Loving the variants for this issue! Also, Fiona Staples? Boss. As a long time fan of Archie comics, I loved this! Plus, it's a cool new take on a clasLoving the variants for this issue! Also, Fiona Staples? Boss. As a long time fan of Archie comics, I loved this! Plus, it's a cool new take on a classic. ...more
I received a copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
I will admit that I was a little hesiReview also appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
I will admit that I was a little hesitant to read Jen Malone's Map to the Stars. When it showed up on Edelweiss, I wasn't sure if I wanted to commit to reading this young adult contemporary romance, but I'm so glad I gave it a chance. While Malone's novel isn't anything extremely unique or heavy, it was the perfect read that I didn't know I needed. After all of the heavier books I've been reading lately, it was nice to have a fluffy summer read to enjoy on these semi-hot days.
Annie, the protagonist, is a teenage girl who's along for the ride with her mom to a new life. In order to get away from a familial heartbreak, Annie and her mom escape to L.A., where dreams are bound to be made. From the moment the first irritating celebrity is introduced, I was hooked. I mean, I wanted to see what other drama Annie and her mom were going to get into. That and the fact that Annie is a very quiet girl that really needed to find her voice. Among some of the things I love the most about certain novels, seeing the shy girl lose her shit and start venting when life gets to be just a little too tough is a nice bonus.
One of the best things about this book is probably the setting. As someone who has yet to travel to a lot of places on her bucket list, I'm always intrigued by books that have characters traveling and experiencing certain adventures. Living vicariously through fictional characters is a real thing, google it. Anyway, I loved the descriptions of the various places Annie and her mother visited in this book. The constantly changing environment made it easier to get hooked on this novel because I enjoyed seeing the romance growing somewhere other than in a static environment.
That being said, my main issue with this book is probably how quick the relationship happened. Though Annie at one point confesses that it hasn't been nearly long enough for her to fall in love, she then counters that by feeling like she IS falling in love. While yes, this is definitely the kind of book that can be read in one sitting because of its cheese factor, I would still like to see friendship develop before romance hits the stage. The love interest, Graham, also tends to treat Annie like the token special girl. The idea that she's so different towards him and his star status probably won't help to dissuade women from thinking that indifference makes the heart grow fonder. While I did like the coupling, I found it too convenient and too easy. I mean, I get that Graham just wants a little normal in his life, but what does that say about the way he might potentially see Annie?
I loved Annie's best friend. One of the things that I can definitely give Malone props for is the fact that her characters know how to call crap out. They admit when they've messed up, they admit that they should have said something that needed to be said, they grow when they're supposed to, and they immediately avoid unnecessary drama that would only serve to move the plot along. I love that Malone ignores the drama that could have happened between the two friends so that the reader could focus on the main issue at hand. Also, I love the support system. So, despite my slight issue with the insta-love and the "special girl" syndrome, I actually really really enjoyed this. It was so cute and so perfectly light, that I couldn't put it down.
This was basically me when the book ended:
I would recommend this cutie to anyone looking for a light summer read. This is perfect for a hot, beach day and a good drink--unless you're not of legal age. Don't drink then. I mean, you can, but I didn't encourage you to do it, okay? Anyway, if you're wanting something way lighter than what you've been reading lately, then this one might be a great option!
I received a copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review
I've been following the BackstagReview also appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review
I've been following the Backstage Pass series for a few books now and though the past books haven't been the best books I've ever read, I like the fact that they're so addicting and that they tend to get better and better. Having different authors for each book also helps in creating the different personalities for each character, since each author has a different voice.
Anya and the Shy Guy by Suze Winegardner is, in my humble opinion, the best one in the series so far. The writing isn't as sappy and though it's still predictable at certain points and is heavy with insta-love (especially given the time span that the characters fall for each other), I liked the general gist of the storyline. Whereas the other books were a bit coincidental, this one at least had a more plausible angle.
Anya, the protagonist, is a homeless teenager who manages to score a two-week gig with Seconds to Juliet (S2J) as a reporter for a major music webzine, which is a big freaking deal. What's the catch? The webzine has no idea that Anya is only seventeen and as homeless as the people she wrote about in the article that got her noticed. From the moment Anya meets Will (there's a catch there that I'm not going to ruin for you), a possible whirlwind romance begins.
