Raindropreflections: August 2011

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (10)

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine =)

This Wednesday, I’m waiting on This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers, which is releasing in June 2012.

Summary (goodreads):

It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up.

As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, everyone’s motivations to survive begin to change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life-and death-inside.

When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

That sounds SO interesting, and I hadn’t even read the summary when this book came to mind. I saw the cover reveal on Courtney Summers’ blog, and seeing the cover and the title and reading the word ‘zombie’ was enough to cement this book on my WoW list. I’ve only read one zombie story, which was Die for Me, and it didn’t have any scary zombie/apocalypse stuff in this. This one, though… just the summary scares me.

What are you guys waiting on this Wednesday?

Review- The Raie ’Chaelia by Melissa Douthit

Summary (goodreads):

When Chalice sets off for Branbury in the middle of the night with her grandfather’s instructions, she has no idea of the dangers that await her. The King’s men have destroyed her home village of Canton and she is suddenly thrown into a Terravailian world that she does not know. Lost and alone, she is hard pressed to evade the iron grasp of the madman who rules the land. With the help of a friendly Chinuk, an old man, and a book that she discovers along the way, not only does she find true friends and true love, but she also finds her true self and what it means to be the Raie’Chaelia.

What I Expected: I thought this would be a fantasy book, but as I read on, I realized that this book doesn’t really have one fixed genre, and that’s what I really liked about it.

My Thoughts

The main character, Chalice, was very likeable. I felt like I really knew her, which is always a good thing. The plot, if broken down to the bare bones of it, was rather like Graceling, and Chalice, I thought, was like Katsa when she fought. I found this a good thing, since I loved Graceling and ended up enjoying this book as well.

I loved Jeremiah, too, because although he made me roll my eyes sometimes, I loved how he seemed to be a great match for Chalice. He was my favourite character in the book, hands down.

There were a few things I did dislike about the novel. Firstly, it was just so LONG. I wouldn’t have a problem with this if it were a print book, or most likely if I had a Kindle, but reading all those pages from a computer- my eyes still hurt. Well, I think that’s more my problem than anything, but it did detract a little from my enjoyment of the book.

Also, the descriptions were rather long, and there were so many unique terms that I had a hard time remembering the who/what/where of the story. However, the setting, the Terravailian world, was very unique, and this is a very good fantasy for those who enjoyed Graceling.

Parting Thoughts: I enjoyed this novel, though at times the descriptions were rather long, but it was all necessary in order to ground the reader in the story’s world.

Rating: 4/5. Readers of fantasy will love this story.

Note: I received this book for review from Teddy Rose and the author, Melissa Douthit.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Review- Tower of Parlen Min by Matt Xell

Summary (goodreads):

Ves Asirin wins a trip to the Tower of Parlen Min. There, with 19 other children, he competes in the Sword Challenge; a series of puzzles and tasks, for $12 million. As fantastic and glorious as the tower seems to be, Ves finds that it keeps a dark and secret history that he has been connected to for over 150 years, a secret that will define his destiny … if he can escape ‘The shadow’.

What I Expected: I really like the cover, and I was looking forward to reading a fast-paced fantasy.

My Thoughts

This book was bursting with ideas. I haven’t read a mix fantasy and mythology like this before, and there were certainly some ideas that were very unique. However, the main character, Ves Asirin, wasn’t someone I liked much. Losing your memory is no excuse to act unpleasant, in my opinion.

I also felt like there was a lot of telling, and not enough showing. For example, there would be a description of exactly what a character was like, instead of showing the character’s actions and leaving it to us to make inferences from the story. I don’t know if that would bother others, but, well, it kind of detracted from the read for me.

The MC, Ves Asirin, was, although unpleasant, a very different character. I would have liked for him to be a little older, but maybe that would’ve affected the story differently? As well, there were just too many characters for me to really digest. I can’t remember many now, because at one point, twenty kids were introduced at once, which made my head spin, to be honest.

I did wonder why his memory problems weren’t touched upon at all as soon as he arrives in the tower. Before, it’s mentioned very frequently, what with his scrapbook and all, but in the tower, it’s mentioned only once or twice.

The beginning dragged for quite a bit, but by the time the whole Tower and challenges stuff kicks in, the pace picks up, although it isn’t constant- sometimes it was very fast, and at other times, kind of tedious. And the whole part about the serial killer simultaneously freaked me out and engrossed me. I liked the various challenges throughout the book; they were interesting to read about and certainly very unique.

