Book Review–When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle

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This is the 17th book from my 115 in 2015 Reading Challenge.

 

12022765When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle
Published May 1st, 2012 by Simon Pulse

 

An intensely romantic, modern recounting of the greatest love story ever told—narrated by the girl Romeo was supposed to love.

Rosaline knows that she and Rob are destined to be together. Rose has been waiting for years for Rob to kiss her—and when he finally does, it’s perfect. But then Juliet moves back to town. Juliet, who used to be Rose’s best friend. Juliet, who now inexplicably hates her. Juliet, who is gorgeous, vindictive, and a little bit crazy…and who has set her sights on Rob. He doesn’t stand a chance.

Rose is devastated over losing Rob to Juliet. And when rumors start swirling about Juliet’s instability, her neediness, and her threats of suicide, Rose starts to fear not only for Rob’s heart, but also for his life. Because Shakespeare may have gotten the story wrong, but we all still know how it ends.

 

 

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**The following review may contain some spoilers***

Plot:

The plot is basically a modern re-telling of Romeo and Juliet, only from Rosaline’s POV. If you don’t remember, she was the woman Romeo claimed to love before he met Juliet. The plot itself is realistic, and made me feel like I was back in high school even though my experience with it was much different than Rosie’s. Still. For the most part, I enjoyed the plot, though it seemed to drag near the end.

Setting:

The setting is in mostly sunny California, and was super easy to picture. I liked that the characters had regular spots they liked to hang out, which brought even more realism to the story.

Characters:

Rosaline was a very easy character to like and sympathize with. I felt terrible for her throughout most of the book. I felt happy and excited when she did. I wanted to see her happy, even though I knew tragedy was looming up ahead.

I liked her girl friends, Charlie and Olivia. Especially Charlie, who’s tough and kind of demanding, but definitely has a big heart. Olivia had some great comic relief but seemed genuinely sweet.

I liked Rob well enough until he put Rosaline’s heart through the ringer. He could have made his new relationship so much easier on the girl he supposedly used to love, but he didn’t. It was hard to feel sorry for him later on, at least until the “secret” gets spilled.

As for Len, I adored him pretty much from the moment we met him. He had much more personality than Rob and I was hoping him and Rosaline would get closer.

I liked Rosaline’s parents, who seemed real and down-to-earth. It would have been nice to see more scenes with them.

Juliet was awful. Even when I learned about the “secret” and her reasons for hating Rosaline, I still didn’t like her. There was no excuse for some of the things she did to Rosaline. The barbie scene especially comes to mind.

Overall, all of the characters felt realistic and were fun reading about.

Relationships:

Rosaline and Rob were kinda cute, but never felt “destined” to be for me. Still, I felt awful for the girl when it didn’t work out. Her emotions were realistic. Especially once the tragedy occurred. I would have probably blamed myself as well.

I liked Rosaline and Len’s relationship better. They were adorable and every scene between them was full of chemistry. Much more interesting than “Romeo” any day.

Rosaline’s relationship with her friends was fun and felt real, especially when one of them was going through something difficult. Charlie breaking down in the car was the one that gripped me the most, as well as when Charlie later returns the favor for Rosaline after the tragedy.

I also liked Rosaline’s relationship with her parents. It’s always nice to see YA where the kids and the parents actually get along and are realistic about it. My only gripe is that I wish they had been a little more prevalent in the book.

The relationship between Juilet and Rosaline seemed a little extreme at times, though the kitchen scene helped. Juliet is painted as the evil cousin who steals Rosaline’s boyfriend away. While she did seem to go after Rob even though she knew he was more than friends with Rosaline, I wish he would have been blamed just as much for the relationship happening to begin with.

Writing/Voice:

The writing and voice was very easy to get into. This book was a little hard to put down at times.

Ending:

The ending is sweet, but somehow felt a bit out of place after the tragedy. I like that it ended with a new direction of life for Rosaline, but the entire ending just seemed a little off. Maybe it’s because it pretty much skips from the tragedy to the ending.

