those young adult novels that can be read in oThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
The One That I Want by Jennifer Echols is one of those young adult novels that can be read in one sitting. It has its cute moments that make you go "aw" and moments that make you want to throw the book away. I've read The Boys Next Door by Echols, so I had a slight idea of what I was getting myself into. The premise looked cute and promising, but let me warn you, it isn't as it seems. I'll explain what I mean in my Negatives. Here's a synopsis that I think would better justify Echols's story:
(view spoiler)[Gemma has big plans for her next year in high school. She plans to try out for the majorette squad, she's on her way to losing the weight she's always wanted to lose, and she just wants to survive another couple of years so she can make her getaway. Then she meets Max and his friend, Carter. Just as she believes that Max, a very attractive Japanese-American, is flirting with her, Addison steps in. Addison is Gemma's "best-friend" who always seems to be abusing Gemma in some way, whether it is belittling her, or sabotaging her chances at love. Even though Addison and Max are dating, Gemma, who begins dating Carter, can't help but notice that Max flirts with her despite Addison and Carter. It's all a complicated mess. (hide spoiler)]
Okay, I know I sound like I disliked this book from my synopsis, but I actually didn't. I disliked a few things, but it was a fun and quick read.
1. The Characters. Not all of them, but some of them drove me up the wall. Especially the protagonist. I hate when protagonists have abusive friends who put them down with snide comments and deliberately embarrass them in front of others. What do I hate more? When these same protagonists don't stand up to their mean "friends" and instead call them "best-friend". I understand that this was a growing process for Gemma. I know that this whole Addison being a bitch thing worked out for the plot, but seriously, when an author has such an abused person as their protagonist then wouldn't it look like a weak person is running the show? Gemma had her best-friend, the guy she calls a good friend and had once loved until he stomped all over her emotions, and the rest of the school bullying her. And to top it all off, Echols "fixes" her protagonist by having her lose weight. I have never liked the message this sends to readers, and I never will.
2. I wanted to learn more about what happens with Gemma and her dad, but Echols (view spoiler)[ just has Gemma comment on her going to visit her dad. (hide spoiler)] It felt like this relationship was forgotten by Echols in the process of writing the book. It's almost like she was near the end and said, "Oh crap, her dad!" I wouldn't have minded meeting him and seeing how he was with the daughter he barely calls. If a character has such an intense anger towards a parent, shouldn't the author try to show both sides to the reader? Shouldn't the author resolve the issues between the parent(s) and the child?
3. I'm just going to say that this plot was transparent. I knew what would happen, but hey, it is a fun read, so didn't put too much pressure on this aspect of the novel.
4. The synopsis gives you the briefest of views into what's happening. The only hint that's given is the comment "her so-called best friend" when referring to Addison. It doesn't say how she met Max (and why she was in the vicinity in the first place, which is important). It doesn't say ANYTHING about her body-image issues, or anything generally close to what her life is like. All the synopsis says is that she meets a boy who asks her bff out, even though she liked him more than her, and oh-no's! what will she do?
1. With all the character issues written in the Negatives, I do want to mention how Gemma DOES stand up to her friend at the end and how she grows as a character later down the road. The Gemma in two-thirds of the book drove me insane, but the Gemma afterwards was strong.
2. Despite the annoying little misunderstanding (which, once you start reading the book you'll know what I mean), the story is cute!
3. The writing was straightforward and quickly paced. That's probably why I finished this one so quickly. It was well edited and had a good constant narrative voice. The novel is written in first person, past tense, which I loved.
4. I loved the fact that Max was Japanese-American. I mean, how fantastic is that? I've always thought of Japanese men as extremely attractive and to see one in a young adult novel was awesome! (I loved his family too!)
Basically, my biggest dislike with this novel was the protagonist and some of the other characters. How they treated her felt so melodramatic and I disliked that it took Gemma almost the whole book to stand up to them. But with that being said, I still liked the book and would recommend it to anyone who wants a quick, light young adult read. ...more
I've Got Your Number is the second Sophie Kinsella novel I've read this year and the hopeless rThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I've Got Your Number is the second Sophie Kinsella novel I've read this year and the hopeless romantic in me is ridiculously happy about this fact. Kinsella's standalone novel showcases the author's talent in creating a Chick Literature novel that will not disappoint her fans. With quickly paced writing, wit, and the occasional moment where your heart stops, Kinsella manages to write yet another successful novel to add to her career. Of course, with all of this being said, I suggest you read my review of The Undomestic Goddess, also by Kinsella, to see my already mentioned complaints about her writing since I will not be rewriting it on this review.
Poppy Wyatt is getting married to the man of her dreams. It doesn't matter that his parents don't really think she's good enough for their son, or that she feels inadequate beside his intellectually inclined family. At least, it didn't matter. But something bad has happened. Poppy has lost her engagement ring and to add insult to injury, someone has just stolen, STOLEN, her cellphone, so can you blame her for thinking that she is royally screwed? But then, when she thinks all is lost, she finds a cellphone in the trash and immediately makes it her own... until a stranger begins messaging her claiming that the phone belongs to his company. Will Poppy ever find her ring? Will she ever be able to please her future-in-laws? Is her husband-to-be really who she thinks he is? And more importantly, who is this stranger messaging her?
1. Poppy's character is trying to make herself appear more professional and intelligent, so she adopts the use of footnotes from her future-in-laws. Throughout the whole novel. I know that Kinsella was just trying to keep a sense of consistency, I've seen this before in other novels that employ a similar tactic. For example, Meg Cabot's Queen of Babble series has designs of wedding dresses at the beginning of each chapter. Cabot's use of the drawings visually display her character's love of design and her knowledge of wedding dresses, and are very entertaining. Kinsella's use of footnotes did not entertain me, they were annoying. I know it offered an "insight" into Poppy's thoughts, but Kinsella could have simply added these thoughts directly into the narrative of the novel. Okay, I am a bit biased. I extremely dislike footnotes and I find them very distracting and disorienting. Since I had to keep looking at the footnote to see what Poppy thought, I kept getting more and more irritated since I just wanted to read the story.
2. The binding. I know this probably only happened to me, but as I read, the binding snapped! And I don't mean in a joyful "yay, she's reading me!" way. Even now as I skimmed the pages, the front cover hung lazily, unhinged from the book. Fun times.
