Tag «high school»

Series Review: Shades of London by Maureen Johnson

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

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booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Name of the Star (from Goodreads):

Jack the Ripper is back, and he’s coming for Rory next….

Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school just as a series of brutal murders mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper killing spree of more than a century ago has broken out across the city. The police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man believed to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him – the only one who can see him. And now Rory has become his next target…unless she can tap her previously unknown abilities to turn the tables.

breakdown

Series: Shades of London
Author: Maureen Johnson
# of Books: 4 (The Name of the Star, The Madness Underneath, The Shadow Cabinet, Book 4)

There is a prequel novella called The Boy in the Smoke

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Book 4 will be published in 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Ghosts, Supernatural, Suspense, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: October 2012 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

PLEASE NOTE: I did not finish reading The Madness Underneath (Book 2)when I published this review. Find out why below…

The Name of The Star Review:

I read The Name of the Star for two reasons: 1) I loved the eBook cover (the one when it first came out) and 2) I hadn’t read anything about ghosts in a long time, if ever. Normally, I prefer to read romance or action novels–I don’t really enjoy ‘scary’ movies but I LOVE thrillers and this book sounded like an episode of Criminal Minds (one of my favourite TV shows) but with a supernatural twist.

Unfortunately, The Name of the Star didn’t do much for me. I didn’t really like Rory as a character and I had a hard time convincing myself to like her. I just didn’t like how she acted–I think some people might label it “quirky’; I would label it “quacky” because I thought she was very odd. I’m not sure if it is the writing style as it is a novel set in the UK and I most books I read that are set there tend to have a slower pace to them but it didn’t do much for me. But I was hooked into the mystery so I continued to read–and I’m glad I did because I liked the ending and solution to the mystery all things considered.

However: I had no interest in reading the sequel. But what happens at the very end of the novel–plus the connection I thought I saw between Rory and another character–kept my interest enough to see what the sequel was all about.

The Madness Underneath Review:

Unfortunately, The Madness Underneath fell (no pun intended) into the classic Book 2 of a Trilogy Slump. I was halfway through the book when I had to ask myself: what the hell is the plot? Honestly, halfway through the book the “mystery” (the “creepy new terror haunting modern-day London”) is never mentioned. Instead, we get to listen to an angsty Rory as she tries to navigate her teenaged life–which is not my cup of tea in any book and especially in this series where I’m not a huge fan of Rory. It would have been ok if the other characters we meet were involved but Rory pretty much flies solo for most of the book.

I was 40% of the way through The Madness Underneath when I decided to stop reading it. I read in other reviews that the ending is very exciting but in my opinion it was too little too late. I decided to sleep on it and see if I changed my mind but I decided I really didn’t care (because nothing had really started by that point) and I could live with not knowing considering I had lived without reading The Madness Underneath for two years since its release. I just didn’t want to be committed to another book if I did like the ending. I have better series to read from the library so I am officially putting this one to rest.

Series Rating: 2.5/5

The Name of the Star 3/5 | The Madness Underneath DNF | The Shadow Cabinet N/A | Book 4 N/A

overall

While I personally didn’t enjoy this story, I quite a few people will like the supernatural/paranormal spin of it. If you like slower series with books dedicated to personal character development then this series is for you. But if you are like me and like having multiple plotlines or faster plotlines with lots of twists and action, you won’t enjoy this series so stay away!

similarreads

  • Rosebush by Michele Jaffe
  • Hereafter by Tess Hudson (Hereafter Trilogy #1)

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Series Review: Keegan’s Chronicles by Julia Crane

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

book2 book3

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Biggest Disappointments 2014
Series: Keegan’s Chronicles
Author: Julia Crane
# of Books: 3 (Coexist, Conflicted, Consumed)

There are 4 spinoff series to read. Find the full list here.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Teen, Fantasy, Elves, Romance, Action, Drama
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person

Thoughts on Coexist:

Disclaimer: I will not be picking up the sequel Conflicted. Find out why below…

Coexist has been on my to-buy and read list for a good amount of time. The main reason is because it focuses on elves and I haven’t been able to find many stories about elves–most books deal with faeries so that intrigued me. I also hoped it would be what the Laurel series wasn’t to me. At a price of $0.99 (CAD) I had no problem picking it up BUT it was free on Amazon one day so I grabbed it for my Kindle.

