Tweet Heart

First Lines: Welcome to Twitter, Bear!  Let the boy-stalking (ahem, following!) begin.

This was on my to-read list for a few years.  I always wanted to get around to it because it’s told entirely through tweets, emails, and blog posts.  I wanted to see how the story would translate.  So I bought it at a sale and read it.

Claire is a hopeless romantic.  She wants Mr. Right and she doesn’t want to settle for less.  Lottie, Claire’s BFF, is determined to set her up with the hottest guy in school.  Will wants his crush to finally notice him.  And Bennett has a plan.  Claire can’t believe it when her dream guy starts following her on Twitter.  He’s never shown interest in her before, until now.  But Twitter can be a harsh place when people act differently online than they do in person.

First of all, I want to say that the format was really cool.  I liked reading all the tweets, all the personal messages the characters had with each other.  It was like seeing the story from 3-4 different perspectives.  Plus, the tweet format was just different and interesting.  It did take a little time to get used to, but it helped make the story a very quick read.

But the plot didn’t really have a lot to it that was exciting.  It’s a pretty cliche story.  I can’t tell if it was done that way intentionally or not.  I mean, having a new format to the story could really throw some readers for a loop.  A simple story helps highlight the format and makes it easier to understand.  But the story was exactly like so many rom-coms, and not a good one at that.

I did like the characters, especially when they were being witty with each other.  Like how Bennett and Lottie seem to hate each other and it comes out in varying degrees of sarcasm.  That’s fun.  Claire has a kind of innocence to her that was charming, but it also seemed a little overplayed.  And Will…well, he may have been the best character of the bunch.

It was cute as a way to experiment with writing a story in a new way, but it wasn’t a terribly exciting story.

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If I Stay (The Movie)

Hi, lovelies!  I am SO EXCITED to share with you what I thought of If I Stay!  I went with a couple of my best friends and let’s just say it was something none of us will forget for a while.

(Do I really need to do a blurb for what this is about?  Ok, I’ll make this quick.  Girl & her family are in a car crash, girl needs to decide if she wants to stay or if she wants to move on to the next world with her family.  DONE.)

Right.  So as you may recall, I reread this book a few weeks ago to prep for this.  If you’re looking for a 100% faithful adaptation, this isn’t quite it.  It does stay very faithful to the story, absolutely, but it does take some liberties.  And in a way, I almost think I liked this more than the book.  (*Gasp!*)  Let me explain.

First of all, as if we didn’t already know this, Chloe Grace Moretz is a genius and she plays Mia in a way that is honest and heartfelt.  You know what Mia’s feeling because you can see it on her face.  Her Mia is shy and self-conscious and still free-spirited when she wants to be.  

And Jamie Blackley (Adam)…he was a joy to watch and not just because he’s good looking, though that certainly didn’t hurt anything.  This Adam was full of raw emotions that he usually unleashed through his music, but he was also somewhat aloof.  And he’s such a charmer, almost always saying the perfect thing at the right time.

Right.  So casting was great, not just for these two.  The movie stays true to the book in that it flips between the present and the past.  As my friend put it, “It feels you up with joy [the past] and then it rips your heart out [the present] and then it does it again.”  It’s so true.  Whenever you start feeling emotional, it jumps to something a little happier.  For the first half of the movie, that keeps you away from the tissues.  After that, though…

One thing this movie does is it elaborates on the other perspectives in the story.  We learn more about Mia’s parents.  We learn more about Adam’s history (which may be in Where She Went and I just don’t remember it).  These things are small, but they add so much heart to the story.

I have to say it.  There’s one thing this movie does way better than the book, simply because of its medium: the music.  It’s one thing to read about Adam and Mia playing their respective instruments.  It’s entirely another to be blown away by Mia’s playing or Adam’s vocals.  As someone who has never been musically gifted beyond singing, it’s so cool to see and hear musicians at their best.