3. Of course, the characters. Why must Kinsella's characters be so aloof? Why must they be so naive? Clearly, I am just talking about Poppy. Poppy's decisions lead to an ending that was not only anticipated, but was not as strong as I thought it could have been.
1. The concept of texting is used wonderfully throughout the novel. Kinsella manages to write a story that mimics how most of us communicate with friends and loved ones nowadays. I know a similar technique has been used before, but in Young Adult novels. Kinsella successfully opens up this style of writing for adults in a fun and sexy way.
2. I love Kinsella's writing. It's so fluid that I always end up getting swept away. Despite all the negative things I've mentioned, give me a Kinsella novel and I'm good to go. Her use of dialogue makes it feel like you are standing there in the story listening to the characters chat. Kinsella is clearly not afraid of making her words sound like they would if they were spoken with emotion in real life. For example, if a character is worried, instead of writing, "What will I do?" Kinsella writes, "What will I dooooo?" Effectively bringing out the personality of the character through the use of dialogue and having some fun with it too.
3. Kinsella always gives little hints as to what her characters (antagonists and protagonists) are up to. I know this may be seen as a negative, but her little hints always make me feel like a detective. One of the good things about this novel is that yes, it was a bit predictable, but not every aspect was predictable. I would have never guessed the things I learned at the end. It was a fun surprise!
I am so happy that I still have one more Sophie Kinsella novel to read in my library. I will never tire of her work and look forward to any future novels by her. I recommend this book to those who enjoy Chick Literature and find witty, English female protagonists entertaining... oh yeah, and if you're a hopeless romantic, you might want to check out this one as well as some of Kinsella's other novels....more
What attracted me to The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann was the synopsis and how fun it sounded. I'mThis review first appeared on my blog:Book Addict 24-7
What attracted me to The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann was the synopsis and how fun it sounded. I'm not going to lie, I didn't go into this novel expecting a Harry Potter story or something FANTASTIC.
The Unwanteds is a middle-grade level novel that follows the life of twins Aaron and Alex after they've been separated at the "Purge" that Quill, a city which punishes those who are artistic and celebrates (in unemotional ways) intelligence and drive, hosts every year. There, the children are separated into three categories: The Wanteds (which is the highest honour), the Necessaries, and The Unwanteds (which are the artistically inclined). While Aaron seeks out a higher position in the government in the world of Quill, Alex is sent to be executed for being artistic, only to find that he is actually going to a hidden world that helps the "Unwanteds" master their artistic skills using magic. What follows is a fun adventure that seems to run its course a bit rapidly, but leaves enough questions at the end for a sequel.
While McMann's novel was a fun read, it did have its issues (both minor and major).
1. When I bought this book the first thing that I noticed was the headline that is sprawled above the title: "The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter". I've seen this so many times before and not just with these successful series, but with others (another perfect example is the comparisons that publishers make to Stieg Larsson's Millennium series). I find that using just the name of a successful series is a serious ploy to get you, as a consumer, to a) Spend your money in hopes of attaining the same joy you felt when reading a popular series for the first time, and b) To sell the book via word of mouth, i.e. "OMG this book really IS like The Hunger Games!" When deep down, you really know it's not. While I did enjoy McMann's novel, I found it irritating to see that this story is associated with what some may consider classics just so that readers will buy it.
2. One of the really frustrating things about this book is the way that time passed. I know that not everything should be told in detail, but McMann should have at least included SOME details instead of just saying "weeks passed". For example, we're already at the six month mark by page 114 (the chapter that's titled: "A Big Mistake") out of 390 pages. I think that the poor character development (another point) can be partially traced to the usage of too much time gone by without any real explanation.
3. Ah, the character development. I think that some authors believe that just because s/he is writing for kids that s/he get a freebie on character development. While yes, a lot of kids these days are more into television and what-not than reading, it doesn't mean they're ignorant. This generation and the future generations have the ability to gain knowledge in so many more ways than just school. So, with this in mind, why aren't some middle school literature authors treating them as intelligently as they should be treated? The character development in this novel was slightly irksome. This goes back to McMann's poor use of time. Sure, Alex goes through emotional issues with his friends, brother, and himself, but he doesn't really learn anything by the end, as you'd expect of a character who has gone through so much. If McMann would have described Alex's actions more in depth in the time that he spends in this hidden world, then maybe we would see some character development.
4. The other characters felt unrealistic. I know that these are young teens, but I wish that McMann gave more information about them. Little facts about their personalities and more insights into what these minor characters are feeling are given at the end of the novel. So, imagine that all you see is this one character and his moody, growing pains and only catch glimpses of the other characters. Let me make this a little clearer, imagine reading about Harry Potter during his moody phase in Order of the Phoenix, but not knowing anything about Hermione or Ron.
5. Sheri Radford on Goodreads commented on how this was just a mish-mash of all the popular series and story-lines put together. I agree, because there is so much going on in this book. It felt like everything that was written for teenagers 14 and over, was made "age appropriate" for kids 13 and under. I file this as a negative because it's such a cop out! I know that "originality" is a rare thing nowadays, but this was just beyond overkill.
6. The categories: Wanted, Unwanted, Necessary. They mean exactly what they imply. But what message is McMann sending to children who are artistically inclined as opposed to the ones who are scientifically, mathematically, or otherwise inclined? How about those who don't fit either categories? Think about it.
1. This is a fun, light read. Something that should just be taken for what it is, despite its flaws.
2. Seeing what the kids can do with magic and how the world emphasizes the use of artistic skill as a form of power.
3. The writing, though flawed in character development and in other forms, was fluid, which made the reading quite fast. 4. If McMann intended for me to feel disgust towards Aaron, she succeeded.
Despite everything, McMann wrote a story that can be enjoyable if it isn't taken too seriously. Will I read the sequel? Most likely, just for kicks. If you want to read this one, then I suggest you go in just for the sake of enjoying a book that regurgitates what you loved about The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and many other series. The Unwanteds is a fun read, but it shouldn't be thought of as the next innovative novel.
This review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7 Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral is a young adult novel that tells a story throThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7 Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral is a young adult novel that tells a story through a scrapbook full of photographs, chat logs, and notes. The moment I saw this book I knew it was something special. The cover alone shows the emotion that the two characters share before things turn sour.
