Tag Archives: 2.5 Stars

REVIEW | Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour
By: Morgan Matson
Paperback, 344 pages | Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
My Rating: 5.00/5.00 Stars | Goodreads Rating: 4.06/5.00 Stars
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it’s Amy’s responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn’t ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip – and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar – especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory – but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way.
MY THOUGHTS: There is just something so perfect about a Morgan Matson novel. You can expect awesomeness, and it will be delivered. She manages to do Contemporary Romance perfectly – there’s no insta-love, and her character’s are each flawed and struggling in their own ways. In Epic Detour, we have Amy Curry – fresh off the loss of her father in a car accident that she is convinced was her fault; and Roger Sullivan – who is still reeling from a recent breakup. They are thrown together on a cross-country road tour, and of course, they both get more than they bargained for.
For the past month, Amy has been living alone – her father is gone, her twin brother is in rehab, and her mom picked up and moved to Connecticut – which is the destination of the road trip with Roger. She is horribly depressed, blaming herself – wallowing in a pool of self-pity, and basically has become an empty shell of herself. She’s abandoned all of her friends, including BFF Julia who is officially giving up on her. 
 “The best discoveries always happened to the people who weren’t looking for them.”
Roger is back in California from Colorado, where he attends college, and is heading to Philadelphia to spend the summer with his father. He was dating Hadley Armstrong – the pretty girl who’s M.O. is to leave guys high and dry, with no explanation of why it went bad. She’s basically not a nice girl. But Roger needs closure – and wants her back. He agrees to this road trip thinking he can drive to Colorado and win Hadley back. 
Day One – Amy and Roger decide to throw her mother’s four day itinerary out the window, and make their way from California to Colorado, stopping to see the sights. What they find on the way is more than either thought they’d get.
***
I cannot tell you how much I seriously HEART this book. It is so perfect, well, except for the end – I want MORE! Please, write a sequel, Morgan, I beg of you! I need to know where our characters end up after this. 
  
I picked this book off my shelf looking for a light read, which I did and didn’t get. Sure, there’s the contemporary part of this book, but there are some pretty hefty topics in this book too – death, addiction, breakups, and finding yourself – and your way out of grief and depression. Matson does this is such a wonderful way too, mixing the good with the bad. You can feel Amy or Roger’s despair one second, and the next you’re laughing. It’s wonderful! 
WOULD I RECOMMEND IT? Oh my gosh, YES! In a heartbeat, I would recommend it to any Contemporary Romance lovers looking for a five-star read.
Happy Reading,
Laura 
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REVIEW | The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

THE DEMON KING
BY: Cinda Williams-Chima
SERIES: Seven Realms #1
GOODREADS RATING: 4.21 out of 5.00 Stars
MY RATING: 5.00 out of 5.00 Stars
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WHAT THE BACK OF THE BOOK SAYS: 

Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for his family. The only thing of value he has is something he can’t sell—the thick silver cuffs he’s worn since birth. They’re clearly magicked—as he grows, they grow, and he’s never been able to get them off.

One day, Han and his clan friend, Dancer, confront three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to keep him from using it against them. Soon Han learns that the amulet has an evil history—it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.

Meanwhile, Raisa ana‘Marianna, princess heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She’s just returned to court after three years of freedom in the mountains—riding, hunting, and working the famous clan markets. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea—the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But her mother has other plans for her—including marriage to a suitor who goes against everything the queendom stands for.

The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Hans and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards.

LIKES
  •  Princess Raisa! My goodness, I didn’t realize how badly I’ve been in need of a strong heroine. One thing that I love is when a character completely transforms over the course of the book, and Raisa is no exception. She starts out as a naive, ignorant princess heir but who she is at the end of the book is not the same girl.
  • Han Alister. Or Cuffs Alister. Or Hunts Alone. You know – whichever name you decide to call him! Han is such a unique character as well. He is often thought of as this vicious street gang leader who has no care or regard for anyone, but that is so far from the truth! He is a complex character, and I cannot wait to see where the rest of the series takes him. He has immense potential, so it will be interesting to see if he ends up as a hero or villain.
  •  The world-building. This is a giant world – uh, hello, it’s called the Seven Realms series – and it’s incredible how easily the landscapes come to life right off of each page! From the grimy, dirty streets of Ragmarket or Southbridge, to the royal castle of Fellsmarch to the Vale and the camps – Marisa Pines and Demonai – each is unique and incredibly detailed.
DISLIKES
  • It started off reading a little young, but the content didn’t match that. I enjoy the writing, but it did take me a few chapters to really connect.
  • A few events were predictable.
  • I didn’t realize that there was a map – my Kindle copy opened to chapter one, skipping the title page etc., so I didn’t know there was a map included! Duh!
MY THOUGHTS

I don’t know how I haven’t read this book yet. I mean, seriously – it was THAT good. It just really missed my radar. We start the book thrown immediately into action, and pick up information about the main characters and the realm along the way. I enjoyed that the story was told from alternating perspectives as well. It was a great way to contrast Raisa’s life growing up as royalty, and Han’s life, growing up as a street thug. I thoroughly enjoyed Williams-Chima’s writing style. She writes in such a fantastic way, that the characters came to life on each page. I was able to feel everything that Raisa and Han did – from happy moments to really heartbreakingly sad ones.

