Monday, July 29, 2013

The Originals

The Originals is a YA mix of contemporary and sci-fi by Cat Patrick.

As three identical little girls, Lizzie, Ella and Betsey believed themselves to be triplets – who wouldn’t?

But when their mother was forced to tell them the truth, the stark danger of their situation became very real…

To hide their secret from the rest of the world, the three now seventeen-year-old girls appear to the world as one daughter: Elizabeth. Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey switching off throughout the day to play their respective parts.

First half of school, second half, and after school.

But when Lizzie is switched to second half because she is failing her math classes, since her mom doesn’t want anyone to ever look closer at the girls for any reason, she meets Sean Kelly.

He’s cute, smart, and interested in artistic things… like her.

And somehow he seems to recognize that she seems different than before.

He recognizes… her.

Having grown up as one-third of a person, Lizzie realizes that it’s not enough anymore.

Lizzie might send this house of cards tumbling…

Cat Patrick first impressed me with Forgotten. Then she blew me away with Revived.

Yet again I am stunned by Cat Patrick’s ability to meld genres to well – and create a wholly unique reading experience!

The Originals is fantastic, excellent, and very memorable!

Here we get a journey of coming to know yourself – to have a complete identity – but in an exaggerated way because of this odd, somewhat disturbing life these three girls have been leading.

Because of the sci-fi elements there is a vibe of suspense, of true risk. And Cat Patrick also so effortlessly gives a feel of a real bond between the Lizzie, Betsey and Ella.

I liked that we only followed the perspective of Lizzie, not each girl. I felt connected to her. There were humorous moments, romance, and a tenderness and poignancy to The Originals that is distinct to this author, to me, now.

The Originals was outstanding!!! I read it very, very fast and was absorbed every moment!

Bet you will be too!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Awaken

Awaken is the third novel in the contemporary myth-retelling Abandon trilogy by Meg Cabot.

It’s the end of a trilogy. So, you know what I’m going to say.

Have you read Abandon? Have you read Underworld?

Well, those are books one and two – so, if you haven’t, DO NOT READ THIS REVIEW!!!

Instead, click on their titles and be whisked away to my reviews of those prior novels – and then go read the books!!!

Don’t go spoiling yourself here, okay?

Last chance to avert your eyes before the synopsis begins…

Seventeen year old Pierce Oliviera is not a normal teen girl.

For multiple reasons.

One, she’s died when she was fifteen. Or, actually, we should say she was murdered when she was fifteen.

But only temporarily. She was revived.

While she was dead she met John – John Hayden, lord of the Underworld. Extremely good looking, brooding, and wearer of tight pants.

After being revived she fought his affection – if that’s what you can call it when it was always rather angry and demanding – for quite some time.

Not any longer.

Pierce has fully accepted that she is in love with John – and that kinda makes her the queen of the Underworld.

Problem? There’s some issues going on down there.

The furies, which have been a threat to John for an epic amount of time, are still after him – and they’re beginning to succeed in causing all kinds of serious hiccups for the souls who need to board boats to their final destination.

To fulfill her new obligations to the Underworld, Pierce realizes she needs to figure out how to fix this – not only for the dead, but for the living…

I loved Abandon and liked Underworld – an opinion that I sort of doubt in retrospect, in fact I believe a full trilogy reread is in order – and Awaken? Well, it is one heck of a finale!!!

As I’ve said in the past, I was first enchanted by Meg Cabot under a different name – Jenny Carroll. Her Mediator and 1-800 series were darker and longer than the series she has been penning as of late.

Don’t get me wrong, I pretty much love every single book she puts out there – but the fact that this trilogy has a little bit of that darker edge kind of thrilled me. I still don’t know if I can put them on par with those series, but the Abandon trilogy is AWESOME!

At the start, I didn’t like a scene in which I felt (surprisingly) that Meg was mocking someone with faith in God. Yet, I do feel like this was rectified – I certainly hope so, because as a Christian and a huge fan of hers, that would suck. It did really seem to have a purpose that came full circle though, so I hope that you don’t let it put a bad taste in your mouth at the beginning!

Moving on from that, Awaken is an excellent, passionate, happily different finale!

Pierce and John’s relationship is really the core of this trilogy. It’s a retelling of the Greek myth of Persephone, after all. Only a bit less disturbing – and kinda hot.

As a character, Pierce is very unique. She knows what she wants, she has a temper, and there’s a self-assurance about her that is invigorating. She got a lot of opportunities in this last book to come into her new position, and it was both fun and suspenseful to watch that journey.

