Sunday, August 25, 2013

White Trash Beautiful (White Trash, #1)

White Trash Beautiful (White Trash, #1)White Trash Beautiful by Teresa Mummert

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

WHY? Why?

There's so many things wrong here that I. Just. Can't. I mean where should I start? Do I go with the doormat of a lead who just takes takes takes it all? Or the knight in shining armor who pops out of god-knows where? And did I mention he's a rockstar? Or do I go with the act... that little makes sense here... his why for her, or his why for him. Or the craptastic situation she's in? And how all she really does is cry?

There's a girl, see... and she's sad and lonely and in the crappiest of situations. Then there's this hero, see... and he falls in love with her... because... because.. I simply cannot fathom why he falls for her! So we have her and we have him and a push-pull, push-pull that ensues of him loving her and of her trusting him. And then eventually, of her jumping ship then coming back again then the other then the other. I just... what? What the eff did I just waste my time on?

Silver lining? The best thing about this was the blurb... and then nothing.

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell

Everything BeautifulEverything Beautiful by Simmone Howell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL. That Riley’s so straight about who she is why I loved the girl. That he’s all bent out of shape over who he is now and what he cannot do… but not too loud about the same… had me all heart-clutching for him. There’s an easy way to the book that had me flipping pages not realizing the last pages was upon me. And that ending that’s open is something I love but not completely this time around.

One can imagine what she’s got in store for her. One can also imagine what he’s going to be up to. But I loved the point that things settled here. we see how things wrap up for her/them.  Yet I am also wanting a smidge more, right now. Why though? It’s all Riley… confident and out there but not completely. It’s the very few instances of vulnerability that she allows that drew me closer. See her proud. See her funny and raucous and willing, but then catch glimpses of her uncertainty, her insecurity… and realize: there’s more to the girl. So to with the guy. They’re not perfect; he’s not perfect as his simply floating along, trying to do what he can till’ he’s out. A lot like her: in the ‘can’t wait’ till I’m anywhere but here. it’s that identity between them that makes it obvious that things are going to go somewhere for them, but in the mean time… we have this out there girl biding her time playing a part for the rest of them.

Because ‘playing at something‘ is precisely what the two (Riley especially) are doing, they just don’t realize that they’re both doing it. That’s what makes the both of them more for me. Putting up a front when there’s true vulnerability in them. The rest are lovely additions, sure: these camp kids and their faith acting at times so contrarily to what the place is all about and these camp counselors seeing all, knowing all but letting them figure out things their own way.  But it’s still all about Riley and her front and not seeing that the rest of them are a little (maybe even, a lot) like her because she’s so caught up in who she is and where she wasn’t.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Waking Up Married by Mira Lyn Kelly

Waking Up MarriedWaking Up Married by Mira Lyn Kelly

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

WAKING UP MARRIED. Huh. I didn’t get it. Rich guy and smart girl get married in Vegas and it’s the guy who wants to stay that way? Once again, no blurb reading for me. It was the cover couple that did won me over. The two certainly make the read look to be a fluffy fun read.  And it was. But it also made zero sense once I was reading. So word of advice: leave common sense out of this. Hell, leave thinking out of this.

Despite him remarking time and again on how smart she was. Or him casually pointing out how rational they both were and thus made for each other solely on that account. Well, the set up here is iffy at best. But hot. The smoldering looks. The ripping off of buttons. Hot, says I!

Now set the smexy aside, and consider how it’s a couple that barely knows each other (not really a couple, actually) building up something more outside the bedroom; and how it’s him doing his best to convince her that there’s likely more to them because see… there’s that ineffable “thing” between them, riiiiiiight? right? Right. (Or so he insists)  And then there’s that super smart girl-lead, all rational and reasonable but well, not really. Because one, he’s not that smart. And two, neither is she. And finally, their set up? Iffy, said I?… well, how’s about ridiculous instead? But hot… always the hot.

