Book Review | Wildflower by Alecia Whitaker

Authour:wildflower
Alecia Whitaker
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 307 pages
Publication date:
July 1st 2014
Publisher:
Poppy
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
A couple of days ago in a conversation with one of my best friends who has endured much of heartache and has experienced love numerous times in which I asked her if she had the talent would she ever write about her experiences and sing about them? Her answer was of course yes. Unfortunately both my friend and I lack the skills to do so. This however is not an issue for 16 year old Bird Barrett, who has grown up traveling on the road playing shows with her family, all of whom are musically inclined.

I just love how passionate Bird was about music and performing, and it showed well through the pages as a result of the writing. It was also endearing how Bird’s passion for music was only exceeded by her love for her family and for the boy she has had a crush on for awhile. It was also interesting to experience an inside look at what’s it like to travel, live and work with your family, and it was nice getting a peek into the thoughts of one performer as it gives readers an idea of how performers thinks and their views the events that occur before, after and during a live performance.

However, what I enjoyed the majority about Wildflower was the portrayal of a family on the road together, even they weren’t perfect, they always tried to be supportive and there for each other in times of need. I also liked seeing Bird develop a friendship with a Stella, who was her age; it was nice seeing her finally have someone to confide in who could really understand some of teenaged emotions she was going through.

Thus, while the Cinderella like story of a girl being discovered and suddenly thrust into the spotlight and becoming a celebrity, is not a new concept or anything, the sweet moments that Bird has with her mom, dad, brothers, her mentor, Shannon and her friend Stella in addition to a few cute moments with her love interest, Adam made Wildflower a cute and fluffy read for the summer. As a result, even though I wasn’t thrilled when I heard this would only be the first book in the series, after finishing Wildflower, I am seriously considering picking up the next book in the series so that I can read more of Bird’s story.

If you like this book, you’ll love: Open Road Summer by Emory Lord

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Authour:afterido
Taylor Jenkins Reid

Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 334 pages
Publication date:
July 1st 2014
Publisher:
Washington Square Press
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
There are scores of stories that just end when a couple gets married, leaving the reader to guess what happens after. However, After I Do takes, the less common approach of telling the story of a married couple, Lauren and Ryan, whose marriage is falling apart. Their marriage get so unbearable that the pair decides to separate as they no longer find that they love each other anymore.

And while there may be some books that have similar stories what I like about this book is how it opens up with the couple having a heated argument before jumping to how they met 11 years ago, followed by their wedding and the months that follow up until the present time with a few time skips in between. Fortunately this indicates the start of each chapter so the reader doesn’t get too confused. As a result, we get to witness Lauren and Ryan meeting and falling in love and then falling in love as both start to neglect their relationship once they get married. I found this a clever storytelling tool, and it works well for the type of story the authour is trying to tell.

What I liked about After I Do is that there is no magic solution to their marital problems; the couple is left to their own devices to try and figure things out on their own. Everything they do has consequences, and even their separation affects just more than the couple. There is an excellent scene in the book where Lauren’s brother who has always been close to Ryan ever since Ryan came into Lauren life tells her that she doesn’t own Ryan even though they split up. This was realistic in that it examines the question of what happens to the other relationships when a marriage breaks up, it’s too simplistic to say you’d take the side of your blood family no questions asked. I believe in real life relationships are more complicated and messy and at times family members may end up cherishing those relationships that resulted because of the marriage just as much as their relationship with their own family and it is just as painful if not almost impossible to give those relationships up.

Taylor Jenkins Reid writes family relationships extremely well in After I Do, and her writing also flows nicely. In particular, I like the relationship Lauren has with her family, especially the one she has with her sister, Rachel which made me envious of their closeness. Rachel was also such a refreshing character as you rarely see characters that don’t put much stock in whether or not they end up married and with a family in women fiction. As this is how I also feel about the subject, I loved that I was able to relate to the character of Rachel in that way. Overall, the whole family dynamic in Lauren’s family was so amazing and it was easy to love them, especially her grandmother who was the perfect blend of sweetness, harshness, and hilarity.

After I Do is a book that even if you’re not married you could probably enjoy just as well, as it reminds us the importance of appreciating the people we love and to cherish all the time we have with them.

If you like this book, you’ll love: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Blog Tour | Like No Other by Una LaMarche Book Review

Authour:noother
Una LaMarche
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 312 pages
Publication date:
July 24th 2014
Publisher:
Razorbill
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:

Remember the story of Romeo and Juliet? Well what if the story rook place in modern times and Romeo and Juliet were from two completely different cultures living on opposite sides of the same street? This is what you can sort of expect in Una LaMarche’s newest book, Like No Other.

In Like No Other, the two main characters are Jaxon who is a boy of West Indian descent and Devorah, a Hasidic Jewish girl. Both are strong characters whose cultures and beliefs add more richness to their characters. I especially love how Devorah as she is portrayed as a extremely capable and intelligent person and that never changes in the book. While Devorah’s character is explored in great depth, I found that we barely get to know Jaxon. This is unfortunate as I would have also liked to have witnessed some growth and get a glimpse of how knowing Devorah has changed him in the end.

