Source: HarperTeen

Monday, February 16, 2015

Review: Better Than Perfect by Melissa Kantor

Posted by 12 Comments

I received this book for free from HarperTeen in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Better Than Perfect by Melissa KantorBetter Than Perfect by Melissa Kantor
Published by HarperTeen on February 17th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: HarperTeen
Buy on Amazon

Juliet Newman has it all. A picture-perfect family; a handsome, loving boyfriend; and a foolproof life plan: ace her SATs, get accepted into Harvard early decision, and live happily ever after.

But when her dad moves out and her mom loses it, Juliet begins questioning the rules she’s always lived by. And to make everything even more complicated there’s Declan, the gorgeous boy who makes her feel alive and spontaneous—and who’s totally off-limits. Torn between the life she always thought she wanted and one she never knew was possible, Juliet begins to wonder: What if perfect isn't all it’s cracked up to be?

Melissa Kantor once again delivers a tale that is equal parts surprising, humorous, heartbreaking, and romantic. Powerful and honest, Juliet’s story brilliantly portrays the highs and lows of life in high school and will resonate with any reader who has experienced either.

I almost stopped reading this book because I didn’t really like the MC very much. I am glad I continued it though because it really was a good book. I still never really liked Juliet much, but I thought that the story itself was well done and loved the subject matter that it covered. You know when you look at someone who is pretty, smart, has a perfect looking life and family? Well, who is to say that their life isn’t completely fucked up? That is what this story is about and that is why I enjoyed it. I don’t agree with some of the things that Juliet did, but it doesn’t mean that I didn’t think this was a really well told story, that holds a lot of important topics and situations. Anyways, before I go on sounding like a PSA about issues and all, I should get on with the review.

Juliet seems to have the perfect life. Her family lives in a nice house, she has been with her perfect boyfriend (who also has a perfect family) for four years, she is most likely going to get into Harvard, I mean the list goes on and on. But, what happens when her dad walks out, she bombs her SAT’s, and her mother falls apart? She still seems like the perfect girl from the outside, but really, she feels like her life is falling apart. Jason leaves to go on vacation with his family, and while he is gone things fall apart more for her. She doesn’t know what to do, and doesn’t know if she is okay. She ends up cheating on Jason in what she calls a moment of insanity. Cheating always bothers me, so that made me really not like her. What was worse though, is she did feel sorry about it, but kept wanting Declan. Yes, she makes some mistakes, but most of all, she starts to learn who she really is. Not what people want her to be or expect her to be. I didn’t like her character so much as I liked the growth that she had.

Of course we have a sort of love triangle in the story if you couldn’t guess by the whole cheating thing. It’s not really a love triangle though. Yes, Juliet does love Jason. They’ve been together for four years. They know each other well. In a moment of weakness and wanting to just forget all her pain and everything going on in her life, she cheats on Jason with Declan, who she has just met. She doesn’t think she will see him again until her ends up going to her school. She is obviously attracted to him, but more than that, she really gets along with the band and his family. He sees the real her even if she doesn’t. I don’t like the whole cheating thing, but I did like that Declan wanted Juliet to be herself, where Jason wanted her to be who she is expected to be and doesn’t understand when she does things different. I didn’t find Jason to be very understanding and he would get mad or say she was doing something that wasn’t “her”. Yes, he was nice and he loves her, but I think he more loved the idea of what they were and what they would be. Some perfect couple who would always be almost perfect in almost anything they did.

It’s been a while since I have been in high school, but I remember that it’s tough. It’s hard to be yourself and not who you are expected to be sometimes. I couldn’t imagine being from the picture perfect family and having that additional pressure along with being expected to get into Harvard. It’s easy to look at someone and judge them, but you may know nothing about them. You don’t know if someone in their family is suffering from a mental illness, or if their family is falling apart. People see what they want to and don’t always want to accept other things. Sometimes even the closest friends don’t understand why you might change something that you’ve always done. I loved seeing the changes that Juliet went through. She was going through such a tough time dealing with all of those issues mentioned above, but she was strong for the most part and she broke out of the perfect everyone thought of her, and found her own type of perfect. I think this was a great book. I am so glad that I didn’t put this book down and decided to keep going because I really ended up liking it and think that it’s a perfect book for teenagers and adults to read.


4 Hot Espressos

Review: Beware the Wild by Natalie Parker

Review: Beware the Wild by Natalie Parker

Posted by on 01/09/2015 • 9 Comments

Objectively, Beware the Wild is really good. Subjectively, while I found it decent, I couldn’t really connect to it very much.