Parting Thoughts: if you’re looking for a unique read, this is one book you’ll want to take a look at.

Rating: 3.4/5.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Review- If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Summary (book jacket):

Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, adoring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. Then, in an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the only decision she has left- the most important decision she’ll ever make.

Simultaneously tragic and hopeful, this is a romantic, riveting, and ultimately uplifting story about memory, music, living, dying, loving.

What I Expected: great things. I didn’t know about this book until everyone was raving about Where She Went, so I knew I had to read this book. And obviously I expected it to be amazing enough to make me cry.

Story

If I Stay is one of the most unique books I’ve ever read. There aren’t any chapters; Mia talks about a past memory and then back to the present for a while, and I couldn’t stop turning the pages because the writing was just so hauntingly beautiful.

Okay, I didn’t cry, and let’s face it- the only time I cried while reading a book was at the end of Bridge to Terabithia, but there was one part in this novel that brought me really close to tears: the part where Adam keeps saying please and goes, “don’t make me write a song.” That just made me cover my mouth and wonder if I was going to cry. *sighs* you’ll see what I mean when you read the book.

Characters

The MC Mia is unique in that she’s not perfect. Her cello playing is her talent, but really, she’s just a regular girl that makes mistakes, too. Sometimes there are these perfect characters in YA books that always do things right, but Mia was childish sometimes (in her memories) and that was the pull to realism that made this book so wonderful.

And Kim- she reminded me so much of myself, minus the braid. I may not be Jewish, but I certainly understand and know what life’s like for her. She’s my favourite character in the book, honestly, apart from maybe Adam.

Mia’s family was so unique, too, with their intense love of music. Mia’s mom was hilarious- I keep trying and failing to imagine any mom acting like that. Mia’s dad and Teddy- they were so unique, the kind of realistic characters you only come across once in a while. I loved Gramps, too; he was the one who said the right things, even though nobody probably expected him to.

And last (but definitely not least), Adam- what a sweet guy! I’m pretty sure the percentage of mature, funny, nice, caring guys out there is very, very small. I think he’s one of very few wonderful but realistic (at the same time, would you believe) male leads- just the perfect balance of both to make him your book crush for a (long) while.

Parting Thoughts: If I Stay shows the importance of family and friends and how both holding on and letting go are such tough decisions to make, all with achingly beautiful prose that makes you want to keep going and going.

Rating: 4.5/5. This is a beautiful novel. I think EVERYONE out there should read this- it certainly made ME feel lucky for everything I’ve got.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Sequels or Standalones?

So, this discussion is long overdue, because these days it seems like every author is getting a gigantic five book deal. But do readers appreciate this?

A couple of years ago, when I read through almost all of the middle grade books at my library, I was fine with sequels. I mean, what with books by JK Rowling, Lemony Snicket, Eoin Colfer (!), CS Lewis and such, I wanted to read more of amazing characters like HP, Artemis Fowl (I STILL love), etcetera, who doesn’t want more?

But then I discovered YA fiction. And as I quickly discovered, contemporary is my favourite genre along with dystopia. But contemporary normally doesn’t have sequels, while dystopians… yeah, those three-book deals are usually made right here.

I mean, if I LOVE LOVE LOVE a series, like the Jessica Darling books (pure genius) I will make an exception and read all the books. But sometimes, even with books I loved, like The Hunger Games, I couldn’t bring myself to make the effort to order the sequel from wherever. Because, well, I was afraid of this:

1. Sucky Sequel Syndrome. Suppose the sequel/s doesn’t live up to the first book? It’ll ruin my love for the first book.

2. I always forget to order the rest of the series. Always. I want to read new books, other books, you know?

3. Cliffhangers. AKGDSHFHSFH I HATE cliffhangers at the end of books. Cliffhanger endings to books should be illegal, because, I swear, they’re torture. TORTURE.

4. Uh, I’m just too lazy to try and remember what happened in the previous book, especially if the first book was a lukewarm read for me.

So, uh, the point of this rather pointless post is, I’ve come to realize that if I love the characters in a series (Gemma Doyle, Jessica Darling) and they stick in my head longer than even the story itself, I’ll read the sequels. But for other books, especially contemporary, excepting Jessica Darling- I’m not so sure.