Anya is a pretty cool character. She's self-reliant and tough. I like that it took her a while to actually concede to her emotions. I like that she acted like the reporter she was and always kept a keen eye on the things Will said, rather than have her mooning all of the time about "how cute he was!" One thing about Anya, however, was that we don't really get to dwell into her past, which is the same for Will. Sure, we're given the basic information, but I would have liked to see more about their backstory. The issue with backstories and convenient conclusions is something that has plagued these books for a while. It's pretty clear that these books thrive on their cheese factor and while I want to get more from them, I know I should just appreciate them for what they are: mindless entertainment for the summer.
Also, I'm going to add that most of the books in this series share similar dramatic conclusions to the major conflicts. I mean, I enjoyed this novel, but I already knew how the climax of the story was going to happen. For once, I'd like to see one of these characters tough it out and just stay and deal with the shit that's hit the fan. Otherwise, all you get is a serious case of the boy-saves-girl trope.
I always enjoy books that focus on different characters within the same world because then I get to see how the other characters are flourishing. I also like when a storyline carries on from the last book. For example, Will's weird behavior in the previous book is explained in this one and when you see why, you realize that it's so obvious. I just love little easter eggs like that in a series.
I would recommend this series to anyone who wants to read about rockstars and cute romances. This is also a clean series for younger readers who want to get a taste of the rockstar genre without all of the kinkiness. You don't have to read all of the books in the series in order to read this one, since the stories kind of focus solely on the main characters. I mean, I still haven't read the first book in this series and I'm all good. One awesome aspect of this book that readers might enjoy as well is that the story is from both Will and Anya's perspectives. Dual narratives? Yes, please. I'm looking forward to the last one in the series and if this trend continues, then I'm hoping that the next book is even better than this one.
Okay, so I read Uncaged by John Sandford because I had a copy of the sequel (which I didn't read) andReview also appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
Okay, so I read Uncaged by John Sandford because I had a copy of the sequel (which I didn't read) and I'm not going to lie, I was excited for this. Why? Because mystery/thrillers/action type books are totally a guilty pleasure for me.
While the beginning of Sandford's novel was interesting and had me admittedly hooked, I slowly started to lose interest. The book was winded and random and kind of boring in parts. I kept waiting for something exciting to happen so that the beginning would be explained. But nope. It wasn't until near the end where stuff started to happen and I honestly skimmed over a lot of it. I was bored and just wanted the whole thing to end.
But how does an intriguing book go so downhill for me? The protagonist and stretches of boring moments. Being a person who loves teen thrillers, I'm used to situations occurring frequently while the protagonist(s) tries to solve some mystery and/or get to the bottom of an issue. Uncaged just kind of sat there and stewed in its own promises until the fated moment.
Mainly, I just really, really disliked the protagonist. She was rude (how many times are you going to tell the people who are helping you EVEN THOUGH THEY DON'T HAVE TO to shut up?), unappreciative, and I'm not going to lie, she didn't help matters when it came to her brother's troubles after the first third of the novel. I mean, you see people coming for him, yet you make him explain things to you when he could be getting away? Don't you guys have secure forms of communication where he can explain things there? Seriously (They do). Also, she was one of those protagonists that EVERY dude was like, "Whoa, she's hot!" I mean, a female character is of course allowed to be beautiful (both inside and out, or either or), but the reader doesn't need to be constantly reminded of how hot she is. Granted, it's her appeal that nearly gets her abducted at the beginning, but like the insta-love some of these male characters get for this girl simply because she's pretty is ridiculous. Especially when she's a bitch. And she has an unnecessary makeover at some point. JUST, WHY?!?!
Also, the dialogue. The formatting of it was really annoying and a little lazy. I mean, I get that there's a long interchange between two characters but writing colons for every character is unnecessary and frankly, a little offensive. If other writers can do dialogue without colons, then I'm sure you'll be okay. We don't need this:
Melissa said, "Hi." I said, "Hi." Melissa: "How are you?" Me: "I'm fine."
If you continue writing in the pattern where Melissa (for example) speaks first followed by me, then you don't need the colons. Jeebs. Trust your readers to not get lost in the maze of your writing, please. I know everyone has their own style and that's cool, but this was excessive in this book. Colons were everywhere. It was like Attack of the Colons--coming to a theatre near you!
