Book Review: Boy Band (Boy Band, #1) by Jacqueline E. Smith

23966802.jpgTitle: Boy Band
Author: Jacqueline E. Smith
Publisher: Wind Trail Publishing
Pub Date: April 21, 2015
Format: Paperback
Pages: 196
Source: Review Copy
Genre(s): YA, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: ★★★★
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Book Review: In His Corner by Vina Arno

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

No sex for almost a year could kill a guy, but when you’re the boxer known as the Juggernaut, it’s the price you pay for turning pro. Tommy’s fully dedicated to his craft, until he meets the incredibly gorgeous Dr. Siena Carr. Now he’s looking forward to taking on this prim and proper lady in a wet and wild workout…

Siena has seen many patients come through the ER, but none as sexy as Tommy Raines. With a nasty cut over his eye, she knows he needs stitches, but after he takes off his shirt, she needs some air. With rock-hard abs and taut biceps, it’s clear this man takes care of his body. And all Siena can think about is letting him take care of hers…

My review:

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influences my opinion of the work.

“She was around five-foot-three and probably weighed 110 pounds. He could bench-press two of her. It would be nice to “power lift” her onto his bed.”

Before I say anything about the actual story, let’s all take a moment to appreciate the guy on the cover who bares a strong resemblance to Jake Gyllenhaal (as Dastan) in Prince of Persia. Much appreciated. Fun Fact: This is basically how I imagined Tommy Raines.

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Now that the ogling is out of the way, I have to say that this story was a little lackluster. Romance novels are a guilty pleasure of mine. They are mostly predictable and somewhat raunchy, but they are incredibly fun to read. Unfortunately, this one was just a little too tame. It needed something more.

Initially, I was surprised at how quickly things escalated between Siena and Tommy on their first date, but it seems like everything became very mild after that. If you read the book, you’ll know what moment I’m talking about. I’ll probably be reminded of it the next time I sit on one of those high stools at the bar.

On another note, I really liked the author’s writing. It didn’t go on and on about unnecessary details and it always got to the point. There weren’t a thousand silly words to describe their private parts (that always cracks me up) and useless metaphors about a flower blooming or a cascading waterfall, when the girl just wants to have sex. That was refreshing to see in a romance novel. I also liked how Tommy never “growled”. In other books, the alpha males are always “growling” or “grunting in approval” and doing other caveman-type things… but this book stayed clear of that. Thank goodness. And it was very quick to read.

What I did not like is how the relationship seemed completely based on physical attraction. I didn’t feel the connection on an emotional level, even though the characters were claiming otherwise. I just didn’t see it. Also, I could not stand Siena. And it’s very hard to enjoy a book when the protagonist is extremely annoying. I mean, I didn’t like how often Tommy called her a snob (because that’s kind of rude), but she is actually such a snob that I stopped caring about that.

The highlight of this book is the fact that Tommy is an alpha male in the best way possible. He doesn’t try to be an alpha. He’s not trying to control his love interest. He takes life in stride, and he seems a lot more realistic than most male characters these days. He’s just a kind boy who likes to brawl and have a good time.

For all intents and purposes, this is a good book to read when you want some quick entertainment. This is not the type of story you get particularly attached to. It’s just something fun and simple. A guilty pleasure.

★★★ (3.5 stars) for Tommy. I wouldn’t mind reading a more developed story about his character, preferably with Siena out of the picture.

Book Review: Soundless by Richelle Mead

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

For as long as Fei can remember, no one in her village has been able to hear. Rocky terrain and frequent avalanches make it impossible to leave the village, so Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink. Many go hungry. Fei and all the people she loves are plunged into crisis, with nothing to look forward to but darkness and starvation.

Until one night, Fei is awoken by a searing noise. Sound becomes her weapon.

She sets out to uncover what’s happened to her and to fight the dangers threatening her village. A handsome miner with a revolutionary spirit accompanies Fei on her quest, bringing with him new risks and the possibility of romance. They embark on a majestic journey from the peak of their jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiguo, where a startling truth will change their lives forever.

My mini-review:

“Some things don’t need words. Sometimes it’s enough to just feel. You don’t have to label and articulate all that’s around you.”

I will try to keep my review short and sweet, just like this book. To the best of my knowledge, the concept, a soundless village, is something that has never been written about before. It sparkled and spooked like a fairytale does. The world-building is minimal because it does not require much more than a reader’s own imagination. Also, the romance is very cute. Very modest.

