Book Review: Buzz Kill by Beth Fantaskey

18118614 (1)Buzz Kill by Beth Fantaskey

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Genre: Fantasy and Young Adult

Release Date: May 6, 2014

Pages: 368 (Hardcover)

good good

Putting the dead in deadline
To Bee or not to Bee? When the widely disliked Honeywell Stingers football coach is found murdered, 17-year-old Millie is determined to investigate. She is chasing a lead for the school newspaper – and looking to clear her father, the assistant coach, and prime suspect.

Millie’s partner is gorgeous, smart-and keeping secrets
Millie joins forces with her mysterious classmate Chase who seems to want to help her even while covering up secrets of his own.

She’s starting to get a reputation…without any of the benefits.
Drama-and bodies-pile up around Millie and she chases clues, snuggles Baxter the so-ugly-he’s-adorable bassett hound, and storms out of the world’s most awkward school dance/memorial mash-up. At least she gets to eat a lot of pie.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, HMH Books for Young Readers 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 was younger, I hated reading. I really did, my mother forced me to stand in front of her and read to her and it felt like a complete hassle to do it. Yet, this one series of books (Cam Jensen and the so and so) made all that bearable and although wasn’t the book that made me start loving books, it did help. Cam Jensen will forever be one of my favourite protagonists and I see a lot of similarities between that series and this book. There’s a mystery, there’s the main character with the photographic memory who is also a redhead, the cute quiet boy, as well as other thing. Although these books are similar there’s one thing that makes Cam Jensen stand out–her badass attitude and the way she never fucking whines about anything.

Buzz Kill should not be targeted towards young adults, it should be targeted towards middle schoolers because that’s the only time that realism is not needed in stories. The characters are all flat and boring. They’re cutouts of traits that are popular in YA novels and thrown in to make an unbelievable cast. I hated how they all are supposed to be adults or almost adults yet they act like they’re in elementary school with their petty fights over who boys and assignments. Hell, no one even swears! You cannot tell me that teenagers don’t swear because that is a lie! I also had a problem with the romance is forced and typical (confused girl is the only one who understands the beautiful broken boy) and not very realistic. Aside from Millie’s stupidity, there’s no legit reason for why she wants to find the killer and her photographic memory didn’t add anything to the story.

I don’t mind thrillers, I just have a hard time believing them especially when they involve high school students. This book is made out to be quirky and corny but I just found it annoying and stupid. I only recommend this if you enjoy No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale and enjoyed it a lot because this one is a lot like that. Under no other circumstance should this book be read because you will most likely fall asleep.

1 Lonely Cloud
1 Lonely Cloud

Book Review: A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn

creature of moonlightA Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Genre: Fantasy and Young Adult

Release Date: May 6, 2014

Pages: 224 (Hardcover)

good good

 As the only heir to the throne, Marni should have been surrounded by wealth and privilege, not living in exile-but now the time has come when she must choose between claiming her birthright as princess of a realm whose king wants her dead, and life with the father she has never known: a wild dragon who is sending his magical woods to capture her.

opinion

A Creature of Moonlight is 2% dialogue, 3% interesting stories about the woods, and 95% boredom which is just Marni talking to herself using beautiful prose and similes. Honestly, let’s put aside the fact that many adults read young adult novels and stick to the fact that this book is for young people. Slim, very slim are the chances that teenagers want to read a boring story that’s lyrically enchanting than anything else. Teenagers want action! Betrayal! and unfortunately sometimes, romance! We don’t want to read something that will almost instantly put us to sleep. If I wanted to sleep I would ask my mom to tell me about school when she was growing up. Somehow, I managed to finish this one but I fell asleep at least ten times along the way.

I can see why some people love the writing style, you really need to be interested in it to actually enjoy it though. However, for others (like myself) the writing is too formal and long. There’s an endless line of similes and metaphors and other crap to make the writing pretty pretty but also very boring. I couldn’t help but smack myself once I started the second chapter. The writing makes everything so long and pointless and awkward, the story feels far less like a story and more like an essay about some pointless crap no one actually cares about. I also had a problem with the plot itself, it’s also pointless and typical. Girl has nothing left, wants happiness, meets her father, blah blah blah, realizes crap and runs, blah blah blah, finds true home. That’s the whole story, nothing interesting, I promise. The characters are worse than wet cement, they barely do anything, there’s close to no dialogue, and when things are just starting to get good because of an almost-romance, it’s taken away and readers are left with boring shit again.

Nonetheless, I did like the stories about the woods. These small stories are well done and will instantly captivate readers which is good but also bad because they are spread out and have tons of boring stuff in between them all.

This book is just bad. I think I knew I was in for something horrible the second I read the second line, but I kept going forward because I was hoping that the writing would get better or at least I would like the main character. I didn’t. I barely liked anything about the book and I don’t recommend it to anyone. It’s tedious, typical, and annoying. I’m tempted to put a hiatus on dragon books for the time being since everyone that I’ve read has been absolute crap.

