Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Deeper by Robin York

18525821

Deeper by Robin York

Part 1 of Caroline & West's story

3.25 stars

Caroline Piasecki had a bright future ahead of her until pictures of her and her ex-boyfriend in sordid acts popped up all over the internet. Now she’s trying to clear her name and get rid of the pictures, but it doesn’t look like any progress is being made. West Leavitt lived across the hall from Caroline her freshman year at Putnam and she’s stayed away from the resident weed dealer. But when West defends Caroline from Nate she starts a not-friendship with him by spending nights at the bakery. As they grow closer, Caroline faces more than exposed pictures and complicated feelings and West world starts to come crashing down. I haven’t read a whole lot of New Adult and it seems that the New Adult I do love was originally categorized as something different, like YA or adult. With NA I either love the book to pieces (The Devil's Metal,The Piper's Son, and All Over You), enjoy it, but had qualms with it (Lick,Bully, and The Coincidence of Callie & Kayden), or absolutely loathe the book or just feel a neutral dislike for it (Beautiful Addictions,The Secret of Ella and Micha, andThe Edge of Never). It probably seems frivolous to list these books I’ve read I think it’s necessary to show how I can judge this book and where it falls into a category. Here’s the thing about Deeper it falls into a category completely out of what my usual NA experiences are. Deeper belongs in a category of sometimes I really liked it and others I loathed the stupidity that crawled out of the book. Boy, there was a lot of stupid in this book. Some of the lines were ridiculous. I did enjoy this book sometimes, but I also had problems with it.


Like most books I come across since joining GR this is a book that I discovered and wanted to read this book immediately after the review. That review really prompted me to want to try something new. Deeper sounded like an intense story about a girl coming to terms with her experience of revenge porn and falling in love with a guy that could help her find her way. In some ways it was that story or it had the possibility of morphing into it, but then something would happen and it would become a pointless story of the push-away romance game. This book, sadly, didn’t focus on what was important, Caroline was important and she should’ve had more time to grow and her growth did happen a bit, but it was rushed. Her growth randomly sprouted out during an intense argument with her father and while I really enjoyed this new Caroline it was quickly squashed by “Oh, btw, Daddy I need you to bust my new boyfriend out of jail. And yes he’s the one that you didn’t want to me be around, but I love him and couldn’t stay away.” Caroline transitions from acting strong to acting like a lost dog who can’t find their own.


I feel like I need to address the message behind Deeper before going on to character analysis and this throws off my usual review format, but some books are meant to have different reviews from others. Revenge porn became a huge thing in my town recently. I mean what else do you expect from Southerners with a snow day for half the week. I must add that the kids I interact with on a daily basis are known for stooping to levels of hate and “exposing” people does happen every now and then, but during the snow week it hit an all time high. I really think that this book tried to touch on the subject. In passing it did a well job, but as a whole this book could’ve done so much more.


The main female character is Caroline. I’ve already touched a bit on Caroline’s personality above and her constant flip-flop of feelings happens a lot. She can go from normal to hearing the voices of men her head calling her names. She also has terrible references to pop culture such as this one that immediately make me think she is a Mary Sue.
“I guess I’d rather be Bella Swan hanging out at the Cullen place than, you know, school Bella- all pissy and defensive, clomping around Forks High, convinced everyone hates her.”
Why would you want to ever be defenseless Bella Swan? In what world is she a good character to want to be? I know you’ve experienced something traumatizing, but wanting to Bella Swan isn’t a good thing. Don’t mope around, Caroline. Don’t be Bella, be Caroline. Caroline is also known for being pretentious. She’ll go from saying something that sounds like every other teen in America to saying, “Who even says cool?” I don’t know Caroline. Maybe I say cool because sometimes there’s no better word to describe it. I honestly don’t get why she thinks she’s better than everyone sometimes because just cause someone says cool, it doesn’t mean they aren’t any less educated. Caroline is also an over-analyzer and she over thinks everything West says to her about his feelings even when what he says is so blatantly obvious.


Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 5

The main male character is West. West seemed great at first and he was a sex magnet, but then as the book went on I liked him less and less. He curses a lot in unnecessary places that don’t need curse words to prove points. That isn’t cool. I don’t mind cursing in the slightest because I’m no saint in the cursing department, but saying the f-word to say to prove stupid points just seems stupid. And that’s the thing about West he does stupid things like this, but he isn’t stupid in the slightest. He has a lot of street smarts and he doesn’t seem to be an idiot when it comes to learning new things whether it’s school or work wise and that’s why I don’t get why York went to great lengths to contradict him as a person. He is also extremely possessive. To the point where he’s borderline obsessed and I think he is.
“I treated her like she belonged to me, even though I wouldn’t have her and I wouldn’t let her have me, either.”
How does that sound stable? It doesn’t because sometimes West went a little bit psycho in his obsession and started to ramble about how he possesses Caroline. Sometimes the alpha male can be hot, but sometimes it can also be scary. West went from being hot to scary in zero to sixty. West also falls into the very infamous NA trope of he-man. He beats up people several times and while his actions do have a consequence, which is very unlikely in most NAs, he is still a violent man with serious anger issues. West is also known for saying the same thing over and over again about want to be deep inside Caroline. All the time. It was sweet at first, but it got annoying fast.


Swoon Worthy Scale: 5

The Villain- I really liked how the question of who sent the pictures hung the air. It was obvious who it was but still I was hoping maybe something would change.


Villain Scale: 5

I did like Caroline and West’s friends, Bridget and Krish as well as Quinn. They were funny and added comedic relief to the sullen tone that surrounds Caroline and West through most the novel. I do look forward and hope to see more of them in Harder. I also really like West’s devotion to his younger sister, Frankie. He really cares about her and his love for her is strong.


Character Scale: 6

I wasn't completely impressed with Deeper, but I wasn't majorly disappointed either. As I’ve said before this book has a lot of faults and a lot of things that drove me bananas, but it does have a lot of good things. Like the ending. I do love happy ones, but I also love (view spoiler)I do look forward to Harder because I think it has potential to offer an interesting story. A lot of NA has unnecessary sequels, but I really like the fact that this one does have room for a sequel and it is necessary in some ways.


Cover Thoughts: This book has a beautiful cover and it’s absolutely breathtaking. It’s such a pleasing color scheme and the model and pose just seems to say a lot about the book. It’s one of my favorite covers recently and I just absolutely adore it.

Thank you Netgalley and Random House- Bantam for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Mini Reviews: Free Four, My Soul to Lose, and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Hello all! I'm incredibly behind on reviews and these are three short stories that were on my to-review list. Since they are short stories I decided to write reviews for them and put them all in one post!


13615258

Free Four by Veronica Roth

1.5 in the Divergent trilogy

4 stars

In Free Four, Roth accounts chapter 13 from Tobias’s point of view. If you don’t know what chapter 13 is because it’s been a while since you read Divergent or haven’t read Divergent, it’s the knife throwing scene.


I personally think that Four is an interesting character and I loved him in Divergent. He was swoon worthy and his relationship with Tris was built up in a beautiful way. I actually really like reading Tobias’s POV. I think his character has a lot of depth and could’ve uncovered a lot of secrets behind Dauntless. I wouldn’t have minded for the trilogy to be in alternating POVs between Tris and Four, but Allegiant will hopefully prove to be all that is promised.


Cover Thoughts: Big Dauntless symbol. Eh. It doesn’t spark anything in me. The contents are better than the cover.


6644109  


 My Soul to Lose by Rachel Vincent, narrated by Amanda Ronconi

Prequel to the Soul Screamers series

3.5 stars

Kaylee Cavanaugh was supposed to just have a normal day shopping at the mall, but a panic attack took over and she couldn’t stop screaming. When she wakes up, she finds herself in a psych hospital. As she tries to convince everyone she is fine, another patient seems to be curious about who she is. My first audiobook! I would say it was a success. I didn’t love My Soul to Lose but I really enjoyed it. The narrator could be annoying at times, but she could make the story interesting when it came down to whether I was able to concentrate on the story. I did have a few problems with the narrator’s voice and how she portrayed the characters. Sometimes I liked the voices she made, but her Kaylee voice annoyed me greatly at times. Which is obviously not a good thing considering the fact that Kaylee is the MC. I did enjoy the storyline and I was a fan of the first Soul Screamers book. I really liked seeing how Vincent portrayed Kaylee’s first experience as a banshiede.


