Genre: Young Adult

Guest Review: Betrothed by Wanda Wiltshire

Posted April 19, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Betrothed by Wanda WiltshireReviewer: Tracy
Betrothed (Betrothed #1) by Wanda Wiltshire
Series: Betrothed #1
Published by Pantera Press
Publication Date: July 1st 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 341
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two-stars

Amy Smith has always known she was different. Severe allergies, fragile health and taunts at school have made life an endurance test for the adopted seventeen year old.

When Amy starts having strange dreams, everything changes. Night after night, she becomes trapped in a shroud of black - a void of silence but for a male voice calling for a girl named ‘Marla’.

One night, the darkness clears, Leif is revealed and Amy discovers that she is the girl he has been searching for.Immediately the two are swept up in a passionate yet forbidden love. Leif isn’t like the other boys Amy knows. Breathtakingly gorgeous, he speaks with her telepathically … not to mention, he can fly …

Desperate to find a way to be with her, Leif tells Amy of the terrifying threat to his Fae homeland, the danger to the people, and of an unforgivable betrayal to his King. He urges her to seek her true identity…. But Amy is confused... isn't it all just a dream?

Amy has always felt different than the other kids in her school.  She has severe allergies and can hardly eat anything.   The kids at school have always taunted her except for a small core group of friends – especially her best friends Jack and Hilary who are always there for her.

For the last few months Amy has been dreaming about being lost in a dark place with a voice calling for a girl named Marla.  When she finally meets this man in her dreams she falls in love almost immediately.  He says he is a prince of the Fae and that Amy, whose real name is supposedly Marla, is Fae as well.  He tells her that she is his betrothed and that they will be together in the Fae kingdom as soon as he physically locates her.  Of course there is one glitch…his father, a king, forbade Marla’s parents from having children and she did anyway and then hid her away.  The prince, Leif, thinks that he managed to get the decision overturned.

Marla is understandably confused by everything she hears so searches for her true identity.  It actually points to the fact that Leif could be telling her the truth.  She also believes he’s a figment of her imagination so when he shows up and she finds that he’s actually real she’s blown away.  Now that Marla knows who she is she can’t wait to get to the Fae kingdom and be “normal.” Of course there are many things standing in her way.  Her human adoptive parents, the whole “I really wasn’t supposed to be born” thing and then of course Leif’s father who hates her who will stop at nothing to keep Marla out of Telophy.

Betrothed had a decent blurb and I was interested in the premise when I read it. Unfortunately there ended up being too many things about this book that just didn’t gel well with me.

My main issue was Amy/Marla – throughout the book.  She drove me batty with her indecisions.  With Leif is was insta-love.  Of course in the Fae the men are born and then send part of their soul out to find their soul mate, or in this instance betrothed, and then she’s born.  There is no greater love in their culture.  I don’t normally mind insta-love but the fawning and falling all over Leif was ridiculous.  Maybe it was her age (17) but whatever it was had me rolling my eyes on a regular basis throughout the book. Leif I didn’t mind so much because he definitely more mature than Marla was.

I also had a huge issue with Leif’s father – one of the more important kings in the Fae land.  The author made it so that every woman loved the king and wanted to be with him.  They couldn’t refuse, either.  What a load of rot.  That drove me crazy, especially when the author had the king using his kingly influence against Marla.  It was just downright creepy and disgusting and kind of icing on the cake for this book.

I kept thinking that the end would make it all come together in the end but that didn’t happen either – we were left hanging with Leif and Marla completely apart (because of the bastard king).  So not only do we get a frustrating story, the author ends it with no HEA.  Ugh!

Overall I found the book…frustrating.  The writing wasn’t horrible but I really disliked the story a lot, sorry to say.

Rating: 2 out of 5

two-stars

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Guest Review: Don’t Kiss the Messenger by Katie Ray

Posted April 12, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Don’t Kiss the Messenger by Katie RayReviewer: Tracy
Don't Kiss the Messenger by Katie Ray
Published by Entangled Crush
Publication Date: April 10th 2017
Genres: Young Adult
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three-half-stars

For most of her teenage life, CeCe Edmonds has been dealing with the stares and the not-so-polite whispers that follow her around Edgelake High. So she has a large scar on her face—Harry Potter had one on his forehead and people still liked him.

CeCe never cared about her looks—until Emmett Brady, transfer student and football darling, becomes her literature critique partner. The only problem? Emmett is blindsided by Bryn DeNeuville, CeCe’s gorgeous and suddenly shy volleyball teammate.

