Thursday, February 27, 2014

Review: My Life With The Walter Boys by Ali Novak

From Goodreads: Sixteen-year-old Jackie Howard is devastated when her parents are killed in a car accident. She has no one to turn to except for her mom's best friend Katherine Walter. Jackie quickly discovers that Katherine is no stranger to being a mom-she's got twelve boys! And every single one is a handful ... Adjusting to life with the Walter boys is not going to be easy, especially when two of them start to show an interest that definitely goes beyond brotherly. 

My Rating: 2.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: When I saw the synopsis for Ali Novak’s My Life With The Walter Boys, I expected a light, breezy read. Thankfully, I got that because My Life With The Walter Boys was just so full of drama – so much so, that I laughed at times because I couldn’t believe anybody saying or doing anything similar in real life.

There isn’t much of a plot in My Life With The Walter Boys. Instead, the book relies on the reader getting emotionally invested with its characters. For me, that didn’t happen to the degree that I wanted it to.

I’m not sure why some of the Walter boys were so interested in Jackie because I just couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. A couple of characters described her as a goody two shoes, and I think that’s an appropriate description since she was so boring and uptight. I did like though that she refused to be a doormat and let Cole walk all over her.

I also found the romance quite dull, particularly because neither guy appealed to me. Not only did Alex and Jackie have nothing in common, but they had no chemistry whatsoever either. As well, I didn’t like how Alex kept emphasizing that Jackie was his girlfriend because it made it seem like she was simply a property to own.

On the other end of the love triangle was Cole, who I thought was a major ass. Basically, I detested him for the way he treated girls and the way he acted towards Jackie and his brothers when he didn’t get his way.

The other Walters had equally distinct personalities, and I liked the way they interacted with each other. I also found their reactions towards Jackie when she moved in with them to be very understandable. As for the rest of the secondary characters, they were girls whose sole purpose seemed to be to gush over Cole or be one of his hookups.

Ultimately, I don’t think My Life With The Walter Boys and I were a great fit because the book seemed very juvenile to me. Novak apparently wrote My Life With The Walter Boys when she was fifteen, and I find that shows in the book not only through her writing but also because her characters – who were supposed to be older than her – didn’t act like their age.

My Life With The Walter Boys will be released on March 1, 2014 by Sourcebooks Fire. 

Comments About the Cover: I find it rather amateurish looking. 

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Raincoast Books) for free.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Review: Evertrue by Brodi Ashton

From Goodreads: Now that Nikki has rescued Jack, all she wants is to be with him and graduate high school. But Cole tricked Nikki into feeding off him, and she’s begun the process of turning into an Everliving herself ... which means she must feed on a Forfeit soon - or die. Terrified for her survival, Nikki and Jack begin a desperate attempt to reverse the process using any means possible. Even Cole, who they expected to fight them at every turn, has become an unlikely ally - but how long can it last? Nikki needs to feed on Cole to survive, Cole needs Nikki to gain the throne in the Everneath, Jack needs Nikki because she is everything to him - and together, they must travel back to the Underworld to undo Nikki’s fate and make her mortal once more. But Cole isn’t the only one with plans for Nikki: the Queen has not forgotten Nikki’s treachery, and she wants her destroyed for good. Will Nikki be forced to spend eternity in the Underworld, or does she have what it takes to bring down the Everneath once and for all?

My Rating: 2 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Having loved both Everneath and Everbound, I was really looking forward to finding out how Brodi Ashton’s Everneath trilogy would end. Unfortunately, Evertrue let me down in so many ways. 

*Note that in order to properly discuss my thoughts about Evertrue, this review will contain a few spoilers about the book.*

The main reason I was disappointed by Evertrue was because of the plot. While I was expecting it to be a daunting task to take down the Everneath, I didn’t find that to be the case through the story. For someone who was supposed to be so powerful, Adonia was defeated quite easily in the end. I’m surprised nobody succeeded in doing so before Nikki!

I also didn’t like the plot twist involving Cole. I still can’t believe that Ashton thought the only way that Cole would help Nikki willingly would be if he developed amnesia! I’m beyond pissed that she reduced this amazing, complex character to such a childlike state for a large chunk of the book! Then, once he regained his memories, I found it so out of character that he would continue to help Nikki, especially because he knew how things would end for him if she destroyed the Everneath. I can’t imagine Cole sacrificing himself for anybody!

The characterization of Nikki and Jack bothered me as well. For example, I found it very surprising that Nikki forgave Cole so rapidly for everything he had put her through, even if he did become a blank slate. Jack, meanwhile, had major anger management issues and only seemed to be good for his Hulk-like ability of superhuman strength.

