Book Review: True Letters from a Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan

24485772True Letters from a Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: June 7, 2016

Pages: 336 (Hardcover)

good good

If you asked anyone in his small Vermont town, they’d tell you the facts: James Liddell, star athlete, decent student and sort-of boyfriend to cute, peppy Theresa, is a happy, funny, carefree guy.

But whenever James sits down at his desk to write, he tells a different story. As he fills his drawers with letters to the people in his world–letters he never intends to send–he spills the truth: he’s trying hard, but he just isn’t into Theresa. It’s a boy who lingers in his thoughts.

He feels trapped by his parents, his teammates, and the lies they’ve helped him tell, and he has no idea how to escape. Is he destined to live a life of fiction?

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, HarperTeen for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

I’m really glad this got to be one of my first summer reads. It’s fairly light yet a solid novel. With great characters and a steady plot, Kenneth Logan delivers a lovely coming of age story. Although I didn’t absolutely love James, the secondary characters are the ones who really had me. Derek, Hawken, Topher, and the parents. They kept me lightly on my toes by not being the predictable supporting characters that I assumed they would be and I really enjoyed that.

Despite the high rating I’m giving it, there are some flaws. One of them being the intense info-dumping in the very beginning. During the first chapter, readers are handed an essay long description on characters that have yet been introduced. A prime example of this is with Theresa, where James explains their long history and feelings. This could have been easily handled with showing us the friction of their relationship rather than telling us because I started to quickly lose interest. The book, for that matter, is mostly telling rather than showing like from the letters and how James writes them to how he speaks and thinks of his friends. Instead of being put in his shoes, understanding his pain and struggle, I just felt as if I was reading a very personal, extremely distant essay (sorry for the contradiction but it’s the only way I could really explain it. Like a cold ‘I love you’). The whole book is surrounded by the letters and how they make him feel and transform him as a person but I felt this part of the novel was poorly executed because I couldn’t connect with it as I was being told about it instead of showed it. More is written about the letter than what is actually in them. Which is really sad as the letters are his way of expressing himself.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed True Letter from a Fictional Life. it’s straightforward plot wise, it contains plenty of twists, and holds some sad truths about the world we live in. I’m glad Logan made the characters different, especially with Derek because of course there are more issues outside of the LGBT community and just even shining a small light on those issues like race and religion is always appreciated. Moreover, I still liked the idea of writing letters, as a strong believer in this approach to dealing with anger (I’ve been writing letters to people since I was in grade two, I swear) I could connect with where James was coming from. looking past all of the telling and lengthy explanations, the writing itself is quite smooth. It’s easy to lose yourself in the story and keep on reading until everything gets resolved.

You should read this. It’s not a heavy book, definitely finish it within a day, no more than a week. The writing style although not unique, has a one-of-a-kind approach to a popular topic and I loved reading about it. There’s more to this novel than what one read will tell you.

4 Dreamy Clouds

Book Review: The Jewel (The Lone City#1) by Amy Ewing

16068780The Jewel (The Lone City#1) by Amy Ewing

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Dystopian and Young Adult

Release Date: September 2, 2014

Pages: 358 (Hardcover)

good good

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence… and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, HarperTeen for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

The Jewel is like a fake diamond, really. At first glance, it’s breathtaking and stunning however, the longer you stare at it, the more cracks and falseness it has.

The world setting is really half-assed, nothing is well explained. Violet, the protagonist is so dull and so naive that I couldn’t care at all what happened to her. Moreover, the insta-love is so forced and awkward that I couldn’t help but laugh. First of all, since the characters are forgettable at best, nothing happens except the usual save the girl crap which only makes the whole story awkward and stiff.

However, like I said, upon first glance, The Jewel is beautiful and intriguing. The writing is stiff yet it fits the story (since everything about the book is stiff as fuck).

Overall, this book is not worth the time. It’s interesting at first but quickly goes south. Even the ending is typical and stupid. I don’t recommend this book at all because there are much better novels to read.

1.5 Odd Clouds

1.5 Odd Clouds

Book Review: Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

19367070Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Fantasy and Young Adult

Release Date: September 9, 2014

Pages: 275 (Hardcover)

good good

Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, HarperTeen for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinionAfter finishing Kiersten White’s Mind Games series, I can say that she has a strange style It’s at first, really fucking annoying but starts to grow on you. And after reading, Illusions of Fate I say that this roller coaster of annoyance is a good thing because despite hating the beginning of her novels, I always come to enjoy them even if it’s a little which is what happened with this book. It’s all over the place but works itself out. It’s a solid ‘meh’ type of book.

I wanted a more believable world from White. The book and characters get boring fairly quickly in the story because nothing happens but planning for this and that. Also, the reaction Jessamin has when she finds out Eleanor and Finn can practice magic is so unbelievable it’s almost funny. Adding onto this, like I said before, the characters a bit boring. I wanted Jessamin to be a badass instead of only dipping her toe in the water that is badassness. She lets Finn do everything rather than doing it for herself. Moreover, the ending where Downpike explains everything felt forced and not something that would actually happen.

