Review: Outspoken by Lora Richardson

Reviewer: J

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Thank you so much to the author for giving me a free e-copy in exchange for an honest review.

So… Not gonna lie, I was a bit turned off by this book’s general appearance (sorry! I feel like a terrible person!) just mainly because I don’t usually read self-published books. But it turned out to be pretty good!

However, I’m just gonna say it now: I was confused! I know, I say this about every single book I read, and I know your eyes are probably rolling back in your head from boredom, but seriously. I felt like around every twist and turn, a new character popped up out of nowhere and I was like, “Hey, new character! Where’d you come from?” And there were a bunch of little anecdotes sprinkled throughout. They were cute and I liked the idea, but it felt a little choppy and random.

The main character Penny was surprisingly three-dimensional. She acted realistically, not too mature and not too juvenile. I saw a little of myself in her, and I think most readers will too.

The plot was believable, and I loved how it centers around a girl deciding she’s too much of a pushover and chooses not to let anyone get the best of her. There were pockets where it was a little slow, yeah, but the ending made up for it, I think.

Anyway, this is a strong debut! Give it a chance. You might be surprised what you find. Kind of like a mystery flavored lollipop.

Rating: 3.5 stars

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What I’m Reading!

  
(Picture creds to phoenixconsultant.com)

Hi! J here! Sorry it’s been so long since I last posted… Anyway I thought I’d just talk about what I’m reading now. However lame that might be. 

What I recently finished:

E recommended me A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond. It was really strange and surreal, I don’t know how to describe it but it kind of made me feel weird and just wasn’t for me. 

What I’m currently reading:

I randomly grabbed Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson. I don’t love this one either, I guess I’m in a bit of a reading slump. I just don’t feel excited about this book. Meh. 

What I want to read:

I have Salvage by Alexandra Duncan on hold at the library and I’m excited for it!! The only problem is that the person who has it checked out now is taking a really long time to read it… haha… I also have checked out Clockwork Prince but I might return it because I’m not that interested in it. 

So what are you guys reading? Do you have any recommendations to get me out of this slump?

xx J

Review: A Song For Ella Grey by David Almond

 A Song for Ella Grey  
Reviewer: E 
A Song For Ella Grey got me pumped as Mr. Almond is an author I love. It lived up to my excitement. 

The book is based on the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, and it’s like a modern-day retelling of it, set in England. This version is about 17-year-old best friends Ella and Claire, from Claire’s POV. They struggle with family issues and relationships, and when they meet mysterious Orpheus, Ella falls for him, while Claire is left to helplessly stand by. I thought that was a pretty cool idea! The book had many underlying themes beneath the text about today’s society, love, and loss. I will say that some events happened way too fast and others were confusing. This book is a very interesting and deep read. 

Mr. Almond’s writing is quite poetic and gorgeous, again, the kind of stuff that you just reread and reread. That was the factor that made me love My Name Is Mina, and it is thankfully present in this book. The words are almost infused with a sense of magical surrealism. 

The characters were pretty well developed. You can identify and like Claire, as she is loyal in a quiet way, and she really proves it at the end– you’ll see. 😉 Ella is, like, kind of a “bad girl” type, but we can identify with her rebellious nature. People want to be more like Ella Grey, so they’ll like her a lot. Orpheus was a little too perfect, and there was an unnecessary cast of background characters. Just a little side note, I’m American so it was kind of fun(ny) to read the aggressively English story and dialogue. “Aye, me mate, t’was.” (And I was like: “Nah, bro! Let’s get a Big Mac!”) heheh. 

A Song For Ella Grey was overall an amazing, beautiful book that I’d recommend for any fans of mythology, magical realism, even the complexity of human nature. With the right mix of heartwarming and heartbreaking, I give it 4.5/5 stars. 

ARC Review: Look Both Ways by Alison Cherry

Preorder Look Both Ways on Amazon! 
Reviewer: E 

Thanks so much to Delacourt and Random House Kids for providing me with an ARC! 

This book was an all-around more than decent read, but it was a little disappointing for me. 

The premise got me really excited for the book– a girl, Brooklyn, who comes from a family of actors finds her way into an acting school and then kind of falls in love with her roommate. Cool, right? Lots of stuff, something for everyone to like. But as the book went on, I felt like it slowly slipped into that cliché fluffy romance OMG OMG territory. 😦 When I came to a certain point in the book, the plot ground to a literal halt and didn’t really go anywhere for the rest of the book. It was way too romance-oriented. 

