Wren Reviews: ‘Love Letters to the Dead’

Title: Love Letters to the Dead

Author: Ava Dellaira

Genre: Romance, YA Fiction, Realistic

 

Premise:

(Goodreads)

It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person.

Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to the dead—to people like Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, Amelia Earhart, and Amy Winehouse—though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating the choppy waters of new friendships, learning to live with her splintering family, falling in love for the first time, and, most important, trying to grieve for May. But how do you mourn for someone you haven’t forgiven?

It’s not until Laurel has written the truth about what happened to herself that she can finally accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was—lovely and amazing and deeply flawed—can she truly start to discover her own path.

In a voice that’s as lyrical and as true as a favorite song, Ava Dellaira writes about one girl’s journey through life’s challenges with a haunting and often heartbreaking beauty.

 

Plot: The story is about Laurel a girl whose sister died within the past year or so. And she has to deal with the grief and the guilty of her role in May’s death.

Laurel is given an assignment where she must write a letter to a dead person. She chooses Kurt Cobian. On her first day of high school, she wears her old, middle school clothes. And is promptly ignored. When she dons May’s old clothes, she is noticed by Hannah and Natalie. With the two, she gets drunk for the first time. And she sees the two kissing. They say that she can ‘join in’ if she likes, which Laurel doesn’t do.

She meets Kristen and Tristan a couple who are polar opposites. She breaks out of her aunt’s house to go see the couple Kristen and Tristan. She is invited to go on a drive with her crush the mysterious junior Sky. (If you care to know, his real name is Skylar.) Homecoming comes near, and Laurel is invited by Evan a guy in one of her classes. She reluctantly goes with him, wanting to go with Sky instead. And Natalie asks Hannah to go to homecoming with her. And Hannah denies. Evan ditches her during homecoming to dance with his ex-girlfriend. Sky comes to her rescue, though. He takes her home, kissing her in his car. (Which is described as having a leather smell. A very strong one.)

Laurel goes to Hannah’s house for a a sleepover. Natalie drives Hannah’s grandmother’s van and gets it stuck in the sand. Hannah is yelled at by her older brother Jason. Laurel goes to a college Halloween party with her friends. There, she becomes Sky’s girlfriend. With her friends and boyfriend, she visits FallFest a place that she used to go to with her family before May died. She takes Sky home to her dad and introduces the two.

Hannah attains a new boyfriend named Neung. Even though she has Kasey as a boyfriend. Natalie and Laurel visit Neung’s home with Hannah. And Natalie cries after admitting she loves Hannah.

Christmas comes closer. Hannah gets a painting of her favorite flower tulips from Natalie. At a Christmas party, Laurel sees Janey a friend from middle school. She tries to avoid Janey, but it fails. She talks to Janey for a bit. (Janey caught Laurel stealing alcohol.) Laurel calls up Sky and kisses him.

Christmas comes. Laurel’s dad does nothing until Laurel strings out lights around her house with the help of her neighbor. Her dad gets into the holiday spirit and gets a tree. During Christmas, Laurel tells Sky she loves him, and Sky says he loves her.

At a New Year’s Eve party, she writes down her intentions for the year and burns it. (All her friends and Sky do this.) Sky breaks up with Laurel, saying she’s sometimes ‘not there’. Laurel remembers some of the details of May’s death. (But we don’t get the whole story until later.) Laurel, in despair, doesn’t attend school for a while. She goes back and tells Hannah and Natalie that Sky broke up with her. And that her sister May is dead. The two console her on the former and explain they knew about the latter. Sky gets a new girlfriend named Francesca, and she confronts Laurel. Laurel plays ‘the dead game’ which is composed of lying in the street and playing chicken with a car. She scares Sky’s girlfriend away by doing this.

Hannah gets a new boyfriend named Blake. Hannah and Laurel go to his house, and Laurel is almost raped by Blake’s roommate. Or so it seems. Some time passes, and Laurel gets in an argument with her mom who lives in California. She doesn’t speak to her mother for a while.

She confronts Sky about why he broke up with her. And how Sky knew about May’s death. Sky explains, saying they went to Sandia together. And that he beat up Paul May’s boyfriend before her death. And that’s how he got kicked out of Sandia. Laurel, Natalie, and Hannah go to a party. Evan almost rapes Laurel, and Laurel catches Hannah and Natalie kissing. As goes most of everyone there. Including Hannah’s brother Jason. Jason hurts Hannah afterwards. The three friends don’t talk for a while until Hannah and Laurel get to talking. Once they talk, Hannah and Natalie talk.

