April books

58. Flawless (Pretty Little Liars #2) – Sara Shepard.
57. Pretty Little Liars (Pretty Little Liars #1) – Sara Shepard.
I’m keeping these two together because they were just a continuation of the same story really. I liked it, they were quick and easy reads and the story held enough interest and tension to keep the pages turning, but there’s no resolution by the end of the second book and looking at my Kobo I have five others in the series and I’m not sure it’s that good. I know they’ve made a tv show out of it and I think it would work well in that format, so maybe one day I’ll try and check them out.

56. Stolen Innocence – Elissa Wall.
This book was fascinating, actually more so than I expected. It’s the story of Elissa and her growing up in a fundamentalist Mormon church that lived the practice of polygamy and child weddings. Elissa herself was married at fourteen and suffered abuse at the hands of her husband before she was able to free herself from the sect. She then went through a legal battle to bring some of those responsible for the crimes against her to justice.
The whole lifestyle of the religion was really interesting and bizarre to me, but she wrote about it so clearly that I was able to understand what it must have been like. Very good book.

55. Leaving Paradise – Simone Elkeles.
I liked this one a lot. It’s told from the point of view of two teens, Maggie and Caleb who are grew up in neighbouring houses and then were both involved in an accident that ended up with Maggie being crippled and Caleb being sent to jail for a year. The story begins when Caleb is released from jail and returns to school.
I did have a problem with Caleb at the start, when he seemed to be annoyed with Maggie for being upset about the accident after a year- I mean, she was only the innocent victim and crippled for life, after all! He did improve though, and overall I liked the characters and the book.

54. Everyone Else’s Girl – Megan Crane.
This book is the story of Meredith and how she is forced to abandon her ‘perfect’ life to return to her family home and look after her injured dad, getting involved with all the drama of her family and old high school relationships.
To be honest, this book annoyed me pretty much from the beginning to the end. Meredith was the most irritating doormat of a character ever (I mean really, WHY did she have to quit her job and move away from her boyfriend to look after her dad when her unemployed sister was already living right there in the house???) and I just couldn’t really come to grips with people in their late twenties still being so hung up on things that happened at high school. That was ten years ago, you know? Let it go! Anyway, the writing of this book was good I suppose, I mean it was realistic and entertaining but I just couldn’t get over disliking the characters enough to care about what happened to them. Let’s just say I could join in a game of Scotty Sheridan Sucks (thing from the book) and have plenty to say.

53. Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein.
I’ve read quite a few lacklustre choices recently, but all that is forgotten in the glory of Code Name Verity which was, quite simply, fantastic. It’s a story set in WW2 about two girls, and the path their friendship takes through jobs and war assignments and spies and pilots and the French resistance. Despite some slow places in the plot (I don’t know much about planes and flying and don’t care all that much, truthfully) the book makes you care about the characters and feel the full heartbreak of the war.

52. The Bed and Breakfast Star – Jacqueline Wilson.
If I’m getting too old for YA lit, it doesn’t seem to have impacted my love of children’s lit, because this was lovely. It’s about Elsa, whose family become homeless and are given a room at a government bed and breakfast place. It’s a fairly bleak background, but Elsa is a bright and lovable character and I enjoyed the story a lot. I read it on the ereader though and did miss the illustrations.

51. Looking for Alaska – John Green.
I’m not entirely sure what I want to say about this book. I liked it, but I got the impression that I should have liked it more, if that makes sense. It read like something I would have loved a few years ago, but this time I just wasn’t in the right head space for it.
Maybe I’m getting too old for YA lit. God, that’s got to be the most depressing thought I’ve had all day.

50. Broken – Daniel Clay.
This was an awful book. It was ugly and bleak and all the characters were horrible. Maybe it had some kind of artistic point, but I didn’t see it and wouldn’t go looking for it if I was being paid.

49. Summer and the City – Candace Bushnell.
This is the sequel to the book The Carrie Diaries, and considering that I didn’t think much of that book my expectations were low for this one. I hoped that with Carrie now in New York (this book starts where the last one left off) she might meet Miranda and Charlotte and we’d have more of Samantha and it would be better than the first one, but it wasn’t really the case. There was no Charlotte until the last page, Samantha was engaged (?!), Miranda was a weird feminist and Carrie was just an obnoxious brat. I think that was the biggest problem, that it was a very character driven book and since I didn’t like the characters I just didn’t care for it.