Bryn asks CeCe to help her compose messages that’ll charm Emmett. CeCe isn’t sure there’s anything in his head worth charming but agrees anyway—she’s a sucker for a good romance. Unfortunately, the more messages she sends and the more they run into each other, the more she realizes there’s plenty in his head, from food to literature. Too bad Emmett seems to be falling for the wrong girl…

Cece meets Emmett the first day of school in her literature class.  They seem to get along and Cece can’t help but notice how hot Emmett is.  Of course she doesn’t think anything will happen between them because of a scar that she has on her cheek.  Despite knowing most of the kids at her private high school there are still times when someone sees her for the first time and is horrified by her face.  Cece tries to take it in stride but sometimes it just hurts.

Cece is the captain of her volleyball team at her private school and she’s not one to mess around with it.  You’re there to work and to win.  The school even recruits a girl from California to come and play on their team.  The new girl, Bryn, is insanely beautiful.  Despite a rough start with Cece and comments about her scar the pair actually become friends. The problem is that Emmett is awestruck with Bryn’s beauty and asks if he can text her.  They exchange numbers.  Bryn is soon asking Cece for help because she’s just not good talking to guys.  Cece texts Emmett for Bryn but ends up telling him her feelings for him.  Of course he thinks that it’s Bryn where does that leave Cece?

This was a cute book.  It’s a play on the Cyrano de Bergerac story but slightly different. It’s also has a very close resemblance to the 1987 movie Roxanne, also a Cyrano story.  Cece talking under Emmett’s balcony acting like she’s Bryn, Cece giving a dozen better insults to her scar after a girl comes up with a
“unoriginal” one – even prefacing the insults as Steve Martin’s character did in the movie.  It was funny, don’t get me wrong, but a little too close to the movie.

Emmett and Cece are truly perfect for each other but Emmett likes her as a friend.  He’s so blinded by Byn’s beauty that he can’t see anything else.  Bryn is a great girl but not all that intelligent.  When she asks Cece to text and email Emmett she has no idea when they’re saying and just doesn’t care as long as she can sleep with Emmett.  Totally shallow but that’s Bryn.  While I found Emmett and Cece intelligent I found them to be almost too mature for their 17 or 18-year-old selves.  I kept having to remind myself that it was YA because it read like a super mature NA novel.

Despite those couple of things that I found a bit annoying I have to say that I really liked the book.  Emmett was a great guy and Cece was a wonderful girl.  They were written so well and I loved their perceptions of the world, literature and music. The supporting characters in the story were well written as well and they made things more young adult in the end.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Review: Off the Ice by Julie Cross

Posted March 16, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Off the Ice by Julie CrossReviewer: Rowena
Off the Ice by Julie Cross
Series: Juniper Falls #1
Published by Entangled: TEEN
Publication Date: February 28th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 320
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four-stars

All is fair in love and hockey…

Claire O’Connor is back in Juniper Falls, but that doesn’t mean she wants to be. One semester off, that’s what she promised herself. Just long enough to take care of her father and keep the family business—a hockey bar beside the ice rink—afloat. After that, she’s getting the hell out.

Again.

Enter Tate Tanley. What happened between them the night before she left town resurfaces the second they lay eyes on each other. But the guy she remembers has been replaced by a total hottie. When Tate is unexpectedly called in to take over for the hockey team’s star goalie, suddenly he’s in the spotlight and on his way to becoming just another egotistical varsity hockey player. And Claire’s sworn off Juniper Falls hockey players for good.

It’s the absolute worst time to fall in love.

For Tate and Claire, hockey isn’t just a game. And they both might not survive a body check to the heart.

Tate and Claire grew up together in the small town of Juniper Falls. Claire is Tate’s older sisters best friend and she’s been away at college. When her father gets really sick, she returns to town a lot sooner than she thought to help out at the family business. She’s not expecting for so much to change. From her to her best friend’s younger brother, Tate. Sure he’s only a year younger than her but seeing him now, he’s grown up. He got muscles and he got taller and he got hot. Claire wasn’t expecting to start liking him but well…it happens.

Tate has always felt something for Claire. He’s always had a soft spot for her so when he breaks up with his girlfriend, he wants to move right on to Claire. It’s not easy but nothing in Tate’s life has ever been easy. He’s got an abusive father, a mother who married the town exterminator and he’s never felt more alone at home. He carries the truth about his father’s abuse to himself because …I don’t know why, it’s probably a teenage boy thing but I never really understood why he kept it to himself. He’s got a lot going on and I enjoyed seeing his character grow over the course of the book.

I haven’t read very many books by Julie Cross so I can’t really tell if this is more of the same that you’d get from her but this was an enjoyable book. The characters felt real and their problems were familiar and real so I appreciated that but as much as I enjoyed it, I wanted more from both Tate and Claire.

