Publisher: HarperTeen

Friday, November 28, 2014

Review: No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown

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

Review: No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin BrownNo Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown
Published by HarperTeen on December 9th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: HarperCollins
Buy on Amazon

Amber Vaughn is a good girl. She sings solos at church, babysits her nephew after school, and spends every Friday night hanging out at her best friend Devon’s house. It’s only when Amber goes exploring in the woods near her home, singing camp songs with the hikers she meets on the Appalachian Trail, that she feels free—and when the bigger world feels just a little bit more in reach.

When Amber learns about an audition at the North Carolina School of the Arts, she decides that her dream—to sing on bigger stages—could also be her ticket to a new life. Devon’s older (and unavailable) brother, Will, helps Amber prepare for her one chance to try out for the hypercompetitive arts school. But the more time Will and Amber spend together, the more complicated their relationship becomes . . . and Amber starts to wonder if she’s such a good girl, after all.

Then, in an afternoon, the bottom drops out of her family’s world—and Amber is faced with an impossible choice between her promise as an artist and the people she loves. Amber always thought she knew what a good girl would do. But between “right” and “wrong,” there’s a whole world of possibilities.

I was extremely bored while reading this. Even at 80% I felt like the book was going nowhere. The plot was dragging through the mud and the characters, while some are well-developed enough, were uninteresting and lacked any sort of compelling nature. It might be a good book to pick for when you just want a mindless read one boring Sunday, but otherwise I wouldn’t expect to become especially enthralled with No Place to Fall.

When we meet our main character, Amber, she seems like this party girl who makes a hobby out of hooking up and getting high with strangers from all over the world who stop by her town. She keeps track of her nightly… adventures.. on a map. But then we learn that she’s supposedly this good girl from an uber religious family, going to church every week, singing in the choir, with big dreams she considers pointless because she can’t possibly leave her mother alone. Overall, she’s a mixed bag that I was never able to give any kind of concrete personality to. I fared better with the secondary characters who were at least distinguishable. I can’t say I especially liked any of them, however. They were very stereotypical and brought in a bunch of unnecessary drama that became annoying rather than thrilling.

The plot was also all over the place. The whole ordeal about Amber needing to buy this guitar was so pointless, yet it’s the only thing that really happens in the book as far as excitement – if you want to call it that. I mean I get it, it was meant to be this big life-changer for Seth and his broken past or whatever, but the whole thing felt… incredibly predictable. Added in for drama, no doubt. In addition to the drug dealings, stealing, cheating (x3!), “tragic” parental figures, the new kid in town, the unexpected romantic interest, the gay best friend… Honestly, this could have been a really potent story about finding hope when the cards are stacked against you, instead it just all felt like clutter. It lacked the tension and emotional investment needed to make for a moving read. We also kept coming back to this singing storyline – we couldn’t forget for one second how amazing of a singer Amber was, with lyrics scattered throughout the book and people constantly making her sing because she’s so darn good became repetitive and tiresome.

There isn’t much more I can say about this one, really. When you’re over the halfway mark in a book and you’re still waiting for it to start that’s a very bad sign. Maybe this is a hit-or-miss kind of read – those who enjoy slow moving contemporaries should still give it a try – it definitely wasn’t a hit for me.


2 Hot Espressos

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…

Review: Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker

Review: Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker

Posted by on 10/15/2014 • 9 Comments

This started on a great note with a super creepy premise that had a lot of potential, but it started dragging and getting more and more ridiculous; magical peaches and gaterboys and all. in the end, I unfortunately can’t say I enjoyed this one very much.

It did grab me full-on at the start, though. Sterling’s brother goes missing inside a swamp, and the next thing you know, a strange girl comes out in his place and no one but our main character even remembers her brother. So of course, her family thinks she’s gone insane. They remember this new girl, though, as if she had been there all along. Even Sterling starts getting false memories about their childhood together. Sounds awesome, right? I loved it,then, I truly did!…

Review: Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine Kuderick

Review: Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine Kuderick

Posted by on 08/28/2014 • 18 Comments

I missed the fact that this was a verse novel before I started it, but for me this was a pleasant surprise. Having been introduced to verse novels only recently, I’ve developed a liking to them. I love how raw, honest, and candid they are. Plus they feel like extremely quick reads, as if you’re just flying through. This one in particular, at only 220 some odd pages, can be read in mere minutes. The disadvantage of such a short novel, though, is that it lacks the emotional oomph and depth that I usually feel with verse writing. It does touch on an delicate subject matter – cutting as a fad – but it fails to deliver something truly poignant.

This is the story of Kenna who was caught in…

Review: Feral by Holly Schindler

Review: Feral by Holly Schindler

Posted by on 08/22/2014 • 16 Comments

Feral was a very strange read. And I’m usually really good with strange – I love a book that brings something new and so bizarre that you’re like WTF! the whole way through – think Charm & Strange or (Don’t You) Forget About Me. Feral, though, was not this good kind of strange. It was cringe-worthy and full of absurd weirdness that just left me annoyed.

It starts with a girl – Claire – who gets attacked in a Chicago alley – apparently one of the safe alleys. Due to the anxiety she suffers from since, they decide to start fresh in a new eccentric little town. This is where she starts seeing the spirit of a murdered girl, driving Claire to solve this murder. This sounds all pretty generic…

Review: Blackbird by Anna Carey

Review: Blackbird by Anna Carey

Posted by on 08/21/2014 • 13 Comments

I always go into YA thrillers with a bit of trepidation. As someone who loves these types of movies and TV shows I always end up finding the teen novel versions to be a bit too convenient which leads to a lot of eyerolling. While this was definitely a unique take on the genre with it’s second person narration, it did still fall victim to the typical tropes I have come to dislike over time.

What was striking right off the bat was how the reader is thrown into the novel with the second person narration. With the word “you” constantly being used to describe our MC it really throws us into the novel and leaves us feeling as if we have woken up with no recollection of who we…

Review: In the End by Demitria Lunetta

Review: In the End by Demitria Lunetta

Posted by on 08/20/2014 • 13 Comments

Ok so, I was all about ready to rate this book a 4-star, and then I learn this is actually the finale. Wait, what? Ok let’s rewind a bit. As a sequel, it’s actually pretty darn good with some intriguing developments in the plot, and we get to see more about how survivors turned evil in the midst of the apocalypse. But then I finish the book, look up on Goodreads, and see that this is actually a duology. Whoa! No! This did not feel like a finale at all. The blunt ending is now especially crappy knowing that this is it… I am now very much disappointed. Booo! Buuut, I did enjoy being horrified while reading this, so I do give it that credit.

I seriously read this whole…