48. Little Women and Me – Lauren Baratz-Logsted.
In this book the main character, Emily, finds herself being sucked through a book into the world of Little Women, the book written by Louisa May Alcott. Emily is all of a sudden the ‘middle March’ sister and lives through all the familiar events of the old story, although her presence does change things as she strives to alter the events she doesn’t like and get back to her own time.
The concept of this book sounds extremely bizarre and far fetched, but the execution of it was so clever and fun that I really enjoyed it. It probably helped that Little Women is one of my all-time favourite books! The characters were fairly true to the original story and Emily was a likeable addition to the March family. The ending was a bit of a surprise too which was good. Definitely recommend to fans of Little Women!

47. Two Kisses for Maddy – Matthew Logelin.
After weeks on bedrest in hospital, Liz Logelin gave birth to her daughter Madeline prematurely. Twenty seven hours later, as she prepared to go to the NICU and hold her daughter for the first time, Liz had a blood clot travel to her lung and died. This is the true story, told her by husband Matt, of what happened to Liz and how he coped with her loss and raising his premature, newborn daughter alone.
I don’t read this guy’s blog, although I had heard of it and that’s why I picked up this book. It certainly was a tragic situation and I definitely admire Matt for the way he handled things. Having said all that, my issue with this book was that I didn’t actually like Matt very much in it! He just sometimes seemed a bit too full of himself and scornful of other people. Although how much of that is the way he is, and how much of that is just the way I read him because of the language in the book (he swears a lot) I don’t know.

46. All Night Long (Sweet Valley High #5) – Francine Pascal.

What can I say? It’s like a train wreck and I can’t look away! Also, I was on holidays when I read these, it’s not like I’m going to tackle Voltaire while I’m slumping in a camping chair.
In this one Jessica is involved with some older guy who takes her out to the beach for the day, tries to have sex with her, then refuses to take her back home- hence Jessica is out ‘all night long’, missing some important tour guide exam and causing endless problems for the long suffering Elizabeth.
This book was actually kind of weird though, because I somehow ended up with an ‘updated’ version. Elizabeth has a blog, they all have mobile phones (although they never work, since the story wouldn’t work if they could all actually talk to each other) and someone actually used the word slut. Dramatic stuff.

45. Secrets (Sweet Valley High #2) – Francine Pascal.

Of course I had to go back for more! This one was just as dramatic and full of appalling moments as the first one. Jessica is such a psychopath! In this one she takes a letter belonging to Enid Rollins (her sister’s best friend) that reveals her secret past and gives it to Enid’s boyfriend. Who is apparently so in love with Enid that he won’t let her talk to other boys- yes apparently love means extreme jealousy and controlling.

44. Lone Wolf – Jodi Picoult.

I enjoyed this book, although the whole backstory on the characters was a bit bizarre. I mean, the guy going and living with wolves in the wild for two years?
If you like Jodi Picoult books you will like this one, if you don’t like her then this won’t be the book to change your mind. How’s that for a pretty noncommittal review? It was better than I’m making it sound actually, the characters were unique and interesting which does make it stand out, and as always Jodi Picoult’s stories and writing tends towards the dramatic and heart stirring.

43. Double Love (Sweet Valley High #1) – Francine Pascal.

And I thought the Twilight books were setting up bad example and role models for teenagers! This book, which I remember being popular romantic fluff with just enough sauciness to be considered kind of daring when I was in junior school (so twelve, thirteen years old), totally horrified me reading it now. Elizabeth is such a phenomenal doormat! And Jessica is a grade A bitch and probably a clinical sociopath to boot. The boys in this book, what with their attempted rape and kidnapping and general psychopathy, make Edward Cullen, the vampire stalker, look positively benign in comparison! Not to mention all the judging and hypocrisy and obsession with being blonde and thin and pretty from all the other characters…yeah, reading this book as an adult was a whole different experience. Still fun though, even if just to raise my eyebrows and clutch my pearls with horror!

42. Natalie’s Secret (Camp Confidential #1) – Melissa J Morgan.

I wish I’d read this when I was eleven. It’s about a bunch of eleven year old girls at a summer camp, where the main character Natalie is keeping a secret. It was a fun read even as an adult, but I remember when I was kid loving camp stories so much and the girls in this book are the kind of girls you want to be friends with.

41. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner – Stephenie Meyer.

I felt like a true Twilight tragic reading this one, but it was a pleasant surprise and far better than I was expecting. It’s the story of Bree, the newborn vampire that’s part of Victoria’s ‘army’ in Eclipse. In that book we see her surrendering to the Cullens and then being ripped apart by the Volturi so right from the start of this one you know it’s not going to end well. It’s still a good story though, it’s about proper human blood eating vampires (well, as ‘proper’ as sparkly vampires can be!) and it answers a lot of questions about Victoria’s plans for killing Bella and the involvement of the Volturi in that particular episode. In addition Bree was a much better character than Bella, and probably made more decisions in 89 pages than Bella did in four books.

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