I highly enjoyed Awaken and can’t wait for even more from Meg Cabot! Soon, hopefully!!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Most Peculiar Circumstance

A Most Peculiar Circumstance is a historical romance novel by Jen Turano.

This is also the second book in the Ladies of Distinction series; though it doesn’t say so on the novel itself. I wasn’t fully aware of this and read it anyway – yet I would strongly suggest starting with A Change of Fortune, if you’re able!

It’s 1880 and Miss Arabella Beckett has been traveling around the country giving speeches and spreading her strong belief in the women’s suffrage movement.

But when she lands in jail, covered in pig’s filth, well… It slows her down a bit.

There’s an explanation of course, but no explanation is good enough for the acclaimed private investigator Mr. Theodore Wilder who has been trying to track her down for longer than he expected. The idea that a woman would get herself in trouble like this – a lady, at that – confounds him.

As a friend of her brother’s, though, he’s determined to get her back home to New York – where she was planning on heading next anyway.

Once they’re back in New York, their head-butting unfortunately continues. Theodore finds her independent, outspoken personality uncouth, whereas Arabella finds his old-fashioned, narrow views irritating.

The trouble that landed her in jail back in Illinois, however, may have followed her home… And sadly that might mean they might need to suffer each other’s company a little longer.

As much as I hate to say it, I’m not much of a fan of this cover.

However, A Most Peculiar Circumstance quickly overcomes it!

Arabella is feisty, dogmatic and confident – an excellently fun heroine! It took longer for me to get a read on Theodore, but he does have an appeal of his own – even if he can often be insufferable.

A Most Peculiar Circumstance is refreshingly delightful with sparkling, witty, charming banter and characters bursting with personality! Not to mention a sizzling chemistry between the leads that manages to keep from being mushy, nor superficial. Being that is a Christian fiction book, it is suitable for a reader of any age – yet doesn’t pander or preach, which is important to my reading sensibilities!

I’m going to be honest with you: Arabella is pretty awesome.

And for you YA readers that like strong, smart, fast-talkin’ protagonists, I think you’ll find that Arabella could be our bud – if only we could travel back to this fictional 1880 setting.

There’s more to the story that romance, which I VERY much appreciate!!! There’s a bit of a mystery, lots of humor, time spent with friends – and it’s just overall grin-worthy!

Near the end there is a rather chilling turn of events, done well.

I mean, A Most Peculiar Circumstance was a blast! I’ll definitely be interested in the other books in this series – even if I doubt that all the female leads will be as entertaining as Arabella!

*I received a copy of A Most Peculiar Circumstance from the Bethany House Book Reviewers program. Their generosity in no way influenced, nor sought to influence, my opinion of the novel.

Monday, July 22, 2013

This is What Happy Looks Like

This is What Happy Looks Like is a contemporary YA novel by Jennifer E. Smith.

When Ellie O’Neill responded to the email, she only did it because it was an obvious mistake. One letter or number missing or added to the email address and it ended up in her inbox.

A simple reply letting him know he got the wrong person and that unfortunately she would not be able to walk his dog – that’s what started it all. Then she finds out he was talking about his pet pig, not dog.

That small string of emails, laced with humor, interest and a harmless sense of enjoying the conversation became a three-month long correspondence. Anonymous. Secret. Ellie looked forward to his emails.

Graham Larkin, on the other side of the internet, was refreshed by the emails because it was the first time in a long time that he was being talked to like any other seventeen-year-old guy – instead of the movie star hunk known around the world.

Seizing an opportunity to visit Ellie’s hometown, Graham moves his newest movie to her area and hopes against hope that maybe he can meet her in person.

But Ellie has secrets of her own, and the spotlight is something that she and her mom have been avoiding for years…

I can’t help but like Jennifer E. Smith’s long titles – last I read The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. Now here we have This is What Happy Looks Like. Crazy, but kinda cool.

Just as in the former novel, Smith is great at creating that romantic-dramedy feel. There’s a very Hollywood, cinema-esque tone, yet it’s filled with a bit more substance – even if at its core it’s still a fairytale premise.

A quick, fast-paced, truly enjoyable read that has an essence of summer and love – This is What Happy Looks Like is infused with a coming-of-age vibe.

Plus, we get a peek at the life of a reluctant teen movie star in Graham. He’s likable, and I like how Smith didn’t judge the world of Hollywood at all – or make him self-pitying. After all, we know that especially in this economy being a “poor little rich boy” isn’t attractive. Instead, it’s the inner life that he struggles with – loneliness. Done well, I thought.

