Aug 30, 2012

Footfree and Fancyloose

Footfree and Fancyloose by Elizabeth Craft + Sarah Fain
Published: August 1, 2008 by Poppy

Best friends Harper Waddle, Sophie Bushell, and Kate Foster committed the ultimate suburban sin: bailing on college to pursue their dreams. Middlebury-bound Becca Winsberg was convinced her friends had gone insane until they reminded her she just might have a dream of her own.

Now the year is half-way through and their dreams seem within reach. Well, almost. Harper has managed to gain the freshman fifteen without ever being a freshman, though locked in her basement bathroom she finds inspiration and finally seems to be writing from the heart. Sophie is forced to leave her cushy Beverly Hills quarters and crashes on Sam's couch while looking for her big Hollywood break. Kate is doing aid work in Ethiopia, where she encounters family ghosts - along with Darby, the handsome but antagonistic Princeton student who thinks she's a dumb blonde who couldn't possibly care about Ethiopia "since there are no celebrities here." And when Becca finally emerges from her lovers' nest, it seems her relationship with Stuart isn't as perfect as she thought.

Even if "the year that changed everything" has sometimes been less than dreamy, these four best friends will always have each other.

So I recently read and reviewed the 1st book in this series, Bass Ackwards and Belly Up. It was an alright read, but nothing new. This book was not as enjoyable as the first for me because I lost interest in Harper's story and I didn't suddenly care about Becca and Sophie's stories. That left me with Kate's story - the only one that I thought was better in this book than the 1st. Things are predictable and again, there are 2 authors here...why isn't this book better than the 1st?

  • Kate - I love that Kate followed up her European trip, which was full of her trying to do things for herself, with a trip to Africa to help others. Even though her story felt so different from everyone else's, it was different in a good way. She still dealt with some drama, but she handled it while doing something worthwhile.
  • awkward sex - Whaaaat? Yeah. Awkward sex. I liked that the physical relationships in the book weren't fantasy-perfect. They were awkward and uncomfortable, less than ideal. Which obviously isn't great, but is probably much more realistic for the vast majority of readers.

  • friends with benefits - It's probably safe to say that we all know how these situations end up - they don't work and things get awkward. I wish Harper could have worked up some courage to begin an actual relationship, instead of dragging us through this predictable situation.
  • Sophie - I can't stand Sophie's storyline. She's so self-absorbed and she hasn't grown any since the 1st book. Plus she and Sam are in the same place they were in before - not together.
  • Becca - Becca's story was so dull and forgettable. She freaked out and ruined her fairytale ending from the 1st book. I don't even remember why Stuart was a good pick for her, and nothing stands out from her plot at all. 

  • Whoa. Kate stopped in the middle of the road and gave herself a mental shake. Clearly, the lack of rich, comforting, familiar American food was getting to her. If she'd had mac and cheese at any time in the last three months, she would never have had such a thought.            -  pg. 196  (ARC version)
  • "Truth is, if George and I had just started dating like normal people, we'd be snuggling up watching skateboard videos right now. Instead, I'm stuck playing a never-ending game of darts with a guy wearing a giant moose head."       - Harper + Poppy  pg. 355 (ARC version)
3 robots
Disappointingly similar to the 1st book, but I was desperate for a college age character.

Acquired: swapped for on

Aug 24, 2012

The Last Summer (of You and Me)

The Last Summer (of You and Me) by Ann Brashares
Published: June 5, 2007 by Riverhead

Set on Long Island's Fire Island, The Last Summer (of You and Me) is an enchanting, heartrending page-turner about sisterhood, friendship, love, loss, and growing up. It is the story of a beach community friendship triangle - Riley and Alice, two sisters in their twenties, and Paul, the young man they've grown up with - and what happens one summer when budding love, sexual curiosity, a sudden serious illness, and a deep secret all collide, launching the friends into an adult world from which their summer haven can no longer protect them.

This book was so dull and weighed down by wishy-washy characters and their endless deep thoughts. It was hard to care about the characters and what happens to them, because they were shells of characters to me. I bought this book because it was on sale and I was hoping for a good story about twenty-somethings from an author I like...but I think I forgot how long ago I liked the Traveling Pants books, and how I really only cared about 1 or 2 of those girls anyways. 

*I didn't actually love anything in this book. These are the things that kept me reading til the end, though I admit there was some skimming.