The writing was pretty good overall, entertaining. The beginning was really good and sucked me in but didn’t keep me enthralled all the way through. It was a nice break from the deep, meaningful book type (I love that, but it’s nice to have a polar opposite every once in a while). Some people like more fluffy stories, and I like it in small measures, but this was a bit of an overdose for me. 

The characters were okay. You can identify with Brooklyn, and like Zoe and whatever, but after that it’s just eh. There are lots of useless background characters and even the main ones are very 2D. I noticed an attempt to flesh them out by Ms. Cherry, but it really only scratched the surface. 

So overall, I give this book 3.5/5 stars. I was excited by it and enjoyed it, but it wasn’t as great as I was expecting. There were a lot more directions this story could have gone, yet the author chose one that wasn’t too interesting. But! If you like romance, if you like, um, teen/mainstream/”OMG” romance (no other words to describe it) then this is definitely a book for you. Give it a try in June 2016! 

Review: Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

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Reviewer: J

Who wants to scream with me? No one? Okay then, I guess I’ll just scream by myself because THIS BOOK CAUSED ME SO MANY EMOTIONS.

Seriously, I don’t even know where to begin. I know, I’m super late to join this bandwagon but while all you guys were getting ARCs and preordering it and using NetGalley and all that other cool stuff that bloggers do, I was sitting.. waiting for it to become available at the local library. Woot woot.

Oh, and as I’ll complain to anyone who will listen, I accidentally read a spoiler online for it before it came out, so I guess that hindered my reading experience a little, because you know, I was just kind of waiting for the plot twist to happen.

But yeah. This book was super interesting, and in the beginning it was sort of fuzzy for a while but it got cleared up pretty quickly. I also loved the opening sentence. I don’t remember exactly what it was but it was something like, “I’ve read more books than you.” I was like, hmm are you sure about that? Never challenge a bookworm about books. Words of wisdom.

Sorry for the short review, but what you can draw from this is: This book is amazing! I recommend it to all of you who haven’t read it yet. 🙂

Rating: 4.75 stars

Comparing Before and After: Ash and Bramble by Sarah Prineas

I keep seeing Before and After posts from Overflowing Bookshelves, and it’s such a cool idea that I can’t resist trying  one myself! I hope that’s okay. Anyway, let’s go!

So back in the summer (July 29, to be exact), I listed Ash and Bramble by Sarah Prineas for my Want to Read Wednesday pick. I said:

  “I’m obsessed with fairy tale retellings, so I’ll be very quick to read this. Also, when I was younger I adored the Winterling series by this author!”

Now that I’ve read it, I have to say that my expectations were a bit too high for this one. Some of the plot was really confusing and fuzzy and never got explained, but I did like the interesting magical realism elements, and it felt fairly different from the original Cinderella tale. And the writing was pretty bomb. 

xx J ❤️

Review: Dreamland by Robert L. Anderson

Reviewer: E

 Dreamland  

Dreamland is a much-anticipated September release, and I think it lived up to the hype. 

The book is about a girl, Dea, who discovers when she is little that she can “walk” or inhabit others’ dreams. Now 17,  she can’t go too long without walking or she’ll become very ill, so she does it secretly and tries her best not to be seen. She lives with her mysterious mom, who’s always running from “the monsters”, so Dea has moved around a lot. Then she gets attached to a new boy in town, and he sees her in his dream. One bad thing leads to another, and soon Dea herself is on the run. This plot was awesome. Really engaging. It seamlessly blended a concoction of different genres and story elements, something that not many writers can pull off. There were a lot of things going on, but instead of being chaotic and confusing,  Mr. Anderson made it exciting and interesting. 

The writing was excellent. It was packed with mood and great figurative language, literally great. Like, sentences that made me stop, reread it, reread it again, think: Wow. How cool/unique/gorgeous/ is that. This is a rather show-stopping  debut, and I haven’t seen much hype about it after its release (but maybe that’s just me). So I am here to tell all y’all that Mr. Anderson is officially on my radar, and that I would be psyched to read more of his work or even a Dreamland sequel. 

Let’s talk characters: I loved Dea and Connor, the two main characters. They were not perfect. They were not likeable. But I liked them because of that. Make sense? Not really? Cool. Just say the characters were… pretty good overall; albeit too similar to each other and a bit underdeveloped. 

So! If you like fantasy, magical realism, contemporary, and romance, this is a book for you. 4.5/5 stars.