A requirement of this movie is that you must have tissues.  It hits everyone in the theatre.  Throughout the movie, there were sniffles coming from all directions.  And it seemed to hit people at different times too.  I know what affected me deeply wasn’t the same as what affected my friends.  For nearly the entire second half of the movie, you will be crying with brief reprieves along the way.  My friends and I left the movie feeling emotionally drained, but in a good way.  It’s a touching movie with so many tender moments that just rip your heart out.

I highly recommend this movie.  Just know that you’re gonna be a hot mess by the time you leave the theatre.

All I Need

First Lines: “Something’s going to happen tonight,” Adrienne says.  “I can feel it.”

It was so good that I saved this to read after reading Unhinged.  Seriously.  I needed something easy and normal after that.  This was perfect for that.

Skye figures this summer is going to be just as boring as the last summer, until she meets Seth.  Seth is perfect for her.  They feel an instant connection to each other.  But they don’t even know each other’s last name, and certainly don’t know any contact information.  Skye wonders if she was the only one who felt the connection, but she can’t get Seth out of her head.  And when they find each other again, can they make a long distance relationship work?

I’ll start by saying that I got out of this what I expected to get out of it.  It’s fluff, plain and simple.  And I knew that going in.  But just because it’s fluff doesn’t mean it can’t be good.  It was great for being a quick, easy summer read.

I liked that Skye and Seth were pretty much your average teenagers, and I really appreciated that Seth was college age so they could explore college in this book.  Not many YA books delve into college beside characters thinking about where they want to apply.

However, Skye and Seth have a Wesley-and-Buttercup level of belief in true love.  Which is fine.  I myself have some faith in the idea of true love, but certainly not to this level.  It was almost a little ridiculous.

I also really like that this tackled long distance relationships as well, because, again, I  don’t think too many YA books really look into that.  As someone who has spent more months than I care to mention in a long distance relationship (and subsequently watched it crash and burn from the separation), I absolutely understand the dark side of distance.  And this book showed some of that too.

I noticed it was hard for me to really pin down either of their personalities.  Being just over 200 pages, this book is a fast read.  And that means little character development.  It was just hard for me to figure out who the characters were as people.  I thought that was something that could have been improved.

Overall, I think it’s just a cute summer romance.  Great for a beach read, but don’t expect to get much more than that out of it.

Lipstick Apology

First Lines: Steve McCaffity just undressed me with his eyes.  Okay, maybe I’m still clothed, but we definitely made eye contact.  Well, actually, he might have only glanced at the tiny chocolate stain on my V-neck–so it was noticeable.  I decided to level with myself.  It was actually quite possible that Steve McCaffity didn’t even know that I existed.

This is one of those books I found so long ago online or in a store that I don’t even remember why it first appealed to me.  It’s been on my to-read list for ages, and I decided that it was finally time I did something about it.  (I’m making good progress on this goal of reading older books.)

It only took a moment and four words to change Emily’s life forever.  One minute, she’s dancing at a party.  The next, she learns her parents have been killed in a plane crash.  The only thing her mother left was an apology written in lipstick that said “Emily, please forgive me.”  Only Emily doesn’t know why.  She’s uprooted from her Pennsylvania home to live with her aunt in New York City, which is nothing like the world Emily used to know.  At school, she catches the attention of two completely different boys: Anthony, the baker-by-night who is her first friend at her new school, and Owen, the most beautiful and most popular boy in their class.  Ultimately, Emily will have to choose between the boy who makes her forget and the boy who helps her remember and heal.

Ok.  So maybe you caught this as you were reading the description.  The tone of the story shifts drastically from the beginning to the end.  When I started this, I really thought it was going to be more of a mystery.  Why did Emily’s mom write the apology?  What did she need forgiveness for?  However, even though this was big enough to become the title of the book, it took a back seat to the romance.  That was disappointing.

I was also a bit disappointed that this story took a turn for the shallow end of emotions after a while.  Instead of really diving into the theme of forgiveness, it became a book of “OMG, did you see what she was wearing?  Hey, let’s go get facials!”  As a reader who isn’t much of a girly-girl, this was really annoying really quickly.

