Thursday, July 30, 2015

A French Star in New York by Anna Adams

A French Star in New York by Anna Adams
Source: ebook
Pages: 241
Publisher: Smashwords
Release Date: July 29th 2013
Series: The French Girl; Book 2
Verdict: Buy

SummaryMaude thinks her life can’t get any better: her first music album is a hit, she’s about to meet her extended family, and she’s looking forward to her first date with teen pop star, Matt.

But when scandal strikes, Maude must part ways with Matt and watch Soulville Records fall into the hands of an ambitious Alan Lewis, who will stop at nothing to turn Maude into an unparalleled star. 

Between glamorous parties, an unauthorized tell-all book, a web of lies, new revelations about her French past, and her rivalry with Lindsey Linton attaining a whole new level, Maude must fight for her voice to be heard and decide if being a star is more important than her love for music.

Review: In the first book of this series, A French Girl in New York, Maude and the crew are introduced. As Maude starts to get more and more successful, it seems like everything is finally going right. But unfortunately, in this book, we discover that as things seem to be going smoothly, obstacles will make their unwanted appearances.

In A French Star in New York, Maude is still great. However, her decisions get a bit chaotic. That isn't a bad thing, though. It just shows that through all the additional challenges, Maude is still able to think on her feet. 

I was sad that Matt and Maude faced some struggles in their personal lives together, but I still loved how everything happened. There was depth and intrigue, and honestly, every time Matt and Maude were together, it was a swoon-worthy moment. Don't worry, though. There's definitely a lot of Matt and Maude and Maude and Matt scenes that are hilarious and great and of course, swoon-worthy.

Through Maude's rise to fame, her newfound New York family has her back, but as Soulville gets taken over by the conniving and manipulative Alan Lewis, things get messy, because Alan Lewis is a great guy... said no one ever. He's truly terrible, and I say that with a degree of admiration, because it takes a certain drive to try and control others in a purposefully negative way. That being said, Alan Lewis adds the necessary villain-type character that brings the plot of this series to a whole new level. And I thoroughly enjoyed that.

Additionally, there are many twists and turns. They could have the ability to cause unnecessary drama, but Anna Adams crafts them in a way that leaves a reader (also known as, me, yours truly) looking forward to the next time something unexpected comes along. All the characters handle each situation, whether they are expected or not, in a surprising manner, and that in itself creates a book worth reading.

A French Star in New York, like its prequel, is light, funny, and refreshing. The storyline and characters and everything in between were enjoyable and smoothly created. I hit no bumps, and only wanted to keep reading and never stop reading. 

I kept reading, of course. And boy, was I glad I did. This book ends on an awesome cliffhanger, and the result of it will change everything. Everything happens so quickly and craziness ensues throughout A French Star in New York, but it's a great kind of fast-paced crazy, one that I just can't get enough of.

So, in the fashion of my review of the first of The French Girl series, please stay tuned for the next wonderful book in the world of Maude and her journey of following her dreams.

Really enjoyed

Monday, July 27, 2015

A French Girl in New York by Anna Adams

A French Girl in New York by Anna Adams
Source: ebook
Pages: 490
Publisher: Smashwords
Release Date: December 21st 2012
Series: The French Girl; Book 1
Verdict: Buy

SummaryMaude Laurent is a spirited 16 year-old orphan who grew up in a small, provincial town in the North of France with a passion for piano and a beautiful voice. One day in Paris, she is discovered by an American music producer who takes her to New York to live with him and his close-knit family while producing her first album, with help from teen pop star, Matt. Maude will dive into a new fascinating world discovering New York City, music, family, love and the truth about her past.

Review: I stumbled across this book (and thus, series) while browsing on my phone through the free books offered. It was part of a series starter list, and little did I know, this series would become one that I'd go through very quickly.

A French Girl in New York has a bit of a fairytale-esque quality to it because the setting is of a girl with a troublesome upbringing. Maude is an orphan who has immense talent, but is treated like dirt by the ones who are her guardians. She's miserable and basically a servant. Sound a bit familiar?

The thing I love about Maude is that despite all the lousiness, she remains spirited. She has her own goals, and stays true to herself. Maude is spunky, nice, fun, and talented. She's one of those characters that really captures attention because of spirit, and oh, Maude definitely has a great spirit. 

