Friday, March 29, 2013

"Gravity" by Melissa West

Gravity (The Taking, #1)
NOTE: I received this book from Netgalley.

Wow, I can't believe I haven't gotten to reviewing Gravity in like 3 months or something. Life's just busy nowadays. Whew!

Anyways, I'm excited to say that Gravity didn't lack almost anything. Some places sounded too overdone however, and were a bit like other dystopian books I've read before, hence the 4 stars. Still, the story was mostly original - especially since it had to do with aliens and human/alien relations. I'd never experienced another book like this one, where the aliens were exposed and beneficial to the community.

It was, least to say, different. In a good, refreshing way.

It was a bit predictable though, so that's sort of going towards the negative. But, I liked the writing style and the action. I didn't necessarily approve of the aliens' means of accomplishing peace. Or of the humans' means of keeping the aliens out. But, you know, you gotta have a story, and a conflict, so yeah.

The romance side of the story was nothing new. There was the supposed love triangle, which wasn't really a triangle at all. There was the deception, the mistrust, the doubt, followed closely by forgiveness, finding each other and so forth. It was cute really, in an end-of-the-world sort of way.

A positive thing was that all the characters had a depth and their own unique voice. And most importantly, they had opinions and experiences and didn't hesitate to act upon the former, based on the latter.

I believe that if you enjoy dystopian stories, you'd definitely fall in love with this one. Have fun!

My rating is

Thursday, March 28, 2013

"Embracing You, Embracing Me by Michelle Bellon

Embracing You, Embracing MeNOTE: I received this book from Netgalley in exchange of an honest review. 

Well, I'm going to start off by saying that this was the most irrational and unpredictable novel I've read in the past year (or more). Just when I was beginning to think that I had it figured out, something new popped in the picture, taking the story and characters on an entirely different path. I think the author wanted to make something great of this story, and it might've actually worked, if it weren't so flat and boring.

The story itself has potential, but the writing needs a whole lot of improvement. For example, the percentage of show vs. tell was somewhere around 20 to 80. If you are a regular reader you know exactly what that means. I was tired of reading the book before I was even half-way through, but continued on with the hope that somehow it would get better.


It didn't.

In my humble opinion, if this story was split in two (or lots of the things were omitted), more depth and feeling could be incorporated. The way it is now, there's way too much going on. I mean, it encompassed a span of 6-7 years. (The girl, Roshell, was a sophomore when the story began, and was about 21-22 by the end of it.) But then again, all the events were so mushed up together, to fit into 300 or something pages, that most of the time we got just a tiny little description of what had taken place during a span of years.

I think I can safely say that this was beyond annoying. At times I was wondering whether I was reading a novel or newspaper clippings following the life of some random person.

I suppose I would've been okay (or not) with this, if the characters had any depth to them. If there were any real emotions, that reached me somehow. But the truth is that they didn't. All the people mentioned were described this way or that, but we never got to see how funny they were supposed to be, or how angry or how excited, or whatever. We read that they were so, but they didn't show it. Which brings us back to what I said earlier. There's nothing more annoying than having to read ABOUT something, rather than reading IT. You know? Most of the time Roshell was just retelling (in the narrative) what had happened to her. Darn it, Ms. Bellon, just give us some scenes! Give us some action! Give us some emotion! Humans (and in part readers) want to feel what the characters feel, for goodness sake!

I'm going to give one example, and there will be spoilers, so don't read on if you don't want to have the story spoiled for you.

There was a scene, where Roshell was supposed to have been taken advantage of by this guy, Erin. The scene wasn't described; Roshell hardly even said anything about it - she didn't even seem to feel any different afterwards! And dude, why the hell wouldn't she scream bloody murder if she was being violated in such a way? Afterwards, she just played it cool, like it wasn't that big of a deal. Whaaaaaaaaat?

Why on earth wouldn't she scream, or even put up a fight? Why would any girl allow to be raped if she could've prevented it? And shouldn't she cry or be angry or something? Wouldn't she want the idiot to be punished? I seriously don't get it.

Anyway, I had better wrap this up, or I could rant about it forever. If you did decide to read this book, please let me know if you liked it.

My rating is

Friday, March 15, 2013

"Nantucket Blue" by Leila Howland

Nantucket Blue

NOTE: I received Nantucket Blue from Netgalley. Thanks for the opportunity!

This is a book about friendship; a book about love; a book about making mistakes and searching for forgiveness. It's a book of growing up and realizing that standing up to the challenge is what can get you to move on - not succumbing to regret and guilt. A book where love develops over time, and not straight away. A book that teaches to expect the unexpected, to trust your instincts, to be brave and hardworking.

It's also a book that's underlain with grief and pain and all sorts of wrong decision. And all sorts of right ones. It's a book where friendship and love actually have a meaning.

If I had to describe the story in terms of colors, I'd have to go through the whole rainbow. There were mourning blacks, passionate reds, cheerful yellows, dancing purples, calming greens, lively oranges, blinding whites. It was an amazing bucket of color!

It's admirable, how the author managed to squeeze into some 300+ pages so many life stories, so many problems, so much great advice while at the same time having it all wrapped up in the perfect teen romance.

What I loved most about the main character, Cricket, was her loyalty. She loved fiercely, and she wasn't willing to give up what was important to her. And who was important to her. She wanted to protect the people she loved, to make them feel better, to console them in their hard times. She was one amazing young lady. What impressed me most about her though was this one quote in the end:

"If you think I'm desperate, then you must not like [name omitted] very much."

The meaning is subtle, but so strong, it blew me away! Cricket was being insulted, but she turned it around in such a way, that I was completely speechless.

I loved that girl. I loved that novel.

