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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Monarch Beach by Anita Hughes

Release Date: June 19, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 288
Source: Copy provided by publisher for review

When Amanda Blick, a young mother and kindhearted San Francisco heiress, finds her gorgeous French chef husband wrapped around his sous-chef, she knows she must flee her life in order to rebuild it. The opportunity falls into her lap when her (very lovable) mother suggests Amanda and her young son, Max, spend the summer with her at the St. Regis Resort in Laguna Beach. With the waves right outside her windows and nothing more to worry about than finding the next relaxing thing to do, Amanda should be having the time of her life—and escaping the drama. But instead, she finds herself faced with a kind, older divorcee who showers her with attention… and she discovers that the road to healing is never simple. This is the sometimes funny, sometimes bitter, but always moving story about the mistakes and discoveries a woman makes when her perfect world is turned upside down.

Monarch Beach is a nice summer read. It details Amanda's life after walking in on her husband having an affair and her journey of recovery and self-discovery as she tries figure out who she is. It's not the most profound book I've ever read, but I found it enjoyable.

One issue I did have with Monarch Beach was the constant name-dropping with all the designer clothing. While I understand that some of it was necessary to help set up who Amanda's mother was (as it is a big part of her identity), I felt that about halfway through the novel it was getting overdone. Although a little bit of the name-dropping was okay in the beginning of the novel for Amanda's mother, and yes, some for Amanda too, it really wore on me after awhile. Amanda's every outfit brand was given and for me, it became overkill. I can appreciate a cute outfit and I understand that Amanda is into fashion, but I'd rather focus on the story being told rather than if the main character is wearing Gucci or Chanel.

Monarch Beach is definitely geared towards an older audience; I normally don't accept books that aren't YA for review (there are more books in the YA genre than I'll ever be able to read in my life time!) but the author was really nice when she contacted me and the blurb caught my eye. It's unlike most books I read and I figured why not give it a try? I'm glad I did; it's an enjoyable beach read with a more serious side; a story of one woman's journey to self-discovery, but there's a resort and some more fun moments during her journey!

Overall: 3.75 out of 5
Plot: 3.5 stars
Characters: 3.75 stars
Writing: 3.75 stars
Cover: 4 stars

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

Rise by Andrea Cremer
(Penguin/January 8, 2013)

I recently received and read an ARC of Rift by Andrea Cremer, which is the first book in the prequel series to her Nightshade series and really enjoyed it! I haven't read her Nightshade series yet, but it looks like I will have the opportunity to while I'm waiting for Rise, the sequel to Rift! There isn't a blurb for it on GoodReads yet, but as Rift ended in a cliffhanger, I'm sure Rise will pick up right where the first book left off!

What are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

Gravity by Melissa West
(Entangled Publishing/October 16, 2012)

In the future, only one rule will matter: Don’t. Ever. Peek.

Seventeen-year-old Ari Alexander just broke that rule and saw the last person she expected hovering above her bed--arrogant Jackson Locke, the most popular boy in her school. She expects instant execution or some kind of freak alien punishment, but instead, Jackson issues a challenge: help him, or everyone on Earth will die.

Ari knows she should report him, but everything about Jackson makes her question what she’s been taught about his kind. And against her instincts, she’s falling for him. But Ari isn’t just any girl, and Jackson wants more than her attention. She’s a military legacy who’s been trained by her father and exposed to war strategies and societal information no one can know--especially an alien spy, like Jackson. Giving Jackson the information he needs will betray her father and her country, but keeping silent will start a war.

Alien spies? An impossible dilemma? Forbidden romance? Count me in! Sounds interesting, though it's the alien spies that have really got my attention for this novel! Here's hoping it's as good as it sounds! :D

What are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

Burning Blue by Paul Griffin
(Dial/October 25, 2012)

When Nicole Castro, the most beautiful girl in her wealthy New Jersey high school, is splashed with acid on the left side of her perfect face, the whole world takes notice. But quiet loner Jay Nazarro does more than that—he decides to find out who did it. Jay understands how it feels to be treated like a freak, and he also has a secret: He's a brilliant hacker. But the deeper he digs, the more danger he's in—and the more he falls for Nicole. Too bad everyone is turning into a suspect, including Nicole herself.

This one sounds like a thriller and the premise is different from all the dystopian and paranormal books that have been catching my eye lately! I'll definitely have to check this one out!

What are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

Monday, July 2, 2012

Undead by Kirsty McKay

Release Date: September 1, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 272
Source: Copy provided by publisher for review

Out of sight, out of their minds: It's a school-trip splatter fest and completely not cool when the other kids in her class go all braindead on new girl Bobby.

The day of the ski trip, when the bus comes to a stop at a roadside restaurant, everyone gets off and heads in for lunch. Everyone, that is, except Bobby, the new girl, who stays behind with rebel-without-a-clue Smitty.

Then hours pass. Snow piles up. Sun goes down. Bobby and Smitty start to flirt. Start to stress. Till finally they see the other kids stumbling back.

But they've changed. And not in a good way. Straight up, they're zombies. So the wheels on the bus better go round and round freakin' fast, because that's the only thing keeping Bobby and Smitty from becoming their classmates' next meal. It's kill or be killed in these hunger games, heads are gonna roll, and homework is most definitely gonna be late.

Although the premise of the story sounded like a lot of fun when I first got this book, I will admit I was a little hesitant. The paranormal genre has really taken off in YA and there's been everything from vampires and werewolves to witches, faeries, demons, and yes, zombies. But in that mix there's also been a lot of forbidden love and a generous helping of the mushy stuff with little focus on adventure and action. Now don't get me wrong, I love a good romance and I can be a sucker for happy endings, especially if the couple face the storm of forbidden love together! But lately, there have been plenty of books that have very similar story arcs, little to no plot and a heavy emphasis on just the budding romance and sadly, nothing else in the book. I wouldn't mind seeing a little more action (of the adventure kind, before you all get any ideas!) in those novels; what could possibly bring a couple closer together except for stopping world domination together??

I guess I needed a little break from all the paranormal books with forbidden romance, and thankfully, one of the publicists at Scholastic handed me a copy of Undead! Undead is absolutely jam packed with action! After a zombie Apocalypse breaks out, Bobby, Alice, Smitty and Pete have to fight for their lives and find a way out of this mess!

Popular girl Alice (a.k.a. Malice, as dubbed by Smitty), Pete the geek, Smitty the loner and rebel, and Bobby, the new girl, make up quite a motley crew for this adventure! They all have their own unique voices and there is plenty of comic relief, even during this crazy trip where they're trying to avoid getting chomped by zombies! Alice may be a mascara-obsessed beauty queen, but I found her hilarious in Undead! She somehow finds it possible to keep up at least part of her beauty routine despite this massive infestation of the undead and she is one snippy, crazy girl! Smitty was also hilarious with his snide comments and wit! I think I found this novel so enjoyable not only because of the non-stop action but also because of the polar opposite characters that are forced to work together!

To me there was more action than anything else in this novel, but it was still a fun adventure overall since the action was balanced with a decent plot and an amusing cast of characters!

Overall: 4 out of 5
Plot: 3.75 stars
Characters: 4 stars
Writing: 4 stars
Cover: 4.5 stars

Series I Like

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis Divergent by Veronica Roth Firelight by Sophie Jordon Halo by Alexandra Adornetto Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

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I receive review copies of books from publicists, authors and publishers for an honest review. I do not receive monetary or other compensations for posting reviews.