Thursday, March 31, 2016

Bookishly Ever After

Bookishly Ever After
by Isabel Bandeira

It's a common problem among many readers; boys in real life are never as good as the boys in books. Worse than that is that a person can never be as clever with those real life boys as the fictional heroines are with their book boyfriends.

Phoebe is a serious book and yarn addict. She reads. She knits. And then she reads some more. She's practically memorized some of her favorite fantasy fiction books, which contain strong female leads who know what they want and how to get it. Those girls never say the wrong things. They always have quick and witty replies. And they always get their men.

But Phoebe can't seem to do anything like her heroines. She's awkward, confused, and often misses social cues. Even when her best friend points out crushes and the longing looks of a certain guy, Phoebe can't seem to see it. She definitely can't respond in the clever way she wishes that she could.

So she comes up with a plan. She's going to study her books, not just read them, and look for clues to be the best, wittiest, cleverest, most amazing girl that her dream guy could want, even if that means completely changing herself in the process.

Final thoughts: This is definitely a book for the shy introverts who love to read. Phoebe's problems are relatable and real, especially for many bibliophiles out there. My only real problem is that it often feels like Bandeira wants to be a fantasy author more than a realistic fiction author. She has all these amazing "scenes" from Phoebe's favorite books and series, almost like she herself came up with the scenes and wanted to write them, but couldn't come up with an entire book to put them in for a cohesive story, so she wrote this book to put them all together instead of writing the fantasy book she really wanted. I actually would probably want to read some of these Phoebe faves, but I'm not sure I want to read about Phoebe herself anymore.

Rating: 3/5

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

Thursday, March 17, 2016


by Amy Alward

It's been decades since Samantha Kemi's family was basically kicked to the curb by the royal family after the last Wilde Hunt. While the Kemis are firm believers in the strength and potency of natural ingredients, the world has shifted to synthetics. Soon, the Kemi store will be the last of its kind, since all other natural potion makers have either already closed or will be closing soon.

But things may finally return the Kemis to favor after the only daughter and heir to the throne accidentally uses a powerful love potion on herself, causing magical chaos that results in the first Wilde Hunt to be called since the Kemis' downfall all those years before.

Now Sam must go on the race of a lifetime, literally around the world, to find the ingredients required to make the counter-potion and bring glory back to the Kemi name. Of course, no race would be complete without competition, and that includes the guy she really likes, but shouldn't, and the heir's aunt, who wants nothing more than the crown for herself.

Danger is an understatement.

Final thoughts: Cotton candy while you read it; fills you with questions when you're done. The biggest question for me is, if the aunt is the one who sent Evelyn the potion information in the first place, with the intent being to "cure" her and take over the kingdom, why wouldn't she have had the counter-potion already created and ready to go before the Hunt started, thereby winning by default? I know that means that there wouldn't have been a book, but there has GOT to be a better reason than "We had to fill 300+ pages somehow!" [ Additionally, the fact that this was set in current-day London, India, and Africa (though all renamed), used magic and potions, and yet they all had televisions and tablets, was very disorienting. Decent. Cute. Sometimes funny. Could have been better. (on a side note: the copy editor may need to look for another job... TONS of typos)

Rating: 2/5

Study Hall of Justice

Study Hall of Justice
by Derek Fridolfs

After Bruce finally convinces his guardian, Alfred, to let him go to school, he gets into Ducard Academy. There, he takes all the traditional classes like English, science, and history, though he has some very unusual teachers.

He also has some very unusual classmates.

Some of them will be friends.

Most of them will be enemies.

Final thoughts: Cute addition to the DC Universe, though a little dense in characters. This one is a really great addition for young kids who are familiar with the villains. It's not as violent as the full comics, but it's still filled with inside jokes and characters not seen often by the average fan.

Rating: 3/5

The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall

 The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall
by Katie Alender
When Delia's aunt died, leaving her home to Delia and Delia alone, there was no way that the young girl could know how much her life would change.

The home she inherits is not just a home; she's inherited The Piven Institute for the Care and Correction of Troubled Females. Her aunt had been its custodian for her entire life and had never left until the day she died. Now Delia will find out the truth about this home, and she must do it soon because the house takes its job very seriously.

Final thoughts: Another formulaic entry with few actual scares, but there is a nice twist from the start. There were some interesting characters, but the overall effect was less thriller and more "huh" (said with a tilted head and shrugging shoulders). This also suffered from consistency issues, which I've noticed with Alender's work in the past. She sets up rules and then breaks them for the sake of the plot. It gets frustrating when characters can suddenly do things, just once, that they couldn't do before, or are stopped from doing what they've been able to do in the past. Ok. Not great, but isn't completely terrible, either.

BTW - did anyone else think that Janie's online advisor was Theo's long-lost twin?

Rating: 3/5

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Glass Sword

Glass Sword
by Victoria Aveyard

Mare, Cal, and the rest of the Scarlet Guard are on the run from the Silvers who are after them.

There isn't time to think.

There's barely time to breathe.

There's almost to time to run.

Maven is after them, after Mare, and he will do anything to destroy all that Mare loves.

Final thoughts: I LOVED Red Queen. I have given it high praise to everyone who asks. But this is really, really, really not even close to it in quality. It's repetitive and banal. Mare is completely unrelatable throughout. There are the annoying things like the first chapter or two in which Mare repeatedly thinks about Julian and Sara probably being dead. Over and over it comes up, to the point where it's like a blaring sign saying, "It's a setup! He's NOT dead!!!" And that kind of thing happens so often, it becomes dull to read. I had to fight to finish this one. The changing of city/location names was a little distracting, as well. The country is Norta (North America), they are leaving Naercy (New York City), they visit Delphie (Philadelphia), and they talk about Wash (Washington, D.C.).
What I hate most though is Mare's self-awareness. She is overly aware of everything and keeps talking about how no one can be trusted, how important she is the cause, and how she must remain safe, sacrificing others for herself. It's a high level of ego that is not pretty to watch/read. What made characters like Katniss and Tris pretty dang amazing is that they never thought of themselves as indispensable; they were protagonists who just wanted to keep those that they loved safe and get rid of those who would put them in harm's way. Mare is not like that at all. She's vain and self-serving, leaving even her own brother behind because she can't risk exposure and she's too important to lose.
There were a few decent moments, but it was just not as good.

Rating: 2/5


Related Posts with Thumbnails