DeliriumFor example, there’s the dystopian read Delirium. The sequel is coming out in a bit, but honestly, what with that tear-inducing ending, I couldn’t see how much more the story could possibly expand. It would’ve been a great end to an unforgettable story. But look, somehow there’s going to be a sequel. Hey, I’m still going to read it, but the point is, couldn’t Delirium have been just as wonderful if it were a standalone book? It was complete, after all.

I’m sure if I was an author with a book deal, I’d be saying something completely different. But still. Don’t write sequels just because. Please write sequels because both you and your readers are dying to find out what happens next to the [real, wonderful, unforgettable] characters you’ve created.

What do you guys think? What do you prefer, sequels, or standalones?

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Review- Fangs for Nothing by Adrianne Ambrose

Summary (goodreads):

 Grab some garlic and start sharpening your mother’s wooden spoons because there are vampires living in the most unlikely of places.

I’ve always wanted to meet a vampire. Not to stake some poor bloodsucker as he sleeps in his coffin or have some sexy vampiress bite me on the neck, but just to see a creature so rare and infamous. What can I say? Some people want to sail to Easter Island, others want to fling themselves out of an airplane, I want to shake hands with a vampire. Well, maybe I should prioritize getting a girlfriend first, but a vampire sighting is pretty high up on the list. Trust me, a lot of kids my age dream about it. Like my two best friends, Rini and Xander. We spent half the summer searching the most notorious cities in the United States for the undead, but so far, no luck.

That’s why it came as a total shock to discover a living, breathing vampire in our hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. (Okay, so he’s more undead and not breathing, but you get the picture.) At first we were kind of excited, but then pretty freaked because it turns out our new fanged friend has a hold on the city’s teenage population and a specific thirst for their blood. Which, in a word—bites.

What I Expected: a vampire story, of course.

My Thoughts

This wasn’t the typical vampire story. for one, nobody was falling madly in love with a vampire, and the main character was a guy. That alone kept me reading.

The ending, which made me smile because it was just so different from other vampire books, was the best part of all. At the beginning, though, I had my doubts about the book. The writing felt a bit off, because sometimes there would be sudden digressions about things that didn’t need to be there, and there were a few errors, but the story more than made up for it.

I personally liked this book so much more than I thought I would. I mean, any book with vampires in it is a complete no-no for me. I know, it’s really biased of me- but hey, I enjoyed THIS book. Of course, that’s probably because vampires were in a negative light for once, and that made all the difference.

I loved Herbert. He was a little blind at times about things staring him in the face, but I found him completely likeable and definitely a great protagonist. Xander was okay, I guess, and Rini made me roll my eyes with HER blindness. Lana, Maureen/Violet, the rest of the characters were surprisingly well-rounded, but it was Grandma who was, hands down, the most real character apart from Herbert.

Parting Thoughts: I very much enjoyed this book, because it’s for those people who wonder why a girl would fall so deeply in love with a vampire who’s about to kill her half the time anyway.

Rating: 4/5.

Note: I received this book for review from Adrianne Ambrose.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (9)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine =)

This Wednesday, I’m waiting on Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard. Well, I’d been totally eager for its release since I heard the author of Like Mandarin had a new book releasing soon- on March 13th, 2012, which is SOOO far away, I know.

Summary (goodreads):

It all begins with a stupid question:

Are you a Global Vagabond?

No, but 18-year-old Bria Sandoval wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a guided tour of Central America—the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists with fanny packs are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. When Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspokenly humanitarian sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path.

Bria’s a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan’s a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel across a panorama of Mayan villages, remote Belizean islands, and hostels plagued with jungle beasties, they discover what they’ve got in common: both seek to leave behind the old versions of themselves. And the secret to escaping the past, Rowan’s found, is to keep moving forward.

But Bria comes to realize she can’t run forever, no matter what Rowan says. If she ever wants the courage to fall for someone worthwhile, she has to start looking back.

Kirsten Hubbard lends her artistry into this ultimate backpacker novel, weaving her drawings into the text. Her career as a travel writer and her experiences as a real-life vagabond backpacking Central America are deeply seeded in this inspiring story.

GAHH OMIGOSH I want to read this. It’s on Netgalley, yes, but I’m not going to risk my eyes by reading another novel on the computer. Wait until I get a Kindle, I’m going to LIVE in Netgalley. So, well, I want to read Wanderlove because I happen to have a bit (well, a LOT) of wanderlove/lust myself, even though I’ve only been to a handful of places in the world. I want to travel. And I’m hoping to do some travelling through this book.