The secrets in Ellie’s life came as a surprise for me. I liked the roadblocks, they didn’t feel as cliché or old hat as other novels I’ve read. I never got terribly frustrated, either.

All in all, I felt that This is What Happy Looks Like was an excellent, bittersweet, summer read winner!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Unbroken

Unbroken is the follow-up to Paula Morris’s YA modern ghost story set in New Orleans, Ruined.

If you haven’t read the atmospheric, creepily good Ruined – read my review here. And don’t read the review of Unbroken yet.

But if you have – read on!

It was one year ago that Rebecca Brown left New Orleans changed.

Spending quality time with a ghost, ending a longtime curse, finding out you’re actually related to a deep-rooted family connected to said curse, and almost being killed can do that to you.

But when Rebecca gets a chance to return for a short time with her father and best friend (who is none the wiser on the aforementioned activity of last year), she feels an undeniable pull. The city is hypnotic – and she’s hoping to see a certain handsome boy: Anton Grey.

Yet it’s not long before she realizes that seeing Lisette last year was not a fluke or a one-shot deal. A new blue-eyed ghost is asking for her help. Unable to turn her back on him, she tries – but is Rebecca now is more danger than ever?

Okay, so – Unbroken!

Great follow-up to Ruined, I felt.

Rebecca is a likably unfussy character – has a good relationship with her dad for the most part, and isn’t too much of a pushover when it comes to guys.

New Orleans makes for a distinctive, excellent setting for another ghost story – and it was a good new story and plot for Rebecca.

I’m not jumping up and down flipping out over my love for Unbroken, nor was I for Ruined. But both books are entertaining, decently well-done, semi-suspenseful, interesting supernatural stories well worth a read – and maybe even a reread someday.

Ruined might still have an edge on Unbroken, in my opinion, but both are very good!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Dolled Up to Die

Dolled Up to Die is the second novel in the humorous mystery series The Cate Kinkaid Files by Lorena McCourtney.

Even though Dolled Up to Die stands alone well, I think, I would still strongly recommend that you read the series in order. So, if you haven’t already, go read Dying to Read. It’s hilarious, and I loved it!!! You can also check out my review of Dying to Read here.

Onto the brief synopsis of Dolled Up to Die:

Cate is starting to get a better handle on being an assistant private investigator. Emphasis on assistant. After her rather eventful, turn-for-the-worse earlier case, things have calmed down and been more like what her uncle originally described for the job.

That wasn’t meant to last long.

After receiving a disturbing phone call frantically telling her about a triple homicide, Cate can’t help but show up at the caller’s home. After all, the lady said that the police were taking their sweet time – which Cate found highly odd – and Cate just couldn’t ignore the woman’s need for help.

Upon arriving though, having steeled her stomach for a gruesome scene, she finds something wholly unexpected. The three murder victims?

They’re dolls.

Victimized, vandalized dolls? Yes.

But still dolls.

But not long after their discovery, Cate realizes there may be a victim in the house that did at one time have a pulse.

Despite continually being told to stay out of murder cases, Cate already senses she’s being pulled into another one…

Oh my goodness, this was fun!

Cate Kinkaid is a smart, likable, clumsy heroine that is working to do well at her new career after many life changes and a stint in unemployment. She’s grounded in faith in God, yet that doesn’t drown the story, which I appreciate. It’s enough for the narrative to show an awareness of her belief without hitting us over the head with it!

Oftentimes laugh-out-loud funny, Dolled Up to Die starts off with a hilarious bang and doesn’t stop there! I loved Cate’s sleuthing, the large, varied cast of characters (including her cat Octavia), and those moments of true suspense to ratchet up the stakes a bit.

One thing I think could get stronger is Cate’s boyfriend Mitch. There’s nothing wrong with him, really, but with such a colorful cast of suspects and clients he tends to fall a bit flat. His personality maybe needs to come across stronger? Not sure. But I still like him, and his relationship with Cate was not a detriment to the plot whatsoever.

Not perhaps as surprising as Dying to Read, Dolled Up to Die is a delight to read and just a pure bibliophile pleasure!

I’m hoping there’s more than one book left in this series, as I’m ready to follow Cate for a long time to come!! Especially if the comedy element keeps up like it has so far!

What are you waiting for? Go grab your copy and be ready to laugh!!!

*Available July 15, 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

*I received a copy of Dolled Up to Die from the Baker Publishing Group. Their generosity in no way influenced, nor sought to influence, my opinion of the novel.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Grass is Always Greener

The Grass is Always Greener is the third and final novel in Jen Calonita’s contemporary fiction series, Belles.

