11 September 2012

Book Review: Hanging by a Thread by Sophie Littlefield

Posted by Meghan @ Books and a Cup of Tea at 12:00 AM 27 comments

  Title: Hanging by a Thread                                             Pages: 288
  Author: Sophie Littlefield                                                Source: Netgalley
  Publisher: Random House Children's Books           Published: September 11, 2012
  Series: N/A                                                                        Purchase: Amazon
Summer is the best part of the year in Winston, California, and the Fourth of July is the highlight of the season. But the perfect town Clare remembers has changed, and everyone is praying that this summer will be different from the last two—that this year's Fourth of July festival won't see one of their own vanish without a trace, leaving no leads and no suspects. The media are in a frenzy predicting a third disappearance, but the town depends on tourist dollars, so the residents of Winston are trying desperately to pretend nothing's wrong.

And they're not the only ones hiding something.

Clare, a seamstress who redesigns vintage clothing, has been blessed—or perhaps cursed—with a gift: she can see people's pasts when she touches their clothes. When she stumbles across a denim jacket that once belonged to Amanda Stavros, last year's Fourth of July victim, Clare sees her perfect town begin to come apart at the seams.

In a town where appearance means everything, how deep beneath the surface will Clare dig to uncover a murderer?
I started Hanging by a Thread not knowing what to expect and came out pleasantly surprised. While there are some flaws that kept me from loving it, I did enjoy Hanging by a Thread.

I couldn't really connect with Clare. She seemed a bit bland to me, not nearly as crazy and carefree as her fashion sense claimed she was. I would have liked a bit more to her personality, but I did enjoy her nonetheless.

I loved how detailed and in depth Sophie Littlefield went into her hobby of making clothes. In a lot of novels, the author will state a hobby the main character has, but never goes in depth with it, never mentions it beyond that one sentence. I really enjoyed Clare's hobby and was glad how much depth there was to it.

There wasn't as much romance as I was expecting, but I was surprisingly happy about this. So many young adult novels out there right now are focused mainly on the romance aspects of the plot so Hanging by a Thread was a breath of fresh air, giving focus on the mystery instead of the romance. That being said, I did enjoy what romance there was.

The writing was a bit hard for me to get into. Some paragraphs, especially when they were of Clare having a vision, were confusing and almost muddled. The dialogue also seemed forced some of the time and the mystery seemed rushed. There is a conclusion to the mystery, but I'm still semi-unsatisfied, because everything was laid out super fast at the end.

Despite that, I did really enjoy the mystery. It was somewhat surprising and I kind of enjoyed the fact that it wasn't dragged out. The plot kept me pretty interested until the end and that's all that matters to me.

Overall, despite some flaws to Hanging by a Thread, I did come out liking it. It's not one of the best novels I've ever read, but I do not regret reading it. I recommend to fans of the paranormal or mystery genre, as long as you like a mystery that's not drawn out and don't care if it's not focused on romance.

Pass or Read? Maybe read depending on if you like mysteries and if you don't care if there isn't a lot of romance.

Cover thoughts: I love this cover! It's so gorgeous and delicate, even with the blood at the top. The font could stick out a bit more, but I like the font used, it's so simple and pretty. I would definitely be drawn to this in a bookstore!

10 July 2012

Review: Don't You Wish by Roxanne St. Claire

Posted by Meghan @ Books and a Cup of Tea at 12:00 AM 8 comments

  Title: Don't You Wish                               Pages: 368
  Author: Roxanne St. Claire                    Source: Netgalley
  Publisher: Delacorte Books                  Published: July 10, 2012
  Series: N/A                                                Purchase: Amazon
When plain and unpopular Annie Nutter gets zapped by one of her dad's whacked-out inventions, she lands in a parallel universe where her life becomes picture-perfect. Now she's Ayla Monroe, daughter of the same mother but a different father—and she's the gorgeous, rich queen bee of her high school.

In this universe, Ayla lives in glitzy Miami instead of dreary Pittsburgh and has beaucoup bucks, courtesy of her billionaire—if usually absent—father. Her friends hit the clubs, party backstage at concerts, and take risks that are exhilarating... and illegal. Here she's got a date to lose her V-card with the hottest guy she's ever seen.

