Dante’s Girl

I AM BACK WITH A VENGEANCE. Just kidding, but I will be posting a review tonight for a book that I read recently. I received an advanced reader copy a couple of weeks ago and I am happy to report that the book was entertaining and cute. Dante’s Girl was a very quick read (I think I finished in 4 hours) but the whole way through it was enjoyable and just plain fun. One thing that I adored about this book was that it brought fantasies that so many young girls (myself included) imagine, to life.

The book begins as Reece, our protagonist, is traveling to London to visit her father for the summer, as she has been doing ever since her parents divorced. In a scene right out of a movie, Reece meets Dante, a charming handsome guy with an accent. An accent guys – swoon! After bumping into Dante (quite literally) Reece goes on her merry way to catch her flight. After she gets on the plane, something (I won’t spoil) happens and she and Dante (who was also on her flight) are forced to get off the plane. Dante takes her along with some guys in suits (huh?) and they board a private plane headed for Caberra. A country in which Dante happens to be a “prince” (AKA Prime Minister’s son). And thus, Reece’s summer kicks off with a bang.

Reece was a great protagonist, I absolutely adored her. Her voice was so appropriate for a teenage girl and it never felt whiny or annoying. She was hilarious – I loved reading the story from her point of view because she was so funny and positive. Although at times her confidence wavered and she said stupid things, she was no Bella Swan (AKA she didn’t annoy me and wasn’t self deprecating). Dante was a pretty good love interest (nowhere near as interesting/funny as Reece was). I liked that he was chivalrous without being annoying and “manly” about the whole thing. Some of the decisions he made were really dumb but hey that’s teenage guys for ya! The supporting characters weren’t fantastic but they did what they were there to do – add juiciness to the story. Mia was the fun, archetypal “best friend” character and I enjoyed her, but she wasn’t anything to write home about.

The plot of the story was very predictable. However, I didn’t really mind because that’s how books of this type/genre are supposed to be. This book wasn’t meant to be a shocking build up kinda thing, but rather just a love story with some kind of plot twist and climax. If you are looking for something that will really get your mind going and make you think, this book really isn’t something I’d recommend. If you are looking for a fast, fun read, however, this book would be totally appropriate. The ending of the book felt a little rushed and was definitely a very “fairy tale” ending, but I didn’t really mind it too much. The fairy-tale ending didn’t bother me mostly because for a story like this, you can’t expect some bleak, dark ending. It’s pretty predictable that the ending wouldn’t be too dreary.

Overall, this novel was just a fun and fast read. Although it really wasn’t a book to write home about, I liked it and didn’t regret reading it at all. This book is definitely one for younger girls but it works for older ones as well. This is a really big fluff read but if you are looking for a book to get your spirits up – this will definitely work.

 

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Withering Tights

So for review number two I’ve decided to go in a different direction than my usual action/adventure/paranormal/crazy stuff. I have decided to review a book that has *gasp* no vampires, werewolves, aliens, ect. However what it does have an abundance of is (SAH-WOON) hunky boys! Now as you all may know by now, I am NOT a fan of love triangles/squares/pentagons, WHATEVER. However, this book is a completely different story. If you all have read the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series, this one is by the same author so you know what to expect. After reading and loving Georgia, I didn’t know if I would be able to relate to Tallulah as well. However, Mrs. Rennison pleasantly surprised me with another batch of lovable characters, laugh-out-loud moments, and boys to swoon over.

Our story begins as our protagonist, Tallulah (Lullah) Casey travels to Dother Hall performing arts college. When she arrives, however, she finds that shobiz isn’t all it’s cut out to be. With her wacky lovable friends by her side, the literal boys-next-door, and the-weird-family-she-is-staying-with by her side, she attempts to conquer Dother Hall’s biggest challenge – getting into the actual school and not just the summer program. 

