Thursday, November 7, 2013

Review: 4 to 16 Characters by Kelly Hourihan

Released: November 7, 2013
Publisher: Lemon Sherbert Press
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 3 out of 5
Source: Netgalley
Edition: Netgalley ARC
Page Amount: 314
Age Group: Young Adult

Fifteen-year-old Jane Shilling’s best friends don’t know her real name. In fact, they don’t know anything about her at all. Jane’s life has collapsed in the last few years; following the death of her mother, her father turned to drinking, and Jane is reeling from the double blow. To escape, Jane devises a number of online personas, each with a distinct personality, life history, and set of friends. But things become trickier when she finds herself drawing close to some of her online friends, and winds up struggling with the question of how to maintain a real friendship while masquerading as a fake person. With the help of Gary, a socially awkward classmate and competitive Skeeball player who is Jane’s only offline friend, and Nora, her therapist, Jane begins to sift through her issues. The only catch is that that involves taking a long, hard look at what her life’s like when the computer is shut off, and that’s a reality she’s been fighting for years.

One of the main reasons I picked this book up from Netgalley is because it was one that you could automatically load right onto your Kindle and I wanted a cute, contemporary books to balance out all of the paranormal/fantasy books I have been reading lately. Then upon reading the synopsis  I was hooked. Even before reading the first page, I connected with Jane with our love for pop culture. I, too, am guilty for 'fangirling' over certain television shows, bands, and celebrities. I knew this was a book I wanted to read because I somewhat connected with the story line (minus the fake persona).

I did not enjoy this novel as much as I thought I would. I went into this novel thinking that I was going to love it and this was going to become one of my favourite contemporary books of all time. To be fair, I probably should not have gone into this book with that impression. 

This book could have knocked about one hundred pages of story and it would have, in my opinion, been better. While I was reading, I found myself thinking 'this is unnecessary , 'this is pointless', and 'didn't we talk about this three pages ago?'.  Also, the characters would constantly be like 'you still there?? omg you left me' thirty seconds after sending their previous IM message. I mean, really? 

I didn't enjoy Jane as a main character.  She was very one dimensional, in my opinion. I think this has something to do with we explored Rachel's character more than Jane's, so I never really felt a connection with her at all. Gary was character I had a soft spot for, though. He was quirky and cute. He was always there for Jane, even when she pushed him away numerous times through the book. He was loyal and I really enjoyed that about him. 

I do believe this novel was enjoyable, despite the little problems that I had with it. I enjoyed reading it and if you're looking for a cute Young Adult novel that teens can relate to, I do recommend this one.

About the Author

Kelly Hourihan is an author of YA novels. In 2004, she graduated from Harvard with an A.B. in English. She’s been trying to strike a balance between writing and “jobs that pay the rent” since then. In 2009, she was selected as the Children’s Writer in Residence at the Boston Public Library. Kelly lives in Boston with her wife and two cats.  

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Review: Finding Home by Lauren K. McKellar

Released: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Escape Publishing
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Netgalley
Edition: eBook
Page Amount: N/A
Age Group: Young Adult
Moody, atmospheric, and just a little bit punk, Finding Home takes contemporary YA to a new level of grit...
When Amy’s mum dies, the last thing she expects is to be kicked off her dad’s music tour all the way to her Aunt Lou in a depressing hole of a seaside town. But it’s okay — Amy learned how to cope with the best, and soon finds a hard-drinking, party-loving crowd to help ease the pain. 
The only solace is her music class, but even there she can’t seem to keep it together, sabotaging her grade and her one chance at a meaningful relationship. It takes a hard truth from her only friend before Amy realises that she has to come to terms with her past, before she destroys her future.
Finding Home was an extremely easy and enjoyable read. It was a darker contemporary, which I don't read much of because I tend to gravitate more to the cutesy, fluffy contemporary reads. This novel dealt with things such as loosing a parent and alcoholism, which you don't find much of in YA novels, especially the alcohol problem that both Amy and her mother had. I like that about this novel because these are real problems in the teen society these days. I feel like a lot of novels sugar coat alcohol to be no problem, but this one didn't. That was something I really enjoyed reading in this novel, was how real it was represented.

Amy was a okay main character. Although a few times through the book I felt she was extremely naive, she was a decent character to read about. Luke had me fooled, I thought he was a good character until about half way through the book. I really enjoyed Nick's character, though. I empathized for him through the whole book and wish that Amy realized what she realized at the end, way before she actually did. She wouldn't have gotten herself into as much trouble if she hadn't.