Laurel reveals what happened on the night May died. She reveals that she had been groped, many times, by Paul’s friend Billy when May went on dates with Paul. Laurel explained this to May who went to the edge of a river and…walked off. (It isn’t clear exactly what happened to her. Suicide or not.) Hannah stays at Laurel’s house for a day before staying at Natalie’s. Laurel doesn’t start dating Sky again but becomes his friend. Sky goes over and talks to her dad on occasion.

Laurel finally meets the Jesus Man a guy her aunt had been crushing on for some time. She tells her aunt to stop perusing the man. Her aunt takes heed of Laurel’s advice. She finally makes up with her mom.

School ends. The group Tristan, Hannah, Natalie, Kristin, and Laurel come together and party. Laurel sees Natalie and Hannah acting like a couple. Hannah and Tristan sing at a bonfire to commemorate Tristan and Kristen’s last day of high school. Sky and Laurel get back together. Laurel writes her last letter to May. And she gives her notebook of letters to her teacher.

And the story ends.

 

Character Development: I typically put the main character in these stories. But I wanted to talk about Sky as well. (And not just because of his unusual name.)

Laurel. I don’t like Laurel. Sure. I like the ‘I’m not broken’ parts of her. I like the ‘fixable’ parts. It’s interesting. I like those types of characters. The ones with dark pasts who act like everything is fine. And we all know it’s not fine. She’s not fine. I like that, though, in a character. The parts I hate are the ones obsessed with Sky. Laurel is like Charlie from ‘Perks of Being a Wallflower’. And we all know Charlie loves Sam. But Laurel is obsessed with Sky. I think it’s an unhealthy crush that adds wood to the flame. Not a good thing.

Sky. I feel like he had potential. He could have been a great character. But he isn’t. He is mysterious. That could have been expanded. But it isn’t. I wish it was expanded. I wish Sky was expanded. He had the potential to be more. He’s just ‘Laurel’s boyfriend’. That’s all.

 

Problems: Gosh. This book is ‘Perks of Being a Wallflower’. But it has less deeper meaning.

Let me explain.

This book was romance half the time. The other half was it trying to gain deeper meaning. Which didn’t exactly work all the time.

I didn’t like the romance. It is based on nothing. And Laurel seems to be clinging to Sky. She’s whiny and keeps holding on to Sky. Let go. Just let go. He’s your first ‘love’, but you need to get over it.

Gah. Laurel is a bad thing herself. I think her guilt is an interesting point, but she’s whiney. Sky this. Sky that. She has only the guilty going for her. She is all about Sky. And romance. And kissing. And trying to hook up with Sky. Gag.

The story wasn’t very interesting if you ask me. It’s a bit dull. I rather know what happened and how May died in the beginning. Keeping me waiting was dragging it on. And I don’t like how dramatic it was. No action. At all. I didn’t like that.

The characters seemed a bit dull. I didn’t like Natalie and Hannah. Or Tristan and Kristen. I seem to like almost none of these characters. And I only liked a small part of Laurel’s character. They were interesting. But Hannah overreacted when she was caught kissing Natalie.

And that’s another problem. The lesbian romance wasn’t working for me. I didn’t like it. It didn’t seem real. And, if you ask me, it just isn’t romance. Where is it based off of? And why is it there? Trying to bring in LGBT teens? I just don’t know. I don’t think that it would lesbian romance.

And I feel like these characters are just being…stereotyped a bit. I mean…the polar opposite couple. The guy who is a rocker and the girl who is a study bug. The popular girl who gets everyone. And the loner girl turned around. These characters are overused. There should be some originality. I also think ‘Perks of Being a Wallflower’ is a definite influence. (The author is actually her mentor.) But it seems to copy a  lot from ‘Perks of Being a Wallflower’. Which I don’t like at all. I don’t like books being copied.

 

Good points: There are a few good points.

I like Laurel’s guilt. It makes her a bit less…emotionless. I think that is interesting to give her guilt. But it’s not guilt that I understand. Why does she think it’s her fault? It was May’s fault for standing on the edge. Laurel was just in shock. Not all people react to those things.