I adored all (well, most... some characters really were asking for it...) of the characters and I loved the fact that they all played an essential role in Maude's new life. The family of Soulville, the music company that takes Maude in, was one that welcomed Maude and all of her talent. They respected her for all that she was and for all that she was capable of doing, and that's something that has to be admired.

The setting of the oh-so-glamorous New York City viewed through the eyes of Maude, an innocent girl who has never traveled anywhere outside of her small hometown, let alone one of the biggest cities in the world, is really refreshing. 

And I think I might be forgetting a very minor (I kid... very major is more like it) character in this book... Who could that be? Oh right, Matt. Matt is so awesome. At first, Matt and Maude get off to a bit of a rough start, but it slowly changes. And that change is amazing and great and cute and hilarious. Both Maude and Matt are spirited, so clashing two people with highly vocalized opinions and crazy talent is something that must be experienced.

A French Girl in New York is a great series starter. It's a light, quick, and fun, but extremely enjoyable read. There's a lot of craziness going on, but it's the good kind. Upon finishing this, I knew I had to have more of Maude and Matt and everyone else, so I immediately purchased the next of The French Girl series. Reminiscent of a certain fairytale that might be familiar, but with an added modern twist, A French Girl in New York is a book that is well-executed, intense, and full of spirit.

Stay tuned for my review of the next book in line, A French Star in New York. Maude, Matt, and New York definitely won't disappoint... 

Really enjoyed

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Devil You Know by Trish Doller

The Devil You Know by Trish Doller
Source: Library
Pages: 256
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: June 2nd 2015
Series: Standalone
Verdict: Borrow

SummaryEighteen-year-old Arcadia wants adventure. Living in a tiny Florida town with her dad and four-year-old brother, Cadie spends most of her time working, going to school, and taking care of her family. So when she meets two handsome cousins at a campfire party, she finally has a chance for fun. They invite her and friend to join them on a road trip, and it's just the risk she's been craving-the opportunity to escape. But what starts out as a fun, sexy journey quickly becomes dangerous when she discovers that one of them is not at all who he claims to be. One of them has deadly intentions. 

A road trip fling turns terrifying in this contemporary story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Review: I had seen this book floating around the Internet for awhile, and when I saw it at my library on the main shelf, I thought, it's meant to be. I soon realized, however, that it was not meant to be.

This book is a bit of a combination of thriller, adventure, romance, and, do I dare say it? STUPIDITY. I've never come across a main character that I disliked so much. Cadie seemed sweet at first, but as I read on, I discovered that she was a bit bratty and idiotic. 

I understand that her situation isn't exactly ideal and that she wants something new in her life, but why can't that something new be something more realistic and practical and safe and smart? Her something new is something that I found to be extremely idiotic and careless. 

She meets two very attractive guys and finds them to be exciting and fun. In my opinion, this is where you decide if you want to hang out again in a public and safe environment. This is not where you decide that you want to jump in a car with two almost-basically-pretty much strangers and go on a little road trip together... all the while not notifying anybody of your true whereabouts. I just couldn't wrap my mind around how someone could be so foolish and naive. 

By doing so, she put herself and others in danger. Now, the two boys were a bit of a situation. They seemed a bit odd and moody, but very, very intriguing... at least to Cadie... And also to me as well... They really were something else.

I really don't have much to say, at least in terms of positive things, because I almost didn't finish the book because of all the idiotic and fatal decisions made by Cadie. The romance part was just too much in my opinion and it got a bit gross and scary at some points. 

The violence and disaster that occurred just wasn't my idea of enjoyment in a book. Now, I do like fast-paced, exhilarating, and suspenseful books that contain thrill and scariness, which this book was. However, I like well-created ones, and this book just didn't do it for me. 

When I am constantly screaming WHYWHYWHY, I know that something is wrong. The only positive part was that the ending, even though predictable, did not happen in the most expected manner. That's all I can really say. Other than that, I truly disliked how The Devil You Know turned out, and I now know that it truly wasn't meant to be. 

