Friday, July 31, 2015

Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero AND Biggie by Derek E. Sullivan

A Karissa Review
Double Feature – A Lamentation upon Swearing

Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero
Publisher: Cinco Punto Press
Publication date: October 2014
Pages: 208

Biggie by Derek E. Sullivan
Publisher: AW Teen
Publication date: March 2015
Pages: 272

Summary for Gabi (from goodreads):
Gabi Hernandez chronicles her last year in high school in her diary: college applications, Cindy's pregnancy, Sebastian's coming out, the cute boys, her father's meth habit, and the food she craves. And best of all, the poetry that helps forge her identity. 
Summary for Biggie (from goodreads):
Henry "Biggie" Abbott is the son of one of Finch, Iowa 's most famous athletes. His father was a baseball legend and his step-dad is a close second. At an obese 300+ pounds though, Biggie himself prefers classroom success to sports. As a perfectionist, he doesn't understand why someone would be happy getting two hits in five trips to the plate. "Forty percent, that's an F in any class," he would say. But what happens when a boy who has spent his life since fourth grade trying to remain invisible is suddenly thrust into the harsh glare of the high school spotlight? 
My Thoughts:
First off, I wish, I wish, I would’ve read Gabi before I read Biggie. See, the sad fact is, I got Gabi the week after I read Biggie, and after reading Biggie, I started Gabi, loved the character, loved the writing, but couldn’t stomach the cussing any more. So I only got part way through Gabi, before I had to put it down. See, in Biggie, there’s a lot of cussing, and in Gabi there’s not quite as much, but still some. And after slogging my way through Biggie, my eyeballs were just in pain.
The thing is, the one star I gave Biggie is just for the last 5 pages. Because I really, really didn’t like the book until the last 5 pages. And then I only sorta liked it. It was funny, my daughter saw me reading it at the beginning, and asked if I liked it. I told her I wasn’t sure. Throughout the next few days of me reading it, she’d ask again if I liked it yet, and I still would say, “Not yet.”
Really, I just didn’t like Biggie or any of his friends. They all are really kinda jerks – and not the type that learn from their jerkiness – they still are going to be jerks in their 20s. So, not only was it hard to read a book where you don’t like any of the characters, but the cussing just got in the way.
So I put these together because if you are considering one of them, go for Gabi. If you’re okay with cussing, pick hers because she’s a way more likable character, and I think you’ll have a better experience overall.

s-factor: #@!%

mrg-factor: XX

v-factor: none

Overall rating:  ***

s-factor: #@!%@!#

mrg-factor: XXX

v-factor: ->->

Overall rating: *
If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Book Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication date: July 2014
Pages: 496
Source: Library
For: Fun
Series: The Remnant Chronicles, Book 1

Summary (from goodreads):
A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor's secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can't abide. Like having to marry someone she's never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.
Things I Liked:
Well, I have to admit I was annoyed when Pearson didn't come out and say who was who (ie - we don't know which one is which when the story is told from Lia's perspective).  I kept thinking I knew and then second guessing it.  I think this is what sustained me through pretty much the whole book - I just wanted to figure it out.  In that sense, well played, Mary Pearson! And then the end happened and all the action was pretty much dumped into that last quarter of the book.  I'm intrigued and want to read the sequel, but not sure what to expect.

Things I Didn't Like:
I think I was annoyed by the length a number of times.  Nothing much seems to happen for a long time.  Also, Lia should have been a little smarter when thinking about the consequences of her running away.

Reminded me a bit of the Seven Realms by Cinda Williams Chima

s-factor: !
maybe one or two

mrg-factor: X
some suggestive moments

v-factor: ->->
a bit of fighting happens on page

Overall rating: ****

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage
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