Friday, July 18, 2014

The Jewel (The Lone City, #1) by Amy Ewing

The Jewel (The Lone City, #1)The Jewel by Amy Ewing

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Maaaaaaaan. Why do I feel like I've read bits and pieces of this book in other better told stories? I have yet to read Selection... so that's not it. But this has me thinking of Wither meets something meets something else. Despite this odd feeling of I've read (all) this before, overall I'm feeling 'Meh' over all of it. Mainly because there were so many elements to Jewel that it might have been better a reading experience had one or two or three things been taken out.

And what do we have? Royal blood line that's going to end if *gasp* no one is there to carry on said line. By some twist of fate/accident of science/something it's Violet and those like her  ("Surrogates") that can do the job. Also, Violet and girls like her magical. To this last we have them able to control "auguries" of color/shape/growth. Then all these take place in a world that's split in areas that include the Marsh, the Smoke, The Farm, the Bank, the Jewel... so predictably named that I wondered over why they the distinctions were even made. And in this already divided world, we have the Royals whose various lineage were likewise predictably named that I didn't even bother to keep track. And then throw in ladies in waiting -who weren't ladies, companions, and a host of other secondary characters all of whom serving the purpose of amping up the creepy. But failing to do so.

Given all those of those could have have been's: not much of this worked for me. Hell, not  even the 'surprise' romance between her and the one like her. And why? There were too many things going on;  a consequence we end up with a story wanting to tell too many things all at once so that it's personality and possibility was lost along the way.

But thank you, Edelweiss!

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

LandlineLandline by Rainbow Rowell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Set aside the magic phone, it’s apparent that Landline is love and the issue of it being sufficient. My first encounter with Rowell was E & P. The pair there had me enamored; mere mentions of a certain time had me happy. This experience I immediately followed up with Fangirl. There I found myself likewise enamored with the odd yet endearing people that story was filled with.  Now, cute and odd as both those stories were, it was Attachments that clinched things. The one-two punch of pure nostalgia then pure ordinariness of the way they could all be is what worked for me.

There’s a little bit of the last in this; and despite the magic that could be that the phone in this served, Landline is less the about oddness that that represented AND more about the real connections, honest conversations, and deep-deep (as well as not-so-deep) musings they were all engaged in, particularly Georgie McCool.

Landline was all about Georgie: her life, her feelings on where her life was, how her life with Neal had turned up. Then there’s Neal as well: Neal of present and Neal of past…. both versions as seen through Georgie’s eyes. Only not just.

As in all her previous works, there were all those authentic connections made even more real with each moment one party had with another. There’s her link to her “partner.” (And no, it’s not Neal.) There’s that link she has with her family- each member remarkable one way or another- as well.  But mostly, it’s that connection she had with Neal~ where they came from and where they were now… and mostly, whether “love” as her sister asked it sufficed.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Out of the EasyOut of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

That Jo is aware and not just of herself, but of the people around her and the circumstances as well as expectations she has and others have, is but one positive. That the place and the time come clear across is another. That Out of the Easy is not a one-track story of down-on-her luck girl trying to get out of where she’d started is yet another of its many selling points.

What we have is a very easy to like teenage girl who knows who she is, where she comes from, but does not flounder because of it. There’s honesty to her portrayal. Things aren’t all roses, true. She acknowledges the same, but isn’t limited by it as she works through and does what she has to and the same time keeps herself to what could be. Her juggling things as she does gets even more interesting with a mysterious death that pulls her in.

It’s that last complication that allow for the place and the time to become even easier to imagine. In getting to answers she’s not sure she wants, she comes up against certain characters, and those plus the people she works with as well as those already in her neighborhood make for a colorfully vivid image of New Orleans in the 50’s.

Yet more interesting: with each answer obtained, we have more and more instances of her doubting, questioning, wondering what the effects all these truths had on her and hers. So no, it’s not just Jo; it’s her and her family – the one she’s been born into and the one of her making.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Live (Burnside, #1) by Mary Ann Rivers

Live (Burnside, #1)Live by Mary Ann Rivers

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

LIVE includes a before and after; there’s how his before could be their after. Given both, what we have are two leads perfect in how real they’re laid bare. Every single aspect of this- him, her, and then them; as well as the people that surround them and the place (then places) they find themselves in- all of it are so perfectly drawn and made possible as a result.

