July 23, 2014

Future Favorites #168


Future Favorites is a weekly feature on Electrifying Reviews. Its purpose is to highlight six different books that look great, and will hopefully be favorites of mine when I get the chance to read them.

Between by Megan Whitmer (Spencer Hill: July 29, 2014)●
The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters (Amulet: October 14, 2014)●

The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows (Katherine Tegen: March 10, 2015)●
Love & Other Theories by Alexis Bass (HarperTeen: December 31, 2014)●

The Map to Everywhere by Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis (Little, Brown: November 4, 2014)●
What Waits in the Woods by Kieran Scott (Point: March 31, 2015)●

Which of these looks best to you? What are some books you're looking forward to? Comment below and let me know!

July 19, 2014

Book Haul/Stacking the Shelves #147


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly book blog feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews which gives book bloggers the opportunity to share the books we get each week with other bloggers, and our followers. This haul is one of the the first I have done in nearly a year. I have decided to break up the books I have received in the past year into many Stacking the Shelves posts. This is one of them.


From NetGalley/Publisher: 
One Past Midnight by Jessica Shirvington
Just Like the Movies by Kelly Fiore
Sweet Unrest by Lisa Maxwell
Of Scars and Stardust by Andrea Hannah
Mary (The Summoning, #1) by Hillary Monahan
Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Spirit's Key by Edith Cohn
Six Feet Over It by Jennifer Longo
Curses and Smoke by Vicky Alvear Shecter

From Edelweiss/Publisher:
How to Meet Boys by Catherine Clark
The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes
Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick
Compulsion by Martina Boone
Damaged by Amy Reed
Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeline Kuderick
Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley
Poisoned Apples by Christine Heppermann
The Dolls by Kiki Sullivan

July 16, 2014

Future Favorites #167


Future Favorites is a weekly feature on Electrifying Reviews. Its purpose is to highlight six different books that look great, and will hopefully be favorites of mine when I get the chance to read them.

Charisma by Jeanne Ryan (Dial: March 3, 2015)
Atlantia by Ally Condie (Dutton: October 28, 2014)

The Fire Artist by Daisy Whitney (Bloomsbury: October 14, 2014)
Zodiac by Romina Russell (Razorbill: December 9, 2014)

Dove Arising by Karen Bao (Viking: February 24, 2015)
Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee (Skyscape: August 5, 2014)

Which of these looks best to you? What are some books you're looking forward to? Comment below and let me know!

July 15, 2014

Jinx by Meg Cabot



Title: Jinx
Author: Meg Cabot
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release: August 1, 2007
The only thing Jean Honeychurch hates more than her boring name (not Jean Marie, or Jeanette, just...Jean) is her all-too-appropriate nickname, Jinx. Misfortune seems to follow her everywhere she goes—which is why she's thrilled to be moving in with her aunt and uncle in New York City. Maybe when she's halfway across the country, Jinx can finally outrun her bad luck. Or at least escape the havoc she's caused back in her small hometown.  
But trouble has definitely followed Jinx to New York. And it's causing big problems for her cousin Tory, who is not happy to have the family black sheep around. Beautiful, glamorous Tory is hiding a dangerous secret—one that she's sure Jinx is going to reveal.  
Jinx is beginning to realize it isn't just bad luck she's been running from. It's something far more sinister...and the curse Jinx has lived under since the day she was born might just be the only thing that can save her life.

Although Meg Cabot is a powerhouse in young adult fiction, Jinx was the first of her teen books I have read. I think that may have been a mistake. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed Jinx. It's a light, fun read that was perfect for summer. It was not fantastic, however, and left me a touch confused about Meg Cabot's fame and popularity. Although I can see the appeal of Jinx for its intended audience, it's fairly simple and easily forgettable. 

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I really enjoy books about witches. Maybe it's a hidden desire within myself to be able to do magic and get whatever I want (it is), but whatever the reason I just enjoy magic and witch-themed novels. Jinx falls under this category, but it doesn't fit well. Throughout the first half of the novel, I was pretty sure that I was reading a contemporary, "realistic" fiction novel. Once the magical aspects were introduced, I began to become more invested in the story. However, the mythology/magic in Jinx isn't explored to the level I think it should have been. Readers are expected to just accept the fact that Jean has powers without a very good explanation as to how she obtained them or what they mean. This is somewhat understandable, as Jinx is a standalone novel, but it was disappointing nonetheless. 

After reading Jinx, I immediately read another of Meg Cabot's novels. After doing so, I noticed a very clear formula that seemed to transcend both of the books. Yes, the characters and events were different, but the plot structure was so similar that it seemed almost as if I was reading the same novel twice. Despite the formulaic way Cabot seems to construct her novels, I did enjoy her writing as a whole. It has a cinematic quality, and I felt as if I could truly picture the events in Jinx happening before my eyes. The story flowed very well, and seemed quite polished. Meg Cabot has a lot of experience writing, so I guess I should have expected her writing abilities to impress me as they did. 

I enjoyed Jean as a narrator, despite her clumsiness and cluelessness. She's out of her element from the beginning of the novel, and it was entertaining to read as she navigated New York City and her antagonistic cousin. Jean went through quite a transformation over the course of Jinx, but it didn't feel rushed or unrealistic. Tory, Jean's cousin, was an adequate antagonist, but I would have liked to see her character develop more fully, and her story come full circle. Of course, there is a romantic element in Jinx as well. Zach is exactly what one would hope a love interest would be: loyal, brave, and sweet. His character fit its intended role perfectly, but other than that I don't believe Zach stood out much. That's actually how I felt about all of the characters in Jinx: they fit perfectly into the formula, but didn't extend beyond what one would expect.

