Thursday, October 31, 2013

Book Review: 4 to 16 Characters

Title 4 to 16 Characters

Author Kelly Hourihan

Release Date November 13, 2013

Fifteen-year-old Jane Shilling’s best friends don’t know her real name. In fact, they don’t know anything about her at all. Jane’s life has collapsed in the last few years; following the death of her mother, her father turned to drinking, and Jane is reeling from the double blow. To escape, Jane devises a number of online personas, each with a distinct personality, life history, and set of friends. But things become trickier when she finds herself drawing close to some of her online friends, and winds up struggling with the question of how to maintain a real friendship while masquerading as a fake person. With the help of Gary, a socially awkward classmate and competitive Skeeball player who is Jane’s only offline friend, and Nora, her therapist, Jane begins to sift through her issues. The only catch is that that involves taking a long, hard look at what her life’s like when the computer is shut off, and that’s a reality she’s been fighting for years.

I have very mixed feelings about 4 to 16 Characters. I guess, for simplicities' sake, I will break it down.

The Good: The blurb made the book sound awesome. And relatable. As someone that spent an obscene amount of time on the internet (and still does, let's be honest), I was interested in reading about Jane. The format of the book was pretty awesome. We get Jane's point of view through the internet (blog posts, emails, etc.).

The Not-So-Good: Holy fanfic! Jane's story seems to center around fan-fiction for a fandom that doesn't exist. I'll be honest, whenever it came to the fanfic, I skipped it (and I didn't feel bad about it at all). I might have been more inclined to read it if it was based on an actual fandom, but as it was I had no idea what was going on with it and I didn't care. At all. I'm not sure I would have picked up this book if I had known it centered around fan-fiction. It's not something I'm into (I admit I don't really understand the appeal) and reading an entire book about it seems rather boring.

Overall, the book was okay. It's much too niche for me to recommend to anyone, though. Kind of a letdown.


2 out of 5 stars

* This book was received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. *

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Book Review: Gorgeous

Title Gorgeous

Author Paul Rudnick

Release Date April 30, 2013

Inner beauty wants out.

When eighteen-year-old Becky Randle’s mother dies, she’s summoned from her Missouri trailer park to meet Tom Kelly, the world’s top designer. He makes her an impossible offer: He’ll create three dresses to transform Becky from a nothing special girl into the most beautiful woman who ever lived.

Becky thinks Tom is a lunatic, or that he’s producing a hidden camera show called World’s Most Gullible Poor People. But she accepts, and she’s remade as Rebecca. When Becky looks in the mirror, she sees herself – an awkward mess of split ends and cankles. But when anyone else looks at Becky, they see pure five-alarm hotness.

Soon Rebecca is on the cover of Vogue, the new Hollywood darling, and dating celebrities. Then Becky meets Prince Gregory, heir to the British throne, and everything starts to crumble. Because Rebecca aside, Becky loves him. But to love her back, Gregory would have to look past the blinding Rebecca to see the real girl inside. And Becky knows there’s not enough magic in the world.

A screamingly defiant, hugely naughty, and impossibly fun free fall past the cat walks, the red carpets, and even the halls of Buckingham Palace, Gorgeous does the impossible: It makes you see yourself clearly for the first time.

I came across Gorgeous in some magazine. It was the recommended book to read for the month. I threw it on my to-read list and figured I'd get around to it eventually. I'm not really sure why I expected something spectacular, but I did. Whether or not the book actually delivered, I'm not sure. It's one of those books that I can't decide if I like it or not. I just don't know!

One of the things that really throws me off about the book is HOW? How does all this happen? What kind of crazy forces are at work here? Is it god, magic, some sort of mystical voodoo? And while I didn't mind suspending disbelief for the majority of the book, when the big reveal about Tom happens (you'll know it when you read it) I lost it. My ability to suspend disbelief went out the window. I felt like at that exact point the book went from fantastical to just plain weird. Not knowing what exactly is going on and the whole Tom thing might have been what killed the book for me. Or not. I still don't really know.

Overall, I don't know. I don't get it. I think I liked it, but I'm not really sure. This book just confuses me all the way around.

