Monday, November 26, 2012

Beautiful and Broken

Shattered by Elizabeth Lee

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Song for this Read: Joey by Sugarland

I started Shattered and by page two my heart was already wrenching for Alyssa Boyd. A newly graduated high school senior, Alyssa carries a lot of guilt and pain on her shoulders. It has been nine months since her best friend Garret died and her other, Jesse, left her without so much as a goodbye. Garret and Jesse had taken a sad little Alyssa Boyd under their wing in 8th grade and ever since they have done everything to keep her smiling. Jesse has been in love with Alyssa since he first laid eyes on her but has never made his move from best friend to boyfriend. Nine months after he left in the wake of his best friend’s untimely death, Jesse is back in town. And this time he isn’t chickening out.
When Alyssa Boyd is first presented she is a mess of raw emotions and hurt and anger. Her voice is desperate and delicate and my heart broke for her. As Jesse entered the story and told his side more of the pieces fit together and as they both retold tales of their escapades with Garret I found myself totally falling for these two amazing boys who would do anything to see Alyssa smile. I could help but see them as two big brothers to Alyssa, always looking out for her. The whole first half of this book, two words kept coming to mind to describe it: Beautiful and Broken. But somewhere in the middle there the beauty was lost. The story just became broken and frustrating. I would read one chapter full of Alyssa doing stupid things and get to the next chapter just to tell me everything that just happened in the last chapter from his side. It was going nowhere. So when Things finally did come around I noticed something else was lost. No long was the story about them being broken either, it seemed that I was just to forget about the fact that all of a week ago Alyssa could walk into the gym because of memories of Garret and now all the sudden Jesse is here and she is completely fine, she is over it. Well that was disappointing, because what I was really looking forward to most was the two of them working through moving past their pain of losing Garret together. The storyline seemed to turn from this brooding, grief filled plot full of raw emotions to this fluff piece where everyone is just looking for trouble where it doesn’t need to be. It was really disappointing.
I’m giving this book four stars (out of five) because the beginning really was spectacular, it had me want to cry and smile all at the same time. The second half had potential, I just feel that the essence of the book was lost and that is saddening to me. But overall it was a great read.

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Devils Playground

Every Which Way
Every Which Way by Calia Read

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Songs for this Read: Just for Tonight by The Spacepimps

Goodreads Summary:
Severine Blake has seen far too many friends taken down in the crossfires of dating. She devises a precise course of action to protect her heart. The plan is working very well...until she meets Thayer and Macsen.
When the Sloan brothers come into her life, nothing is the same.

Thayer is self-possessed, arrogant and used to getting what he wants. Being near him leaves Severine unsteady and shaken. He makes her question everything.
Macsen contradicts his brother in every way. His calm personality captivates her. Severine is drawn to him instantly.
But Severine quickly discovers that when you want something, that want can turn wicked. Giving in is not always easy, especially when your heart refuses to give up the fight.

What little illusion of love Severine has is soon destroyed. Every option is broken, and the protection she has built around her heart instantly crumbles.

There's just no right way with the Sloan brothers.
(I don't think this summary gives you any idea what it about to go down. You really just need to read it for yourself. Do not judge this by the summary)

*Quick note: I have now written this review three different times. The first time, I went to save and it disappeared into cyberspace. The next I simply hit a few too many buttons on my keyboard while typing and next thing I know the page reloaded and my review was no longer in existence. But hey, third times a charm right??
This book was so much more than I was expecting. It was funny, and frustrating and raw. At times it had me so angry I wanted to slap the characters and then I would turn the page and just want to hug them. More often than not I was perplexed. Severine is one of the single most confusing protagonists I have ever read. Her thoughts are tangents of contradictions; she has no Idea what she wants and she is so prideful more than once it came close to suffocating. But for all her fault she was someone I wanted to read about. What really kept me apart from this story is that I don’t relate to Severine at all. Her motive and reasonings were never quite clear to me, her thoughts were murky and twisted in my mind and her actions were never the logical ones. She was always either thinking too much or acting entirely on impulse; she was a mystery even to herself. Much of what Severine did I didn’t understand, she was so unlike any leading female character I had ever read I didn’t really know what to make of her. But finally about 150 pages in a decided I did like her. She still frustrated me and I struggled to follow her trains of thought but she intrigued me; her and the Sloan brothers both.
These characters came out completely different on the other side of 600 pages than when I cracked the spine. (Ok, let’s be honest, I read this on my ereader. But “cracked the spine” has a nice ring to it, right?) I would have to go back and reread it, which I more than likely will, but I can’t help but feel that many of these characters I just finished reading about are not the same ones who were presented to me on page one. I can’t decide if I just chock this up to character development which some of it definitely is, or if at some point the author kinda took control and bent these characters so they would fit. Either way it worked out great, I’m just curious.
Only one last thing to address here, I think. That ending, it would appear Read is spoiling me with a sequel. How I will ever prepare myself for a round two after all that she just put me through, I have no idea. But who can say no to another 600 pages of Thayer Sloan?? (Didn’t think so :) ) I see frustration and pain in my future thanks to these Sloan boys, but if Read is willing to dish it out, well then that is a challenge I’m willing to accept.

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