Daily Archives: September 1, 2013

The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott My rating: 3 of 5 stars From the information on the jacket, I should have loved this story because it sounded like something I could have identified with when I was a teenager…liking a guy that your best friend is dating. While I understood that aspect and felt that it was a sort of cute story, I didn’t really like it. It wasn’t horrible, but it definitely wasn’t good. I could kind of identify with Sarah wanting to stay true to Brianna. She’s been her best friend for years, but I don’t really understand why they’ve been friends. Maybe Brianna was nice when they were little. Maybe Sarah really did feel indebted to her for rescuing her in kindergarten. Whatever the reason, I cannot understand why she would want to stay friends with someone like that or why she didn’t understand just how selfish, inconsiderate, and manipulative Brianna was before the drama over Ryan. I get that you can have blinders up when it comes to friends–I’ve had them up with various friends in my own life. What I don’t get is why her parents didn’t try sooner to get Sarah to see how downright abusive Brianna was. Maybe they were afraid of her rebelling or something, but it seems like their daughter would have had much better self-esteem and more friends to hang around with if they had gotten her to see that Brianna used Sarah as an emotional punching bag. Sarah could see Brianna’s mom’s behavior as being offensive, so it is a little shocking that she couldn’t see her own best friend basically copying that woman’s tirades. And when she went back a few months later and is basically begging to have her best friend back in her life in some way, I wanted to scream at her and throw things. I felt bad about how Brianna’s parents treated her, but when it came to the relationship between Ryan and Sarah, I felt that Brianna was too whiny and hypocritical over the whole thing. After all, Brianna was cheating, too. And Brianna knew that Sarah liked Ryan. I even have a sneaking suspicion that Sam, Sarah’s date to a dance once, wasn’t completely to blame for the flirting session during the date. Brianna probably had a role in that. She just comes off as the kind of character who has to keep her best friend down in order to feel superior, and will sabotage anything good that happens in her best friend’s life to do that. As the story unfolded, I felt less and less sorry for her until I almost wished that the reveal had been more devastating for her. I’m glad that this book was so short because I have a feeling that I would have eventually given up on it. I probably would have given this book 2 stars instead of three except that I wanted to give it “props” for having a purple cover. I know that’s probably shallow, but after reading this book, I deserve to be shallow. View all my reviews

Review: The Unwritten Rule

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory My rating: 4 of 5 stars This is the first book I’ve read by Philippa Gregory, and I only decided to read it after the BBC/Starz series started airing. For the most part, I enjoyed the book. Some parts of the story focused a little too much on teaching about the Cousins’ War time period. It felt a little too much like a textbook when I would get to some of those sections. While I enjoyed being educated about the history of the time period, I didn’t like feeling like this was more of chance to school readers than to entertain them. There were also parts of the story that were too focused on the legend of Melusina. Some of those parts were repeated over and over again, and by the end of the book, I was sick of hearing about the sea goddess and her husband. It was annoying and redundant and it felt like the story would have been better off with less of that myth being discussed. I felt like there could have been more development of the characters. I know that Gregory was trying to stay true to the historical information, but sometimes I felt like Elizabeth, as well as her friends, family, and enemies weren’t as fleshed out as they could have been. It felt like Gregory forgot that it can be really important for the reader to understand what characters are like and what drives them to behave in certain ways. She was too busy with things that were less important (i.e. the Melusina parts) and it really took away from the quality of the story-telling. I’m still trying to decide if I want to continue reading the stories in this series and others by this author because I don’t know if I will find them more compelling than this one or not. If not, I’m not sure that I want to “waste my time” reading them. View all my reviews

Review: The White Queen

The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller My rating: 4 of 5 stars I adored this book. I actually wish it had been longer. It was well-written, cute, charming, funny, and had just the right amount of geekiness in it to make it completely endearing to me. The only complaints I can think of, other than how short it was, are that main character was a little too whiny and that there wasn’t enough development of the relationship between Logan and Maddie. I think that the story would have been better if there had been more development of their plot. I also think that Terra was a little too quick to forgive Maddie for her lying. The book was a quick and easy read, sometimes it was a little too easy. I guess that that’s okay since it is for younger readers, but it might have been more interesting if there had been a little more complexity to it. View all my reviews

Review: The Summer I Became a Nerd

The Dominant: The Submissive Trilogy by Tara Sue Me My rating: 3 of 5 stars I really enjoyed The Submissive, but this book wasn’t quite as good. I know some folks enjoy it more, but it was like a lot of the stories where the same basic story from a previous book gets told from a different perspective. It’s a bit stale. There were times that I enjoyed this book more, i.e. when he’s describing what he’s feeling or interacting with characters in scenes that didn’t appear in the first book. Overall, though, I felt a bit let down by this story. This book did make me cry more than its predecessor and was more emotional than I expected. I wish that I had read it before The Submissive because I think that if I had, this would have been my favorite of the two. I just have to hope that when The Training comes out that it will be more appealing, since it won’t be something that I have read before. View all my reviews

