I love Sara Gruen's previous three novels, but it took me a long time to even pick this one up at the library and I put off reading it. Something abouI love Sara Gruen's previous three novels, but it took me a long time to even pick this one up at the library and I put off reading it. Something about the summary just didn't hook me and if I wasn't a fan of Sara, I probably would never have read it.
The book wasn't awful. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it. I don't know if I can really explain why, either.
It started off great. I liked Isabel right away and the apes really steal the show with their distinct personalities and silly antics. The explosion and aftermath was heartbreaking and I found myself turning pages quickly.
Then Ape House started, and the book fell apart for me. I didn't find John nearly as compelling as Isabel and the apes. Amanda was totally unlikable and at this point the book seemed more focused on John and Amanda instead of Isabel and the apes, and that's where it lost me. John is bland and Amanda is so freaking emo I wanted to bitchslap her.
Based on the summary, I was expecting some sort of attraction between John and Isabel threatening his marriage, but that was really a non factor throughout the majority of the novel. Instead we get to read page after page about Amanda's emo depressiveness because her book didn't get published. John and Amanda were so hot and cold (and not in an interesting way), I felt like I was getting whiplash with the amount of times they were jerks to each other then apologizing to each other.
The ending of the book was okay, but it seemed too perfect and happy - a la Breaking Dawn where everyone gets everything they ever wanted and they all lived happily ever after. Don't get me wrong, I love a happily ever after - in fact I HATE books that don't have some kind of happy ending - but this one just seemed like overkill.
Like I said, I didn't hate the book, but I didn't love it either. I still am a big fan of Sara and will read whatever she publishes next, but I am hoping it's more along the lines of Water for Elephants instead of Ape House....more
This was a really cute book. I LOVED the heroine (Taylor) - she was smart and funny and had a kickass attitude. The hero (Jason) was also hilarious anThis was a really cute book. I LOVED the heroine (Taylor) - she was smart and funny and had a kickass attitude. The hero (Jason) was also hilarious and I appreciated the way he changed throughout the story.
Overall, the plot was light, funny, and easy to read. I really loved the interactions between Taylor and Jason in the beginning - the courtroom scene of their first face-to-face meeting is classic.
The happily ever after comes, of course, but I felt it was a bit abrupt. Taylor had some serious trust issues to overcome, and I don't feel that Jason did anything to help her overcome that. There also isn't a lot of actual romance here - a couple near kisses and one kiss that Taylor doesn't even remember, but that's enough to have her quitting her dream job and professing her undying love. It felt very rushed at the end and I felt that Taylor and Jason needed a few more scenes to solidify their relationship before the HEA.
Even so, it was a fun book to read and I will definitely check out other novels by this author. This is the first I've read of hers and I really enjoyed it!...more
I really wanted to like this book, but it just didn't do it for me. I really wanted to like the main two characters, but I ended up just feeling kindI really wanted to like this book, but it just didn't do it for me. I really wanted to like the main two characters, but I ended up just feeling kind of meh about them. I really wanted to like the ending, but it was a little over the top cheesy. And the epilogue... I have no words.
Every chapter in this book shifts perspectives between the two main characters, Brittany and Alex. Brittany is the stereotypical pretty white blonde cheerleader who comes from a rich family and lives in a mansion. Alex is the stereotypical Mexican gang member who can only speak a mangled form of English despite being born and raised in the USA.
While I appreciate the effort the author put in to developing their relationship, I found it a little jarring. I don't know how to describe it other than their segue from hating each other to being in love didn't flow very well (in my opinion).
Brittany had a boyfriend (who was a stereotypical football player jackass wanting just sex) when she met Alex (and for half the book), but that doesn't seem to matter. She makes out with Alex even though she has a boyfriend. She's later very upset with her boyfriend for cheating on her, despite doing the same thing.
Alex and Brittany then start a "secret" relationship (which isn't so secret when they're constantly making out in front of kids from their school). She says "I love you" awfully fast and the two have sex, then he dumps her (for her own safety of course).
Now, this is where the plot just gets ridiculous. (view spoiler)[ Alex disappears from Brittany's life for 10 months. Brittany moved to Colorado to be closer to her sister. 10 months later while she's visiting the assisted living facility her sister lives at, Alex shows up and tells her how he spent the last 10 months quitting the gang, getting his GED and getting in to college so he can be with her. Brittany is immediately happy because she's been pining after him and looking at his pics every day for the last 10 months and they get back together. It's a little far fetched and wraps everything up a little too nicely, but ok... I can deal with a slightly cheesy ending.
Then the epilogue.
Brittany and Alex finish college, get married, and 23 years later have a kid in high school and have cured Alzheimer's (because they're both Chemistry majors in college). They decide they want to raise this kid in the town they grew up in where there's a huge gang population. A gang that killed Alex's father, killed his best friend Paco, and tried to kill him. Alex was also in this gang and quit, so they have some pretty major beef with him. Somehow... I don't think I would want to raise my child in that environment. (hide spoiler)]
I probably would have given this book 3 stars if not for the cheesy ending and absolutely moronic epilogue. Unsure at this point if I will continue on with the series.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I like the concept of this book a LOT. Like I've said before, I love the celebrity/normal person trope in YA books. I loved the idea of this girl tryiI like the concept of this book a LOT. Like I've said before, I love the celebrity/normal person trope in YA books. I loved the idea of this girl trying to persuade her brother's celebrity hero to come see him to fulfill his (possibly about to die) wish.
It all started off good. I like the zany road trip antics, the far-fetched, but humorous ways the lead character (Annika) and her best friend attempt to get close to the celebrity hero (Steve), and I (mostly) like the female lead. She's cute, strong-willed, smart, and funny.
