Monday, 30 September 2013

The Duke is Mine by Eloisa James

The Duke is Mine
by Eloisa James

Summary: For Olivia Lytton, betrothal to the Duke of Canterwick -- hardly a Prince Charming -- feels more like a curse than a happily-ever-after. At least his noble status will help her sister, Georgiana, secure an engagement with the brooding, handsome Tarquin, Duke of Sconce, who is a perfect match for her in every way. There's only one problem: Tarquin has fallen in love with Olivia. Quin never puts passion before reason. And reason says that Georgiana is his ideal bride. But the sensual, fiery, strong-willed Olivia ignites an unknown longing in him -- a desire they are both powerless to resist. When a scandalous affair begins, the couple risk losing everything. Only one thing can save them -- and it waits in the bedroom, where a magnificent mattress holds life-changing answers to the greatest romantic riddle of all.
I haven't read many regency romance novels until this year (even now, I've still not read a lot of them) but Eloisa James fairytale retellings have definitely made me want to read more and I'm kind of sad that I've now read the last of the ones currently released.

I haven't loved all of the retellings, I think it was The Ugly Duchess that didn't quite work for me, but this one is probably one of my favourites, I really liked it.

I really loved the characters in this one. Olivia made me laugh and she was realistic and Quin was lovely--I loved the two of them together, they were an odd pair but they just made sense and I loved that it showed that you don't get to choose who you fall for and that you can make up a list of things you think would make up your perfect match but end up totally surprised by what your heart ends up wanting.

Even the side characters were great, his mother could've been awful and she had her moments but we were made to understand her and she had more depth than characters like her often have in these types of stories. And Georgie was great too, her character actually surprised me because in the beginning she was a bit dull and I didn't expect her to end up being the way she was.

I had read some angry reviews of this one before reading (most from people who didn't finish the book, which is fair enough) who had an issue with the comments made about Ruperts character (who had some mental health issues thanks to some oxygen deprivation when he was born). But the thing is, while some of what was said about him earlier in the book is not okay, comments like that would've been historically accurate...mental issues back then weren't understood in the way they are now and people weren't quite as politically correct (hell, even now people can still make some nasty comments about people with mental health issues).

I don't believe books should be censored in the name of political correctness, especially not books with a historical setting. Including things like this is not in any way condoning it or saying it's okay. Quite the opposite really, it was obvious that the characters in the book came to respect Rupert, and he was portrayed as sweet and talented and brave and so much more than people expected him to be.

Books like this...they're not the most amazing books in the world, but they make me smile and sometimes you just need to read a book like that. And I guess that's all I have to say about the book...and now I'm gonna go in search of some more regency romance novels because I may be a bit addicted now. Don't judge me.

Later.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

From Page to Screen: Book to Movie Updates (5)

You can read the older book to movie updates posts here.

I think most of the updates in this post are quite old now and you've probably heard all about them by now, but just in case anyone hasn't, here's all the updates (that I can remember) since the end of August (I think that's when I last did one of these).

Casting Updates:
  • Odeya Rush was cast as Fiona in the movie adaptation of The Giver by Lois Lowry. Taylor Swift was also cast as Rosemary. Alexander Skarsgard and Katie Holmes will be playing Jonas' parents. 
  • There's been quite a few Mockingjay casting updates, including Stef Dawson as Annie Cresta and Julianne Moore as President Coin.
  • Jennifer Lawrence will be playing Cathy Ames in the new adaptation of Steinbeck's East of Eden (directed by Gary Ross - and the two are going to be working together again on a movie adaption of Hannah Kent's novel, Burial Rights too).
  • Flowers in the Attack remake/new adaption finished filming, so I guess that means their cast list is complete too.
Videos/Trailers/Promotional stuff
  • Death Comes to Pemberley mini series trailer was released (sort of, it's the BBC's Autumn drama trailer and DCtP is included). It's a spin off of Pride and Prejudice based on the novel of the same name by P. D. James. The trailer also shows a preview for the second series of The Paradise which is based on the novel Au Bonheur des Dames by Emile Zola):

  • The trailer for Disney's Frozen was released, and I suppose this sort of counts since it's loosely based on The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson (I've seen a lot of complaints about the trailer, but personally I think it looks pretty awesome).

  • I'm not sure if I've mentioned this one before, but Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier was made into a movie. It was filmed in German (German title is Rubinrot), and they're making the sequel now too. There's an English dubbed version of the trailer and I think there's a dubbed version of the movie available too? People on tumblr say there is, so maybe the German DVD has that option? It looks quite good. I've been wanting to see it since I first saw the German trailer.
Rights sold/other:
  • This one is definitely older news, but I don't think I mentioned it before--Life After Life by Kate Atkinson movie rights were bought by Lionsgate.
  • J K Rowling is writing a script for a movie based on her Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them companion book to the Harry Potter series.
And I was going to do a section on TV adaptions, but I want to go read instead (but there's been some new Once Upon a Time stills and stuff released for the new season and Sleepy Hollow started last week, so you should check those out). So, I guess I'll leave it at that. Know anything I missed? Thoughts on any of the updates?

Later.

Friday, 27 September 2013

That Burning Summer by Lydia Syson

That Burning Summer
by Lydia Syson

Summary: Romney Marsh, July 1940. When invasion threatens, you have to grow up quickly. Sixteen-year-old Peggy has been putting on a brave face since the fall of France, but now the enemy is overhead, and the rules are changing all the time. Staying on the right side of the law proves harder than she expects when a plane crash-lands in the Marsh: it's Peggy who finds its pathetic, broken pilot; a young Polish man, Henryk, who stays hidden in a remote church, secretly cared for by Peggy. As something more blossoms between the two, Peggy's brother Ernest's curiosity peaks and other secrets come to light, forcing Peggy and Henryk to question all the loyalties and beliefs they thought they held dear.


So, recently I've been craving books set during WW2 (especially ones with romance in them), and this book seemed like it could've been just what I was looking for. It was... and it wasn't. Basically, I liked the book but it felt like there was something missing.

In general (as I've probably said many times before), I'm not a fan of alternating POV's in books and this was a book with alternating POV's. Peggy's chapters were my favourite, I was kind of indifferent to Henryk's, while Ernest's mostly just annoyed me or bored me and I think that had a big impact on how much I enjoyed the story.

