Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lucky Fools

Lucky Fools
by Coert Voorhees

When he was younger, David Ellison was cast in a small, local commercial and got bit by the acting bug.  Now, that is his only focus in life.  While all of his classmates are considering Ivy League schools, David only wants to go to Julliard and the auditions are coming up fast.

As David prepares for the most important four minutes of his entire life, he's also preparing to star in his school's play adaptation of The Great Gatsby, and he's preparing with the first new girl to arrive at their fairly exclusive private school in years.

The fact that David has been dating one girl, his near perfect match in high school terms, for the last two years doesn't seem to stop him from wanting Vanessa, even while Ellen tries to help him with everything that's going on around him.

To top it all off, someone calling him (or her)self "The Artist" has been going after the seniors, embarrassing them on the school's bulletin board, and exposing their deepest secrets.

As one of the best known and most high-profile seniors, is David the next target?

Final thoughts: It's going to be hard for most teens to get into this one.  Focusing on the problems of the fairly-to-mega wealthy is difficult to pull off when most people wish they would have those kinds of problems instead of their own.  The beginning starts off well, but the middle drags, and the ending is like falling off a cliff.  One moment, you're just walking along, trying to follow the path of the story, and the next, you've tumbled over the edge and the story ends.  I was also really disappointed in The Artist; it seems that the entire plot point was created to be just a peg in the final story, rather than an actual problem to be resolved (and it never is).

Rating: 2/5

Thursday, March 15, 2012

White Witch

White Witch
by Trish Milburn

Jax is a witch and always has been.  Her family has been building strength over the generations and rule with an absolute power in Miami.  However, they use Dark Magic and Jax just isn't a fan.  She is tired of constantly using and abusing humans because her family tells her to do so.  In her mind, there has to be a way to get away from the power.

So she leaves.  She takes off and runs.  She knows the consequences if she gets caught.  Her mother faced them years before, but for Jax, it's worth it.

She only wants normal.  She wants school, friends, and maybe even the chance to have a real boyfriend.

But normal seems to want nothing to do with her and the family isn't far (enough) away.

Final thoughts: This is a quick read and has a decent story, but I really wish Milburn had taken a little more time with it. Things were rushed.  There were tons of Tell moments instead of a gradual Show.  We are constantly Told that Jax and her crush are really in love.  Everyone else Tells Jax over and over again.  There's no real time for the relationship to develop.  One moment they meet; the next, they're in love.  Time felt really rushed.  I couldn't tell how many days had passed because the author herself seemed unclear.  There were moments of conflict that were either pushed through, jumped over, worked around, or completely ignored.  Just when you think there will be something to really worry about, it's resolved outside of view.  Action sequences were sped up to a fast-forward version, like watching a movie at x10 speed.  The ending felt rushed and unfinished.  Here's to hoping the sequel has a little more to it.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Goddess Interrupted

Goddess Interrupted
by Aimée Carter

Exactly six months after leaving her new husband for Greece, doing so only because that is the deal that had been struck with Persephone hundreds of years before, Kate is finally back.  She's ready to be a wife and she's ready to be Queen of the Underworld.

But just as she's about to make her final vow and take on her new duties, her world is attacked by Cronus, King of the Titans.  When her husband (Hades), along with Walter (Zeus) and Phillip (Poseidon) are kidnapped, it's up to Kate, Ava (Aphrodite), and James (Hermes) to seek out the one person who can lead them to Cronus's prison... Persephone.

How is she to find her husband when she is forced to work with the woman who stole his heart and broke it so long ago?

Final thoughts:  The first book was better.  This book was a broken record of "I LOVE Henry, but he doesn't seem to love me!!" followed by everyone else saying "Yes, he does!" then "You're right! He does!... No, wait!  He doesn't."  Kate threatens to leave often while also promising to never go if Henry would just say the magic words (or something like that).  It's a giant pity party for Kate.  It's frustrating because she's suddenly become very whiny.  I just wanted to reach through the book and shake her a few times. The pacing is also awkward and strange.  There are long section where we just read Kate whining, then something HUGE happens, and then we're back to whining, with little explanation of that huge thing.
I'll read the third book, if only because of the cliff-hanger.

Rating: 3/5

Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy
by Robin LaFevers

Ismae wasn't meant to be born.

She was meant to be murdered in utero by the poisons forced by her father on her mother.

Poisons he purchased because Ismae wasn't his daughter; she was the daughter of death... literally.

Years later, after a failed attempt to marry her off to a violent man, Ismae is taken to the convent that worships the God/Saint Mortain: the god of Death.

For years, she is trained in the art of assassination.  She learned every possible way to kill a person from daggers, to garrotes, to poison (the poison one being her specialty, since she is completely immune to all of them).

Once trained, she begins the final steps to becoming a sister of the Order and assassinates the first two of the three she must kill as part of her initiation.  Unfortunately, the men she killed were on someone else's list, and now she must work with that someone to get to the bottom of a plot to destroy the very country Ismae lives in and loves.

But leaving the convent to save the country could mean ending all Ismae has ever thought she new about her world.

Final thoughts: This was OK, but I don't think I'll seek out the next one, especially since it seems to be following a different character who was mentioned a few times in this book, but not really discussed in depth.  Ismae and Duval's relationship felt a little forced.  However, my main issue comes from the author trying to explain, in detail, both the religious world and political world of her characters.  People keep referring to this as "historical fiction" and that's only true in a very broad sense.  Don't expect any real accuracy to time, people, and events here.  There were lloooonnngggg discussions about politics here that maybe needed some trimming.  And LaFevers' religious world seems to rely a LOT on Greek mythology with Mortain's story of love mirroring Hades and Persephone. 
And one more issue I have... why is Duval constantly grabbing Ismae's arm and dragging her from place to place?  It is mentioned at least once every few pages once they meet.

Rating: 2/5

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Putting Boys on the Ledge

Putting Boys on the Ledge
by Stephanie Rowe

Blueberry Waller has always known that her life is a little more "interesting" than most teens.  Her parents are the kind of crazy that can be a social death sentence.  Her dad knows a number of different wolf howls and bird calls, which he shares whenever possible.  Her mother rules her wardrobe with an iron fist, preventing her from wearing anything even vaguely "sexy".  And her younger sister seems to pick all the wrong moments to speak up.

But things might just be looking up when Blue gets cast in the school musical and even gets a scene or two with the extremely handsome senior, Heath, who seems to like Blue, even though she's a freshman.  The fact that she can't sing a note, can't dance, and is playing his character's mother, doesn't make for ideal romancing, but she'll do what she can with what she's got.

Her three friends are guaranteed to help her out however they can, and she even gets a few pointers from Colin, another senior who her parents hired to take over some of her chores while she's at rehearsals.

But is Heath really worth all the fuss?  Duh!

Final thoughts:  Ugh!  Usually I love YA high school romances, but this is just awful.  There is absolutely no character development.  The plot is rushed.  Blue and her "OMG! Heath!" crush is completely annoying, as is her crazed stalker-like attitude whenever he's near her.  Her complete cluelessness about the facts when it comes to senior boys and freshman girls is ridiculous, esp. when one of her best friends has an older sister who's already done the high school thing and has been giving advice to the girls for years.  And why oh why would a second senior fall head over heels for her, date another girl to make her jealous, and then dump that girl the moment he had a chance?  

Just... bad.

Rating: 1/5


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