I wanted Claire to be above the rumors in the small town. I wanted her to not be so caught up in what everyone was saying and live her life the way that she wanted to live it. I thought it took her too long to come around. The longer she kept Tate at arms length because of what she thought everyone was saying, the more I wanted to pull her hair and slap some sense into her.

Tate was another story. I wanted him to be smarter. I wanted him to open up to someone other than Claire far sooner than he did but I’m glad that it ended the way that it did because there was major growth in his character in the end. I was happy with the way that he really came into his own by the end and he was the guy that I hoped he would be when I first met him.

I’m assuming the next book will either be Leo’s book or Jamie’s. I’m down for either one. All in all, this was a good book that I had some issues with but not enough that my enjoyment of the book was ruined.

3.75 out of 5

four-stars

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Review: #Famous by Jilly Gagnon

Posted February 16, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: #Famous by Jilly GagnonReviewer: Rowena
#famous by Jilly Gagnon
Published by Harper Collins, Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: February 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 384
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three-stars

In this modern-day love story, Girl likes Boy, Girl takes photo of Boy and posts it online, Boy becomes accidentally insta-famous. And what starts out as an innocent joke spirals into a whirlwind adventure that could change both their lives—and their hearts—forever. But are fame and love worth the price?

Told in alternating points of view, #famous captures the out-of-control thrill ride of falling for someone in front of everyone.

I really interested in reading this book because of the internet fame angle. The girl captures a picture of the boy and tweets it to her bestie who RT’s the picture, attaching a hashtag that goes viral and before anyone knows what’s what, the boy is internet famous and he’s going on the Ellen show and he’s getting interviewed on the news and people want to be his best friend and he enjoys it for a while before all of it starts feeling fake. The only person that hasn’t changed throughout it all is his new friend, Rachel who is the girl that tweeted the picture of him.

This was a pretty short read and it’s marked as a Young Adult book but it read a lot younger than that. At least, it did for me. There was a simpleness to the story that made it really easy to fall into this book and on one hand, that was fun and it took no time at all to read it. On the other hand, it was hard to really connect with the characters because they didn’t feel fleshed out or well, real. This story was enjoyable but it was enjoyable in the sense that I enjoyed it from afar. Like, I enjoyed listening to my friend’s recount of the shenanigans over the weekend that I wasn’t around for. I didn’t feel what Rachel was feeling for myself. Or what Kyle was feeling.

So while I enjoyed the book for the fluffy piece that it was, I didn’t love it. Still, if you’re in the mood for a fun story that reads a little on the young side, this is a good one.

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars

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Review: By Your Side by Kasie West

Posted February 14, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: By Your Side by Kasie WestReviewer: Rowena
By Your Side by Kasie West
Published by Harper Collins, HarperTeen
Publication Date: January 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 352
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three-stars

In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

Kasie West writes cute, fun and fluffy contemporary young adult romances and this book was no different. This wasn’t my favorite Kasie West story but it was still a solid read.

Autumn Collins got locked in the library. She was also left behind. She had weekend plans with her friends at her best friend’s cabin and those plans went right out the window when she had to pee just as the library was closing and she got locked in the library…for an entire weekend. First off, this was totally unrealistic since I just don’t see this happening in real life but still. I went with it.

Autumn is stuck in the library over the weekend with Dax. The school’s loner who has a reputation for fighting. Nobody really knows Dax but they do know that he was sent to juvie after getting into a fight. Autumn has a crush on Jason and she was looking forward to hanging out with him over at the bonfire that her group of friends was heading over to after leaving the library. When she gets locked in the library, she starts to wonder when her friends will notice that she’s not with them. When the first night goes by and her friend’s don’t come back for her, she covers up what that might mean by trying to get to know the guy she’s locked in the library with…Dax.

Dax hasn’t had an easy go of this life thing. His mother liked drugs more than him, he’s been through a bunch of different foster homes and he’s trying as hard as he can to keep a low profile so that he can stay out of a group home and the minute he turns 18, he’ll be free. If that means that sometimes he’s got to sleep in weird places so that his latest good for nothing foster parents can get their party on, he’ll do it because what Dax wants more than anything in his life is his freedom.

Autumn and Dax develop feelings for each other but after they return to their regular lives, they slide right back into the lives they led before getting locked in the library. There are things that make things that way on Autumn’s side but it was still disappointing. Especially because Dax was disappointed in the way things were with Autumn.

My disappointment in this book stems from Autumn and how long it took for her to get her head out of her ass. The whole thing with Jason and then with Dax pissed me off because she was leading them both on while she took her sweet ass time to make a decision. It didn’t take long for me to read this book, it was really easy to fall into and even though it took me a little bit to warm up to Autumn, I liked Dax from the jump and I didn’t want to stop reading the book but even through all of that, this book isn’t my favorite Kasie West.

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars

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