I went into the book expecting the romance be a bigger subplot than it actually turned out to be, it was hardly there at all really (at least, it felt that way to me). It felt like we barely got any scenes of Peggy and Henryk together, either because they just didn't have many conversations or because they were left out or glossed over or it was kind of drowned out by all the Ernest stuff.

It's kind of hard to explain my thoughts on this book. It's just...I liked it. I liked the characters (although Ernest bugged me--probably because I have a little brother so I was projecting a little bit there), I mostly liked the story, I liked the writing style, and I liked Peggy and Henryk together even though there wasn't nearly enough of it. There wasn't really anything I loved though.

The only thing I didn't like was how it ended--it felt a bit rushed? Abrupt? Too something, or not enough something, but I can't pin point what.

So yeah, I liked the book, but I wanted to love it. I expected to love it. I just wanted more from it than what I got--I wanted to be totally swept up into the story and lose myself in what the characters were feeling but it didn't make me feel much of anything beyond entertained.

I'd rate it 3.5 stars out of 5. I do recommend it, especially if you like stories set during WW2, and you'll probably enjoy it more than I did if you like alternating POV's and don't go into it expecting it to be a romance.

Later.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Catherine by April Lindner

Catherine
by April Lindner

Summary: A forbidden romance. A modern mystery. Wuthering Heights as you’ve never seen it before.

Catherine is tired of struggling musicians befriending her just so they can get a gig at her Dad’s famous Manhattan club, The Underground. Then she meets mysterious Hence, an unbelievably passionate and talented musician on the brink of success. As their relationship grows, both are swept away in a fiery romance. But when their love is tested by a cruel whim of fate, will pride keep them apart?

Chelsea has always believed that her mom died of a sudden illness, until she finds a letter her dad has kept from her for years—a letter from her mom, Catherine, who didn’t die: She disappeared. Driven by unanswered questions, Chelsea sets out to look for her—starting with the return address on the letter: The Underground.

Told in two voices, twenty years apart, Catherine interweaves a timeless forbidden romance with a compelling modern mystery.
I loved April's first retelling, Jane (Jane Eyre retelling), but this one didn't work quite as well for me. In the end, I still liked it and enjoyed reading it but there was just something about it that didn't click.

For the majority of the book, it was kind of disappointing, and I'm not sure if that was because of the book itself or because there's certain things about Wuthering Heights that just don't work as well when you try to modernise it. The last quarter of the book improved though, I enjoyed reading the last handful of chapters a lot more than the rest of the book.

The romance in the book, well...in the original they had grown up together and were more isolated from other people, in this one they literally only know each other for a couple of months so their relationship lacked that foundation that the WH one has. Because they didn't know each other nearly as long in this one, it became very high school romance-y.

This version of the characters didn't work as well (also, the fact that Heathcliff was named "Hence" in this never stopped being utterly ridiculous--why not just call him Heath? *shrug*).  Catherine was kind of bland, she had no spark...she was just a pretty generic character. Older Hence matched up to older Heathcliff better than the younger version did to young Heathcliff--young Hence wasn't bad, he was just lacking in spark too and I feel like I've read characters just like him loads of times (while Heathcliff is a bit more unusual).

Basically, instead of being this epic, destructive, tragic story of love and obsession, it just came across like typical teen infatuation that ended badly and that made it more frustrating to read (especially seeing the older version of Hence--I was never sure whether to feel sorry for his character or think him a weird, creepy, stalker dude who brought his misery on himself. He is so ridiculously rude to Chelsea even though Catherine was her mother, while he just had a relationship with her for a couple of months when they were teenagers until he screwed it all up...at least in Wuthering Heights his attitude is a bit more understandable because he had years with Catherine).

There were things that worked better in the original because of the time period it was set in, things that just seemed petty in this (the way Hence reacts to misunderstanding an overheard conversation in this one was awful and made me really dislike his character and it just made it a whole lot harder to believe he genuinely loved Catherine). In the original, it was understandable that Catherine had a choice to make but in this one it didn't have to be choosing one thing and losing the other, it was Hence that made it that way.

As for Chelsea's chapters...Chelsea was kind of bland too. Her chapters and her mothers chapters were so similar, they didn't really have their own distinct voices (to the point where I forgot to read the title of a chapter and got confused wondering why Hence would be mopping the floors of the club he owns, only to realise it was Catherine's chapter I was reading, not Chelsea's, so he didn't own it yet).

Cooper was lovely, I really liked him. His relationship with Chelsea was a bit on the rushed side though, but it was also one of the better parts of the book, especially nearer the end.

This review is seeming pretty negative, but I really did like the book (especially nearer the end).

I guess I'm reviewing it as a retelling and not as if it were a brand new story--I really don't know how to judge it without the comparisons. I guess that's a negative of modernising a classic. I'm still not sure if I liked this because it's an adaption of Wuthering Heights or if I like it in spite of that (because it did kind of fall short of being a good retelling of it, losing nearly all of the things that make Wuthering Heights what it is).

I'd rate it 3 stars out of 5.

Later.

Monday, 23 September 2013

The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines

The Vincent Boys
by Abbi Glines

Summary: Beau Vincent is rude, bad, and dangerous to know. So why can't good girl Ashton Gray keep away from him? She already has the perfect boyfriend - her town's local Prince Charming, Sawyer Vincent. But Sawyer is away for the summer, and in the meantime Ashton is bored, and the heat between her and Beau is undeniable - as well as irresistible. Ashton is about to unleash her bad girl - but what will she do when Sawyer comes home? And how will Sawyer react when he returns to find his girlfriend in the arms of his best friend - and cousin?
This book was pretty much a disappointment. It's one of those ones that I should have enjoyed because it has quite a few of my guilty pleasure cliches that I almost always enjoy reading about and the plot sounded like it would be fun, but the execution of it was just so...blah.

First of all, the writing didn't do much for me. It wasn't awful, but it had quite a few Southern American-isms that really bugged me (my annoyance at phonetically written accents is no secret, and while this one didn't have much of that except for a lot of "y'all"'s thrown in, it did have quite a few little phrases or weirdly worded sentences littered through the story that just made me twitchy to read). This, I suppose, probably wouldn't bother most people--it's just specific to me because it's one of my pet peeves (hell, most people probably wouldn't even notice it).

