The Rules of You and Me (Companion to The Boyfriend Thief)
By: Shana Norris
Release Date: June 24, 2013
Rating: 2 stars
|Summary: Hannah Cohen has always lived her life by a set of carefully constructed rules to maintain the image of perfection. But now, the rules aren’t helping control the chaos that is quickly taking over.
Opting out of spending the summer in Paris with her mom, Hannah instead heads to the mountains of North Carolina to stay with her aunt. The Blue Ridge Mountains provide a barrier between Hannah and the rest of the world, a safe haven where her secrets can be forgotten.
When Hannah crosses paths with Jude Westmore, a guy who hangs a different shirt from the tree in his front yard every day, she finds herself breaking out of the comfort of her rules and doing things she had never dared before. As the summer passes, Hannah and Jude grow closer and make up their own rules for dealing with life.
But when the secret Hannah has tried to forget is finally revealed, even the new rules can’t save her from possibly losing everything–including Jude.
This young adult romance is a standalone companion novel to The Boyfriend Thief.
Review: I gave Norris’ other books 3-4 stars, and I thought this book was cute enough, but it was just okay.
First of all, this story did NOT go with the plot in The Boyfriend Thief – not really anyway. Honestly, I totally forgot about Zac and Avery until I went back just now. And without having read the first book, you might have thought that Avery stole her best friend’s boyfriend. NOT the case. I mean, in hindsight, I GUESS it works, but it’s iffy.
I couldn’t connect with Hannah. I spent a good deal of the first part assuming she was rich but not understanding why. I had no clue what her father did of if her mother worked or was a stay-at-home trophy wife. And I couldn’t really tell if her hometown was big or small, and once I did, I couldn’t tell if it was a close-knit Hampton like community. And the book told us Hannah had a strict life with the image of perfection, but I didn’t really felt any sympathy for her.
As for the rest of the book, it was just a little bit too cliche for me. Rich, snobby girl (oh wait, she really isn’t) in a small country town. She meets the bad boy from the trashy, broken family that has a history that everyone in town doesn’t trust. Of course, she finds out who her real friends are and that the people she had dismissed (pre- and post-trip) were more valuable than she gave them credit for.
I think the background behind her mother, her aunt and her friends were great stories, but unfortunately, I felt like the book rushed to explain everything at the end.
Like I said, the book was cute enough – though there were no incredibly memorable scenes – though I thought Norris’ earlier works were definitely better.
Glitter & Doom (Masque of the Red Death 1.5)
By: Bethany Griffin
Release Date: March 25, 2013
Rating: 2 stars
|Summary: A 50-page, digital-only novella set in the world of Bethany Griffin’s dark and haunting retelling of the classic Edgar Allan Poe story Masque of the Red Death. When a rich teenage girl who spends her nights in the most desirable club and a smart, young inventor meet, they might have more in common than they know.
April, niece to the dying city’s cruel dictator, is Araby Worth’s glittery and frivolous best friend. But she’s more than she appears. And when she disappeared in Masque of the Red Death, where did she go? This short novella answers that question, taking us deep underneath the crumbling city, where April crosses paths with Kent, the serious young inventor who is key to rebellion. Glitter & Doom is a story of chilling action, of spies, and of surprising love. Can love be anything but doomed is a city that’s burning down around its survivors?
A dark, unnerving story about two of the most fascinating characters from Masque of the Red Death.
Review: This novella was weird…
With Glitter, I felt that it was a compilation of stories that Griffin felt she needed to catch up on. It was just a random mash of old stories from random years. They were mentioned as memories in book 2, but maybe Griffin should have just left them at that.
With Dom, I felt like Griffin should have tried to incorporate it into one of the two books, either as an epilogue or as a prologue. I know it’s a short story for people can look forward to the second book, but it just felt so out-of-place with whatever Glitter was supposed to be.
Dance of the Red Death (Masque of the Red Death #2)
By: Bethany Griffin
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Rating: 2 stars
|Summary: Bethany Griffin continues the journey of Araby Worth in Dance of the Red Death—the sequel to her teen novel Masque of the Red Death.
In Dance of the Red Death, Araby’s world is in shambles—betrayal, death, disease, and evil forces surround her. She has no one to trust. But she finds herself and discovers that she will fight for the people she loves, and for her city.
Her revenge will take place at the menacing masked ball, though it could destroy her and everyone she loves…or it could turn her into a hero.