Now, Emily has some very real struggles in her life.  I mean, she just lost her parents and the only home she’s ever known.  That would be enough to put me in a nearly-permanent bad mood, at least for a few months.  And Emily handled things pretty well.  You put on top of that living with an aunt who has no idea how to be a mother, a new school, and figuring out how NYC works, and Emily is justified to have a few outbursts.  (Which she does, occasionally.)  I really felt some sympathy for her.

That was one thing this book did pretty well: characters were varied and unique.  Their relationships felt real.  Emily and her aunt don’t always have things in common, nor do they always understand each other, but you come to understand each of them.  And the love interests are as different as night and day without being over-the-top.  Emily’s friends are all over the map.  I felt by the end of the story that I had a fairly good grasp on who everyone was, personality-wise.  So that was really good.

Overall, I just misjudged what I thought this book would be about.  I wanted more of a mystery, but what I got was a romance.

Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1)

First Lines: “My father is a control freak, I hate my stepmother, my brother is dead and my mother has…well…issues.  How do you think I’m doing?”

I nabbed this for my Kindle because, as I think I’ve said recently, I’ve just gotten a little sick of paranormal stories lately.  Which is a shame, because I love them so much.  I just need a break from them.  So I picked this because it was normal.  and it reminded me a lot of the plot lines for most of Simone Elkeles’s books (ironically, she’s the one with the quote on the cover).

In one night, Echo’s life completely changed.  Unfortunately, she can’t remember exactly what happened that changed her from the popular, outgoing girl to the recluse who eats lunches in the library and wears long sleeves all year long.  She just wants to be normal again.  But there’s Noah Hutchins, the girl-using loner with an attitude who alternates between being a pain and being compassionate and understanding.  They have nothing in common, and Echo really shouldn’t be with him…but what if they need to push the limits in order to feel love again?

When I started reading this, I thought it was going to be kinda fluffy.  I knew it was a teenage romance novel going in.  How could you not?  But it has a lot more substance than that.  Noah and Echo are both struggling with things that teenagers really shouldn’t have to deal with, yet many do on a daily basis.  Noah’s been bounced around foster homes (many not-so-safe) for years, struggling to find a place to fit in.  Echo just wants normal, but she can’t when the school all seems to be against her because of one night she can’t really remember.

It was cool to see them both struggling with very real problems that many of us don’t really encounter.  And then there’s the fact that the characters are just awesome.  Echo is a confused girl who just wants to get her life in order.  You can feel that; you can relate to it because that’s how you felt in school.  Noah’s attitude is that he’s too cool for everyone, and that puts him on the fringes, but he doesn’t care.  He has one goal in mind, and that’s about the only thing that keeps him functioning until Echo.

It was a really emotional read.  My boyfriend called me just as I was getting to the final action and I kept trying to read and talk to him at the same time (I’m not a good multi-tasker).  I could tell he wanted to say, “Put the book down for five minutes and talk to me.”  So I need to work on that…maybe.

Anyway, it was a way better read than I thought it would be.  I’m actually really excited to see what she comes out with next.  There’s a sequel to this from the point of view of a minor character, much as Simone Elkeles does with the Perfect Chemistry series.

Curse of the Beast (Curse of the Beast, #1)

First Lines: The icy mountain air stung Star’s aged face.  Crouching, her numb fingers raked the dead leaves of the forest floor, looking for tracks that weren’t there.  She had failed again.

I am such a bad blogger.  Seriously, I just looked to see when my last legit review was and it was October 7th!  Really?!  My goodness.  It’s a good thing I need a distraction from my homework to give this review to you guys.

Moving to Wyoming wasn’t quite what Tayla wanted to be doing before her senior year of high school, but it was best for the family.  At her new school, she quickly catches the eye of quarterback Kyle Harrington, who is also super rich.  But Kyle isn’t quite what he seems.  One night while walking through the park, Tayla becomes ensnared in an ancient curse that binds her to a werewolf.  Can Tayla survive the curse?  Can she do it without endangering her family?