Don’t roll your eyes, you know the drill!

As a bibliophile, you do NOT want to spoil any book you’re reading by reading them out of order! So, if you have not yet read the first books, Belles, or the second book, Winter White, click on their titles to read those reviews instead and AVOID THIS REVIEW!

Now, assuming the rest of you have already read the first two novels in the series, shall we commence with a brief synopsis of The Grass is Always Greener?

After finding out that the wealthy politician pretending to be her uncle and new guardian was her father – and therefore her “cousins” her siblings – Izzie has just recently started to settle into her Cinderella-like life change.

Her half-sister Mira and she are starting to bond - and merge their old lives with their new life, including trying to deal with the scandal, reporters, and overall publicity that surrounds them as a result of being a rising politician’s children.

But when Izzie’s Aunt Zoe – whom she’d never heard of – arrives unannounced just as Izzie’s grandma dies, Izzie doesn’t know what to do. Torn between grief and confusion, this new surprise might be exactly what she needs – or the opposite.

In the meantime, Mira is struggling with the fact that her boyfriend is moving to an entirely different area – and doesn’t know what to do with her feelings for a cute painter that is attending the same art class.

Under the harsh spotlight of the press, will Mira and Izzie have any chance of a sweet sixteen?

As y’all might remember, I was always a bit dithering when it came to the Belles series.

Jen Calonita pens a series that has a strong ABC Family TV series vibe – cute boys, family drama, wealth, dreams-can-come-true soapy stuff.

I’m not a big fan of that – but I continually would get sucked into the rather addictive, relatively entertaining story.

Initially I had thought that Belles was going to be four books, not three. Maybe I’m wrong, but I had a feeling that the series was kinda cut off quickly for some reason. But that’s neither here nor there for the purposes of this review.

With the fluffy domestic melodrama and romance, The Grass is Always Greener still managed to hook me – but not so much as the prior two books. I just still don’t relate to Mira or Izzie all that much. The characterizations, situations, and overall plotline still came across as cliché and a bit unbelievable.

For those nights when you’re super tired and just want to be semi-diverted, though? Good choice.

Yet I won’t deny that I think there are quite a few soapy books that would’ve kept me more enthralled.

This is a fun, harmless series with a decent little end here. Enjoy it!

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Mirrored Shard

The Mirrored Shard is a YA steampunk fantasy and the third novel in the Iron Codex trilogy by Caitlin Kittredge.

If you have not read The Iron Thorn and The Nightmare Garden you should avoid this review for spoilers. Instead, feel free to click on the titles and see my reviews of those two!

Okay, I’m giving you one last chance to turn away…

Spending time in the Thorn Land with her mother, who has been insane for most of Aoife’s life, has not gotten her anywhere.

When Dean was killed in the Arctic, her mother told her she could help Aoife bring him back – if only she came with her to the Thorn Land.

Now, Aoife is pretty sure that is a lie.

Needing to get out of the ethereal, haunting fey land and back to the Iron Land that may slowly poison her mind but provide more answers as to how to bring Dean back from the dead, Aoife starts to plot.

On top of all that, she must face the choices she has made that has endangered and changed the world and the powers coming in to play.

After all, if Aoife is going to bring Dean back – it’d be good if there was a world to bring him back to.

I absolutely loved The Iron Thorn, the first book in this trilogy. The steampunk, dark version of the 1950s was original and exciting – the characters were vivid and interesting – and the plot had mystery, intrigue and a unique mixture of fantasy and science under a strong tone of steampunk.

The Nightmare Garden was still good, though I felt like it was a lacking a little of The Iron Thorn’s specialness. I still really liked it though, even if the end had me shocked and upset with Dean’s death.

But right when The Mirrored Shard landed in my hands, I was concerned. Why?

It was so thin! The first two books, especially the first, were nice and thick. I couldn’t imagine why the third book, the FINAL book, would be so much thinner. How could there be enough pages to resolve everything and still give me a satisfying reading experience?

Answer: There wasn’t.

For me, at least.

Aoife seemed different. She cried a lot. Her relationships with characters felt altered, probably because of her change. I felt this was the root problem of why I was having such a difficult time feeling invested and involved in The Mirrored Shard.

I certainly didn’t have a problem in the past!

In fact, I was feeling very tired and sleepy while I was reading it, which made me very sad.

