Friday, December 26, 2014

A Batch of Reviews ~ For Real, Beware the Wild, & More!

For Real by Alison Cherry

Genre: YA contemporary
Pages: 304
Publication Date: December 9th, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Goodreads Description: 
No parents. No limits. No clue what they're in for.

Shy, cautious Claire has always been in her confident older sister's shadow. While Miranda's life is jam-packed with exciting people and whirlwind adventures, Claire gets her thrills vicariously by watching people live large on reality TV.

When Miranda discovers her boyfriend, Samir, cheating on her just before her college graduation, it's Claire who comes up with the perfect plan. They'll outshine Miranda's fame-obsessed ex while having an amazing summer by competing on Around the World, a race around the globe for a million bucks. Revenge + sisterly bonding = awesome.

But the show has a twist, and Claire is stunned to find herself in the middle of a reality-show romance that may or may not be just for the cameras. This summer could end up being the highlight of her life... or an epic fail forever captured on film. In a world where drama is currency and manipulation is standard, how can you tell what's for real? 
Source: I received an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I read For Real in one day because I could NOT put it down. It was so much fun! It was a quick and easy read that made me giggle several times. I was stressed out during the week I read this book and it did a great job in relieving some of that stress. While it could've used more depth in order for me to connect to the story more, I did find the sister focus refreshing. I loved the growth that they went through. It was also nice how Claire and Miranda's relationship was the most important part of the novel and the romance had a much smaller importance. Overall, For Real was a really nice read! It was the perfect book for me to read while under the stress of homework and upcoming finals.

Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker

Genre: YA paranormal
Pages: 336
Publication date: October 21st, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Goodreads Description: 
It's an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp -- the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn't return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed.

Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp's done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance -- and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her. 

This debut novel is full of atmosphere, twists and turns, and a swoon-worthy romance.
Source: I received an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I liked reading Beware the Wild, though I also felt a bit "meh" about it. It had good character development. Phin overcame fear and became a stronger person by battling the swamp. There was also a great family focus. The protagonist fought for her brother throughout the entire book and refused to back down and let him go. I liked how loyal she was to him. I kinda liked the romance too--well, I liked Heath. The romance was okay. It was a small part of the story, but it was nice to have. Other than these things, there wasn't much that stood out to me about Beware the Wild. Overall, it was a nice read, but it wasn't great.

Veil of Anonymity by Lauriane Povey

Genre: YA contemporary
Pages: 198
Publication Date: February 15th, 2014
Publisher: The Wacky Wordship
Goodreads Description: 
Marcus James is dead.

He never wanted to hurt anybody. He never planned for this to happen. He never wanted Marcus dead. It just … happened … went too far. He couldn’t stop himself. So absorbed in his own dysfunctional world, selflishly concerned his own needs, he kept himself in denial about what, in truth, he was actually inflicting upon Marcus. He was a bully. He can see that now. But now is too late. Now he’s a killer.

Using anonymous texts and threats the bully destroyed Marcus, revelling in the devastation that unfolded. Yet still, he was capable of deluding himself into believing he was doing no wrong; after all, he’d never even spoken to Marcus. It was simply a game to him. Little did he know, the consequence of losing was certain death, but winning held an even less desirable fate. Because, once caught up in the evil grip of cyber bullying there is no referee, no-one in control, not when the attacker is anonymous and hiding within, and behind, the virtual maze that is the cyber world.

Source: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Veil of Anonymity had a great message about how bullying affects both the bullied AND the bully. I really liked the idea of it, though some of the execution was lacking for me.

The bully's actions were driven by the problems in his life He was jealous of someone who appeared to have what he wanted and he lashed out to make the guy's life miserable--worse than the bully's. The narrator was as deeply affect by his actions as Markus. More so, in fact. He became a completely different person. An ugly person. A monster who just wouldn't move on until other's lives were destroyed. This book was about the transformation someone goes through as he/she becomes a bully (a cyber bully, in particular). 

I really liked the story and the message. The writing had a bit a badly-acted-movie feel to it, so it didn't flow very well for me. Instead, it felt scripted.

I also didn't like the ending very much. It was . . . not quite preachy, but similar to it. The message was directed directly at the reader, like giving a reminder or warning. I love powerful messages, but when they're direct in the way this one was, I don't feel the same impact as if I had figured out what the book was telling me by reading between the lines. I prefer more subtle messages in books.

Overall, Veil of Anonymity was a good book to read because it told the story of someone who turned into a cyber bully and then spiraled out of control. It told the story of a boy who destroyed himself as he destroyed others. It was worth reading, despite lacking in how well it was executed.

Anomaly by Tonya Kuper

Series: Schrodinger's Consortium #1
Genre: YA science fiction / paranormal
Pages: 301
Publication Date: November 25th, 2014
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Goodreads Description: 
Reality is only an illusion.
Except for those who can control it…

Worst. Birthday. Ever.
My first boyfriend dumped me – happy birthday, Josie!- my dad is who knows where, I have some weird virus that makes me want to hurl, and now my ex is licking another girl’s tonsils. Oh, and I’m officially the same age as my brother was when he died. Yeah, today is about as fun-filled as the swamps of Dagobah. But then weird things start happening…
Like I make something materialize just by thinking about it.
When hot badass Reid Wentworth shows up on a motorcycle, everything changes. Like, everything. Who I am. My family. What really happened to my brother. Existence. I am Oculi, and I have the ability to change reality with my thoughts. Now Reid, in all his hotness, is charged with guiding and protecting me as I begin learning how to bend reality. And he’s the only thing standing between me and the secret organization that wants me dead…

Source: I received an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Anomaly was a cool read, but it wasn't a very memorable one. I really enjoyed the concepts, though the story didn't stand out to me very much.

The plot/story wasn't anything new. It was the girl learns she has powers, people try to kill her, hot guy trains her, her life changes forever type of thing. I didn't mind it. It just didn't impress me enough to be stand out as great.

The concepts were the coolest part of the book. The main character was an Anomaly, which meant she had the ability to Push (create) and Retract (delete) things into and out of existence. She was the rarer kind of person with powers. The other two types who could only either Push or Retract things. This was a really cool sci-fi element and it made for a some awesome training and action scenes. 

The romance was nice. I liked Reid more than Josie. They had great chemistry and I rooted for them, but I didn't love them.

Overall, Anomaly was an enjoyable read. Was it memorable? Not really. Other than the Pushing and Retracting, not much about this book stood out to me as special.

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