As I mentioned earlier, after reading Jinx I immediately picked up another of Meg Cabot's books. That has to count for something, right? I believe so. Meg Cabot's novels, including Jinx provide lighthearted entertainment that is perfect for casual reading. I wouldn't want anyone to expect to be blown away by Jinx, but it's safe to say that one would find entertainment within its pages. For now, I think I'm a bit burned out on Meg Cabot, but I am confident that I will be returning to her work in the future. 

July 12, 2014

Book Haul/Stacking the Shelves #146


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly book blog feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews which gives book bloggers the opportunity to share the books we get each week with other bloggers, and our followers. This haul is one of the the first I have done in nearly a year. I have decided to break up the books I have received in the past year into many Stacking the Shelves posts. This is one of them.


From NetGalley/Publisher:
In the Shadows by Kiersten White and Jim Di Bartolo
The Monster Within by Kelly Hashway
Dollhouse by Anya Allyn
The Revealed by Jessica Hickam
Copper Magic by Julia Mary Gibson
Coin Heist by Elisa Ludwig
Lark Ascending (Skylark, #3) by Meagan Spooner
The Dare by Hannah Jayne
The Girl Who Never Was by Skylar Dorset
Skink--No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen

From Edelweiss/Publisher:
Get Even by Gretchen McNeil
Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little
On the Edge by Allison van Diepen
Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez
The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker
Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios
In Deep by Terra Elan McVoy
White Space by Ilsa J. Bick
17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen

July 9, 2014

Future Favorites #166


Future Favorites is a weekly feature on Electrifying Reviews. Its purpose is to highlight six different books that look great, and will hopefully be favorites of mine when I get the chance to read them.

Unleashed (Uninvited, #2) by Sophie Jordan (HarperTeen: February 24, 2015)
Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz (Simon Pulse: March 3, 2015)

A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas (HarperTeen: February 24, 2015)
The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey (Delacorte: April 28, 2015)

The Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes (HarperTeen: February 17, 2015)
Suspicion by Alexandra Monir (Delacorte: December 9, 2014)


Which of these looks best to you? What are some books you're looking forward to? Comment below and let me know!

July 7, 2014

Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Title: Ten
Author: Gretchen McNeil
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release: September 18, 2012
SHHHH!
Don't spread the word!
Three-day weekend. Party at White Rock House on Henry Island.
You do NOT want to miss it.
 
It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury. 
But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine. 
Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?
I read Ten at a very ideal time. There was a lot happening in my life, lots of stress and just a lot going on (but hey, that's high school graduation for you), and I needed some form of escapism. For me, that was Ten. It's a book that has the ability to pull readers in and keep them entertained--and frightened--until the very end. In a literary sense, Ten isn't one of the best books I've read, but for entertainment purposes it did what it was supposed to do... and more.

Ten creates an atmosphere unlike many other novels releasing these days. Throughout my time reading it, I felt almost as if I was indulging in one of Christopher Pike's teen horror novels from the nineties. Perhaps that's due to the lack of technology (in a modern sense, isolation) the teens had at their disposal on Henry Island. Ten has cinematic qualities, and some depth, which made it easy for me to read the entirety of the novel in just over one day. I'll admit, I got pulled right into the mystery and horror of it all and felt an overwhelming desire to discover all of the secrets and shocks McNeil had in store for readers.

One of the two things I knew about Ten before reading it was that it was a young adult horror novel. The other was that it was written by Gretchen McNeil. Although I had not read any of McNeil's books before giving Ten a shot, I knew of her from her big personality via Twitter and YouTube. Because of my (somewhat) familiarity with McNeil as a person, I was very interested in seeing how she would perform as a writer. I was impressed. Like I said earlier, Ten isn't the best book out there--not a literary masterpiece by any means. But it doesn't try to be. It's easy to understand what purpose McNeil wanted Ten to serve, and I believe that she accomplished her goal. Don't get me wrong, I think that McNeil is a great writer and I am very eager to read more of her work. It's just that Ten isn't the type of book one would discuss with their friends in a coffee shop wearing hipster glasses. It's more of a guilty pleasure, devour the whole thing in a single night with help from a flashlight under your covers kind of book.

There were a lot of characters to keep track of in Ten. In fact, there were ten. Often, a mass amount of characters can confuse readers, but I did not find this to be the case with Ten. McNeil does a good job giving all of the teens in the novel distinct (sometimes cliche) personalities that allow readers to differentiate the ten from one another. The main character, Meg, dealt with a lot throughout the course of the novel but was able to remain a suitable narrator and nice vessel for readers to understand the story. None of the characters had enough depth to make them realistic, but with ten characters to explain in a short novel one should not expect them to.

Gretchen McNeil impressed me with Ten, her modern young adult adaptation of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. It will not go down in history as a literary classic like the book it was adapted from, but Ten was chilling and entertaining. It's sometimes predictable and has an ending that is unfortunately cheesy, but Ten truly reads as if it is a horror movie playing in front of readers' eyes. Ten, in my opinion, is a great way to escape reality and freak yourself out.

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