Even though we are introduced to a semi-cool alternate version of San Francisco and Alcatraz, I felt like the enigmatic, fascinating vibe of the prior books was replaced with a rather convoluted storyline about Dean – and a tad of the Old Ones.

One thing that disappointed me the most, besides Aoife’s personality, was the lack of feeling like this trilogy told a complete story from start to finish. Seems like it changed course midway or something.

Perhaps a reread of all three books in a row would help it to mesh and make a more complete picture. I hope so, because right now I’m left feeling depressed. There was so much potential, so much meaty writing and a world of detail and excitement – where did it go?

I hope you disagree when you read The Mirrored Shard.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & Park is a YA 1980s coming-of-age novel by Rainbow Rowell.

It’s 1986 and Eleanor’s brilliantly red, curly hair makes her impossible to not see as she steps onto the school bus for the first time.

It also makes her an excellent target when you combine it with her odd, eclectic assortment of clothing and the fact that she’s brand new.

Unable to watch the horror show, Park offers her a seat by him – in urgent, angrily embarrassed undertones.

And then everything changes.

This is the moment that Eleanor and Park met their first love – each other.

I really don’t want to give more details of Eleanor & Park than that. I didn’t have more, and oh what an experience this novel was!!

I loved the slow burn to the romance – that it wasn’t attraction based but initially built on kindness, like interests, and sharing small, but significant, pieces of themselves. Startlingly authentic and genuine, I think it might be impossible for Eleanor & Park to not tug at your heartstrings.

Park is Asian and Eleanor is a chubby redhead – I liked that. It’s different. More real. Relatable.

This is a book that is truly touching, showing the epic-ness of ordinary life. It’s an emotional coming-of-age tale in 1986 – heart wrenching and refreshingly authentic in both good and bad ways.

So sad, yet at times so hopeful, Eleanor & Park highlights bullying and a terrible domestic situation, while also making you smile at the joy of first love. Bittersweet.

And – oh wow! What an end!!

Oh, I wanted more – desperately – yet I knew there was a perfection to it that I didn’t want touched.

Eleanor & Park is one that will stay with me.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Ironskin

Ironskin is a fantasy novel by Tina Connolly.

Five years after The Great Fey War many victims remain – the ironskin.

Jane Eliot is one of them. Wearing an iron mask over half her face helps to contain the fey curse that mars her – that tries to give off unearthly feelings of rage to herself and those around her.

The beauty she once had is no more.

But she finds a semblance of peace in helping others deal with their own fey curses. So, when she answers a listing for a governess to assist with a little girl born during the Great War, Jane reads between the lines.

Dorie, though, is a stubborn child with a curse completely unique to anything Jane has seen before. The child has no wish to suppress her curse – and trying to teach her how is met with frustration and misery.

While persisting, Jane can’t help but be intrigued by Dorie’s artist father Edward Rochart whose secretive work seems to involve many beautiful women…

Beneath all the enigma and hard work there is a dangerous possibility of the war rising up again. Slowly, Jane must learn more about her surroundings, and herself, to meet it…

I loved the idea of this Fey War and a woman whose beauty is disfigured. I have nothing against attractive characters, but oftentimes in fairytales and fantasy if someone is unattractive it is the male – which I feel gets old and sexist. I like things being turned on their head, refreshes stories.

Unfortunately, yet again, I ended up less than pleased.

Ironskin has definite similarities with Jane Eyre – but only faintly. Mostly, I felt that Tina Connolly used all of the names from the classic book and then did what she wanted with them. This fantasy world it takes place in was devastated by a fey war that deeply interested me, but never was fully explained.

Initially I was waiting for more personality, spookiness, plot and/or atmosphere. It never wholly developed, in my opinion. In fact, it was consistently interrupted by chaotic, confusing storytelling that never gave me a clear picture of our setting or characters. For example, what time period are we in? Obviously not modern times, but not the late 1800s either. Perhaps the 1920s or 30s? On top of that, the language is all over the place for any solid or roundabout era. This was very unsatisfying for me.

Dorie herself might have been the only character I was truly empathetic with. The poor thing is damaged, obstinate and troubled. Yet the way Jane and her father dealt with her didn’t seem all that helpful. So, her issues were affecting, if only because they disturbed me, but the rest?

Any romance element did not feel natural to me. I felt no chemistry, no intensity. The mystery only vaguely intrigued me – it was pretty clear from the get-go what was going on in general.

Unfortunately, Ironskin is not Jane Eyre. And, you know, that’s okay. I don’t want it to be, really. But it also was just a bit of a disenchanting mess, in my opinion.

