Got through a third of the book when I finally gave up >__< The plot was just so boring, and the characters were super whiny. Short review to co...moreGot through a third of the book when I finally gave up >__< The plot was just so boring, and the characters were super whiny. Short review to come.(less)
OUR SONG starts off with an extremely slow beginning. There’s not much for me to say, because, well, not much...moreSee more of my reviews @ Moosubi Reviews!
OUR SONG starts off with an extremely slow beginning. There’s not much for me to say, because, well, not much really happened. I’d say for the first thirty of forty percent of the book, basically Olive goes to school, talks about her parents, Amie, and Derek, and sulks a bit. So, yeah. I got a bit bored :/ But once Nick came in the picture, things definitely got moving faster, and the book becomes more like your typical sweet YA story. They go on some really, really cute dates (think wide, flowery fields and rainy days!), and of course I did some serious swooning. After all, how can I resist a sweet, smart and British-accented guy? (;
I also eventually came to really enjoy Olive’s character. She’s really just your normal teenage girl, who’s a bit naïve at the beginning, but really sweet at heart. I couldn’t help but sympathize with her pain, and eventually root for her to succeed! Her character also really grows by the end of novel. By the end, Olive is much more independent, less afraid and in general, much more free-spirited. It was also really encouraging to see that she could get up by herself, especially after all the things that happened to her. She simply becomes her own person and discovers her own identity.
Amie was also a great character! She’s a bit weirder and more outgoing than Olive, which is part of the reason I loved her character. From the beginning, she was never afraid to be herself, and always supported Olive in whatever she chose to do. When she thought Olive was making a mistake, Amie also didn’t hesitate to tell her so. I also liked that she didn’t follow many of the best friend clichés – she wasn’t overly sarcastic or the classic beautiful best friend that the main heroine was jealous of.
However, what really set OUR SONG apart from most other YA contemporaries is the “song” Olive always heard in her head (after her accident, Olive has vivid memories of a song, and hears it in her head almost everywhere she goes). The song itself was intriguing and somewhat haunting. But its existence and part in the plot were what really pulled me in! Whenever Olive was having a flashback, I couldn’t help but be intrigued by the beauty and mystery of the song. And when what truly happened was revealed, all of the emotions, mystery and beauty of the song really came together!
OUR SONG, though slow in the beginning, was still a well-written and enjoyable story, as its realistic characters and lyrical scenes really pulled me in. I recommend this to contemporary fans or previous readers of Jordanna Fraiberg – they’ll swoon for Nick, root for Olive and be haunted by its song just as I did!
* A copy of the novel was provided for the blog tour. This did not affect my opinion of the book – this review expresses my honest opinions.(less)
Note: Though LOVE RESOLUTION is the third book in the BLACK CATS RECORDS series, I read the book as a standalone. The book can be read as a standalone, though, as always, if you have time I’d also suggest reading the first two books for more background information and stories (:
Alongside with parallel worlds, dreams, and “issue” books, music is one of the sub-topics I absolutely love to explore in stories. Being a self-proclaimed music geek myself, I just love seeing characters’ love and connection with it fleshed out. So of course LOVE RESOLUTION came up, and I jumped at the opportunity! Needless to say, with lots of entertainment value and characters I came to really enjoy, this book did not disappoint!
The best part of the book is definitely the music! By no means do I consider myself a music industry expert, but I think Mankin did a great job in depicting it. After all, musicians definitely don’t have easy lives, and constantly have rumors and tabloids following them. It was also great to see Avery and Marcus’s dedication to their music, despite their worlds falling apart. I also really enjoyed seeing the concerts through the musicians’ eyes – even I know it’s a very stressful and tiring situation, though it’s also one that’s very rewarding when you let your soul out. If you’re looking for an exciting music read, definitely try out this series!
Avery was also a great heroine. Throughout the novel, Avery does make a lot of mistakes and sometimes completely breaks down. But through her journey, I never really felt annoyed at her decisions, even if they were a bit stupid or ended badly. Avery really seemed like a real person and was good at heart. Moreover, I liked that she wasn’t afraid to take control of her relationship with Marcus when she thought it was getting out of control, rather than letting it get out of hand. By the end of the book, she also seemed to have grown stronger and more independent, which I really admired!