The best part of this book is the beginning (before we're introduced to the protagonist's personality), the dog, and the protagonist's brother. They're probably the main reason why I'm not giving this a one star rating.
Wow, haven't ranted like this in a while.
I don't know if I would recommend this book to anyone. I just felt so unamused by the whole thing. Every time the protagonist told someone to shut up, I wanted to slap her. I get that you're a toughened street kid, but when a guy just walks into the room and doesn't say anything, I don't think he deserves to be told to shut up. Especially when he's putting everything he loves in danger to help you.
I received a copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Possibly the most unique aspect of Scott Sigler's Alive is the note he left for the reader at the end of the novel, kindly requesting that we not spoil his book for future readers by sharing important twists and reveals in our reviews. Though I believe that a reader will automatically know what kind of books you can and can't talk about (think We Were Liars by E. Lockhart), it's still refreshing to see an author actively asking for secrecy.
Alive is definitely the kind of book that's hard to review because it's so easy to give important details away. Like, how the protagonist is a vampire and her best friend is a zombie and they're fighting for world domination in an octopus shaped car. Oops.
The storyline started off with a bang with the protagonist, Em, literally banging on something that's holding her captive. The introduction immediately had me wanting to know what was happening and why the character was trapped. As the story progressed, I found myself asking more questions and waiting for the twists that would give me something to sate my curiosity. Sigler did not disappoint. Though I can't tell you the twists, for obvious reasons, let's just say that they're good. And I'm not giving anything away by saying there are twists because come on, every book has a twist somewhere, especially a book that's riddled with so many unanswered questions.
While the pacing did lag on occasion, I still found myself unable to put the story down. The characters are rich and well developed. I loved how diverse the characters were, especially the protagonist, though the cover doesn't really do her justice. I connected with the protagonist almost right away, especially because of her internal struggle and the incredibly quotable lines from her. What I especially loved about her was that she didn't try to hide what kind of person she was from the reader by stating that she could never do something or another. She knew when she was tough and she knew when she was weak.
The concept of the story is pretty unique, though it definitely brings to mind popular books like The Maze Runner and Lord of the Flies, among other popular books that I won't say for fear of giving something away. How Sigler brings everything together is fun and surprising. His writing is engaging and thought-provoking, without being overwhelming.
Tip: When you jump into this book, just go in with no expectations and try not to read the synopsis. It's so much better going in blind.
I'd recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun and occasionally terrifying read. If you're looking for a unique book, then this one might be for you. I'll most likely be checking out the sequel because I need to know what happens next!
Short review: I couldn't put this down. It wasn't exceptional, but it was a lot of fun! It wasn't perfect, but it mI received a copy via the publisher
Short review: I couldn't put this down. It wasn't exceptional, but it was a lot of fun! It wasn't perfect, but it made for a great summer read.
There is an issue, however, that I've noticed regarding this book. Stone Rider may be look at as a "boy" book, but honestly, there's not a lot of those in Young Adult fiction. As a bookseller, it's a tough time finding male-narrated novels for teenage boys to read, because while a lot of them don't mind reading from a female perspective, they also have the right to read from a male's perspective. As a result, whenever a male narrated novel comes along, I'm pretty content.
I find that it's a huge double standard when people complain about a book being a "boy" book, then turn around and complain about boys not wanting to read "girl" books. Why is it okay to accept the thousands of female-narrated books, that are admittedly looked on as "girl" books, and expect both genders to read it, yet when a male-narrated book comes out, it feels "too much like a boy book". If it were up to me, every gender would read both gender-narrated novels, but that can only work if we stop judging books based on the gender of the narrator.
Okay, rant over.
The portrayal of the girl in this story was awesome. She was badass and knew her stuff. However, she then kind of changed suddenly and inexplicably. It was a little hard to believe the love story, but I wasn't really reading this for the romance. The storyline was occasionally predictable, but it was still such a unique idea that I didn't really mind.
I didn't think I would enjoy this as much as I did, but I was completely into it. There were moments where the writing was lyrical and times when I could completely see what the author was trying to say. I will probably read whatever David Hofmeyr writes next, simply because his writing was so engaging. I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for a light, adventure-filled read.