Another good thing is the letters. Not the letters itself or the content really. But the letters were interesting. It wasn’t as well written as ‘Perks of Being a Wallflower’, but I liked how Laurel made it to a certain person. But I didn’t like her bringing up ‘you’ or what happened to that person. It was a bit awkward. Especially since I didn’t know some of these singers and poets.

 

Score: 7/10

Recommended: If you like ‘after -insert name of loved one- died’ stories. If you like a girl recovering over a death and hooking up with a guy who has a shady past.

 

Wren Reviews: ‘Far Dawn’

Title: Far Dawn

Author: Kevin Emerson

Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Fantasy, YA fiction, Romance

 

 

Premise:

(Goodreads)

In The Far Dawn, Owen and Lilly are on their own, two of the three Atlanteans left on a journey to find Atlantis and protect it from the selfish greed of their nemesis Paul and Project Elysium. As time grows short and darkness overtakes the planet, Owen must face Paul’s greatest treachery yet. He must choose—does he save the planet, or the people he loves?

Perfect for fans of Star Wars, Percy Jackson, or The Hunger Games, The Far Dawn takes readers on an explosive journey through time and space with heartrending decisions, pulse-pounding action, and fascinating questions of science and ethics alike. Both the paperback and ebook editions include extra content on “where science stops and fantasy starts” in the world of the series.

 

Plot: The story starts off with Lilly and Owen flying in Lük’s craft. They pick up a signal, someone calling for help. They go to the place where the signal originated the Vista and meet Moros/Peter a human being turned digital character inside the Vista a digital utopia. Owen is almost downloaded into Peter’s digital body as a way for Peter to get out. Owen and Lilly escape with the knowledge Peter had. They flee to the mountains. They find Paul there with Evan-turned-Kael/Leech by genetic experimentation. The two save Evan and find the Sentinel the spirit of Rana, Lilly’s ancestor. The Sentinel says that Owen isn’t the Aeronaut. The story turns to the original Three with Owen inside Lük’s head. He sees the Three trying to destroy the Paintbrush of the Gods and failing. The world falls apart in the memory. Owen comes out of the memory and finds that Lilly and Evan are gone, taken by Paul. Rana and Owen go to Antarctica where the original city is rumored to be. They meet a band of military men. They almost save Evan and Lilly, but the Terra is taken. And the world is crushed by ice. Lilly, Evan, and Matheu (or however you spell his name) are killed. Owen survives with Rana’s help. Owen makes coffins for all three and send them out to sea. He is cared for by the military before he leaves to go on a Flotilla to have changes done to him. He gets a bionic eye and a bar code on his finger similar to the ones on the elite. He then goes to an Eden, seeking out passage to Egress the ship in space. He gets on with the Nomads help. He, sadly, betrays them when he gets there. He doesn’t blow up the station. Instead, Owen makes a deal with Paul to have Lilly revived. When about to talk to the Terra, part of his deal, he meets Lilly in her skull. They talk with Lilly making him decide he won’t agree to help Paul. Lük comes in, crashing into the ship using a spaceship he repaired. Rana, Kael’s spirit, and Owen escape the failing Egress. In the ship, they crash into missiles. Owen releases the Terra, saving the world. The Terra returns to the earth and starts healing the broken parts. Owen is revived in the Eden his story began in. Owen sees Lilly, and the story ends.

Character Development: Owen. Owen isn’t a favorite character of mine. Love overtakes all rational thought. And he’s the surprise attack. And he mopes. I don’t like him. He’s simply annoying. I do like that he is human. He mourns. He feels pain. It doesn’t seem like the original Three are not human. Even during the flashback.

Problems: A problem I saw was the world building. I haven’t read this series since the last book, book two. And the world wasn’t defined anyways. LoRad? What? Could there be a section that describes the purpose of these inventions? That would have been good. I like knowing these things. (Either that or it was explained, and I don’t remember.) The romance was a bit much. Kissing every moment. It was nice that Lilly didn’t say ‘I love you’ as if it was ‘pass me the salt’. It was a bit cute that they kept count. It was interesting why they did it. And the fact that they did it at all. I don’t like the romance, though. I don’t like romance in general. And this was part of the ‘general’. The plot, while action-filled, is not too interesting. I don’t particularly like it. It was just okay. The plot was a bit…dull. Betrayal. Fighting. It seems a bit repetitive. I don’t know why I think that. It seems like that happens often enough. Fighting. Betrayal. Loss. It’s becoming common enough.