In the end, I’m glad I didn’t pay for this book: it was such a huge disappointment for me.

I’ll start with the writing: it’s very choppy and almost mechanical in its execution. It just didn’t flow very well and seemed to be mostly dialogue and thoughts. The third person narration makes things very confusing. I found it hard to differentiate between who was thinking what and when because I thought we were following one character and then it would jump to another. Simple line breaks between a change in character focus would have helped a lot with this but the writing in general is nothing fantastic.

Keegan was another let down. I had hoped for a strong female lead that wouldn’t annoy me like Laurel from the Laurel Series did. Laurel was annoying, but I didn’t find her overly annoying until book 2; but with Keegan, I disliked her immediately. She is just so petty and immature that I had a hard time liking her. She is extremely spoiled and selfish and that just grated on my nerves. My biggest problem with her was how she handled her chosen mate situation and her thought process regarding her dating life. Too be fair, she is 16–but man, it was painful to roll my eyes by the end of it and painful to endure her thoughts.

As for the plot, it wasn’t overly excited. It does pick up and have some interesting elements to it but nothing I haven’t seen before or anything that made me want to keep reading nonstop.

Conclusion:

While I am intrigued by how the book ended, I won’t be picking up book 2 anytime soon–or ever. I have read a lot better–freebies or not–and I want to spend my limited time on something a little more exciting and at my age level (and to be fair I wouldn’t have enjoyed this at the age of 16 either).

Rating: 2.5/5

Similar Reads: Wings by Aprilyne Pike (Laurel Series #1)

Synopsis for Keegan’s Chronicles (from Goodreads):
Sixteen-year-old Keegan is struggling to keep her huge secret from her friends–she’s an elf, descended from a long line of elves that live in secrecy alongside humans.

In elfin society, mates are predetermined but not allowed to meet until they are eighteen. Against tradition, Keegan’s brother Thaddeus told her Rourk’s name because his visions warned him she’d need Rourk’s protection, especially since Keegan will play a key role in the coming war between the dark and light elves.

Rourk finds himself drawn to Keegan’s side every time she thinks his name. He wants to talk to her but remains in the shadows, silently guarding her every time she mentally beckons him. A twist of fate thrusts the two of them together when Rourk is forced to step up his protection and make his presence known.

An ancient prophecy deeply entwines Keegan’s family and the future of their society. Somehow they must find a way to thwart fate and win the battle…without losing Keegan. With war brewing, and dark forces aligning, will Keegan and Rourk ever have the life together that they both desire?

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Series Review: More Than by Jay McLean

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

book4 book5

breakdown

Series: More
Author: Jay McLean
# of Books: 4 (More than This, More than Her, More than Him, More than Forever, More than Enough)
Book Order: Connected & Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama, Contemporary, Tragedy
Heat Rating: Really Warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: July 2013 – November 2015
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

I wasn’t sure what to expect with More Than This. It seemed really promising but I found the description to be pretty vague and the only reason I read it so soon after buying it was because I randomly picked a number and it was that number in my Kobo.

I’m glad I read it because I really did enjoy it! While this book begins with the characters in high school, I would classify it as New Adult for two reasons: 1) part of the story does take place when they are in college and 2) the characters are extremely mature for their age. Having mature characters really helps make a story more enjoyable–especially when it is on the cusp of being Young Adult/New Adult.