However, I had mixed feelings about Marcus. Overall, he genuinely seems like a nice guy, but sometimes he seemed to controlling or reckless. There was also a time in the middle of the book in which he just seemed fickle about his relationship with Avery – one moment he’d want to declare his love to Avery, and the next he’d avoid her like the plague. At one point, Marcus even wants to decide what Avery should wear and who she should talk to. By the end, I think he does get better, but towards the middle of the book, I wasn’t sure about the romance towards the middle.
I really liked the side characters, though! The rest of Brutal Strength was always really supportive, as was Samantha and Justin. I also really enjoyed Avery and Justin’s interactions with their father – it was really encouraging for them to recover and forgive each other first and foremost as a family. Surprisingly, I also ended up really enjoying Bryan or “Bullet”. Though he really did seem like an ass at first, he also turned out to be a great friend, and, err, less of an ass then the rest of Tempest. Hopefully we’ll see more of these side characters in the rest of the series!
LOVE RESOLUTION is a great addition to the New Adult genre, providing an entertaining mix of rock-and-roll, romance, friendship, and down-to-earth characters. I’ll definitely be looking for the next book in the series – apparently it will be featuring Bullet and the rest of Tempest! If you’re a NA or romance fan, this is the perfect book for you – there’s plenty of sexy and exciting romance, as well as a fun look into the music world!
* A copy of the book was provided for the blog tour. This did not affect my opinion of the book.(less)
As much as I like the New Adult genre, it’s inevitable that there’s a ton of clichés rising, too. I’m sure if you’re a frequent reader of the genre, you’ve seen that there are plenty of sweet and short but predictable romances. Secret for a Song, though, was luckily a more unique NA read, as it brought something new to the table with MS while still weaving a familiar but sweet type of romance I have learned to love.
In the beginning, I had trouble getting into the book. Even though I was initially attracted to the fact that the book was about a girl with MS, I found it hard to connect with Saylor since she seemed so self-centered. I mean, I get that she has a disorder, but it didn’t make it any easier for me to connect with her character when I couldn’t understand why she’d want to hurt herself just for more attention.
As the book went on, though, it was definitely easier for me to enjoy Saylor’s character. I think part of the reason is that you get to see more of how she thinks, which probably made me sympathize with her more. However, most of it was probably because of her character development. Rather than solely wanting more attention for herself, Saylor learns to value her health and life more. She also became less self-centered in my eyes, as she gives up so much for her newfound friends. It was really encouraging to see Saylor not only take control of her own life, but also help others!
And oh goodness, Drew! Talk about swoon-worthy! Despite his disease, Drew always pushed himself so he wouldn’t waste his life, and even when he literally fell, he would always get back up. He was also constantly faithful to everyone he loved or cared about, even going to the point of sacrificing his own health and interests. And, of course, there’s the many, many adorable things that he did for Saylor, including (but not limited to!) writing and singing songs for her, listening to music together and cabin getaways. In a way, he reminded me of Augustus from The Fault in Our Stars – both were, of course, totally swoon-worthy, never gave up, quirky and tugged on my heart.
The ending, however, is what really made this book for me. Does anyone know about this when I’m saying talking about when I say that the ending is expected, but you really don’t want it to happen, though you know it will happen anyways? Well, that pretty much sums up what happened here. I’ll just say that the ending is pretty heartbreaking, but hopeful enough for our main heroine that I’m happy with it. And while the ending isn’t totally happy, I thought it brought the book together and further showcased Saylor’s growth.
Though I had some trouble with the beginning, Secret for a Song was definitely a book that I enjoyed. It’s definitely one of my favorite New Adult reads so far, as the story is really more than just a cute romance and features a developing heroine. Contemporary or New Adult fans need to check this book out – they’ll love the combo of something new, like MS, and a familiar but absolutely delicious romance (:
* A copy of this book was provided for the tour. This did not affect my opinion of the book.(less)
In the Young Adult or New Adult realm, there’s definitely a good number of “issue” books out there – some beautifully written and totally memorable and some not as heart wrenching or riveting as I thought they’d be. THE TROUBLE WITH GOODBYE, however, falls more in the middle, as I didn’t completely hate the book, but still felt conflicted over how easily some of the plot events were solved.