Good points: ‘Far Dawn’ has certain things I like. Only a few. I like how Owen seems real. He goes through emotional and physical pain. He is real. He feels pain. He isn’t indestructible. When Lilly is dead, he mourns. He builds coffins. He goes on a suicide mission. Knowing he’ll die if he goes through with it. He is real. I like that. I like real characters. The plot is action. Action. Drama. Suspense. Surprises. It’s odd that I don’t like the story, but I have a minor like for the plot. It’s the action that I like. Not the story itself.

 

Score: 7/10

Recommended: If you like the series. If you like dystopian with a supernatural twist.

Wren Reviews: ‘Meritropolis’

Title: Meritropolis

Author: Joel Ohman

Genre: Dystopian, Action, YA fiction, Science Fiction

 

Premise:

(Goodreads)

The year is AE3, 3 years after the Event. Within the walls of Meritropolis, 50,000 inhabitants live in fear, ruled by the brutal System that assigns each citizen a merit score that dictates whether they live or die. Those with the highest scores thrive, while those with the lowest are subject to the most unforgiving punishment–to be thrust outside the city gates, thrown to the terrifying hybrid creatures that exist beyond.

But for one High Score, conforming to the System just isn’t an option. Seventeen-year-old Charley has a brother to avenge. And nothing–not even a totalitarian military or dangerous science–is going to stop him.

Where humankind has pushed nature and morals to the extreme, Charley is amongst the chosen few tasked with exploring the boundaries, forcing him to look deep into his very being to discern right from wrong. But as he and his friends learn more about the frightening forces that threaten destruction both without and within the gates, Meritropolis reveals complexities they couldn’t possibly have bargained for…

 

Plot: The story is action-filled with mutated creatures and an oppressive system for control.

The story starts off with Charley protecting a girl about to be zeroed. This is the action of putting someone outside of the gates that protect the city. Charley is then put in a training program as a punishment to become a Hunter. He ends up training with the High Score girl Sandy who fights like a maniac. He, Sandy, and another High Score go on different hunting trips together. Sven Charley’s friend  is captured. They fight together, working together. They even fight a bion a bull-lion. They take it down with Charley in charge. The result of the killing is Charley’s friend Sven being released. Charley finds a chip inside the bion. Sandy and Charley go into the Tower to investigate. There, they find out it’s a tracking chip or something of that sort. They go back to training before Charley finds out the little girl he saved was zeroed anyways. He attacks the Tower, destroying guards until none are left standing. Charley is jailed. The commander is ordered to let anyone under a Score of 100 to be let out of the city. The people rebel with Charley being freed with help from a portly man who runs the underworld named Chappy. Charley leads the people.  The wall is blown to bits using C4. Invaders attack. Chappy, Charley, and the commander band together to fight back. Animal combinations come too the rescue, looking for the smell of blood and meat. The groups defeat the invaders. But the citizens have to fight back against the animals. Chappy goes into the Tower, letting only High Scores in. Charley has a sudden realization which results in him and Sandy and Sven and the Low Scores joining Commander Orson and Grigor in meeting Commander Orson’s father the instigator of the System.

And the story ends with that cliffhanger.

 

Character Development:

Charley. I like Charley. He’s a fighter. He works for things. He is an intelligent person. He does. He acts. He isn’t passive. I like that. Charley’s personality is something I look for in a character. To me, main characters need to be fighting for a reason, a cause. And Charley does so. I like that in him. Sure, he’s reckless, but he’s that crazy, good kind of reckless.

 

Problems: Meritropolis has many wild animal combinations. Bull-lion. Ram-puma. These, though, are creative yet overly wild. (This is mentioned in the good points as well.)  They doesn’t seem possible. They don’t seem like they will happen.

We also get this odd point of view of an engineer. I don’t think it was entirely necessary. Sure, he blew up the wall, but that doesn’t mean he has to be a point of view. I think it would be fine if he wasn’t a narrator. Even if it’s just a few pages.

Commander Orson has a past. A cruel father. And we don’t get any of that. I wish we had more on his perspective. It would be interesting. You wouldn’t just get Charley’s perspective. You would see the perspective of a ‘bad guy’.

A problem, for me, is the cliffhanger. The plot is actually pretty interesting. It keeps you going. You feel energized. But the cliffhanger just tears you apart. What happens next? Who will survive? What will Orson’s father do? You are left with these questions that don’t explain. Which is disappointing to say the least.