The characters in this novel were completely hilarious. I absolutely adored them all, especially Tallulah. Tallulah was sosososososososo funny; she had me dying laughing with her descriptions and thoughts of people. The way she viewed the world was very distinct and wacky – just like she was. I loved the fact that she never took herself too seriously and she actually embraced her funky-ness. She was pretty dramatic at points but not in an annoying way, more in like a naive-cute way. She had TONS of love interests, but she didn’t handle them in annoying ways like most YA protagonists would’ve. Her an Georgia were very alike in the way that they handled boys, meaning that they didn’t become obnoxious about their problems. I absolutely adored Tallulah’s group of friends because they shared her wacky-ness while also each having their own distinct qualities that made them rememberable. The aforementioned boys-next-door were actual boys-next-door as they went to the college that was next to Dother Hall. I loved the fact that they liked the girls even though they were pretty kooky. GOD I could go on forever about how much I loved each individual character but I won’t because that’d be boring.

The plot of the book was (expectedly) pretty unserious and quirky. With books like these, there really isn’t as much substance as in other genres of fiction. This book is definitely one of the best of it’s kind, as it is funny, cute, and enjoyable. There wasn’t a point within this book that I was bored. Mrs. Rennison has really captured the essence of the perfect chick-lit book in this novel, and I completely enjoyed every minute of it.

Overall, if you’re looking for a fun and quick read, I would definitely recommend this for you. I know if I say funny one more time you’ll probably kill me, but that seriously is the word to describe this book. It is laugh out loud, grab your stomach, funny. Another feat that the book has is a short dictionary of terms that Tallulah and her friends use that may be confusing to us Americans (the author is British). If you have read the Georgia Nicolson books and you thought these books couldn’t live up to that legacy, I beg you to give these books a try because they are every bit as good as Georgia’s if not more (SORRY)! Until tomorrow’s review, good night lovely readers!

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy (Gallagher Girls Series #2) ***

*This is not the first book in the series so it may contain spoilers from the first; I recommend reading the first book before reading this review

Book cover for Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy

I know that this is the second book in the series and chronologically speaking I should review the first one first, but I liked this one and the rest of the books in the series so much better so I decided to skip the first book! This book series is definitely one of the best young adult series I’ve ever read and I couldn’t wait to review it but I decided to wait until I had a few reviews under my belt before beginning on this series so that I could do it justice. This is only the second book, but expect to see many more from this series and from Ally Carter on my blog.

Our story begins where the last book left off with our protagonist Cammie coming home from a classified meeting in a top secret facility. For those that did not read the first book, Cammie had a “forbidden” boyfriend during the first semester of her sophomore year, and unfortunately he had to be given memory erasing tea to wipe his knowledge of the Gallagher Academy from his mind. You see, the Gallagher Academy is not just any school, but a school for teenage female spies-in-training. Cammie, upset with the whole incident but ready to move on, promises to stay out of trouble for her second semester. Unfortunately for her, going to a school for spies isn’t exactly conducive for staying out of trouble. Something fishy is going on with her mother, the staff, and the east-wing of her school, and Cammie and her friends are going to find out what it is. This fishiness may or may not involve hot spy boys from a rival school; read to find out!

The characters in this book are probably some of the best I have ever read in YA fiction, and throughout these books I have become extremely emotionally attached to all of them (creepy I know). Cammie is such an amazing character to read about just because it is easy for girls to relate to her; she isn’t exceptionally beautiful or smart (compared to others at her school) but she is loyal, loving, witty, and just all around cute. The book is written in first person from Cammie’s POV and I loved the way that Mrs. Carter wrote it because it sounded as if it could have really come from a teenage-spy-in-training. Bex, Liz, and Macey (Cammie’s roommates) were also a delight to read about and they resonated very good with me as a reader. Zach, the infamous love interest, was totally swoon-worthy and let’s face it, that is definitely important in any YA novel geared towards girls like me. The characters all had a lot of depth and were enjoyable to follow, especially because we read about them through Cammie’s eyes.