“After her mother died, Glory retreated into herself and her music. Her single father raised her as a piano prodigy, with a rigid schedule and the goal of playing sold-out shows across the globe. Now, as a teenager, Glory has disappeared. As readers flash back to the events leading up to her disappearance, they see a girl on the precipice of disaster.”
I found it easy to get lost within these pages and watch Glory's descent into madness.
Since it's my first time really reviewing books like this one, I'm going to jump straight into the positives and negatives.
1. The ending made me a bit confused. I know that the synopsis on the back of the book says that the ending should hint at Glory's madness and that it should question whether everything that has happened actually happened, but honestly, I only grasped a bit of what was intended. I had to think about it after I read the book and even now, as I write this review, I'm still pondering the ending. But if a novel affects me like this, would this truly be a negative aspect?
2. Why does Glory disappear? This is one thing that bothered me at the end because I don't think it was fully explained.
1. I am so used to prose that this was a new and slightly scary experience (at least when I first began reading it). Unlike other novels that use the concept of pictures within a storyline, Chopsticks relies on pictures, drawings, and other media techniques to tell a story. I thought this was sucessful and I loved the way they easily told a story without prose.
2. Though the ending was slightly unclear, the story was easy to follow.
3. The romance was sweet and it hinted at what was happening to Glory's mind. I loved watching everything come together until the end.
4. The hints and suggestions of lunacy were interesting to decipher. I think this is the type of book that needs to be looked over more than once to truly see the beauty of it.
5. I'm happy to say that the quality of the media presented was excellent. Nothing was grainy or low quality printing.
I'm excited to see what else Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral will produce in the future!...more
Miranda Kenneally does something I love with her second novel, Stealing Parker. She makes it a compaReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Miranda Kenneally does something I love with her second novel, Stealing Parker. She makes it a companion to her debut novel, Catching Jordan, adds in little snippets about Jordan, but lets the novel sit on its own. Fun, light (despite the creepy aspect, though the coach is my age...awkward?), and extremely addicting, Stealing Parker is a homerun of a novel... give, or take a few minor issues.
Parker is a bad girl. But she's only that way after her mom's scandal rips her family apart.
What I liked was how Kenneally hints at why Parker is the way she is at the beginning of the novel, adding in little standalone lines that should make the reader think. That's one of the great things about this novel: Kenneally doesn't just tell the reader what's up, she nurtures the secrets, lets them slowly tease the reader, then offers one last clue so the reader can put everything together. That takes trust in the reader. A LOT of trust, and I respect her for it.
Parker was a reliable narrator. She was a careless and slightly boy-crazy girl that changed at the appropriate time. The pacing was good, so her character growth was believable and the reader can trust her to make the right decisions. Or at least, the right decisions for her.
The romance? The book is, let's see, twenty percent about friendship and the same for family, the rest is about romance. Though I loved the romance, I wish I could have learned a little more about Parker's family, or at least, I wanted to know what happened afterwards. But hey, it is Parker's story.
Religion plays a huge role in this novel and it kind of caught me off-guard. In all honesty, I'm not the biggest fan of books depicting religion as the way a person chooses to live his/her life because it feels like it is being pushed on the reader. I believe in God, don't get me wrong, but no matter what religion it is, I find it disconcerting when a novel tells me what a good Catholic or Christian girl is. (A novel that drove me crazy with this was All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin)
But the novel was so much fun, that I didn't let it annoy me. If you love romance, sports, and fun quick reads, then you might want to check this one out!...more
GRUM! by Robyn Hill is an adventurous little book that immediately introduces the reader tThis review was first published on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
GRUM! by Robyn Hill is an adventurous little book that immediately introduces the reader to the protagonist, Carol, as she is left at her Aunt's house for the summer. What follows is a fun, if not quick, adventure. There is an abundance of characters that grow as the story progresses and a sense of whimsical magic and childhood fantasies that takes the reader for an unforgettable ride. While I did have a few minor issues with this debut, they didn't deter me from finishing the story.
The characters read like miniature adults who tended to talk a bit too advanced for the middle-grade audience. I liked that Carol grew as a character, however, going from a grief-stricken and unhappy young girl to an adventurous and high-achieving teenager. Hill's writing style mirrors her love for children, since there are morals laced throughout the story and she appears to be well-acquainted with how children would respond to certain situations.
There were a few instances where editing would have made the story stronger, but all-in-all it was entertaining. I don't usually review middle-grade literature, but this was a fun read that I know I would enjoy if I were one of Hill's students. ...more
Kate Mitchell's Aureole is a sweet and fast-paced novel that touches on the importance of family, whether related by blood or circumstance. Jessica Carleton, though a victim of a negligent and abusive household, is fostered by a rich family in New York City, while her siblings are sent to live with family. If the reader expects Mitchell's novel to be a "princessy, dreams come true" story, then s/he will be sorely disappointed. Mitchell goes beyond the cliches of the rich and jumps into the loneliness and downfalls of being a stranger in a rich, expectant family.
The one negative aspect of Mitchell's novel is the poor editing. Though the story follows a strong plot line, it is occasionally freckled with misspellings and repeated words. Having said that, however, Mitchell has weaved such a story for her readers that after a few chapters the editing is barely even noticed. Jessica's life with the Bishop family is fascinating and her friendship with the younger Bishop son, promising. It is easy to root for Jessica, even if she at times acts naive and too forgiving.
Though I could sense what is coming, thanks to the omniscient third person narrative, the events near the conclusion still shocked me. The reactions of the characters are proof of the character growth that occurs in the novel. One excellent example is how Jessica perceives the world near the last few chapters. Of all the characters, Jessica is rightfully the more changed.
As a debut, Aureole is an insightful view into the "princess" tale of a poor girl being taken in by a prestigious family. At times dark, funny, and heartwarming, Aureole shows more layers to Jessica's situation. In fact, money is barely mentioned regarding Jessica as she ages, except for the appropriate places. The reader does not see Jessica being bought everything, nor is she ever coddled. Jessica is the reality of how one might view the idea of a rich family taking in a poor young stranger.
I would recommend Mitchell's novel to those seeking young adult fiction that follows the life of the protagonist, rather than just one event. I also recommend this novel to readers who want the grittier side of the rich classes and their "generosity".