The dialogue was awful in some parts--it just didn't flow well at all, seemed forced and not like the kind of things people would say out loud in a conversation. It was basically like the dialogue versions of info-dumps and it was just clumsy and awkward and frustrating to read. It wasn't all bad, but when it was...*facepalm*

The pacing of the plot was kind of - off. It was too rushed in the beginning and the relationship between Ash and Beau wasn't as good as it could've been because of that.  They literally went from barely talking to each other in years to being all over each other in a day (not a spoiler really, because it happens within the first few chapters), there was no build up to it and being told they were friends three years ago didn't make me forgive that.

I mentioned in the beginning of this review that the book has quite a few cliches I enjoy, and one of those is the whole bad boy love interest thing but basically everything I enjoy reading about that was gone within like a couple of pages or non-existent (the summary described Beau as rude, bad, and dangerous--basically a bad boy, but in the actual book he wasn't, not even in the beginning aside from one drunk scene like one page long, and that wasn't him being a bad boy, that was just him being your stereotypical drunk teenage guy).

The characters ranged from infuriating to mind numbingly dull. Sadly, Ash was one of the infuriating ones--I just didn't like her, she handled situations so insanely badly and her thought process made me want to smack her with the book and I just didn't get why the guys were so obsessed with her because while the younger version of her sounded quite fun and interesting, the grown up version was just irritating and ridiculous.

And we weren't really shown much of why she would've stayed with Sawyer for so long or why she'd have gone out with him at all in the first place (seeing as he asked her out before she changed into the girl she is now--and because their relationship was so bland and lacking in spark it made it seem weird that she would've changed so much for him in the first place). As far as love triangles go, this one wasn't very good.

Really, Beau was the only character I genuinely liked, although nearer the end even he had moments of annoying idiocy. But in general, I liked him, and it was his character that made this book okay to read, and Ash was more tolerable around him.

The book was one of those ones that was easy to sit down and read in one sitting without being bored, but I never really enjoyed reading it and in the end I was more annoyed and disappointed than anything else, it was just totally bland and lacking the usual spark that these kind of romances usually have.

I hate writing negative reviews. FGkjkjbd. I'd rate it 1.5 stars out of 5 (I don't even have any desire to read the sequel, which is rare for me, even with books that didn't quite do it for me). Here are a few positive reviews if you want to read a different opinion: here, here, and here.

Later.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Classic Book Kindle Cover Review

I don't normally review anything that isn't a book on the blog, but 1) this is book related and 2) I really liked this. There's a bunch of other covers on the website, but I chose the Pride and Prejudice one.

Anyway...I'm so used to reviewing books that I'm not really sure how to go about this one, so I guess I'll just go with a list.

The Pros:
  • It's very pretty. Seriously, it is just like a vintage-y hardback book. The design is lovely.
  • It doesn't just look like a book, it feels like one too so it's much more enjoyable reading on the Kindle with this on it (aside from being lighter and the lack of physically turning a page, it feels just like holding a regular book).
  • Still on the subject of it being like a real book--it can be put on the bookcase and easily be mistaken for an actual book. 
  • The Kindle feels really secure and doesn't move about (the way it did in the old one), buttons are easily accessed.
The Cons:
  • The only thing about the cover that maybe isn't so good is that you couldn't just shove it in your bag unless you have a pocket it would fit into or a bag organiser or something to keep it secure. It is just like a book, so the cover will probably (just a guess) be more easily damaged than some other kindle covers you can get and it doesn't seal shut so it'd be easier for the cover to flip open and for something to scratch the kindle. But, this is only really an issue if your bag isn't very well organised (not an issue for me), you just have to be a bit more careful with it than you would with a regular cover.
Verdict:
  • I love it. It's way better than the old Kindle cover (it was one of those faux leather-y type ones--it didn't feel as secure in that one; the Kindle would move about in it obstructing the buttons and it was annoying to hold it because the cover was flipped open too far so it couldn't really comfortably be held the way a proper book is held), this cover has none of the issues that one had. 

You can check out the website here. They have some other classic book covers, different colours, and some personalised ones if you don't want to have an existing book title on it.

Later.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James

When Beauty Tamed the Beast
by Eloisa James

Summary: If only Miss Linnet Berry Thrynne hadn't been caught kissing that prince ... But now the ton believes Linnet to be with royal child - and therefore unmarriageable - so she might as well make her desperate father happy by consenting to wed a beast.

A brilliant surgeon with a reputation for losing his temper - and a wound believed to have left him ... incapable - Piers, Earl of Marchant, should welcome a bride-to-be carrying a ready-made, blue-blooded heir. But Piers isn't fooled by the lady's subterfuge, and though Linnet's devilishly smart and lovely, there will be no wedding of beauty to beast.

Still, Linnet finds the gorgeous brute intriguing. And it's obvious to the naked eye that 'incapable' does not mean 'uninterested'...
So I think this is my favourite of Eloisa James' fairytale retellings so far (I've read 3? Maybe 4?), I really loved it.

This is one of those rare romances where I genuinely love the couple together. Sometimes with books like this, I want the main characters to end up together purely because that's what's expected in a romance novel, but in this one the characters actually made sense together.

They were funny and sweet and brought out the best in each other. It wasn't a case of insta-love or insta-lust, I was completely convinced that they were in love with each other and we were shown it, not just told. Their characters just complimented each other perfectly. And I really, really loved that.

I also just really liked the characters individually too. They both had their moments of being ridiculous, but they were funny and intelligent and flawed in ways that never became annoying--he was grumpy and stubborn and too brutally honest sometimes and she could be quite vain, and it would be so easy for those personality traits to make their characters unlikeable, but it was just executed really well and I liked them both from start to finish. I really liked the side characters too.

As for the plot...well, Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite fairytales, and this is one of my favourite retellings of it. And the way it's done in this story doesn't have the Stockholm Syndrome aspect to it that it could be argued some of the other versions have going on.

And that's all I have to say really. If you like Beauty and the Beast type stories, or regency romance stories, then check this one out.