I’d say the book’s best aspect is that it’s an extremely quick read. As you’d expect, THE TROUBLE WITH GOODBYE features a really cute and warm-fuzzy type of romance. I couldn’t help but stupidly grin and fall for Knox! The story also moves quickly, detailing Leigh’s transition back into her old life and new friends and lovers. I have to say it’s predictable, especially if you’re familiar with the typical New Adult contemporary romance, but I still ended up enjoying it (:
At the same time, though, that quickness is also one of my biggest issues with the book. This doesn’t solely apply to the novel, as it’s definitely an issue I’ve had with other NA contemporaries, but Leigh and Knox’s relationship did seem to progress pretty quickly. As a result, the ups and downs in their relationship also seemed to happen and pass swiftly, too. Leigh also seemed to change herself and deal with her issue relatively quickly and easily, considering the severity of the situation and her history with her parents.
Still, THE TROUBLE WITH GOODBYE did stand out to me because of how Leigh developed and dealt with her situation. I don’t want to spoil the novel, so I’ll refrain from mentioning the exact issue, but I liked how the author portrayed the situation. Despite the fact that I thought that the issue was resolved quickly, how the public, community, and Leigh’s family and friends reacted was realistic and broke my heart. I also liked how the author ended the novel, despite the fact that I, again, thought it came too quickly. By the end, you also see a good amount of character development from Leigh, as she finds her own voice and encourages others to do so.
THE TROUBLE WITH GOODBYE was, overall, a likable, quick and encouraging read. There aren’t many New Adult novels that I can say are more than just a “cute read”, and this novel is one of them. New Adult, contemporary or Sarra Cannon fans definitely need to check this book out!
* A copy of this book was provided for the blog tour. This did not affect my opinion of the book.(less)
With great amounts of humor, cutesiness, romance, and geekiness, ANIMATE ME was a near-perfect contemporary romance! I did have some small issues with the book, but overall it was an enjoyable and satisfying read!
One of the things that originally attracted me to ANIMATE ME was the aspect of animation and comics. I'd like to think that I'm a pretty big fan of them, though I admit that I had almost no clue about how this process worked. That being said, I really liked that Clampett gives the reader a chance to look into that fascinating world! There's the little things in the setting, like the workplace, drawing board, meetings, the start of getting his comic book published etc., that truly made me curious and excited. Even Brooke and Nathan's conversations about animators made me chuckle (:
I also felt like Nathan and Brooke had great chemistry! There's plenty of instances where I find that the couple in a novel is really sweet and likable, but I can't feel their "connection". This might sound cheesy, but I really did think Nathan and Brooke had that connection and were great for each other. Both of them were such sweet characters with many similar traits, but also had many differences in their family life and goals. I really enjoyed learning about both of them and seeing them become close friends, and eventually lovers!
However, ANIMATE ME also shines with its side characters. Since this is mentioned in the blurb, I don't consider this a major spoiler, but there's an uprising of sorts against Arnauld, who's basically your big bad boss guy. Throughout this process, you see each of Nathan's family members and friends come together in their own unique ways, all to support this one person. I think the only way to really explain it is comparing it to those moments in movies where you see all the people a hero has made friends with along the way to help with a "final battle". Again, true, it may be cheesy. But it's heartwarming, and again, entertaining to read!
Another thing about this book is that it's a very readable and short read. This might be a good thing or a bad thing, but I found that the plot is just pure light, fun, and sweetness. Obviously, I personally really enjoyed this - the ending, though a bit predictable, was satisfying and warmed my heart, and the banter between the characters made me smile plenty of times! In my opinion, there's also a good deal of "cheesiness", like when you see Arnauld (literally) portrayed as an evil monkey man, and the mushy but adorable proclamations and acts of love. But again, I ended up really enjoying it, because it was so fun to read!
