Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Starstruck by Rachel Shukert
Publication Date: March 12, 2013
Keywords: drama, mystery, romance
Format Read: Hardcover from publisher in exchange for honest review (thank you!)
Get It: Book Depository
I was immediately pulled in to this book. I felt like I was in Margaret's world in the beginning, sitting in a soda shop yearning to know anything and everything she could about the world of Hollywood and who all the people were. The writing style was descriptive, but not so cumbersome that made it irritating to read. It was the perfect amount of imagery to get me a set up of the world, and then I still got to picture some of it the way I wanted.
The story also jumped every once in a while between narrators, switching between Margo, Amanda, and Gabby. Margo was definitely the main character, and there were only a few chapters headed up by the other two, but it wasn't abrupt the way the transitions happened. Again, Shukert did an excellent job of weaving everything together so the reader doesn't really notice those things.
But at the same time, I actually wanted there to be a little bit more from the side two girls. Their story lines seemed pretty important throughout the course of the book, but as Margo's started to wrap up, theirs just kind of dropped off and stopped. My questions weren't really answered, and I was frustrated because the plot was so interesting thus far, and I really began to like them as characters. I just wanted to know what would become of them since we didn't really get much of an ending. I also had questions about Margo's story (in particular that whole thing with Olive and why she was so interested and how Margo's pin got to her), but for the most part, I felt pretty satisfied with how everything wrapped up.
I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick read, but a good one at the same time. I was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out.
Read When: You want a blast from the past with a historical fiction, but still totally rad and swoony, romance. Oh, and a lot of celebrities and stars. Award show season is a good time to read.
Publication Date: July 29, 2012
Keywords: drugs, high school, popularity
Format Read: eARC via NetGalley
This book did not turn out how I expected. I was left feeling extremely disappointed and frustrated with pretty much everything about the story. As far as the general plot/storyline goes, I think it was trying to be too many things for one novel, especially the way in which the book was written. It kind of went back and forth from Maria's perspective to Anya's, but sometimes we saw inside their heads, which was weird. The narration switched a lot, and made the writing very inconsistent and hard to read. I just felt like I was reading an extremely rough first draft rather than a novel getting ready to be published. But back to the plot. The first half is a girl trying to fit in and be popular and get an acting scholarship, while semi-making friends with the cool kids in about a millisecond. She gets her books ripped up, and turns around and wants to be this girl's best friend all in about 10 pages. In the same day. It makes no sense.
But then the book shifts, and it's almost like all that other stuff that happened at the beginning is not even a part of the plot anymore, and now it's the whole drug dealer, teenagers in the party world sort of thing. And then there's the creepy adult who won't let them go. It was just entirely too many different stories to focus on at once, told from two different perspectives, and it just made everything more confusing. Either way, I wasn't into any of the story lines. The writing was too jumbled and thought-like that it was hard to distinguish between narration, speaking, and thinking.
There were also just a lot of little things throughout the writing that just made me feel very frustrated and mad. For example, on the first page, there was this whole big thing where Anya tries to pick out a shirt to wear, but she has this big speech in her head like, "I wish my clothes were pretty or cool, but my dad's a bum, and that sucks, but this random girl I've never talked to seems cool, everyone thinks my friend Patrick and I are dating, but we're not, something about my sister." No one has full sentences and conversations and replies in their head. It was very unbelievable and I wasn't pulled into the book like I should have been. Also, Maria is Spanish. So is her family. At one point, her mom uses the masculine noun to her daughter. ...... If there is another language in the book, it at least should be correct. Especially something easy like that.
And her family came all the way over for her dad's electrician job or something? Like there's no electricity in Spain? Please. And they wouldn't speak English at home. Especially if they had to use it all day.
Overall, I was disappointed with everything. It seems like some people like it, and I was excited, but felt sad and angry by the time I finished it.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn
Publication Date: June 11, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Keywords: drugs, family, supernatural, werewolves
Format Read: eARC via NetGalley
This book was strange. And I don't mean that in a bad way. I enjoy when books don't give all the answers away right at the beginning. And this one definitely didn't. It alternated between flashbacks and the present, which was the party in the forest. It took me a while to catch on that Drew was who he was in his childhood, and Win was the version of himself now, at boarding school struggling with his past. I also liked that the main issue with his conflict wasn't really revealed until midway through. I kind of had suspicions, but it was never said outright, which made me involved and invested in this.
That being said, I still wanted more information. I feel like the author brought up some really interesting background story lines, and then just kind of left the reader hanging. I don't feel like conflicts were properly solved by the end, and I definitely had questions about his past, and what happened with the tennis match and his opponent. That was never really finished, and I wanted to know what was going on.
This was a very short book, and I went through it quickly. It was a pretty solid read, aside from the pieces of information I still wanted to be solved up. It's one of those books I wouldn't recommend right off the bat, but if mentioned, I would say you could give it a go.
The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe
Publication Date: April 2, 2013
Keywords: World War I, magic, fantasy
Format Read: hardcover from publisher in exchange for honest review (thank you!)
I'll start with the things I liked. I loved the historical setting this story took place in. It was set during World War I, and it was clear the author did her research. Everything was accurate and detailed, adding to the believability of the story as a whole. Though this doesn't happen very often, I actually wanted there to be more of the historical stand point. As in, while all the students are hanging up at Iverson, Lora seems to be the only one actually concerned that their country is in the middle of a war. And all these kids' parents are the rich generals and guys that would actually be involved. I wanted more of the history stuff in there.
I also thought the premise was interesting. It's not one that pops up a lot, with all the supernatural business, this was my first encounter with the dragon thing. However, I did want more of an explanation of why things were the way they were. Lora heard this song when she was nearby Jesse and other things, but I wanted to know why that was, and where it came from, and what it meant. It wasn't bad the way it was explained, I just wanted more.
I also wanted more from some of the characters. Armand and her friend Sophia in particular. I suppose with the way the first one ended, Armand will be featured quite a bit in the second one, but I still wanted more of his backstory and more of his personality in it. It just felt like he was constantly brushed aside. Sophia was also a minor character, but she helped Lora get around and discover some secrets of Iverson, making her a semi-crucial character. I just wanted more of her because her character was so appealing to me.
I probably won't read the second one in this series. I'm fine with the way the first one ended. It was a good book, but I wasn't super emotionally invested in it or any of the characters, but still interesting and fun to read.