Aureole is a unique read thanks to Jessica's commentary on the Bishop family and her desire to overcome her misfortunes. ...more
Reading Stephanie Perkins’s novel, Anna and the French Kiss, is like taking that European backpackinReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Reading Stephanie Perkins’s novel, Anna and the French Kiss, is like taking that European backpacking trip you’ve always wanted to take, yet haven’t taken. You go in expecting what everyone else describes—the scenery, the experiences, the wonders of a new world— and, much like with life, your experience can always go either way. In my case, I received all that was promised tenfold. Perkins’s novel showed me the beauties of Paris through the eyes of Anna, the protagonist, who is blind to the obvious, yet manages to show us her gorgeous surroundings.
Full of romance and moments that will grasp at your heart, Anna and the French Kiss is a must read for teenage girls. Anna is an extremely relatable character who grows throughout her experience. Though slightly predictable, this novel will still clutch you in its grips and won’t let you go until the heartwarming conclusion.
Whereas other novels would suffer from so much drama and predictability, Perkins manages to blend the two cliches beautifully together to create something new.
Anna and the French Kiss is an experience that needs to be savored, as well as devoured. Perkins’s writing is nearly flawless as she takes the reader on a tumultuous ride of romance, growing up, the hardships of imperfect parents, and friendship....more
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry is reminiscent of Simone Elkeles's Perfect Chemistry series, whiReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry is reminiscent of Simone Elkeles's Perfect Chemistry series, which I find interesting since it is the quote from her review that is printed on the front of McGarry's novel. Elkeles captured my attention, my heart, and my admiration with her daring storyline in a world of cliches.
And guess what? McGarry has just joined her ranks in my books.
Pushing the Limits is brilliantly written, heartbreakingly honest, and touches the realities of trauma. McGarry tells it like it is and though this made her novel a nervy read, it was exhilarating at the same time.
Echo Emerson is tortured by her forgotten past and has fallen into a dark pit of depression, while Noah Hutchins deals with his own grief by veering as far as he can from his old life. But, and this is one of those things I enjoy about books like this one, they are both so much more than the angst-ridden teenagers we first meet. McGarry does not bore the reader with "woe is me" plights, but she instead slowly develops the story so that the reader too can understand and sympathize with the characters.
For me, some authors often forget that readers need to connect with their characters, especially the ones scarred physically and emotionally. We, as readers, need to understand why these characters are hurting. We need to know and the author needs to show us why we should care. McGarry does this and so much more.
Okay, so I will admit, I am a fan of the hot male protagonist being all sweet, charming, and changing his bad-boy ways for the girl he likes (no such spoiler here, come on, check the synopsis!). This may impede on my judgement, but I liked that McGarry took it past the physical (for example, sex) and focused more on the romance, the characters' pasts, and how they could possibly overcome their obstacles.
That's what I liked the most: Pushing the Limits has depth.
As the novel progressed, I grew to love the characters. There were moments where I dreaded reading certain sections, because like naive creatures, they committed errors and made stupid mistakes. For the most part, however, I couldn't wait to read more about their lives and how they would grow as characters.
I would recommend Pushing the Limits to anyone who loves romance in the face of adversity. If you love bad boys, then you might like this one too. Be warned though, the guy actually treats the girl like a person in this book and when he even says something to challenge that, the female protagonist calls him out on it. If you're a fan of Simone Elkeles, then this is a must read. It is a quick read, with admittedly heavy topics, like death, depression, abuse, and neglect, but it is worth the read.
If you're against bad language, then steer clear. Echo and Noah's story is an uncensored view into the troubled teenage mind. ...more
Abigail Gibbs’s young adult novel Dinner With a Vampire, the first installment in The Dark Heroine series, is another addition to the popular vampire genre. Full of romance and beautiful prose, Gibbs offers the reader a more creative, better detailed, and slightly less naive version of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight. It is inevitable that the two are compared, since they both touch on the romanticization of vampires.
I admit that this is a guilty pleasure book, especially because of how it treats its female counterparts. I did my best to read straight through the disempowerment of female characters and the cliches that sprinkled the pages. For the most part, I allowed myself to be swallowed by the gothic romance and sexy male protagonist.
The unappealing aspect of Gibbs’s novel is how female characters are portrayed. This vampiric world introduces hierarchies full of men, as well as passing comments of female vampires hoping to one day have an equal say. The female protagonist, Violet, for a good portion of the story, is treated like an object, rather than a person, which unfortunately mimics the disempowerment of females in young adult novels.
What the reader will like about this story, however, is Gibbs's awareness of how weak Violet is in the novel. She points out flaws by having other characters comment on them, which is superb. This realization and commentary gives the novel comedic relief, whether intended or not, because Gibbs is showing her readers that her story takes place in a world aware of Violet’s frivolities.
Considering Gibbs is 18, most likely younger when she first wrote Dinner With a Vampire, this novel is a very impressive piece. The prose is nearly effortless, the diction well beyond expectation, and the pacing is quick, but not distractingly so. The story reads like a Jane Austen novel full of vampires and risque moments.
Gibbs also has a way of building anticipation for the reader. Certain scenes are very well crafted, luring the reader into the moment, rather than just telling him/her what happens next. In a way, Gibbs is seducing the reader with her prose, much like Kaspar, the male protagonist, is seducing Violet.
Dinner With a Vampire is a must-read for fans of vampires in young adult novels. Though sexy enough to be inappropriate for readers younger than fourteen, it is a quick and tasty treat for readers craving a romantic paranormal novel....more
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Alex Flinn's Towering is very obvioReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Alex Flinn's Towering is very obviously a retelling of Rapunzel with a twist--it wouldn't be a Flinn novel otherwise. Towering is an original adaptation of a tale that has become increasingly popular and it was refreshing seeing it brought to life in a new light. A fun and surprisingly quick read, Towering is a cute story to be read on a quiet afternoon. Though it is at times cheesy (as fairy tales often are), Flinn's new novel includes a surprise twist and an ending fit for a fairy tale.