★★★ (3.5 stars) because I feel like the mythology could have been taken to a whole new level.

Book Review: Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.

What really happened?
Someone knows.
Someone is lying.

My review:

“Once upon a time I thought I could change stories, make them go the way I wanted, instead of where they actually went.”

When I met April Genevieve Tucholke the other day, I told her that I was wary of her characters and she told me that I could trust Midnight. I said I would take her word for it.

I absolutely devoured this book. I can’t remember the last time I read a book so quickly. This is a testament to Tucholke’s fleeting and whimsical writing. It was so easy and exciting to read, almost like picking up your first fantasy book as a child.

I went into this book very skeptically. I expected to be tricked and lied to and potentially disappointed but that was hardly the case. I mean, yes, readers should still be skeptical, but it was far from being a disappointment.

I had a sense of things about halfway through, but it did not deter me from wanting to finish the book.

On another note, I’ve noticed other reviewers drawing a few comparisons between this book and We Were Liars (you can read my review of that book here). We Were Liars was very disappointing, and I had no clue what the premise of that book was before I started reading it. Heaven knows how annoyed I would have been if I went into that story as skeptically as I did this one. Basically, Wink Poppy Midnight was executed perfectly in the ways that We Were Liars wasn’t.

★★★★ (4 stars) because I’m not quite sure how I feel about the ending.

Book Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

My review:

“I have never understood how people can blithely disregard the damage they do by following their hearts.”

– – –

Me: “Everyone, meet Rachel.”
Everyone: “Hi Rachel,” a cacophony of voices mumble in unison.
Me: “Rachel, would you like to tell everyone a little bit about yourself? No?”
Someone: “She’s a fat liar! But mostly fat,” a voice shrieks.
Me: “Anna, shut the f*ck up. You are a homewrecker, and frankly you are just a b*tch.”
Me: “Since everyone here is f*cked up, I will take it upon myself to do the introductions.”
Me: “This is what you need to know.”

• Rachel is the girl on the train. She is depressed and an alcoholic.
• Megan lives in one of the houses that can be seen from the train.
• Scott is married to Megan, and of course, lives in the same house as her.
• Anna lives a few doors down from Megan and Scott, with her husband and child.
• Tom is Rachel’s ex-husband. His house is home to Anna and their child.

– – –

This book is a great work of fiction. I have not read or seen Gone Girl and I do not plan to, so I will not be talking about how similar or dissimilar they are. To me, this book was a mystery. I did not read any reviews about it. I did not read any blurbs. It was not recommended to me. All I had to go on was the title. So, I think it’s safe to say that there is indeed a girl on a train.

I don’t want to get into too many details, but there are a couple of things I want to mention.

First, I need to say how refreshing it is to read about a depressed/alcoholic character who faces real consequences as a result of their illness(es). Rachel’s struggles are very real. It was not romanticized. It was realistic. It made me pity her, and dislike her, and feel hopeful for her. It was all portrayed very well.

Similarly, the character development in this book is fantastic. I can’t recall reading another book that filled me with so much distaste for its characters. It is amazing. They are so real, so flawed, so human.

On another note, as soon as the second female narrator was introduced, I knew that I could not trust a single person. Every character’s moral compass is damaged. A factory defect. As a self-proclaimed master of psychobabble, I love the questions that were raised about the authenticity and permeability of memories. The truth is falsifiable. Always.

In any case, I just think that everyone should read this book.

★★★★ (4 stars) for making me ridiculously more paranoid observant during my daily commute on the bus.

Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

My mini-review:

“For the two of us, home isn’t a place. It’s a person.”

So, I can’t deny that this book was every bit of cuteness and fluff that I expected of it. And I must admit, I ate it all up. Yes, the tropes, stereotypes, and clichés are ever-so-plenty in Young Adult fiction, and this book is no exception, but I loved reading every page of it. I started reading sometime after midnight (thinking I could get a taste from the first couple of chapters before I went to bed) and then the next thing you know, it’s 4:30am and I’m skimming the acknowledgments. That’s what you call a “good read”. Literally.

★★★★ (4 stars) for being just as cute and romantic as I thought it would be. This is the perfect book for getting out of a reading slump. I wasn’t in one, but it felt like a slump was coming on.