Book Review: The Heir and the Spare – Emily Albright

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Title: The Heir and the Spare (2016)
Author: Emily Albright
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, New Adult
Extent: 288 pages
Release Date: January 18, 2016
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Goodreads Description

Family can be complicated. Especially when skeletons from the past pop up unexpectedly. For American Evie Gray, finding out her deceased mother had a secret identity, and not one of the caped crusader variety, was quite the surprise. Evie’s mom had a secret life before she was even born, one that involved tiaras.

In this modern day fairytale, Evie is on a path to figure out who her mom really was, while discovering for herself what the future will hold. Charged with her late mother’s letters, Evie embarks on a quest into her past. The first item on the list is to attend Oxford, her mom’s alma mater. There, Evie stumbles upon a real life prince charming, Edmund Stuart the second Prince of England, who is all too happy to be the counterpart to her damsel in distress.

Evie can’t resist her growing attraction to Edmund as they spend more time together trying to unravel the clues her mother left behind. But, when doubts arise as to whether or not Edmund could ever be with an untitled American, what really ends up unraveling is Evie’s heart. When Evie uncovers all the facts about her mom’s former life, she realizes her mom’s past can open doors she never dreamed possible, doors that can help her be with Edmund. But, with everything now unveiled, Evie starts to crack under the pressure of new family responsibilities and the realization that her perfect prince may want her for all the wrong reasons.

Review

This book. This book. This book was touted as a cross between The Princess Diaries and The Royal We, the former of which I loved and the latter of which received favourable reviews. Yet this book is quite possibly one of the most frustrating YA novels I’ve read in my entire life, and this review could have just as easily been titled ‘all the things wrong with contemporary romance’.

The main reason why I didn’t DNF The Heir and the Spare is because I was incredibly excited about it last year—the premise, after all, is fun. Not terribly original for sure, but fun (when done right). I’m definitely not against a romance involving modern royals, but with a plot as cliched and predictable as this one, the characters better be a) interesting or b) likeable.

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Book Review: The Next Together – Lauren James

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Title: The Next Together (2015)
Author: Lauren James
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Contemporary
Extent: 354 pages
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Review: Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again, century after century. Each time, their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated. Maybe the next time they’re together will be different…

Plot-wise, this is an incredibly ambitious book. It plays across various genres—historical, science fiction, romance, mystery and contemporary—and it technically has eight main characters: two people in four different eras. It’s told in a non-chronological order and goes back and forth between the years 1745, 1854, 2019 and finally the present, 2039. I liked the last two—not so much the others.

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Book Review: Signs Point to Yes – Sandy Hall

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Title: Signs Point to Yes (2015)
Author: Sandy Hall
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 288 pages
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Goodreads Description

If only Jane’s Magic 8 Ball could tell her how to get through the summer. With her “perfect” sister, Margo, home for her “perfect” internship, Jane is not going to be able to spend the summer writing fan fiction, as she had planned. And her emergency babysitting job requires Jane to spend the whole summer in awkward proximity to her new crush, Teo, a nerdy-hot lifeguard with problems of his own.

With his best friend out of town, Teo finds himself without anyone to confide in…except Jane. Will Jane and Teo be able to salvage each other’s summer? Even the Magic 8 Ball doesn’t have an answer…but signs point to yes.

Review

Signs Point to Yes opens with Jane getting a job at a neighbour’s house babysitting three little girls. Eventually she meets the girls’ older brother and also a classmate, Teo, who is friends with Ravi, a guy who has always hated Jane. With three main perspectives, there are three main conflicts at play here: Jane with her need for self-acknowledgment that she’s not an idiot (seriously), Teo with his search for his biological father, and Jane’s sister’s Margo with her bisexuality.

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ARC/Book Review: This Raging Light – Estelle Laure

This Raging Light - Estelle Laure - Book Review

Title: This Raging Light (2015)
Author: Estelle Laure
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Expected Release: December 22, 2015
Extent: 288 pages
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Goodreads Description

Can the best thing happen at the worst time?

Her dad went crazy. Her mom left town. She has bills to pay and a little sister to look after. Now is not the time for level-headed seventeen-year-old Lucille to fall in love. But love—messy, inconvenient love—is what she’s about to experience when she falls for Digby Jones, her best friend’s brother. With blazing longing that builds to a fever pitch, Estelle Laure’s soulful debut will keep readers hooked and hoping until the very last page.

Review

I can only think of one other book off the top of my head where a teenage girl struggles to literally survive in the wake of her parents’ absence, and that is Sarah Dessen’s Lock and Key, which is another of my Dessen favourite. Unfortunately, This Raging Light didn’t hold a candle to that book.

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Book Review: Throne of Glass – Sarah J. Maas

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Title: Throne of Glass (2012)
Series: Throne of Glass – Book 1
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Extent: 404 pages
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Review: In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old Celaena Sardothien is serving a life sentence for being an assassin. This was until the Crown Prince offers her a deal: if she fights for him in a tournament to the death and serves his kingdom for a certain period of time, she will be free.

Unfortunately, I must be one of those very rare people who didn’t find this book ~*TOTALLY AMAZING*~ (all caps). I think the reason for my relatively low rating (and by that I mean low in comparison to the ones I’ve seen in the blogosphere) is the characterisation of the main character. This review is going to read more like a rant at some parts, so please bear with me.

Before starting Throne of Glass, I was already afraid that Celaena was going to be a Mary Sue, and I wasn’t wrong—she ticked off many of the characteristics of one, including but not limited to:

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