The story begins with Rachel and Wyatt, the co-narrators. Wyatt hints that something dark happened in his past, while Rachel alludes to the fact that she is lonely. By having the two characters introduced this way, Flinn is setting up the obvious "Hero and maiden in distress" situation we are very familiar with in recent novels. And though she challenges this notion with Rachel being more than just a chick in need of rescue, we still see the co-dependency featured in fairy tales.
The pacing is very quick, almost to the point of lacking believability. While I loved that these two characters seem to save each other in their darkest times, I find it so awkward that it is an "insta-love" kind of romance. I mean, before Wyatt meets Rachel, he has other women on the brain. But then--BOOM! There is Rachel in all her blond, blue-eyed beauty. Oh, and she's very innocent, naive, and old-fashioned. I just find the whole situation a little forced. I mean, at least let the characters grow to like each other! Give them some time to fall in love, don't just shove it in my face.
Okay, putting that issue aside.
I liked the mystery aspect and the intertextuality, which was very intelligent and unexpected. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (coincidentally one of my favourite novels) is featured in Towering as a key to understanding what is happening to Wyatt. I love that Flinn adopts ideas from another classic novel portraying madness, and the ghostly spell of the past, to retell such an admittedly sad fairy tale. I think it's fitting and a fun little twist.
The mystery, though not completely surprising, is great. We are given clues and red herrings, and it allows you to be an active reader in the story, rather than just an observer. I like that Flinn doesn't truly start dropping hints until just after the middle of the novel, because then we can still go along with Wyatt's search for the truth.
I don't know how I feel about Rachel. It's like her old fashionedness rubs off on Wyatt. I get that she is locked away from society in some small town that barely even registers on the map, but come on. I'd expect for Wyatt's vernacular to rub off on her, not the other way around. Also, though she is told (various times) of the dangers in the real world, she easily falls for Wyatt.
Wouldn't she at least put up a fight?
I understand that she is lonely, and I more than understand Wyatt's quick taking to her, but I find these characters to be a little unreliable.
Okay, okay, I'm being mean and hard on these two poor lovebirds. I know. But I honestly did enjoy Towering. Once I got into it, it was a surprisingly quick read. I felt satisfied by the events that took place, and I knew I'd read another enjoyable Flinn novel. I just didn't think it was something that would change my life for forever. It was just a light and magical read.
I recommend Towering to lovers of fairy tale adaptations in young adult fiction, quick romance, adventure, and fun mysteries. If you like ghosts, there're a few of those too. Even if you don't end up liking the characters, you might like the storyline.
Though they're not perfect, you can always count on Alex Flinn for an entertaining read!...more
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
Cindy C. Bennett takes a classic and currently popReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
Cindy C. Bennett takes a classic and currently popular fairy tale and makes it her own in her novel Rapunzel Untangled. Rapunzel's world consists of the inside of her tower and though it is the twenty-first century, Bennett manages to make her speech that of a secluded and upper-class teenager. Rapunzel's innocence is endearing, but it is Fane who brings both the story and Rapunzel to life.
Bennett's novel is a very quick read. The story line isn't difficult to follow and it is clear who is the antagonist, and which characters are to be trusted. One of the best aspects of Rapunzel Untangled is that Bennett does not weigh the story down with needless fluff like petty jealousy, or a love triangle. Not only does she keep an eye on what truly matters, but that she does not try to include useless events just to create drama.
As an adaptation, Rapunzel Untangled is interesting because of how it portrays the use of magic. In Disney's interpretation of Rapunzel, there is magic, but of a whimsical kind. Though Bennett's story carries an air of innocence and hope, the use of magic in her novel is dark and menacing.
I also enjoyed how Fane helps Rapunzel grow as a character. Though Rapunzel does have her moments where she reverts to a weak character, she is constantly redeeming herself by making her own choices. It was also refreshing reading a novel that did not have a girl falling in love with a jerk. Fane was a gentleman, true to his fantastical roots, and I loved it.
With a twist of light comedy here (especially with the addition of Facebook), a spritz of mystery there, and an ounce of romance that will make any reader's heart thump, Bennett's Rapunzel Untangled is a very entertaining and heartwarming read. The conclusion may not be the strongest ending that I had in mind, but the bulk of the story makes up for it.
If you're a lover of retellings, romance, and guys that aren't dicks, then you should check this one out. I read it quickly, but the story stayed with me throughout the day. ...more
The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller is an incredibly adorable and funny young adultShort review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller is an incredibly adorable and funny young adult contemporary novel that teaches the reader the importance of being yourself.
I'm a sucker for young adult contemporary novels that feature cute romances and this one did not disappoint! Miller's novel is immediately comedic as her protagonist, Madelyne, confides in us her secret love for comic books and all things geeky. The love interest is a realistic teen guy who is neither perfect, nor buff (as seen in many other teen books). I found that this one also shows us how far we are willing to go just to fit in--and whether society actually cares about our differences (no matter how big they seem to us), or if we're just unwilling to trust them with our secrets.
This was a fast-paced read that can easily be devoured in a day or two. The protagonist's antics will have you giggling and the romance will have you aw-ing. Also, the nerdiness is so cool, it's hard to imagine why anyone in Madelyne's world would shun her for who she really is....more
I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Even though it's been a week or soReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Even though it's been a week or so since I read Brigid Kemmerer's short story, "Breathless", I'm still grinning from ear to ear. I absolutely LOVED reading from Nick's perspective! The short story is loaded with so much potential for the future novel based on Nick's life (set to release in January 2014), that I'm going all crazy over here with giddiness.
If you're unfamiliar with Kemmerer's Elemental series, here's what's up: Four hot brothers, four amazing natural gifts based on these elements: Earth, Water, Air, and Fire; Spirit being a very rare fifth element that combines all four Earth elements. What's so awesome about this series? Each book portrays a different character's perspective and the struggles s/he faces with his/her own talent and other personal situations.
Kemmerer has also written juicy short stories regarding some of the lesser known characters, such as "Breathless".
Nick is the twin of quick-tempered Gabriel, so we're usually sidetracked by Gabriel's fiery emotions. But not this time, this one is all about Nick.
"Breathless" tells us the story of a very confused teenaged boy as he tries to understand want he truly wants in life. Since we barely know anything about him from the previous installments in the series, it is very surprising to learn what his struggles are. Especially when he is portrayed as the attractive, intelligent, and more level-headed twin.