Later.

p.s. I think I may be getting out of my reading slump now that summer is over--this is the 5th book I've read and reviewed this week and I've already started another (not that anyone is supposed to care really, but it's making me feel all YAY-ish, so...yes).

Friday, 20 September 2013

Carter Reed by Tijan

Carter Reed
by Tijan
Release date: September 30th


Summary: Emma decided to skip the gym and went home early. It was the last easy decision she made because she found her roommate being raped by the boyfriend. She had two choices. Call the cops and be killed by his family’s mafia connections or kill him first and hope to survive. There was no choice to her. She killed the bastard first and went to the one person who could protect her. Carter Reed. He’s a weapon for the rivaling mafia family, but he’s also Emma’s secret. Not only was he best friends with her brother, but she’s the reason he became that weapon in the first place.

I guess I'll just start off simple: I loved this book. Really loved it.

I've been reading Tijan's stories online for a few years now (starting on fictionpress, then livejournal, and I think I've bought all of her books she's put up on Amazon too). I barely read any self-published authors but she is one of the ones that stop me from writing them off entirely. I think this may be my new favourite of hers. 

I sat down and planned on just reading a chapter or two but I couldn't stop reading it. Seriously, when I finished reading I realised it was about 10pm and I'd forgotten to eat dinner because I was too caught up in the story. It's been a while since a book has hooked me that much and literally kept me entertained from the first page to the last one (although the first chapter was difficult to read given the subject matter).

Tijan has a talent for writing bad boys that make me swoon and female main characters that I genuinely like who have weaknesses without ever really appearing weak, and Carter and Emma were perfect examples of that. And she writes great side characters too--I adored Mike, and Theresa and Noah made me laugh, and Amanda was lovely...am I gushing too much? Oops. 

There wasn't really anything I didn't like about the book, the only sort of negatives I can think of are that Carter's POV, although there's not much of it, felt unnecessary (not that it was bad), and one thing about the Mallory situation didn't make sense to me (knowing me, I probably just missed something), but even those didn't really bother me so they barely count as negatives.

But yeah, to sum up: I loved the characters, the romance made me smile, and the plot kept me hooked from first page to last. I have a weakness for mafia type romances and I think this one is a new favourite. 

I'd rate the book 5 stars out of 5.

(So I can't remember how Emma was described, but when reading, I pictured Carter as Mike Vogel/Garrett Hedlund/Stephen Amell and Emma as Nina Dobrev/Leighton Meester)

Later.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Dark Secrets: No Time to Die by Elizabeth Chandler

Note: this book is part of a series, but the books are more companion novels. Each one has its own characters and plot, the setting is the only thing that really overlaps, so this one won't spoil the earlier books (and can be read in any order).

No Time to Die
by Elizabeth Chandler


Summary: Message from a dead girl... It's too late to call back. Jenny will never speak to Liza again. But it seems that even from beyond the grave, Liza is begging her sister for help....

They say it's a serial killer. Is it? Jenny can't afford to trust anyone. Now she's here, in Wisteria, anonymously registered at the Chase College theater camp where her sister died. The daughter of a famous theatrical family, Jenny distrusts actors, loathes acting. Yet here in the college's darkened theatre, Liza seems to be speaking to her. Suddenly Jenny is mouthing Liza's last lines, sharing Liza's last days, a drama starring Brian, the stage manager, who seems to follow her everywhere...dangerously attractive Mike...Paul, who was obsessed with Liza...motherly, suffocating assistant director Maggie...and Walker, the director, bristling with hostility and resentment against Liza and Jenny's famous father. Does he suspect Jenny's true identity?

How can anyone know the visions that may be driving Jenny straight into the killer's arms?
When I was younger, the majority of books I read were Point Horror books (or books like them, like this series), and I forgot how much I love those types of books until I read this one.

I genuinely don't know if I loved the book because it was actually good or if it's more because of nostalgia, but whichever it is, I still I loved it. The first book in the series was one of my favourites when I was younger, and this one had all the same elements that made me love that one.

They're quick reads, entertaining. They have decent characters and subtle romance that is present enough to make me smile but not so present that it overwhelms the plot. It's fun trying to figure out the mystery--even when I've decided that someone is totally just a red herring I end up second guessing myself, and even if I've figured it out, the author still finds little ways to surprise me (there was definitely one twist in this that I didn't see coming).

The book (and the others in the series) had that Scooby Doo moment at the end, when the bad guy stands around revealing their evil plan, but for some reason it doesn't bother me in these books...it's part of their charm.

And this review is pretty crappy, but I guess my point is just that I still love these types of books and I didn't realise I missed reading them until I read this one. I'm always wary of going back to series that I used to love and reading them now, because I'm worried they won't be as good as I remember or I won't enjoy them like I did but this one left me wanting more of this series (luckily, I think there actually is one more book that was released quite recently and the others in the series were re-released a few years ago as bind ups, which I sort of want).

Later.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Losing It by Cora Carmack

Losing It
by Cora Carmack

Summary: Sick of being the only virgin among her friends, Bliss Edwards decides the best way to deal with the problem is to lose it as quickly and simply as possible - a one-night stand. But her plan turns out to be anything but simple when she freaks out and leaves a gorgeous guy alone and naked in her bed with an excuse that no one with half-a-brain would ever believe. And as if that weren't embarrassing enough, when she arrives for her first class of her last college semester, she recognises her new theatre professor. She'd left him naked in her bed about 8 hours earlier.
So when I started reading this book, I was kind of disappointed. A few chapters in, I thought it was just going to be one of those annoying books riddled with cliches and stereotypical characters...but then a few chapters later, I realised I was still reading and didn't really have any desire to put the book down.

It did have its cliche moments and was a bit predictable (it's rare to find a romance that isn't), but it was addictive and entertaining, and somewhere along the line I realised that either the things that bugged me in the beginning had lessened or I was just not really annoyed by any of it anymore (honestly, in the end, the only thing that still annoyed me were the two main characters names). 

I was kind of indifferent to most of the characters, except for Garrick and the cat, who were both lovely (and one of the minor characters who may or may not have been called Rusty or something like that?). Bliss was...she wasn't a bad character, I didn't dislike her, she just wasn't particularly memorable? Aside from rooting for her and Garrick to get together, I didn't really feel much towards her character in the end, be it negative or positive.