I found this book was great at keeping the plot going. Little plot twists are revealed along the way that keep the story interesting and fresh–which helps the book not feel as long as it could have with the seemingly never-ending sexual tension. I found that the sexual tension between Mikayla and Jake frustrated me at times because they were hesitant to do certain things together and not others. I could understand why Mikayla wanted to find herself before she started the relationship but I think everyone knew that they were in one long before they were “official.”

This book did a great job at pumping me for Logan’s story in More than Her and I’m glad the next book focused on a different set of characters because I couldn’t take another Mikayla and Jake novel–they had their time and I don’t want it expanded upon. I had certain expectations for More than Her based on the ending of More than This but I was happy that the book didn’t go in the direction I feared. I actually liked this book a lot more than More than This for quite a few reasons.

One is Logan and his love interest. I thought they were a great fit for each other and I liked the flashbacks where they first met–though I did find the time shifting confused me at time but I eventually figured out the timeline. While I didn’t enjoy the back and forth nature of their relationship at times, I could understand why they were always hesitant more so than Mikayla and Jake. I also liked the plot twists a lot more in this book and I’m so glad that February is only a short month away because I can’t wait to get off of the cliff-hanger this book leaves everyone with–though I admit I am a little worried to take the plunge because I have no idea where this book is going to go.

I’m excited for the next two books in the series. While More than Him is a continuation of Logan’s story, I’m super excited to read about Lucy and Cam’s and I hope that Dylan and Heidi get a book too though nothing seems to be planned.

My only complaint about this series so far is the lack of a proof-reader. I felt like there were quite a few typos that could have been avoided with a quick peruse and some reformatting of the eBook. Overall though, the typos aren’t enough to make anyone quit reading.

updates

–September 28, 2014– Book #3: More than Him

Despite being super excited to read, More than Him, I just managed to actually read it (I blame Kobo for not having it for purchase until a few months after its release.) Because I didn’t write a summary for it, I was a little lost in everything that happened but a quick skim of More Than Her as well as mini recaps within the book quickly solved that. I think I had tears in my eyes for the entire book–it was a heart-breaker to read at times that is for sure! Though I can’t explain it, but I feel like something was missing from this book a little. Don’t get me wrong, I loved reading it and think it was a great followup overall. When I compare it to its previous book I think what I am missing is the crazy plot twists. Instead, this book focuses on the aftermath and healing of those twists and doesn’t really introduce anything new in terms of drama.

–September 30, 2014– Book #4: More than Forever

More than Forever is probably the book everyone who has read this series has been waiting for since the start. This novel was everything I thought it would be and more. I laughed, I cried and sighed my entire way through the book. While first love stories usually give me a cavity, this one was just right. Just well done through and through.

More than Enough can’t get here fast enough! I just hope its about the two characters I think it’s about!

–August 7, 2016– Book #5: More than Enough

I waited and waited for this book to come onto Kobo but it never did. So when I had my trial for Kindle Unlimited, this was the first book I grabbed!

While this wasn’t the story I expected, I did really enjoy it. I’m a little torn over the story. I’ll admit, I had to warm up to it and get over my disappointment. But I did and I really started to like these two together.

Unfortunately, it got to be a little too much for me at the end. What started fast and furious became a little slower near the halfway point. While I like what the latter half of the story explored, it did drag a bit for me.

But overall, a fantastic way to end this series and wrap up all these characters stories.

Series Rating: 4.5/5

More Than This 4/5 | More Than Her 5/5 | More Than Him 4/5 | More Than Forever 5/5 | More Than Enough 4/5

overall

This series reminded me a lot of Wanted by Kelly Elliot but better executed. It features mature characters, great romances and some hot drama that keeps this books interesting and pulls you in. One of the best New Adult series I have read in awhile!

Read if You Like: new adult, drama, romance
Avoid if You: dislike drama, dislike longer reads

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Synopsis for More Than This (from Goodreads):
*Mikayla*
In one night my fairytale ended. Or it may have begun. This is my story of friendship and love, heartbreak and desire, and the strength to show weakness.

