What I'm Reading: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Rush by Eve Silver

I didn't know what to expect from Rush. I think I was thinking it was going to be along the same lines of Tracy Deebs's "Doomed" (see that review here.) And that was based on the gamer talk that I discovered in the summary.

Here's the summary from Goodreads: So what’s the game now? This, or the life I used to know? When Miki Jones is pulled from her life, pulled through time and space into some kind of game—her carefully controlled life spirals into chaos. In the game, she and a team of other teens are sent on missions to eliminate the Drau, terrifying and beautiful alien creatures. There are no practice runs, no training, and no way out. Miki has only the guidance of secretive but maddeningly attractive team leader Jackson Tate, who says the game isn’t really a game, that what Miki and her new teammates do now determines their survival, and the survival of every other person on this planet. She laughs. He doesn’t. And then the game takes a deadly and terrifying turn.

What I Liked: 1) I liked the parts of it that were described like a video game. I think if it hadn't taken that direction, I probably would have been lost. On the flip side, if you haven't really ever played a video game, you might not understand some of what they are talking about. But for me, and anyone else who knows gamer lingo (the easy stuff, like health bars and things like that), it made it easy to follow along, like something concrete in a story that bounces around a lot. 2) Action-packed. For the most part, the book was non-stop. It began with main character Miki being hit by a truck in the first chapter. I was glad to see how much of the book was dedicated to the action. 3) Miki was fairly well developed. I wanted to know where she was going and I did find myself hoping that everything was going to work out with her in the end! 4) The ending left me curious, so that's a bonus! Also, there are aliens. This is interesting.

What I Didn't Like: 1) First of all, while the book started with a bang, it slowed to a crawl for the first 6 or so chapters. After that the action picked up again, but I almost didn't make it to the "exciting part." I almost never leave a book unread, but the book just wasn't holding my focus until I hit chapter 7. 2) The overall plot was intriguing, but the secondary plots all fizzled and died somewhere in the middle of the story. It made the story two dimensional and a little flat. I don't think I ever realized the importance of secondary plot lines before, but I am officially a big fan of them. 3) Other than Miki being developed pretty well, I needed more from the others. Many parts of this story fell flat for me. 

Overall Thoughts: Eve Silver's Rush was an action-packed story with an interesting plot line and peppered with gamer lingo, which was super fun. There were some plot and character problems, and if you don't stick with it in the beginning, you probably won't finish it, because the beginning moves too slow. But despite all of that, I'm probably going to pick up the second book when it comes out because I'm just curious about what's going to happen next.

My Rating: 3 shots

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (80)

Wednesday is back, and with it comes a new WoW post! Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. It highlights the books that we are most anxiously awaiting!

This week my WoW is...

The Liberator by Victoria Scott
Release Date: August 27th, 2013

I was really excited for The Collector earlier this year, and after reading it (you can read that review here), I'm definitely getting excited for book 2, The Liberator. After the way The Collector ended, I NEED to know how Dante is going to handle everything!
Here's the summary from Goodreads: Bad boy, meet bad girl. Dante has a shiny new cuff wrapped around his ankle, and he doesn't like that mess one bit. His new accessory comes straight from Big Guy himself and marks the former demon as a liberator. Despite his gritty past and bad boy ways, Dante Walker has been granted a second chance. When Dante is given his first mission as a liberator to save the soul of seventeen-year-old Aspen, he knows he’s got this. But Aspen reminds him of the rebellious life he used to live and is making it difficult to resist sinful temptations. Though Dante is committed to living clean for his girlfriend Charlie, this dude’s been a playboy for far too long…and old demons die hard. With Charlie becoming the girl she was never able to be pre-makeover and Aspen showing him how delicious it feels to embrace his inner beast, Dante will have to go somewhere he never thought he’d return to in order to accomplish the impossible: save the girl he’s been assigned to, and keep the girl he loves.
So what are y'all waiting on this lovely Wednesday?

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan

I saw The Engagements in Entertainment Weekly a few weeks ago and I was immediately interested. Once I started reading it, I was hooked.