When you have very attractive and masculine brothers, it's kind of hard to follow your heart--at least in Nick's situation. But his flustering behavior is very cute and it helps the reader sympathise with him.
Though very limited, Nick's story tells us so much more about him than we've ever learned. We learn that not only is he not secure with who he is, but he is unsure of his future. When he is faced with a possible love interest, he is immediately confused and doesn't know how to react.
The short story spans one night full of electrifying chemistry, and I was surprised by the powerful coming-of-age tale. Relationships, friendships, family, and love are tested as Nick goes in deeper and deeper into who he truly is.
I'm so excited with what comes next for Nick, and I cannot wait to see how he tackles this new part of his life. I'm also really happy that Kemmerer created this short story, which in reality, is just a short teaser for us Elemental fans.
If you haven't read the series, I suggest you do--hot and powerful male characters who respect women, but also have their own struggles to face--what's not to love?...more
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
I absolutely adored Sarah StrohmeyeReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
I absolutely adored Sarah Strohmeyer's How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True. Strohmeyer's new young adult contemporary novel is funny, touching, romantic, and as whimsical as the Fairyland Kingdom theme park the novel is set in.
Zoe, the protagonist, is a teenaged girl who has a very close relationship with her happy go-lucky cousin, Jess. Her growth as a character isn't made obvious, but is instead hinted at by her choices and actions. She is a selfless character who never truly considers doing anything that is only beneficial for herself. This aspect of Zoe makes me love her because I can feel the love she has for her cousin, without having her explain how much she cares
Strohmeyer's novel is about more than a summer full of cute boys and the cutthroat competition. It is about overcoming grief, remembering the important things in life, not focusing on outward appearances, to have hope, and to work for what you want. These themes make the novel less frivolous and simple, adding weight to what Zoe thought was going to be a fun summer.
There's also a mystery that takes over the storyline. Strohmeyer is a talented red-herring weaver. She throws you a bone and though you're certain of what is coming next, you can't help but nibble at the proffered clues. She's also great at foreshadowing. The reader needs to pay attention to what is being said and hinted at, or else what is being said will go unnoticed. In all, Strohmeyer takes the predictable and makes it unpredictable.
The romance found in the novel grows as the summer passes and lessons are learned. This summer is about Zoe and Jess, but the romantic situations the cousins get into are in themselves learning experiences. The romantic moments featured are memorable and simply perfect.
I will admit that I may have giggled like a little girl when the romantic bits took place.
The pacing is great and I honestly devoured Strohmeyer's novel. I couldn't put it down, since I needed to know what Zoe was going to do next.
Other notable aspects of How Zoe... are the dialogue (which was FANTASTIC!), how relatable the characters are, the unexpected twist at the conclusion, and the promise of a life beyond the world of the novel.
I recommend How Zoe... to readers who enjoy a sweet romance and adventure-filled summer in a Fairytale theme park. If you like young adult contemporary fiction, then pick this one up--you won't be disappointed. The dialogue is hilarious and realistic, while the characters will make you want to join them in their hectic summer away from home. ...more
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Katie Sise's The Boyfriend App is aReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Katie Sise's The Boyfriend App is a great contemporary young adult debut that explores the intelligent world of technology and how it affects its most recent generation. Through quickly paced prose, geeky romance (of the best kind), and witty dialogue (a definite must!), Sise tells a novel that goes beyond the cute synopses and dives into the importance of truth, friendship, and family.
Audrey, the protagonist, is plagued by her ex-best friend's bullying, the lack of financial funds for college, her secret crush, and the poor financial state her and her mother have lived in since her father's death. But then, one of the most successful technology companies announces a contest: any high school student who creates a successful and popular app will win $200,000.
There are a few things that were hard not to love in Sise's novel: the humor aspect, despite the darker themes; the growing experience Audrey goes through as she discovers that, to quote Voltaire, "with great power, comes great responsibility,"; and how Audrey's world is shaped by the characters surrounding and supporting her.
The characters are so unconventionally nerdy that it makes me love them that much more. They are shy, smart, creative, and I won't lie when it comes to Audrey's love interest, sexy.
The Boyfriend App evolves from a quirky, angst-ridden, and dark story, to one of character growth and, at times, unrealistic situations.
The romance is super sweet, if not a little obvious. I know it's a character trait when a protagonist is oblivious to the affection of those around her, but I still find it a little annoying when the truth is not only obvious, but the characters choose to live in their ignorance. But, putting aside my disdain for naive characters, the romance develops slowly and with a lot of promise.
Sise plays with her readers as she dangles the idea of a romance between Audrey and her love interest within reach, but doesn't completely give them the obvious conclusion right away. She lets the story develop and her characters grow before she gives us what we want for Audrey.
The contrast between Audrey's knowledge of the digital world and that of the real world is interesting. Whereas she is incredibly smart with the former, the novel allows for Audrey to grow and learn more about the latter. I like the comparison of the two worlds as they co-exist because at times, with all of the explanations Sise offers us about HTML Coding and what-not, it helps ground the reader in the here and now--the current state of things for Audrey.
She cannot escape her problems via her computer, so we shouldn't be able to escape either through her vast explanations.
Audrey's relationships with the characters around her are revealing. Her relationship with her cousin is touching, while her feelings for her love interest reveal how powerful and important friendship is to her. Her relationship with her mother is at times strained, but she is a teenager recovering from her father's death, so her tendency to shut her mother out is understandable, making her relatable.
What I didn't like about the novel was how unrealistic it was. Okay, a boyfriend app is a possibility, but as the original app evolves with a little extra oomph, Sise pushes the boundaries between reality and science fiction. Who knows? Perhaps in the future we will see apps that can control everything about you, emotionally, but for now it is a little hard to swallow. Especially in a contemporary young adult novel.
Also, and this is just a little comment on the continuity of the novel, there is a scene where the characters are scrolling and searching for a particular name in a list. My question is, if these characters are computer brainiacs, why couldn't they just hit: CTRL+F?
I know, I know. It's a little thing, but for some reason it really bugged me. I know computer geniuses and they never navigate computers the "normal" way--instead, they always have a CTRL+this or a CTRL+that shortcut.
Despite the aforementioned flaws, Sise's novel has a lot of raw emotion. Audrey is still recuperating from her dad's accidental death and the loss of her best friend. The Boyfriend App has a catchy title, but the themes within the novel are much darker than the title suggests.