I guess I give this book a very confused 3 stars.


3 out of 5 stars

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Book Review: Water

Title Water

Series Elements of Power, book 2

Author Heather James

Release Date October 19, 2013

Water pooled around my feet, rising at an alarming rate. I stared - panicked - at the palms of my hands, willing the water gushing out of them to stop as miraculously as it had begun.

I only sneezed!

Jasmine is struggling to control her new powers, causing floods and fires with an accidental flick of her wrist. In a desperate attempt to master at least one aspect of them, she travels to the Brizan Realm, where she comes closer to discovering the truth about her parents than ever before. But not everyone wants their secrets revealed.
Alone, powerless and, for the first time in her life, afraid, Roxy has only one thought occupying her mind: escaping Cinaer's clutches before it's too late. Her flight will take her across the ocean, but not in the direction she is expecting. Before she can try and get back to Brae, she needs to rescue herself.
Despite being on opposite sides of the world, the girls soon find themselves closer than ever.

In Water, we learn more about the Sephan and Brizan realms. We've got a pretty clear picture of all the realms now (Sephan, Brizan, Helian, and Arcan). I'm so glad we were treated to more of James's world building. I love that every realm so distinctly represents its people. Her descriptions make these places so real to me that I wish I could visit them and meet these people. Love it.

In Fire's review, I commented that I was excited to learn about Jasmine's abilities. I'm so glad I didn't have to wait long. Water provides a clearer picture of Jasmine, her abilities, and how she came to be. While I still like Roxy, Water made it so easy to fall in love with Jasmine.

While I didn't feel like there was a lot going on in Water, it was still a very strong book. We learned more about Jasmine, the Sephan realm, and the Brizan realm. The book ends in a cliffhanger that feels like it's going to bring about a lot of action in the storyline.

I look forward to continuing the series and being treated to more of Heather James's wonderful writing.


4 out of 5 stars

* A copy of this book was received from the author in exchange for an honest review. *

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Book Review: White Trash Damaged

Title White Trash Damaged

Series White Trash Trilogy, book 2

Author Teresa Mummert

Release Date October 8, 2013

Rocker Tucker White saved down-and-out waitress Cass Daniels from everyone in her life who was hurting her—except herself. In the much-anticipated follow-up to White Trash Beautiful, Teresa Mummert’s New York Times and USA Today bestseller, Tucker and Cass are finally together, but does that mean they get their happy ending?

Living on a tour bus with your boyfriend’s rock band is nothing like living in a trailer with your drug-addicted mother—except for the drama. After all the pain and grief that marked the beginning of Cass and Tucker’s relationship, they’re finally building a life together—just the two of them, his three bandmates, some groupies, and thousands of screaming fans. And not everyone is as happy about the couple’s reunion as they are.

The last thing Cass wants to do is create friction within the band—especially when Damaged is on the brink of achieving the success Tucker has worked so hard for. She’s thrilled to finally be with a man who loves and protects her as much as he does. But how can she carve out a place for herself in this new rock star world . . . without being swallowed by the shadow of Tucker’s fame?

After reading and enjoying the first book, White Trash Damaged was a letdown. I felt like so much of the book was rushed and unresolved. The arguments between Cass and Tucker, Cass's jealousy over the other girls in Tucker's life... none of it seemed to come to a real resolution. Brushing those important issues off doesn't promote a healthy relationship at all and it felt a bad taste in my mouth.

As for the characters, oh goodness. Instead of liking Cass this time around, I was annoyed with her. All the jealousy and insecurities don't reflect how she was in the first book. In the first book, she felt strong, determined, and more independent. In this book, she felt weak and whiny. Tucker didn't seem much like I remembered him, either. In the first book, he would have done anything for Cass. This time around, he didn't seem to stand his ground as firmly as before (e.g. Donna). I did like seeing more of Eric, though! I feel like he's growing as a character and a person. I wanted more of him definitely.

In general, I wasn't fond of White Trash Damaged. Of course, I'll read the third book and I certainly hope it can redeem the trilogy for me.


3 out of 5 stars