Never again

Monday, July 20, 2015

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
Source: Library
Pages: 432
Publisher: Viking's Children's Books
Release Date: April 14th 2015
Series: Standalone
Verdict: Borrow

SummaryRuby knows that the game is up. For the past few months, she's been on her own in the yellow house, managing somehow, knowing that her mother will probably never return.
That's how she comes to live with Cora, the sister she hasn't seen in ten years, and Cora's husband Jamie, whose down-to-earth demeanor makes it hard for Ruby to believe he founded the most popular networking Web site around. A luxurious house, fancy private school, a new wardrobe, the promise of college and a future; it's a dream come true. So why is Ruby such a reluctant Cinderella, wary and defensive? And why is Nate, the genial boy next door with some secrets of his own, unable to accept the help that Ruby is just learning to give?
Best-selling author Sarah Dessen explores the heart of a gutsy, complex girl dealing with unforeseen circumstances and learning to trust again.
Review: I've read a few Sarah Dessen books before, but she has a ton published. I'm going to work my through all her books, because Sarah Dessen is absolutely amazing. She is able to bring so many heavy topics together to create a plausible storyline that captures my attention, interest, and heart.
Lock and Key was a really nice read for me because of how it was woven together. There are many tough subjects brought to attention, and they are written in a flawless manner. The characters are relatable, and they truly seem like real people, unlike some other YA books that make characters out to be picture-perfect people. Every character had problems, like every human being does, and it was refreshing.
Ruby was a bit difficult to interpret at first. She's a little all over the place, but then again, who isn't? Her troubles are along the more difficult lines, but she's one tough cookie. I loved watching her open up to others as her journey progressed, and it helped that she had a great support group. 
Cora and Jamie are great. They take Ruby in without any complaint, and they're truly wonderful people. I can see how weird it must be for Ruby, but I can also see how big of a change it is for Cora and Jamie, but they take it in stride. Cora is strong and resilient, and Jamie is absolutely lovable. They make this book have such a strong bond and relationship, and it brings to light that having someone you can rely on may be one of the greatest things of all.
And Nate - he's a pretty cool guy, too. He's nice and seemingly has no faults, but really, he has his own issues to deal with. Yet he's so eager to help his friends and loved ones. He's a really stand up guy, Plus, he and Ruby have a fantastic dynamic. So there's that...

But Ruby and Cora's mother... Oh my, she wasn't a character that was actually present present in this book, but wow, I really disliked her and everything that she did. It's not easy to excuse her behavior, and it's definitely not difficult to oppose it. 

There are so many conflicts and so many resolutions, and this book is just so beautifully written and crafted. The problems that occurred made me cringe, wince, and really feel. It's difficult to read about tough situations, but Sarah Dessen really makes everything work. It seems like a lot to process, and it is, but the way it's written makes Lock and Key an effortless read, one filled with emotions and revelations.

It looks like I'll be reading all of Sarah Dessen's books now (and rereading the ones that I've read before), because there's just something great about her writing. She brings everyone together and creates a connection that leaves readers, like me, wanting more. And I definitely want more. 

Really enjoyed

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Source: Library
Pages: 383
Publisher: Orion
Release Date: February 10th 2015
Series: Red Queen; Book 1
Verdict: Buy

SummaryThe poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

Review: This book came to my attention from the awesome and amazing Alyssa, and I am so, so happy to have read this, because Red Queen is definitely one of my favorite reads of 2015. 

I love Mare. She's so strong and loyal and brave and kind and funny and awesome and powerful and fascinating and... I could go on forever, I kid you not. Basically, Mare is the best literary character ever. Well, one of the best at least. Seriously, she's fab and I love her personality and demeanor. 

Mare is put in an extremely difficult and compromising situation. The thing is, she embraces it and conquers it like any other awesome person would do... perhaps even better and cooler. I'm going to say it again, because it's necessary. She is fab. 

Cal and Maven are royally cool as well. Literally. But then things become uncool and it all spirals out of control. But that makes this book so great. Both boys seem sweet and dangerous in their own ways, but then something big happens, and nothing is the same. Really, nothing can ever be the same again, and it's sad and disconcerting, but also brings on a light of hope. Everything happens for a reason, after all...