This review isn't very detailed or clear, but I just don't have much to say about it. I doubt it'll be one that sticks with me, it's more of those ones that I enjoy while reading but don't feel anything when I think of the book even an hour after finishing it. But it was sweet and I was smiling at the end. I don't have much else to say about it except for that.

If you're looking for a fun, fast paced romance to keep you entertained for a few hours, I recommend checking this one out (Julie does too, she reviewed the book a while ago too and while I liked the book, she loved it). I think Faking It may be more my kind of thing (uh, perhaps I should reword that? I mean Faking It, the second book in the series. /probably unnecessary clarification).

I'd rate it 3 stars out of 5.

Later.

p.s. If anyone is reading this and happens to be British, do you hear British dudes calling people "love" often? Because I've lived here my entire life and I can count on one hand how many times I've actually heard someone do that, and I've never heard it said by anyone younger than 30-40. And yet every British guy in romance novels seems to say it quite a lot? Maybe I've just not been to the right parts of Britain. =P

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Rose Under Fire
by Elizabeth Wein

Summary: Rose Justice is a young American ATA pilot, delivering planes and taxiing pilots for the RAF in the UK during the summer of 1944. A budding poet who feels most alive while flying, she discovers that not all battles are fought in the air. An unforgettable journey from innocence to experience from the author of the best-selling, multi-award-nominated Code Name Verity. From the exhilaration of being the youngest pilot in the British air transport auxiliary, to the aftermath of surviving the notorious Ravensbruck women's concentration camp, Rose's story is one of courage in the face of adversity. 
This is a difficult book to review, and surprisingly that's not because of the subject matter. It's because when it comes down to reviewing it, I can't seem to explain my thoughts without comparisons to another book.

Code Name Verity (the book this one is a companion novel to) kind of took me by surprise. I started out not really liking it, was thoroughly bored through half of the book, but then loving the book kind of crept up on me and when I finished it, it was placed on my favourites shelf. It got under my skin, it made me really care, it made me cry, and it still makes my heart kind of achy to think about it.

This book...I liked it from start to finish. It never bored me really, like Code Name Verity did in the beginning, but it also didn't get under my skin the way Code Name Verity did either. I'm not sure why that was really, I can't pin point a reason. I'm not sure if my feelings towards the book ever became love instead of just like.

This book - it was good. Really good actually, but it didn't earn its place on my all time favourites list. I finished it a little over an hour ago and I already feel totally distanced from it (while books like CNV - the all-time favourites - linger in my thoughts for days after finishing them and leave me with that Amazing Book hangover sort of feeling).

Do you see what I mean now about this being difficult to review? It's not fair on this book for the review to be all comparisons, but I just don't have much to say about this one specifically. I really liked it, it just didn't get to me in the way I was hoping it would. The first book gave me ridiculously high expectations and this one didn't reach them.

The writing in this book was good. The characters were good (very...human, flaws and all), I cared about them. I loved the cameos that characters from the first book had in this one. But even though the subject matter was awful, it never really managed to move me--I felt sympathy for the characters, but didn't really come close to crying for any of them (although, I'm not sure if that was because of the book itself, or because I was kind of desensitised to the subject matter having read a lot about it pretty recently).

And that's all I really have to say about the book.

I'd rate it 4 stars out of 5 (would've been lower but I tried not to let the expectations I had influence my rating). It's a good book, but just...don't go into it expecting another Code Name Verity (if you loved CNV, that is). Maybe it will be just as good or better for you, but it's better to go into it without those expectations.

Later.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Book Haul (159)

Lanna:
I miss blogging. I mean, I have been blogging a little, but I miss posting reviews more frequently and writing discussion posts and stuff like that. I miss talking about books. Maybe I'll snap out of my reading slump a bit now that summer is over (some people adore summer, I hate it, it makes me miserable and usually has a negative impact on my reading).

...Sorry, none of that was book haul related really. Anyway, these are the books I've gotten since - well, whenever I last did one of these (I don't think it was too long ago this time).


For review:

The Backs by Alison Bruce - This is the fifth in a series, I think, so I won't be reading this one. Unless it's one of those ones that can work as a standalone (it might be, because I think it's one of those crime/murder/mystery-ish type books). I'll need to find that out.

Shine by Candy Gourlay - Another one I think I might be finding a new home for, just not my kind of thing.

How to Love by Katie Cotugno - Sounds like it could be good. It says it'll appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen and John Green, so I hope it lives up to that.

Monsters by Ilsa J. Bick - I still need to finish the second book. I really liked the first one but by the time the second came out I was just so beyond sick of the dystopia/post-apocalyptic kind of books. I might be able to read it now though, now that I've had a break from the genre.

That Burning Summer by Lydia Syson - Now this one I'm really excited to read (out of all of them, this was the only one I said yes to, the rest were unsolicited). I've been in the mood for books set during wars, particularly YA/NA age ones, especially if there's some romance in them, and then I got an email about this one and kjnkjd. I hope it's as good as it sounds.

Bought:

A Little Love Song by Michelle Magorian - I actually bought this one thanks to the publicist who sent me That Burning Summer. I said there isn't nearly enough YA war books and she agreed and mentioned this one, which I hadn't read or even heard of (probably because I've only ever really known the author for Good Night, Mr Tom).

The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines - I don't even remember getting this, or why, but it sounds like it could be good.

And, not pictured because it's an e-book, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - As much as I loved Eleanor & Park, I'm not convinced I'll love this one so I got the e-book instead (reason I'm not sure I'll love it is because, while there are things in the book I can relate to, they're also things I don't enjoy reading about in books).

Any of you read any of these? Like them? Hate them? What books have you gotten recently? :)

Later.

Julie: 

This weekend included another trip back to my parents', so I can catch up on that...but it does mean I'm not 100% sure on physical books I have back in NYC. Ah well. Someday, I will be fully caught up.