*Jake*
One night I met a girl. A sad and broken girl, but one more beautiful than any other. She laughed through her sadness, while I loved through her heartbreak.

*This is our story of a maybe ever after.*

He was right. It made no difference whether it was 6 months or 6 years.
I couldn’t undo what had been done. I couldn’t change the future.
I couldn’t even predict it.
It was one night.
One night when everything changed.
It was so much more than just the betrayal.
It was the Tragedy.
The Deaths.
The Murders.
But it was also that feeling.
The feeling of falling.

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Single Sundays: The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):
It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up. When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark.

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead. His girlfriend Adriane, Nora’s best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora’s sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.

Review:

I like books with a bit of mystery and suspense to them and unfortunately for me, I don’t read them often enough. So I was excited when I got this book into my hands.

While the book didn’t start off extremely strong, it definitely improved the more I got into it and the more things are revealed. And by the middle of it, I was sucked in. But by the end, I was left disappointed.

I honestly couldn’t tell you what happened to make me feel that way though I have my suspicions. First, I think part of it had to do with Nora. While I didn’t hate her, I didn’t particularly love her either so I guess that leaves me indifferent–though I was routing for her along the way. And I think routing for her left me a little disappointed in how her story ends. Perhaps if there was a sequel or a follow-up novella I would feel better.

The plot was intriguing and I didn’t find it predictable. I actually enjoyed the mystery but I think it moved too slow in parts. I think it left me confused at some points (I’m writing this review long after I finished the book so I’m not entirely certain) and I think my biggest problem lies with how the whole things concludes. It just felt unfinished and I HATE that about a book.

Conclusion:

This book didn’t particularly wow me in any sense. It was an interesting read and I suppose a nice break from the faster-paced novels I usually read but I think I would have spent my time on something else instead. If you like slower mystery novels that have a similar idea to the Da Vinci Code, you would probably enjoy this. Otherwise, pass.

Rating: 3/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Romance
Recommended for: 16+
Similar Reads: Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould (Cross my Heart #1)

Series Review: Fall Away Penelope Douglas

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

 book2 book2 book3 book3

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Bully (from Goodreads):
My name is Tate. He doesn’t call me that, though. He would never refer to me so informally, if he referred to me at all.

We’re neighbors, and once, we were best friends. But then, one summer, he turned on me and has made it his mission to screw up my life at every opportunity. I’ve been humiliated, shut out, and gossiped about all through high school. His pranks and rumors got more sadistic as time wore on, and I made myself sick trying to hide from him. I worried about what was around every corner and behind every door.

So I left.

I spent a year studying abroad and bathed in the freedom of life without Jared. Now I’m back to finish up high school and get the hell out of here forever. I’m hoping that after a year of breathing room, he’s moved on and forgotten all about me.

But even if he hasn’t changed, I have. I’m not interested in avoiding him or turning the other cheek anymore. We’re going to go head to head, because neither of us wants to back down

breakdown

Series: Fall Away Trilogy
Author: Penelope Douglas
# of Books: 5 (Bully, Until You, Rival, Falling Away, Aflame)

Until You is Jared’s POV companion to Bully.

There are some novellas in between the novels. Full list here

Book Order: Connected but Chronological

Bully, Until You and Aflame follow Jared and Tate’s story; Rival and Falling Away focus on different characters. However, they all follow a chronological order of events.

Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Drama, Contemporary, Dark
Heat Rating: getting Hot
Point of View: First Person (Single POV for Bully & Until You; but Alternate for RivalFalling Away & Aflame)
Publication Dates: February 2014 – April 2015
Source & Format: Own–eBook

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**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I read the synopsis for Bully, I flashed back to my memories of elementary school. The whole idea that boys show that they like you by teasing you. Casual “teasing” is one thing but bullying is another–so while I had a pretty good idea of what was going to happen in this book, I was curious to see what else was at play.