  • Alice + Paul - When they finally get together, Alice and Paul are a couple that seems like they could actually work. They make sense, and it was obviously a long time coming. I wish they were together for more of the book.
  • Riley - Riley is the spontaneous and fun sister. It would be great if we got to see her with friends besides her sister and Paul. They spent every single summer on the island, shouldn't at least one of them have other friends? We are constantly told how fun Riley is, but all we see of Riley is when Alice is worrying about her. Even the chapters from Riley's point of view are dull.
  • mood - This book's tone takes a lot of getting used to. It feels so contemplative and sad. The word that comes to mind is melancholy. There's so much thinking...deep thinking, introspection, etc. So much thinking and not a lot of anything else.
  • characters - It's like they all want to be miserable! They just think and think about doing something they want to do, but they never act on it. It was very frustrating to read.
  • plot - Unfortunately, the plot is buried deep under all of the characters' worrying and wondering. And when things do happen, the events are met by even more thinking and worrying. Every character seems so isolated and trapped in their own head, despite the fact that they are presented to us as people that have grown up joined at the hip.

  • "Is there really nothing?" she asked. She fixed him with a glare, daring him to ask her what she meant. If he did, honest to God, she would punch him.         -  Alice   pg. 115
  • He wasn't actually taking something out of his house that was his, he recognized as he bunched it up in his hand and walked down the stairs and out the back door. He was taking something that he'd stolen. Two wrongs supposedly couldn't make a right, but he felt in his heart that sometimes they could.     - Paul  pg. 271
2 robots
Too much thinking, not enough anything else. It was a struggle to care enough to finish.

Acquired: bought

Aug 8, 2012


Meridian by Amber Kizer
Published: August 11, 2009 by Delacorte

    Sixteen-year-old Meridian has been surrounded by death ever since she can remember. As a child, insects, mice, and salamanders would burrow into her bedclothes and die. At her elementary school, she was blamed for a classmate's tragic accident. And on her sixteenth birthday, a car crashes in front of her family home - and Meridian's body explodes in pain.

Before she can fully recover, Meridian is told that she's a danger to her family and hustled off to her great-aunt's house in Revelation, Colorado. It's there that she learns that she is Fenestra - the half-angel, half-human link between the living and the dead. But Meridian and her sworn protector and love, Tens, face great danger from the Aternocti, a band of dark forces who capture vulnerable souls on the brink of death and cause chaos. 

I am so torn on this book! It had a great balance of dark and paranormal mixed with light and humorous, but some things just bothered me about the story. I don't think I've ever wanted to like a book more than I did, but it happened with this one. 

  • Meridian - This girl is pretty know, as far as paranormal half-humans go, and that made the book very enjoyable. Meridian has normal reactions to everything that's going on with her and that is so important in a paranormal setting.
  • writing - I was sucked into the book as soon as the setup portion was over and the real story began. The atmosphere created was a great balance between ominous and light-hearted, and I loved the characters...well, most of the characters. Auntie was a little strange. Overall, I found myself wanting to like this book more than I did because it was going in a promising direction... until the excitement tapered off about halfway in. 
  • Tens - Alright, so I admit that it's rare for me to not like the love interest. That said, I liked Tens a lot, until he and Meridian started to become an item. As soon as they both admitted they were interested in each other, Meridian pretty much decided she was in love forever. I think it ties in with how weird I found the Protector/lover overlap...

  • Protector = lover? - Ok, so I guess all the Fenestras are women, and some of them have Protectors, who are apparently all males. So, Meridian pretty much insta-loves this guy she's just met, but that's ok because she's supposed to. Uh, no. Meridian only briefly thinks about this once, her Auntie almost pushes it, and who knows what Tens thinks about all of it. It comes off as very strange to me. 
  • Aternocti - There was a lot of talk about these supposedly horrible Aternocti bad guys, but nothing having to do with them directly really happens until a very brief scene near the end of the book. It felt like a bunch of buildup for the shortest actual conflict. 
  • Fenestra - Explanation scenes always bug me. They are my pet peeve about most paranormal books because the action grinds to a halt while a relative or teacher or Yoda lays out the details of whichever supernatural thing we're dealing with in the book. This book suffers from Explanation Scene Syndrome. They have a talk about what a Fenestra is, questions are asked, questions are answered in less than helpful's very formulaic. I also found the visualization of what a Fenestra does to be a little strange. It felt very removed from the rest of the book, even though I guess it was supposed to be on a different plane of existence. It was just hard to adjust between these scenes and the rest of the book. 

  • The door creaked open. A musty cloud of cold air hit my face and shivers broke down my body. Spiderwebs hung like tinsel from the ceiling, and a thick coat of dust made my nose twitch. I tried the light switch. A lamp emitted a soft glow, one made even dimmer by the dense layer of dust on the shade.      - pg. 137
  • "You're not afraid of being around me?" I asked Tens.   "Why would I be?"    "People die around me." Okay, stating the obvious here.      "I'm not scared. Although you did just massacre a perfectly good cup of tea."     - pg. 197    Meridian + Tens

3 Robots
A different paranormal than the norm, with a great tone, but I wish it had lived up to its potential.

Acquired: swapped for on