 

Good points: This was, all together, a pretty good book. There were bad parts at times. And there were good parts. It’s hard to say, though, which surpasses which.

A good part is also a problem. The animal combinations were creative. I liked the use of creativity this story had. But it was overly so. A crow-ant? That’s not even humanly possible. No matter what the radiation was. I don’t think these combinations are possible.

Another good point is the main character. I like Charley. He’s interesting. He has a past you don’t know the entirety of. He’s a fighter and gets something similar to the ‘red hot’ Saba (‘Blood Red Road’) gets when she’s ready to fight. He is a doer. He acts. I like that in a character. Especially a main character.

The plot is action. It is entirely action. I enjoyed that. It was fascinating and keeping you on the edge of your seat. You had to know what happened. Charley is such an experienced fighter. I think that’s a good quality in him, and that just adds to the action. He’s no novice to fighting. Hand-to-hand or not.

 

Score: 7/10

Recommended: If you like dystopian books with weird animals. If you like strong main characters.

 

Liebster Award

coffeebooksandotheraddictions.wordpress.com nominated me. (I actually don’t know who this person is…)
The award is for under 200 follower book blogs to get to know the community. (It’s not really much, if you think about it. It’s cool, though.)

1. What book has influenced your life the most?
There should be one? Maybe ‘Anne of Green Gables.’ It is a childhood love of mine.

2. What is your favorite hobby?
Reading totally counts. Right? Karate maybe. And procrastinating.

3. What is something that no one would ever guess is true about you?
How young I am. Don’t ask, though. It’s a secret.

4. Favorite quote of yours?
Uh…
‘Hell is empty and all the devils are here.’

5. Why did you start blogging?
Why? I love books. I think social media is important. Combining these two was simple. And I can’t be a booktuber. Or bookstagramer. Book blogger was the last one to do.

6. If you could spend the day with any person of your choice, who would it be and why?
My best friend Jenna. I haven’t seen her in such a long time.
But. If we’re talking about book characters, Mackenzie Bishop from ‘The Archived’ or Bitterblue from ‘Bitterblue’. They are badass girls I think it’s would be great. They have special strengths. Maybe they could help me strengthen myself.

7. If you had only three wishes and you can’t wish for more wishes, what would they be?
World peace. No more suicides. And books. No…no child hunger not books.

8. Who inspires you?
No one. I am not inspired by people.

9. Can you read multiple books at a time or can you only read one?
I can only read one. But I read ebooks while I read regular, tangible books.

10. What would be your dream super power?
The ability to create anything from my mind in reality.

11. What is the one thing you want to accomplish before you die?
Meet my online friends and hug them and not let go.

I don’t know any small book blogs, actually. I can’t tag anyone… Oh well. If you are a small book blog, I tag you.

Here are the questions if you want to do it.

1) What is your favorite thing to do on your down time?

2) What book inspired you the most?

3) What character looks like you?

4) Who would you bring back from the dead and why?

5) What fantasy world would you want to live in?

6) What do you look for in a book?

7) What’s your favorite thing to do after finishing a good book?

8) What is your favorite type of cookie?

8) Who is your favorite actor/actress?

9) What is your favorite TV show?

10) If you could be any character, who would you be? And why?