I'm finally sitting down to properly review this after a week or so of careful consideration (okay, mReview also appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I'm finally sitting down to properly review this after a week or so of careful consideration (okay, maybe more out of laziness than thought processing.)
Armada by Ernest Cline quickly became one of my most anticipated books of 2015 after I finished and fell in love with Ready Player One (Wade is a great guy, okay?). The day it was released, I made sure to get a copy and devour it. The good news is that I DID devour it, the bad news is that I lowered my rating from five stars to four stars.
The great thing about Cline's writing is his apparent addiction to everything 1980's. I loved the references in his first novel and enjoyed them in this one as well, but I feel like he might have overdone it with his latest novel. While I was super happy to recognize some from RPO, there were a bunch of new ones that I knew nothing about. This would normally not be an issue with me because I research pretty much all of them, but the POP culture references felt doubled in this. But this is hardly a reason for me to lower the rating, especially since this is probably one of Cline's greatest attributes.
What I think lowered the rating for me, after much thought and moments of begrudging acceptance, was the at times slow pacing. Don't get me wrong, Armada is a super cool novel with a clever concept, but the delivery of the story sometimes lacked the driving force to have me constantly glued to the writing. I think it took me a handful of chapters to truly get intrigued. I mean, I've been dissecting the synopsis ever since I decided that Cline was a new favourite, auto-buy author for me, but even so, it took a while to truly let myself fall into the story. The narrative also felt a little childish. Sure, the protagonist is just a teenager and it's probably part of his personality, but some of the things that were revealed to him were done in a slightly immature way. For example, it's pretty clear that two people are hooking up if neither answer the phone and they're hot for each other (I know this isn't always the case, but in this book it sure is.)
The characters were fun and I really liked the protagonist because he's relatable. He's not perfect or super smart or super popular. He's the nerd that is destined to save the world. I guess it isn't fair for me to make this comparison, but I liked the characters from RPO more. I mean, yeah, they're different stories, but I can't help it. This is clearly a case of having higher expectations than would probably be seen as healthy. That being said, I DID like some of these characters, I just didn't love any of them. There just felt like I didn't 100% connect with any of them, though I WAS intrigued by their stories.
The shock-factor in Armada is definitely high. Cline felt like the George R.R. Martin of Science Fiction in this book. I'm not going to say a lot for fear of spoiling anything, but man, DO NOT GET ATTACHED TO THE CHARACTERS IN THIS BOOK. I loved this though because I saw it as a fearless way of writing and probably endeared me more to the book. I liked that no one was secure just because they were prominent in the protagonist's life. Real life doesn't hold back, so why should an author?
I don't know if this was done on purpose or what, but this felt a lot like Ender's Game in certain parts. I mean, I think Cline alludes to the classic Sci-Fi novel, but I'm not sure. The whole gaming thing, aliens, and saving the Earth felt a lot like Ender's misadventures. If this was done on purpose, then awesome because I loved that book.
Okay, my last point is going to be about the cover. Holy jebus, is this book beautiful. That dust jacket. Holy. Slow clap to the amazing designers. Thank you for creating such a beautiful book.
I would recommend this to fans of alien invasions and video games. If you like lighter science fiction books, then you might like this one. I recommend you go into Armada without any expectations so you can thoroughly enjoy it.
By far, one of my favourite new adult series of all time. This was just...ahhh!!! It was so good and it's going to be so hard to enjoyPerfect ending.
By far, one of my favourite new adult series of all time. This was just...ahhh!!! It was so good and it's going to be so hard to enjoy future new adult books because I'll always compare them to this one.
I was way too intrigued by the conclusion of the last book to not pick this one up, but though I got the great sense of closure, I felt like this oneI was way too intrigued by the conclusion of the last book to not pick this one up, but though I got the great sense of closure, I felt like this one was so much weaker than the last book. It was overly dramatic, had lots of crying, and was a lot sexier (not really complaining about this last point, aha).
Honestly, I just wanted to get to the point where the two protagonists finally confided in people about their situations and to get to that point, I had to read without stopping until the conclusion. There are a couple of things I'm not happy about, but like the characters said, "This is the real world and there won't always be a happy ending."
