Friday, 29 March 2013

Review: This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

Book: This is What Happy Looks Like
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Headline
Pages: 416
Format:  Hardcover that was sent to me for review.

Goodreads Summary 

If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

In This is What Happy Looks Like, Jennifer E. Smith's new YA novel, perfect strangers Graham Larkin and Ellie O'Neill meet—albeit virtually—when Graham accidentally sends Ellie an email about his pet pig, Wilbur. In the tradition of romantic movies like "You've Got Mail" and "Sleepless in Seattle," the two 17-year-olds strike up an email relationship, even though they live on opposite sides of the country and don't even know each other's first names.

Through a series of funny and poignant messages, Graham and Ellie make a true connection, sharing intimate details about their lives, hopes and fears. But they don't tell each other everything; Graham doesn't know the major secret hidden in Ellie's family tree, and Ellie is innocently unaware that Graham is actually a world-famous teen actor living in Los Angeles.

When the location for the shoot of Graham's new film falls through, he sees an opportunity to take their relationship from online to in-person, managing to get the production relocated to picturesque Henley, Maine, where Ellie lives. But can a star as famous as Graham have a real relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie's mom want her to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?

Just as they did in The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, the hands of fate intervene in wondrous ways in this YA novel that delivers on high concept romance in lush and thoughtful prose.

I wasn't thrilled with this book. It, in my mind, was too fluffy and so much went on, but nothing really happened. Its a classic story of a regular girl who falls for a movie star. I've seen it a million times on the Disney Channel. The plot was lacking, and just like Jennifer E. Smith's other book, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, the title and synopsis is misleading. It advertises a very romance centered book and it ends up having a lot of content about her family and their issues.

The one thing I loved were the characters. Graham was a little goofy and was realistic to the point in which I got second hand embarrassment a few times. Ellie was a different story. Although I liked her character, I was bored with her. She wasn't overly interesting and had no defining qualities.

The pacing of this book was weird as well. Just like with the Mortal Instruments series, I found that so much stuff was happening at one point, but in the end, nothing happened. There wasn't a real climax, or a turning point. It was just weird, and I didn't like it a lot.

Overall, I was let down a lot by this book. The romance was insta-love and the pacing was off. So I'm giving it a 2.5/5 star rating. Just not my cup of tea.


Sunday, 17 March 2013

Review: The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

Book: The Madness Underneath (Shades of London #2)
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: HarperCollinsChildrens
Pages: 290 pages
Format: Hardcover

I don't know what I was expecting from this book, but all I knew was that it had to be good since my friend called me in tears after reading it in one night. I now know why tears were shed.

Goodreads Summary

After her near-fatal run-in with the Jack the Ripper copycat, Rory Devereaux has been living in Bristol under the close watch of her parents. So when her therapist suddenly suggests she return to Wexford, Rory jumps at the chance. But Rory's brush with the Ripper touched her more than she thought possible: she's become a human terminus, with the power to eliminate ghosts on contact. She soon finds out that the Shades—the city's secret ghost-fighting police—are responsible for her return. The Ripper may be gone, but now there is a string of new inexplicable deaths threatening London. Rory has evidence that the deaths are no coincidence. Something much more sinister is going on, and now she must convince the squad to listen to her before it's too late.

In this follow-up to the Edgar Award-nominated The Name of the Star, Maureen Johnson adds another layer of spectacularly gruesome details to the streets of London that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
One of my favourite things about Maureen Johnson's writing is that she creates these characters that are so wholly teenagers that it's crazy. I find myself really relating to things that Rory says, and her train of thought. She over reacts to some things, she goes on these crazy tangents, and gets really stressed out. These are the very characteristics that I find in myself, and in the crazy, hormonal girls around me on a daily basis. Rory is a hilarious character who makes me laugh and whom I am now emotionally attached to. She was my favourite thing about this book.
The plot on the other hand, which was fantastic don't get me wrong, took a long time to actually pick up. The Shades of London series is, in my opinion, a very character based story. The story revolves around Rory and her new found powers, not around the ghosts themselves. The last 100 pages of the book was my favourite because it had such a perfect medium of character and plot.

But Maureen Johnson couldn't go one book without making me cry, huh? She, after letting us get to know and feel for these characters, knew exactly which heart strings to pull on. And now I want to shake her and demand the third book right now. But then again, who doesn't?

The Madness Underneath gets a 4/5 stars for me. Can't wait for the next!


Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Review: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Book: Tiger Lily
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 220 Pages
Format: Nook book

For the longest time, I have been obsessed with everything and all things Peter Pan, so when I saw a book dedicated to Tiger Lily, I knew that I had to pick it up. And what I got was not something I was expecting.

Goodreads Summary

Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

At first, I was very skeptical of having Tinker Bell as the narrator because we wouldn't get to see how either Tiger Lily or Peter actually felt, and it worked out okay for the most part. It still bothered me a bit and that was one of my main problems with the book. I was unable to connect with the two main characters and it drove me insane because of that. I wanted so badly to love Peter and to feel for Tiger Lily, but it never happened.

One part of the book that I loved was definitely the writing. The way that the author takes these characters and gives them fatal flaws, explanations, and understandable personalities was beautiful. She kept the characters personalities recognizable to the readers, but made them more realistic, and less 'Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust' then they were before.

So, I'm giving Tiger Lily a 3/5 because it was just meh, and I don`t really have that much to say.


Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Book Banter: E-Readers

So this year i've done a lot of vacationing, which has been great. I've been to France, Florida, I went to Camp in early 2012 and I leave for Camp again in May. And with all of this traveling, I've been collecting more and more books on my ereader. I have a Nook which my aunt got my for Christmas in 2011 and I use it for daily deals, cheap titles, and some ARCs. But I always find a very distinct difference between reading on an ereader, and reading an actual book.

One of the main differences is the actual book itself. Nothing can replace the feeling of holding a nice, floppy paperback, or a smooth hardcover in your hands. The smell of new books is basically a drug to me, and I have more than one book that has a tear stain or two it (yes, I'm a big cryer). And sure, while carrying around your entire library in less than a pound seems very attractive, I just don't know if I can do it.

Secondly, I find when reading anything off of my Nook, I feel slightly disconnected from the actual book itself. I find that I spend more time fiddling with the font type and size to try and make it perfect than I do reading. Also, the main thing about a book is that you can see how far you have left and you can actually flip the pages, wanting to see what happens next. There is just something about them that I can't get over.

Anyway, those are some of my thoughts. What about you? Do you have an ereader, and if so, which one? What are your thoughts on them? Leave them in the comments below! :)

As always, I'll see you next time. Happy reading!