1 Lonely Cloud
1 Lonely Cloud

Book Review: A Death-Struck Year by Makiia Lucier

a death struck year

A Death-Struck Year by Makiia Lucier

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Genre: Historical Fiction and Young Adult

Release Date: March 4, 2014

Pages: 288 (Hardcover)

good good

For Cleo Berry, the people dying of the Spanish Influenza in cities like New York and Philadelphia may as well be in another country–that’s how far away they feel from the safety of Portland, Oregon. And then cases start being reported in the Pacific Northwest. Schools, churches, and theaters shut down. The entire city is thrust into survival mode–and into a panic. Headstrong and foolish, seventeen-year-old Cleo is determined to ride out the pandemic in the comfort of her own home, rather than in her quarantined boarding school dorms. But when the Red Cross pleads for volunteers, she can’t ignore the call. As Cleo struggles to navigate the world around her, she is surprised by how much she finds herself caring about near-strangers. Strangers like Edmund, a handsome medical student and war vet. Strangers who could be gone tomorrow. And as the bodies begin to pile up, Cleo can’t help but wonder: when will her own luck run out?

First of all, I would like to thank the Publisher, HMH Books for Young Readers 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 conflicted about how I want to review this because of the historical aspect. Most people know about the Spanish Influenza and I think that the author relied heavily on this because there isn’t very much talk about it nor about Cleo’s background. However, it’s a fairly strong novel and I can’t wait to see what Lucier comes out with next.

A Death-Struck Year starts out actually quite boring. I felt myself quickly lose interest and shaking my head saying, “this is why I don’t read historical fiction!” Until well into the novel when things quickly started to pick up. Cleo and Jack are siblings and of course they care for each other but I would have liked some more of a background story to their relationship, they felt more like good friends than family to me.

Cleo Berry is one hell of a character. She’s strong and committed, doing things that many people would never even think about doing. I loved the relationship between Cleo and Edmund because of how well done it is despite the times where is felt contrived, it’s realistic and doesn’t take over the story. In fact, all of the characters are realistic and were fun to read about their different lives and how they all came together to help those in need. Another thing that I enjoyed was the writing, it’s fairly smooth and Lucier effortlessly added the right amounts of emotion to her work to make things shift in her favour.

Overall, I was shocked by how well written this novel is and how much it exceeded my expectations. As a person who never reads anything historical fiction outside of school, I think that this novel has open my eyes to see that some historical fictions are quite well done and realistic. I recommend this to anyone who knows about the Spanish flu and love historical fiction novels that are realistic and don’t have a lot of romance to it.

3 Clouds
3 Clouds

For quotes from this book, click here.

Book Review: Stained by Cheryl Rainfield

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Stained by Cheryl Rainfield

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Genre: Thriller and Young Adult

Release Date: October 1, 2013

Pages: 304 (Hardcover)

good good

Sixteen-year-old Sarah Meadows longs for “normal.” Born with a port wine stain covering half her face, all her life she’s been plagued by stares, giggles, bullying, and disgust. But when she’s abducted on the way home from school, Sarah is forced to uncover the courage she never knew she had, become a hero rather than a victim, and learn to look beyond her face to find the beauty and strength she has inside. It’s that-or succumb to a killer.

First of all, I would like to thank the Publisher, HMH Books for Young Readers 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 feel bad about review this book because of my mixed feelings  towards it. The message it’s trying to get across gets there, loud and clear. Yet, there are so many things that I just couldn’t overlook since this is a novel telling a story that might be fictional, happens to people all over the world. Before getting to the things that disappointed me, I want to say that Cheryl Rainfield did make me uncomfortable and she did make me remember that my life could be worse no matter the situation that I’m in. I think that Stained will remind readers of how lucky they are and how to always, always, always trust their gut, no matter what.

Stained is a tough book to get into and didn’t take much to lose my attention since it is so very stiff and bland. Especially the characters, although I admired Sarah’s courage and determination, I still couldn’t connect with her and feel the emotions that Rainfield was trying to get me to. Nick, like Sarah, feels extremely contrived and odd because all I got from him is that he loves Sarah, like, a lot and he’s willing to do anything for her. That’s about it. He’s only there as an accessory to Sarah rather than an actual friend who helps her get through a harsh time.

But, I did find the writing style to be okay for the most part. It flows nicely even if it doesn’t give off an intense feeling. Like I mentioned before, Sarah’s determination and courage changed her and for the better. I love the main message this novel gives off (Inner beauty is much more important than outer) as well as the smaller, albeit just as important, messages of how cruel some people can be about certain things.

Overall, this is a novel that I think should be read for the message rather than the story. Without enjoying it much, I was left disappointed and a bit confused at how quickly it moved at the end. The ending isn’t as realistic as I wished it to be nor did it have me at the edge of my seat and thrusting my fist in the air. However, I still recommend this book to everyone because it’s a great reminder as to how easy it is for a person to disappear by someone they know and may even trust.

3 Clouds
3 Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click here.