What are you guys waiting on this Wednesday?

Monday, 15 August 2011

Review- Shiewo: A Fantasy Flight to Adventure by Ciye Cho

Book 1 of Shiewo’s Odyssey

Summary (goodreads):

The universe of Orberana is a place of great wonder and peril, a dizzying landscape filled with clouds that can talk, clockwork beings that mark their own time, and painted animals that awake in the night.

Shiewo Morose is the captain of a flying ship powered by music. She is also a determined young woman on a mission: a quest to find the Wishing Fish that created Orberana.

Sailing above the clouds, Shiewo and her crew (Erduu the bamboo, Theo the cloud, Livingston the goldfish, and Felix the painter) are headed for worlds of crazed clockwork bureaucrats, tyrannic kings, and tornado children–worlds that will test not only the crew’s bravery… but their very understanding of adventure.

Theirs is the odyssey of a lifetime…

What I Expected: actually, from the cover and the book trailer, I thought this was a pre-teen type book. And it’s definitely a good read for the pre-teen group, because it contains elements of fantasy that’ll appeal to that age group.

My Thoughts

The story starts with a prologue that had me a little confused, but then I read on to chapter one, which started off with a painter who’s a little too into his imaginary world. And then the action started.

It’s been a while since I read the ebook, and I admit that the contents of the story and the characters are a little blurry to me, but I did like Felix, the eccentric painter. I could relate from his point of view the best, and he was definitely a well-rounded character.

I loved Theo, the cloud. Yes, a cloud was a character in the story. I loved Theo’s innocent comments, most of which made me laugh.

As for Shiewo herself, I thought she was presented very mysteriously. The description of her given was, along with the other descriptions in the book, very vivid.

I also wanted to share a wonderful message from the author in the acknowledgements:

I believe that we are all on a search of something more from life: a search for somewhere to belong, a mission to achieve a dream, or perhaps a quest to simply understand and express who we really are. But above all else, I believe that we are all adventurers deep down. With this in mind, I wish you the best in your own quest.

I thought that was really sweet of the author, and it also sums up the story beautifully.

Rating: 4/5. I enjoyed reading this book, and I feel that it’s great as a middle-grade fantasy.

Note: I received this ebook from Ciye Cho for review.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (8)

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine =)

This Wednesday, I’m waiting on Above by Leah Bobet, which is releasing April 2012. That’s SO far away *sigh*

Summary (goodreads):

Matthew’s father had lion’s feet and his mother had gills, and both fled the modern-day city to live in underground Safe, a secret community of freaks, ghost-whisperers, and disabled outcasts hidden beyond the subways and sewers. Raised underground, Matthew is responsible for the keeping of both Safe’s histories and the traumatized shapeshifter Ariel, the girl he took in, fell in love with – and can’t stop from constantly running away.

But Safe is no longer safe: the night after a frightening encounter in the sewers, Safe’s founder Atticus is murdered by the one person Safe ever exiled: mad Corner, whose coup is backed by an army of mindless, whispering shadows.

Only Matthew, Ariel, and a handful of unstable, crippled compatriots escape to the city that cast them out; the dangerous place he knows only as Above. Despite Ariel’s increasingly erratic behaviour and with the odds against them, Matthew must find a way to rescue Safe from Corner’s occupying army. But as his quest leads him through abandoned asylums and the dregs of urban poverty, Matthew discovers that the histories he’s devoted his life to aren’t true: Corner’s invasion — and Ariel’s terrors – are rooted in a history of Safe much darker and bloodier than Matthew ever imagined.

And even if he manages to save both home and Ariel, he may well lose himself.

I saw the cover for Above and my first reaction was GAHH! So pretty! And then I thought, wait, is that the CN Tower in the background? All the more reason for me to read it, ‘cuz Canada is awesome, people. Anyways, the cover totally matches up to the content, because if someone’s parents have lion feet and gills, I’m going to go WTH and then get really interested. I mean, who wouldn’t?

What are you guys waiting on this Wednesday?