I also love the character growth in this book. Raisa becomes such an admirable character by books end, that it’s hard to believe she came from where she did. She always had it in her to start a revolution, and now she’s ready to carry it out. She isn’t the type of future monarch to sit around and let her people live in squalor while they live in grandeur in the castle.

Another great part of this book is the range of characters. From humans, to those who wield magic, to those who create magical amulets. I love, love, loved the magical themes in this story! We had good magic users and of course, bad. It was written beautifully, and I cannot wait to see how the magical use will evolve in the next books. It was nice to see such an array of characters as well, from all races and walks of life. It really added a diversity to the book that was wonderful.

The world building was helped greatly by the provided map in the beginning of the book of the Seven Realms. It can be a little overwhelming at first, since the books takes place in many different parts of the world – and different areas are mentioned often. But once you really get a handle on it, it’s incredible how author’s can create these worlds in their minds!

WOULD I RECOMMEND IT? Whether your a newbie to fantasy or an avid fantasy reader – you’ll love this book!

Happy Reading!
Laura

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REVIEW | The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

The Beginning of Everything
By: Robyn Schneider
Published By: Katherine Tegen | August 27th, 2013
Edition: EBook | Library Loan
My Rating: 2.50/5.00 | Goodreads Rating: 3.82/5.00
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?

Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.

LIKES
  • How Ezra changed over the course of the novel.
  • Toby’s character. He didn’t let his personal tragedy ruin his life. He is completely confident in who he is.
  • The writing; Schneider is a good author.
DISLIKES
  • Cassidy Thorpe.
  • Ezra and Cassidy’s relationship.
  • What happens to Cooper.
  • The End.
  • All of Ezra’s old friends – the jocks/song squad.
  • Comparisons to The Great Gatsby.
  • Ezra’s entire book-long Pity Party.
  • Cassidy’s “personal tragedy”.
MY THOUGHTS: Upon initially finishing this book, I gave it a 4 star rating. I couldn’t write the review immediately though, I needed time to digest what I’d just finished reading. Over the past day or two, I’ve decided that this book is not a 4 star for me. In fact, I am bumping it all the way down to a 2.5, which pains me to do. I did find some enjoyment in this story, and I did enjoy portions of it. However, I did not really like or love enough of it to warrant a higher rating.
We start out the book learning about Ezra’s past friendship with Toby Ellicott, and how it fell apart after a day at Disneyland when they were on a roller coaster and someone a few seats up on the train stood up and was beheaded. Toby caught the severed head. This was his ‘personal tragedy’. Throughout the book, Ezra is fixated on tragedy, and how everyone has a personal tragedy that completely changes the course of their life. This was an interesting concept, but ultimately set up the book for Ezra really to just pity himself the whole time.
There are a lot of references throughout the book towards F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. I’ve read the book a couple of times and seen both of the movies, and I must say that I cannot figure out the meaning of it. It doesn’t seem like a parallel to the story, though I can pick out a few things that may seem similar. Ultimately, I think it’s just Ezra’s dog calling him ‘Old Sport‘ in his mind. Or Ezra thinking he is, anyway.
As the story goes on, I started to enjoy the building of Ezra and Cassidy’s relationship. I really thought that it was going to be one of those epic love stories and that they would save each other. But when I started really thinking about it after I finished the book, I realized that their relationship sucked! First off, Ezra fell in love with her really fast. Which is okay to a point because there were some really cute one-liners about how beautiful she was in his eyes. It felt real and believable. But once they were together and I really got to see how big of a train wreck Cassidy is, it started to go downhill for me.
What I liked the most is how Ezra started seeing that popularity didn’t equal lifelong friendships and loyalty. He lost his friends and girlfriend but gained a group of really great and loyal friends – including Toby, whom he ditched all those years ago. This is a wonderful book when it comes to friendship and realizing that sometimes the people you think are your friends – aren’t.
 
WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK? I think that this book would really resonate with some people. It was likeable and had tons of funny and sweet moments while also exploring heavier topics like grief, death, and losing the person that you once were – but finding a new, better version of yourself.

Happy Reading!

Laura

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