The Plot:

While I found the romance of the book to be predictable, I did enjoy the ride we take getting there. I didn’t find it boring to read because there are some interesting events that happen and make the book more entertaining. I also found it to be pretty mature considering I went into the book thinking about elementary school romances. There isn’t really anything “elementary” about Tate and Jared’s relationship.

The Characters:

Tate is a strong female character and I’m glad that she develops some backbone as the story progresses. However, I often found that she was trying a little too hard to be tough, so it came across as a little over the top. I also didn’t like how easily she was falling in love with Jared. Given their past, I understood where the feelings were coming from but if I was in her shoes, let me tell you that he would have had to work a lot harder to get back into my good graces.

I think what would have helped me get a better grasp on their relationship is getting Jared’s POV as the events unfold. I’m so used to New Adult readings alternating POV between characters that I almost get disappointed when I don’t get both. Fortunately, Until You is Jared’s POV. I haven’t read it yet, but I am really excited to because I’m hoping to get some more insight into this mysterious character.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m really excited to read Rival. It seems like it is going to be really refreshing and Madoc seems like a really interesting character to me. Falling Away also seems really interesting so I will definitely be keeping my eye out for the rest of the series.

updates

–October 25, 2014– Book #1.5: Until You

I finally managed to read Until You and it was everything I wanted to know about Jared. It was the perfect companion novel for Bully. I loved that it wasn’t just a retelling of Bully. It started a little before and ended a little after Bully but the events weren’t just regurgitated for the sake of creating another novel. It was extremely well done and fans of Bully will love reading Until You. I highly recommend that you read it after Bully but before Rival in order to get a fuller reading experience with all the characters.

–October 25, 2014– Book #2: Rival

Rival though, is my favourite of the series! I read it in one sitting and got so sucked into the story. It was packed full of drama and I loved Madoc and Fallon as characters. I enjoyed their relationship a lot more than Jared and Tate’s in Bully (but reading Until You warmed me up to them more). However, I was a little worried at the start of Rival given their past relationship. But as the book progressed, I was rooting for them all the way. I think it helped that we got both characters POV throughout the novel so you got a better grasp on each of them.

I am super excited for Falling Away and have been since I read Until You and figured out which characters were next.

–February 21, 2015– Book #3: Falling Away

Have you ever finished a book where you can’t determine how you actually feel about it? I’m not talking about indifference or the “meh” factor (as I like to call it) where it was just so-so and nothing all that exciting. I’m talking about a book that had its great moments but had not-so-great moments in between–leaving you happy but disappointed all at once? I give those books the “mixed feelings” tag on Goodreads and I create that tag for this book specifically.

I went into this book with high anticipation because I’ve been waiting for this couple since the first book. So I was a little disappointed that this book takes place a few years later but I let it slide because it probably was for the best.

But when I actually saw them together I had to double check I wasn’t rereading Bully because parts felt like a regurgitation of the first book. The heroine seemed super immature despite being 20 and the hero gave me the creeps a bit because he was a little too alpha. Which often made me feel like the relationship bordered on the unhealthy side of things. It was just that the intensity of their relationship, especially when they really had limited interaction before this book, was a little too extreme for me and it made me uncomfortable to read about. Which is why I had mixed feelings: sometimes I loved the couple together (they did have great chemistry) but other times the angst was just too much for me to take.

I also felt like there were too many things going on with these characters lives. Now, I like a lot of things happening in books and I understand that people lead complicated lives but this just seemed a little excessive to me. It kinda felt like the author decided to pile as much tragedy/drama into these character’s lives as possible and it was overwhelming. I really felt like this book was 50 (ebook) pages too long and I would have enjoyed it more without the super packed character pasts.

I’m not sure how I feel about Aflame. I really don’t think it is necessary but I will read it just to finish off the series.

