Crazy Cool (Steele Street, #2): Review

Book: Crazy Cool
Series: Steele Street, #2
Author: Tara Janzen
Reviewed by: Megan
Rating: 5/5

Let me level with you here. I’m easy to please. If a novel is not A) 50 Shades of Grey or B) well, no that’s it. Just don’t be 50 Shades of Grey, the end. If a book meets that criteria chances are I’ll find something enjoyable in it. Probably the porn, if it’s there. That being said, contemporary romance novels are not usually my thing, as a rule. I mean, read about a ruthless business CEO or a ruthless pirate? The choice isn’t hard, I know.

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Emma: Review

Book: Emma
Author: Jane Austen
Reviewed by: Danielle
Rating: 4/5 stars

Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors. She is funny and witty, she makes pointed social commentary without overtly moralizing or becoming too “serious”, and she has given us some of the very best romances, the latter which holds a great deal of appeal for me. Her heroes are so easy to fall in love with – from the proud but devoted Mr. Darcy to the tender Captain Wentworth who wrote one of the most precious love letters in literature. I admire, also, Ms. Austen’s fearlessness and courage, to express feminist concerns in the face of a hierarchical society. It’s easy as a modern reader to see how stifled a woman could feel in the early nineteenth century, but it’s clear that Austen knew, and felt, the limitations placed on her own sex. She desires more for her heroines – she wants them to breathe, to grow, to learn – and, in large part, fulfills this desire in the context of love and marriage and equal partnership. You finish her novels (with perhaps the exception of Mansfield Park, which I have not read), feeling that the couples are perfectly matched and have grown in one another. This is no exception in Emma.

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Warm Bodies: Review

Book: Warm Bodies
Author: Isaac Marion
Reviewed by: Ellyce
Rating: 4/5 stars

I’ll be the first to admit that zombie-centric stories aren’t exactly my thing. I tend to avoid them like the plague, so I was a bit wary when I picked up Warm Bodies. I’m glad that I gave it a chance, because it’s a surprisingly good book that speaks strongly of the human story.

Warm Bodies starts off like any typical zombie tale, with the undead situated amidst a shattered America, while those who are still human live with constant fear and rigid authority. The novel is narrated by R, a zombie who has no recollection of his past identity. We come to see that he is not quite like his fellow undead, as he finds enjoyment in music and his dreams. Although his spoken vocabulary is limited to a handful of words, his narrative is filled with color and vivid imagination. Continue reading

Secrets of a Summer Night (Wallflowers, #1): Review

Book: Secrets of a Summer Night
Series: Wallflowers, #1
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Reviewed by: Danielle
Rating: 5/5 stars

Before I start to gush, let me get something out of the way first: I don’t read romance novels. That is, I hadn’t before I became addicted to Lisa Kleypas’ wonderful Wallflowers series. The only introduction to the genre I’ve had previously is the first two books of the Outlander series, and many would tell you emphatically that those cannot be categorized as romance. But that’s a different story. Truth be told, I would avoid this section of book stores with its steamy book covers like the plague. I had preconceived notions as to the quality of writing I would find in those books and so steered clear.

However, I’m not anything if not romantic, so I find it odd that I’ve just now discovered quality writing in the romance genre. Who knew that all you had to do was look (or ask a friend, in this instance). I’ll admit that the writing is no Jane Austen or Virginia Woolf, but Lisa Kleypas’ breezy series is well-written, with strong (and swoon-worthy) characters, precious love stories, and heartfelt passion. Kleypas knows how to weave a story and how to satisfy her readers while also keeping them engaged on the edge of their seats, hearts thumping. I acknowledged numerous times throughout the series how skillfully she keeps two characters apart for just enough time to tantalize and make her readers squirm, and then brings them together again at just the right moment with fires blazing. Continue reading

The Forsaken (Forsaken Trilogy, #1): Review

Book: The Forsaken
Series: Forsaken Trilogy, #1
Author: Lisa M. Stasse
Reviewed by: Ellyce
Rating: 2/5 stars

The Forsaken is a book that I was really looking forward to, as it had a gorgeous cover and an equally intriguing premise. With the dystopian genre as the new à la mode, it’s difficult to find a series that can truly set itself apart from the rest. The bar has been set pretty high, and it’s not easy to come up with something that is truly gripping. The only series that I’ve really enjoyed following The Hunger Games have been Divergent and Lunar Chronicles, and even those are lacking in some of the aspects that made the The Hunger Games so distinctive from the wave that followed it.

The Forsaken follows Alenna, an orphan in a futuristic nation. She is thought to have violent tendencies when she fails a mandatory test (that is quite reminiscent of the one in Divergent), and is then sent to a prison island with similar teenagers, where they aren’t expected to survive for more than two years. Alenna soon finds herself embroiled in a fight for survival between warring factions on the island, namely that of the blue sector versus those who follow the Monk. Continue reading