Here's the summary from Goodreads: Evelyn has been married to her husband for forty years—forty years since he slipped off her first wedding ring and put his own in its place. Delphine has seen both sides of love—the ecstatic, glorious highs of seduction, and the bitter, spiteful fury that descends when it’s over. James, a paramedic who works the night shift, knows his wife’s family thinks she could have done better; while Kate, partnered with Dan for a decade, has seen every kind of wedding—beach weddings, backyard weddings, castle weddings—and has vowed never, ever, to have one of her own. As these lives and marriages unfold in surprising ways, we meet Frances Gerety, a young advertising copywriter in 1947. Frances is working on the De Beers campaign and she needs a signature line, so, one night before bed, she scribbles a phrase on a scrap of paper: “A Diamond Is Forever.” And that line changes everything.
What I Liked: 1) My favorite part of this story was following the timeline. What the summary doesn't tell you is that at the very core, this story is about a ring, one diamond engagement ring and how it follows these different couples over the span of about 80 years. The story itself covers about 100 years. It begins with the initial inception of the De Beers campaign slogan "A Diamond is Forever," and then through the progression of the different generations of couples, it proves how true that statement is. Sometimes I have trouble following a story with a lot of characters. But this one is done very well, and because they are from different generations, it is easy to follow. It examines how the concept of relationships, engagements, and marriage has changed throughout the years. I loved this part of it, it was beautifully written and thoroughly explained. 2) The characters. This is the part of the review where I typically choose a favorite character and talk about what I liked about them. It's really hard to pick a favorite in this book because they were all so wonderfully different. They were all developed themselves, but also as a part of a couple, and it was their relationships that created the majority of the story lines. There was so much complexity involved in this story but it did not hinder the book in the slightest. Instead, it only made it richer.

What I Didn't Like: Nothing!

Overall Thoughts: I'm actually having a hard time putting into words what exactly I loved about this book. I'm sure part of it was that it was so different that what I'm usually reading, and it's always refreshing to step outside the norm. But The Engagements was a lovely and fulfilling novel without being fluffy. It also never crossed the line into dark either. Have y'all noticed that in YA fiction it seems to be one or the other? Fluffy or dark? Maybe that's what is so great about branching out into adult fiction, at least every once in a while. This is the second book I've picked up after seeing it in Entertainment Weekly and really enjoyed (the other being Crazy Rich Asians). I'm going to have to start checking out more books EW recommends! The Engagements is one of my favorite books I've read recently. The plot itself comes alive as you travel through the life of a diamond and how it represents love to many couple throughout the years. It's beautiful, complex, and very rich and I think that EVERYONE will enjoy it!

My Rating: 5 shots

Friday, July 5, 2013

Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike

I wasn't the biggest fan of Aprilynne Pike's fairy series (Wings). I read the first and didn't bother to read the others. But when I saw that she was coming out with this new story, a ghost story, I thought I'd check it out. When I found it on audible, I thought I might have better luck with a new Aprilynne Pike book as an AB, so that's how I decided to experience this one.
Here's the summary from Goodreads: Kimberlee Schaffer may be drop-dead gorgeous . . . but she also dropped dead last year. Now she needs Jeff's help with her unfinished business, and she's not taking no for an answer. When she was alive, Kimberlee wasn't just a mean girl; she was also a complete kleptomaniac. So if Jeff wants to avoid being haunted until graduation, he'll have to help her return all of the stolen items. But Jeff soon discovers that it's much easier to steal something than it is to bring it back. Paying for your mistakes takes on a whole new meaning in this hauntingly clever twist on The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Now, I haven't read The Scarlet Pimpernel, though I have a copy of it on my shelf. Maybe I'll give it a read and see if I can make the connection!

What I Liked: 1) Jeff. Poor guy. Can't help but feel sorry for the male MC because not only is he the new kid at prestigious prep school Whitestone, but he's being haunted by the popular and MEAN girl who died last year, Kimberlee Schaffer. Jeff already feels as if he doesn't fit in with the students at his new school, who've always had money. But with Kimberlee following him around and making it look like he's talking to himself, it makes him even more of a freak. So I felt so sorry for the kid. But he was a great example of a teenage guy, IMO. He wasn't too mature (which rarely happens) and he wasn't too immature (which happens a lot), he was just right (and my name is Goldilocks). But seriously, he was funny, and very realistic, so it's easy for the reader to feel connected and empathize with different parts of his story. 2) Kimberlee. Ahahaha, classic mean girl. I mean, in every sense of the word. She was so stereotypical that it should have been annoying. But it just made her situation funnier. At some points of the story I was forced to wonder if she was even learning the error of her ways. But she was well developed, and it was easy to understand what she was all about. 3) The plot. Usually, when the characters are strong, the plot takes a backseat, at least for me. But that wasn't the case in this book. The plot was enhanced by the presence of the characters. It was interesting, and each chapter end left me curious for the next. It was fairly straightforward, no big twists or turns, and that was refreshing for me. 4) The narrator. Because this was an audiobook, I need to give some props to narrator Jesse Bernstein for bringing this story to life in the way that he did. It helped me to really see the story happen.

What I Didn't Like: Parts of the story moved too slow for me. Maybe I'm spoiled because I've been reading a lot of action-packed stuff recently, but there were definitely some times that I thought the story needed a shot of caffeine to keep going.

