Monday, May 23, 2016

Eurotrip: All Over the Map

I wanted to make a  post about books that took characters all over the map.  Travel books make such great summer reads.  You may be stuck in your city or hometown but reading these books takes you far away and on an adventure.  Here we go!

For Real
by Alison Cherry

Claire is the shy sister while Miranda is the one who lives life to the fullest. After having her heart broken by her boyfriend, Miranda wants to wallow in despair.  Surprisingly, it's Claire who picks her sister up and convinces her to join in on a reality TV race around the globe.  The prizes? A million dollars and sweet sweet revenge.

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Girl at Sea
by Maureen Johnson


Clio Ford is stuck on a boat for the summer, travelling the Mediterranean.  She must survive her Dad's crazy antics and the wacky crew.  Along the way, she might discover long hidden secrets, buried treasure and her own heart.
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Wanderlost
by Jen Malone

Aubree Sadler is ready to settle in for a regular and relaxing summer in Ohio. But a situation with her sister Elizabeth has Aubree taking her place as a guide on a European tour for seniors.

Things get off to a bad start when Aubree completely misses the first stop, gets stranded without a phone, and ends up with an extra guest.  Pretending to be her sister is hard, especially when she starts falling for the tour company owner's son.

This book comes out May 31st, 2016.

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The Land of 10, 000 Madonnas
by Kate Hattemer

In this emotional story, a dying boy plans a trip for his friends that will set them on a quest across Europe to fulfill his last wish.  The trip will see each character tested as each one tries to cope with the loss of their friend.


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The Loose Ends List
by Carrie Firestone

After her grandmother announces that she is terminally ill, Maddie O'Neill Levine finds herself on a cruise ship with her family for the summer.  Her grandmother has decided that if she is dying, she is going to die on her own terms.

The cruise opens Maddie's eyes to the world, to new friends, to first love and to grief that is just around the corner.

This book comes out on June 7th, 2016.

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Royally Lost
by Angie Stanton

Becca may be on a trip to Europe but she is trapped with a family she cannot stand.  Her Dad doesn't pay her any attention.  Her stepmother tries too hard. Her brother is annoying.  She would rather be back home.

Until she runs into Nickolai, a runaway prince.  Together they outrun royal guards and explore Europe.

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No Holding Back
by Kate Evangelista

Nathan is in love with his best friend, Preston.  He wants to tell him how he feels before they go their separate ways for the foreseeable future.  One last adventure in a trip to Europe just might be the best and only chance he has.

This book comes out October 16, 2016.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Heir and the Spare

The Heir and the Spare
by Emily Albright

Evie Gray is on a journey of self-discovery.  One that will take her all the way to Oxford to find out just what kind of person her mother was.  Through her mother's letters, Evie is set on an adventure that will find her running into a real life prince.

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While I was charmed by the writer's hope that I would like her story, I sadly did not.  The book sounded cute and exactly like the fluff I usually love reading.  I gave this book one star because the reading experience from the beginning was unsatisfying. 

While the author created a story that is fast paced, I believe a lot was sacrificed in order to do this. For one, any emotional connection the main character would have built with her classmates at Oxford. She made friends in an instant because one of them happened to notice her.  Their loyalty towards her was also instantaneous and wholly unrealistic.  Sometimes it is okay to slow down a book if it is needed.  Build that foundation.

This book also suffered from a romantic male lead that liked the main character because "she wasn't like all the other girls".  Indeed, why? Because she is a rare breed of female that enjoys museums. That already is suspect and he is the guy we're supposed to hope the girl wins? Yikes.  And while that belief is addressed, it does not feel like there is truly any resolution to it.  You do not get points for just addressing it.  The person who holds those beliefs has to actually change (spoiler: he kind of doesn't).

The main girl also falls for the main guy as soon as she sees him.  Call me old fashioned but I appreciate relationship foundation and meaningful buildup.  All I received over and over again was how cute and alluring he was.  The main character herself even questions at one point if she trusts him while also contemplating wanting to touch his body.  Not to mention that I felt no spark or connection between them despite the many descriptions of their eyes meeting in the window.  This romance was as awkward and unbelievable as Black Widow and the Incredible Hulk. 

The author also had no real concept of what English culture is like.  Apparently, throwing in some stereotypical British words means you have yourself an authentic novel that transports you to England.  And this is the not the most grating thing, I feel like so much of the story was underdeveloped (i.e. characters and setting) and too focused on, frankly, an undesirable Prince.  And the supposed emotional crux of the story?  It was executed better in 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson.

Overall, the novel felt like the author's own wish fulfillment in book form.  Seriously, there are similarities between her and the main character that are actually written into the book. Something that I could have read on Quizilla in the days of yore instead of in a published novel.