Overall:

This was a really good story, with great characters and intriguing relationships. The only thing that keeps me from rating it 5 stars is a few instances of slut-shaming (by the friends in conversation), as well as Rob not getting nearly as much heat for his part on the relationship (Juliet didn’t just force him to be with her against her will, you know). I’m getting tired of seeing the slut-shaming thrown around in books, even if it seems realistic.

 

4stars

 

 

jncname

Book Review–Stalker Girl by Rosemary Graham

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This is the 16th book from my 115 in 2015 Reading Challenge.

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com
Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Stalker Girl by Rosemary Graham
Published August 5th, 2010 by Viking Juvenile

 

Carly never meant to become a stalker. She just wanted to find out who Brian started dating after he dumped her. But a little harmless online research turns into a quick glance, and that turns into an afternoon of watching. Soon Carly is putting all of her energy into following Brian’s new girlfriend–all of the sadness she feels about her mom’s recent breakup, all of the anger she feels over being pushed aside by her dad while he prepares for his new wife/s new baby. When Carly’s stalking is discovered in the worst possible way by the worst possible person, she is forced to acknowledge her problem and the underlying issues that led to it.

 

 

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Plot:

A plot I haven’t really seen in YA before, especially from a girl protagonist. There were a few times in which I was confused, but overall it worked. It went from the present to the past, then slowly moved back to the present, then back to more of the past. I wasn’t expecting any of it though, so it was a nice surprise. I tended to like the beginning and middle of the book better than the last part. It was harder to sympathize with Carly as the plot got more crazy.

Setting:

The setting was very easy to picture, even though I have never been to New York. The camp was also easy to imagine. It felt very realistic and I grew to love seeing New York from Carly’s eyes.

Characters:

Carly was an easy character to like and sympathize with for a while. I know what it’s like to have your heart broken and to be ignored. I also know what it’s like to have a broken family. And I can see how all of these events contributed to her crazy, compulsive behavior. It got a little harder feeling sorry for her as she went off the deep end, but I still cared about what happened to her in the end.

Though I wanted to hate the love interest for breaking Carly’s heart, it was hard for the most part because he was very likable. I could also see why he would fall for his new girlfriend, who seemed like a really nice person.

I also liked Jess and Nick. I didn’t care as much for Carly’s parents, who felt a bit aloof, but they seemed to have their own worlds they were involved in.

I found Val to be kind of annoying and didn’t really understand why she was Carly’s best friend at times. The relationship purging was a good idea, but I could also see why Carly wouldn’t be so open with her.

Relationships:

The relationships were really well done for the most part. Especially in the case of Carly and Brian. Their relationship was believable and also made Carly’s inability to let go more understandable than if we hadn’t been shown it. It made me sad that things didn’t work out for Carly and Brian until Carly began to get a little too obsessive over his fame and exposure to other people.

I also really liked her relationship with Jess and Nick. Her relationship with her parents seemed to be more strained, though I don’t blame her in her mother’s case.

Writing/Voice:

The only thing I disliked was when the author would sometimes talk directly to the reader. Other than that, I enjoyed it a lot and easily got swept up into the beginning and especially the middle. The last part was harder. It felt kind of stiff.

Ending:

I didn’t like how the details of Carly’s “punishment” got glossed over. They almost felt like an afterthought. I did like how Carly seemed to be moving in a new direction, though.

Overall:

Very riveting read with deep emotions and relationships. Also shows how easily things can get out of hand and how stalking is not okay. I could see myself reading it again in the future.

 

 

3halfstars

 

 

jncname

Book Review–Time Between Us (Time Between Us #1) by Tamara Ireland Stone

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This is the 15th book from my 115 in 2015 Reading Challenge.

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com
Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Time Between Us (Time Between Us #1) by Tamara Ireland Stone
Published October 9th, 2012 by Hyperion

 

Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett has the unique ability to travel through time and space, which brings him into Anna’s life, and with him a new world of adventure and possibility.

As their relationship deepens, the two face the reality that time may knock Bennett back to where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate, what consequences they can bear in order to stay together, and whether their love can stand the test of time.