Another qualm I had was with the other patient who was revealed to have an ability at the end. I liked this ability quite a bit and she proved to be an interesting character that showed potential to be in the series in the future or even have her own. I was sad that her reveal was so rushed and it left me feeling confused and I had to rewind the audiobook a bit. I’m quite pleased with my first delve into the audiobook world and I’m happy it wasn’t terrible like I was afraid it would be.


Cover Thoughts: It’s simple, but I don’t like that snot color green at all. 


19183736 

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber, Narrated by Ben Stiller
3 stars

Walter Mitty always has his head in the clouds. Sometimes as a Navy pilot other times a surgeon, and my personal favorite a man accused of a crime. I really liked the portrayal of daydreaming and how everyone wants to escape from reality. Ben Stiller did an excellent job of narration. I’ll be honest I probably would’ve never read this short story or would’ve seen the movie, but after listening to the audiobook I’m quite curious about the movie. I don’t really have a lot to say about Walter Mitty because the story is very short, but it’s free and it’s definitely an audiobook worth listening to.


Cover Thoughts: It’s such an awkward cover, but I see what the movie covers were trying to capture.
 


Have you read any of these short stories? What did you think about them? Are you excited for the Divergent movie, which is only a month from release!? Are you planning or have seen The Secret Life of Walter Mitty? Thoughts on the movie? 

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

What better way to celebrate Valentine's Day than with a book review of a book I loved?

15751398

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

4.5 stars

I’m not really sure how to describe TSaBSoAL. It’s a unique book that has several plots and main focuses, but I’ll do my best. The book opens up with a prologue about Ava Lavender and she recounts her story from the very beginning, when her grandmother and her family came to America from France. The Roux family is met with constant tragedy. While these tragedies were quirky, they were also heartbreaking and left a toll on Emilienne and she falls in love three different times all of them ending horribly. She gives birth to Viviane on Pinnacle Lane with her husband who she professed to never love. Viviane falls in love with her childhood friend and is only met with heartbreak. She ends up pregnant with Ava and Henry. Her children are peculiar. Ava was born with wings and Henry was born silent (or so they thought). There are ghosts, more tragedies, friendships, new loves, family bonds, and crazy psychos obsessed with angels. This book was absolutely stunning and it was a great way to end my reading in 2013. While it’s been a while since I finished this book, I can one hundred percent say that this story will stick with you. Certain bits and pieces linger in my mind. The simple stuff mostly was what made this story beautiful and what seemed to be pointless had more meaning than I thought. This book is not something I usually read but Karen’s review of it had my interest piqued and I was so happy when I was approved for this on Netgalley.


The main female characters are Emilienne, Viviane, and Ava. Ava is the main focal point of the story since this is her telling stories within a story, but I didn’t think she was the backbone that held this story. Instead of one character holding this story together the women of the Roux/ Lavender did. Emilienne was a character who came off as cold sometimes but she had every right to be with all the heartache she experienced. Viviane was my least favorite because she was too lovesick and she didn’t see the man that was right in front of her face. I really dislike characters like that because it was just selfish of her to be that way. I liked Ava because she was so different, but her naivety killed me at one point. I mean why she was so trusting is understandable because she’s been sheltered her whole life, but I mean seriously? Who thinks let me go into my neighbor’s house, which I haven’t seen in a long time, with a creepy nephew there and just let him lure me in? I know it’s raining outside, but your house was closer.


Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: Emilienne- 8 Viviane- 7 Ava- 8

The main male characters are, I’m not really sure, but I’ll just list some. I guess you could say Gabe was one of the stronger male characters. He lived with the Lavenders and was in love with Viviane. I really loved his story because it broke my heart and I really liked his character. Henry would be another because he warned the family constantly of Ava being in danger with subtle hints with stories about bloody wings. I adored Henry’s character. He was odd, but absolutely adorable.


Swoon Worthy Scale: No swoon just adorable fondness :)

The Villain- Sorrow. What a sick and twisted villain. I loved it!


Villain Scale: 9

There were so many characters. I want to list them all, but I don’t want to give away the beauty of the characters and what they bring to the story. The simplest of characters such as a neighbor could bring beauty and wonder into this story.