In my opinion the synopsis is a tad misleading as the romance aspect of the book was barely there. Which I suppose is a good thing in this case as I felt it was a bit insta-lovey and based more on infatuation rather than anything concrete, even though it does have its believable and charming moments. However the relationship itself, works well as a catalyst for Devorah to get out of her comfort zone, and question what she truly wants in life outside of what she has been told to want. I love how Devorah grows to become her own person, and someone who wants to and is able to fight her own battles as she slowly starts to realize that there is more to that the world and life can offer her than the sheltered upbringing she is used to. Not that there is anything wrong with that world, but I believe it’s important for everyone to be aware of all the options, and be given a choice to choose what they want out of their life even if while knowing that in reality numerous people still do not have this luxury.

Like No Other is a welcome coming of age story that adds a diverse voice to the YA genre, which is in definite need of more diverse voices. And although I liked Una LaMarche’s debut novel about friendship and summer just a tad more than Like No Other, I can safely say I like Like No Other almost as much as I liked Five Summers.

If you like this book, you’ll love:  Just One Day  by Gayle Forman

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Early Book Review | Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Authour:landline
Rainbow Rowell
Format:
Egalley
Publication date:
July 8th 2014
Publisher:
St. Martin’s Press
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
I haven’t had much luck with Rainbow Rowell’s books; I disliked and did not finish Eleanor and Park. And while I found both Attachments and Fangirl okay, I wasn’t truly wowed by either of them. However the synopsis her newest book, Landline appealed to me much more than the plot of any of her other books so I was excited to pick it up. And I’m glad I did as Rainbow Rowell’s writing has definitely improved a great deal over time.

A marriage is in trouble and a magic yellow phone may be the key to saving it; this is the premise of Rainbow Rowell’s latest book Lanline. In Lanline, the Protagoras is Georgie McCool, a mother, wife, and TV writer who is working on a new show that she hopes will get picked up. However as she gets more and more consumed with her work she starts to neglect her family and her marriage more. This realization finally hits her hard when her husband and daughters take off to visit his mother for Christmas leaving her behind and alone. And it is on this day when she is alone in her room that she discovers a way to talk to a younger version of her husband Neal. With this Georgie is confronted with a dilemma, having found a way where she could go back and change the past and as a result her and Neal’s future, would she take advantage of it?

To be honest, initially I didn’t actually like present day Neal, even though he seemed like a decent guy and an excellent father. Mostly I found his relationship with Georgie frustrating, even though it was both of their faults that there were problems in their marriage. However after getting a chance to see what Neal was like when they were younger in addition to learning about the back-story of their relationship, the pairing of Georgie and Neal started to slowly grow on me. I also thought the present day Georgie’s phone conversations with 1998 Neal were incredibly adorable, mostly because it showed how obviously Georgie was in love with Neal both in the past and in the present.

Landline is a realistic portrayal of long-term relationships in particular marriage and how easy it is to get comfortable in routines that you end up forgetting to consider the other person in the relationship. This book is for anyone who is a fan of Rainbow Rowell’s other books as well as anyone who loves adult contemporary fiction.

If you like this book, you’ll love: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Blog Tour | Prototype by M.D. Waters Book Review

Authour:proto
M.D. Waters
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 375 pages
Publication date:
July 24th 2014
Publisher:
Dutton Adult
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:

While I did enjoy the first book, Archetype I found that it was lacking something. In particular, I found Emma to be a bit too passive, although to be fair, she had just lost all her memories. This is why I’m glad to see a more independent, proactive and kick butt Emma in Prototype.

Prototype is the second book in M.D. Waters’ duology and I thought it was the perfect length. Too often I find, books are part of a series, and sometimes the story gets dragged out for way too long. As well the wait for each new book to come out can be which is why I’m glad this series with done with book two.

Right from the start, it picks up almost right after the events of Archetype. However, for those who haven’t read the first book, Waters does such a fine job of helping the reader catch up to the plot that it does not matter if you haven’t read the first book. Actually, I personally think it would be more enjoyable if you read Prototype as a standalone, but that’s just my take, having read both books.

Besides the character growth that Emma undergoes in Prototype, I also like how the world building was expanded upon in this book, especially as more hidden connections between the various characters are revealed in this book. In addition the friendships and relationships, in particular the main romance is explored further and it becomes clear who Emma is meant to be with since when you witness her with Noah it makes sense. Their relationship just works in a way that you cannot help but root for her and Noah. Which brings me to my next point, what I greatly disliked about this book was how the whole situation with Sonya was handled; I couldn’t help but feel great sympathy for her even though she had to know what kind of situation she was getting herself into. In addition, I felt like Emma acted on incredibly selfish desires having barely known her daughter, she wants to bond with her right away. Still I can understand her jealousy of the close relationship Sonya has with the girl who is technically Emma’s daughter. Actually, I suppose this issue was kind of unresolved by the novel’s end, which makes me wonder how Emma, Noah and Adrienne will move forward as a family since Adrienne has always viewed Sonya as more of her mother.

In summary Prototype‘s greatest are on the whole, its characters and their relationships. I love how Foster and Emma’s friendship was further developed in this book as well as the friendships Emma forms with people her “old self” disliked like Miles. Although a bit predictable at times, Prototype is a satisfying conclusion to a new adult series that is an interesting mix of science fiction and somewhat spiritual elements.

If you like this book, you’ll love: Archetype by M.D. Waters

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.