The premise of this book is something that is very original in today’s YA fiction, which let’s face it, we just don’t see a lot of originality with some authors. A spy school for teenage girls? YES PLEASE! Although I have read a few books about teenage spies, no one seems to be able to do it as well as Ally Carter. Mrs. Carter takes something that (although unlikely) could really happen in today’s world, so it’s like non-fiction fiction. The plot really intrigued me and had me tearing through the book in a matter of hours (I wish it was longer). I have read this book probably close to 50 times (not an exaggeration) and it just never gets old to me. The plot of this book was a little cutesy compared to later books, but it was definitely a good start. As you go throughout the series, we see many more serious situations, so this was a nice gateway into those books.I feel that this book was well written with an original premise and plot, so I do really recommend it to all.

Ally Carter has a way of sucking us into a world that is full of mystery, laughs, danger, and fun. This book really is an amazing example of girl power and strong female protagonists that sometimes are lacking in the YA world today. I highly highly highly recommend this book to any teenage girl looking for a good set of books for summer, or for any time really! Cammie and Co. will have you drooling and wishing you were a teenage spy that goes to an awesome boarding school, so read this book and you won’t be disappointed.

Want me to review a specific book? Comment or email at youngadultbookmuncher@gmail.com

Dead is the New Black (Dead Is series #1)

If you are looking for a paranormal romance-y type book that isn’t a total Twilight cut copy, Dead is the New Black (and the rest of the series) is definitely for you! We have a super spunky protagonist, the evil-but-somewhat-likeable-has-a-good-heart cheerleader, and of course the best friend/love interest! This story introduced so many elements that really make it stand apart from the paranormal romances in this day an age, because let’s face it: many of them are Twilight with a different abnormality and names. Daisy Girodano and co. add a refreshing twist to a genera that is slowly but surely loosing new material.

Our story begins with Daisy’s junior year in high school in the small (fictional) town of Nightshade. Daisy is pretty much the opposite of popular, thanks to her used-to-be best friend Samantha “The Divine” Devereaux who humiliated her in middle school. Her only friend happens to be one of the hottest guys in school, Ryan Mendez (convenient – where can I get one?). As the story progresses, we learn that Daisy comes from a family of psychics (except for her dad, who disappeared mysteriously when she was in middle school). Daisy feels like an outsider to her own family as she is the only one in the house that has not developed psychic powers. The story centers around mysterious cheerleader behavior, a missing girl, and some very spooky secrets lurking in this paranormal little town.

I absolutely loved all of the characters in this book (except Penny because she was SO annoying). Daisy was an excellent main character as she had a good head on her shoulders, and a good sense of right and wrong. She also had a healthy curiousity that made the book interesting. She was very respectful, courageous, witty, and she really stayed true to who she was throughout the course of the novel. Samantha was also a very interesting character because she had all the elements that you would expect from an antagonist in a teen novel and yet I couldn’t help but fall in love with her hard-headedness and sass. She was a character I expected to hate but she actually ended up being one of my favorites in the book. Ryan (SAH-WOON) was a good love interest for Daisy, as he wasn’t clingy or obsessive (which is SO not cute) and he went along with Daisy’s plans because he was a good friend. Daisy’s sisters (Rose and Poppy) were also likable and fun characters. All the characters in this book had a lot of depth to me and that is something that I really value in teen books these days, because honestly we really have a lot of crappy novels out there.

The plot was somewhat predictable but fun anyways! It had a few unexpected twists and turns but overall it wasn’t really that surprising to me. What I really adored about this book was the premise of a supernatural town, psychics, and mystery. I felt that the concept of this book (while not exactly totally new) was refreshing in the genre of paranormal romance! I liked the fact that there were a few subplots that presented mysteries for future books in the series. The whole book had a very original vibe and fun mood throughout and it was definitely worth the read!

If you are looking for a refreshing, fun read this summer, I definitely recommend this! It was full of mystery and romance and had good characters. The reading level was fairly easy but it didn’t feel like a pre-teen book, but rather a book for teenagers. I actually got this book from the library and devoured the series in 2 days, but I ended up buying the books again on my Nook  because they were so cute and well written and I wanted my own copies! This is definitely a lighter, fluffier, and faster read but it is worth every penny!

