Monday, July 21, 2014

Threats of Sky and Sea

Threats of Sky and Sea
by Jennifer Ellision

Bree Perdit had a pretty good life.  She helped her father run an inn in a tiny town at the northern end of the kingdom of Egria.  She chopped wood, watered ale, served patrons, and helped keep the bills paid.  To her, it was the perfect life.

When Bree accidentally overhears the conversation of Elemental Adepts in the forest outside her inn, she suddenly finds herself embroiled in politics she never knew existed.  She also finds out her father isn't who she thought he was.

Now Bree must survive court intrigues, political battles, and a king who is determined to conquer an island nation that controls the sea.  All he needs is the secret Bree's father has carried for years.  A secret even Bree will find impossible to believe.

Final thoughts: I was drawn into this one and kept reading, but part of the reason I did was simply because I was waiting and waiting for the very obvious secret to be revealed.  The "secret" was so obvious from very early in the book that it was difficult for me to understand how none of the characters could figure it out earlier.  I almost screamed at the book; it was so frustrating.  The romance between Bree and Caden seemed impossible, as well, since the author didn't really develop it so much as just declare late in the book that it was so.

Rating: 3/5

Madly, Deeply

Madly, Deeply
by Erica Crouch

As children, Annaleigh Wells didn't really like William Calloway.  They came from different classes and his wealth made him seem entitled and spoiled.

However, over time, Anna and Will became more than friends.  Their love was a love that was not to be denied.

When Will's mother died, his father abandoned him and his sister to the servants of their home.  The day Anna came back, after allowing him time for grief, she saved Will from making a horrible decision and sealed her own fate with the powers that surround everyone.

As their wedding day nears, Will's sister, Mary, tries to make everything perfect, hoping to avoid tragedy.  But fate is not that kind.

Can their love survive the worst that can happen?

Final thoughts: A modern novelization of Edgar Allan Poe's "Annabel Lee", the first half is pretty interesting.  However, around the second half, the story falls apart.  The focus changes from a love story to a grief story, with a final decision that just feels off.  It feels like it could have used a flash-forward or something like that.  It was a little unresolved.

Rating: 3/5

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Better Off Friends

Better Off Friends
by Elizabeth Eulberg

Macallan lost her mother in a tragic car accident just a few month ago.  Everywhere that Macallan goes, she gets sympathetic looks from her classmates and teachers.  It's exhausting especially when all she wants to do it focus on her schoolwork and forget her sadness.

Levi just moved to Wisconsin from California and had high hopes that he would start the new school year as the cool new kid.  Unfortunately, his pony tail makes him stand out in all the wrong ways and his love for a BBC comedy show confuses people.

When Levi and Macallan meet, they don't really connect until it turns out that Levi's favorite show is Macallan's favorite show.  Now someone thinks Levi is cool and someone doesn't look at Macallan with sad eyes.  They each now have that one person to trust, share secrets, and have inside jokes that no one else understands.

As time goes one, these BFFs become so close that everyone else assumes they are a couple, even when they're not.  Seriously!  A guy and a girl can be best friends without any romance, right?


Final thoughts:  Cotton candy fluff book.  This one is a teen rom-com with all the twists and turns.  The alternating points of view are nice, though the voices are basically the same either way.  Maybe it's a formatting issue with this NetGalley version, but the "conversations" at the end of each chapter between the two leads, as well as the alternating PoV in the final chapters became very confusing because there was no way to identify who was speaking.  Fun and fluffy with no real brain strain.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Dead Beautiful

Dead Beautiful
by Yvonne Woon

On her birthday, Renée Winters spends time with her best friend, swoons over the guy who finally noticed her, and discovers the bodies of her parents.

A week after her birthday, Renée's grandfather forces her to move across the country to attend an exclusive boarding school in Maine. 

At Gottfried Academy, Renée studies Latin, Horticulture, Crude Sciences, and other subjects not normally seen in a high school curriculum.  There are also students not normally seen in high school like the extremely exclusive group of students who almost always speak fluent Latin to each other despite it being a dead language.

As Renée begins to get used to her classes, she also gets used to the presence of Dante.  He's the school recluse who speaks Latin like he was born to it, but also speaks to Renée like he can't stay away from her.

But Renée soon learns that there are many secrets at Gottfried and Dante may have the biggest one of all.

Final thoughts:  There's something that draws you in to this book, but nothing that really sticks when you're done.  It's messy, especially at the end.  There's a quote about soul mates at the beginning of the book, which actually has nothing to do with the relationship between Dante and Renée. (SPOILER:  They attracted because she was the person reborn with his entire soul, NOT because they share a soul.  That's COMPLETELY DIFFERENT than what is stated at the beginning and that opening is designed to confuse the reader, not add to the overall reading experience.SPOILER ENDED)  The last page was just weird and it felt like the author just wrote it after waking up one day and then forgot to edit it later.

Rating: 2/5


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