July 30, 2014

Future Favorites #169


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

Scratch by Rhonda Helms (Kensington: September 30, 2014)
Breathe for Me by Rhonda Helms (Spencer Hill: August 5, 2014)
Promposal by Rhonda Helms (Simon Pulse: February 10, 2015)

The Young Elites by Marie Lu (Putnam: October 7, 2014)
The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer (HarperTeen: March 30, 2015)


The Memory Key by Liana Liu (HarperTeen: March 3, 2015)
Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (Balzer + Bray: April 7, 2015)

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

July 28, 2014

Avalon High by Meg Cabot


Title: Avalon High
Author: Meg Cabot
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release: December 27, 2005

Maybe it's not where Ellie wants to be, but if you have to start at a new school, Avalon High is typical enough: There's Lance, the jock. Jennifer, the cheerleader. And Will, senior class president, quarterback, and all-around good guy.  
But not everyone at Avalon High is who they appear to be . . . not even, as Ellie is about to discover, herself. As a bizarre drama begins to unfold, Ellie has to wonder, what part does she play in all this? Do the coincidences she's piecing together really mean—as in King Arthur's court—that tragedy is fast approaching for her new friends? 
Ellie doesn't know if she can do anything to stop the coming trouble. But somehow, she knows she has to try.
My biggest mistake in reading Avalon High was that I read a different book my Meg Cabot, Jinx, immediately beforehand. The similarities in plot structure and techniques were so apparent to me that at times I felt as though I was experiencing the same novel twice, with changes in characters' names and locations. Nonetheless, I did enjoy both books and can see myself revisiting Meg Cabot's works in the future. 

I believe that I would have enjoyed Avalon High much more had I been familiar with Arthurian legend beforehand. The references to Camelot and King Arthur, etc that were constantly included in Avalon High often went over my head. However, as Meg Cabot surely knows, many of Avalon High's readers will be unfamiliar with the lore as well. Due to this, Avalon High flows smoothly as its own tale. Primarily focused on stereotypical high school drama, the relevance of the Arthurian legends and their connection to the story at hand come almost as an afterthought. This was disappointing to me, as I was expecting more of a fantastical story rather than a contemporary. 

Meg Cabot certainly understands how to craft an entertaining story. With both Jinx and Avalon High, I felt compelled to continue reading until I reached the end, despite any qualms I had with the stories. I do feel as though the Meg Cabot books I have so far experienced were intended for a different audience than myself. Although I often enjoy middle grade novels, I felt as though Jinx and Avalon High were written for very young teens, and I felt like I was in an awkward position as a reader. 

The characters in Avalon High were likable and relatable, certainly, however I felt as though many of them were quite cookie-cutter. Too stereotypical, and too fitting to what one would expect them to be. Ellie, the protagonist, carried the story well. I felt as though she was a bit too naive at times, however, which inspired annoyance from myself. Ellie's attraction to Will certainly seems justified, as he is kind and loyal throughout the book. Beyond that, the other characters didn't really earn any distinction in my mind apart from the fact that they fit their roles well. 

Although things were not always explained well, and I didn't understand a lot of references made throughout the story, Avalon High was fun. A nice, easy summer read with some epic moments. It's definitely for a younger crowd, however, and I wish I had known that before reading it. Meg Cabot has managed to win me over with Jinx and Avalon High. Although neither books are favorites of mine, they entertained me and have solidified my decision to return to Meg Cabot's works in the future. 

July 26, 2014

Book Haul/Stacking the Shelves #148


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: 
The Stepsister’s Tale by Tracy Barrett
Otherbound by Corrine Duyvis
Ignited (Sense Thieves, #3) by Corrine Jackson
Dream Boy by Mary Crockett & Madelyn Rosenberg
The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco
Whisper Falls by Elizabeth Langston
The Dark World by Cara Lynn Schultz

From Edelweiss/Publisher:
Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson
Tether (Many-Worlds, #2) by Anna Jarzab
The Third Twin by CJ Omololu
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Astray (Gated, #2) by Amy Christine Parker
Charmed (Hexed, #2) by Michelle Krys
The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey
The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard
Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

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. 
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