Overall Thoughts: Aprilynne Pike's new one shot, Life After Theft is a funny story with some outstanding characters and a plot that complements them well. The humor was well done, if a little over done in a few places, and the narrator definitely did the story justice. There were parts of the story that seemed to drag a little, but I enjoyed this a lot more than I did her first series.

My Rating: 4 shots

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Most of the books I read are in the YA genre, but every once in a while I come across something that convinces me to branch out a little. Crazy Rich Asians is one of those books. With it's gold glittery cover with the pink lettering, I was automatically drawn to it, before I even knew what it was about. I like glitter, and I like pink, so it was an easy decision. And then I read the summary.
Here's the summary from Goodreads: Crazy Rich Asians is the outrageously funny debut novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season. When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn't know is that Nick's family home happens to look like a palace, that she'll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia's most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back. Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick's formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should--and should not--marry. Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence, Crazy Rich Asians is an insider's look at the Asian JetSet; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money; between Overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese; and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich.

What I Liked: 1) Rachel. Rachel is the MAIN main character of the book (because there are actually a TON of characters who we follow in this book). But of all of those characters, Rachel is really the one who is thrust into this new world that she knows nothing about. And her down-to-earth personality made her a very likeable and releatable character. I loved the way she handled most of the situations she encounters, and her naivete when it comes to some things is both refreshing and amusing. 2) Astrid. Described as the "It Girl of Singapore" Astrid seems to have everything handed to her on a silver platter. But it hasn't affected her personality as much as it does some of the other characters. You could definitely tell that she'd been raised with a lot of money, but she isn't as...in your face about it as the older generation characters. I also loved every detail that author Kevin Kwan used when describing her fashion sense. It made me insanely jealous in a fun way. 3) Nick. It's not hard to like Nick, although there were times when I thought he was being incredibly dense. It wasn't fair of him to throw Rachel into the situation with his family without any warning. Astrid (Nick's cousin) even warned him that she needed to be prepared, and he didn't take her advice. Yet even so, he was caring and warm, and had an air of strength about him that made him follow his heart instead of his family and their money. I liked him a lot. 4) The humor! I like books that have a great sense of humor. It wasn't that there were jokes being told, but the events that the characters were involved in, and the reactions they had to certain things were very funny. It was just one of the many things that kept me interested from the very beginning of the story. 5) There was an sense of...some sort of impending, horrible thing that was going to happen between Nick's mother and Rachel, or even Nick. I'm calling it suspense, but this story isn't a mystery or anything. You can just tell that it's all building up to some sort of epic, family smack-down, or whatever equivalent a Crazy Rich Asian family has of an epic family smack-down. I loved that buildup, and the fact that you could tell something was coming but I couldn't figure out who was going to breakdown first, and when and what exactly would happen. It was awesome.

What I Didn't Like: The only problem I had with the book was how many characters we were following. If you don't pay close attention to the chapter breaks, it's easy to get confused about who is talking. But it did not hinder my enjoyment of the book very much!

Overall Thoughts: Crazy Rich Asians is a MUST-READ this summer for anyone who enjoys smart and funny chick-lit! The characters are personable and funny, the plot flows seamlessly, and the humor will keep you on your toes from the very beginning. Pay attention to chapter breaks so you will know which character's story you're getting, especially in the beginning. But I can't imagine anyone not finding this book enjoyable. I'm already ready to sink into a lounge chair and enjoy it again!

My Rating: 5 shots

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (79)

Can't believe it's July already. My life so far this summer has been pretty crazy, and this blog has taken the brunt of the neglect. Hopefully things will calm down soon and I can get back to reading and reviewing! I've missed y'all! Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine that highlights the books that we are most anxiously awaiting!

This week my WoW is...

False Sight by Dan Krokos
Release Date: August 13th, 2013

I read False Memory last year, just before ATBF, since Dan was going to be one of the panelists. I liked it way more than I expected to, and am excited to find out what's next for Miranda and the gang. You can read my review of False Memory here! And then enjoy the summary of False Sight from Goodreads!

All Miranda wants is a normal life. She's determined to move past the horrible truth of her origin as a clone so she can enjoy time with her boyfriend, Peter, and the rest of her friends at school. But Miranda quickly learns that there's no such thing as normal - not for a girl who was raised to be a weapon. When one of her teammates turns rogue, it begins a war that puts the world in jeopardy. Now Miranda must follow her instincts - not her heart - in order to save everything she's fought so hard to keep. with the image of a terrible future seared into her mind, what will she have to sacrifice to protect the people she loves?

This one is in my NetGalley queue, I just haven't had time to read it yet. But I still wanted y'all to know that it will be coming out in the next few months and how excited I am about it! So what are y'all waiting on this Summer Wednesday?