Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Review: The Avery Shaw Experiment by Kelly Oram

By Kelly Oram
Published: May 4, 2013
Publisher: Blue Fields
eBook, 278 pages 

When Avery Shaw’s heart is shattered by her life-long best friend, she chooses to deal with it the only way she knows how—scientifically.

The state science fair is coming up and Avery decides to use her broken heart as the topic of her experiment. She’s going to find the cure. By forcing herself to experience the seven stages of grief through a series of social tests, she believes she will be able to get over Aiden Kennedy and make herself ready to love again. But she can’t do this experiment alone, and her partner (ex partner!) is the one who broke her heart.

Avery finds the solution to her troubles in the form of Aiden’s older brother Grayson. The gorgeous womanizer is about to be kicked off the school basketball team for failing physics. He’s in need of a good tutor and some serious extra credit. But when Avery recruits the lovable Grayson to be her “objective outside observer,” she gets a whole lot more than she bargained for, because Grayson has a theory of his own: Avery doesn’t need to grieve. She needs to live. And if there’s one thing Grayson Kennedy is good at, it’s living life to the fullest. --Goodreads 
4.5 Stars

Contemporaries are always hits or misses. There are always those contemporaries that make us want to swear to never read another contemporary, but then there are the awesome romances that make us scream for more. The Avery Shaw Experiment is an adorably hilarious contemporary that totally belongs in the latter category.

Avery Shaw is the average nerd. Science club president, straight A student, she's a nerd through and through. When her best friend decides to push her away, Avery decides to use her anguish for her upcoming science fair experiment. Roping in her ex-bestfriend's playboy brother, Grayson, Avery is determined to deal with her inner pain scientifically. Too bad Grayson has far more daring ideas...

At first glance, The Avery Shaw Experiment is one of those nerd to popular books. We see Avery receiving a makeover and turning from a nerd into one in the popular crowd. However, Avery's transformation is more than physical; Avery gains confidence and develops stronger relationships with those around her. There isn't any of the cheesy scenes where the girl screams/attacks her bullies to show her strength. Avery does not need any of that crap to showcase her inner strength, making her transformation all the more compelling.

Grayson is so lovable! I'm so glad that Kelly Oram had the genius to write half of the book from his point of view, so the readers could fall deeper in love with him. He isn't perfect, in fact he has tons of flaws including his shame toward joining the science club. However, his reluctant acceptance makes his little gifts to Avery so much more romantic. His actions aren't really as heroic as fighting dragons or witches, but their total worth is so much more by helping Avery break out of her shell. If only there were more Graysons out in the world...

If there were a list of the must-read contemporaries, this book would have to top this list. With its hilarious adorkable side characters, such as Avery's best friend, Libby, to the wonderful parents who support their children all the way, The Avery Shaw Experiment is a witty coming-to-age story that leaves the rest behind by a long shot.

Favorite Quote:

"Your loss. I happen to have the spirit of a wildcat. I could take you places sexually you never knew existed." 
This time even the nerds gasped. 
"Libby!" Avery cried."What? When a girl knows what she wants, she should go for it." Libby waved a hand at Owen. "Look at those abs! Libby definitely wants." She glanced up at Owen. "Can I feel them?"

Monday, February 17, 2014

Review: Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund

Across a Star-Swept Sea (For Darkness Shows the Stars #2)
By Diana Peterfreund
Published: October 15, 2013
Publisher: Baltzar + Bray
Hardcover, 464 pages
Centuries after wars nearly destroyed civilization, the two islands of New Pacifica stand alone, a terraformed paradise where even the Reduction—the devastating brain disorder that sparked the wars—is a distant memory. Yet on the isle of Galatea, an uprising against the ruling aristocrats has turned deadly. The revolutionaries’ weapon is a drug that damages their enemies’ brains, and the only hope is rescue by a mysterious spy known as the Wild Poppy.

On the neighboring island of Albion, no one suspects that the Wild Poppy is actually famously frivolous aristocrat Persis Blake. The teenager uses her shallow, socialite trappings to hide her true purpose: her gossipy flutternotes are encrypted plans, her pampered sea mink is genetically engineered for spying, and her well-publicized new romance with handsome Galatean medic Justen Helo… is her most dangerous mission ever.

Though Persis is falling for Justen, she can’t risk showing him her true self, especially once she learns he’s hiding far more than simply his disenchantment with his country’s revolution and his undeniable attraction to the silly socialite he’s pretending to love. His darkest secret could plunge both islands into a new dark age, and Persis realizes that when it comes to Justen Helo, she’s not only risking her heart, she’s risking the world she’s sworn to protect.