So, the reason I wanted to read this is because it was supposed to be like a retelling of Beauty and the Beast (my favorite fairy tale, if you couldn’t tell).  And it was, don’t get me wrong, but it’s slow working into it.  The first half of the story is Tayla acclimating herself to life in Wyoming with new friends and a new school.  After that, it begins to ease into the fairy tale.

I was really conflicted about this story as I read it.  I mean, REALLY conflicted.  I wanted to yell at Tayla all the time for her crazy flip-flopping on things.  Let me explain.

I mean, sure, we got to see Tayla’s “backstory” if you can call it that. She’s a normal teenager with more than a couple problems at home she needs to deal with. There’s a physically abusive quarterback who immediately becomes creepily possessive of Tayla. That becomes evident in the first two chapters or so. There was just so much that I wanted Tayla to fight back on. Like the quarterback. I would have gladly beat the crap out of him for her. The characters early in the story just did not sit well with me and I felt…not “dirty” but…uncomfortable when I had to read about them.

Also, the Beast? Tayla goes back and forth between how she feels about him so much. Ugh. I kid you not, one paragraph she’d be talking about how creepy he was and how he was practically like a stalker for knowing all these things about her that she didn’t tell him and *literally* the next paragraph, she’s convinced herself that it’s actually very sweet and a kind gesture that he’s gone to these lengths to find out things like what size pants she wears. No, sweetie. That’s not sweet. It’s creepy. You had it right the first time. I just wanted to roll my eyes at her the whole time.

And ok, so this fairy tale lends itself well to a blend between it and werewolf tales. I get it. I just don’t like it. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy tale and I didn’t want it to become just another werewolf tale. Also, when the little things from the fairy tale finally did appear woven into the story, it felt cliched. Well, everything except the rose. That was pretty clever, I give it that.

So..yeah.  I mean, it’s not a terrible story, but the writing could have been vastly improved upon.  I wanted to like it so badly, and I did at times, but mostly I just couldn’t get over the creepy qualities that nearly every character possessed.

Madly (Madly, #1)

First Lines: I looked out the classroom window, wishing I was outdoors enjoying the ambient conditions of Slumber, conditions that I’d come to love in a relatively short amount of time.  If I closed my eyes, I could almost feel the humid sea breeze ruffling my hair, the hot sun shining down on my face.

In this crazy year that I’ve been having, it’s been very hard for me to finish books because I just don’t have the time.  I picked this novella off my Kindle because it was really short and I knew it wouldn’t take near as much time as a normal novel.  Admittedly, I forgot what it was about before I started it, so that was a shock.

Madly James is your average 18 year old princess.  Madly’s interning on land until a prison break in her home, Atlas, endangers everything and everyone she holds dear.  The prisoners, known as the Lore who are the spirits of fairy tales, are now on their way to Slumber to awaken their descendants.  Madly is the only one who can stop them.  With the help of her two best friends and Sentinel Jackson Hamilton, Madly will do what she can.  But while Jackson is the best qualified for the job of protecting Madly, he is the last person she wants around her.  Because Madly loves Jackson, but she can never have him…

So, this, being a novella, meant that it was incredibly short.  Less than 100 pages, I believe.  It was really hard to find character development and good plot movement in this.  By the time you’re introduced to most of the characters, you’re 25% or more into the book.  There’s just no room for us to learn their character and then expand on that in the space available.  And the plot movement…that felt more like random info dumps.  Like, “Oh look, suddenly this previously unmentioned plot point is going to be incredibly important!”

The story itself isn’t bad.  Madly is an interesting character and the world being created is pretty different.  I wasn’t expecting it to go the way it did.  It was really hard to get into some of the story, considering it moved so fast and, as I mentioned, there wasn’t a lot of development.  I haven’t decided whether or not I want to read the next novel yet.