But I also found that ANIMATE ME was still more than just a sweet, fluffy read. For one, the different sketches you see throughout the book are great - not only do they look amazing, but they also add to my idea of Nathan's persona! And not to mention there are some, erm, let's just say "hotter" scenes too (;
ANIMATE ME is a contemporary story that entertained and delighted me from beginning to end, whether it be through its stunning sketches, literal laugh-out-loud humor, and downright adorable moments. Readers looking for a light, well-written adult or new adult contemporary romance should definitely check this on out ASAP!
* A copy of this book was provided for the blog tour. This did not affect my opinion of the book.(less)
Sixteen year old Sophie Bloom had been living the typical high school life until she, of course, met a boy. E...moreSee more of my reviews @ Moosubi Reviews!
Sixteen year old Sophie Bloom had been living the typical high school life until she, of course, met a boy. Except this time Sophie isn’t your typical high school girl – she’s a reincarnation of the goddess Persephone. Soon, she realizes she’s caught in an all-out war between Zeus and Hades, and she’s the only one who could stop it.
Though My Ex from Hell was a humorous and entertaining read, I also had a few issues with it. For one, the mythology I originally wanted from the novel was inaccurate. If you’re familiar with Greek mythology, you know that Hades kidnapped Persephone because he was entranced with her. In this version, though, Hades had his son kidnap Persephone so he could piss of her father and own brother, Zeus. For one, his son “Kyrillos” or Kai doesn’t exist. I also doubted that Zeus would care enough for Persephone to start a war with Hades, considering in the original myth Demeter had to beg the gods of Olympus to do something. Personally I was more negative on this – usually in retellings, I appreciate originality, though here, the retelling is definitely stretching the classic I love. Especially since the Persephone myth is one that I really love – one that I’ve known since second grade. So when Prometheus and Kai explained this to Sophie, sometimes I cringed at all the inaccuracies I saw :/
Another problem I had was with the love interest, Kai. In the beginning of the book, he was a downright jerk – he’d date other girls, insult Sophie, and make particularly suggestive comments to her best friend, Hannah. Because of that, I couldn’t understand why Sophie would be romantically interested in him, other than he was attractive, which seems like a pretty shallow reason. By the end, I appreciated his sarcasm and sense of humor more, but I still couldn’t bring myself to completely fall in love with his character. However, if you’re the type of reader who really enjoys the arrogant bad boy type, you might like Kai a lot more than I did.
On the bright side, I did enjoy the mythological world in the novel. Like Riordan’s Percy Jackson books, Tellulah Darling puts some familiar but sinister Greek aspects in the story for her characters to venture through. So even though parts of the history mentioned in the novel was inaccurate, I still enjoyed learning about the different creatures there and the different Greek lands and obstacles Sophie went through. The world isn’t void of the excitement or action in a great Greek myth, either!
I also enjoyed the other characters! Like any kick-butt heroine is, Sophie was loyal, brave, daring and not afraid to take action! I also appreciated her especially snarky (and entertaining!) voice and drive as a “super-sleuth” of sorts. Hannah, on the other hand, is the quirky and forever loyal best friend that every teenager wishes they had, while Theo’s threats, humor, and actual role in the storyline made the novel much more interesting. Unlike Kai, they were characters that I genuinely ended up caring about, and definitely hope to see more of in the next books!
The storyline was also quick-paced, never slowing down from the beginning! If you know my bookish tastes well, you know that I enjoy a good combination of awesome fight scenes, sleuthing, magic, twists, and humor. Luckily My Ex from Hell had all of those and more, with the same light, enjoyable, and fun feel you always want from an urban fantasy.
Overall, I had mixed feelings about My Ex from Hell, mainly because of its inaccuracy regarding Greek myths. However, if you’re a fan of urban fantasy or paranormal romance and don’t think these inaccuracies would bother you, I’d highly suggest this read – its humor and quick pace are something many fantasy readers will enjoy!
* Thank you to the publisher & NetGalley for the review copy of this book!(less)
I’m not much of a New Adult reader (though I’d love to read more!), so most of what I read from the New...moreCheck out more of my reviews @ Moosubi Reviews!