In this thrilling adventure inspired by The Scarlet Pimpernel, Diana Peterfreund creates an exquisitely rendered world where nothing is as it seems and two teens with very different pasts fight for a future only they dare to imagine. --Goodreads
Purchase Across a Star-Swept Sea here: Amazon/ Barnes & Nobles/ The Book Depository

5 Stars 


Across a Star Swept Sea is a beautiful gem among the masses of dystopians, which I fondly refer to as the “world sucks, so let’s blow it up” stories. However, this novel succeeds not only as a dystopian, but also as a compelling retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel. 

Honestly, I had never even heard of The Scarlet Pimpernel until I came upon the blurb of this book. In preparation for the amazingness of Across a Star Swept Sea, I read The Scarlet Pimpernel, which was a fantastic read (great recommendation if you’re into the classics). The funny thing was after I read The Scarlet Pimpernel, I was prepared to dismiss any retelling because of the complexity of the plot. Classics like Pride & Prejudice are easily translatable into the modern world, but The Scarlet Pimpernel seemed to be impossible to retell properly. Thankfully, Across a Star Swept Sea dismissed any of my initial skepticism easily after one chapter.

Persis Blake stars as the Superman of her world: pretending to be a ditz during the day, while rescuing Galatean nobles at night. Unlike most dystopian heroines who are portrayed as fierce but usually are whiny brats, Persis is ferocious and intimidating. There is no stopping this girl from doing as she pleases, as she runs around saving people at the cost of her own health. 

Sometimes though, Persis is a flat character because she doesn’t seem to have any faults. Even her weaknesses aren’t really weaknesses because Persis’ suicidal nature is implied to be part of her unselfish nature. Admittedly, most people, including myself hate selfish characters but I wish Persis had some flaw to make her more human.

The writing style is spectacular with its vivid descriptions and witty dialogue. The alternating points of views between Persis and Justen were great because we could see the romance developing, which would have been impossible if there was only one POV. After all, when both people in a budding relationship are lying to each other, it’s impossible to witness the awkwardly hilarious inner turmoil. 

For any For Darkness Shows the Stars fans, no fear for Elliot, Kai, and Ro make special appearances in this companion novel. They’re not the primary characters evidently, but they do play a major role. Their appearance was exciting to read, but I wish that there were more interactions between Elliot and Persis because they would make an awesome duo as two fierce ladies.

There have been very few books published in the past year that are as spellbinding and beautifully written as Across a Star Swept Sea. With a beautifully woven world (not to mention cover) along with romance fluttering off the pages, this book stands out as one of the best dystopians of the YA world.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

We're Back!

No comments:

So we've been kind of slacking on the blog, as you most likely know. We offer no excuses whatsoever because honestly, we've been sort of lazy. Then again, my fellow blogmates will force me to list excuses, so here they are:

1. Junior Year of High School -- Self explanatory, isn't it? 

2. Break from YA book world -- We love reading, but during these past months there hasn't really been a book that has won our hearts. 

  3. Our parents are torturing us with the college/career lectures.
Perhaps not to this extent...

4. Angie (me) watches too many Korean dramas -- The pretty people are too pretty.

5. Rosie has found a new love....in mochi and real chocopies. 

  6. Jenny is sick. She's sort of like this...

  7. ~M's life is frightening. Too frightening to even start describing....

However, we now plan to update more often! We probably won't update as frequently as we used to, but hey it's better than never, right? Riiiiight?


Hey there! Rosie speaking. Just wanted to let you all know that we've decided to tweak the blog a little bit. In the past, we were heavily focused on Waiting on Wednesdays / Giveaways / Bookish Goodies and basically a bunch of stuff that wasn't really about READING A GOSHDARN BOOK. So we took a step back (our huge "break" that ended up being practically a year) and just stopped blogging for a while. We realized that the most respectable thing about a really good book blog isn't the number of giveaways, friends, authors requesting us to review books, or even the amount of people that visit our site. 

We decided that we were going to become an honest-to-goodness book blog. One solely focused on sharing our opinions on the books that we love to read. That's why we chose to stop doing weekly/daily "Givaway" this or "WoW" that. It just became too much for us to handle, and, well, you see where that led us? We planning on taking things slowly, really just enjoying the process of reading/ranting/reviewing. We hope you all understand! I'm not saying we'll NEVER EVER do a giveaway or WoW EVER AGAIN EVER. It's just that we think a true book blog should build a community basked on our love for reading books, not to gain more viewers by attracting giveaway-stalkers.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...