Fresh, exciting, and deeply romantic, Time Between Us is a stunning, spellbinding debut from an extraordinary new voice in YA fiction

 

 

 

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***The following may contain some spoilers***

Plot:

Similar to The Time Traveler’s Wife, though I liked this one better. The plot was very unique and something I wasn’t expecting. I really loved the traveling aspect in regards to both characters–Anna’s love for travel and Bennett’s ability to travel.

Setting:

The setting was very easy to picture. I almost felt like I was right there with them, especially in Illinois in 1995. Some of the exotic places were a little harder to imagine, mostly because i have yet to been overseas, but they sounded wonderful.

Characters:

I enjoyed most of the characters in this. Anna was a refreshing POV to read from and I loved her dreams of traveling. Bennett was more mysterious but also full of life. Emma was hilarious, Justin was sweet, and I also liked Anna’s parents as well as Maggie. They felt like real people.

Relationships:

I really enjoyed the romantic relationship between Anna and Bennett. While they fell for one another really quickly, I also know what that’s like. Their relationship is still new but I think they could definitely make it work. I also liked that there was some conflict in it.

Anna also has a great relationship with her best friend, Emma. Her relationship with her parents also seemed very realistic. The only relationship of Anna’s that I had trouble with was with Justin because he didn’t seem as solid of a best friend as Emma, and the attraction later on kind of came out of the blue. But other than that, I liked most of her relationships with others.

Besides his relationship with Anna, I enjoyed the one he had with Maggie. It was bittersweet.

Writing/Voice:

Very easy writing style to get into and had a realistic voice.

Ending:

I kind of expected the very end, but that’s okay–I can be a sucker for happy endings.

Overall:

Had me hooked from the first page and was very enjoyable. I could see myself re-reading it in the future.

 

4stars

 

 

jncname

Book Review–Requiem (Delirium #3) by Lauren Oliver

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This is the 13th book from my 115 in 2015 Reading Challenge.

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com
Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Requiem (Delirium #3) by Lauren Oliver
Published March 5th, 2013 by HarperCollins

 

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has transformed. The nascent rebellion that was underway in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight. After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven. Pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels.

As Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain of the Wilds, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor. Requiem is told from both Lena and Hana’s points of view. They live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

 

 

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 Plot:

Plot-wise, this felt similar to the one in the second book, only with more action in the Wilds. The book is told from Lena and Hana’s POVs, which was interesting, but in a way I am wondering if Hana’s was necessary at all. I guess it helped give readers a conclusion of sorts for her, as well to see how people like her were coping, but otherwise I would have rather just had Lena’s POV all the way through.

Setting:

Similar setting to the last book, and also one from the first. For the most part everything was easy to picture until the real action packed scenes near the last third of the book, but not sure if it is on the author’s end or mine, since I have trouble with scenes that involve a lot of action.

Characters:

Lena has definitely changed over the course of the three books, and in a good way. She went from being an incredibly naive, kind of emotionless person to an independent one who deals with things better.

Hana kind of went in the opposite direction. I liked her okay in the first book, and was truly shocked at what she did to Lena and Alex in the short story. I did feel bad for her upcoming marriage to the monster mayor’s son, but she was so emotionless at the end that I was ready to be done with her.

It seemed like the rest of the cast was just there, which was kind of disappointing considering I really liked Julian and Alex in the other books. In this one, it was hard to remember why exactly.

I did like the twist with Lu–I never expected a thing.

Relationships:

Each of the past two books featured a different romantic interest, and for once I actually liked both of them. However, in this book, both relationships are strained. By the end of the book, I wasn’t quite sure if I liked one better over the other–though I give Alex props for his note.

The only other relationships worth mentioning other than those is the budding one between Lena and her mother. I felt it was well done, considering all that had happened. Same with Hana and Lena.

Writing/Voice:

As usual, Oliver’s writing is beautiful and easy to get lost in. The different POVs kind of disrupted the writing and at times, the story, though.

Ending:

I’m mixed on how I feel about the ending. On one hand, there’s a lot of unresolved issues. What happened to Fred? Tack? Hana? Did the resistance fully succeed? I’m okay with Lena’s decision concerning her love triangle. Overall, I like that the ending seems to at least wrap up with the importance of freedom. I wouldn’t have minded an epilogue, though. I want to know how things end for Lena and the people she cares about.

