Friday, June 22, 2012

Book Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

Title The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

Author Jennifer E. Smith

Release Date January 2, 2012

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. Having missed her flight, she's stuck at JFK airport and late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight was a cute, but quick, read. It wasn't really what I expected, but that's not to say it was bad.

The story was a bit too unrealistic for my taste. The entire story takes place over 24 hours. Because of this, it feels like Smith rushed to get all the loose ends tied up. It would have made more sense to me to have the story take place over a longer period of time than to squish everything into 24 hours.

While the book was very predictable and fluffy, it might be something I'd recommend to someone looking for a quick read.


2 out of 5 stars 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Book Review: Love & Leftovers

Title Love & Leftovers

Author Sarah Tregay

Release Date December 27, 2011

My Wish
is to fall
cranium over Converse
in dizzy daydream-worthy love.
(If only it were that easy.)

Marcie has been dragged away from home for the summer--from Idaho to a family summer house in New Hampshire. She's left behind her friends, a group of freaks and geeks called the Leftovers, including her emo-rocker boyfriend, and her father.

By the time Labor Day rolls around, Marcie suspects this "summer vacation" has become permanent. She has to start at a new school, and there she leaves behind her Leftover status when a cute boy brings her breakfast and a new romance heats up. But understanding love, especially when you've watched your parents' affections end, is elusive. What does it feel like, really? Can you even know it until you've lost it?

Love & Leftovers is a beautifully written story of one girl's journey navigating family, friends, and love, and a compelling and sexy read that teens will gobble up whole.

I love books written in verse (e.g. anything written by Ellen Hopkins). Be that as it may, I didn't really care for Love & Leftovers.

While some books written in verse do a great job in telling the story, I feel like Love & Leftovers was just random tidbits of what could have been a good storyline. I feel like this story would have been better if it wasn't written in verse.

Overall, Love & Leftovers left me feeling underwhelmed. While it was a quick read, it's not a book that I'm likely to recommend.


2 out of 5 stars 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Book Review: Saving June

Title Saving June

Author Hannah Harrington

Release Date May 1, 2011

Everyone's sorry. But no one can explain why.

Harper Scott's older sister, June, took her own life a week before high school graduation, leaving Harper devastated. So when her divorcing parents decide to split up June's ashes, Harper steals the urn and takes off cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going—California.

Enter Jake Tolan, a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession…and an unknown connection to June. When he insists on joining them, Harper's just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanor and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what Harper needs. Except…Jake's keeping a secret that has the power to turn her life upside down—again.

Hannah Harrington has definitely set the bar high with her debut novel, Saving June.

Harrington is a wonderful story-teller. Her writing is polished and realistic. Harrington creates very relatable characters and an engaging storyline. Saving June was one of those books that I had a hard time putting down while I read it.

Another thing that I loved about Saving June is that Harrington incorporated music into the storyline. (She includes the playlists at the end of the book.) I believe that the music helps strength the emotional connection the reader feels with the characters.


4 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Book Review: Fifty Shades Freed

Title Fifty Shades Freed

Series Fifty Shades, book 3

Author  E.L. James

Release Date January 17, 2012

When unworldly student Anastasia Steele first encountered the driven and dazzling young entrepreneur Christian Grey it sparked a sensual affair that changed both of their lives irrevocably. Shocked, intrigued, and, ultimately, repelled by Christian’s singular erotic tastes, Ana demands a deeper commitment. Determined to keep her, Christian agrees.

Now, Ana and Christian have it all—love, passion, intimacy, wealth, and a world of possibilities for their future. But Ana knows that loving her Fifty Shades will not be easy, and that being together will pose challenges that neither of them would anticipate. Ana must somehow learn to share Christian’s opulent lifestyle without sacrificing her own identity. And Christian must overcome his compulsion to control as he wrestles with the demons of a tormented past.

Just when it seems that their strength together will eclipse any obstacle, misfortune, malice, and fate conspire to make Ana’s deepest fears turn to reality.