A few of these themes are: Bullying, to the point of physical abuse, occasionally takes place; the addicting qualities behind technology in today's society; and depression is shown by Audrey's addiction to her computer, since it was the greatest shared interested she once held with her father.
The Boyfriend App is a young adult novel that readers of contemporary fiction will enjoy, even with the little touches of technology here and there, since they add character to the novel. I recommend this to readers who want a quick book to read that has a protagonist who starts off as weak, but comes out at the end as a powerful force. ...more
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
This book contains sexual situationReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
This book contains sexual situations and isn't for younger readers
Faking It is Cora Carmack's second addition to her Losing It series, a collection of New Adult contemporary romance novels.
While I didn't read Losing It, I was quite surprised with Carmack's latest. Sometimes I just want to read a romantic novel that actually has character growth, characters that may appear perfect but are in fact flawed, and a storyline that seems somewhat plausible. Faking It, though the latter point is stretched a bit, fits all of the points I've mentioned. It is deliciously addicting, and incredibly sexy.
The novel is told from two perspectives--Max and Cade (which, by the way, is an amazing name)--and continues the storyline from Losing It. One of the great things about this novel is that though it touches on what happened in the previous story, it isn't exactly necessary to read its predecessor. Faking It is nearly capable of being a stand-alone novel because it contains its own storyline and issues that the protagonists need to face.
I'm a sucker for romance with a punch, and Cade and Maxs' story offers just that. Quickly paced, addicting, and beautifully written, we find that the gorgeous Cade is pretty broken up over the final events in Losing It, and that bad girl musician Max isn't nearly as fearless as she appears to be. Both of these characters share the theme of hiding beneath masks that obscure their true selves and emotions.
The character growth comes in the form of dual understanding and the fact that there's more to a relationship, or possible love, than the initial attraction. People are more than the spark of chemistry that their bonds create, instead they are complex puzzles that are meant to be continuously solved as they learn to navigate life together.
There is a sense of insta-love between the characters, and though I usually shy away from this theme, I actually enjoyed seeing the immediate chemistry between the two protagonists, even if it took them a while to act on anything. Their relationship (or fake relationship) builds up as the story progresses, effectively causing the same sense of anticipation in the reader that the two characters must undoubtedly feel.
What I also loved about Faking It is that though there are the obvious moments of insecurity between Max and Cade, the story focuses more on how these characters can grow, learn, and heal each other, rather than on petty jealousy and annoying side-plots that could potentially derail the storyline.
Basically, you are told what is going to happen in the synopsis, Carmack produces the gorgeous story for you, and delivers a sexy romp of a good time--all without the unnecessary addition of drama that has become a bit cliche in the genre, and love triangles (okay, there may be one, but it is very minimal and unimportant).
So, I'm pretty sure it's quite obvious how much I liked this book. I'm still fairly new to the whole New Adult age group in literature, but I know that Faking It is a perfect addition. Carmack's storytelling is solid and promising, making you want more.
If you love romance, sexy situations (not for younger readers), and characters that are more than just pretty faces, then give Faking It a try--you might be pleasantly surprised....more
I received a copy via Oops! I Read A Book Again Blog Tours
American Girl on Saturn by Nikki Godwin isReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy via Oops! I Read A Book Again Blog Tours
American Girl on Saturn by Nikki Godwin is a young adult contemporary romance that takes the teenage fantasy of being (literally) locked up with a few of the world’s most famous boys. This novel is so much fun and full of so much cuteness, that it was hard for me to put it down. Quickly paced, addicting, and romantic, American Girl on Saturn was a fantastic surprise.
Chloe, the protagonist, lives a very interesting life. Right from the beginning we can see that her family isn’t exactly normal. The first clue is probably the fact that a crisis can be labelled under one of two different ice cream flavors, and the second clue is that her father works for the secret service. Immediately, the reader is pulled into this bizarre world where certain code names can mean the difference between large disasters and minor disasters.
But despite the fact that Chloe very obviously lives a privileged life, she is still a teenager that can’t escape her past decisions. Despite her age, Chloe’s story is romantic without being overtly sexy—which was a surprise. It was kind of nice reading a romantic contemporary young adult story that didn’t veer too far into the nitty gritty of sex. The storyline was intriguing and addicting enough without having to add in any unnecessary erotica.
What makes American Girl on Saturn so entertaining was how realistic and imperfect the boyband is. Each boy has his own quirk, like any normal teenager, and comedic situations arise once Chloe’s family begins to adapt to the boys’ presence. Milo, Chloe’s love interest, is serious to a fault, while Noah, the strawberry milk addict, shows his loneliness by stating that he’s always “out of the loop”.
And that’s just two of the boys.
American Girl on Saturn was easily one of the cutest books I’ve read all year. The dialogue makes for a witty read, while Chloe’s sisters add spice and mischief to the storyline. Romance is brewing in Chloe’s house and I like that the issues faced are larger ones, rather than simple, easily solved issues.
Watching the characters grow from their experiences during their summer lock down made this novel more believable, and Chloe’s at times fangirl behavior made the novel both more realistic and funny. I loved the allusions to present day pop culture—especially when Godwin goes as far as mocking some of the popular outlets for pop culture and the idea of how addicted our society is to said outlets.
Godwin’s novel is a great read for anyone looking for a cute contemporary romance that features dreamy boys and a hint of celebrity.
If you like romance, funny and cute situations, fast-paced stories, and novels that focus on the fun of the situation, rather than what could go wrong—i.e. strict parents interrupting the fun, or unnecessary moaning about not being good enough for a guy—then you just might love this one!...more
This is a great book for both the parent and the child!
While a child will say, "I do that!" the parent will begin reminiscing about how s/he was withThis is a great book for both the parent and the child!
While a child will say, "I do that!" the parent will begin reminiscing about how s/he was with his/her crayons. I've recommended this to various customers and have had all of them giggle while reading the letters that the crayons write.
If you want a good laugh, and a book that your child will appreciate in the future, then this is the book for you!
I received a copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Mia and the Bad Boy by Lisa BursReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Mia and the Bad Boy by Lisa Burstein is one of those books that's perfect for the summer. It's light, romantic, and very fast-paced. While it's not the best written contemporary young adult novel in the age group, it still has that bad-boy-rocker-romance that we secretly want to devour.