Lastly, I was bummed out by the lack of flashbacks. Although there were a couple of flashbacks, I figured there would have been more since Ashton has been able to use them so effectively in the past. I definitely think Cole’s loss of memories would have been a great opportunity to share with readers more about Cole’s past. I would have loved to learn how he met the other members of the Dead Elvis, for example.

A conclusion that left a bad taste in my mouth, Evertrue was released in January 2014 by Balzer + Bray.   

Comments About the Cover: Every cover in this series has displayed a model in a pretty dress. But, I’m still confused as to how the “girl in a pretty dress” concept relates to the overall theme of each novel.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

From Goodreads: Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home. When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change. But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil, no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart. 

My Rating: 3.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Having read Julie Kagawa’s Blood of Eden series, I recently decided that it was time to give her other series a try. Over the past couple of years, I’d seen great reviews about The Iron Fey series – and I finally wanted to see what all the fuss was about. While I didn’t find the first book, The Iron King, to be amazing; I did think it was a solid read.

A huge reason why I enjoyed The Iron King was because of the worldbuilding. I really liked the idea of the faerie realm’s existence being dependent upon human imagination, and seeing the rise of the iron fey and the deterioration of the faerie realm as a result of humans dreaming about science and technology instead.

There was just something lacking with the characters, however. For example, although I found Meghan to be very determined in her quest to get her brother back, I still felt a bit disconnected from her for some reason.

I also didn’t care much about the romance because Ash was cold and kind of a jerk. As well, it seemed that he fell for Meghan because she reminded him of his dead girlfriend, which I find a bit creepy. But, I’m not on Team Puck either because he came off as friend material to me. 

The Iron King was released by Harlequin Teen in February 2010.  

Comments About the Cover: It’s okay; I like the foreground and the font.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Review: Salt by Danielle Ellison

From Goodreads: Penelope is a witch, part of a secret society protecting humans from demon attacks. But when she was a child, a demon killed her parents - and stole her magic. Since then, she’s been pretending to be something she’s not, using her sister’s magic to hide her own loss, to prevent being sent away. When she’s finally given the chance to join the elite demon-hunting force, Penelope thinks that will finally change. With her sister’s help, she can squeeze through the tests and get access to the information she needs to find "her" demon. To take back what was stolen. Then she meets Carter. He’s cute, smart, and she can borrow his magic, too. He knows her secret - but he also has one of his own. Suddenly, Penelope’s impossible quest becomes far more complicated. Because Carter’s not telling her everything, and it’s starting to seem like the demons have their own agenda ... and they’re far too interested in her. 

My Rating: 3 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Since I haven’t read too many books about witches, I was interested enough by the synopsis of Danielle Ellison’s Salt to give it a try. I also liked the idea of a witch trying to get her powers back from a demon because it suggested that there would be quite a bit of action in the novel.

While I did get my wish of some action in Salt, I never really got the feeling that something terrible would happen to Penelope or her friends. As well, I wasn’t too thrilled that the action sometimes occurred as a result of dumb decisions made by Penelope.

Despite her tendency of being occasionally stupid, I thought Penelope was a decent character overall. She wasn’t as funny as she thought she was, and fell fairly quickly for Carter; but I liked that she knew she what she wanted and was determined enough to do whatever she could to achieve her goals.

I think where Salt could have been vastly improved was with its cast of secondary characters. Aside from Poncho, I felt that the secondary characters faded into the background, more or less. Even Carter wasn’t as interesting as I thought he would be!

Salt was released in January 2014 by Entangled Teen. 

Comments About the Cover: I like the purple background because purple is my favourite colour. Otherwise, there’s nothing particularly outstanding about the cover. 

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Entangled Publishing) for free.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Mini Reviews: The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg and Two Lies and a Spy by Kat Carlton

From Goodreads: Penny is sick of boys and sick of dating. So she vows: no more. It's a personal choice ... and, of course, soon everyone wants to know about it. And a few other girls are inspired. A movement is born: The Lonely Hearts Club (named after the band from Sgt. Pepper). Penny is suddenly known for her nondating ways ... which is too bad, because there's this certain boy she can't help but like ... 

My Rating: 3.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg was a light, albeit cheesy, read. After being cheated on, Penny decides to open up a club for girls who are fed up of getting their hearts broken by guys. While I thought Penny’s reason for opening up the club was really lame, I did like the eventual outcome of The Lonely Hearts Club because it led to the creation of a diverse group of girls who supported each other, were loyal to their friends, and learned that they didn’t need a boyfriend to feel validated.