Still, the slow burn romance is actually really well done. As far as characters go, Eleanor is by far my favourite with her sassy tone. And of course the twists in the book are great, White doesn’t tell everything and I liked this because it’s on little things and  I barely suspected a thing.

Illusions of Fate is a solid book. All of my blogger friends like it as well. I wouldn’t say it’s amazing or inspirational but it’s something. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves gothic like stories with magic and evil guys.

3 Mediocre Clouds

3 Mediocre Clouds

Book Review: Sleep No More (Charlotte Westing Chronicles#1) by Aprilynne Pike

18635004Sleep No More (Charlotte Westing Chronicles#1) by Aprilynne Pike

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Fantasy and Young Adult

Release Date: April 29, 2014

Pages: 340 (Hardcover)

good good

 Charlotte Westing has a gift. She is an Oracle and has the ability to tell the future. But it doesn’t do her much good. Instead of using their miraculous power, modern-day Oracles are told to fight their visions—to refrain from interfering. And Charlotte knows the price of breaking the rules. She sees it every day in her wheelchair-bound mother and the absence of her father. But when a premonition of a classmate’s death is too strong for her to ignore, Charlotte is forced to make an impossible decision: continue following the rules or risk everything—even her sanity—to stop the serial killer who is stalking her town.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, HarperTeen for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

Oracles are cool. Don’t believe anything else about them. Sure, they may be dangerous and mean but overall, they’re great. Charlotte is not because she acts like a ten-year old when people from her school start getting murdered. Sure, she could have been in a shit ton of trouble for telling her aunt that she saw the visions but she thought that she was a grown up and decided she could do it on her own (See? ten-year olds think they can do EVERYTHING by themselves just because they’ve been alive for a decade.) Charlotte takes care of everything in such a juvenile way that I got a sore neck from all the head shaking I did whenever she got a vision or someone got killed. I was so disappointed with this one because the premise sounds good. Oracles and murders. What could go wrongs? Almost everything, that’s what.

Right off the bat, the novel has a childish feel to it. I don’t mind teens doing dumb shit and all that stuff but come on, this is just ridiculous. Moreover, all of the characters are flat and not at all well described. The ending is really forced. I knew who the killer was once they came into the picture, nothing exciting about that.

Nevertheless, the oracle aspect of the book, by far was my favourite. I just couldn’t get enough! The visions! The suspense! The randomness of it all! So good.

Sleep No More is not a book I would call suspenseful because, it generally isn’t. It’s a bit predictable, childish, and dull. I can’t say that I completely hated it but I came awfully close to it. I only recommend this to those who absolutely love oracles and stuff like that and don’t mind dull, predictable plots.

1.5 Odd Clouds

1.5 Odd Clouds

Book Review: Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

18285437Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: September 9, 2014

Pages: 416 (Hardcover)

good good

Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she’s not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.

So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She’s even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won’t risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty…no matter how much she wants him.

As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.
At any cost.

Now time’s running short. Sam must decide who she can trust…and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, HarperTeen for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

When I started this book, I really believed that I would hate it. I believed that the main character would be a huge brat and do a shit ton of stupid crap that would irritate me and the romance would suck on a whole new level. I trusted in my knowledge of YA books to know a crappy book when I saw one. But boy, WAS I SURPRISED! Rites of Passage is so solid. It blew my mind, guys. It really did. Like, I was surprised left and right.


The only things that I didn’t like about the book are mostly minor things now that I think about it. The romance, at the very beginning is pretty cliché and I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at it and how the author set it up. I would have also liked more information on the dares. It says that Sam never backs down from a dare, (she’s a badass, I’m telling you!) yet there’s only once or twice when a few dares are mentioned. I wanted to know what the first dare was and how it played out and how she became addicted to doing them. In addition, there are two pretty major flaws in the book and they’re related to her family. I wanted to know a lot more about Amos than what’s actually given. There aren’t very many flashbacks about how close they were and how they used to do things. They’re more Sam remembering the day he passed away and I wanted to know about her family as a whole. It’s all after Amos died no past flashbacks about the good ol’ days or when they growing up really. It’s all just lightly touched.

Still, I loved it. I loved almost everything about this Rites of Passage. If I read this book on a school day, I truly believe that I would have read it while I was in class. That’s how addicted I was to this book. The romance that once annoyed me had me squealing. legit SQUEALING (I almost never do this!). The characters are very unique and surprising with their originality and strengths. I believed them all and when their true sides came out I was pretty shocked and happy but also a  little angry. Same especially is a very realistic character that I easily rooted for because she’s so strong when many of us would have broken and gave in to the countless demands that are being shoved at us from every angle. I was soooo tense that last few chapters. I didn’t know what was going to happen which rarely happens in books and that’s why I love it even more. I was so in the dark about it all.

I need more books like this, ones that will leave me wanting more and completely boosting my faith in YA books again. Rites of Passage is that kind of book that makes you want to fight to equality and become a badass. The writing is beyond addicting which really helped in the beginning when I was skeptical about so many things. I recommend this to everyone to read! READ THIS BOOK! YOU WILL LOVE IT!!!!!