HIM and HER. As said, his before, their after… or the possibility of that that has them being cautious then later not cautious at all. It’s a different story as what they are is never a simple one plus then two; there’s tremendous placed on weighing what is, what could be, as well as who they are; there’s thoughtful consideration on what they need versus what they want.

A BEGINNING. There’s simplicity to the start as River’s sets the two of them up on mutual attraction, but does not stop there; because it’s their slow getting to know the other that charges things further. It’s a newness that’s shadowed though by their pasts. So that this easy new thing that’s lovely, is not always that because of what they know and what they’ve learned: she and her family, has her pegged “the responsible one’; him and his past, has him more cautious about wanting-needing-sacrificing.

EVENTUALLY though it’s them working around those same things to see more in themselves  --- maybe first in the other and later in their own person.  Because the IN-BETWEEN? It’s that which has them exploring possibilities -- and me, swooning over their choice of words even their descriptions of event and action. There’s a quite quality to goings-on; the way they open to each other, allowing themselves a glimpse of each other’s past + character.

It’s all slow and soft but all that’s mixed together with their passion as they explore both the physical alongside the emotional. And all that, again, has me swooning as one look, touch, word between the two, about the other, for the other, allows so much to expressed, like those on Here and There and not being where you ought be; on Wanting and Needing; on  Smiles against kisses. Kisses against grins.

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Half Bad (Half Life, #1) by Sally Green

Half Bad (Half Life, #1)Half Bad by Sally  Green

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

We go from the first to the unusual second then back and forth and back again, later settling on the first. It’s  from this that we get a clear understanding of what he’s feeling and what he’s doing… eventually.

'Interesting' and 'different' are what first come to mind as I finished this, but also that it’s brutal. Not just in that jarring realization that it’s him in a cage, but everything else that follows from there, including the abuse he suffers and the perception others hold and the choice his faced with. There’s a softer side too, a not so obvious soft aspect in the longing he has, the relationships his built and loyalty he possesses… though there’s really not that much soft in that last aspect.

What I liked:

It’s brutal, vividly so, but it’s more too with Nathan- authentic as a guy; not alpha nor beta, not a “character,” but one who’s believable in who he is and what he’s going through.

What I didn’t:

Unexplained moments, conveniently placed help-mates... essentially more than one inexplicable that permits him to get from point A to B to C and so on.

I liked HALF BAD... mostly.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas (Pseudonym), Abby McDonald

Dangerous GirlsDangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Dangerous Girls is a messy then messed up combination of self-entitled teens in a media circus drummed up by courtroom drama with its attending (re)interpretation of facts. Here we go from he said-she said of what might/could have happened to what she recalls. The depiction of who she is as well who the victim was diverges greatly from their recollections of who they were and what they did/ did not do. Not once do these two sides meet, so that it’s on us to piece things together. Because where one sees something as one thing, the rest see it as something else entirely. Between the two, one is never quite sure about what take as truth.

At first, DG is on girls and friendship: they’re complicated; it’s complicated.  Then DG’s on boys and girls: that combination is complicated as well. Later it’s on truth and presentations to that effect; yes, complicated, too. We have a simple enough start with new girl - new school scenario.  Said new girl is made slightly more interesting with family baggage and her dealing with the same in the face of her new-girl drama of mean girls, popular boys, and absent parents. But all that’s merely part of the  whole here, as the story is told with shifts from memories on all that brought in contrast to the media mess surrounding them as they sort through the aftermath of something unspeakable. But the question is: did it happen like she says it did… or not at all? If not, then what?

You may think one thing and have it confirmed time then time again; so that there’s a feeling of certainty, only events prove not quite as assumed. And it’s this aspect that had me pulling back. The work up toward the ending; the ending, really had me asking: was that really necessary?

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