Interview with Jody Casella

I recently met Jody Casella author of ‘Thin Space’. She came down to my state on Wednesday (10-8). Thank you so much, Jody, for giving me this chance to interview you!
Here is her official bio:
Jody Casella is a former high school English teacher with a degree in Creative Writing from Rhodes College and a Masters in English from the University of Memphis. Her first novel Thin Space, a paranormal YA mystery published by Beyond Words/Simon & Schuster, received a starred review from Kirkus. She lives with her husband and two teenagers in Columbus, Ohio. In addition to writing books, she visits schools, libraries, and book clubs to talk about the creative/revision process,  sporadically cleans her house, and walks her dog. A lot. 
Interview:
1. Why did you start writing?
I have always loved books and I wanted to create my own stories.
2. What is your favorite series/book?
I don’t have one favorite book, but some authors I love: Sara Zarr, Laurie Halse Anderson, Meg Rosoff, John Green, and Maggie Stiefvater.
3. Who is your favorite author?
(see above)
4. What do you do to help writer’s block?
I try to write something every day and I give myself permission to write crappy pages. I know that I can always revise later.
5. If ‘Thin Space’ was a movie, who would be cast as the leads? (Maddie and Austin/Marsh.)
Not sure if he is too old– but the actor Logan Lerman, I think, would be good as Marsh. For Maddie, maybe Elle Fanning?
6. What is your favorite song to help get you writing?
I don’t listen to music while I write, but when I was working on Thin Space, I used to listen to “All These Things That I’ve Done” by The Killers before I’d begin each day’s writing session.
7. How much do you write a day? (On average.)
When I am drafting, I try to write 1500 words per day. When I am revising, my goal is one chapter per day.
8. Where do you love to write? (Coffee shop? Bookstore?)
I write at home on my couch with my dear little writing dog Zooey curled up beside me.
9. Would you rather write one book about your life or write a million about everything but your life?
I try to avoid writing autobiographical things… but somehow little bits and pieces of real life always end up in my made-up stories.
10. Would you rather live in a book world or have your characters live in yours?
I would much rather live in a book world.
11. What book world would you like to go to?
Harry Potter!
12. Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I hope I am still writing and still traveling around talking about my books.
13. What do you do to relax after a stressful day?
Read!!
14. Which author would you love to meet? (Based on books or how they are personality wise.)
I wish I could go on a hike with Maggie Stiefvater. Also, I want to meet her goats.
To contact  her:
Email: jodycasella (@) yahoo (dot) com
Twitter: @jodycasella
Facebook: Jody Casella
Goodreads

Wren Reviews: ‘Compulsive’

Title: Compulsive
Author: Myunqiue C. Green
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Realistic, Action
Note: I received this book from the author Myunique C. Green for a review. This doesn’t make me biased in any way.
Premise:
(Goodreads)
Was it fate, karma or just a stroke of bad luck that intertwined the lives of four strangers?

Dante, Liliana, Syven and Kendra all lead different lives, and aside from stolen glances, none of them could certainly never pick each other out in a crowd. But a mysterious force is at work; someone warning them of a damnation that has yet to pass. Enticed by their individual desires, will they heed the warnings before time runs out, or will their compulsions get the best of them?