The romance though... it was forced. Annika somehow gets Steve to come back with her to her home town and they're stuck in a car together for four hours. They talk a little, then all of a sudden (out of NOWHERE), Steve's saying stuff like "You want to go to college in LA, right?" and they're kissing. There was almost no flirting/attraction leading up to this (other than Annika mentioning that Steve was hot once or twice). This was the weakest part of the novel BY FAR.
The best part was the Jeremy/Annika dynamic. She obviously loves her brother a lot and the entire plotline of her coming to terms with her brother's possible death was beautifully done. The ending is a little bittersweet, but it leaves you with a smile. These two siblings are awesome and while the book floundered on the romance, this author totally nailed it on the sibling relationship....more
I really liked this book... until the end. When I got to the end I kind of sat there and went WTF?
Most of the book centers around Meg and John. Meg isI really liked this book... until the end. When I got to the end I kind of sat there and went WTF?
Most of the book centers around Meg and John. Meg is a wild child who gets caught drunk and high on a bridge in a small Alabama town. John is a police officer who catches her. As part of her plea deal, she has to ride along with him for a week (the week that would have been her spring break). During that week, Meg and John start to develop feelings that come to a head a few days after the week is over.
Meg was compelling. I loved her attitude and found her backstory to be interesting. There were times I thought she went a little overboard on the hate for her parents, but she is 17 and has gone through a lot with them so I kind of understand.
John was great, until the end where I felt like the author rushed things and kind of ruined his character. He became a police officer very young (at 19) because he was very driven and that was what he wanted to do with his life. At the end (view spoiler)[he basically decides to go back to college and give all of that up because of Meg, who he has known for one week. Becoming a police officer is a long process and from how he acted throughout the book, it sounded like it was something he was very passionate about. Getting a job as a cop takes a long time, and the training takes a long time, and while sometimes people quit, for the most part it's not a job where people come and go like they would at a McDonalds or a restaurant. It's a career, not a job. And John seemed so in to the whole idea of it (not just the bridge), so it bothered me that he was just going to give it all up at the end because of one week with Meg. (hide spoiler)] Sorry, I guess that was a bit of a rant. :)
On that same note, (view spoiler)[I also have a hard time believing that Meg is "cured" of her issues after only one week with John. While I really liked their interactions, it really just comes across as insta-love. This girl was so flawed, and I LOVED that, but at the end she changes from a blue-haired, sassy, wild girl with a bad attitude who doesn't make plans and doesn't call people into a brown-haired wannabe track star at college who is making long term plans for with John after just a week. (hide spoiler)] I just don't buy it.
The writing was pretty good and I managed to read this entire book in about 2 hours without stopping. I didn't want to put it down, which is always a wonderful feeling. I may check out more books by this author because I did like this one.
I do want to complain about the e-book having so much extra crap in it that the actual book ends at 77%! Also, e-book being priced higher than the paperback is a huge turnoff! While I plan on reading more by this author at some point, I won't buy more until the e-book price is dropped!
Ok. Screw the US Attorney/FBI series, this is my new favorite Julie James book. I absolutely adored JD and Payton and their feud at work. Their back aOk. Screw the US Attorney/FBI series, this is my new favorite Julie James book. I absolutely adored JD and Payton and their feud at work. Their back and forth antics were absolutely hilarious, especially the broken shoe in the courtroom scene (LOVE IT!!).
I've now read all of Julie James novels and I WANT MORE! She is absolutely brilliant at creating characters you can't help but fall in love with. Her heroines are all super smart, snarky, and independent. I have been reading a lot of YA stuff for the past year and I'm SO sick of the co-dependent weak heroines that are so prevalent in those books. YA authors - please read Julie James and see how to write a REAL romantic heroine who is attractive (and knows it!) and has brains!
The way this book ended was a little on the cheesy side, which I've come to expect from James, but I still loved it! Of course it has a happily ever after, but it kind of tied the bow a little too neatly (in my opinion). Even so, EXCELLENT book! I love it, I love it, I love it!
Please hurry up and write more novels Ms. James! ...more
I felt so sad throughout most of this book. It starts off with the main character, Anna, finally getting whaAlso posted on my blog at: Kala's Book Blog
I felt so sad throughout most of this book. It starts off with the main character, Anna, finally getting what she's always wanted - a kiss from her best friend's brother, Matt. Anna and Matt had this absolutely adorable first kiss and relationship, which they kept hidden from Frankie (the best friend/little sister). It's no secret that Matt dies, but I fully admit the whole time I was reading about their relationship I sat there going "please don't die, please don't die" ... it didn't work. He died. And every reference to him for the rest of the book just tore my heart out.
A year later, Anna tags along on a family vacation to the beach with Frankie and her parents. This is the first time the family has done this vacation since the death of Matt and it becomes obvious that everyone has been putting on a show and no one is completely over him. Frankie's coping mechanism has been to throw herself into attracting boys and she tells Anna that they're going to meet 20 boys on vacation with the hopes that Anna will lose her virginity to one.
The rest of the novel is mostly about the vacation, the boys, and the family (plus Anna) finally coming to terms with and dealing with the heartache and loss of Matt. It's also about Frankie and Anna and how the death of Matt has evolved their friendship into something completely different, which neither of them quite know how to handle.
I struggled through the book, not because of the writing (which was beautiful) or the characters (which were mostly well developed and compelling), but because it was just so sad. I'm not going to give it a bad rating for that, because I knew going in that it would be a depressing novel, but I tend to prefer happier novels. I see enough depressing stuff in real life.
It does have a mostly happy ending, and a realistic ending, that I appreciated. I did like the book and would definitely recommend it - just have tissues on hand....more