This is, again, MY OPINION. Read it yourself – I hope you love it!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Small Town Girl

Small Town Girl is a historical fiction novel by Ann H. Gabhart.

In 1941, Rosey Corner is quietly slipping into the autumn season as rumors of war whisper about.

This can’t help but be far from Kate Merritt’s mind, though, as she watches her older sister marry the man she loves.

It seems it has always been this way – what Kate wants is unattainable.

Yet when Jay Tanner arrives in town to be the best man, part of her awakens. His flirtatious teasing of eloping and kissing – which she refuses, of course – can’t help but draw her attention a bit.

With a practical mind like Kate’s, however, it’ll take more than that to turn her head.

But as America is stunned by the tragedy of Pearl Harbor – things change…

Small Town Girl is a follow-up to Gabhart’s previous Angel Sister, which I have not read. It stands alone just fine, but if you’ve read Angel Sister you might be happy to get a chance to see Kate older.

I love WWII times in historical fiction. Last year when I read Sarah Sundin’s With Every Letter I adored it! And of course there are The Montmaray Journals trilogy by Michelle Cooper!

However, here I did not feel that.

Small Town Girl, for me, was rather slow. Not in the purposely paced, let’s-soak-up-this-great-atmosphere kind of way but more in an I-feel-bad-but-I-don’t-care way.

There was a lot of prose, a lot of contemplation that felt repetitive and it wasn’t sweeping – it was a bit of a drag.

I feel terrible saying that, as I always do. And I know that SO MANY readers will love Small Town Girl, just even by looking at many current reviews. Unfortunately, I just felt pretty lackluster about it. I was never stirred to connect with the characters, the romance, the drama…

Small Town Girl isn’t really a bad book, in my opinion. Yet I ended up skimming it to move on once I got to a certain point and still felt nothing pulling me to it.

I never like saying negative things about books – but I want to be honest in my views!!

Do read it for yourself – especially if you’re a fan of WWII historical fiction/romance.

*Available July 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

*I received a copy of Small Town Girl from the Baker Publishing Group. Their generosity in no way influenced, nor sought to influence, my opinion of the novel.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality

Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality is a YA contemporary novel by Elizabeth Eulberg.

Everybody likes Lexi.

She’s funny, smart, self-deprecating and… well, likable.

But she’s not the girl that gets the dates, the attention, and the notice of guys… She’s the one guys like to hang out with because she has a “great personality”.

The kiss of death.

On top of that, her seven-year-old sister Mackenzie is a pageant girl – praised for her beauty.

Deciding enough is enough, Lexi steps out of the sidelines. Maybe with some makeup and better clothes her longtime, sadly attached crush Logan will notice her, maybe her pageant-obsessed Mom will be proud of her, and maybe she’ll finally get a date.

It’s time to be noticed for more than a “great personality”.

There’s going to be a ton of readers who will love Revenge of the Girl with a Great Personality. I’m happy for them!

Unhappily, it was not me.

I really enjoyed Elizabeth Eulberg’s Prom and Prejudice, but since then I haven’t been as charmed. Take a Bow was just… not that great for me. And Revenge of the Girl with a Great Personality was actually kinda disappointing, I’m sad to say.

After A Curse Dark as Gold, I was hoping for a light, quick and easy read here – that I got!

In many ways, the basic premise spoke to me – I think a lot of us reader girls can agree that it might apply. Yet, I had clung to a string of hope that it wouldn’t be a makeover book – and it sort of was.

What really bothered me was how easy it was for Lexi to change from mousy to gorgeous with some new clothes, hair and makeup. It’s not that simple for most of us. Instead of her being legitimately perhaps “plain” or even overweight – which lets not beat around the bush here, a lot of us are, and are not represented often in novels – she’s apparently a beautiful girl who’s been purposely hiding it in baggy clothes and a lack of trying.

That’s fine and all – but not what interested me much.

Lexi also wasn’t that likable to me. Was she occasionally funny? Yeah. Her parental and family issues were certainly sad – I empathized and felt that was all done pretty well. Yet I could not relate to her easily.

Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality was fast-paced with some good vibes of empowerment and fun – but the plot sometimes bordered on cutesy cliché. Her scenes with her best friends, especially Benny, felt strained and awkward.

I would’ve liked it all to feel more genuine – and to maybe make the transition not so easy, physically, for Lexi. I would’ve liked some of the plot twists to not feel so obvious.

But – you might love it just as it is!

In the end, I didn’t find the Revenge all that satisfying…