I’m not much of a New Adult reader (though I’d love to read more!), so most of what I read from the New Adult genre happens to be contemporaries. And even by chance, if I do get to pick up a good New Adult fantasy novel, it’s usually an epic fantasy, not an urban fantasy. So when THE FORGOTTEN ONES came along, I was thrilled at the prospect of maybe getting to read one! That being said, I would probably say THE FORGOTTEN ONES ended up being an interesting and somewhat entertaining story, but not one that wowed me or had tons of New Adult-y content.
Part of the reason is because the first half or so of the novel read more like a contemporary romance, rather than a fantasy novel. Combined with the fact that the book itself isn’t very long, it made me feel like there wasn’t enough magic or fantasy in the story. And to be completely honest, though I thought the love interest and romance were sweet, I didn’t feel like there was much special about it either.
I was also iffy on the heroine, Allison. On the positive side, she’s strong in her own way by taking care of her schizophrenic mother and rescuing her comrades when they’re in need. However, sometimes I also found her point of view a bit dull, as I don’t feel like her character develops significantly. And this is more of a personal thing, but I’m also sick of the cliché that a heroine likes a guy, and the guy likes her back, but they can’t be together, especially since I think her excuse for not being with Ethan was a bit weak. But again, that might just be me.
One last, but more minor, thing that bothered me was that the story also seemed to follow some clichés. For example, you have that Allison isn’t actually completely human, since she’s actually part fairy. Realistically, how many times have we seen that scenario before?
And now to the positive stuff! I found that once Allison starts her adventure into another world, the story had a bit quicker pace and a more fantastical feel to it. Because of that, I, of course, was more engaged into the story. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but I’ll say there’s much more drama, magic (think beautiful fairy courts, spells, curses and creatures!), betrayals and secrets involved, which, erm, tends to attract my attention :p There were even a few small twists I didn’t expect, which I hope will develop more in the next installment!
Overall, though I’d say THE FORGOTTEN ONES didn’t turn out to be what I expected in the beginning, I still relatively enjoyed the story by the end. This novel would probably appeal to YA or NA fans looking for a quick read that’s not too complex in its fantasy world, as there are still contemporary elements, but still having some magical elements. NA contemporary fans might also enjoy this novel, since quite a bit of novel read just like a contemporary book.
* Thank you to the author & IFB Blog Tours for the review copy!(less)
The first half or so of the book was pretty good, but the rest just went downhill for me :/ I couldn't quite connect with the character, make sense of...moreThe first half or so of the book was pretty good, but the rest just went downhill for me :/ I couldn't quite connect with the character, make sense of some of her decisions and thinking, and thought the romance took up too much of the plot. This IS a book that romance fans may enjoy though.
Make sure to check out my tour stop for this book to read a smexy bath scene from Xarion's POV (;
Imagine being bound to s...moreRating Clarification: 3.5 / 5
Make sure to check out my tour stop for this book to read a smexy bath scene from Xarion's POV (;
Imagine being bound to serve for the rest of your immortal life, your powers and wills forever under the command of one ruling family. Then imagine falling in love with the one who holds that command over you, knowing ASTARTE'S WRATH, plus touches of humor, adventure, fun, and magic.
One thing you should know about this book is that it’s mainly a romance book. And if you’ve read my reviews or blog for a while, you probably know that usually this is a book no-no in my book. In this case, however, I loved the sweetness (and not to mention major hotness – think BATH SCENES) of Star & Xarion’s relationship. It’s probably that their childhood-friends-to-lovers relationship is the type that I’m always weak for, but it was also that they seemed to have such great chemistry together. Therefore if you’re usually a big romance junkie, you’ll probably fall in love with their story!
That’s not to say though that the story didn’t have its conflicts. Regarding Star & Xarion’s relationship, you have the problem that Star is supposed to serve Xarion for eternity, and is forbidden by Kythan law to be with Xarion. You also have the stirring war between Cleopatra and Octavian, and the mystery of the newly created Kythan race controlled by Octavian. And on top of that, there’s the fact that Egyptian Guardians are tired of being slaves and start to lean towards the Octavian side. This combination of plot lines made it so the story wasn’t only focused on the romance, but also on the problems of their world at the time, which just pulled me more into the story.