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Midnight Blue-Light Special by Seanan McGuire

Midnight Blue-Light Special (InCryptid, #2)Midnight Blue-Light Special by Seanan McGuire

My rating: 2.5-3 of 5 stars

MIDNIGHT BLUE-LIGHT SPECIAL. I never thought I’d feel this way, but I’m glad that this is over. And it started out with a bang too. Mananggal! The creepy creature myInang tormented us with when we were younger, accurately depicted and not changed up (too much.)I was pleasantly surprised by this bit of horror. Only things got glacial. Cold? Slow? How about both?

With one too many telling of the what and the who, I was bored waiting for something (anything, really!) to happen. Things EVENTUALLY picked up , except not by the one you’d expect. The shift in POV here was not a bad addition... only you could tell how closely related the two narrators were to each other because there’s IDENTITY in how they spoke and what they said. I almost couldn’t tell the difference…  (and for a little while at the start of the second POV’s I was actually unaware that narrators had shifted!)

It’s pretty dry too in the romance department… little has changed save a declaration that comes out of nowhere… but goes nowhere once made. I wanted to like this. I wanted to love very and her guy… but gods… nothing actually does happen. Unless of course, we count the bulk of information that I now possess for certain talking mice.

So, despite the SOLID start (seriously, a really solid start here), man it took forever for things to get going. And once things did get going, it’s not even on account of a certain kick-ass dancing cryptozoologost who makes it so. I’m still reading the rest though.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Love Overdue by Pamela Morsi

Love OverdueLove Overdue by Pamela Morsi

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

LOVE OVERDUE, sometimes a good contemporary romance is all a body needs. I enjoyed this because it was sweet. End of. Never mind how they’ve all carved out little roles for themselves; playing the same perfectly. It’s so very skit, I suppose. How they all have these little roles and perform each role just so. Thus, never mind that the mother is nosy and knows what’s best… in that sweet old lady endearing way. Never mind that the main lady here is Librarian... eating, breathing, dreaming books, dressing the part of librarian perfectly, too. Never mind that the dude is perfectly-perfect in everything, too. Why?

It’s the back story they all had that made them each of them something more. Beyond her starchy formality, beyond the mother’s quiet (but endearing!) manipulation, and beyond the guy’s being perfectly-perfect, they’ve all got history. They’ve all got some sort of heartbreak. And they all come together perfectly. So, in this, we have the good son and then the funnier mother. In this, we have small town, small town folk and the funnies that happen because everyone knows everyone else’s business.  But mainly, in this, we have the always hilarious scenario of someone’s past coming back to bite her in the ass.


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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Riptide by Lindsey Scheibe

RiptideRiptide by Lindsey Scheibe

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

What I wanted I didn’t get. What I got, I didn’t expect. It was the cover. Maybe.  Yes, that cover had me thinking if not summer fun and friends and what not. Except, the fun was nowhere in sight here…. as we witnessed one depressing thing, and then one frustrating secret revealed from her side of things. Whilst that’s went on, there’s the boy focusing on the right thing… but reading highly unlikely all the same (for me, at least.)

So, we have girl with a goal, but she’s one with a secret holding her back. It’s the same girl who’s all over the place… sometimes out there and ready to face whatever (WHATEV she’d say) then turn a corner, all meek and sad.  It’s the points of her neediness that irked me most. Because there were moments when she was not that at all… and to go back and forth between these two aspects of her… had me frustrated and never really connecting with her. Too bad too because the bulk of the emotional goings-on  here are on account of her. The boy dealt with a different sort of drama: he wants to do what’s right: by her, for himself, and for others. In wanting all of hat, he’s set certain goals, so that much like the girl, he went from one extreme of surfer guy-funny dude to total-do-gooder... and once again, I just couldn’t quite buy into who he was.

It was only chapters later that I was intrigued, my emotion (almost) piqued; no longer just the do-gooder, the guy and his goals plus his wants conflicting as they were, well… the guy really does find himself in it, doesn’t it? Acting as he eventually did… that bit was the most plausible here. How want as he might, sometimes a guy just can’t force matters.  Then of course is the girl with her hot cold then jealous manner (it made sense given the state of things) but god, was she frustrating!

