Thursday, August 28, 2014

#scandal by Sarah Ockler [Review]

#scandal3.5 out of 5 Robots!

#scandal by Sarah Ockler
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Release: June 17, 2014
Hardcover:  416 Pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse
My Copy: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:
Lucy’s learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart’s all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don’t feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole’s date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she’d rather stay home shredding online zombies. And the one where she hates playing dress-up. And especially the one where she’s been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time.

When Cole surprises her at the after party with a kiss under the stars, it’s everything Lucy has ever dreamed of… and the biggest BFF deal-breaker ever. Despite Cole’s lingering sweetness, Lucy knows they’ll have to ’fess up to Ellie. But before they get the chance, Lucy’s own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising pics of her and Cole, along with tons of other students’ party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral.

By Monday morning, Lucy’s been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc, mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal just weeks before graduation.

Lucy’s been battling undead masses online long enough to know there’s only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. Game plan? Uncover and expose the Facebook hacker, win back her best friend’s trust, and graduate with a clean slate.

There’s just one snag—Cole. Turns out Lucy’s not the only one who’s been harboring unrequited love...
(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
I didn't really get #scandal.  I think it had a lot of promise, but by the end I was feeling underwhelmed by the whole thing.  I felt like #scandal never quite knew what it wanted to be.  It would hang out in the slightly quirky YA arena, but swerve over into the serious side of bullying, only to verve off into the over the top territory.  I also think there were just so many subplots that not enough time could be properly devoted to any of them.

The heart of the story involves around Lucy, her best friend Ellie, and Ellie's boyfriend, Cole.  Lucy has always had a thing for Cole, but was too scared to admit it.  Ellie and Cole ended up dating instead and stayed together for a few years with Lucy silently holding the torch for Cole.  That is, until Ellie gets sick on the day of Prom and convinces Lucy to go in her place with Cole.  Lucy, who is not really a "prom kind of girl", reluctantly agrees.  Lucy and Cole find themselves at an after party and end up kissing.  We find out that Cole and Ellie had actually broken up, but Lucy still feels horrible.  Meanwhile, someone steals Lucy's phone and posts incriminating photos from the party from Lucy's Facebook page, including a picture of Lucy and Cole kissing.  Everything goes south very quickly.

But I had a hard time buying into this whole thing.  Never mind the fact that Lucy never told Ellie how she felt about Cole (which, I probably wouldn't have either) but Ellie never told Lucy they broke up.  And Cole didn't tell Lucy they broke up before he kissed her.  What?  And I certainly didn't understand Ellie pushing Lucy to go to the prom with Cole.  Who does that?  And considering how this sorta love triangle is the crux of the story, there is very little romance.  We have no reason to root for them really since they are barely together in the book.

The other part of the book is taken up with a mishmash of plot threads.  We have (e)VIL - a student group against having an online presence, Miss Demeanor - an anonymous Facebook gossip site, Lucy's estranged relationship with her sister and the mystery of the stole phone.  Some parts, like (e)VIL and Miss Demeanor felt really over the top.  But I did like the phone mystery part.  It was probably the most interesting part of the book, to be honest.

Overall, I didn't dislike this book, but I wasn't really sold on it either. 

Disclosure:  I reviewed a copy free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Life of a Blogger: Fears



Life of a Blogger is a weekly meme by Novel Heartbeat.  It gives us a chance to talk about non-bookish passions and interests.

My one main fear is a fear of falling.  Not heights.  But falling.  Basically, if I don't feel secure and I feel like I might fall, I hate it.  Ladders, suspension bridges, see-through floors, rope courses, grated staircases, stand up paddleboards, rock name it.  If it is not securely fastened to something and immovable, I don't want to be on it.  

Other things that freak me out:

- The idea of being swarmed.  By snakes, rats, insects, Tribbles, doesn't matter.
- Monkeys.  They creep me out to no end.
- Something horrible Happening, like a terrible natural disaster, or being tortured, or being attacked. I probably would not survive the apocalypse.  I'm not even sure I would want to.
- The feeling of being suffocated or not being able to breathe.  I can't even wear turtlenecks.
- Having someone or something die in front of me, or worse having to kill something.  My friend had to put a baby bunny down after her cat attacked it.  I admire her for putting it out of its misery, but I know I couldn't have done it.
- Losing my daughter.  Losing my husband is a very close second, but the idea of my daughter dying is an idea I can't think about.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Chaos of the Stars by Kiersten White [Joint Review!]