Monday, 8 August 2011

Review- The Baker Village Science Meeting Club Monthly Meeting Minutes by James Watson

Summary (smashwords):

From first time author James Watson, The Baker Village Science Club Monthly Meeting Minutes is a bizarre comedy novella that knows no boundaries.  Chronicling the meets of the most counter-productive science club on the planet in minute form, as taken by the group’s enthusiastic, yet dim witted minute-taker Kevin Lane, The Baker Village Science Club Monthly Meeting Minutes presents a bizarre and expletive-laden insight into the lives of a dysfunctional and bitter group of people with much better things to do. Among others, there’s Mr. B. Edgecliff- the club’s present, who is slowly losing the will to live at the hands of Kevin’s meticulous minute taking; there’s Mrs. V. Pierce, whose new haircut is proving rather unpopular, and there’s Mr. G. Greggs, who, as the club’s sole member, you’d expect to provide some actual science (spoiler: he doesn’t). This collection is a year’s worth of meetings that offer absolutely nothing more than insults, threats of murder, and projectile vomit, all recounted in great detail by Kevin. If you’re looking for dry wit, sharp and to the point jokes, a healthy dose of the unexpected, and a lot of swearing, you’ve come to the right place. If you’re after actual science, I hear that Stephen Hawking has a new book out, so go and buy that.

My Thoughts

Okay, this is going to be short, because this ebook was in fact a novella. But I did end up laughing out loud more than once, which is always a good thing, because this book is a comedy. It’s not YA, but the author is 18, which is pretty amazing, because he’s written a piece of fiction with the sort of wry humour that I’d expect from an older, very-experienced-in-the-ways-of-the-world type of person.

I was laughing for a good bit of the novella, and the times I wasn’t laughing, I had a big smile on my face. The protagonist, Kevin Lane, is- well, I don’t know if he’s a complete idiot or just very determined, because if I’d been subject to the kind of threats the president of the science club gave him, I’d have left as soon as possible.

The other characters were so ridiculous and endearing, even though I hated Mr Greggs and Mr Edgecliff with a passion. All the characters were so lifelike and the conversation (or well, the record of the conversation) flowed so smoothly you’d think this was a real-life record of a crazy club.

Parting Thoughts: this is a really funny book. I just can’t stress it enough: FUNNY. If you don’t mind a bit (ha) of vulgarity and you’d like a quick, funny read, this is the book for you. I didn’t know it until I tried, and I ended up loving the book.

Rating: 4.5/5. For an eighteen-year-old writer- or any comedy writer, I think- this is epic. For a reader, this is a complete treat.

Note: I received this ebook for review by James Watson.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Review- Charlie Woodchuck is a Minor Niner by Dalya Moon

Summary (goodreads):

Charlie Woodchuck is the most minor of niners. She’s the youngest girl at Snowy Cove High School, and so clueless, she wore leg warmers and acid-wash jeans on her first day. Big mistake! Almost as big a mistake as signing up for a boys-only shop class.

Just when she thinks the first week of high school can’t get any weirder, Charlie discovers she may be adopted. According to the genetics section in her Science textbook, her eyes should be blue, not brown.

Before she graduates from the ninth grade, the girl with the boy’s name and the wrong eye color will have to use her detective skills to discover her true identity. She’ll use power tools to build fantastical wood creations, and before the year ends, she’ll have to face down the biggest bullies of all: the all-powerful members of Snowy Cove’s School Board.

What I Expected: I thought this was going to be a funny book about, well, a ninth grader. I generally had positive feelings going into the book, because I love books that make me laugh.

Story

Oh, how I ended up loving this book. I love it when I like books so much when I think I’ll come away with merely a positive reaction. And this was definitely one of them.

For one, this book is set in the eighties-ish time, when girls (and boys) weren’t allowed to take certain electives at school. Like, Charlie, the protagonist, wants to take Woodworking but she can’t, because that’s a course boys take. Similarly, if a guy wanted to take Cooking, he couldn’t. Of course, I was appalled.

Dalya Moon is a very skilled writer; in most of my past experiences with ebooks, there have been numerous grammatical and spelling errors, which I understand must come from the lack of a professional editor. But in Charlie Woodchuck is a Minor Niner– well, I felt like I was reading a print copy of a book, even though I was reading on my computer.

Charlie was worried she was adopted, and I have to say, when we studied genetics in ninth grade (huh, only a year ago) I thought I might be adopted too- both my parents have brown eyes and mine are grey-green. *rolls eyes* that was figured out quickly enough- something about alleles and mutations that aren’t always bad. Nevertheless, I empathized with Charlie- for about three seconds in my life, I felt the same way she did.