Want me to review a specific book? Let me know! Post a comment or email me!

youngadultbookmuncher@gmail.com

Anna and the French Kiss

Can I talk about how much I ADORE this book. While often in YA Fiction, we find substance-less, shallow reads that end up making us happy, this book had something that made me want to read it over and over again. Like-able protagonist? Check. Hot guy? Check. Adventure? Check. Good supporting characters? Check. Stephanie Perkins really impressed me with this novel and I am going to stop short of shoving it down your throats until you read it!

The book begins with our main character, Anna, moving to Paris. Her dad is an author that is eerily similar to Nicholas Sparks, and once he hits the jackpot with his weepy romances, he sends his daughter off to Paris to impress his cultured friends. Now you might be thinking “Paris? How amazing!”, however Anna doesn’t quite have that same reaction. While many people her age (i.e. 17 year old high school seniors) would jump at this opportunity, Anna is less than thrilled. She was basically given no choice in the matter and that removes the allure of Paris for her. On her first night in Paris without her parents, Anna cries her eyes out until her next door neighbor, Meredith, invites Anna to her room. After being comforted, Anna leaves the room and bumps into the hunky St. Clair. And thus, our romance begins.

One thing that I adored about this book was the main character, Anna Oliphant. Anna was the kind of character that everyone can relate to. She had her imperfections (such as a gap between her two front teeth), which made me like her more. I find it a lot harder to relate to protagonists that are perfect looking. Anna also had a really cool personality: she was goofy, smart, funny, and real. I loved the way that she reacted to tense situations, and how she tried to make the best of everything. She actually had a film-reviewing blog, and I thought that was a cool quirk of hers as well.

The supporting characters were all fantastic. They all had a lot of depth and I appreciate that because sometimes authors just can’t do it. All the supporting characters were likable even though they all had some quirks and irritating qualities. I’d have to say my favorite supporting character (besides St. Clair of course!) was Rashmi. Rashmi was cynical, sarcastic, and unique and that really appealed to me. She was always very up-front about things and did not shy away from confrontation, which showed how strong she was. Anna’s friends were so easy to fall in love with and that really made the book a lot more enjoyable. When an author can make a fantastic cast of characters in a book, it increases not only the likability of the book, but it makes it feel more complete. At the end of the novel, I was attached to each and every one of these characters.

Now onto our complicated but to-die-for romance. Étienne St. Clair was definitely a swoon-worthy love interest. Not only was he smart and funny, but he was also unavailable which made the love plot even juicer. St. Clair was a character with so many different levels: on the outside you have the good looking, cocky, but nice boy; as we delve deeper into his character, we see that things haven’t always been so hunky-dory for him and yet he still manages to be a good person. His protectiveness of Anna was sweet, not stalker-y, and trust me there is a VERY thin line between the two. Although some of his actions frustrated me, I could never bring myself to dislike him if only for the fact that he was such a good friend to Anna and the others. His friendship with Anna was so cute and real, and although we root for them to become more for the majority of the novel, their friendship was very satisfying. Stephanie Perkins definitely gets points for not going for the “insta-love” option which we see so much in YA Fiction today.

The plot of the novel, while a bit predictable, was very satisfying. I found myself laughing out loud a few times and I may have shed a tear or two at some parts. There were a few unexpected twists and turns in the novel, which only made it more interesting. Although some might feel that the book was too predictable, I think that the amazing characters brought a brand new feel to it. This is definitely more on the romance-y side of YA Fiction, but don’t be discouraged; I never felt like it was one of those “girl swooning over boy for the majority of the novel” books.

All in all, I highly recommend this book to you if you are looking for a light, quick, read that you can’t put down. I wouldn’t suggest starting this book before you get to sleep on a school night, because I couldn’t put it down until I finished it at 3:00 in the morning. Happy Reading!

Remember, if you want me to review any specific book, let me know and I will be happy to help save you some time and money if it isn’t worth it!

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