Sunday, December 21, 2014

Book Review: For Real by Alison Cherry

Goodreads summary:

No parents. No limits. No clue what they're in for.

Shy, cautious Claire has always been in her confident older sister's shadow. While Miranda's life is jam-packed with exciting people and whirlwind adventures, Claire gets her thrills vicariously by watching people live large on reality TV.

When Miranda discovers her boyfriend, Samir, cheating on her just before her college graduation, it's Claire who comes up with the perfect plan. They'll outshine Miranda's fame-obsessed ex while having an amazing summer by competing on Around the World, a race around the globe for a million bucks. Revenge + sisterly bonding = awesome.

But the show has a twist, and Claire is stunned to find herself in the middle of a reality-show romance that may or may not be just for the cameras. This summer could end up being the highlight of her life... or an epic fail forever captured on film. In a world where drama is currency and manipulation is standard, how can you tell what's for real?
My review:
What an awesome read!  I was pleasantly surprised by For Real.  It's so fun and relatable; definitely the perfect fast-paced Christmas break read.  It has a great balance of humor and realism, and there's a great variety of characters.
I love the main character Claire!  I really like her journey to overcome her fears.  I also love that she accepts herself for who she is.  Plus, she's a nerd, which is freakin' awesome - there are even a couple references to Doctor Who and Joss Whedon!  And her explanation for why people like reality TV is so cool; I had never thought about it that way before.
The relationships in this book just had so much win.  The relationship between Claire and her sister is perfectly imperfect.  Yes, they get on each other's nerves a LOT but in the end they stick up for each other.  I love how the author handled Claire's feelings of inadequacy when compared to her sister, and how eventually she learns to stand on her own.  Secondly, there's the relationship between Claire and the love interest, Will.  I don't want to say a lot about this because that would include lots of spoilers.  But suffice it to say, it is so realistic.  I felt Claire's emotions every step of the way and cheered at the ending.  
The plot is super exciting!  Thanks to the competition taking place, there is always something happening.  I laughed at all the awkward situations poor Claire has to go through, and I love how all the minor characters stood out.  There's also plenty of twists!  And a certain scene at the end had me grinning the whole time.
The best way to describe For Real is that it's (pardon the pun) very real.  With a storyline like this, it could easily be cheesy, but this book is refreshingly realistic and features well-written relationships and fantastic character development.  For Real is definitely worth your time.  I can't wait to check out the author's first book!
* I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thanks!
My rating:  4 out of 5 stars
~ Kaitlyn

Friday, December 12, 2014

Book Review: Captive by Aimee Carter

Goodreads summary:

For the past two months, Kitty Doe's life has been a lie. Forced to impersonate the Prime Minister's niece, her frustration grows as her trust in her fake fiancé cracks, her real boyfriend is forbidden and the Blackcoats keep her in the dark more than ever.

But in the midst of discovering that her role in the Hart family may not be as coincidental as she thought, she's accused of treason and is forced to face her greatest fear: Elsewhere. A prison where no one can escape.

As one shocking revelation leads to the next, Kitty learns the hard way that she can trust no one, not even the people she thought were on her side. With her back against the wall, Kitty wants to believe she'll do whatever it takes to support the rebellion she believes in—but is she prepared to pay the ultimate price?

My review:

After being blown away by the awesomeness that was Pawn last year, I was a bit nervous about whether or not the sequel would really be as good as the first.  Luckily, Captive was just as epic!  I was honestly shocked by some of the amazing twists.  The only con is that I found myself a little more annoyed with Kitty than I did in the first book.

In Pawn, I was amused by Kitty and connected to her character a lot.  But in Captive, she just didn't click for me.  She is a good character in that she's independent and shows maturity.  Yet I was frustrated because at every turn, she does something that hurts else.  It felt like she was constantly trying to be proactive and help, but she just made things worse!  That bothered me somewhat.

But aside from that, this book was so much fun (and it gave me a lot of feels, just FYI!).  Admittedly, it does start out slightly slow, but about a third of the way there's a major scene that makes you go, "WHAT?!" and from then on, it's literally impossible to put down.  And there are many more twists to come throughout the book.  So many things about the rebellion, Lila, etc. are revealed.  I was really pleased because this sequel expanded thoroughly on things mentioned in the first book.  

Overall, Captive was amazing.  Yay for sequels that increase character growth, have complex storylines, and delve deeper into world-building!  I did get a little irritated with Kitty's character at times, but really, that is the only flaw.  I can't wait to see how it all goes down in the last book!

*I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thanks!

My rating:  4 out of 5 stars

~ Kaitlyn

Friday, December 5, 2014

My Top 3 Books of November 2014

This semester has been flying by!  Finals are next week, and once that's over, I'm excited to post a couple more reviews for ARCs I read.  For now, here are the books I read in November:

- Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff
- Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
- The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris
- Mortal Heart by Robin LaFavers
- The Sisters Who Would be Queen by Leanda de Lisle
- For Real by Alison Cherry
- The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey
- Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern
- Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
- Captive by Aimee Carter

Here's my top 3 favorites:

1. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas.  Um, how is it that every book in this series keeps getting better and better?  Heir of Fire was emotional, gripping, and action-packed.  As always, Maas's writing style is brilliant and perfectly suited for fantasy books, an I was an awe over Celaena's character growth and the events of this book.  Amazing!

2. Mortal Heart by Robin LaFavers.  Like Heir of Fire, this fantasy book blew me away.  I have so enjoyed reading this series and Mortal Heart was no exception.  I was stunned by two amazing twists, and it was impossible not to root for the characters.  I was glued to this book and I'm so glad I read it!

3. The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey.  It had been a year and a half since I read the first book in this series, so I didn't remember a lot.  I will say that I think I enjoyed the first book better, but this was still an impressive sequel.  It took me a while to get into it and remember all the characters, but once I did, I couldn't put it down.  There is some truly great writing, and I love how Yancey explores the gray areas of good and bad.  And UGH the cliffhanger.

Shoutout to Captive for being utterly awesome!  (And I'll have a review for it posted soon!)

What books have you enjoyed lately?

~ Kaitlyn