Did anyone bother to edit these books before they were published or did they just publish the rough draft? Between the horrible writing and the grammar mistakes, you'd think they published the first draft E. L. James gave them. I'm not sure about most people, but a book loses some of its awesomeness whenever there are tons of mistakes. Also, can anyone tell me why the book is sprinkled with "big" words when James seems to have trouble coming up with something other than eye-rolling, flushing, muttering characters?! It certainly seems like she can flip through a thesaurus and pick out the most obscure words, but she can only make characters murmur or scream at each other. What the hell is that about?

Now, I hesitate to say that the sex scenes have improved. While they do seem to be a little hotter, they still are highly unrealistic. Let me explain myself. Women rarely orgasm every single time (and those that do are very lucky, haha), but Ana has no problem doing do. Not only does Ana orgasm every time (with the exception of once or twice), she always does so before Christian. And she can practically orgasm on command. Seriously? I understand that this is a fiction book, but a little bit of realism would greatly improve the quality of the sex scenes. Another issues I have with the sex scenes is... holy crap, there's a ton of them! I understand that this is an erotic book, but there is such a thing as overkill. This is it.

Overall, the book (and the trilogy in general) was interesting enough to read. Out of all three books, this one was the best read. While I'd probably recommend it to friends, I'd include the same warning I include with the Twilight books... don't look for spectacular writing or an amazing storyline. You definitely won't find either in these books. You will find, however, a way to past the time.


2 out of 5 stars 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Book Review: Fifty Shades Darker

Title Fifty Shades Darker

Series Fifty Shades, book 2

Author E.L. James

Release Date September 13, 2011

Daunted by the singular tastes and dark secrets of the beautiful, tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with a Seattle publishing house.

But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought, and when he proposes a new arrangement, Anastasia cannot resist. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and Anastasia learns more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven and demanding Fifty Shades.

While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her, and make the most important decision of her life.

First off, the writing is still pretty awful. Once again, we're stuck with the same old boring and repetitive descriptions. You would think that someone would have mentioned to the author that perhaps she should try some different words or phrases. Truly, I'm sick of seeing Ana flush, bite her lip, and roll her eyes.

Secondly, the sex scenes haven't improved much at all. There's still nothing sexy or erotic about referring to parts of the female body as "down there" or her "behind." Under no circumstances am I expecting crude language, but I am expecting something a little less childish. This is supposed to be an erotic fiction book for ADULTS, right?

And of course, I'll give you something positive about the book. Much like the first, it keeps you reading. The only thing is you can't try to delve deeper into the storyline. The whole thing is very shallow and surface. Look for more in this book (most likely the entire trilogy) and you're going to be sorely disappointed. If you can get past the terrible writing (which apparently I can), it's an entertaining read.


2 out of 5 stars 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Book Review: Fifty Shades of Grey

Title Fifty Shades of Grey

Series Fifty Shades, book 1

Author  E.L. James

Release Date May 25, 2011

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.


It seems like everyone is talking about this book. It's a New York Times #1 best-selling erotic fiction paperback and e-book. I've seen it mentioned around the web, on Facebook, in magazines and newspapers. After hearing so much about the book (and the trilogy in general), I had to give it a read.

First off, the writing is pretty bad. There was nothing engaging about it. The descriptions were boring and repetitive (is it possible that repetitive is an understatement?). There were numerous times throughout the book where I sighed to myself and rolled my eyes (haha), unable to believe that she used the same phrase again. [Side note: I've read in numerous places that this book started out as fanfic for Twilight. While there are some similarities, I can definitely connect the two by way of terrible writing and story-telling.]

Secondly, the story was pretty bad. While the concept was interesting for a romance novel, the execution was terrible. The storyline wasn't fleshed out enough, the pace was sluggish, the "romance" was childish, and the sex scenes sound like they were written by a very sheltered and shy teenage girl. Another note on the sex scenes, who was the author trying to turn on here? Nothing was sexy, erotic, or hot at all about the sex scenes.

Thirdly, I'll give you some positive about the book. I did keep reading it. While the author is definitely not a writer of a literary masterpiece, she does keep you turning the page. Maybe it's like a car accident, where you just can't look away. Whatever it is, I finished the book and I started reading the second one. Here's to hoping that it's better than the first.


2 out of 5 stars