There were definitely characters that I did not like, though. The main one in this novel was Amy's father. I couldn't believe some of the actions that he took, thinking that this would make Amy happier and have her well being in mind. I thought that, for a father figure character, he was extremely immature and whenever he was in the novel I just wanted to skip those parts. I couldn't stand reading about him, even when the book would try to make him sound like a better person than he was.

I really enjoyed McKellar's writing style. It was simple yet you still felt like you were there with the characters and you knew exactly what was surrounding you and how the characters were feeling as something was happening. 

Overall I really enjoyed reading this novel. It's a very good example that a self pubbed book can be just as good as a traditionally published novel.

About the Author

Lauren K. McKellar is an author and editor. Her debut novel, Finding Home, will be released through Escape Publishing on October 1, 2013.
As well as being a magazine editor for a national audited publication on pet care, Lauren works as a freelance editor for independent authors. She is also a Senior Editor for digital romance house, Entranced Publishing.
Lauren is a member of the Romance Writers of Australia and is obsessed with words--she really likes the way they work.
She lives on the Central Coast of New South Wales with her fiance and their two fur-children.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

In My Mailbox #2!

Welcome to In My Mailbox! This is a weekly meme where you show off all of your new, shiny books that you have to read! It is hosted by Kristi over at the Story Siren.

Before I begin I would like to mention that I apologize greatly if there is a lack of posts all this month. I am participating in National Novel Writing Month and that is taking up a lot of my reading time. Again, I apologize!

Let's get into the books...

Source: Netgalley
On the surface, Lila Summers is flawless: good looks, expensive clothes, and a big, beautiful smile. But a dark past and even darker secrets are threatening to bubble over her perfect fa├žade. She'll do anything to keep the emptiness inside hidden-which leads her into situations that always end badly. Whenever she hits bottom, there's only one person who's there to pull her out: Ethan Gregory.
Ethan set the rules a long time ago: he and Lila are just friends. He doesn't do relationships. Although his tattooed, bad boy exterior is a far cry from Lila's pretty princess image, Ethan can't deny they have a deeper connection than he's used to. If he's not careful, he could be in serious danger of becoming attached-and he's learned the hard way that attachment only leads to heartbreak.
When Lila falls farther than she ever has before, can Ethan continue to help as a friend? Or is he also getting close to falling . . . for her?
Source: Netgalley
Audrey Whitticomb saved her entire city.

Well, kind of. The superhero Morning Star (who just happens to be Audrey's mom) might have played a small part, and her sidekick, Leon—Audrey's sort-of boyfriend, who is gorgeous... and frustrating—maybe helped, too.

But after two peaceful months, there is a vicious new threat in Minneapolis. Her name is Susannah, and she's a Harrower, a demon hell-bent on destroying people like Morning Star, Leon, and Audrey—the Kin. Like others before her, she seeks the Remnant, a Kin girl who has the power to unleash the inhabitants of the Beneath. But to what end?

Audrey already has a ton on her plate: dealing with her best friend Tink's boy drama, helping her other best friend Gideon figure out his nightmares, and exploring the highs and lows of "dating" Leon. But when she develops a powerful new ability, Audrey seizes on the chance to fight, despite her mother's protests and Leon's pleas.

As Audrey gets closer to figuring out Susannah's motives and tracking down the Remnant, she'll uncover more than she bargained for. The terrible truth is staring Audrey in the face. But knowing the truth and accepting it are very different things.

Source: Netgalley
What if your destiny was to kill the one you love?

One moment. One foolish desire. One mistake. And Corinthe lost everything.

She fell from her tranquil life in Pyralis Terra and found herself exiled to the human world. Her punishment? To make sure people’s fates unfold according to plan. Now, years later, Corinthe has one last assignment: kill Lucas Kaller. His death will be her ticket home.

But for the first time, Corinthe feels a tingle of doubt. It begins as a lump in her throat, then grows toward her heart, and suddenly she feels like she’s falling all over again—this time for a boy she knows she can never have. Because it is written: one of them must live, and one of them must die.

In a universe where every moment, every second, every fate has already been decided, where does love fit in?
Source: Netgalley
A decade in the future, humanity thrives in the absence of sickness and disease.

We owe our good health to a humble parasite - a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the tapeworm protects us from illness, boosts our immune system - even secretes designer drugs. It's been successful beyond the scientists' wildest dreams. Now, years on, almost every human being has a SymboGen tapeworm living within them.

But these parasites are getting restless. They want their own lives...and will do anything to get them.
Source: Bought
One choice will define you.

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.
Source: Bought
"I won't tell anyone, Echo. I promise." Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. "You didn't do that-did you? It was done to you?" No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.

So wrong for each other...and yet so right.

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.
Those are all of the books I received this week. What books did you get?