I received a copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Having missed the first installment in this series, I only have one other book toI received a copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Having missed the first installment in this series, I only have one other book to compare Rebekah L. Purdy's Daisy and the Front Man to. That being said, I did enjoy this one more than the last installment. Granted, I believe that each book is written by different authors (which is incredibly smart--hello, original voice for each couple!)
Unlike the last one, I didn't find that everything was rushed or went completely against the characters' core beliefs. The drama was a bit more realistic and it was fun reading from the perspective of someone who actually enjoyed being in a boy band. That being said, Daisy and the Front Man, while being a cute and fun read that verged on New Adult, was still lacking that extra push that I'm patiently waiting for in this series.
Daisy is a jilted teenage girl who (somehow) gets to spend the summer with her dad, who is also the bodyguard for one of America's most popular boy band. Oh yeah, and he's also paid to protect the guy who broke her heart. Gotta love the coincidences of fiction. Thus commences her attempt to fulfill her plan to get her revenge. Trevin, the front man of the band, Seconds to Juliet, is a bit of a pushover who is redeemed as he allows himself to open up to someone new. An important (yet subtle) aspect of this novel is that Trevin is a POC. Which is awesome and made me actually adore him way more than the bad boy in the previous novel. The casual references to his family and their culture was a nice touch--it's refreshing to read about different cultures in a young adult book full of common tropes. Also, add in the fact that he was openly coveted by so many people and I was immediately intrigued and curious about what he would look like.
There's no denying that this novel is sweet. Yes, it starts with the drama of what the characters need to overcome, but the romance and the situations are so cute that it should fulfill your sugar intake for a couple of days. I love that it was so sweet because sometimes you just need a novel that makes you smile and grin like an idiot.
However, no matter how sweet it was, it was incredibly cheesy. Sure, one may say that if a novel is sweet, then it's almost inevitable that it will be cheesy, but not necessarily. A novel can be sweet in a completely original way, yet this one was cheesy because of its predictability and clean-cut edges when shit hit the fan. The main conflict could be seen from the first few chapters and while you want to feel touched by these characters as they overcome their pasts and internal struggles, the predictability makes it hard to disconnect from the fact that these people's problems will most likely be easily solved--or at least, concluded.
The dialogue was awkward and choppy at times. Though for the most part it was okay, I couldn't get past a stuttered conversation without rolling my eyes. I get it, the characters are nervous and I applaud the author for finding a way to show the nerves rather than telling us. But after the dozenth time of seeing, "I...I know," or whatever, I got more than the point of the author's original intention. Note that I am NOT poking fun of people who stutter because a) I stutter when I am nervous/excited, and b) This was done a ridiculous amount of times to the point of exhaustion.
The conclusion gave me an extreme case of deja vu. I sometimes wonder why some characters find it so much easier to run, rather than confront the mess they've made. Granted, I would probably hightail it out of there, but hey, I'm a wimp and my life isn't fiction.
The lesser issues in this novel are much like in the past installment. Family issues that are too easily concluded, ignored, and glossed over. Like, why would Daisy's mother send her daughter to an admittedly flaky father and to the guy who pretty much broke her heart, just so she could go to Italy with her boyfriend? These young adult fictional parents make decisions that, if the kids were actual, living people, they would probably be extremely messed up. Sure, this is fiction and the roads to impossible coincidences need to be paved, but it's still a bit much. Also, Daisy's dad is a bit over the top for someone who doesn't really know his kid. AND don't even get me started on the barely explored difficult relationship that Trevin has with his dad. Yeah, yeah. Real life doesn't have happy endings, but in fiction, it's okay to have some sort of conclusion--whether it's a happy one or not.
Sorry, I was editing this and decided to go on an impromptu rant.
My main issues aside, I actually DID enjoy this novel. Purdy's created a fun, light summer read for those who just want a quick, slightly addicting book. The pacing is quick and the timeline is realistic. I love getting insight into the other characters, since it kind of makes me really excited for the next books. I want to know everyone's story! The moment I started reading this, I couldn't put it down. I didn't go into this book with a lot of expectations--this wasn't something that I expected to be earth shattering-- and despite my complaints, I was a sucker for this. I'm being pretty relaxed with the rating for this one, because I liked it for what it was.
I would recommend this novel to any readers who just want to escape into a fun and romantic storyline. If you enjoy the rocker trope in Young Adult, then this might be the series for you.