4 Dreamy Clouds

4 Dreamy Clouds

Book Review: Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson

22605745Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: September 2, 2014

Pages: 432 (Hardcover)

good good

Step on a crack, break your mother’s back,

Touch another person’s skin, and Dad’s gone for good . . .

Caddie has a history of magical thinking—of playing games in her head to cope with her surroundings—but it’s never been this bad before.

When her parents split up, Don’t touch becomes Caddie’s mantra. Maybe if she keeps from touching another person’s skin, Dad will come home. She knows it doesn’t make sense, but her games have never been logical. Soon, despite Alabama’s humidity, she’s covering every inch of her skin and wearing evening gloves to school.

And that’s where things get tricky. Even though Caddie’s the new girl, it’s hard to pass off her compulsions as artistic quirks. Friends notice things. Her drama class is all about interacting with her scene partners, especially Peter, who’s auditioning for the role of Hamlet. Caddie desperately wants to play Ophelia, but if she does, she’ll have to touch Peter . . . and kiss him. Part of Caddie would love nothing more than to kiss Peter—but the other part isn’t sure she’s brave enough to let herself fall.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, HarperTeen for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinionFor many people, touching others or being touched really freaks them out. Even for myself, there are times that I cringe whenever a friend comes in to give me a hug which isn’t as severe as what Caddie has however, it does make her easy to relate to. Rachel M. Wilson’s début is quite touching, (no pun intended) and obsessive disorder that has gone too far and a friend who is intent on proving that it’s not everything. Don’t Touch is a lovely story that I really liked with characters that are hilarious and kept my entertained.

Although Don’t Touch is a great debut, it does have a few flaws for instance, the romance. I really hated just how big of a role it plays in the book because for half the book, it’s the reason why the plot keeps moving. I wanted Caddie to get out of her comfort zone not because she has a crush but because she misses and needs her best friend. Another problem that I had with Caddie is how much she rushes through talking about her dad. I get that talking about someone who has hurt you is very hard, but the only way for a reader to completely understand the pain is by telling us a few stories about it, about the past and the memories that were shared, yet I never got the chance to experience this because it’s rarely showed.

Anyway, I really could connect with Caddie on most things, she’s realistic and her story is quite touching, something a I think most kids want when their parents split up. The way and process that Caddie uses to play the role of Ophelia as well as to get through life is amazing and beautifully done in a way that’s pretty moving. Moreover, I liked her group of friends because they are so funny.

Don’t Touch is a story about a girl with an illness. Believe me, I know how much of an overused story idea this is but Wilson takes a different approach that make it this book refreshing. I didn’t feel too annoyed with it. I recommend this to anyone who likes this story idea or is interested in books about plays.

3.5 Interesting Clouds

3.5 Interesting Clouds

Book Review: Feral by Holly Schindler

19346468Feral by Holly Schindler

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Mystery and Young Adult

Release Date: August 26, 2014

Pages: 432 (Hardcover)

good good

It’s too late for you. You’re dead. Those words continue to haunt Claire Cain months after she barely survived a brutal beating in Chicago. So when her father is offered a job in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out will offer her a way to start anew.

But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire feels an overwhelming sense of danger, and her fears are confirmed when she discovers the body of a popular high school student in the icy woods behind the school, surrounded by the town’s feral cats. While everyone is quick to say it was an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it, and vows to learn the truth about what happened.

But the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to realizing a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley….

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, HarperTeen for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinionFeral is a story about two girls told in third person. This, right here, is my first problem with this book. Lately, a lot of mystery/ thrillers are using third person which is great if you have a bunch of characters but Feral  only has two. Two! More accurately, one and a half so there’s no point for it. If the first thing about the novel pissed me off, can you imagine how many other things did also?

A lot, that’s how many.

Not a lot happens in Feral, which makes it a half-assed novel in my books. Seriously, from 10/15% all the way to like, 85% it’s all just boring high school crap. Moreover, the killer is beyond obvious. It’s so obvious that my cat could have figured it out ! The second they come into the story, the author doesn’t even try to hide who it is, instead, she leaves such obvious hints about it to make sure that everyone knows who it is. IN COMING SPOILER!

 

 

In addition to this unrealistic bullshit, Serena gets turned in a cat, (I’m assuming for the first time in her life) yet she gracefully knows how to walk and hiss and be a legit cat without ever stumbling, falling, freaking out, or anything at all that would even remotely suggest that she has no idea what she’s doing as a cat. Ridiculous.

End of spoiler!

The characters are really forgettable and annoying. They barely do anything at all but complain. The whole town is boring. Nothing happens and then there are all of these random ass cats that doesn’t even add the creepy feeling that Schindler is trying so fucking hard to achieve.

Somehow, however, I had managed to find a couple of nice/mediocre things this book has like Serena’s perspective as a dead person is pretty cool at first. I also liked Claire’s past and how big or a role it plays in the story.

Holly Schindler could have made Feral into a much better book if only she made it more realistic and all around more creative and suspenseful. I don’t recommend this one to anyone because of how completely pointless it is.

One Lonely Cloud

One Lonely Cloud