Character Scale: 10

Read this book! It’s a beautiful tale. It’s slow, but everything has meaning. It is character developed and it’s the main focal point, but it is done so well. The ending was beautiful and perfect in every way. Some discoveries are within one’s self and Ava’s discovery of strength was beautiful. There is something of everything sprinkled about TSaBSoAL.



Cover Thoughts: How can you not love that cover? Just look at the colors and how beautiful it is. I’ll probably buy a copy because I love the cover and design and plus this book was so good.

Thank you Netgalley and Candlewick for a copy of this amazing book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope your book boyfriend is keeping you company!:D 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Vampire Academy Movie Review!

6987750

My book review for Vampire Academy.

Vampire Academy is my all-time favorite book series. I can't imagine my life without having discovered a great series. I was so thrilled when I heard there was going to be a VA movie. Of course, I was also a little nervous. The trailers never made me doubt how great the movie could be, but I was nervous. I'm so happy to say that I loved the movie! It was brilliantly done. It was funny, action packed, and Dimitri was so fine! I was impressed with all the characters and the actors who played them did a phenomenal role. The opening was very cheesy and not the best part, but once you get to them trying to leave the apartment it is nothing but fun from there. I love the movie and I'm so thrilled with how it ended and was done. I liked the additions  they made. The only cut out that bothered me was that Karp wasn't as prominent in the movie as the book, but I loved it nonetheless. Please go support VA and see it in theatres! I really want to Frostbite come to life and at the moment that seems unlikely. Don't miss up the opportunity to see Dimitri almost naked!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Beautiful Addictions by Season Vining

18489502

Beautiful Addictions by Season Vining

2.5 stars

Josie Banks has a past. One she can’t remember. But the past that she can remember is one she wished that she didn’t. Josie was found unconscious with no memory and has since been shuffled to foster homes. Now as an adult, Josie is always looking for a way to forget and drugs and sex are the thing she does best. Tristan is haunted by his love for a girl who left him when he was young. When Josie shows up in the bar he works at she looks like McKenzi and turns out she is. But fate won’t let them being together so easy. With a hit man on the search for Josie and Tristan’s past coming back to haunt him, someone will get hurt. Have you ever wished that your favorite soap opera was a book? Well this could be the closest thing to your dream coming true! The thing that stands out about Beautiful Addictions is that it is a soap opera in a book. You have your drugged up heroine with a past, a sexy brainy bartender with a past, a social worker who feels guilty about her decisions that lead up to the heroine with the past, a hit man with a lot of conflicted feeling, a gang leader who wants both the hero and heroine dead, and a hot neighbor who is jealous of hero and heroine and is tired of being a drug dealer/ “business” man. I’ll be honest this book isn’t all that great. In fact it lacks in everything except and overabundance of melodrama. The drama in this book is suffocating and so unnecessary. There are also countless POVs of almost every character that comes into contact with a character. It’s ridiculous. Did I hate Beautiful Addictions? No. Did I like it? No. The only word that comes to my feelings about this book is meh. This book wasn’t anything special, but it wasn’t the worst book I’ve ever stumbled upon either.


The main female character is Josie. I don’t like Josie very much. That’s a given though. She is a very hard character to like and even to sympathize with. She’s cold and distant and BORING. I appreciate the author trying to write a new kind of character, but Josie didn’t work out as being a new kind of character that could make me feel for her and like her.


Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 3

The main male character is Tristan. Tristan isn’t so bad. In fact I kind of like him sometimes. He, like Josie, is a hard character to like and I honestly didn’t care for their relationship in the least. At least he’s hot and has tattoos, right?


Swoon Worthy Scale: 5

The Villain- I don’t even know what to call the villain because he had two different names in his POV. What is this? You know what the villain was one of my favorite characters. A hit man done right. I felt truly sorry for him in the end because of what happened to… his lover. The leader of the gang wasn’t all that scary and his POVs were so unnecessary.


Villain Scale: 7

Alex was my favorite character in this book. I would’ve preferred this book to be about him because he was so much more interesting. Monica was also a great character and of course good characters get crap endings in this story because only asses get to be happy. Yes, I’m looking at you Josie and Tristan.


Character Scale: 8

I thought of a word to describe this whole book: unnecessary. It fits this book perfectly. I’m pretty disappointed by Beautiful Addictions. I was expecting so much more and it just all fell flat.


Cover Thoughts: I actually like the cover. Of course, I have weak spot for tattoos.