Basically, she’s all over the place first one thing then the opposite, but so is the guy, all easy going funny, but with a goal. OK, so neither one is one-dimensional … I simply wish each aspect they had was fleshed out more. Not simply a laying out of attributes of ‘she’s like this because x and y,’ or ‘he wants what he wants because yada-yada.’ Worse yet: the guy? He’s almost TOO perfect. And the girl? Not even close --- even in her own estimation!

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Burning by Elana K. Arnold

BurningBurning by Elana K. Arnold

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s been how long since I last posted? BURNING is different but not quite. But first, to the positive: it had me asking if people still lived still live like that because I confess the idea of gypsy family roaming from place to place was almost unreal to me. The way it’s set up here though makes it almost “possible” to be imagined.

It’s not just an us and them (though there is that). It’s not just girl with a role (though there’s tons of that, too) Here, there’s possibility… both in the guy but more so in the girl. The girl is the focus: that contrast between how she talks and what she’s saying; she wipes away the mysterious but leaves plenty of questions to be asked. So it’s what she says versus how she says it that had me wondering. She’s almost too formal and old fashioned, yet not really. The more time spent with her, the clearer it is that there’s more going on than just “dutiful daughter.”

Or take the guy and his Atlas schtick… something abut his role in this felt not quite real Perhaps there’s a little role reversal for him here. Typical YA set up has the girl pining and loving quick. Typical YA has the girl too perfect, too good, too burdened by one thing or other. Here… all that’s the guy. So do I like this reversal, or am I tired of reading roughly the same thing just slightly different? So what makes this different but not quite? It’s Intense Loves (see the caps?) that come out of nowhere, with one of them  a need to be something for the other despite the latter not necessarily seeing things the same way. 

The bottom line is one has got to love unexpected endings. It’s the ending that the best thing in all this because take their two separate story lines of guy just about to start living his life yet still held back by so many things AND this girl with her life and her place (that read almost too Cinderella sometimes) and things could have gone Montague-Capulet (as his buddy joked). Yet things didn’t go that way. And I appreciated that. perhaps it’s how she’s matter of fact about who she is and how they do things that takes away the mystery… but it’s also her piecing thing together for herself that has me (him?) asking questions.

It's mainly her who takes the story away from the makings of ROMEO –JULIET toward the real and factual. And I love that. It isn’t about taking up the weight for all else or even being someone for someone else; it’s the both of them finding who they are and doing something about it. The girl just happens to realize this sooner than the guy does. It isn’t about the guy and the girl. It’s about the guy and the girl and WHO they are going to become for themselves AND NOT FOR EACH OTHER. Burning is about both their POSSIBILITIES and their CHOICE…something the guy is slow to realize but does any way.

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

The F- It List by Julie Halpern

The F- It ListThe F- It List by Julie Halpern

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For all the cussing and the directness that goes on here, this ends almost too happily for me. Yet, what’s so bad about an HEA you ask? Well, the girl does one thing and then another thing in an effort to establish herself different from the rest… but ends up not quite that.  Sure she is different to an extent… she’s just not as remarkable as I was hoping because well, there’s ending, you see. Must the ending have been almost too Hollywood matchy-matchy? That aside, things did get interesting: her opening her eyes as she did AND her eyes screwed purposely shut prior thereto, as well.

So what’s in the before? It’s all about how she’s not really typical girl, particularly as she’s not able to define who she is for others, or more apt, who others are for her. These issues all ride on the back of her grief and what that can make one do and NOT DO. A lot of the drama in this stems from her failing to face up to certain (big) things. At the same time, there’s this thing about her and her friends (friend, really.) 

It’s the last that I felt worked the most here: HOW NOT PERFECT any of them are. They’re coarse yet funny; careless with each other but there all the same. There’s no fear to be who they are with each other because there’s a history between them. I bought them together, their in-jokes, their crudeness even. Surprisingly, I bought the BFF’s relationship more than I did the lead and her guy! As to the romance: it was OK. OK, because I couldn’t get into it at first. The guy felt like he could have been any-guy. There’s nothing that truly defined him for me, just the guy for the girl. Required love interest in standard YA set ups, you know? And what they get together: it’s all intensely physical. But hey, I get that because at least that’s real. But for the life of me: the guy could have been anyone! ‘Till he wasn’t, and I was thankful for that.