Plot: This is a story told in four perspectives. I’ll divide the plot up in fours.
Dante. Dante’s story starts with him owing money to a gang led by Mike. He joins Mike’s gang after procuring the needed amount of alcohol. He meets Lacey the ‘hot girl’ in his story. He helps the gang break into a bakery. (This bakery is Syven’s, as found out later in the story.) The gang moves from bakeries to banks. Dante gets a small cut, wanting more of the money earned in the bank robbery. He goes to challenge Mike and finds some gang members dead. He takes the money and flees. He gives some of the money to his friend and some to his mother. He gets a call from Syven (not that he knows it’s Syven) telling him to bring the money. He does, seeing Tiffany instead of Syven for the transfer. Dante gives up some of his money but gets shot by Tiffany. He is killed.
Liliana’s story starts with her getting engaged to her long-time love. She leaves him for a bit before returning his calls. She meets a guy named Alton and starts dating him. She has a sister named Bianca. Bianca gets kidnapped, and Lily has to pay back Joe all the money she used to buy materialistic possessions. She ends up doing so, but she is kidnapped by Joe and by Alton. She sees another girl Kendra Belle who is Alton’s love. Bianca is hurt by the men, and Lily turns fearful. She ends up dying.
Syven is a baker who works hard to fund his family. His friend strikes the jackpot and wins the lottery. Syven is tossed into a world of riches, meeting a girl named Tiffany who attracts him. His parents’ baker is robbed. He sees Lily. (Syven liked Bianca before his friend won the lottery.) He finds out that Dante robbed a bank and his parents’ bakery by overheating Dante talking to his friend Jay. Syven decides to take revenge on Dante, calling him and asking him for money. (A threatening call.) Dante agrees. Together, Tiffany and Syven get the money. Syven is betrayed, though, by Tiffany who shoots Syven. Syven is assumed dead. But is he?
Kendra is a star who leaves stardom in exchange for a quiet life. She gets there and meets Byron a nice guy she takes a liking to. She starts a relationship with him. In response to her OCD, she goes to a therapist, but she is raped by said therapist. She goes to a bank and gets caught up in the bank robbery. She recovers. Kendra is thrown into a clash with Lily’s story as she is kidnaped by Al her bodyguard. She is threatened and is almost killed. But she ends up escaping. She ends up being pregnant with one of the men, Byron or Al’s child.
This is a very quick summary of these four stories. I tried to talk about all the major happenings.
Character Development:
Dante. I don’t like Dante. He starts out a weakling, but he has a rapid, almost unbelievable, change into a new, tougher person. I don’t see exactly why he does that. Joining a gang is one thing. Why did you steal that money from Mike anyways? I don’t like Dante. In any way.
Liliana. Gah. I hate these characters who date for love. Lily was trying to be some gold digger. I think. It was infuriating. I know it happens in real life…but did it have to be a character? I’m not sorry when I say I hate Lily.
Syven. Innocent at first. But a wild party guy. I have mixed feelings on Syven. He didn’t want to rob his friend. Which is one thing. And I like that. But he was all over Tiffany. He was sex and revenge. Why? Because he worked his ass off and his friend didn’t? Not a good enough answer.
Kendra. I am, in no way, a fan of the Hollywood characters who want to escape stardom. I mean, they can be written well. But Kendra…not exactly. She has a relationship with two men. (I’m seeing a trend here.) And she wants to have a relationship with Byron? With Al on the side? No. Just no.
Problems: I thought that this story has potential.
It was ‘young adult’. While I read, I labeled it more new adult. It has sex and drugs and alcohol. It seems less young adult and teen-friendly and more new adult.
Another problem is the plot. It just seemed messy to me. Sure. I liked the different perspectives mixing together, but it just didn’t work. I’m not a fan of realistic. And this is a realistic story. The darker side of humanity is intriguing, but this story is more on very coincidental things. The plot also was rushed. Time seemed to jump all over the place. Months were paragraphs. Days, barely sentences. I don’t like rushed stories. Nor do I like slow ones. But this is, at least, something.
They meet, all of them. They meet another in the story. You don’t know who Dante meets until later. Which isn’t styling I like. You have to just guess. You go ‘ah, I see’ at the end. Well…kinda.
The romance was annoying. There was more on sex and hooking up compared to building a relationship. The romances were rushed. And it seemed like everyone had a lover. Dante has the girl in the gang. Lily had two people. Kendra had Al and Bryon. Syven has Tiffany. It was a very ‘let’s hook up’ story.
Good points: I do like a few things. Not many, though. Just a few.
I like how Kendra has OCD. (It’s a disorder where you have to do certain things. For her, it’s cleaning.) It makes her seem more real. Doesn’t help her case much but it’s something. The author tried her best to add in realistic problems to try and get the readers to relate. It was a nice attempt. It just didn’t work for me.
There was action. Not necessarily good action but it was there. I won’t say I love or hate the action. It just wasn’t satisfying.
I acknowledge that some might like this book. I can see the potential. But, like with most realistic stories, I didn’t like it. Not really.
Score: 5/10
Recommended: If you like a story told in many perspectives. If you like a harsh reality, realistic fiction story.

Unstrung: Cover Reveal

Young Adult Sci Fi/Dystopian
Date Published: October 17, 2014
   

Book One: Unstrung Series


Lexa Pate, seventeen-year-old thief extraordinaire, has burned a bridge or two in her life. You don’t make a career out of stealing other people’s property without making enemies.

When a risky job goes from bad to worse, Lexa and her adopted family find themselves on Precipice Corporation’s hit list because they’ve accidentally stolen the wrong thing–plans for a new model of genetically-engineered super humans. Now every bounty hunter, cop on the take, and snitch in the city is after them.

Lexa’s world crumbles around her as she fights to keep her family safe even as someone strolls out of her forgotten past. Quinn claims to know who Lexa really is, but can she trust a stranger she met while robbing his boss?

More importantly, does she really want to know what Quinn has to tell her?

Based on the fairy tale Pinocchio, UNSTRUNG takes you into a near future world where the lines between fake and real are blurred, all that’s pristine isn’t always innocent, and being a criminal isn’t always wrong.

Kendra C. Highley

 

Kendra C. Highley lives in north Texas with her husband and two children. She also serves as staff to four self-important cats. This, according to the cats, is her most crucial job. She believes chocolate is a basic human right, running a 10k is harder than it sounds, and that everyone should learn to drive a stick shift. She loves monsters, vacations, baking and listening to bad electronica. If she’s not writing, she’s reading. If she’s not writing or reading, she’s likely a little cranky.