And the queen, oh the queen. I hate hating characters (if that makes sense); I really do. But I cannot stand this woman. She's manipulative and powerful - a deadly combination. And yet she makes this book even more amazing. I hate her, but I love her (if that makes sense as well) since she creates another awesome aspect to Red Queen. Nothing makes sense in this book, but because of that, everything makes sense. Doesn't that just make you want to read this now? But really, everything does make sense, but it's so crazy-packed that you may want to take your time to process. I sure did...

Red Queen is just so chic and elegant and gory and tough. This really is a situation where opposites connect to create amazingness. My mind was constantly buzzing because of all the action, and everything was just so completely and totally wowzers. And I loved every moment of it.

All the twists and turns are mind-boggling and just pure awesome. I could not put this book down, and I actually had to take a few days (err, weeks...) to process everything that happened, because OH MY GOODNESS, THIS BOOK IS SO AMAZING. 

I sobbed book tears (mentally, of course) when I saw that the sequel wasn't coming out until next year, because it ended on an equally amazing and equally out-of-this-world-crazy point, and I JUST NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. 



I can't wait for the sequel when it comes out! And when is it due to come out? February 2016...

I'm going to need another minute (or a gazillion) now. 

If you'll excuse me... *cue the book tears*

Pure perfection

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Next Big Thing by Sadie Hayes

The Next Big Thing by Sadie Hayes
Source: ebook
Pages: 352
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: November 26th 2013
Series: The Start-Up; Book 2
Verdict: Borrow

SummaryAmelia and Adam’s new company, Doreye, may have won over Silicon Valley, but the trouble is far from over. After facing down skepticism, a meddler from their past and a saboteur who makes their app malfunction right when it matters most, drama suddenly seems to be brewing within the ranks. While Adam has money signs in his eyes and enough charm to win over the investors, Amelia decides she wants to give away their app for free, leading to discord and a separation of responsibilities—and power.

As if that weren’t hard enough on their relationship, Adam and Amelia are both keeping secrets from each other, the kinds of secrets that could change everything if revealed. As they grow farther apart, others grow closer together. Patty finds a new boyfriend—and a fascinating new job—to distract her from Chad; Adam becomes involved with an older woman who seems to be as interested in Doreye as he is; and TJ starts to notice that Amelia is more than just a computer nerd with the tensions running high, Adam makes a decision that topples Amelia’s carefully constructed life and sets off a chain of events that could threaten the future of Doreye. Can Amelia find a way to save their company before it’s too late?

Review: I read the first book in this series, The Social Code, a short while ago, and was left wanting more right away. My library didn't have the book in its system, but hooray for ebooks, right? Unfortunately, this book didn't get a hooray from me, because it was lacking in many areas.

The Social Code ended on a huge cliffhanger, and I had really enjoyed that novel, so obviously, I had to read more. In the first book, I had loved the intelligence, kindness, and authenticity. But, with its sequel... not so much.

My only problem with the first book was that the drama was a bit much. It was bearable, but in The Next Big Thing, it is definitely not. The dramatic flair was intense, and it was completely cringe-worthy. There were so much going on, and it was really hard to follow. Plus, what was going on wasn't enjoyable at all.

What happened to strong Amelia? What about kindhearted Adam? And don't even get me started on everybody else... It was so disappointing to see such lovable and relatable (and in some cases, hatable) change into pure ridiculousness. Still, Amelia had to be one of my favorite characters, because even when things went downhill, she remained true to herself, albeit an even more reserved self.

There is unnecessary tragedy that happens in this book, and I didn't like it at all. It was so uncalled for and just completely random. Again, going back to that overdone drama, I think the unnecessary tragedy was added in an attempt to mix things up a bit... So not needed.

All in all, I am really disappointed with The Next Big Thing. I had high hopes after reading The Social Code, and its sequel smashed those hopes into crumbles of disappointment. Seriously, I am so not okay with how things turned out.

Still, I have no regrets, and am glad that I read The Next Big Thing, along with The Social Code, because I've finally reached a conclusion. The ending is a bit expected and abrupt, but it gets the job done. I'm honestly not sure if there is more to this series, but I'm happy, or at least semi-happy, with how things ended.

It's not the way I would have liked things to turn out, but I suppose it's time for me to find my next big thing...

Could've been better