It’s all real: what goes on, what they do, and what they talk about… yet that ending took away from what I liked. And that’s too bad too because it’s in the coarseness of her language;  it’s in the matter of fact-ness of her recollections; and it’s even in the straightforward manner of their interaction that F LIST strength lie, to have it end  so perfectly matchy-matchy HEA, well… not you’re not so dark after all, are Ms. Horror movie girl?

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Here Without You by Tammara Webber

Here Without You (Between the Lines, #4)Here Without You by Tammara Webber

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Webber goes beyond innocent sad (but good) girls, beyond hot (but bad) boys with too much time/money to burn. They have all grown in this one. Just thinking of the first book has me recalling a Reid that’s worlds away from the Reid here. The angsting (though not too much) is not on account of his daddy issues… but by another source and her issues on trusting. Which surprised me, but it really shouldn’t have because this about face really isn’t an about face; it’s hinted at in the earlier books.

My hope in NA has been restored. Given the presence of plot! And characters that deal! So, an actual plot! It’s basically people and theirs shared pasts catching up to them. Less said, better. Characters that deal instead of up an running away (well, most of them at least). This bit has them manning up, doing what needs be… and being more than I’d initially thought them capable.  And the biggest surprise? Past bitch queens who reveal, not a softer  side, but a truer one. Perhaps it's the maturity they've all revealed that's made me like this more? So, biggest positive: Brooke. Yes, you read that right.

Good conclusion here… they have all grown up!

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook

A Really Awesome MessA Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Emmy and Justin have issues ~ as does everyone else around them. They tell their stories in a straight out manner, leaving little to be asked. By the end of the book I liked them for the way they had with each other… and their snark (even if I was wondering over some aspects.)

It’s a funny book despite the number of ISSUES that are mentioned… “mentioned” because they are in Assland, a school for kids with problems. One minute we have a kid dealing (not dealing?) with abuse/ stereotypes/  drugs/  addiction… name it, it’s here. But it’s not too serious a book because once mentioned, all those things feel almost glossed over.

Glossed over by the Breakfast Club feel? Not quite. By the quirks they each possessed? Not really, because to simplify each of them/ their baggage as some quirky thing or other is the opposite of what this is about. Each their issues isn’t ‘quirky.’ They are their own people... we just don’t know that much about the lot of them save Emmy and Justin (of course).

SNARK is what saves this book for me. Despite the one-two-three feel of the “fixing” of things, there will always be a line or two out of Justin’s head or Emmy’s that has one grin-guffawing. Then there’s the group thing they had going for them. Theirs was an interesting mix of odd and sad... from the girl who wouldn’t speak to the psychotic cutey then to the boy who lied and to the other who one who just wouldn’t stop. The biggest NOT though is is how neat it felt… how things go almost one-two-to-three in the “fixing” of things.

Thank you, NG.

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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews

Magic Rises (Kate Daniels, #6)Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The good:

There's Hugh and Kate. How they’re alike but not really, circling each other with both aware of the other’s strengths and weaknesses because they had the exact same ones! Impressive, this mirroring between them, of one acting and the other reacting. Then there's Kate and the pack… better, the Kate and the pack and other packs. Her growing into her position and doing what needs doing, and her proving her independence and strength others knowing what she’s capable of and others seeing her do the same. And all of them in this cat- and mouse thing that's going on, where she takes on either role at one point then another. (Can you tell I Ioved this?) Only...

Only, there’s the not so good, too:

Mainly, the backtracking on who and what they’ve become: Kate/Curran, why the distrust? Yet despite that, this… this was good. I hope it’s not too early to be asking for the next one.