With a nod to Edgar Allan Poe, Bethany Griffin concludes her tragic and mysterious Red Death series with a heroine that young adult readers will never forget
Review: Props to Bethany Griffin for making this a two-book series. I liked Masque of the Red Death, so I’m glad we can cut out the middle book. However, I struggled with it and ended up thinking it was just okay.
First of all, there was just something about the pacing that was just off. Don’t get me wrong, there was plenty of action scenes, but the whole book just sort of dragged. It wasn’t that Griffin was overly concerned with imagery and description or that she bogged readers down with any particular scene to create extra drama. There just wasn’t that excitement that I was expecting to get from the events that would lead up to the grand finale.
Also, I couldn’t really connect with the characters. I wouldn’t say Araby dramatically changed – as many authors tend to do with their MCs. I just felt indifferent toward her. And Will, I wanted to be excited with his character as I was from the first book, but he was just always in the shadows. Elliott had grown on me by the end of book 1, but I couldn’t get a good read on him in this one. He was constantly hot and cold, and I couldn’t trust him long enough to decide how I felt about him. I did like April and was glad that she kept the story fun.
Again, I didn’t feel there was much steampunk in this other than Kent’s balloon and the occasional carriage. I’m fascinated by Victorian (or whatever style you would describe what they wore), but that seemed to lack also except for a few scenes, though understandably so. And while I knew death was all around, I was just disappointed with the inability to picture a lot of the scenes in this book. I’d expected so much more.
Overall, the story wasn’t bad, and I think I could have liked it. I just felt it was such a chore to get through the book, although in a way, I felt Griffin was trying to fit too much into one book. And I am very unsatisfied with the end. I’m not sure what’s a better what to explain it, but I’m just left feeling unsettled. Hopefully, others who were able to focus more on the story would end up liking the book a lot more.
Faking It (Losing It 2)
By: Cora Cormack
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Rating: 3.5 stars
|Summary: Mackenzie “Max” Miller has a problem. Her parents have arrived in town for a surprise visit, and if they see her dyed hair, tattoos, and piercings, they just might disown her. Even worse, they’re expecting to meet a nice, wholesome boyfriend, not a guy named Mace who has a neck tattoo and plays in a band. All her lies are about to come crashing down around her, but then she meets Cade.Cade moved to Philadelphia to act and to leave his problems behind in Texas. So far though, he’s kept the problems and had very little opportunity to take the stage. When Max approaches him in a coffee shop with a crazy request to pretend to be her boyfriend, he agrees to play the part. But when Cade plays the role a little too well, they’re forced to keep the ruse going. And the more they fake the relationship, the more real it begins to feel.|
Review: I. Love. Cade. And I was so excited to learn that there was going to be a book about him. Having said that, I didn’t like this book nearly as much as the first one.
But WHY, Katy?!? How can you say such a blasphemous thing about a book about Cade?!?
Don’t get me wrong, it was cute, and I enjoyed some if it very much. Cade was just perfect in just about every way. He was sweet. He was charming. He was witty. And he was heartbroken in a way that made you want to be the one who made it all better.
But I was disappointed that Carmack made this book too cliche. The book had your typical perfect character, and your typical “wrong” character, and the frustrating tension and drama that goes along with the “I can’t be with you because we’re too different, and I’m not good enough for you.”
The book started off really strong with a feisty, no-nonsense Max who gave Cade a good run for his money. But then, you find out what a coward she really is. I mean, I understand what she’s going through. I really do. My parents were strict and very hard on having me become the person they want to be. And I would understand if she it was about her being who she really is (like they knew how she changed when she went off to college) and just getting her parents to accept her for who she is, and I understanding taming the rebellion down a little when you come home for a visit, but to see her going from that character to such an extreme opposite and realize what she has been hiding, it was just a little disappointing.
And with how she treated Cade? Oh, come on. With “Losing It,” there were a lot of reasons why Bliss and Garrick couldn’t be together (view spoiler on my Goodreads) With this one, she didn’t have a good reason. (view spoiler on my Goodreads) That is why I was ready to yell at her for being such a stupid girl.
Setting that aside, I did enjoy the book. I really thought the way they met was pretty cute, and I had to smile at the flirting and taunting that they threw at each other. There were some really good lines, great moments and electric chemistry.
Overall, it’s a pretty good read. I was just disappointed Carmack chose the cliche good character/bad character route, and that Max was an inconsistent character that frustrated me at times.