Characters

The characters, again, were so wonderfully fleshed out, unique for an indie book (from my own experiences, of course, so no solid statement there) that I could practically see them.

Charlie was a delight to read about; she reminded me so much of myself, except, of course, for the part where her personality changed. And her friend Stacy- oh, I know people like that in my life, the kind of people you can never really guess at. The other characters- Kendra, Ross (I love that guy!), Sky (him, too, even if he’s annoying) and even Otter were as real as people I meet at school.

Charlie’s family- her mom and dad, were extremely real and had that wonderful quality fictional parents do when the author has taken time to observe people of all ages. I particularly loved how Charlie’s dad was shown, in this real, I’m-also-human way.

Parting Thoughts: all in all, I very much enjoyed this book, especially the fact that it felt like I was reading a print copy of a book. I wonder WHY there aren’t print copies, by the way. If I’d read this when I was 13 or 14, I’d have gobbled it up, because Charlie is just so real.

Rating: 4.5/5. Yes, I loved it that much. It’s crazy, really, how nice it is to read about a character so much like you.

Note: I received this ebook for review from Dalya Moon. Thank you, Dalya!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (7)

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine =)

This Wednesday- well, since I read Wither at the beginning of summer break, actually, I’ve been SO looking forward to Fever by Lauren DeStephano, and would you believe that it’s not releasing until February 21st, 2012? That’s like a bazillion years away *sobs*

Summary (goodreads):

Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but danger is never far behind.

Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago – surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous – and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the mansion…by any means necessary.

In the sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price – now that she has more to lose than ever.

Dude, that cover is NOT pretty. The cover for Wither was so awesome, and then… this? The model looks like a very stoned Avril Lavigne. No offense to the peeps who like the cover, though =)

Monday, 1 August 2011

Review- Girl, 16: Five Star Fiasco by Sue Limb

Summary (book jacket):

The Jess Jordan story continues… with some comically disastrous dates and a very special romance careering towards the rocks.

Jess and Fred are an item! Finally! Now they can spend every moment perfecting their comedy routines together. But the path of true romance is a rocky one. Fred is becoming increasingly distant… in fact, so distant that he and Jess are no longer on speaking terms. What on earth is going on? Can Jess and Fred stop a fab, five-star friendship from turning into a five-star fiasco?

A humongously hilarious new Sue Limb book, featuring the charming but insane Jess Jordan.

What I Expected: I had no idea I was reading this story out of order- but I did love the other books, so I expected a lot from this book, namely lots of laughs and being able to relate with the MC Jess.

Story

Aside from Jess and Fred’s relationship going downhill, they’ve both also taken on the responsibility of organizing a dance dinner to donate to Oxfam children. Obviously, Fred doesn’t help past selling the tickets, and Jess, who’s disorganized enough as it is, gets mad at him.

Weirdly enough, I didn’t find this particular book as funny as the other one I read, Charming but Insane. That book was hilarious, and this one was, too- just not as funny.

Nevertheless, Five-Star Fiasco was funny enough, and the Britishness of the book was what I really liked about it. I read a book from an Australian author (Does My Head Look Big in This by Randa Abdel-Fattah) and everything was Americanized, presumably so we could understand it better, but it still took away from the feel of the book. Thankfully, that didn’t happen to Five-Star Fiasco. So yeah, great British feel to it, and you really see how British teens are in this book.

Characters

Jess is hilarious. The stuff she says, thinks, and everything- it makes me smile.

Fred was pretty spineless, I have to admit, but his wittiness brightened the book. Flora was one of those totally different from the stereotype kind of characters- I hate to admit, but I was surprised at how smart she was, even though I’ve met plenty of people who defy the dumb blonde stereotype. And Ben Jones- I’m in love with him! He had a bigger role in previous books, but still.

Parting Thoughts: Although it wasn’t as good as the other Girl, 15 book I read, Five-Star Fiasco was funny and a quick, light read. I’m in love with British and Australian stuff (amazing accents, right?) so I love this series. Another plus point: I’ve been reading the whole series out of order, but it didn’t really make much of a difference, because Sue Limb explains whatever story was continuing from the other book.

Rating: 3.5/5: I really thought I’d like this book, and to a point, I did like it a lot. If you want an awesome British read, this is the series for you. And do read Girl, 15, because it’s AWESOME. 

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