I also liked the heroine, Star. On the surface, she’s the type of strong, warrior-type heroine you see so often in YA – strong, smart, caring, etc. Over the course of the story, though, I feel like you’re really able to get into her head and her heart to learn her strengths and vulnerabilities, which made me care more for her character. For one, she’s totally loyal to those that she cares about, which I really admired. Star is also the one people around her depend on in order to make some of the harder decisions, even if they may be a bit rash.
The world and magic were also fascinating! In case you don’t know, this book is set in Ancient Egypt, which is a setting that I was already fascinated with. Unlike most books though, Wolfe didn’t choose to focus on the gods, but rather the Guardians and their different magics, which is something I didn’t really expect. Rather, it still incorporated parts of Egyptian mythology, but also added sparks of the author’s own imagination. I can’t wait to see how this magic plays out in the futuristic world of DESTINY'S FIRE, too!
And the ending! I commend Trisha Wolfe for doing that, since I know that so many other authors might have ended it in an… “easier” way. I don’t want to give the ending away, but I’ll just say it’s a near perfect balance of sadness and hope, and really tugged at my heart.
ASTARATE'S WRATH was in one word, captivating. The romance, magic, characters, plot and ending all captured my mind, pushing me to read on until I came to the last word. If you’re a fan of romance, YA fantasy, Ancient Egypt, or of this novel’s predecessor DESTINY'S FIRE this is a must read!
* Thank you to Trisha Wolfe & the Tuff Girl Legion for a review copy of this book!(less)
Last year when I read Pushing the Limits, I wasn’t completely wowed as so many others had. But, I had receiv...moreSee more of my reviews @ Moosubi Reviews!
Last year when I read Pushing the Limits, I wasn’t completely wowed as so many others had. But, I had received an ARC of Dare You To from Harlequin Teen Panel, so I decided to give this one a try. And of course, Dare You To surpassed my expectations and proved to be a really sweet and engrossing read!
Beth was a broken and standoffish character, but she’s also one that’s completely believable and caring. At the beginning of the book, she’s, of course, a bit rude, but for good reason. Fiercely devoted to her mother, the only real family she had left, Beth would do anything to fight for her, and I really admired that about her. As a result, sometimes you’ll see Beth throw tantrums, sneak out and do all sorts of crazy things. But it’s also what makes her seem like a real person, and one that’s kind at heart. While she seemed simply like a mean, b-girl in the first book, I felt like we really got to know more about her here.
Ryan, on the other hand, is your classic “golden boy”. He’s charming, sweet and, of course, ridiculously good looking. But inside, he still faced problems of his own. Even if he appeared perfect on the outside, there were struggles he had to deal with both at school and at home. For one, his dad, the mayor, is having troubles with his mother, though they keep the façade of a perfect family for the public. Ryan’s also expected to enter professional baseball as soon as he leaves high school, instead of potentially pursuing his passions in literature. And of course, there’s the classic girl trouble. With the exception of the last, I really felt like I could relate to Ryan to an extent – who doesn’t, at some point, feel like their parents’ and peers’ expectations could really get to them? It was actually pretty surprising for me to find a male character I felt like I could really relate to!
My favorite part, though, was seeing Ryan and Beth together. Not only do they have a great chemistry, but I also feel like they bring the best out of each other. Beth, though a really caring and sweet character, really had trouble opening up to others. With Ryan’s help, however, she’s able to lose some of that hard exterior in order to trust others more. Beth, on the other hand, is able to help Ryan in his path towards adulthood. In the beginning of the book, Ryan’s focused on getting a pro baseball job, mainly because it’s what’s expected of him. Yet, he still finds an interest in writing. I feel like Beth is really able to give courage to him to finally stand up to his parents for what he really wants and become a more independent person.
The only issue I had with the novel was Isaiah! This definitely wasn’t too big of an issue, but I really felt bad for him :( It’s pretty clear from the beginning that Beth would end up with Ryan, though, so I couldn’t help wondering what had happened to him. I can’t wait for Isaiah’s story!