–June 14, 2015– Book #4: Aflame

I was adequately warned about Aflame going into it thanks to the comments below. not that I had high expectations for it before I was told, but I think it helped me be prepared for what I was going to read.

I have mixed feelings about Aflame because I can appreciate what the author was trying to convey (young people make rash decisions). But I felt like Tate and Jared were thrown into a situations that would cause the most drama even if it wasn’t the most logical; and I found that to be frustrating because there really was no reason for the plotline we get. It also made me realize how immature and reckless these two are and how unhealthy their relationship is. I really hope young people reading this series realize this isn’t what a healthy relationship looks like.

Series Rating: 3/5

Bully 4/5 | [Until You] 4/5 | Rival 5/5 | Falling Away 3/5 | Aflame 3/5

overall

This series takes your classic romance story and puts a darker spin on it. I’ve read a lot of New Adult novels but this series standouts because of the relationship between the characters. The classic “dark secret past” isn’t some random event that happened before the characters met their partner–it happened with their partner so the relationship dynamic is completely different. So if you enjoy darker high school/new adult romances, this is a great read to pick up! But it does lose its lustre as the series progresses and the relationships border on the unhealthy.

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Single Sundays: Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill

Synopsis for Meant to Be (from Goodreads.com):
Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.

It’s one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she’s queen of following rules and being prepared. That’s why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that’s also why she’s chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB (“meant to be”).

But this spring break, Julia’s rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she’s partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.

Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.

Review:

I went into this book not sure what to expect. I’m right on that cusp of being too old to read high school-er aged character books but not too old that I probably shouldn’t be reading them. I knew it would either be really awesome or just fall flat. Turns out, it was really awesome!

This book was a lot of fun! I laughed, I sighed, smacked my head in disbelief and just enjoyed every minute reading it. While predictable, there are a few little twists along the way that stop its seemingly clear and set path.

I think I liked this book so much because I can relate to Julia in a lot of ways. Certainly not in the pining for a guy she hasn’t talked to in ages but in not breaking the rules and the like. But she really grows up as you read and let’s out a side of her I don’t think she knew she had.

There’s not much else to say without giving it all away but a super fun read nonetheless. I went abroad when I was in high school for a class trip and this book brought back a lot of memories for me which probably added to my experience (but definitely not required to read!). Now I really want to go to London…

Conclusion:

Don’t go into this book taking it to seriously or you won’t enjoy it. It’s just a fun read about enjoying your time as a teenager and seeing life and love from a different perspective . If you don’t like high school romances and often immature/goofy heroes, avoid this book! Otherwise, try it out!

Rating: 5/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Travel
Recommended for: 16+
SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Top Stand-alone of 2013
Similar Reads: Only for You by Beverley Kendall (Unforgettable You #1)

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Single Sundays: Measuring Up by Nyrae Dawn

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):
Seventeen-year-old Annabel Conway is tired of the Hillcrest High School elite making her life miserable because she’s not a size two. This summer, she’s hiring a personal trainer to help her lose weight.

Annabel doesn’t expect her trainer to be a gorgeous guy around her age. Boys like Tegan are jerks. They pretend to like girls like her so they can make an idiot out of them. Been there, done that. Totally not going there again. She kind of hates him on principal. Blond. Muscular. Funny. It doesn’t help that he knows her measurements!

Soon, Tegan’s so much more than that. He’s the boy who teaches her to box when she has a bad day. Who jogs with her and lets her set the pace. Who kisses her until she melts. He makes her feel beautiful regardless of what the scale says. Unlike her mom, he doesn’t expect perfection, and he doesn’t try to shield her from the world like her dad and best friend. Tegan likes her the way she is.

But what happens when he’s not there? He can’t always be there…

Will Annabel be able to stand on her own and learn that she already measures up? That her worth doesn’t lie in what the world thinks, the scale says, or even what Tegan tells her—but in herself?

