Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Review of Wanderlove

It all begins with a stupid question:

Are you a Global Vagabond?

No, but 18-year-old Bria Sandoval wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a guided tour of Central America—the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists with fanny packs are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. When Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspokenly humanitarian sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path.

Bria's a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan's a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel across a panorama of Mayan villages, remote Belizean islands, and hostels plagued with jungle beasties, they discover what they've got in common: both seek to leave behind the old versions of themselves. And the secret to escaping the past, Rowan’s found, is to keep moving forward.

But Bria comes to realize she can't run forever, no matter what Rowan says. If she ever wants the courage to fall for someone worthwhile, she has to start looking back.
[from Goodreads]
Rating:  3 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Travel enthusiasts
High point:  Learning about backpacking
Low point:  All the safety issues!
Reader maturity: 15+

Wanderlove isn't good; it isn't bad; in fact, it isn't a novel I feel strongly about at all. There are some books that just aren't for me, and this is one of them. I'm not saying it's "not my cup of tea", but it just didn't speak to me. The writing was fine and the characters were fine and the plot was fine, but none of them moved me to excitement or anticipation.

Part of it is that I spent a great deal of time thinking about what a bad idea it was for Bria to go off with Rowan. She traveled alone, went off with strangers and didn't tell anyone back home where she was. Any one of those could be a recipe for disaster. The point of Wanderlove could be to just close your eyes and leap--and leaps of faith can be fantastic--but in this case, they could also have deadly consequences.

I'm giving Wanderlove a 3 out of 5 because I was interested in the glimpse into backpacker culture, Latin America, and Bria's journey to acceptance. But in the end, my personal preference is for characters who think before they jump.

Title:  Wanderlove
Author:  Kirsten Hubbard
Genre:   Teen Fiction - Contemporary
Year:   2012
Book Source:  Won from Carolina Valdez Miller

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Supernatural Saturday Review: The Girl Who Would Be King

Separated by thousands of miles, two young women are about to realize their extraordinary powers which will bind their lives together in ways they can't begin to understand.

Protecting others. Maintaining order. Being good. These are all important things for Bonnie Braverman, even if she doesn't understand why. Confined to a group home since she survived the car accident that killed both her parents, Bonnie has lived her life until now in self-imposed isolation and silence; but when an opportunity presents itself to help another girl in need, Bonnie has to decide whether to actually use the power she has long suspected she has. Power that frightens her.

Across the country, Lola LeFever is inheriting her own power by sending her mother over a cliff...literally. For Lola the only thing that matters is power; getting it, taking it, and eliminating anyone who would get in the way of her pursuit of it. With her mother dead and nothing to hold her back from the world any longer, Lola sets off to test her own powers on anyone unfortunate enough to cross her. And Lola's not afraid of anything.

One girl driven to rescue, save, and heal; the other driven to punish, destroy, and kill.

And now they're about to meet.
[from Goodreads]
Rating:  1 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Readers of modern day fairytales
High point:  How well the author wrote Lola
Low point:  Lola
Reader maturity: 18+

File The Girl Who Would Be King under "not my cup of tea." It's not a badly written book, by any means, but I didn't like it.

There's something about this book that I find extremely distasteful, and her name is Lola. The story is told from two points of view--Lola's and Bonnie's--something that wasn't clear to me for several chapters (possibly due to the ebook copy I was reading). So there's that...but Lola makes up only 50% of the novel but sours 100% of it for me.

I like the premise--superpowered women, good vs. evil, archnemeses from birth--but even villains need to have a flaw or trait that inspires sympathy. Lola didn't elicit that from me.

There were some great action scenes and Lola's descent into madness was artfully paced, but I couldn't get past the disgust I felt for her inability to empathize or reason. Brute force isn't the most interesting personality trait.

Quite a few others have enjoyed The Girl Who Would Be King (raved about it, in fact), so I'm linking to the Goodreads reviews so you can see some other opinions. The Girl Who Would Be King just wasn't for me.

Title:  The Girl Who Would Be King
Author:  Kelly Thompson
Genre:   Teen Fiction - Urban Fantasy
Year:   2012
Book Source:  Purchased