Midweek Mini Reviews #10


The Key to Everything by Paula Stokes

I love novels that feature travel in them, however I can be rather picky when it comes to the ones I actually end up liking. Fortunately, I rather enjoyed Paula Stokes’ The Key to Everything. Since The Key to Everything is categorized as “New Adult” this made the characters even more relatable to me since they are closer to my age than the teens in YA novels are. I also loved the fact that Oakland and Morgan are Psychology graduates as that’s what I studied during my undergraduate as well. The whole joke about Oakland and Morgan analyzing the boys (because they’re studying psychology) has been said to me on numerous occasions as well when I went abroad as a student. And while it was a bit frustrating to see how Oakland behaved at times, I did appreciate the positive female friendships (there’s not much “drama” between the girls) and I was glad that Morgan was there to talk some sense in Oakland when she went too far. The Key to Everything is a great read that is sure to inspire some serious wanderlust, but more than that I love how it portrays the unexpected friendships and relationships that can form when you take the risk and put yourself out there. And while it’s not always the case, it’s was nice to see that the bonds the girls form during their trip end up lasting when they return to the “real world”. Slightly predictable yet also unique this was one book I loved throughout.

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz

Melissa De La Cruz’s Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe has made many changes to the classic novel. The Bennets’ are now brothers instead of sisters, Bingley is a gay actor, and Darcy is an independent, modern woman who had to make her own fortune after she was “disowned” by her parents. What I didn’t like about this retelling was how Darcy was made out to be a selfish, snobby and stuck up person by almost everyone. As readers we get to see the story from Darcy’s point of view, but even from her actions while she’s far from perfect she truly isn’t that horrible or even judgmental of a person compared to some of the other characters. Which is why I felt her “change” was a bit excessive since we didn’t get to see how she previously treated her assistant and it’s not as if she abused Millie. I was glad when her best friend, Bingley finally assured her that she wasn’t the awful person that everyone made her out to be just because she was the only one of them to leave and make it on her own. As for the character of “Luke Bennet” (this version’s “Elizabeth Bennet”), I wish we got to know him more because his character came off as kind of bland. Other than that Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe was a sweet spin on the Pride and Prejudice story and would make for a nice quick holiday read. And if you’d rather watch the movie, then you’re in luck as Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe is in the process of becoming a Hallmark movie!

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

 

 

Mystery Monday | Liars Inc. by Paula Stokes

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is a sometimes weekly, sometimes biweekly and sometimes monthly review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Authour: liars
Paula Stokes
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 361 pages
Publication date:
March 24th 2015
Publisher:
HarperTeen
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
I’m been a fan of Paula Stokes’ previous works, including the Venom series that she wrote under the name Fiona Paul. Thus when I heard she was coming out with a new YA thriller, I was greatly anticipating it. Fortunately, I was provided a review copy of Liars, Inc. as did Ri from Hiver et Café therefore we decided to do a read-along of the book together.

Liars, Inc. is unlike Stokes’ other works, it is definitely creepier and darker in tone as it follows Max Cantrell and his friends who form a business in high school where they create lies or “alibis” for their classmates in exchange for cash. Told from the perspective of Max, I found it refreshing to read a YA thriller from a male’s POV and I felt that Stokes did an excellent job with creating Max’s voice which sounded quite authentic. Additionally, Max’s friends were equally compelling and well-developed characters in their own right and I am looking forward to reading a story from Parvati’s POV as I just loved her character. That being said I felt like I couldn’t truly connect with this book as much as I wished to, though maybe it’s given that I found it difficult to relate to the book’s setting and characters or perhaps it was for the reason that I could not comprehend a number of of their motivations, though I did enjoy the fact that we were inside Max’s head and therefore we got to watch him attempt to explain and rationalize his actions even if the rationale was flawed at times.

In spite of everything, I still thought Liars, Inc. was an extremely well-written YA thriller. And I loved how it touched on themes like family and love and I definitely appreciated the fact that while there was romance it was mostly eclipsed by the mystery elements. Finally Liars, Inc. is a book for people who crave to read a YA mystery/thriller, where characters are not easily forgiven and villains do not get off easily.

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] Book Review |The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

ArtOfLainey_blogtour

Authour:Lainey
Paula Stokes
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 378 pages
Publication date:
May 20th 2014
Publisher:
HarperTeen
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
I’ve really been on a contemporary young adult fiction kick lately, so I was pleased to be a part of the blog tour for Paula Stokes’ The Art of Lainey. Before I even picked up this book though I stumbled upon a guest post the authour wrote featuring an interview with the protagonist, Lainey and her best friend Bianca. It was this post that made me what to start reading the book months before the actual blog tour. I just loved the friendship that Lainey and Bianca have and this was evident in the guest post as well as throughout the novel. They were always there for each other when one needed the other and I liked that they could joke around with each other so easily.

Lainey was an interesting character. Normally I dislike any character that tends to define themselves mainly through the people they are dating but somehow the authour pulls it off and makes me root for Lainey. I think it’s probably because she’s a tomboy and kind of loud which makes her a little more relatable to me. In addition she showed a lot of maturity as the book progressed as she began to differentiate between those who truly loved and supported her and those who cared only about their own interests.

I also adore the relationship between Micah and Lainey, the romance was part cute and some part hot, and the fact that they didn’t seem like a perfect fit initially made it all the more adorable when they started to fall for each other. The Art of Lainey was an enjoyable contemporary YA novel with very real characters and pretty realistic portrayals of relationships and friendships. It had a great story, as well as good writing and characters, and I loved the fact that each chapter started off with a quote from The Book of War, an ancient Chinese war manual and the book from where the title of this book was loosely based off of.

If you like this book, you’ll love: 16 Things I Thought Were True by Janet Gurtler

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

Waiting On Wednesday #14 – The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

wed

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that highlights upcoming titles that we’re looking forward to/dying to read.
It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine
Lainey

Synposis:

Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is used to getting what she wants, and when her boyfriend Jason breaks up with her for no reason, what she wants is to win him back before the start of their senior year. Lainey and her friend Bianca check the interwebz for tips and tricks, but the online dating advice is all pretty lame.

Then the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. Didn’t someone once say that love is a battlefield? Jason isn’t going to stand a chance once Lainey and Bee go all Zhou Dynasty on him…

Old school strategy and subterfuge meet modern-day dramarama in the story of a girl who sets out to win at all costs and ends up discovering what’s really worth fighting for.

Authour:
Paula Stokes

Publication date:
May 20th 2014

Publisher:
HarperTeen

Wow there are so many good HarperCollins titles coming out in 2014. I love contemporary young adult fiction and am looking forward to this one as it refers to the classic text, The Art of War. In the meantime I’ve signed up for be a part of the Canadian blog tour for this book so *fingers crossed* I get chosen!