Review:

I really liked loved this book! I’m not sure if it was because I was so busy in my real-life that I found an escape reading this (I think I enjoy books more when I know I should be doing other things, like studying for exams, etc.) but I think if I read this two weeks from now, I would still have enjoyed this book.

I think most girls can relate in some way to Annabel. Even though I have personally never struggled with my weight the same way she has, I still found her extremely relatable in how she thinks about herself. I often felt like we were personality twins as I was reading because I couldn’t help thinking, “I would have done/said the exact same thing!”. I find books today have the “rebellious” independent girls who are their own person, yet they all have perfect bodies/features and unbeknownst to them, every guy in the general vicinity is in love with them. With Annabel you don’t get that particular character but someone you have probably felt like at one point in your life.

Which is why I loved the relationship between Tegan and her. You could really see why they liked each other–it wasn’t just physical chemistry but what they talked about and believed that drew them together. They really supported each other–and not in some twisted, nearly obsessive way that some New Adult heroines and heroes “need” each other in order to live. Basically, they have a healthy, realistic relationship.

However, as much as I loved this book, I was a little disappointed. I would really like to see a sequel as I felt some issues, specifically with Tegan’s story, were not fully resolved. But overall, there is a solid ending that provides closer to the readers so you can cease your worrying over my wishful thoughts :P.

Conclusion:

This book was refreshing in a genre that is often just sex & tragedy focused. The characters a relatable and the plot is realistic. With this book, Nyrae Dawn has become a must-read author for me!

Rating: 5/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: New/Young Adult, High school, Realistic
Recommended for: 16+
Similar Reads: Size 12 is not Fat by Meg Cabot (Heather Wells Mysteries, #1) and Take Me by Bella Andre (Take Me Series, #1)

Book Review: The Taming by Teresa Toten

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):
Katie likes to believe she’s invisible. It seems much safer than being exposed as she is–shy, poor, awkward. So getting up on stage in the school production of The Taming of the Shrew should be complete torture. But as Katie tells it, something totally unexpected happened when she stepped on stage: “My head exploded. I loved it. Acting hit me like a sucker punch and I loved, loved, loved it! . . . Invisible Katie became visible Katharina.”

Evan Cooper is, as they say, another story. He knows just what it takes to get noticed, and he uses every one of the skills he’s honed after years of being the new kid. Like tossing the keys to his father’s high-end Audi to a kid he’s never met, first day of school. “I have insurance for car theft,” he explains to a shocked Danny. “And there’s a full tank.” An abuse of the power that comes with privilege and money? Sure.

But more dangerously, is his romance with Katie another version of the same thing? Or is it the real thing?

Review:

This book wasn’t what I thought it was going to be after reading the description from Goodreads. I was expecting a lighter story; a typical “rich boy goes after shy girl” type of romance story. Maybe I just didn’t read the summary too carefully but the description on the back of the book was more accurate to what the story actually is.

The themes in it the were darker as it deals with various forms of abuse but it was done in a way that is completely realistic and believable.

The parallels to The Taming of the Shrew in the modern world really add to the story. Maybe because I am a Shakespeare-nut and am familiar with the story that I can see what the author was doing and can appreciate it. Those who may not be too familiar with the story may not get it right away but the major plot ideas from The Taming of the Shrew are explained in the book so you won’t be completely lost.

I also liked the fact that the story was told in part by Evan. While I feel that Shakespeare’s play focuses on the abuse of women, Evan’s presence in the book shows the affect abuse can have on males and children living in abusive homes.

My only complaint about the book was the way it ended. I would have liked an epilogue or some sort of wrap-up because I really want to know how these characters grow from this.

Conclusion:

In short, if you enjoy books that aren’t filled with the typical “high school soap opera drama” and are comfortable reading about abuse in family and romantic relationships then this book is worth a read.

Rating: 4/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult; High School; Shakespeare; Abuse
Recommended for: 16+
Similar Books: nothing immediately comes to mind