Don’t get me wrong, the writing is gorgeous. It’s very showing than telling, moving the plot along in a great pace while portraying the heroine’s personality and flaws exceptionally well. There were a lot of inner thoughts and monologues that give you front-row seats of the turmoils being stirred within her as Sterling finds herself in a situation where nobody suddenly remembers who her brother is, except, perhaps, the Swamp where magic and danger lie within. There is flow, and you could even say things happen “naturally” and nothing feels forced, but… 

I don’t know. It just… fell flat, for me, characterisation-wise. Is it normal to recognize the beauty…

Review: Twisted Fate by Norah Olsen

Review: Twisted Fate by Norah Olsen

Posted by on 12/30/2014 • 8 Comments

This was one of those books that I was really looking forward to and it sounded like a book I would love. Unfortunately, it was not all that great for me. There were a lot of POV’s and I just had a hard time really getting into it. It wasn’t that it wasn’t interesting. I did want to know the story, I was just kind of bored with it. It took me a long time to read and I almost didn’t finish it, though I am glad that I finally did. The ending is actually really great. This is told from multiple POV’s, as I said before. Sometimes I really like that style, but this one was just a bit too all over for me. I found myself confused at…

Review: Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby

Review: Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby

Posted by on 12/25/2014 • 19 Comments

You know a book is really special when you’ve only just begun and you’re already overwhelming with emotions. Imagine, I’ve only read a few pages of this novel and my eyes were starting to water already. My little brother was even giving me a bewildered look as he saw me wipe my tears away with the back of my hand.

Le brother: What’s up with you? Me: This book… this book is… it’s just so sad…! Le brother: You’re crying over a book? Me: I’m not crying over a book. I’m crying over the characters in this book! Le brother: … you’re crying over a book. Me: Fuck you, you heartless bastard. You wouldn’t understand.

Pffft, brothers. Who needs them?

I’ve first read Jessi Kirby in Golden, a heart-warming and relatable story of…

Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Posted by on 12/19/2014 • 23 Comments

Well, what do you know… I actually found myself enjoying this one, despite my initial reservations.

If I could briefly describe this book, it’s Red Rising by Pierce Brown Set in a Castle-Turned-Into-X-Men-Academy. And trust me, it’s way cooler than it sounds. And it already sounds way cool.

It’s a premise we have seen before – in fiction and in history: the people are divided into two classes, the rulers and the ruled. The first are the Silvers, who enjoy the luxuries of life and have various abilities (reading and controlling minds, manipulating elements, healing); we also have the Reds, who toil and work their lives away for the latter, oppressed and living in extreme poverty. And we have Mare Barrows, a Red who finds herself wielding Silver powers – an anomaly, a mistake,…

Review: Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas

Review: Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas

Posted by on 12/04/2014 • 13 Comments

Just in time for the holiday season, this book is set on Christmas Eve. It was a fun and fast read with a bit of a mystery element. The characters were interesting, though not thoroughly developed, and the story was a bit mindless. There are random lists that scatter this book quite frequently, but being that it is told by Chloe, it really shows her personality. She loves lists and it is very much a part of her daily life. At first it was a bit distracting, but quickly became a fun part of the story. This is just one of those books that you can sit down and read in one sitting, that you don’t take too seriously, and it’s a few hours worth of entertainment.

Chloe’s family…

Review: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

Review: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

Posted by on 11/14/2014 • 25 Comments

Have you ever wondered what happened after Sleeping Beauty woke up from her slumber? Pondered if she really did live a “happily ever after”?

Well, A Wicked Thing is here to tell you that story. At least… one of the possibilities, anyway.

And it ain’t exactly pretty.

Retellings can be awesome and it can be a pain in the rear. Awesome, because you’re already familiar with the basic elements, so there’s already a pre-established connection to certain characters, and there’s already the excitement for the new things the author will add to it. And it can result to a disaster, too… because, you know… the new things may screw everything up, OR, worst-case scenario, nothing new gets added and we’re left with a dull, boring story pathetically trailing in the shadows of the original. This is…

Review: Rites of Passage by Joy N Hensley

Review: Rites of Passage by Joy N Hensley

Posted by on 11/06/2014 • 17 Comments

It’s been a while since I listened to a good audiobook. I enjoyed this one quite a bit. Not only was the book itself great, but the narrator was perfect for it. In this day and age we don’t think as much about gender equality as we used to, but gender roles sadly do still exist. I love that this was a YA book that explored that, and shows a strong female character fighting for what is right. Not only for herself, but for others to follow. I love a good military story, and this one was great. I think it was enhanced by the audio since it really helped to put the emotion of the characters center stage. I wouldn’t say this was full of action, but there was…