Ebooks:
Fast by Ryan Ringbloom (gifted by author)
Beautiful Bombshell by Christina Lauren (purchased from Amazon)
Phoenix Overture by Jodi Meadows (purchased from Amazon)
This Side of Salvation by Jeri Smith-Ready (egalley)
Death Sworn by Leah Cypess (egalley)
Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi (egalley)
A Little Too Far by Lisa Desrochers (gifted by author)
Salvage by Alexandra Duncan (egalley)
Spiral by Mila Ferrera (purchased from Amazon)
Alienated by Melissa Landers (egalley)
Diamonds and Deceit by Leila Rasheed (egalley)
The Only Exception by Magan Vernon (egalley)
The Only One by Magan Vernon (egalley)
Palace of Spies by Sarah Zettel (egalley)

Physical Copies:
Just One Day by Gayle Forman (paperback from publisher)
Just One Year by Gayle Forman (ARC from publisher)
Dead City by Jason (hardcover from publisher)
Two Lies and a Spy by Kat Carlton (hardcover from publisher)
Once We Were by Kat Zhang (hardcover from publisher)
Tarnish by Katherine Longshore (hardcover from Strand)
Debutantes by Cora Harrison (paperback from Strand)
A Perfect Proposal by Katie Fforde (hardcover from Strand)
The House at Tyneford by (paperback from Strand)
Crash into You by Katie McGarry (ARC from publisher)
United We Spy by Ally Carter (hardcover from publisher)
Leaving Haven by Kathleen McCleary (ARC from publisher)
Fairest of Them All by Carolyn Turgeon (paperback from publisher)

So...I've got some reading to do. Yeah. And this doesn't include the numerous books I had to get for class (poetry and Frankenstein and Austen, oh my!) I tend to post all of the (physical) books I get on my Instagram, if you'd prefer instant updates and a guarantee of pictures, since this is obviously not all of the books I got (bonus: cats, NYC, and my day-to-day life).

What's in your mailbox lately? Anything exciting? 

--Julie

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl
Rainbow Rowell
St. Martin's Press
[September 10, 2013]

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
It's time for a little history about Julie. Because that's the only way I can explain to you why this book is my soul and I don't know that another book can ever touch me the same way.

I was eleven when I first started reading fanfiction. To be totally honest, my first experience was a horribly dirty fanfic that was also horribly written about The Suite Life of Zack and Cody (I'm still slightly traumatized. Don't click fanfic links on IMDb boards without full explanation, kids). But from there, I moved on quickly. My next fandom was High School Musical (shut up, I was eleven). It...was not a super satisfying fanfic experience because...most of the fandom was eleven. 

Then I fell into the Twilight fandom. And, oh did I fall hard. I read the first book three times in one week because I had to wait a week to get the next two books. Eclipse had just come out and already the fandom was prepping for Breaking Dawn. I quickly found myself on the Twilight IMDb boards (where I met Lanna) and then fell into fanfic. It was the first fanfic community I wrote it and I was moderately successful, despite being 12/13. People didn't know my age and my vague mentions of school made it sound like I was in college. But I still met my first beta reader there (she was incredible) and I met some fantastic friends there (who I then stopped chatting with...until I started refinding some in the YA community). I started really chatting with a group of girls on the Robert Pattinson board and we formed a livejournal community (this was a BIG THING at the time) that was doing super well and it was all really lovely. 

My age was found out right before I turned 14, so a lot of the girls I was friends with, while they still liked me, weren't comfortable with my age. And I totally understood. It was fair and logical since so many of the fanfics were...not necessarily appropriate for a 13 year old. And frankly, I didn't really want to be involved anymore. It was just too much. 

Two months later, I was a blogger.

Flash forward to this past May. I was still reading Twilight fanfiction, though not writing and not in the community and not nearly with as much frequency. And it was time for my first BEA. I had finished my first year of college the week before, gone to visit my parents' and to celebrate my brother's birthday for a few days, then started moving into my first apartment over the weekend. The apartment had no A.C. and no internet and there was a heatwave, so I stayed in my dorm for a couple more nights, but the night before BEA was my first in the apartment. I was tired from helping out at Teen Author Carnival and finishing moving (kind of) the day before, but BEA! I slept in longer than I wanted, but I made it to the buzz panel where they talked about Fangirl. The story of a girl who loved fanfiction and this one particular fandom and was trying to figure out how to deal with this and starting college and all of the other things going on with those two parts of her life. And I knew, oh how I knew, this was a book of my soul. 

I started reading Fangirl while in lines at BEA that day. Then I raved all night to my roommate about it. I brought my ARC back to BEA the next day for more line reading and to get it signed by Rainbow. One of my biggest regrets is still that I didn't actually get to see her and that my ARC got signed thanks to a friend instead. Then I finally got it back and went home for the day and my roommate agreed to go to BEA with me the next day for Power Reader's Day. We tried to get her an ARC, but they were totally out. So, I passed her my ARC when we got home and started on one of the other books I had because...it's not like I didn't have others.

It didn't take long for her to run into my room, throw the book at me, and scream "READ IT, READ IT, READ IT."

And I did. And I finished the next day. Late at night, I closed the last page and I hugged that book for like five minutes. Because it really was the book of my soul. And I had a hard time putting it back down on our shared shelf, so she had access to it too.

Cath. Is. Me. Even though I was never her level of famous or even writing anymore by time I got to college and I didn't have a twin and my dad isn't bipolar and my mom is still very much in the picture, she is me. 

I spent more time at my desk, on my laptop, in my first year than I did with all of the people I knew in my dorm. My roommate was always the more social one, though neither of us were quite butterflies. I was always on my laptop, reading and clicking around and reading articles and working and thinking, desperately, about writing. And sometimes I was reading fanfic. I never quite got the handle on being social because, you know, staying at my desk or in bed and wearing sweatpants and watching Doctor Who or reading a book just sounded so much nicer than going up ONE WHOLE FLIGHT of stairs to see my friends. I didn't really do parties or talk to anyone who I wasn't introduced to. I worried a lot about my family and my brother because my brother was going to have to be left alone sometimes and my dad wasn't going to have me around to help with my brother who, to be honest, is sometimes a handful.

And then there was Levi. Adorable, sweet, understanding Levi. He's one of the most realistic love interests I've ever seen. Everything about those two was slowly paced and awkward and he was so not perfect, but he was very much perfect for Cath. And that's the important part. And as much as I've talked about loving certain bookish guys and how they'd be so perfect, Levi's the kind of guy I could actually see myself with. Someone who'd get the family dynamic and the insecurity and the dislike of social interactions and who would walk me home from my night classes (though, a park in Harlem isn't exactly the same kind of walk that Levi and Cath had to make). Plus, Rainbow Rowell has this incredible ability to make even the most mundane actions seem hotter than sex scenes I've read.