Overall:

It didn’t blow me away, but wasn’t a bad conclusion for the series.

 

3halfstars

 

jncname

Book Review–The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti

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This is the 6th book from my 115 in 2015 Reading Challenge.

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com
Picture Source: Goodreads.com

The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti
Published April 7th, 2009 by Simon Pulse

Maybe it was wrong, or maybe impossible, but I wanted the truth to be one thing. One solid thing.

Quinn is surrounded by women who have had their hearts broken. Between her mother, her aunt, and her grandmother, Quinn hears nothing but cautionary tales. She tries to be an optimist — after all, she’s the dependable one, the girl who never makes foolish choices. But when she is abruptly and unceremoniously dumped, Quinn starts to think maybe there really are no good men.

It doesn’t help that she’s gingerly handling a renewed relationship with her formerly absent father. He’s a little bit of a lot of things: charming, selfish, eccentric, lazy…but he’s her dad, and Quinn’s just happy to have him around again. Until she realizes how horribly he’s treated the many women in his life, how he’s stolen more than just their hearts. Determined to, for once, take action in her life, Quinn joins forces with the half sister she’s never met and the little sister she’ll do anything to protect. Together, they set out to right her father’s wrongs…and in doing so, begin to uncover what they’re really looking for: the truth.

Once again, Deb Caletti has created a motley crew of lovably flawed characters who bond over the shared experiences of fear, love, pain, and joy — in other words, real life.

 

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Plot:

The beginning was a little hectic at first, but once Quinn discovered the items in her father’s house, things got much more exciting. At times this book was hard to put down because I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. I’ve always been a sucker for road trip themed books.

Setting:

Since this is a book with a road trip, there are several settings. Not too much emphasis is put on all of them, but I found the town in Canada to be the neatest place, as well as Joelle and Frances Lee’s town.

Characters:

Quinn was a bit difficult to like at first, but she grew on me. I loved her sisters, Sprout and Frances Lee, and pretty much all the women in her family. I also liked Jake and Brie pretty well. Quinn’s grandmother had me in hysterics.

Relationships:

There’s several relationships in this one, and I think it was neat to see how Quinn’s dad had affected all of his past lovers. Quinn’s own relationship with her dad was interesting and complicated. I loved the relationships that Quinn had with the female side of her family, especially her little sister, though the one with her older half-sister was also intriguing.

I was expecting the romantic relationship the moment he was introduced, but I ended up liking and rooting for them.

Writing/Voice:

The beginning felt wordy, but I grew to mostly enjoy this as the book went on. While I liked the little personal stories scattered throughout the book told from the different female POVs, some seemed a little unnecessary.

Ending:

Definitely bittersweet, just like real life can be. Everything was tied up nicely by the end.

Overall:

Overall, I really liked this one. If you want a fun book with colorful characters, complicated family relationships, and a road trip quest, this is right up your alley.

 

 

4halfstars

 

jncname

Book Review–Eve and Adam by Michael Grant & Katherine Applegate

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This is the 4th book from my 115 in 2015 Reading Challenge.

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com
Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Eve and Adam by Michael Grant & Katherine Applegate
Published October 1st, 2012 by Electric Monkey (an imprint of Egmont UK Limited)

And girl created boy…

In the beginning, there was an apple–

And then there was a car crash, a horrible injury, and a hospital. But before Evening Spiker’s head clears a strange boy named Solo is rushing her to her mother’s research facility. There, under the best care available, Eve is left alone to heal.

Just when Eve thinks she will die–not from her injuries, but from boredom–her mother gives her a special project: Create the perfect boy.

Using an amazingly detailed simulation, Eve starts building a boy from the ground up. Eve is creating Adam. And he will be just perfect . . . won’t he?

 

 

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Plot:

I liked the idea of the plot concerning Eve, Solo, and Eve’s mother (conspiracy), but I felt the Adam addition was a bit weak. It seemed more centered on Eve and Solo than it was on Eve and Adam.

Setting:

This book is set in California in what appears to be the future. It was interesting, but I would have liked to know a little more about it.