But on the inside, Ayla is still Annie.

So when she's offered the chance to leave the dream life and head home to Pittsburgh, will she take it?

The choice isn't as simple as you think.
I don't usually like contemporary novels, simply because I prefer the excitement of paranormal or dystopian novels. Don't You Wish was plenty full of excitement, however, and I loved it.

I really liked Annie. She was so nice and seemed like someone I would hang out with. The only time she annoyed me, though, was when she tried to act like Ayla - stuck up and bitchy. She only did this, though, because she thought she was going to wake up and find it was all a dream, and she does make up for it later, so I totally forgive her for this.

I really enjoyed witnessing Annie grow up and realize she was taking her family and friends for granted. She thought this new dream family was perfect at first and then realized what she had was so much better, even if she didn't have all the money in the world like Ayla. Unlike Ayla, she had a family that loved and cared about her.

I loved Charlie. He was such a good person and such a great brother. Roxanne St. Claire wrote their romance with ease and it left me feeling giddy.

The writing was pretty simple, but the plot was not. In a good way, of course. How Annie's switching of bodies was explained was incredibly brilliant and not something I would have guessed in a million years and when it was all said and done, I was not left confused.

Which brings me to the ending. The ending was absolutely incredible. It was so adorable and I may or may not have let out a squeal at the utter cuteness of it.

Overall, Don't You Wish was a fun and fast read. I loved the story and message Roxanne St. Claire came up with and I would recommend to any fans of the contemporary genre.

Pass or Read? I would definitely say try this one out!

Cover thoughts: I quite like this cover. Of course, it doesn't have much to do with the story, as it's just a girl, but it appeals to me and I really like the font.

12 June 2012

Book Review: Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown

Posted by Meghan @ Books and a Cup of Tea at 12:00 AM 14 comments

  Title: Lies Beneath                                                           Pages: 303
  Author: Anne Greenwood Brown                                   Source: Netgalley
  Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers        Published: June 12, 2012
  Series: Lies Beneath #1                                                 Purchase: Amazon
Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans, killing them to absorb their energy. But this summer the underwater clan targets Jason Hancock out of pure revenge. They blame Hancock for their mother's death and have been waiting a long time for him to return to his family's homestead on the lake.

Hancock has a fear of water, so to lure him in, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock's daughter, Lily. Easy enough - especially as Calder has lots of practice using his irresistible good looks and charm on unsuspecting girls. Only this time Calder screws everything up: he falls for Lily—just as Lily starts to suspect that there's more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined. And just as his sisters are losing patience with him.
Lies Beneath stood out to me immediately when I read the synopsis. The mermaid genre is a neglected paranormal creature in young adult literature, so any mermaid book I come across, I snap it up. And Lies Beneath did not disappoint.

Calder's quick and sarcastic wit provides for an entertaining male point of view, and I'm usually not a fan of male points of view in young adult novels. I just cannot connect with them and find myself getting bored of the book. Calder, however, was a different story. He kept me interested and biting my nails, hoping everything would work out for him.

His sisters all had their own unique personalities, too, and I loved the tension between them all.

The romance was fantastic, though I would have liked a bit more of it. The romance/kissing scenes were fantastically written, though, which made up for the fact that there weren't as many as I wanted.

I loved the idea that mermaids are monsters and that they need positive human emotions to stay alive. That's what I love about mermaid novels, each one seems so incredibly unique from the last one. Unlike other paranormal creature (vampire, werewolf, witches) novels, which all seem like copies of one another.

While the plot wasn't entirely surprising, I enjoyed it immensely and it kept me hooked from page one, all the way until the end. A slight negative, though, is that I was expecting a bit darker of a novel. Although Lies Beneath isn't exactly rainbows and lollipops, it isn't all blood and blackness either.

Overall, I would highly recommend Lies Beneath to mermaid and paranormal romance fans. This book is a must read if you like either genre.

Pass or Read? Read if you love the mermaid or paranormal romance genres!

Cover thoughts: This cover is awesome. There's really no words to describe how incredibly awesome it is! And it's soo gorgeous, too!

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