Burstein's novel is told from both Mia and Ryder's perspective, which I'm a huge fan of (if you've read past reviews that I've done for dual narratives, then you know just how much I love this feature). Having both perspectives really clears up a lot of questions that we may have about the characters, but it doesn't make the drama that ensues any better.
Mia is the good girl who gets near-perfect grades and has very strong-willed and controlling parents. I like her because she's tough and can handle herself, despite what life has thrown at her and how she was raised. She is the second generation immigrant who is expected to do better. I say this because it feels slightly stereotypical to have parents who control their kids in this fashion, even if it does exist in some parts. My issue with Mia is how quickly she drops what her parents have forced on her. I mean, it's never good to do things only because others expect you to do them, but it takes more than one to two weeks to drop the good girl act and focus more on your budding (and very insta-lovey) relationship. But it's not just that, what kind of overprotective parents let their daughter go on a mini-tour with a band of boys to tutor the well-known bad boy? Seriously? That's like putting a melting popsicle in front of a hoard of ants--that shit is getting attacked.
Actually, you know what? My issue isn't with Mia, it's with her parents. They place so many expectations on their daughter, it was inevitable that she would eventually snap and find her own way through her young life. We don't even meet them and they're still a massive presence in this book.
Ryder, on the other hand, is the expected bad boy rocker. He's the guy that all the girls are used to getting. He's the one who hates everything about his life (even though he is doing a lot better financially than before and he isn't in a loveless home anymore). He is the character who needs redemption from all of the things he's done and that's where Mia comes in.
I didn't know how to feel about Ryder. Sometimes, I liked him because he really looked like he was making strides (even if it happened a little too quickly), but then I really disliked him because of his immature way of thinking. Yes, you want to make your own music. Yes, you aren't happy being in a boy band, but dude, you are singing and you're writing songs for the group, and you're successful. I guess I would have to be in his place to understand his teenaged angst? Plus, let's add in the fact that he is immediately attracted to Mia because she is the girl who doesn't take his crap. That's new...
I do kind of wish that I'd read the first book because the characters kept alluding to this one guy's girlfriend, making me really want to read it. So, read the first book if you can.
I'm usually a sucker for these kinds of books and I won't lie, I was a sucker for this one. Even with all of my misgivings, I found it utterly addicting. The romance, the tutoring, the rock and roll theme, and the bad boy drama was enticing.
I feel awkward calling this a young adult novel because it was a little too spicy for that, but it's not a new adult novel because the narrative was a bit too young. It's weird and complicated and I don't know if that makes any sense.
Like I mentioned before, I'd recommend this as a great summer read because, really, it's just a cute romance. If you're in the mood to get lost in a fun, light read, then this might be the book for you. Keep in mind that this is going to be part of a series, and each book is based on a band member and it's written by different authors--this might make things even more interesting (imagine that this series is a girlband written by the members--sorry, couldn't help it). Will I read the next one if it comes my way? Definitely. We all need a little cutesy romance every once in a while, right?
I received a copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Finding Perfect is not my firstReview also appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Finding Perfect is not my first book by Kendra C. Highley. Back when I was (relatively) new to the reviewing and blogging world, I read and reviewed one of Highley's other young adult novels. I remembered that I really enjoyed her last novel, so it's no surprise to see that I'm liking her new work--even if the genre is completely different.
In Finding Perfect we have two characters that both have a voice in the story, Paige and Ben. I'm a huge fan of dual narratives because I like seeing the story from both perspectives, especially when it is so easy to have misunderstandings when something is unknown. While the story isn't entirely original (smart rich girl meets smart poor guy), it's told in a way that's almost impossible to put down. The pacing is great and the characters are intriguing enough to keep reading.
Despite the story being a popularly used storyline in young adult literature, I absolutely loved Highley's characters. I liked that the stereotypically beautiful best friend wasn't a bitch despite her popularity, and I liked that at least one of the parents was a supportive and down to earth person.
The thing that I enjoyed about the parents introduced in this story is how they balance each other out and how some grew as people as the story progressed. You have multiple sets of parents (whether they're introduced or not) and they all follow different parental techniques, so the reader isn't left guessing what it would be like to see one of the protagonists with a parental type different than the one they've been given. I bring this up because parents and their expectations are a huge theme in this novel.
I don't think it's a secret that I like stories that explore all possibilities so I'm not left wondering "what if". It's both rare and fulfilling when I find authors who take the time to write an extremely rounded story that makes me feel like I've actually had some sense of completion at the end of a novel.
The romance was adorable. Yes, it was quick and a bit expected, but it's a nice twist on a classic theme. One of the things that probably got me hooked on this was how, in seeing both characters' perspectives, we get to see the changing emotions on both sides. We see the struggles and the need to follow plans that somehow manage to not be what the characters need at all. I liked seeing those moments, though swift, where the characters started seeing things differently and started deciding what they really wanted.
What I also liked about the romance was that it wasn't the major issue in the novel. Highley's Finding Perfect focuses on the pressures of expectations and how one is perceived by those who think they know what's best for them and the public. It shows a side of adolescence that people often forget because they're so focused on the cliches that come with that age group. The fear of failure, disappointment, and the consequences of standing up for oneself are also major issues touched on here.
Paige and Ben both have their growing moments, though I sometimes felt like Paige had more growing to do than Ben (it was in no way equal). I liked that they both helped each other grow as people and that whatever dramas they experienced in terms of their pre-romantic lives is fixed easily (without too many misunderstandings and without being dragged out for story length's sake). I love that in her growing moments, Paige doesn't throw her friendship away like I've seen in so many YA books, and that Ben doesn't act like someone he isn't in order to attain his goal.
Basically, I just like that everyone was pretty much real in this. People told it like it is and didn't let any drama ruin friendships, or let any people get away with stuff that you'd normally see in other books. For example, there's a scene where someone tries to get a character to do them a favour using his/her looks and the character's friend basically calls it out and stops it from happening. It's realistic things like that that endeared me to this book.
The only reason why I'm not giving this one a five star rating is because of its predictability, but otherwise, this was a pretty solid read. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a quick and cute romance.