Characters:

I liked Eve and her snarky attitude. Aislin was okay. I feel that Solo could have been fleshed out better, but was overall also an okay character. Eve’s mother is probably the most interesting character, along with Tommy. Adam had the personality of a paper bag, however.

Relationships:

Of course Eve’s “perfect” relationship with her creation sucks. While it happened really fast, Solo and Eve seemed like they would be good together. I probably liked Solo and Eve’s relationship with Eve’s mother the best.

Writing/Voice:

I love both authors (Gone and Animorphs series), but together I’m not sure I liked it as much as when they write separately. The writing wasn’t bad, but it was also nothing to hyperventilate over, either. I did find myself becoming annoyed with the constant descriptions of how handsome Adam was, though. It started to get to the point of being obsessive.

Ending:

I liked the overall ending, though the epilogue was a bit sappy. Still, I liked the idea of Nana possibly knowing the truth (or guessing it) all along.

Overall:

Overall, I liked it, but probably not something I’d read again.

 

 

3stars
jncname

Book Review–Someone Else’s Life by Katie Dale

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This is the 3rd book from my 115 in 2015 Reading Challenge.

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com
Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Someone Else’s Life by Katie Dale
Published February 2nd, 2012 by Simon & Schuster UK

When 17-year-old Rosie’s mother, Trudie, dies from Huntington’s Disease, Rosie’s pain is intensified by the knowledge that she has a 50 percent chance of inheriting the crippling disease herself. Only when Rosie tells her mother’s best friend, “Aunt Sarah,” that she is going to test for the disease does Sarah, a midwife, reveal that Trudie wasn’t her real mother after all. Rosie was swapped at birth with a sickly baby who was destined to die.

Devastated, Rosie decides to trace her real mother, joining her ex-boyfriend on his gap year travels, to find her birth mother in California. But all does not go as planned. As Rosie discovers yet more of her family’s deeply buried secrets and lies, she is left with an agonizing decision of her own, one which will be the most heartbreaking and far-reaching of all.

 

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I thought I would try a different approach to reviewing books by breaking my review down into particular sections.

Plot:

The overall plot was interesting and unpredictable–in a good way. I didn’t know much about Huntington’s until reading this and I feel the author did a great job with it. It was also very engrossing and at times very hard to put down.

Setting:

The book starts in England, but moves to New York and New England later on, then returning to England. I enjoyed all of these settings and it was a nice change to see different ones.

Characters:

I really liked Rosie’s point of view. While she is not without her flaws, she is overall a character that I came to care deeply about and who I wanted to be happy. Her boyfriend, Andy, is also pretty awesome. It was nice to see a love interest who I liked yet still had realistic flaws. I also really liked Jack Woods and Rosie’s nana.

It was really hard to tolerate Holly. I wanted to feel bad for her, and while I did hate her situation, she was so dramatic, vindictive, and immature that it made it difficult for me to feel bad for her. She finally got better near the end, but she still irked me enough that I feel the need to deduct half a star from my overall book rating.

Relationships:

I loved Rosie and Andy’s relationship. It wasn’t perfect, but realistically done in a way that kept me rooting for them. They also had a lot of cute moments. I also really liked Rosie’s relationship with Jack. And as much as she annoyed me, Holly’s relationship with her dad was also one I liked–in that her dad truly had unconditional love for her, no matter what. Same goes for Rosie and Holly’s relationship with Nana Fisher. I also liked the friendship between Andy and Holly, and the one developing between Holly and Rosie at the end held promise.

Writing/Voice:

I enjoyed the author’s writing and voice of Rosie, though I was confused at who the other POV was. They are not labeled until the end. I’m not sure if this was done on purpose, to make you wonder who the other POV was or not, but if so, the author did a great job. At first I thought the other POV was of Kitty. Once I realized I was wrong, I had to go back to re-read the few sections.

Ending:

I liked the overall ending, though the epilogue was a bit sappy. Still, I liked the idea of Nana possibly knowing the truth (or guessing it) all along.

Overall:

Overall, I really liked this one. Holly’s character kept me from enjoying it as much as I would have liked, but I would still give it 4.5 stars, recommend it, and possibly re-read it in the future.

 

 4halfstars
jncname