Review: The Dominant: The Submissive Trilogy

Guilty Pleasure by Lora Leigh My rating: 3 of 5 stars Oh, I really wish I had liked this book more. I don’t know why, but I always seem to be somewhat disappointed by books that Lora Leigh writes. I think it has to do with her books all seeming to follow the exact same formula/outline. Even if the characters are supposedly from different backgrounds and face different struggles, they all seem to be the same. They all say the same things. (If I have to read the words “so pretty” by a guy who sees a girl in her underwear or sans underwear again, I think I might just scream.) They all have the exact same sex scenes. Her books might be okay for someone who just reads one of them, then never reads another story by her. For those of us who read more of her work, it starts getting a bit boring. View all my reviews

Review: Guilty Pleasure

Out of Breath by Rebecca Donovan My rating: 4 of 5 stars This book was just a bit worse than the second book and a good bit worse than the first. After the high quality of the first story, I was disappointed with the way this one unfolded. I think that it could have been better, but it was still better than a lot of young adult/new adult books out there. Unlike the previous two, where Emma was dealing with abusive family members, this book takes place two years after Emma made the move to California to go to Stanford, which had caused her to leave Evan behind. She’s very fragile at the beginning of the story, and gets more and more fragile through much of it. In fact, to go as far as to describe her as being broken wouldn’t be too far from the truth. Evan thinks that Emma left him at the end of the previous story to be with Jonathan and has felt like Emma betrayed him. He doesn’t realize that she left both guys that night. He also doesn’t realize that Emma is now barely living her life at all and is, surprise surprise, a drinker now. After being a teetotaller for the past two books, Emma now gets completely drunk and takes part in increasingly riskier behaviors while drunk. She’s also about as emotionally messed up as her mother had been, but hers seems to be temporary, whereas her mom’s was definitely permanent. Rachel committed suicide and blames Emma. Eventually, with the help of Evan, Emma starts to learn how to thrive in her life. And both learn how to forgive. This book was a little choppier/rougher than what I was used to with the other books. I still enjoyed it. I just felt like it should have been better. View all my reviews

Review: Out of Breath

Barely Breathing by Rebecca Donovan My rating: 4 of 5 stars This book is a continuation of the Breathing series. It was not as good as the first book in the series, but it was still a really interesting and enjoyable read. The previous book left off with Emma’s aunt trying to kill her. In the first few pages of this book, you find out that Emma did survive, her aunt did go to jail, and that she has been dealing with the fall-out from everyone discovering that she lived in a deadly situation. And though she has been living in a safe situation with her best friend in the whole world, Emma makes the shocking decision to move in with her mother–the same one that she couldn’t even stand to talk to in the last book. Emma and her mom, who says Emma must call her Rachel not mom, have a few good days together. Then somehow Emma’s mom goes off-the-wagon after realizing how much Emma reminds her of Emma’s deceased father. Emma’s mom’s real personality comes out throughout the book. She is more than just an occasionally sloshed character: she’s a full-fledged alcoholic who neglects and emotionally abuses her daughter, who develops unhealthy attachments to one of the younger men that she dates, who owes money to a drug dealer, and who manipulates anyone she is around. If you want to get psychoanalytical about her, she is a textbook case of borderline personality disorder. The more intoxicated she is, the meaner she can be. And she can be just as vicious with her words as Carol was with her fists. Rachel is enabled by almost all of her friends, and has been for years. Rachel is jealous of any love or attention that Emma receives, especially when the attention comes from Rachel’s boyfriend. (This apparently reminds Rachel of how Emma’s father doted on Emma, but didn’t love her.) Emma eventually realizes that she is in a toxic situation with her mother, but she doesn’t seem to understand that the same could be said for her unhealthy attachment to Jonathan–the mom’s boyfriend. Actually, it’s his attachment to her that is much more disturbing. I don’t see how anyone could see his character as anything less than creepy. And Emma’s ability to tell him anything, but unwillingness to talk to Evan about her home life is really sad, especially when you realize that he is dealing with what happened the night that she was almost killed by her aunt on his own, too. This book made me more uncomfortable than the previous book, which is why I couldn’t give it five stars instead of four. There are some parts of the story that I felt could have been left out and others that I wish had been more developed. It was still a really good book, though. View all my reviews

Review: Barely Breathing

Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan My rating: 5 of 5 stars I didn’t know what to expect before I read this novel. It wasn’t one that I had really heard about prior to starting it. I was glad that I went in with such an open-mind because I have a feeling that if I had let others’ opinions of it influence me, then I wouldn’t have enjoyed it so much. Actually, I don’t know that enjoy is the right word. This book mainly deals with the abusive home-life of the main character, Emma Thomas. And when it deals with it, it does so in a very graphic fashion. The physical blows are described in full. The emotional abuse is also very vivid. If you are triggered by this sort of thing, you might want to avoid the book or just proceed with caution. Rebecca Donovan does an excellent job with the subject matter, though, which is amazing to me. Many writers cannot write abusive situations that are actually believable. Donovan obviously doesn’t have that issue with this story. Of course, she also writes about Emma going through this abuse while going to high school and falling in love, so the story isn’t just about the abuse. The reader is able to see the way the abuse impacts every decision that Emma makes from what she does when she isn’t at home to the clothes that she wears to the people that she wants to be up-front about the abuse with. I would really recommend this book to just about anyone who likes young/new adult books and who don’t have an issue with reading about books that deal with abusive situations. View all my reviews

Review: Reason to Breathe