And this story itself is just so damned relatable. Cath's struggles in her personal life and as a writer are relatable to every person on the planet. She didn't know who she was. She was in a completely new environment without the two people she's relied on for years to support her, with one even changing completely. And she's being pushed to abandon a world that she knows and that has treated her well. And that's hard. No matter who you are or how old you are or what the circumstances are or what the environment is. It's hard. And Cath's path was one of the most realistic and relatable and well timed paths I've ever had the honor to read.

Maybe it's because I'm taking a Jane Austen class this semester and therefore studying her a lot, but I also think Rainbow Rowell shares a good bit in common with Austen, which is probably one of the highest compliments I could ever give. They have very different voices and ways of writing, but they both tackle people, real people in real situations and they understand people in a way so many others can't grasp and in a way that it's hard to wrap your head around. Nobody in her stories is ever simple or evil or horribly wrong. They're all vast, complex people in complex relationships and normal situations that are complex by the nature that life is complex, not because there's evil or a mythological aspect or because something totally extraordinary is happening. It's just Cath's life, which has similarities to so many other lives.

I love this book with every fiber of my being. I've been itching to reread since I put it down and I don't think I'll be able to hold off much longer, even if I'm already alternating between three books for classes and have other responsibilities. Fangirl is to College Julie as Harry Potter is to Middle School Julie. I will love in unconditionally and forever and I will never fully be able to explain why. But I desperately, desperately, want everyone to read this book, even if you don't all love it as I do.

--Julie

Friday, 6 September 2013

Hurt by Tabitha Suzuma

Hurt
by Tabitha Suzuma

Summary: Why? is the burning question on everyone’s lips. Why would a guy like Mathéo Walsh want to die? At seventeen, he is Britain’s most promising diving champion. He is a heartthrob, a straight A student and lives in one of the wealthiest areas of London. He has great mates and is the envy of everyone around him. And most importantly of all, he is deeply in love with his girlfriend, Lola. He has always been a stable, well-adjusted guy...

Until one weekend. A weekend he cannot seem to remember. All he knows is that he has come back a changed person. One who no longer knows how to have fun, no longer wants to spend time with his friends, no longer enjoys diving. Something terrible happened that weekend – something violent and bloody and twisted. He no longer knows who he is. He no longer trusts himself around people: he only wants to hurt, wound and destroy. Slowly, he begins to piece back the buried, fragmented memories, and finds himself staring at the reflection of a monster.

Tormented, Mathéo suddenly finds himself faced with the most devastating choice of his life. Keep his secret, and put those closest to him in terrible danger. Or confess, and lose Lola forever...
Tabitha Suzuma is one of those authors that can break your heart with her books and it'll linger with you even years later when you think of the story. She did that to me with Forbidden (which is currently sitting on my favourites shelf), and I'm pretty sure she's just done it again with Hurt (although not quite in the same way).

This isn't the easiest book to review, because I need to do it without spoilers. Not just because it would be horrible of me to spoil a book for someone, but because the things that happen in this book are shocking--those rare twists that actually take you by surprise instead of being predictable and easy to guess long before the author reveals them, so I wouldn't want to dull the impact of that for anyone else.

Books like this...they're great, but not exactly enjoyable to read. They hurt. And I mean that as a compliment. It didn't censor the messy and painful parts of life or try to sugarcoat them with romance and rainbows and butterflies the way so many books tend to. You end up hurting right along with Mathéo--needing to know what happened but dreading it at the same time and kind of wishing he could just forget so he could go back to how things were before but you know it's pointless to hope for that.

The story is different from other YA novels in so many ways, but the only one I can really mention is the romance. It didn't feel like a romance to me really (which seems to be a rarity in the YA section) or even like romance was a big subplot. It wasn't a story revolving around two characters falling in love, because Mathéo and Lola were already there.

They were comfortable with each other, and sweet together, but it felt like the biggest role their relationship played in the majority of the book was Mathéo's fear of losing her and it was in a sad, desperate sort of way that hovered over their relationship like a shadow throughout the story. But, it was interesting to read a different kind of relationship for a change (and a different stage of a relationship than we usually see) so I actually liked that about it.

I said the book didn't impact me in the same way as Forbidden did, and I guess that's because Forbidden devastated me but this one...right from the start, I knew better to hope for happy--it was waiting for the bad to happen followed by watching the aftermath of it and it left me emotionally drained and got under my skin in its own unique way.

And I'm going to have to leave the review it that. I've written and rewritten 3 other paragraphs a bunch of times but I can't find the right words (or explain the things I want to without giving too much away). I'd rate the book 5 stars out of 5.

Later.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

All Our Yesterdays Blog Tour: An Interview with Cristin Terrill

 You guys don't know this yet, but I love All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill. It has time travel, some genius storytelling, and two really independent perspectives. I fell in love with the characters and the story so when I was offered a spot on the tour, I took it. 

What's All Our Yesterdays about?

"You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside. 

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was. 

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

Super badass, right? So you see what I love it?  Well, here a little bit from Cristin too, see if she can win you over.

1. When time travel is involved, there's always a lot of science involved. How much time did you spend researching? Any particular sources that are especially good? Have you ACTUALLY figured out time travel?

Haha, I have NOT actually figured out time travel, thank goodness. (In fact, most scientists agree that time travel to the past is probably impossible, but we’ll just ignore that, as I did with lots of other aspects of the real life science of time travel). I’ve always been kind of a physics geek, so I didn’t have to do a lot of research outside of things I have already read. I did watch a lot of episodes of Through the Wormhole, various NOVA specials, and reread Brian Greene’s The Elegant Universe, all of which I’d recommend.

2. The book is in two different perspectives and, having read the book, it was incredibly well done. Was that difficult for you to find the right voice for both characters?

Em’s voice came to me pretty naturally, but Marina was a bit more of a struggle. Initially I wrote her as much sweeter, which just wasn’t working. It wasn’t until the second draft, after my agent gave me a realization about her, that I started writing her as a bit more of a mean girl with a hard shell protect that sweetness she hides inside. That’s when Marina came alive for me.