Dare You To was not only a really sweet love story, but also one about finding yourself, letting go of your past and living for only those that really matter and for the future. If you’re a YA contemporary fan and somehow have not put this book on your TBR, do so ASAP – you’ll fall for Ryan and feel for Beth as I did!
* A copy of the novel was provided through Harlequin Teen Panel, the publisher’s outlet to reach out to teenage readers. This did not affect my opinion of the book. My review expresses my honest opinions.(less)
The thing about PROPHECY GIRL is that it was a book I really, really wanted to enjoy. From the blurb and from some glowin...moreRating Clarification: 2.5 / 5
The thing about PROPHECY GIRL is that it was a book I really, really wanted to enjoy. From the blurb and from some glowing, 5-star reviews I had seen, it had seemed like a pretty kick-ass book! And even after reading the first chapter, I was really excited, because the book did seem to stand out! Unfortunately, though, in the end I feel like the book failed to deliver the awesome-tastic-ness I was hoping for.
The plot was probably what bothered me most about the book. For one, as you could probably tell from the blurb, a lot of it is Amelie thinking about trying to get into Jackson's pants her insta-loveobsession "chemistry" with Jack. *cue eye roll* And then there were the different "twists". One of those "twists" is literally mentioned in the blurb, and the other seemed really obvious because of the what and how the characters were talking (see below in the spoiler tag, if you wish). AND there's the ridiculousness in that two of the characters were brought back to life (and one of them twice, I think).
(view spoiler)[Okay. So you learn that Amelie has this evil twin sister who's killing everyone. And then you have Lisa, who literally told her that they were always sisters a few pages before the big reveal. Maybe it was really surprising for Amelie, but how obvious was that for us readers? And then there's Robert "Bob" Thibault, who was clearly Amelie's mother's original bondmate. And his son, who happens to appear on the day that everything goes to hell. I just found this really obvious. (hide spoiler)]
Considering how I couldn't connect with the romance or plot, the characters also fell flat for me, too. In the fighting scene of the prologue, I thought Amelie was this super kick-ass heroine who battled demons and everything. Then, Jack came in and all she could think about was why they should be together. Jack was also an iffy character in my opinion - one minute he'd be talking about how Amelie and him were forbidden to be with each other, and the next they'd be making out.
I also feel like I should mention the originality. I do realize that the book wasn't the most original, though to be honest, I didn't really notice it in the book. However, I also realize it's something that's also very important with other readers, so I'd suggest reading this review by YAL Book Briefs if it's a major concern.
One thing I did enjoy, though, was the pace and language. The actual story aside, there were a good number of enjoyable fight scenes. In fact, the first demon-hunting scene in the prologue was what made me so excited in the first place. And though sometimes I felt Amalie's obsession with Jack was ridiculous, her wit and sarcastic tone made the read a lot more enjoyable.
Overall, though, I have a mixed reaction about the book. Some parts of the story were full of action and snark, but the basic plot and romance themselves really disappointed me. I would say if you're a fan of YA paranormal romance in general and wouldn't mind another read-a-like, to go ahead and try Prophecy Girl. If you're wary of things like insta-love and aren't really a reader of PNR, I'd recommend trying something along the lines of VAMPIRE ACADEMY.
* Thank you to Rockstar BT for the review copy.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Virtuosity is a pretty hard book for me to rate. Immediately after the book, I felt like this book was more of a "4-star" type of book. Then a few hours later, after thinking about it, I dropped the rating to 3.5. And now, 3. I think the bottom line is that I enjoyed the quick, cutesy story in the book, though I might have been looking for something different.
Let's start with the characters. In some ways, I did sympathize with Carmen - there's a lot of pressure pushed onto her, and she deals with a lot of the issues all teenage girls go through. At the same time though, I couldn't help feeling annoyed at Carmen at times. She's blessed with this amazing talent - she won even won a Grammy! She also has a million dollar instrument, a full-ride scholarship to Julliard, and a pair of really loving parents. Some kids would kill for that life, and yet at times, Carmen didn't seem like she appreciated it.