The Chaos of Stars3 out of 5 Robots!

Chaos of the Stars by Kiersten White
Genre: YA Paranormal
Release: September 10, 2013
Hardcover:  277 Pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
My Copy: Publisher
Reviewer: Shannon and Julia
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:
Kiersten White, New York Times bestselling author of Paranormalcy, is back with The Chaos of Stars—an enchanting novel set in Egypt and San Diego that captures the magic of first love and the eternally complicated truth about family.

Isadora's family is seriously screwed up—which comes with the territory when you're the human daughter of the ancient Egyptian gods Isis and Osiris. Isadora is tired of living with crazy relatives who think she's only worthy of a passing glance—so when she gets the chance to move to California with her brother, she jumps on it. But her new life comes with plenty of its own dramatic—and dangerous—complications . . . and Isadora quickly learns there's no such thing as a clean break from family.

Blending Ally Carter's humor and the romance of Cynthia Hand's Unearthly, The Chaos of Stars takes readers on an unforgettable journey halfway across the world and back, and proves there's no place like home.

(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon and Julia's Thoughts:
1. Did Chaos of the Stars meet your expectations?
Shannon: To be honest, I'm not sure I had any expectations.  I've read a lot of Kiersten White before and some I've liked better than others.  This feel somewhere in the middle for me.  It didn't feel unique, with the exception of the Egyptian mythology.  But I can't say I wasn't entertained. There were definitely things that annoyed me (like Isadora's attitude, the "Perfect Boyfriend" Ry, how amazing Isadora is at everything and everyone loves her even though she is kind of awful to everything), but the book is fairly short and everything moved along so quickly that I didn't have a lot of time to dwell on it.
Julia: I went into this having no idea what it was about so my expectations were limited- I just wanted to be entertained. So it neither met them or went above and beyond. I'm really not pumped on this book though. It is pure fluff. 
2. Did Isadora, the main character, have a personality you could relate to?
Shannon: I'm glad you asked.  Haha.  But no, I found Isadora to be a complete brat.  Like, seriously.  Basically her attitude about everything was just so off. It made it hard to root for her.
Julia: Nope, she is the worst part of the book. She is a spoiled brat! I can usually see past the attitude in a young character because when you're a teenager, you're moody and you can be mouthy. This girl is always moody and mouthy and just not pleasant. I couldn't really understand why her friends continued to enjoy her company. She's snappy and I couldn't relate to her at all. I didn't root for her, but I did root for her family and her friends.
3. How did mythology play a role in this book? Did you love it?
Shannon: Actually the mythology was my favorite part.  I haven't read any other YA book with Egyptian mythology, so that was fun. I loved Isadora's take on her family.  That was the funniest parts.  I loved her little stories at the beginning of chapters that always end in this kind of snarky, funny way. 
Julia: I did love it! I thought it was fascinating. Without the mythology and the stories, this book would have been hard to finish. And Isadora's viewpoint of her family's "skeletons" and drama really was hilarious. That may have been the only thing I enjoyed about her character. 
4. Without giving away any spoilers, what was your favorite scene?
Shannon: As I mentioned, I liked the mythology stories and how they related to the story.  And Isadora's snarkiness about it.  I also loved some of the early scenes with her family.  Some of it was hilarious.
Julia: I loved most of the scenes her mother and father were in. I thought they were so interesting and I just loved their interactions.  
5. Did the ending leave you satisfied or craving more?
Shannon: I feel like overall I was satisfied, but I'm not sure I would be interested in a sequel.
Julia: I am completely satisfied with the ending- no cliff hanger there. All the loose ends are tied up well. I wouldn't read anymore of this stuff though. 
6. What is your star rating? Why? Who would you recommend this one to?
Shannon: I'll got with a 3.5.  I was entertained, but there were some problems for me.  I would recommend it to other Kiersten White fans, especially those who enjoyed Paranormalcy.
Julia: I'd give it 2.5 stars. I couldn't stand the main character and the only thing I found awesome about this book were the Egyptian mythology stories. Other fans of Kiersten White may enjoy this one though. It's a quick read.

Disclosure:  I reviewed a copy free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.


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