The Lonely Hearts Club was released in January 2010 by Point. 
From Goodreads: When sixteen-year-old Kari’s dad sends her an unexpected text, she and her brother immediately go into hiding. Because when your parents are superspies and your dad declares a Code Black, it can only mean something bad. Very bad. Kari soon discovers that her parents have been disavowed and declared traitors, and she’s determined to clear their names. Breaking into the Agency seems like a reasonable plan, especially with the help of a team that includes her longtime crush, Luke, as well as her two best friends - an expert hacker with attitude and a master martial artist - and Luke’s popular, vindictive twin sister. Oh, and a new guy, who’s as cute as he is complicated ... 

My Rating: 3.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Two Lies and a Spy by Kat Carlton had a completely outrageous but fun plot. I liked that there was plenty of action and an ending that I wasn’t expecting. I also really liked Kari and the secondary characters. Lacey and Evan both made me laugh, and seven-year-old Charlie, Kari’s brother, was pretty cute. As well, although the synopsis makes it seem like there may be a love triangle in Two Lies and a Spy, I liked that that didn’t end up being the case. Kari never veered from having a crush on Luke, but since we really don’t see much of him, I don't know how I feel about him. 

Two Lies and a Spy was released by Simon and Schuster in September 2013.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Since You've Been Gone

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme held by Jill at Breaking the Spine to feature upcoming books that we can't wait to get our hands on. 

Title: Since You've Been Gone  
Author: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster 

Date of Release: May 6, 2014 

Goodreads Description: The Pre-Sloane Emily didn't go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn't do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend - the one who yanks you out of your shell. But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just ... disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try ... unless they could lead back to her best friend. Apple Picking at Night? Ok, easy enough. Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a Stranger? Wait ... what? Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find? Go Skinny Dipping? Um ... 

Why am I waiting? After loving both Amy and Roger's Epic Detour and Second Chance Summer, I'd have to say that Morgan Matson has become one of my favourite YA contemporary authors. Any book written by her is one I'm interested in reading!

Monday, February 10, 2014

I Finally Got My Internet Back!

I don’t normally post about non-bookish things but since this kind of relates to my blog and I need to vent, I figured why not. So … my family recently decided to try Primus’ Internet and phone services. I – and my friends – had never heard of the company before, but according to their website, they are apparently Canada’s largest alternative telecommunications service provider. Well, I’m not sure how they got to that position because they clearly don’t give a crap about their customers! Although we called customer services numerous times and were repeatedly told that our Internet would be activated the next day, we still had no Internet after two weeks! It was just such a frustrating and stressful experience! We finally decided that we had had enough and switched to Bell – and they had our Internet running within a few hours.

And on that note, now that I have my Internet back, I can finally leave some comments :)

Monday, February 03, 2014

Review: All That Glows by Ryan Graudin

From Goodreads: Emrys - a fiery, red-headed Fae - always embraced her life in the Highlands, far from the city’s draining technology, until she’s sent to London to rejoin the Faery Guard. But this isn’t any normal assignment - she’s sent to guard Prince Richard: Britain’s notorious, partying bad boy and soon-to-be King. The prince’s careless ways and royal blood make him the irresistible for the dark spirits that feed on mortals. Sweet, disheveled, and alive with adventure - Richard is one charge who will put Emrys’s magic and heart to the test. When an ancient force begins preying on the monarchy, Emrys must hunt through the London’s magical underworld, facing down Banshees, Black Dogs and Green Women to find the one who threatens Richard’s life. In this chaos of dark magic, palace murders and paparazzi, Emrys finds herself facing an impossible choice. For despite all her powers, Emrys has discovered a force that burns brighter than magic: love. 

My Rating: 3 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Although I haven’t had much luck with faerie novels in the past, I was hoping that All That Glows by Ryan Graudin would break that trend. Unfortunately, while it wasn’t a bad read, All That Glows could have been better with some changes. I therefore thought a pros and cons list would best highlight what I enjoyed about the novel and what I didn’t. 

  • I liked the mix of fantasy with contemporary elements. 
  • I always love reading books that have foreign settings – in this case, London. 
  • I thought the plot was decent, and remained curious throughout the novel about who could be behind the attacks on Richard. 
  • For a faery who is supposed to be centuries old, Emrys acted very much like a teenage girl.
  • The romance was an insta-love romance.
  • Richard wasn’t a very memorable character so I didn’t really understand what made him stand out in Emrys’ mind from all the other mortals she has ever seen.
  • I hate when couples give each other cutesy nicknames! Repeatedly having to read Emrys be called Embers by Prince Richard was very annoying!
All That Glows will be released by HarperTeen on February 11, 2014. 

Comments About the Cover: It’s so pretty! I love the colour scheme and the font that was used for the title. I also think whoever was responsible for makeup did a good job of making the model’s face kind of look fae-like.  

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (HarperCollins) for free via Edelweiss.