There's also the arrogance that a lot of people have also been talking about. Throughout the entire book, Carmen keeps on repeating that everyone knows the "real competition" is between her and Jeremy. It's as if they are ignoring every other competitor, which just bugged me. To me, that either meant Carmen and Jeremy were extremely oblivious or arrogant, especially since the Guarneri competition is very prestigious. I get that Carmen and Jeremy are both very talented, but to just ignore the other competitors for the most part seemed really unrealistic :/
I admit that I fell for Jeremy though! He really was an adorable guy, the type of arrogant, attractive British boy that you tend to see a lot of, but never really get tired of. His gestures were also really sweet and just made me swoon! <3
As for the music aspect, I probably also feel mixed. There were parts in the book where the musical aspects were absolutely beautiful, but I guess I wanted more. This is something that probably is just my mindset, but I was looking for a lot of music and emotion with it. In reality though, you get a lot of sweet, romantic moments, which is definitely a plus for a lot of readers, but was a bit disappointing for me. Nevertheless, I liked the idea of using music to connect people and to bring out their emotions.
Oh, and the plot. There were two plot events in the story that made me cringe a bit, but for the sake of not revealing the story, they're in a spoiler tag.
(view spoiler)[The first is Jeremy's real intentions. I mean, come on, really? It seemed a bit cliche. I don't know how exactly I feel, to be honest. The other is bribing the judges. I feel like a true "stage mom" wouldn't do that to her daughter, even if she really wanted Carmen to succeed. In fact, almost all mothers of talented musicians push be shocked at the idea of cheating... (hide spoiler)]
One more thing - the ending. It definitely was happy, and very cutesy (; Definitely something that a fan of YA fluffy-contemporary books would enjoy.
Overall, I guess Virtuosity was a mostly disappointing read, though it was a quick and cute read. While I didn't enjoy it as much though, this is a book that would appeal to fans of Lauren Morill, Sarah Dessen, or Susane Colasanti.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
THE BOYS OF SUMMER is a prime example of what I look for or love in a mature YA or New Adult contemporary - full of fun, a seriously swoon worthy guy, and still holding a true and relatable message of sorts. It was because of this that I couldn't tear myself away until I forced myself to go to bed, though still past 1:00 A.M.
I could really relate to Tess, especially at the beginning of the book. However, cliche it sounds, at some point, every girl does feel like the only "ugly" or unworthy friend in a group of seemingly fabulous and beautiful people. Like Tess, sometimes I also just have those unbearably awkward moments. By the end, of course she's more outgoing, and I really enjoyed seeing her character go through ups and downs. Of course though, her journey isn't an easy one, and through thick and thin, I found myself really caring and sympathizing with Tess.
And Toby! *swoon* Oh. Lord. I could probably go for hours about how much I wish Toby existed in real life. He reminded me a little of Lucas from Easy by Tammara Webber, with his silent, dark, and slightly mysterious demeanor, but also with his undeniable sweetness. Trust me, this is a guy TONS of YA readers, especially if you love romance in your books, will completely fall in love with.
The other side characters were great, also! The other Onslow boys always kept a slight chuckle on my face, especially Sean. They always brought a little more light fun into the story, and their friendships with each other, and eventually Tess and her friends, were adorable! Several times, I also feel like some authors portray the idea of best friends incorrectly, but Ellie and Adam, although not perfect friends, were constantly supportive of Tess, which seemed realistic and was heartwarming (:
Finally, the story! This book is definitely more of a beach or summer type of read, so you could probably tell its pretty quick and light. This is definitely the case in this book, and most of the story was surrounded by that light, happy feel. Depending on the type of reader you are, that could come off as a great or a not-so-great thing, but personally I enjoyed the story, however predictable or a bit unrealistic it could be. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the light romance, quirky and witty dialogue, and different plot events within the storyline!
Overall, with just the right amount of romance, great characters, and lightness I was feeling for THE BOYS OF SUMMER was a great read for me! Frequent NA contemporary readers, or fans of authors like Alyssa Rose Ivy, Susane Colasanti, Sarah Dessen, Simone Elkeles, or Abbi Glines will fall in love with Tess and her story (: Definitely pick it up if the story seems like something you'd enjoy!
* A review copy of this book was provided by the author for the blog tour. This did not affect my opinion of the book.(less)