My rating is

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

"Model Spy" by Shannon Greenland

Model Spy (The Specialists, #1)

NOTE: I received this book from Netgalley. Thanks!

I believe Model Spy is for younger audiences. Probably ranging from 11-15. It reminds me of Spy Kids.

Here several kids, gifted in different areas are called by the government to work as spies. We follow the story of Kelly/Gigi, genius girl, computer geek and hot babe. But, hot or not, don't think there's any sort of heartfelt teen romance. It's so barely captured, that I can't say it's really there. Perhaps, a bit more romance would've made the story a notch more emotional. The way it is now, it's just a spy story, and let's face it, most readers nowadays are looking for the romance.

The way the story was written was way too simple. The bad guys never struck back, and that's just too unrealistic. It was as if the reader would never ask the Why questions. And trust me, there were lots of them.

Also, there were times when the story dragged, and times when it sped up so much that I kind of lost the threads. Perhaps if twenty more pages were added, and some things were included that connect the scenes together, it would've been better.

So, I know how the country the spy team went to was a made up one, but still, the names the author used for the terrorists bothered me. I mean, Romanov, Petrov... she used them as first names, but they're both last names. -ov means a last name in the Slavic countries. I don't mean to be rude, but writing a book needs to be accompanied by a certain amount of research, right?

Okay, so what to say about Gigi... hmm... well, she was super sweet. She never showed off her genius brain. I found myself snorting every time she mixed up her sentences. It was funny! The only thing I don't understand is why she had to be a klutz. I mean, I myself don't know a single clumsy person, and there are so my books about clumsy girls it's getting a bit annoying. Perhaps it had to do with her inability to stay focused on the reality around her. You know, her brain was only thinking in computer code and such.

David was cute and all, but he could've been more outward or something. I would've enjoyed a kiss or two at the end of the story. I believe the moment had been there..

Anyway, if you're a girl ages 11-15 (or the parent of one) this book would be a nice addition to your (or your daughter's) bookshelf. Otherwise, I suggest you pass.

My rating is

Thursday, March 7, 2013

"Wait for You" by J.Lynn

Wait for You
Note: This book is for MATURE readers.

For a JLA book, I think Wait For You was rather weak. I actually have come to expect a very high quality of writing from her, but this book floored it. I'm disappointed, to be honest.

Here is a list of the things I didn't like:
1. There were lots of errors, misspellings, punctuation missing... It needs a lot of editing.
2. The storyline was weak. I was expecting something major happening, but was disappointed that my expectations went to the wind. *SPOILER* I wasn't expecting the messages Avery received to be from another victim. This simplified the plot way too much. I totally expected a psycho stalker, and if that had been the case, the story would've turned out much better. *END OF SPOILER*
3. The story was too cliche for my liking. Jamie Maguire seemed to start this trend, and for her book it worked out because it was the first one. But all the books I've read recently in this genre are so similar to Beautiful Disaster, it's not even funny. It's getting not only boring, but annoying also. Perhaps the only exception remains Abbi Glines. She at least shows some creativity. Anyway, the story of the college girl accidentally bumping into a hot college guy the first day of classes and them falling for each other shortly after is sort of worn out. And I'm positive this isn't just my opinion. It's getting old.
4. I wasn't expecting that what Avery had gone through was what it came out in the end. I sort of snorted when I read what had happened to her. Not to minimize the hurt and affliction that had cost her, but seriously? I'm inclined to think that what I'd assumed had happened is more damaging than what actually happened.
5. Umm, Avery's friends seemed to be sex-crazed freaks. Nothing seemed to excite, interest or impress them if it weren't connected to sex. The guy, Jacob, was described as a sex-depraved guy. He sounded ridiculous most of the time, and I felt embarrassed. Honestly. And the girl, Brittany, was in my opinion, a slut. Fully contented with one-night stands with drunk guys. You got a better word for it, cuz I certainly don't.
6. The several sex scenes were good enough. What I have reservations about and certainly do not agree with is self-satisfaction. I realize that people out there do that sort of thing but it totally grosses me out. So yeah.

What I liked about the book:
Well, perhaps the only thing that I liked was the depth of the main characters - Cam and Avery. They had their own stories that made them act the way they did. Of course every action had its consequences. I liked how Cam was caring and romantic and persistent. I liked how he didn't just up and bow down to Avery and become her slave or something.
That's about it though.

My rating is

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

"Opal" by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Opal (Lux, #3)

Oh my! *fans herself* Such a cliffhanger. Gosh! It's mean. Seriously mean!!!

I so did not expect to love Opal more than Obsidian and Onyx. But I did. And it had nothing to do with the hot scenes, though I won't lie, I liked them too.

But let me say that the way the story develops is breath-taking. We get to see all sorts of different qualities and sides of all the characters. Where Daemon was mostly a jerk in the previous books, here he's grown into an overprotective boyfriend. He's also understanding, loving, romantic and adorable. I believe it's safe to say I want one of him for myself ;)

Then Katy goes a long way from being defenseless to being a kick butt heroine. I loved how well she was developed. I only didn't like how she hid things from Daemon... very important things I might add. And of course she hid things from her mom.

Dawson was slowly returning to himself, not that we know what he was like before, but still.

I hated how Dee had to be all alone without Alex. *Sigh*

I just don't know why everyone just goes ahead and trusts the wrong guy time and time again. Seriously, it gets old. I mean, how stupid do you have to be to put your faith in the one person whom YOU KNOW you CAN'T trust? Is it really that difficult to be suspicious? So many things could have been avoided...

Anyway, the cliffhanger is a killer. I want more. And when I say more, I mean MORE!!!! You get my meaning. ;)

My rating is