3. Usually, we ask authors for 5 books they recommend, but because time travel is something I love and it can be kinda hard to find, I'll separate this into 5 books you recommend and then 5 books that include time travel that you recommend? 

I was actually very careful not to read any time-travel books once I started writing ALL OUR YESTERDAYS so as not to be unconsciously influenced, so I have none to recommend!

As for general book recommendations, five series I love that I don’t think are as widely read as they deserve to be are the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness, the Sabriel trilogy by Garth Nix, The Starcrossed series by Elizabeth Bunce, The Mysterious Benedict Society books by Trenton Lee Stewart, and the Finnikin of the Rock trilogy by Melina Marchetta.

4. What is one book that you wish you wrote?

There are so many! I just recently read The Dream Thieves, which is the sequel to The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, and I adore this series. I would love to have written it. Her use of language and her ability to create such vivid, complex characters amaze me.

5. Zombies or unicorns? Pirates or ninjas? Vampires or werewolves?

Unicorns, pirates, and vampires.

6. I totally loved All Our Yesterdays and I'm dying to read more of your writing. Can you share some of what's coming up for you?

ALL OUR YESTERDAYS #2! After that, your guess is as good as mine!

To further win you over, you can check our Cristin Terrill's website, twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads page, then you can go ahead and order your copy of the book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your favorite indie. Then, so you don't forget, you can add the book on Goodreads.

--Julie

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn Schneider

Severed Heads, Broken Hearts
(a.k.a. The Beginning of Everything)
by Robyn Schneider

Summary: Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?
This book was kind of a letdown for me. I've been dying to read it for ages and I'd seen so many good reviews of it so I was expecting it to be amazing and it just...wasn't.

It wasn't an awful book, and I do understand where those glowing reviews are coming from...but while I get why they'd think those things, I just wasn't feeling it. There was a lingering feeling of frustration that I just couldn't shake throughout the story, like I kept waiting for it to get awesome, but I ended it with more negative opinions of it than positive.

I'm going to break this down into parts, because my thoughts are all muddled up (please note though: most of the following isn't "This is why this book is bad." It's meant more as, "This is why it's not as good as I expected."):

The characters:

Let's start with the main one. At worst, I didn't like Ezra. At best, I was mostly indifferent to him. And I can't say much more about him because anything more detailed would require many spoilers and I'm trying to keep this spoiler-free.

Cassidy. I didn't like her. At all. She was like this blend of Alaska and Margo (two of John Green's main female characters), only more pretentious, judgemental and just...kind of annoying. 

There's this character on a TV show I watch (River Song on Doctor Who) and for such a long time it felt like the writer was trying too hard to make her seem like this awesome, mysterious woman that we're supposed to love just because he was telling us to--like entire conversations and scenes were constructed purely so she could say a witty line and it felt like she was being forced on us instead of just...allowing her to be a fully fleshed out character who would grow, and grow on the audience. And that's kind of exactly how Cassidy came across to me and I just couldn't like her no matter how hard I tried and she got less and less likeable as the story progressed.

Toby and Phoebe and Sam and Austin were all awesome, I loved them and they're one of the main things that kept me reading. And the dog, I did kind of like the dog.

Ezra's ex and his former friends...they're just stereotypes. It's like his ex was portrayed as a nasty, popularity-obsessed airhead with nothing going for her except for her looks and that just annoyed me. Like, was she written that way to try and make Cassidy seem better by comparison? Because honestly, it just made Ezra look even worse because he actually had an 8 month relationship with her and if she was so awful, what does that say about him?

John Green:

The book was written as if she came up with an idea and tried to write it as if she were John Green's ghost writer (she even litters the story with references to the panopticon in a way that was annoyingly similar to the labyrinth references in LfA only not as awesome). It was like she was trying to mimic his writing style but never quite pulling it off as well as he does (which is the main issue really--if she did it as well or better, then it wouldn't have bothered me as much). 

The author herself described the book as a cross between Paper Towns and The Great Gatsby...and it was obvious she tried for that, but it fell short. Like the manic pixie dream girl thing--Paper Towns is written to basically deconstruct that and I think it does it pretty well, but this didn't do that at all for me (Cassidy felt like a MPDG from start to finish and one page of being told that she isn't doesn't cancel out an entire novel of being shown that she is).

It was definitely well written and there were a few quotes I liked, but it just felt too derivative of John Greens writing style for my tastes with a lot of pop culture references thrown in. 

The only things that really felt distinctly Robyn Schneider were scenes made up of things she's already made youtube videos about (like funny German insults) and all that did was make the character seem more like the author than the character (didn't help that the way she's described sounds like the author). I suppose that's one of the drawbacks of being familiar with an authors online presence before reading their books.

The humour in the book felt a bit too forced/trying too hard too...some books are effortlessly funny, this wasn't one of them.

The romance:

It was just really bland. I genuinely did not give a damn whether they got together or not (which is rare for me). I didn't buy that she really cared about him or that he loved her, it just felt very flat. There was no spark. If anything, I didn't like them together because it felt like Cassidy was trying to change him and judging him if he didn't become the kind of person she wanted him to be and liked the kind of things she liked (there's even a scene where she takes him shopping in a thrift store and tells him he has to change his look). 

I'm not sure if we were supposed to like them together or want them together, but I didn't.

The plot:

Sounded awesome from the summary, not quite so awesome in the execution of it. The twist was predictable and the most interesting parts of the story barely played a part in it (the debate thing, his rekindled friendship with Toby).  

Basically, it had potential but for me it just fell short of being good in nearly every aspect of the story. There is other little issues I had with the book but this is getting too long and the things mentioned above are the main ones. 

I do still recommend you check out the book though if it sounds interesting to you, because it really isn't a bad book and plenty of people think it's fantastic so you might be one of them, it just didn't work for me personally. 

I'd rate it 2.5 stars out of 5. But here are a couple of 4 or 5 star reviews if you want to see a different opinion.

Later.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Back to Home Back to Top Bloggers Heart Books. Theme ligneous by pure-essence.net. Bloggerized by Chica Blogger.