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Friday, August 9, 2013

A Darkness Strange and Lovely (Something Strange and Deadly, #2) by Susan Dennard

A Darkness Strange and Lovely (Something Strange and Deadly, #2)A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It was the interesting sister to save brother in a steam-punky world that drew me in first. But it was the kick ass girl all independent and funny that kept me. Then there were the Spirit Hunters and how they stood out that kept me rooted. But mostly it was the necromancy plus the odd timed romance-y bits that I really liked. This one has me feeling things have changed though… it’s not all that.

Perhaps because of the change in direction in the girl? Sure the world feels real. And sure, things moved fast. Sure, we believe she’s a girl from that time and that time is different, but this girl isn’t quite the girl I was rooting for in the first book. For one, there’s less thinking here - and more trusting on her part - a drastic departure from the way she used to be. And who was she trusting plus the speed at which the same took place? It all had me feeling something was missing (her brain, perhaps?) But not really… because the things she’s dealing with here are different. Diving into the darker side of things as she was, she was bound to be feeling isolated and whatnot. So, some of her actions made sense with that in mind. But still… why the trust. Eh?

Now, here I am feeling ho-hum. Not just over the change in the lead, but also in the almost absence of characters I actually LOVED in the first. There’s little of the boy she loved (but didn’t love her back) And here I was wanting something from that corner: a comeuppance of some sort, even though it was so obviously another I love you but must not set-up’s. I needed something… not all those long moments of nothing between them! 

The girl in this one is little of what she was like in the first one, but understandably so. The ones I truly loved almost absent. The only truly interesting thing that actually happens is the addition of a demon dude who waxed poetic about “love… just being.” Otherwise, we’ve an interesting authentic feeling world that’s different made complicated by missed opportunities, wires being crossed, petty jealousies and secrets as well as selves that are held back. Typical YA, basically.

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

When the World was Flat by Ingrid Jonach

When the World was Flat (And We Were in Love)When the World was Flat by Ingrid Jonach

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

When the World was Round (And We Were in Love), awesome title notwithstanding, I’m going with what tickled me pink in this one: that maybe in another dimension, another me would have liked it more:

Love fueled drama plus angsty almost giving up meets person X sliding from point A to point B made more convoluted with mentions of Einstein and parallel dimensions of left, right and center because of his Theory of Everything. And it all could have been so good too but here I think someone’s bitten off more than they could chew… and failed to get all those good bit and pieces into the great whole it could have been. Cool ending though.

The sliding thing and the other versions were what I liked… the whole merging thing too of one becoming another and another being gone. The  concepts that are pulled out had me interested but when you consider the thing that pushes everything forward is this boy and that girl and how he will find her (or she him) well, yeah… for all that was interesting in it, it didn’t quite gel for me. Either some bit was left unexplored, or another bit – the wrong bit, at that - was focused on too much.

Maybe this is my poncho? ((Didn’t get the reference? It’s in the book.) Perhaps the me on the left right center liked/loved/hated (or will like/love/hate) (or is liking/loving /hating) this very book for whatever other reason, but for me, (of the now variety,) this simply didn’t work. I liked some of it, but in the end I’m saying it didn’t gel.

Thank you NG!

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Oath Bound by Rachel Vincent

Oath Bound (Unbound, #3)Oath Bound by Rachel Vincent

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’d liken this to a B-movie. Some interesting bits, whole stretches of fast (too fast) whatever’s all the while riddled with, and I’m sorry here, but cheesy lines of the aw shucks variety. Case in point: him calling her the human superlative… being the most… everything. I think I was supposed to hear my heart go pitter-patter for him/her/them, instead… well, gag me, is all.

But credit where it’s due: this whole world is an interesting one of world of specials and killers who don’t want to be killers: Kris, Kori and Ian and Liv and Cam are very blasé about what they have to do and what kind of people they are, each with their own brand of kick ass. I loved each of them at one point or another. Except when I wasn’t loving them because at some point between book one and this, well they’ve all lost authenticity. We know Kori and her tortured past. We know Liv and the new badness she’s knee deep in, but I wanted more.

Worse though is all the corny simply had me pulling back from what could have been good. It was good ‘till it wasn’t. The same can be said for the sexy (or what little there was of that type interaction here). This is an OK starter for anyone jumping form YA to Urban Fantasy.

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